Ortiz, Allen work two jobs: Athlete and father


Ortiz, Allen work two jobs: Athlete and father

By JessicaCamerato
CSNNE.com Follow@JCameratoNBA
This weekend millions of men will celebrate Fathers Day with their families. Among them are two of Bostons biggest sports stars, Ray Allen and David Ortiz. Like many professional athletes, a major part of their careers is finding a balance between their roles as players and dads.

Allen, a father of four, is about to embark on a new stage in his teenage daughters life. Meanwhile Ortiz, a father of three, has found a unique way to spend extra time with his young son. They talked about these specials points in their childrens lives with CSNNE.com.

David and DAngelo Ortiz

DAngelo Ortiz made a beeline across the Boston Red Sox clubhouse, exuding curiosity and excitement with a baseball in hand. He reached his fathers locker and asked if he knew how to grip a curveball. Red Sox slugger David Ortiz reached out his hand, practically enveloping his sons, as he took the baseball to demonstrate. The 6-year-old watched attentively, soaking it all in while Ortiz carefully explained.

The pack of reporters huddled around Ortizs locker would have to wait a few more minutes for a postgame interview. In that moment, Ortizs role as a father took precedence over answering any questions about home runs and box scores.

Like many athletes with children, Ortiz tries to spend as much time with his family as he can before hitting the road for games. As a solution, DAngelo has been accompanying him to Fenway Park since he was a toddler. Over the years he has become a mainstay in the Red Sox clubhouse, often sporting a pint-size number 34 uniform.

Ortiz, who also has 10- and 14-year-old daughters, wants to be around DAngelo whenever possible during this irreplaceable time in his life.

Were always traveling and I pretty much spend a lot of time away from him, so I dont want to miss anything. Kids do a lot of funny, crazy things, said Ortiz. This is an age that you definitely want to watch them because they grow so fast and next thing you know, theyre grown up. I think when you are between the age of 1 and 5, that should be a longer period of time because kids do so many funny things that are enjoyable.

In addition to having him around in Boston, Ortiz has been able to spend time with his children away from home as well. Ortizs favorite moment with DAngelo took place when he brought him to the 2007 All-Star Game in San Francisco. Ortiz attended the Home Run Derby -- and DAngelo stole the show.

This guy had been swinging since, I would say, he was in his mamas belly, Ortiz prefaced. Were in the middle of the Home Run Derby and once the guy that was hitting walked away to stop hitting, this guy walked up to the plate to swing the bat, out of nowhere. The whole crowd went crazy. Those are the little things that you want to see happening over and over and over. This guy, 3 years old, felt proud walking to the plate like it was his turn.

Ortizs time spent with his son isnt all about fun and games, though. There are still rules to follow. He believes it is important to emphasize manners and discipline to his children.

Hes a good kid. Hes very humble. He behaves himself well and when he comes to the clubhouse, everybody wants a piece of him, Ortiz said. I think thats a relationship thats going to be there forever. You want to teach them the best so they always behave and follow the example.

Ortiz would be thrilled if DAngelo followed in his footsteps on the field.

Oh, he can hit. He can definitely hit, Ortiz said. The other day I went to his Little League game and he made a good play at third base and then he hit a home run. Me and Kevin Youkilis were there and he came out off the field and all he talked about was the play that he made.

I ever see him play in the Big Leagues, its going to bring a lot of memories.

Ray and Tierra Allen

Life has been just as much about basketball as fatherhood during Ray Allens 15-year career. Allens daughter, Tierra, was born before he entered the NBA and has been able to share all the memories that he has compiled over the years -- the All-Star Games, the NBA title, and all 2,612 three-pointers.

Now Allen is looking forward to sharing in a new chapter of his daughters life -- college athletics.

Tierra, 18, graduated from Wellesley (MA) High School this spring and will play volleyball at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut in the fall, just over 50 miles away from Allen's alma mater, the University of Connecticut.

Allen expects his daughter to take the same determined approach he takes to basketball.

She now has to go and work and be one of the best players that they have, he said.

Tierra lived with her father during his time with the Seattle SuperSonics. It was important to Allen that, regardless of her dads accomplishments, she understood the importance of education and work ethic as she played both volleyball and basketball (unlike her father, Tierra is a forward). In the Allen household, succeeding in school was held with the same regard as winning a game.

The school she was in in Seattle was 99-percent graduation rate, Allen said. It was an all-girls school and the list of the schools these girls were going to, any parent would have been like, Let me send my child there. I knew she was going to go to college, and that was the biggest thing wanting her to be around kids that wanted to go to college and had great ambition.

After Allen was traded to the Boston Celtics in 2007, Tierra returned to South Carolina to live with her mother. While Allen was fighting for another title, his daughter was collecting her own accolades as she earned regional volleyball player of the year honors.

Tierra moved to Wellesley last summer to live with Allen during her senior year of high school. She made her mark nearly as quickly as her father did in Boston -- she was named to the Bay State Conference All-Star Teams in both sports.

When it came time to choosing a college, the selection process was just one of the aspects of being a father (he also has three younger sons who regularly attend games) that helps keep Allen grounded.

Being a dad helps, he said. You dont stress out too much around here because youve got business to handle when you leave. You stay honest because you always know you have to be accountable, not just to these people here but to the people I go to at home.

As Tierra begins her collegiate career, Allen, who played three years of college basketball, knows firsthand about the hard work and obstacles she will face.

Im very excited and interested at the same time, he said. I know shes never worked hard like shes about to work hard. And you cant give me excuses. I told her, Theres going to be that moment where youre going to call me and say you dont like it here. And when I find out the reasons, its going to be because . . . the coach is on your butt every single day. And I was there. I was there. But I had too much pride to call home and tell somebody I cant hack it because I was going to make it work.

It wont be easy, but as Allen has proved his entire career, rewards arent given to those who take the easy way out.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCamerato

Kevin Durant's future a mystery as OKC collapses


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.

Curry's 36 lift Warriors past Thunder, back to Finals


Curry's 36 lift Warriors past Thunder, back to 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.

2017 NBA title odds are out, Celtics rank second in the East


2017 NBA title odds are out, Celtics rank second in the East

Teams are still fighting for the 2016 Larry O’Brien Trophy, but the 2017 NBA title opening odds have already been released by the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. The Warriors unsurprisingly come in as heavy 3/2 favorites. The Cavaliers already punched their ticket for this year’s finals and are second, with 5/2 odds. Then there’s the Spurs, Thunder, and Clippers, as you’d expect rounding off the top five.

But then there’s the Celtics with 20/1 odds -- sixth-best in the NBA -- to raise Banner 18.

With eight draft picks and a chunk of cap space, the Celtics are in a position to capitalize on any opportunities that may come their way. There is a lot of uncertainty at this point in the NBA calendar, so Vegas must be hedging their bets on the Celtics making a leap towards contender status.

Celtics fans will also be happy to know the Nets have 500/1 odds to hoist the trophy next season, which ranks last of all teams. The Celtics have the right to swap first-round picks with the Nets in the 2017 draft, which could give them another swing at a superstar prospect.

For full draft profiles of players the Celtics could draft this year, click here.

Team Opening odds
Golden State Warriors 3/2
Cleveland Cavaliers 5/2
San Antonio Spurs 6/1
Oklahoma City Thunder 8/1
Los Angeles Clippers 16/1
Boston Celtics 20/1
Toronto Raptors 25/1
Miami Heat 25/1
Chicago Bulls 40/1
Atlanta Hawks 40/1
Minnesota Timberwolves 60/1
New Orleans Pelicans 60/1
Houston Rockets 60/1
Portland Trail Blazers 60/1
Memphis Grizzlies 80/1
Utah Jazz 80/1
Charlotte Hornets 80/1
Washington Wizards 100/1
Indiana Pacers 100/1
Dallas Mavericks 100/1
Milwaukee Bucks 100/1
Detroit Pistons 100/1
Los Angeles Lakers 100/1
New York Knicks 100/1
Sacramento Kings 100/1
Philadelphia 76ers 100/1
Orlando Magic 100/1
Denver Nuggets 100/1
Phoenix Suns 300/1
Brooklyn Nets 500/1