Mavs acquire Moses Brown from Celtics for Richardson

The Dallas Mavericks have acquired Moses Brown from the Boston Celtics in exchange for Josh Richardson, the team announced on Saturday.

The 21-year-old Brown averaged 8.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 0.7 steals, 1.1 blocks in 43 games (32 starts) with the Thunder last season. 

The second-year center holds career averages of 7.3 points (.540 FG%), 7.6 rebounds, 0.9 blocks, and 18.3 minutes in 52 games (32 starts) with Portland and Oklahoma City.

Brown, who went undrafted in 2019, was traded along with Al Horford to Boston in the deal that sent Kemba Walker to Oklahoma City.

Richardson, 27, is being dealt for the third straight year. The Mavericks acquired him from Philadelphia in exchange for Seth Curry and the draft rights to Tyler Bey (36th overall pick in 2020) last November.

Last season, he averaged 12.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.0 steals in 59 games.

I love this deal from the Mavericks’ standpoint. Brown is a player on the rise and has shown a lot of potential during his time with OKC. Regarding Richardson, he gives the Celtics a solid perimeter defender and a player who is a solid scorer. 

 

Brooks on Tatum: ‘He’s gonna be an MVP in this league soon’

With Jaylen Brown out for the season, Jayson Tatum has to be the guy for the Boston Celtics, and on Tuesday night against the Washington Wizards in the Play-In Tournament, he was all of that and then some.

Tatum scored 23 of his 50 points in the third quarter as the Boston Celtics routed the Wizards 118-100 at TD Garden. Boston now claims the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference and will play the second-seeded Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs, starting on Saturday.

Washington still has an opportunity to make the playoffs if they defeat the Pacers on Thursday night in D.C. 

Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 22 points, and Russell Westbrook added 20 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists.

Washington had a 54-52 lead at halftime, but then Tatum and Kemba Walker took over in the third. Tatum shot 7-10 from the field, including 2-3 from three-point land, while Walker scored nine of his 29 points in that quarter, all from downtown. Boston would take a 90-80 lead into the fourth quarter, and the Wizards never really threatened after that. 

“Be the best player on the floor,” Tatum, who was 17/17 from the free throw line, said after the game. “That’s what I told myself coming into this game. Do whatever it takes to win and be the best player on the floor.”

According to Wizards head coach Scott Brooks, Tatum is a special player and will be an MVP down the line.

“He’s a great player. He’s not a great young player,” Brooks said. “He’s a great player. He’s gonna be an MVP in this league soon.”

Tatum was clearly the best player on the floor, and Boston needed that to advance. 

Regarding the Wizards, they were red-hot coming into this game as Washington won 17 of its final 23 games. However, Beal was still not himself on Tuesday night as he continues to deal with a hamstring injury, and Westbrook struggled from the field(6-18). Also, Washington made a season-low three(3-21) three-point field goals.

“We had a bad game; there’s no question,” Brooks said. “We haven’t had one of these in a long time. I think the last one was at Phoenix, and that was almost two months ago. We’ll regroup – we’ve got a lot of confidence that our guys are going to bounce back.”

Fortunately for Washington, they have an opportunity to redeem themselves on Thursday night against Indiana, who they swept(3-0) in the regular season. If the Wizards defeat Indiana, they will be the eighth seed and will battle the number-one seeded 76ers in the first round of the playoffs, which starts on Sunday.

Now, it’s officially win or go home for Washington. We’ll see how they respond on Thursday night.

Garnett: ‘From day one, I wanted to be able to be different’

One of the greatest classes in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame history will be honored on Saturday night. Headlined by the late Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett, the Hall of Fame class of 2020 will be inducted at Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony was postponed and rescheduled for this year.

Garnett, who was a 15-time All-Star and will be presented by Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, was one of the best power forwards in his era. He had a lot of battles with many great power forwards at that time. In the late 90s and early 2000s, in the NBA, especially in the Western Conference, you had guys like Dirk Nowitzki, Duncan, Chris Webber, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, and more. Hence, it was not easy to make your mark in the league at the power forward position. 

As the position evolved, instead of post-ups, players started to face-up and became more perimeter-oriented.

On Friday, at the Hall of Fame press conference, the former MVP, discussed how he wanted to be different and the challenges of being a power forward at that time in the league. 

“The competition was real, night in and night out, you had a challenge every night,” Garnett said. “It wasn’t like an easy night at the four at the time. I think you had Chris Webber; you had Dirk(Nowitzki), you had Dice(Antonio McDyess), you had Joe Smith, you had Sheed(Rasheed Wallace), you had Timmy(Duncan), you had Chuck(Charles Barkley), you had Karl(Malone). The list goes on and on. 

“From day one, I wanted to be able to be different. I wanted to face-up. When I first came into the league in 95′, a lot of the bigs had the back to the basket. You didn’t see a lot of face-ups. Through the glory of working with Kevin McHale, I started to change the narrative of what a four looks like. I wanted to be a lot more versatile.”

Anything is possible, and coming from South Carolina, going to high school in Chicago, starting his NBA career in Minnesota, going to Boston, and finally winning an NBA title with the Celtics. Garnett has seen and done a lot in the NBA. Now, he is in basketball heaven. 

The Class of 2020 inductees will also include Patrick Baumann, 18-time NBA All-Star 10-time WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings, three-time NCAA National Championship Coach Kim Mulkey, five-time Division II National Coach of the Year Barbara Stevens, four-time collegiate National Coach of the Year Eddie Sutton and two-time NBA Champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich. 

Watch as Garnett talks Bryant, winning in Boston, and more:

Nance Jr. on Sexton, Garland: ‘It was a complete performance for those guys tonight’

The backcourt of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland came through for the Cavaliers on Wednesday night. Garland scored 18 of his career-high-tying 25 points in the first half, and Sexton scored 11 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter as the Cavaliers(15-25) defeated the Celtics(20-20) 117-110 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse to snap their four-game losing streak. 

“They were both awesome in terms of looking for their own shots and in looking to get us our shots,” Larry Nance Jr. said about Sexton and Garland. “It was a complete performance for those guys tonight.”

Sexton and Garland scored almost half the team’s points(54 points) last night, and when those two are flowing, Cleveland is tough to beat. 

“I just really wanted to come out aggressive,” Garland said after the game. “Last night, I was not as aggressive as I usually be, so I just wanted to come out and play my game and be more aggressive.”

Rookie Isaac Okoro also came up big for the Cavaliers, especially in the fourth quarter. Okoro scored seven points of his 15 points in the quarter, including an emphatic jam, plus the foul that pretty much put the game away.

According to Garland, who got the assist on that play, he knew Okoro would do something special when he got the ball. 

“When I gave it to him, I knew he was going to punch that,” Garland said. “That was the backbreaker right there. “That got the crowd up on their feet. That got us up on our feet. We knew it was game after that. We just had to get a couple of stops, and it was over with.”

Cleveland continues their four-game homestand on Friday night against the San Antonio Spurs, who the Cavs will play for the first time this season.

Home has been good for Cleveland of late. The Cavs are 3-1 in their last four games at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, scoring at least 110 points and shooting over 50% from the field in every contest over that stretch.

Wizards’ Isaiah Thomas: ‘I’m starting to feel more and more like myself’

In the 2016-17 NBA season, Washington Wizards point guard Isaiah Thomas was balling. With the Celtics that season, the 5’9″ Thomas appeared in 76 regular-season games, averaged 28.9 points per game, was second in the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring, and he was an All-Star and second-team All-NBA. Thomas had an MVP-caliber season.

Also, the Celtics had the best record in the Eastern Conference and would make it to the Eastern Conference Finals, but they were beaten 4-1 by the Cavaliers in that series. Due to an injured hip, Thomas would play only two games against the Cavs.

Throughout the 2016-17 season, the talk was about how much money Thomas was going to get in the offseason. Based on his performance that season, it seemed that Thomas would get a max deal, but the injury changed things, and ultimately during that summer, Thomas, who fought through the injury that season and even played after the death of his sister, was shipped to Cleveland in a deal that brought Kyrie Irving to Boston. 

Unfortunately, Thomas struggled to return from the hip injury with Cleveland, and after 15 games with the Cavaliers, he was dealt to the Lakers in the 2017-18 season. Thomas played 17 games with the Lakers and averaged 15 points per game before getting another surgery on his hip. 

Last season, the 30-year-old Thomas signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Nuggets, but did not get as much playing time as he hoped. This summer, Thomas signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Wizards, and with the injury to John Wall, this is an excellent opportunity for Thomas.

Thomas has started 19 games for the Wizards and is averaging 13.9 points per game and 4.9 assists, and according to Thomas, he’s starting to become himself again.

“I’m feeling more and more like myself,” Thomas told goforitradio after the Wizards’ 107-100 loss to the Knicks on Saturday night. “I’m as healthy as I’m gonna be, slowly getting my rhythm back, slowly feeling like myself.”

When asked he feels like he can duplicate what he did in 2016-17, Thomas had this to say:

“If given the opportunity.”

It’s hard not to root for Thomas. This guy has overcome a lot to get to this point. Whether it’s being drafted late in the second round, or whether it’s his height, Thomas has always found a way to come out on top. In watching Thomas on Saturday night, you can see that he is not entirely where he wants to be. At times, you saw flashes of his 2017 self, and at other times, you saw a player trying to find his rhythm.

Can he be that guy again? I’m not sure, but I know one thing, I’m sure rooting for it to happen. 

 

 

 

 

Why the Raptors need to get to the NBA Finals this year

Over the past few seasons, the Toronto Raptors have had a lot of success. Since 2015, they have put together three straight seasons of 50 plus wins or more, an Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 2016, and a franchise-best 59 wins this season, which was the best record in the Eastern Conference.

With all that success, the Raptors have to break through and get to the NBA Finals. And the way things look in the Eastern Conference, this season, 2018 seems like the right time to do it.

The two teams that were expected to battle it out for Eastern Conference supremacy are not the same. Cleveland has the one man Toronto has no answer for and that’s LeBron James, but this year’s Cavs team is very beatable. While the Celtics, who are the second-seed in the Eastern Conference, had all the makings of a team that could get to the Finals before Kyrie Irving was ruled out for the playoffs with a knee injury.

However, here’s the real reason why the Raptors need to get to the Finals this year. The Philadelphia 76ers are coming. They have a young nucleus in Joel Embiid, 24, Ben Simmons, 21, Dario Saric, 24, and Markelle Fultz, 19. Philly won 52 games this season, and are ahead of schedule. Plus, according to Spotrac.com, they will have close to $30 million in cap space and a potential lottery pick(If Lakers pick is 1, or below pick 5) this summer, which could make them appealing to a certain King in Cleveland.  Based on the way they are playing right now, Philly is going to be a tough out in these playoffs.

Also, the Boston Celtics are going to be another team that will be tough to beat moving forward. They have Irving and Gordon Hayward coming back next season. Plus, they have young studs in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, and they have the possibility of getting a top-five pick(Lakers pick via trade if it is 2-5) in the 2018 NBA Draft.

The Celtics and the 76ers look like they will be fixtures at the top of the Eastern Conference for years to come. We might have a 1980’s remix when the 76ers and Celtics battled it out during that decade.

With Cleveland struggling, and Boston depleted due to injuries. The time is now for Toronto. Plus, their two best players DeMar DeRozan, 28, and Kyle Lowry, 32, are not getting any younger. So,  If Toronto does not get to the NBA Finals this year, they may not ever get there for years to come.

 

Lonzo Ball to workout for the 76ers?

After turning down a workout with the Celtics, Lonzo Ball might be working out with the Philadelphia 76ers, according to ESPN. Ball, who seems destined for the Lakers, probably does not fit in Philadelphia. The 76ers seemingly have their point guard in Ben Simmons. Ball and Simmons together does not work. Both are so-so shooters, and, essentially, play the same position.  Therefore, I do not see it happening. 

The 76ers have the third pick in the NBA Draft.

End of the day, expect Ball to be with the Lakers!

Why the Boston Celtics should be proud of what happened in 2017

In reality, the Boston Celtics really did not have much of a chance to beat Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Finals. Even with a healthy Isaiah Thomas (ruled out for the playoffs w/ hip injury), Boston is not talented enough to dethrone King James and the Cavaliers. However, no matter what happens the rest of the way against Cleveland, this season has been a success for the Celtics. First, you have found a star in Isaiah Thomas. Next, you had the best record in the Eastern Conference, and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. Finally, you have the number one overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, and with the way things are going in Brooklyn, you might get another lottery pick in 2018. 

While Isaiah Thomas has proven to be a star, the C’s need more. Can you win a championship when your best player is 5’9? It is very difficult to build around a player that small. Ultimately, Thomas broke down when the Celtics needed him the most. Now, Boston has to figure out how to get to the next level.  Do you stand pat at one and take Markelle Fultz, or do you trade the pick, and try to put together a package to get Jimmy Butler or Paul George? Butler or George brings you closer to Cleveland. If you have an opportunity get George or Butler, you have to give it some serious thought. On the other hand, maybe you keep the pick and try to get soon to be free agent Gordon Hayward this summer. Hayward and Celtics coach Brad Stevens obviously have that Butler connection.  Maybe that connection could be enough to bring Hayward to Boston. According to The Vertical, Boston is expected to go hard after the 27-year-old Hayward in free agency. Obviously, bringing in Hayward and Fultz brings the Celtics much closer to Cleveland as well. 

Anytime you have the best record in the Eastern Conference, advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, and have the number one overall pick in the draft, your season is a success. Nevertheless, sometimes that next step is the hardest step. 

 

 

 

Twitter reaction to the Celtics winning NBA Draft Lottery

Great time to be a Celtics fan! The Celtics are playing in the Eastern Conference Finals, and they won the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night.  Here is how Twitter reacted: