OFFSEASON

Celtics rookies: What I didnt know about the NBA

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Celtics rookies: What I didnt know about the NBA

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com

Just like any new member of the Celtics, Avery Bradley, Luke Harangody, and Semih Erden had to learn the X's and O's of the system this season. The difference for these rookies is, they also had to get accustomed to life as a pro.

As they told CSNNE.com, they have been surprised to learn about life in the NBA.

Avery Bradley: Bradley had played on the big stage before. He won a national high school championship with Findlay Prep and played a year of college ball at the University of Texas before being selected with the 19th pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. Now is he trying to overcome ankle surgery and contribute to the Celtics, all while getting adjusted to a demanding schedule that has the 19-year-old in bed at the same time many people his age are just going out.

"You have to work hard," he emphasized. "Being a rookie, you have to work harder than everybody else because they expect you to not get tired as fast. They expect you to have young legs, things like that. I get here two hours before everybody else. Practice is at 11 a.m., I get here at 9. I wake up at 8:15. Everybody gets here around 9:30. I have to do a lot more extra stuff because of my ankle.

"It's tough because after practice you go so hard, you want to go home and go to sleep. But if you do that, youll be up all night. So you have to find a sleeping pattern. I go home, get something to eat, stay up, watch TV, and I wait until 10 and then I go to sleep. Then I get up and do it all over again."

Luke Harangody: There hasn't been much down time for this second-round pick from the University of Notre Dame. When he isn't practicing with the Celtics, he's sticking around at their training facility to get in extra workouts. And even though life on the road can be hard, he is learning a thing or two from his veteran teammates. The fans have helped ease the transition, too.
"The travel surprised me, getting into a city at 2 o'clock in the morning," he said. "There are so many back-to-backs in the NBA, you don't really see that in college where you never really travel from one city to another. Youre usually coming back to campus every time after a game. When you have a chance to get some sleep, I think you need to take care of your body. Watching the veterans, I learn from them and how they approach the game and how they take care of their bodies, especially in the training room.

"I was also surprised by the amount of time rookies have to get here early and put their work in. It's something that we want to do just to get better. We want to get here early and be the last ones out of the gym because as a younger guy, I dont get as many reps in at practice so I have to put more work in in the weight room and conditioning. I'll get here two hours before and leave an hour to two hours after. I like to get some shots up and conditioning on the floor. Usually we play two-on-two because the younger guys arent getting as many reps in practice.

"The atmosphere at the Garden threw me off guard. The fans love the Celtics and that was great to see and great to be a part of a team like that. They threw me out there for a preseason game introduction and that was pretty nerve-wracking, but I was happy to do that. It was great and I've even run into some fans who've said they were there for that and they told me what a good job I did. I told them they were just being nice (laughs)."

Semih Erden: Unlike Bradley and Harangody, Erden was drafted by the Celtics two years earlier in 2008. He returned to his native Turkey where he played pro ball and represented the country in the 2010 FIBA Championships. Before he came to Boston this summer, he enlisted the advice of a close friend to show him the ropes.

"I knew everything," he said. "I have my friends here - Hedo Turkoglu (Phoenix Suns) and Ersan Ilyasova (Milwaukee Bucks). So I asked Ersan and he explained what he does, so he helped me. I asked him about everything, travel, work outs, everything for basketball. It helped me a lot."

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

OFFSEASON

Michael Jordan: ‘I can no longer stay silent’ on racial issues

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Michael Jordan: ‘I can no longer stay silent’ on racial issues

By Dan Feldman, NBCSports.com Pro Basketball Talk

Michael Jordan might have never said “Republicans buy sneakers, too.”

But that quote has defined him politically.

Whether the perception has been fair or not, he’s clearly trying to change it.

Jordan in ESPN's The Undefeated:

As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers. I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.

I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late. I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent. We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers – who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all – are respected and supported.

Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family. I have the greatest respect for their sacrifice and service. I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine. I have decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change.

To support that effort, I am making contributions of $1 million each to two organizations, the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

You can read Jordan’s full statement here.

 

OFFSEASON

Durant leads U.S. to second exhibition rout, 106-57 over China

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Durant leads U.S. to second exhibition rout, 106-57 over China

LOS ANGELES - Just two games into the U.S. basketball team's pre-Olympic tour, coach Mike Krzyzewski already sees the start of something big.

Kevin Durant scored 19 points, Klay Thompson added 17 and the Americans rolled to a second straight blowout exhibition victory, 106-57 over China on Sunday night.

DeMar DeRozan scored 13 points in his hometown, and DeMarcus Cousins had 12 points and seven rebounds in the second stop on the five-city tour leading the Americans to Rio de Janeiro. The victory over an overmatched opponent was impressive, but Krzyzewski liked it more for the composed, cohesive manner in which the new teammates worked together.

"We should have won, but the way we won was excellent," Krzyzewski said. "We're really growing together as a group."

After opening their showcase tour by trouncing Argentina in Las Vegas on Friday night, the U.S. team posted another rout at a packed Staples Center. Krzyzewski is finding it difficult to disguise his early optimism, praising his team's work in their brief practice time together.

And while they're still learning their teammates' tendencies and solidifying player rotations, the U.S. team looked remarkably connected for long stretches against China, which has no current NBA players.

Durant noticed it, as did Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who kicked off the festivities by blocking a shot on China's first possession and throwing down an alley-oop dunk on the Americans' first possession.

"We've only been together a week, but it seems like we've been teammates for years," Jordan said.

Jordan scored 12 points and led a strong defensive effort with three blocks for the Americans, who held the Chinese to 30.9 percent shooting. Krzyzewski believes the American team will excel at defensive switching because of its abundance of versatile players.

"I think we're learning more about one another, and our defense was there pretty much the whole game," Krzyzewski said.

The Americans haven't lost a game since the 2006 world championships, winning 65 straight games. They're 47-1 in exhibitions since NBA stars took over the roster in 1992, going undefeated since 2004.

While LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Kawhi Leonard all declined the chance to play in Rio, the Americans who accepted the opportunity appear to be serious about winning without some of the nation's top stars.

"We're young, but we've got a bunch of seasoned pros," said Kyrie Irving, who had 10 points and four assists. "We've been on a lot of journeys, and we've crossed paths before, but now we're all coming together at the right time."

Anthony was the only holdover in the Americans' starting lineup from Las Vegas while Krzyzewski works on chemistry and coordination. He put Paul George in with the starters alongside Anthony, Jordan, Kyle Lowry and DeRozan, whose family watched from courtside.

Both teams had early shooting struggles, but the Americans took charge with impressive speed late in the first quarter.

Durant, one of the two returning American gold medalists from London, heard boos from the LA crowd during pregame introductions. He quickly found his outside stroke with 14 points and four assists in the first half, and Cousins overpowered the Chinese down low for 12 first-half points on the way to a 55-29 halftime lead.

The Chinese team's most recognizable name to North Americans is Yi Jianlian, the Milwaukee Bucks' choice with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2007 draft. He spent five seasons with four NBA teams before heading back to the Guangdong Southern Tigers.

Yi led the Chinese with 18 points. Zhou Qi, the 7-foot-2 center drafted by the Houston Rockets in the second round last month, scored two points on 1-for-6 shooting. Exciting guard Zhao Jiwei scored 14 points.

The teams meet again Tuesday in Oakland, where Durant will play in front of his new home fans for the first time since defecting from Oklahoma City to the Golden State Warriors earlier this month.

They'll also meet Aug. 6 in the opening game of Olympic competition in Brazil.