30 teams in 30 days: Warriors remain in league of their own


30 teams in 30 days: Warriors remain in league of their own

The Golden State Warriors will begin this season with a bull’s-eye on their back, which isn’t all that different than the past few seasons.
NBA champs two of the past three seasons, Golden State will again begin the season as the overwhelming favorite to house the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
And unlike past seasons, there are few question marks or concerns about this team other than complacency.
“They know they’re really good. We know they’re really good. Will they stay hungry to win it all?” an NBA executive texted CSNNE.com. “I expect them to be just as locked in; maybe even more this season because of the chance to repeat as champs.”
Indeed, Golden State has a roster that’s strong on all levels of play.
Their starting unit consists of the league’s MVP three of the past four years with Kevin Durant (2014) and Stephen Curry (2015 and '16). Draymond Green remains a defensive stalwart with the kind of across-the-board versatility that creates matchup problems on a nightly basis.
And then there’s Klay Thompson, one of the league’s premier shooters. He averaged a career-high 22.3 points last season while shooting 414 percent on 3’s.
With very few holes of note in their roster, Golden State did address its bench by adding one of the league’s true feast-or-famine shooters in Nick Young.
The majority of Young’s career has been spent coming off the bench, but last season he made a career-high 60 starts for the Los Angeles Lakers while averaging 13.2 points per game.
Even more significant for the Warriors was the fact that he shot 40.4 percent from 3-point range.
“They really don’t have any one or two areas you can exploit,” one league scout told CSNNE.com. “They don’t have great size up front, but tremendous versatility. Who would have thought two, three years ago that you could play Kevin Durant sometimes at center and not get killed by it? Other than injuries or boredom, it’s going to be really, really hard to see someone in the NBA leap-frogging past them this season.”
Key free agent/draft/trade additions: Nick Young (Los Angeles Lakers); Omri Casspi (Minnesota).
Key losses: Matt Barnes (free agent).
Rookies of note: Jordan Bell.
65-17 (first in the Pacific Division, first in the East)


Gordon Hayward will start traveling with Celtics in March

Gordon Hayward will start traveling with Celtics in March

LOS ANGELES – The Boston Celtics have made a point of trying to change up Gordon Hayward’s rehabilitation routine as to avoid the boredom that’s often associated with the recovery process from a long-term injury such as his.

How about a few days in Southern California?

Hayward is with the team here in Los Angeles, and will stay behind for a few days afterward according to head coach Brad Stevens.

“One of the things we wanted to do was change his environment,” said Stevens who added that Hayward may begin traveling with the team in March. “So, he’s going to be here for these two games, and he will stay here in Southern California for a week to 10 days with a couple of our staff and re-join us in Boston.”

The key to him re-joining the team for road games hinges on whether he can do is rehabilitation work without the need for an ultra-gravity (Ultra-G) machine which he has been using.

Stevens later explained why the team felt the need to try and switch up Hayward’s regimen.

“People that have been through this, you know, long process ... One of the things about us, we’re jumping on a plane every four or five days,” said Stevens who added that Hayward still has “a long way to go” before returning to play in an actual game. “And he’s used to that and he has been in the same routine doing the same thing for three or four months without that. So, we just wanted to have him here for a couple games while we’re out West and for a few days later, leave him out here.”

Al Horford is among the Celtics eager to have Hayward join the team on road games, even if his timeline for returning to action is still targeted for next season.

“We’re happy, anytime, for Gordon to be around us,” Horford said. “For him, it’s his process to getting back to where he needs to be. Obviously, we’re respectful of that. But any chance that he gets around us, it’s good to share with him. He’s still a part of this. That’s the cool thing about it.”


Al Horford joins Kyrie Irving at the all-star game, selected as reserve


Al Horford joins Kyrie Irving at the all-star game, selected as reserve

LOS ANGELES – Kyrie Irving won’t be all by his lonesome during all-star weekend next month, with teammate Al Horford being selected as an all-star reserve.

For Horford, this will be his fifth all-star selection but first as a member of the Boston Celtics after joining the team in 2016.

Horford’s play, particularly on defense, has been instrumental to the Celtics (34-13) having the best record in the Eastern Conference, and third overall in the NBA.

This season, he has averaged 13.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game while shooting a career-best 43 percent from 3-point range.

Horford’s numbers don’t always speak to his impact on teams and more important, winning games.

“He’s a big part of our team in order for us to be number one in the East and hopefully sustain that spot,” Irving said earlier today. “We know how valuable he is. The Celtics organization, our team, everybody. He definitely has a case; he’s got my vote.”

Horford is grateful and appreciative of being named an all-star.

But his focus, as you might expect, is on what he views as a much more significant prize – a victory tonight which would snap Boston’s season-long losing streak which stands at three straight.

Horford is more concerned about the Celtics setting the tone defensively tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers.

“That has to be our mindset,” he said. “And sticking together. So this is a great time for us to make sure we’re together and we do it as a group.”