Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“As a group, obviously, we want to win these games, but for our group, it’s more about making sure we play well and we keep improving throughout the season,” said Al Horford, who finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds. “This is kind of like — everything we’re preparing for (is) the postseason. I felt like we took a step forward today even though we lost.”
It’s kind of odd to see so much positivity after a loss but the Celtics played a hell of a game and nearly beat the Warriors at Oracle… which is no easy feat. They forced Kevin Durant into an inefficient shooting night and it took a supernova performance from Steph Curry for Golden State to squeak out the win.
This game was mostly good from start to finish. It was one of those “it’s a shame someone has to lose this game” games. It’s a game that has people wanting more… and thinking it’s possible.
In a season where the Warriors have made the incredible seem mundane and effort has been a last resort, Saturday’s matchup against the Celtics was a wonderful departure.
It felt different. It felt important. If I didn’t know any better, I would have guessed that summer was here and the playoffs had started early.
[…] man, Saturday’s game was fun.
And there’s no reason to think that would change if these two teams met again for in June.
The best part of this scenario is that the Celtics would have two significant pieces available in June that they don’t have now.
Marcus Smart, providing he doesn’t punch more glass, will be around to hound Curry down the stretch.
And Gordon Hayward would have to be ready to play basketball by June. At the time of the injury, Orthopedists said a return at the end of the season was possible. I’ve been saying they push that return past the first round of the playoffs, which the Celtics should theoretically win based on the very good chance they’ll be a top two seed. From there, I firmly believe Hayward could be ready to contribute bench minutes in a Conference Semifinal or Finals series… which would make him an option if Boston and Golden State meet again.
Wouldn’t THAT be fun. Full strength Boston vs. full strength Golden State… in year ONE of this Ainge master plan?
Tatum is still a rookie who look every bit of his age (did you know he was only 19?). Jaylen Brown seems to love playing the Warriors and is growing into a two-way player who could make life difficult for Kevin Durant.
Maybe they don’t get to the NBA Finals this year. If they do, the Warriors would be the easy favorites. But suddenly a new rivalry could be budding between these two teams. Warriors-Celtics could be the biggest Marquee matchup in the NBA for the next few years.
Yeah, maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. It’s hard to shake the irrational exuberance of such a fun game, even if it was the Celtics fifth loss in six games.
But Rocky lost his first fight with Apollo Creed and we all loved him for it. The Celtics are, sort of, Rocky Balboa (I know I probably shouldn’t be making that comparison as the Patriots are preparing to play Philadelphia in the Super Bowl, but I’m in too deep now). They’re really, really good but it feels like they shouldn’t be. They’ve shown they can hang with the elite teams and, even though they might lose should they get a shot at the championship, they’re going to be throwing some wild haymakers along the way and it’s going to be fun as hell.
If you really want to have fun with this, play this video and go back to the top and re-read the post:
DON’T YOU WANT TO GO PUNCH SIDES OF BEEF IN A MEAT LOCKER NOW????
To be fair, I could be reading dog food ingredients to this song and I’d want to strap a yolk to my shoulders and climb a Russian mountain.
Anyway, last night was fun! If the Celtics play like that more often they’ll lock up that top seed without any issues.
All your Celtics-Warriors links:
MassLive: Boston Celtics analysis: Stephen Curry-Kyrie Irving duel draws attention, but Boston’s defense leaves loss with high marks too | Boston Celtics news: Kyrie Irving considers it B.S. that Klay Thompson has never made All-Defensive team | Boston Celtics vs. Golden State Warriors: 10 things we learned Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry & more
BSJ: Celtics show they deserve trade help after tough battle with Warriors | Video: Brad Stevens, Jaylen Brown react to loss to Warriors | BSJ Game Report: Warriors 109, Celtics 105 — Curry outduels Kyrie
Celtics.com: Kyrie vs. Steph is NBA’s Most Entertaining Matchup
Page 2: Smart could be disciplined
According to league sources briefed on the situation, Smart’s story checks out. There was a broken picture frame in the bathroom in his Beverly Hills hotel room, and glass was indeed found in his hand, requiring stitches. The Celtic guard’s anger was apparently raised over pictures posted by a female acquaintance on social media — pictures that have since been deleted.
Smart received stitches in Los Angeles and returned to Boston, where doctors examined him and determined he could miss approximately two weeks. According to one NBA source, it is within the Celtics’ right to levy punishment, possibly matching a suspension to the number of games Smart is forced to miss with the injury.
Smart did something, well, not smart here and the question now is will the Celtics see the embarrassment of this situation as enough of a penalty or will they levy any additional punishment?
I definitely don’t think the Celtics will ding him for two weeks on top of the two he’ll be out with the injury. I do think they’ll talk this out with him and give him a game or two suspension because he deserves one.
Marcus’ emotions tend to get the best of him, and he needs to make a decision on how to deal with them. Maybe those emotions serve him well on the court (most of the time), they cloud his judgement too much, too often.
That’s what emotions do to everyone. Emotion trumps reason all to often and usually not for the better. For a person like Smart, there will come a moment where he’ll have to face the fact that he needs to get this under control.
Maybe this is his moment. I hope it is. Because if it isn’t, something like this is bound to happen again.
“It shouldn’t have got to where it got to,” Pierce said. “It was fun at first talking about it on live TV, but then it went on to become something else.”
[…] “It does surprise me how people will pick up on stuff and run with it,” Pierce said. “That’s been different for me. Man, the next thing you know everyone has a hot take on it. I’m very surprised by that.”
[…] “I don’t have nothing against Isaiah,” he said. “But my thing was that you only get this opportunity once. He can have his day, just like I’m going to have my day. I thought he had his opportunity, and he declined it. I’m just honored that they would do this for me — I wouldn’t dream of calling them and saying push me back to another time. Whenever you want to do it, I’ll do it.”
Those are some select quotes… definitely follow the link for more context. It starts as a piece on Pierce enjoying his time on TV but it quickly goes to the Thomas stuff.
Frankly, I think Isaiah’s got bigger things to worry about in Cleveland.
I’m happy to see the Cavs seemingly imploding and I’ll always believe Isaiah’s having a tough time with how little effort the Cavs put in during the regular season. He’s getting crushed in Cleveland by writers looking for headlines and fans who haven’t paid attention.
The people who do pay attention are a little more patient, but luckily for Boston there seem to be few of those around there.
The rest of the links: