NBA players reject owners deal

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NBA players reject owners deal

NEW YORK The NBA Players Union has notified the NBA that they will be filing a disclaimer of interest, the kind of legal move that throws yet another monkey-wrench into the hopes of having an NBA season.

"The Collective Bargaining process has completely broken down," said Billy Hunter, executive director of the NBAPA which will become defunct as soon as the court filings for the disclaimer of interest are completed, possibly as early as today.

"As a result, we served a notice of disclaimer on Commissioner (David) Stern and the NBA. "We plan to disseminate that to the 30 team owners, so they will know the action that was taken today."

Dozens of players were in attendance, including Celtics forward Jeff Green and C's guard Rajon Rondo who is the alternate player representative for the C's.

"This was not something we rushed into," Rondo said. "And guys felt strong about our opinion and the decision we made."

He added, "it's a lot at stake, it's a lot of risks. But at the end of the day, we have to try and make the right decision for us as a whole."

The move to file a disclaimer of interest as opposed to decertifying the union was done to expedite the court process, which the players believe could potentially salvage a significant portion of the 2011-2012 NBA season.

It allows the players to immediately file anti-trust lawsuits against the NBA, and not have to wait for the 45-60 window that would be in place if they were to decertify.

The players will be represented by union counsel Jeffrey Kessler, as well as David Boies who was part of the NFL's legal team in the anti-trust suit filed against them by the players, one that included Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on the list of plaintiffs. Kessler and Boies declined to comment on which players would be named as plaintiffs in the anti-trust suit. Typically the plaintiffs in such suits are among the more high-profile players, so the most likely Celtics to be named are Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

While there's still a chance that the NBA and the attorneys now representing the players can work out a deal, there isn't expected to be much talk in the coming weeks about a new deal. Instead, the focus will be on the court proceedings.

NBA commissioner David Stern held no punches back in discussing his disappointment with the NBAPA's decision.

"We were very close, and the players decided to blow it up," Stern told ESPN.

Stern added, "Billy Hunter has decided to put the season in jeopardy and deprive his union members of an enormous payday."

WATCH: Celtics vs. Magic

WATCH: Celtics vs. Magic

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Celtics-Magic preview: Orlando's poor offense gives C's chance to bounce back

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Celtics-Magic preview: Orlando's poor offense gives C's chance to bounce back

Talk about your basketball extremes.

After losing a 107-106 heartbreaker to Houston and their high-powered offense on Monday, the Boston Celtics will be in for a very different -- and less successful -- foe tonight in the Orlando Magic.

The Magic beat Washington 124-116 on Tuesday night despite John Wall’s 52-point effort, but have been one of the NBA’s most offensively challenged teams this season.

Orlando ranks near the bottom in scoring (29th, 94.6 points per game), field goal percentage (28th, .426) and Pace (24th, 96.71) this season.

But Frank Vogel’s crew has been a defensive force thus far in the East even if their record might suggest otherwise.

They rank among the league’s best in several defensive categories such as scoring defense (4th, 98.0 points per game allowed); opponent 3-point percentage (3rd, 33.0 percent), opponent 3-point attempts (4th, 23.6) in addition to allowing a league-low 8.0 made 3's per game.

That will be a stark contrast from the let-it-fly-all-night style Boston had to contend with against the high-scoring Rockets on Monday.

But this set of games is exactly why Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made of point of trying to put together a roster that was heavy on athleticism and versatility both in the frontcourt as well as on the perimeter.

Against Houston, Tyler Zeller recorded his first DNP-CD (Did not play -- coaches decision) of the season which made sense considering Houston basically plays void of a traditional center.

Orlando, that’s a different story.

Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo and Nikola Vucevic now coming off the bench form a physical triumvirate of big men that can cause lots of problems for a Celtics team that will look to attack the paint often.

When it comes to scoring in the restricted area, the Magic allow opponents to shoot 57.6 percent which ranks seventh in the league. They rank highly when it comes to defending mid-range shots (5-10th, 38.3 percent), corner 3's (6th, 34.5 percent) and above-the-break 3's (8th, 33.8 percent) as well.

And while they have had their issues offensively this season, their recent run of success has been in part aided by a much-improved offensive showing. In their last five games, they are shooting 48.5 percent from the field which ranks fifth in the NBA in that span. For the season, the Magic rank 28th while connecting on 42.6 percent of their shots.

Orlando’s improved shooting with a defense that’s stingy as ever, will make this a tough game for Boston to come away with a victory.

Just as the Magic seek to continue their successful ways, the Celtics come into this game with something to prove as well.

While the missed lay-ups by Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas in the final minute of Monday’s 107-106 loss certainly were factors in the game’s outcome, there were a series of miscommunications earlier in the quarter that fueled Houston’s late surge.

Following the game, Isaiah Thomas pointed out how he called out a play that Jonas Jerebko interpreted as another play the Celtics called.

The miscommunication led to a turnover and subsequent lay-up which in hindsight looms huge considering the margin of victory was just one point.

“The two play calls sound alike,” Thomas told reporters afterwards. “In the heat of battle, I have to do a better job of making sure everybody knows what play we’re running. He (Jerebko) handed the ball back to me when the play wasn’t to hand the ball back to me. That was one of the turnovers that was the key.

Thomas added, “It’s not his fault. As a group, as a point guard, I have to do a better job of letting my guys know what play we’re running. Those little things, especially on the road, those make you lose games. But that wasn’t the play that made us lose. I’m not putting this on Jonas at all.”

Indeed, this team’s success as well as their struggles are the collective efforts of all their core players, Thomas included.

And for them to get back on track, it won’t be one or two players that will make it happen.

It’ll be a team effort, the kind that will allow Boston to find success against different teams no matter how extremely different their styles of play may be.