Getting to know 'Curly' Krstic


Getting to know 'Curly' Krstic

By JessicaCamerato

BOSTON - They call him Curly.

Thats one of the first things we learned about Nenad Krstic after he was traded to the Boston Celtics from the Oklahoma City Thunder last week.

Curly. Hmm . . .

After playing his first game at the TD Garden on Wednesday, Krstic shed light on the moniker and also shared two other things you should know about the Celtics big man.
I said, Kur-Lay
The nickname Curly has nothing to do with Krstics physical appearance. It doesnt have to do with a character on The Three Stooges, either. It all started with a mispronunciation by his now-assistant coach.

Its thanks to coach Lawrence Frank, he explained to He was my coach for four years in New Jersey. I didnt speak any English, and he texted me like, Do you have any nicknames you like to be called? I said, Krle pronounced kur-lay. Back home, its short for Krstic. Thats how we give nicknames. He couldnt say it, Krle, and he started saying, Curly, Curly, Curly. I dont really like calling me Curly, but I dont really care. I stopped caring when I told him so many times, Its not Curly, its Krle, but he couldnt say it for some reason. KG calls me Kris. He said hes not going to call me Curly because its something soft. (Pause, laughs) I like Curly too. I dont care.
Thumbs Up for Posting Up
Krstic has earned praise for his ability to spread the floor. At seven-feet tall, he has a mid-range jumper that poses challenges for the opposing team to defend. His favorite thing to do on the court, though, happens closer to the basket.

My favorite is posting up, having a good post up, he said. Thats something thats tough to do, and not a lot of players can post up and having a posting game. Im really working on that. When I have a good post up and score, I feel good about myself.

Theres Still No Place Like Home
It has been nine years since Krstic was drafted by the Nets in 2002. But even after all this time in the NBA, Krstic still misses his native Serbia.

Its my seventh season here but Im still homesick, said Krstic, who also played overseas. I like my country. I miss everything - I miss my friends, I miss my family, Serbian food. Its a lot of meat. My favorite is lamb, but prepared in a Serbian way. You put the whole lamb actually on a grill. Its five hours just turning around. You put beer on it and its great. I think its called roasted lamb, I dont know the name in English. In the summer time, thats my favorite.

Krstic scored 13 points in 21 minutes against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday. He is averaging 11 points and 5 rebounds in his first three games with the Celtics.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter athttp:twitter.comjcameratoNBA

Draymond Green fined $25,000, not suspended for groin kick


Draymond Green fined $25,000, not suspended for groin kick

NEW YORK - Draymond Green was fined $25,000 but not suspended by the NBA on Monday for kicking Oklahoma City center Steven Adams in the groin.

The league also upgraded the foul to a flagrant 2, which would have resulted in an automatic ejection had officials given it that ruling when it happened. That moved him closer to an automatic suspension for accumulation of flagrant foul points.

But Green will be on the court when the Warriors try to even the Western Conference finals at 2-2 on Tuesday at Oklahoma City.

Green was called for a flagrant 1 foul after he was fouled by Adams with 5:57 remaining in the second quarter and kicked his leg up into Adams' groin. Though the Thunder felt it was intentional, Green and Warriors coach Steve Kerr said they believed the flagrant would actually be rescinded by the league.

NBA Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Kiki VanDeWeghe disagreed.

"After a thorough investigation that included review of all available video angles and interviews with the players involved and the officials working the game, we have determined that Green's foul was unnecessary and excessive and warranted the upgrade and fine," VanDeWeghe said in a statement.

"During a game, players - at times - flail their legs in an attempt to draw a foul, but Green's actions in this case warranted an additional penalty."

The NBA determines a flagrant 1 foul to include "unnecessary contact." A flagrant 2 is defined as "unnecessary and excessive contact."

Green now has three flagrant foul points during the postseason. One more will force him to miss Golden State's next game.

Green was an All-Star and the runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year, but had a dismal game as Oklahoma City took a 2-1 lead. He was 1 for 9 from the field with six points and the Warriors were outscored by 43 points when he was on the court.

China's 7-foot-2 Zhou Qi an intriguing option for Celtics


China's 7-foot-2 Zhou Qi an intriguing option for Celtics

BOSTON -- With eight picks in next month’s NBA draft there’s a very good chance the Celtics will go the draft-and-stash route with a couple of international players, with the goal being for them to stay overseas and grow their game.

That makes China’s Zhou Qi (pronounced Joe Chee), who was in town last week for a workout with the Celtics, a legitimate target with one of Boston’s three, first-round picks.

Selecting Zhou with the No. 3 overall pick is not going to happen. And selecting a player to keep tucked away with the 16th pick is a bit of a stretch, too.

But taking Zhou at No. 23 is definitely something the Celtics will consider. Boston also has five second-round picks, but league executives contacted this weekend by anticipate he will be taken in the latter stages of the first round.

While little is known about Zhou in the United States, the Celtics have had him on their radar for quite some time.

“We’ve known about him for a couple of years,” said Austin Ainge, Boston’s director of player personnel. “He’s probably the third- or fourth-most recognized name in Chinese basketball.

Indeed, Zhou is trying to follow a path towards the NBA that was paved by Chinese big men Yao Ming and Yi Jianlian, who were both high lottery picks (Yao was the No. 1 overall pick for Houston in 2002 while Yi was selected with the sixth overall pick in 2007 by Milwaukee).

Zhou’s stock isn’t quite that high, but there’s no mistaking he's a player that several teams with first-round picks are intrigued by.

At 7-2 1/4, Zhou’s wingspan at the NBA combine earlier this month measured an astounding 7-7 3/4. The only other player whose wingspan was greater than that at the NBA combine was Utah’s Rudy Gobert (7-8 1/2). Zhou has a standing reach of 9-4 1/2 and can touch the rim on his tippy toes.

However, Zhao’s lithe frame (he weighs 218.2 pounds, which is a little more than 10 pounds more than he weighed a few months ago) is indeed reason for some teams to give serious thought to keeping him overseas to fill out his frame for another year or two.

Despite being so skinny, teams have raved about his surprisingly nimble movement as well as his skill level.

During the combine earlier this month in Chicago, Zhou showed some his deft shooting touch by draining 14-of-25 3s taken from five different points on the floor. In addition to his scoring, Zhou is a much more athletic big man that most might expect, which can be seen in his maximum vertical leap measuring out at 31 1/2 inches.

Think about this:

The guy can practically touch the rim without jumping, and then you top that off with a vertical leap of more than 30 inches?

Boston was just one of a handful of teams the 20-year-old decided to work out for leading up to next month’s draft. 

“It was great to have him in,” Ainge said.

The Suns were another. During his workout with Phoenix, the Suns pitted him against Eric Jacobsen of Arizona State. They were looking to see how Zhou handled himself against Jacobsen, who is a 6-10, 240-pound center.

“Usually my hand is up by the ball, but I was getting up to his face and the ball was, way up there,” Jacobsen told the Arizona Republic.

Suns assistant general manager Pat Connelly was eager to get an up-close look at how Zhou handled himself against a strong center like Jacobsen.

“You can see that stuff on tape, but it’s always good to see a guy come in and get an appreciation for how a guy takes the contact,” Connelly told the Republic. “Which will be important for him going forward. He did well.”