Celtics

30 teams in 30 days: Rockets get James Harden another star

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30 teams in 30 days: Rockets get James Harden another star

James Harden’s status as a star in the NBA took yet another leap forward last season with the 28-year-old finishing second to Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook for the league’s MVP award.
 
Despite finishing with the third-best record in the NBA last season, the Rockets were bounced in the second round by San Antonio which was a clear signal that as good as Harden was, he would need help in the form of another superstar to truly establish a perch among the game’s elite.
 
In comes future Hall of Famer Chris Paul, who needs a team like the Rockets as badly as they need him.
 
Despite a war chest full of individual accolades as well as being a well-respected leader, the 32-year-old Paul has never led a team past the second round of the playoffs.
 
There’s no questioning the talent assembled in the Houston backcourt with Harden and Paul, but there are legitimate concerns as to how they will mesh together, especially with both being ball-dominant playmakers who have thrived in those roles.
 
You have to believe at some point head coach Mike D’Antoni will figure out how to mesh their games, and from there things could get real scary for opponents.
 
Because in addition to having what looks to be one of the most dynamic backcourts in the NBA, the Rockets also added some legit toughness and versatility with P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute. Both players provide some much-needed toughness for a Houston team that shot the hell out of the ball last season in setting an NBA record in made 3-pointers with 1,181.
 
Scoring is not an issue for the Rockets. Houston averaged 115.3 points per game which was second only to Golden State (115.9) in the NBA last season.
 
Now defense? That’s another story.
 
The Rockets defensive rating (106.4) ranked 18th in the NBA and allowed 109.6 points per game, which ranked 26th in the league.
 
In addition to Tucker and Mbah a Moute, the Rockets also have Trevor Ariza to help form a strong 1-2-3 defensive punch on the wing.
 
Houston’s interior defense is an area of concern, but if they hold their own defensively while still creating problems for opposing defenses because of the Paul-Harden backcourt as well as Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon who can both shoot the ball well, the Rockets have a legit shot at doing what no Paul-led team has done which is get to the Conference finals.
 
Key free agent/draft/trade additions: Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers); P.J. Tucker (Toronto); Luc Mbah a Moute (Los Angeles Clippers).
 
Key losses: Patrick Beverley (Los Angeles Clippers); Lou Williams (Los Angeles Clippers); Sam Dekker (Los Angeles Clippers); Montrezl Harrell (Los Angeles Clippers);
 
Rookies of note: Zhou Qi.
 
Expectations: 57-35 (1st in the Southwest Division, 2nd in the West).
 

Does Kyrie regret exchange with fan in Philly? 'Hell, no'

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Does Kyrie regret exchange with fan in Philly? 'Hell, no'

WALTHAM, Mass. – The NBA has talked with  Celtics guard Kyrie Irving about disparaging comments he made to a fan at halftime that have since gone viral.

Irving said the incident happened as the Celtics were heading back to the locker room at halftime after the Celtics fell behind 50-46 to the Sixers.

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“Kyrie, where’s LeBron?” yelled the fan.

Irving replied with a lewd suggestion. 

After practice on Saturday, Irving acknowledged that he did say something to a fan and that he had a conversation with the league regarding the incident.

Regrets?

“Hell no,” Irving said. “Man enough to record it on video, that’s on him. I’m glad he got his ad name out there, and his five seconds of fame and it’s gone viral. That’s the social media platform we live on.

Irving added, “I take full responsibility for what I said. You move on.”

The league has not officially announced a fine for Irving, but it’s more a matter of when not if that will be forthcoming.

In fact, earlier today, the league fined New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins $25,000 for “inappropriate language” towards a fan in the Pelicans’ 103-91 loss at Memphis on Wednesday.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens had not seen the video in question but was aware that Irving had been in conversations with the league office regarding the incident.

“Guys know what the right thing to do is,” Stevens said. “People make mistakes; hopefully learn from them and move on. There’s a right and wrong. And if you’re in the wrong you have to own up to it and that’s that.”