Tag: NBA News

Celtics Show no Fight in Blowout to Toronto

With a month and a half left in the regular season the Boston Celtics continue to sit in the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, they’ve dropped three straight and lost five out of their last 10 games. Last night was no different, the Toronto Raptors blew Boston out of their home court 118-95, at one point the Raptors were in complete control up 30.

The season has been repetitive up to this point, where the team wins a couple of games in a row and looks like they finally turned the corner on their inconsistent play. Instead of turning the page Boston somehow returns to their old ways and go on a losing streak, where it seems that the players don’t like each other.

Who do we Blame for the Celtics season?

We can point the finger at Brad Stevens for not switching up the lineups when the team goes through these losing moments, we can blame Kyrie Irving for his lack of leadership or we can point at Terry Rozier for his awful play off the bench. Regardless of whose to blame, this Celtics team with so much depth should not be in this position.

Some of it could be the injury to back-up center, Aron Baynes, who’s been sidelined due to a foot contusion. From late December until mid-January Baynes missed 13 games because of a fractured hand injury, he appeared in just nine games before going down again. With Baynes our, the Celtics lack a true big man off the bench once Al Horford takes a breather. Daniel Theis, Guerschon Yabusele and banged up Robert Williams get exposed inside against the opposing big men.

Toronto’s big men of Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam were just to much to handle for Boston’s undersized bigs. Gasol finished with five points, five rebound and eight assists, Ibaka had 14 points and Siakam killed Boston with 25 points on 10-of-16 shooting and eight rebounds.

Irving Confident in Team heading into the Postseason

Irving made headlines on Sunday after the Celtics loss to the Chicago Bulls where he said he doesn’t believe anyone can beat Boston four out of seven games. “Like I said, I don’t get frustrated about this stuff anymore. It’s just part of the regular season. In the playoffs, when we can plan for a team, prepare for a team, I still don’t see anybody beating us in seven games,” said Irving.

Irving believes that once the playoffs comes around the Celtics will be a whole different team then what they’re showing. “No, we’ll be fine,” Irving then added, “Because I’m here.” He of all players has the right to be this confident based on his history of coming up big when the pressure is on. Irving hit one of the most clutch shots in Finals history against the Golden State Warriors in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, which secured the Cleveland Cavaliers first championship.

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Nike Blamed For Zion Williamson’s Injury

In what might be the most bizarre moment of the year, Duke star Zion Williamson suffered a leg injury after blowing out his sneakers on Wednesday’s night game vs North Carolina.

At the start of the game around 19:30 in the first half, Zion Williamson came off a handoff play. As he was driving to the basket, he did a half spin move and collapsed. Zion blew out his sneakers and suffered a mild knee sprain leaving him out the rest of the game.

The Blue Devils went on to lose against North Carolina 88 -72, R.J. Barrett took on the scoring load ending the game with 33 points and 13 rebounds in the loss.

Nike is hoping to have an investigation on the incident and has issued a statement on Zion’s injury and shoe blowing out:

“We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery. The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance. While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue.”

Nike’s stock has started to drop since the accident and they are being viewed in a negative way.

One of the more notable things about Zion is his size, at 6’7 284lbs he is a human truck. With his crazy athleticism and force exerted on that play, maybe the sneaker was not to blame for his injury.

It should be noted, that this injury could be a combination of both poor manufacturing of the footwear as well as the force Zion exerted on the sneaker.

Furthermore, this injury sparked a conversation on if Zion should sit out the rest of the season or play. Zion is projected to go #1 in the NBA Draft in June. This injury has raised concerns of if this might affect his draft stock.

Zion has gained the support from Lebron James and former President Barack Obama for a speedy recovery.

Boston Celtics vs Milwaukee Bucks Face Off For An Eastern Conference Heavy-Weight Match-Up

With the All-Star break now behind us the race for playoff positioning has begun. Teams in the playoff picture are heading into the final stretch with a winning mentality as the last month and a half of the regular season begins. It starts tonight as two of the favorites to make it out of the East in the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics face-off.

The Bucks currently hold the best record in the league at 43-14, while the Celtics are tied at the fourth seed with Philadelphia at 37-21.

Nikola Mirotic make Bucks debut

Head coach Mike Budenholzer and his coaching stuff get to unveil their newest toy in Nikola Mirotic tonight. Mirotic will take the court for the first time as a member of the Bucks after being traded by the New Orleans Pelicans before the trade deadline.

The Bucks have played in four games between the trade deadline and before the All-Star break, but Mirotic has been dealing with a calf injury that has kept him sidelined. He’s appeared in 32 games this season and is averaging 16.7 points per game (ppg) and 8.3 rebounds per game (rpg). MVP candidate, Giannis Antentkounmpo will have more help as the Bucks look to secure the number one seed in the East heading into the postseason.

Mirotic is an added bonus for Milwaukee, he’ll be able to spread the floor while Antentokounmpo draws in defenders inside the paint, which will free up shooters like Mirotic, Brook Lopez and Malcom Brogdon.

Jayson Tatum Predicts Boston to go all the way

After winning the Skills Challenge during All-Star weekend, second year player Jayson Tatum made an eye popping statement as to what he believes the future has in store for Boston.

“We’re going to win the Finals,” Tatum told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols. “February 16, mark it Jayson Tatum said we’re going to win the Finals this year.”

Tatum and the Celtics have a lot of work to do to get to that point as Milwaukee, Toronto and Philadelphia have added more weapons to their roster before the trade deadline.

Before the season started the talk around the league was Boston’s depth once Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward returned. Boston has about nine starting caliber players on their team, which was the main reason why many picked Boston to stream-roll through the Eastern Conference. But now it seems that the Bucks, the Toronto Raptors and the Philadelphia 76ers have caught up, if not surpassed the Celtics.

The Raptors added Marc Gasol from Memphis and the Sixers added Tobias Harris from the Clippers. But as anonymous scout said about the Celtics it will all come down to consistently and chemistry if Boston hopes to continue playing in June.

“This team can win the East or get beat in the first round. They have great talent but sometimes they have no chemistry,” said an anonymous scout.

Ja Morant And The Phoenix Suns Are A Match Made In Heaven

The Phoenix Suns have been abysmal halfway through the NBA season. They rank dead last in the Western Conference with an 11-48 record.

The young Suns are still learning how to win as a team. With the core of Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker, the Suns should be a competitive team in the next couple of years. Unfortunately, they are still missing some pieces to turn them into a championship contending team.

With their projected top 5 pick in the upcoming draft, the Suns should do anything by any means necessary to acquire Ja Morant, the Murray State point guard that is dominating college basketball.

At 6’3, 175 pounds, Ja Morant is going to be the next promising young point guard in the NBA.

Morant is a physically gifted, and all around polished player. His playmaking ability, athleticism along with his ability to create his own offense will complement Devin Booker in the backcourt and make scoring at the basket easier for Deandre Ayton.

The Suns have been looking for a point guard to help lead the team to championship contention ever since the departure of Steve Nash. The Suns need a dynamic point guard, someone who is going to score the basketball and be a playmaker.

At one point, the Suns had 3 point guards on the team that was all-star caliber players in Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas but the Suns eventually traded these players away. This created a hole at the point guard spot that they have been trying to fill ever since.

Ja Morant is everything they need in a young point guard to complete their core. Ja has soared up the draft boards this year and is leading a lower tier school in Murray State to a 20-4 record. Morant is heavily compared to the likes of De’Aaron Fox and Russell Westbrook.

With a playmaker being their biggest need, it just so happens that the best playmaker in this draft, Ja Morant, may fall into their laps. A Morant-Booker-Ayton duo would be an interesting big 3 to watch for years.

King James Can’t Save The City Of Angels Alone

The Los Angeles Lakers easily were the biggest losers coming out of the NBA trade deadline after striking out of Anthony Davis. With this loss, the Lakers face the possibility of missing the playoffs.

The Lakers are at a crossroads at the halfway mark of the NBA season. They struck out on landing Anthony Davis and the chemistry of the team has been up and down. The team is so out of it that they may not even make the playoffs and not even the best basketball player in the world may be able to save them.

Lebron James, 34 years old, is easily the best player on this Laker team and has helped them to improve drastically this season, but other than Lebron what other options do the Lakers have?

Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma are considered to be the two complementary pieces next to Lebron, but their play has not been up to standards this season.

The Lakers are 3-7 in their last 10 games, getting blown out by teams such as the Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers.

The Western Conference has been tough and with hungry teams such as the Clippers, Kings, T-Wolves, and Mavericks creeping up to the 8th seed, this leaves the Lakers with minimal room to throw away games.

If the Lakers end up making the playoffs, it will most likely be as an 8th seed which means playing the Golden State Warriors in the first round. The Warriors are currently rolling and barring any injuries, it is more than likely they will steamroll through the Lakers and the entire Western Conference.

If the Lakers miss the playoffs, Lebron’s legacy may be called into question as this will be the first time since 2005 that he will miss the playoffs.

The young Lakers must step up and close out games without Lebron. Players such as Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Rajon Rondo has to step up as leaders. If these guys want to be Lakers next season, they have to take charge and win by any means possible.

Boston Celtics Are Still The Beast Of The East

The talk around the league after the trade deadline was the moves made by the Philadelphia 76ers and how they are the favorites to come out of the East. Last night, the Boston Celtics, without Kyrie Irving, faced off against the newly formed big four in Philly of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris. Needless to say whenever Boston goes against a championship level team they bring their A-game, and last night was no exception. Boston overcame Philly 112-109, led by Gordon Hayward’s game-high 26 points, Jayson Tatum had 20 points and Al Horford chipped in with 23 points, five assists and eight rebounds.

The Celtics are the Sixers Kryptonite

In their last 19 games, including the playoffs, Boston has a 17-2 record against Philadelphia, their only two losses came on January 18, 2018 when they lost by nine and in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals when they lost 92-103.

Even with Irving, who’s out with a strained left knee, the Celtics played as perfect as they could against the 76ers. It helped a bit that Embiiid was in foul trouble throughout the game while shooting 9-22 from the field. Harris and Butler had better games as they shot a combined 11-26 from the field, Butler also missed important free throws in the fourth quarter that could’ve tied the game at 106.

With Embiid in foul trouble, Marcus Smart slammed down a vicious dunk through Embiid who decided not to contest with five fouls, which put Boston up 110-107. Tatum would ice the game with two clutch free throws to put Boston up 112-109, with no timeouts remaining Butler couldn’t get the shot up in time in hopes of sending the game to overtime.

Are the Celtics Better without Kyrie?

The numbers don’t lie, the Celtics have played better when Irving has missed games, they’re 8-2 when Irving’s out of the lineup. Last night, the ball moved around more then with Irving on the floor, Hayward had his best performance again a championship level team, Tatum reminded everybody why Danny Ainge wants to keep him in Boston and Horford had a big game on both sides of the floor.

With Irving in the lineup the team is 28-19, a small difference but we can’t deny what we saw from the Celtics young core last season in 60 games without Irving. Over the span of three rounds in the postseason, the Celtics went 14-8 and eliminated Philly in five games.

Boston is averaging 112.9 points per game this season in 57 games played, when Irving is out of the line-up the numbers jump to 113.5 ppg.

Irving will miss his second game tonight as Boston takes on Detroit at TD Garden, their last game before the All-Star break.

Dennis Smith Jr. May Be A Diamond In The Rough For The Knicks

In Friday night’s loss vs the Pistons, Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. scored a career-high 31 points and dished out 8 assists to his new teammates.

Dennis isn’t missing a beat after being traded from the Mavericks during the trade deadline. Coach David Fizdale has placed his trust in the young guard and it is showing in his recent play as a Knick.

“I’m enjoying playing basketball not enjoying losing, but I’m having fun going out there and competing,” Dennis said after Pistons game.

In Dennis’ first 3 games as a Knick, he is averaging 21.3 points and 6.7 assists on 46% from the field. Dennis has shown that he is already the best player on this team and is connecting with his team.

On the other hand, Dennis still struggles with shooting the basketball as he misses free throws and is shooting below 30% from 3 so far with the Knicks.

If Dennis finds a consistent shooting stroke, the Knicks may not need Kyrie Irving in the summer. Shooting is the key factor that will elevate Dennis’ game.

The Knicks let go of some big pieces during the trade deadline, Kristaps Porzingis being the biggest loss, but Dennis is already showing the potential that he can grow into a star and be the best player on a team.

The Knicks are looking forward to the summer as the draft and free agency takes place. They must look at the possibilities if Zion Williamson, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving don’t land there. Do the Knicks believe that Dennis can be a big-time player for them?