Catching up with Brian Scalabrine: Part 1

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Catching up with Brian Scalabrine: Part 1

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

This summer the Celtics added one of the biggest names in the game to a roster that already boasted some of the best-known players in the league. But even among high-profile stars like Shaquille ONeal, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen (the list goes on), there is one name noticeably absent from the roster. Brian Scalabrine may never have scored 40 points in a game or broken a backboard with a dunk, yet chants of his name filled the Garden for five years. Scalabrine made an impact on Celtics fans during his time in Boston. And, even after signing with the Chicago Bulls last month, he has been impacted by his career there as well. In this exclusive two-part series with CSNNE.com, Scalabrine looked back on his time with the Celtics and looks ahead to the upcoming season with the Bulls.

Brian Scalabrine had been a staple figure on the Celtics bench since signing with the team in 2005. Fans embraced his commitment, and readiness to play at a moment's notice. Whether he was subbing to give a teammate a breather or stepping into the lineup for an injured starter, Scalabrine lived up to the true meaning of a role player.

And being a true role player allowed him to see the bigger picture as the Celtics entered free agency this summer. Scalabrine experienced just how close the C's had come to beating the Los Angeles Lakers for the NBA Championship in June, and he knew they had a shot to revamp their roster for another title run.

He considers the acquisition of Shaquille ONeal to be an "unbelievable deal" for the Celtics and thinks Jermaine ONeal and Delonte West will be good additions to the team.

"When you're a championship-caliber team like that, they're looking at a situation where they feel that they can get really good players for a minimum deal," Scalabrine said. "And they did."

Scalabrine thought that had the Celtics beaten the Lakers, he would have been re-signed. But given the fact the C's had to make improvements, especially down low to replace the injured Kendrick Perkins, he understood the team's decisions.

"I think Danny Ainge was really up front with what he was trying to do," Scalabrine said. "He never led me astray or anything like that. He wasn't lying to me, he was being really honest with me. The Celtics have always been a great, upfront, straight organization. They tell you what it's going to be and they do it. He wasn't trying to hide anything, so I really respect him for that and I appreciate him treating me that way."

Even though the Celtics were able to enhance their roster, Scalabrine's presence will still be missed. He brought energy off the bench and averaged nine points and four rebounds in three starts last season while Kevin Garnett was sidelined. During that time, he played through a shoulder injury to stay on the court for the C's.

"I don't think it ever makes sense not to have a Scal on your team," Doc Rivers told CSNNE.com. "The Scalabrines of the world are rare. They are not a dime-a-dozen. When you get one, you do what you can to keep one. Once we made all those moves, we knew we couldn't. But we would love to. He's just a terrific guy."

The respect and admiration is mutual.

"I obviously cherished my time there," he said. "I enjoyed it. I enjoyed being with Doc I learned a ton from him. I enjoyed all of my teammates. I think that those are life experiences that I'll never get another opportunity to go through with a group like that, with a coach like Doc, with a city like Boston, with a team like those guys. Quite honestly, last year I could've played with four Hall of Famers. I don't know if Rajon Rondo makes it or not; he seems on that track. It's just a very, very, very unique situation. I respect every single one of those guys in there and I respect Doc and Danny."

His appreciation for the entire Celtics organization is one of the reasons why he wouldnt mind if the infamous "Scal-a-bri-ne" chants stayed back in Boston. To him, they represent individuality while he is focused on the team.

"People who know me, who really know me, know that that's not really my personality. All my concerns were only about my teammates and my team, the Celtics, the Celtics, the Celtics, the Celtics, he said. "People loved it, and I understand that and why they do those type of things . . . But we're grinding it out, and the Celtics at that point were the most important people to me in the world at that time. So I never want to stand out, I don't want to do things individually to stand out."

What he prefers to do is express his appreciation for everyone who helped make his time in Boston - on and off the court - a success. For Scalabrine, there are the thousands of people who packed the Garden and supported the Celtics to the 2008 NBA Championship - "We realized that we needed those fans to win" - the fans who always showed respect when they approached him outside of the arena; the season-ticket holders he got to know through various events; the children in the community who taught him he could live with less.

"At the end of the day, it's all about thanks," he said.

Check back with CSNNE.com on Wednesday as Scalabrine looks ahead to the upcoming season with his new team, including how he landed in Chicago, what it's like to play under Tom Thibodeau, and what he thinks about coming back to Boston as a member of the Bulls.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.comjcamerato.

Kevin Durant's future a mystery as OKC collapses

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Kevin Durant's future a mystery as OKC collapses

OAKLAND, Calif. - As Stephen Curry dribbled out the clock in a raucous Oracle Arena, Kevin Durant could only stand and watch.

The Golden State Warriors are heading back to the NBA Finals, while Durant's future in Oklahoma City is much less certain.

Two nights after blowing an opportunity to close out the defending champion Warriors at home, the Thunder got sent home for the summer when they lost Game 7 of the Western Conference finals 96-88 on Monday night.

Instead of becoming known as the team that knocked off the Warriors after their record-setting 73-win regular season, the Thunder will be remembered for a playoff collapse. They became just the 10th NBA team to lose a playoff series after taking a 3-1 lead and now head into an uncertain offseason with Durant eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

If he does leave the only franchise he has played for in his nine-year career, he will do it having failed to deliver the championship to Oklahoma City. The closest the Thunder have gotten in Durant's tenure was when they lost the NBA Finals in five games to LeBron James and the Miami Heat in 2012.

They then lost in the second round the next season, in the conference finals in 2014 to San Antonio before missing the playoffs entirely because of an injury to Durant last year.

But under first-year coach Billy Donovan, Oklahoma City earned the third seed in the top-heavy Western Conference this season and then upset 67-win San Antonio in the second round. The Thunder followed that by winning three of the first four games against the Warriors, with a pair of lopsided wins at home.

But after losing Game 5 on the road, the Thunder blew an opportunity to eliminate the Warriors at home on Saturday night. Oklahoma City led by seven points with less than five minutes remaining but made only one basket and committed six turnovers down the stretch of a 108-101 loss that could haunt the franchise for years.

The Thunder responded on the road in Game 7 by taking a 13-point lead in the second quarter. But once Curry and Klay Thompson started hitting Oklahoma City with a flurry of 3-pointers, the Thunder had no answer. The Splash Brothers combined for 13 3-pointers as Golden State outscored Oklahoma City by 30 points from behind the line.

Oklahoma City's stars were no match. Russell Westbrook missed 14 of 21 from the field and shot just 36.8 percent in the three potential clinchers. Durant finished with 27 points but took only 10 shots in the first three quarters.

Durant did score seven straight points to cut an 11-point deficit to four with 1:40 remaining. But Serge Ibaka then fouled Curry on a 3-pointer with the shot clock running down, allowing Golden State to build the lead back to seven.

Durant then missed two shots and could only stare blankly when Curry ended Oklahoma City's season with a 3-pointer with 26.8 seconds left. Now the Thunder can only hope it doesn't end Durant's tenure in Oklahoma City as well.

Warriors rebound from 3-1 deficit, beating Thunder to return to NBA Finals

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Warriors rebound from 3-1 deficit, beating Thunder to return to NBA Finals

OAKLAND, Calif. -  Stephen Curry dribbled every which way and drained yet another 3-pointer in the waning moments, pulled his jersey up into his mouth and yelled to the rafters in triumph once more.

A special, record-setting season saved for the defending champs, with a memorable comeback added to the long list of accomplishments.

Now, the MVP and his teammates are playing for another NBA title - just as they planned all along.

Bring on LeBron James once more.

Curry and Klay Thompson carried the 73-win Warriors right back to the NBA Finals, as Golden State rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 96-88 on Monday night in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals.

Curry scored 36 points with seven 3-pointers to finish with an NBA-record 32 in a seven-game series, while Thompson added 21 points and six 3s, two days after his record 11 3-pointers led a Game 6 comeback that sent the series home to raucous Oracle Arena for one more.

The Warriors became the 10th team to rally from a 3-1 deficit and win a postseason series. They return to the NBA Finals for a rematch with James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who lost the 2015 title in six games as Golden State captured its first championship in 40 years.

Game 1 is Thursday night in Oakland.

His signature mouthpiece dangling out and the game ball cradled in his left hand, Curry pumped his right arm as yellow confetti fell through Oracle Arena once the final buzzer sounded.

The Thunder trailing 90-86, Serge Ibaka fouled Curry on a 3-point try with 1:18 to go and the shot clock running out. The MVP made all three free throws, then a 3-pointer to seal it.

And Golden State's beloved "Strength In Numbers" catchphrase coined by Coach of the Year Steve Kerr was needed in every way on this night to do it.

Andre Iguodala joined the starting lineup for just the second time all season and the 2015 NBA Finals MVP hung tough against Kevin Durant, who scored 27 points on 10-for-19 shooting. Russell Westbrook had 19 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds.

Oklahoma City won Game 1 108-102 at deafening, soldout Oracle Arena, so Golden State never envisioned this one coming easily.

It just took a quarter and a half for Thompson to warm up after he hit an NBA playoff-record 11 3-pointers for 41 points in a 108-101 win Saturday at Oklahoma City that sent the series to a decisive seventh game back home in the East Bay.

He missed his initial seven shots before hitting a 3 6:02 before halftime, energizing the Warriors in their first Game 7 at home in 40 years.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Thompson and Iguodala pulled the Warriors within 54-51 with 7:57 left in the third. They tied it on Curry's 3 at 7:21 and he followed with another 3 to give his team the lead.

Curry and Thompson each topped the previous record for 3s in a seven-game series, 28 by Dennis Scott and Ray Allen. Curry hit one over 7-foot Steven Adams in the third, and Thompson wound up with 30.

Iguodala replaced Harrison Barnes in the starting lineup for just his second start of the season and first of the playoffs, and what a move by Kerr and his staff, who did the same thing last year in crunch time. Iguodala made a pretty bounce pass through the paint to Draymond Green for Golden State's first basket of the game, and his smothering defense on Durant kept the Thunder star without a shot until his 3 at the 5:45 mark in the first. Durant had just nine points on five shots in the first half.

But Oklahoma City dictated the tempo with snappy passes and the hard, aggressive rebounding that had been such a part of its success this season. The Thunder couldn't maintain it.

The Warriors, who began 3 for 11 from long range and 9 of 32 overall while falling behind 35-22, lost their last Game 7 at home: 94-86 to Phoenix in the Western Conference finals on May 16, 1976.