Boston Celtics

Kevin Durant's movie opens this Friday

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Kevin Durant's movie opens this Friday

From Comcast SportsNet
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Kevin Durant is going from representing the red, white and blue to walking the red carpet. Adding to a resume that already includes being a three-time NBA scoring champion and Olympic gold medalist, Durant was the star as his movie "Thunderstruck" premiered in Oklahoma City's Bricktown entertainment district Sunday night. It opens in other theaters Friday. Durant strolled down a red carpet in a black T-shirt, grey vest, white jeans and black sneakers to answer questions about his acting skills instead of the deadly shooting ability that propelled the Oklahoma City Thunder to the NBA Finals last season. "Of course, people are going to look at it a little different because I'm a basketball player and I'm doing something different," Durant said. "A basketball player is what I do. It's not really just solely who I am. I like to do other things. "It's all about conquering your fears. That's one thing I did with this, stepping in front of a camera and people yelling Action!' It's not the norm for me. I did something outside the box, and I'm glad it turned out pretty well." Durant was getting his first chance to see the completed project, which was shot in Louisiana during the NBA lockout last year and then during the season in Oklahoma City in January. It also features Nickelodeon star Taylor Gray, Brandon T. Jackson from "Big Momma's House" and Jim Belushi. Gray plays a Thunder fan whose lack of basketball ability is magically switched with Durant's All-Star skill set. "I'm just blessed. I'm just blessed to be alive, first of all. Blessed to be here, to have this opportunity," Durant said. "Not too many people can say they starred in a movie as a basketball player, with a lot of different things they're juggling, but I'm glad I did it." The folks at Warner Bros. might not have been able to pick a better time to put out a movie starring Durant, exactly one week after he won Olympic gold as Team USA's leading scorer and a little over a month after he played against LeBron James' Miami Heat for the NBA title. The family comedy follows in the footsteps of other movies with NBA superstars as the headliners, including "Space Jam" starring Michael Jordan and "Kazaam" with Shaquille O'Neal. "When a guy goes over and hugs his mom after the game, that's a guy that people are going to like and that's what you need in a movie," director John Whitesell said. "You need a guy, a star, who people are going to want to relate to or are going to care about. "You want people to care that Kevin can't shoot. If LeBron can't shoot, I don't care. I'm happy. But if Kevin can't shoot, I'm sad." Whitesell said Durant might have been caught off guard by the days he had to be on set and in front of the camera for 12 hours, when his previous experience was with much briefer commercial shoots. The first day, he had Durant bounce a ball in a gym and worked toward getting him comfortable in his own shoes -- because he plays himself in the movie. "I wanted to create an atmosphere for him that he felt comfortable and confident in, so that he could grow into it as we went, and I think that went really well," said Whitesell, who remembered his only other experience filming athletes coming on a cameo appearance by Patrick Ewing and Mark Jackson on the short-lived NBC show "Tattingers." Gray said he played varsity basketball as a junior in high school, but then left to start shooting TV shows. He walks away with an unforgettable memory from playing one-on-one against Durant. "It's like, to this day, my biggest accomplishment in basketball. He was really guarding me and had blocked like the last three shots and I was just running around throwing up hook shots and anything I could, and one fell in," said Gray, who hopes the film will help him land roles in future movies. Durant has said he doesn't see himself doing any more feature-length movies because of the demands on his time. Whitesell put it this way: He doesn't think Durant will do another movie at least until he wins a championship. "This is a guy who everybody wants a piece of him right now and he's got a lot on his plate. But I know from when we were there what he cares about. He cares about basketball," Whitesell said. "He wants to win a championship, he wants to do the best he can possibly do at that and he's just blossoming." Already, Durant has accomplished one goal by winning gold in London alongside James, Kobe Bryant and other NBA stars. He said he didn't get much ribbing about being a movie star, although a couple of his Olympic teammates did ask about it. He planned to send a text message to them all after getting to see the movie for the first time. "Hopefully they'll take their kids to see it, and hopefully they enjoy it," Durant said. "Those guys, man, they're unbelievable. They support everything. Those guys are really good teammates. I was blessed that I got that opportunity to be around such great players but such humble guys as well."

No longer the little team that could, Celtics may need time to jell

No longer the little team that could, Celtics may need time to jell

Fireworks have been ablaze in the NBA all summer long, with the latest electrifying salvo being tossed by the Boston Celtics in trading for Kyrie Irving from Cleveland in exchange for a package of playerscentered around Isaiah Thomas and a first-round pick centered around Isaiah Thomas. Without question the Celtics were among the biggest winners this offseason as they went about transforming their roster significantly despite having the best record in the East while advancing to the conference finals. But good wasn’t good enough, a similar mantra by a number of teams in the NBA. We’ll take a look at all 30 teams in the next 30 days as they prepare for the 2017-2018 regular season, which is when the real fireworks begin!

BOSTON – Expectations for the Celtics this season are the highest they've been in the Brad Stevens Era.
 
The past couple of years, Stevens’ crew was seen as a scrappy bunch.
 
That all changed Tuesday night when the Celtics pulled off a blockbuster trade in acquiring Kyrie Irving from Cleveland for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the rights to the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

MORE ON THE KYRIE IRVING BLOCKBUSTER:

 
Acquiring the four-time All-Star would have made this offseason one of the best ever for the Celtics. But prior to landing the 25-year-old point guard, Boston was able to sign Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $127.8 million contract after he spent his first seven seasons in the NBA with the Utah Jazz.
 
The new guys join a Celtics team that returns just four starters, a group led by Al Horford, who stands as the lone returning starter from last season’s squad which finished with the best record in the East (53-29) while advancing to the Eastern Conference finals before losing in five games to Cleveland.
 
Adding a pair of All-Stars to the mix will certainly benefit the Celtics for this upcoming season. But for their continued growth, they will also need to get more from their youngsters.
 
Second-year forward Jaylen Brown had a strong offseason and is poised to build off of a rookie season in which he was named to the All-Rookie second team. Boston will also look to get quality play from rookie Jayson Tatum who was selected by Boston with the third overall pick in the NBA draft.  
 
For Boston, the biggest concern has to be chemistry.
 
There’s no question there’s more talent on this roster from top to bottom.
 
But with this being the first go-around for most of the players, it remains to be seen just how long it will take for all of the core players to get on the same page and find success.
 
That challenge won’t be easy, especially with the Celtics opening with seven of their first 11 games on the road.

Even with all the new faces and a challenging schedule out the gates, that won’t diminish the heightened level of expectations for a team that will surely have a bull’s-eye on its back all season for a journey that should result in yet another deep playoff run.
 
Key free agent/trade additions: Kyrie Irving (from Cleveland); Gordon Hayward (from Utah); Aron Baynes (from Detroit); Marcus Morris (from Detroit).
 
Key losses:
Avery Bradley (traded to Detroit); Amir Johnson (Philadelphia); Jonas Jerebko (Utah).
 
Rookies of note:
Jayson Tatum; Semi Ojeleye.
 
Expectations:
60-22 (First in the Atlantic Division, first in the East)

CSNNE SCHEDULE

BST PODCAST: What grade would you give the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving?

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BST PODCAST: What grade would you give the Celtics trade for Kyrie Irving?

0:41 - What grade would you give the Celtics for their trade for Kyrie Irving? Michael Holley, Kayce Smith, Tom Curran, break it down and give their grades.

4:32 - Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakley discuss how Kyrie Irving will fit in the Celtics system and how Brad Stevens will handle the roster with new egos.

8:50 - We take a look back at the Pierce and Garnett trade to the Nets that landed the Celtics multiple 1st round picks. Are you pleased with how the Celtics used those picks? Is Danny Ainge a Hall of Fame executive? Michael Holley, A. Sherrod Blakely, and Tom Giles discuss.

14:30 - Our BST crew talk about the Red Sox getting the win over the Indians, Eduardo Nunez being hit intentionally by Corey Kluber, and if Chris Sale will retaliate.