Jennings on physical series with Celtics: 'Nobody wants to go home'

Jennings on physical series with Celtics: 'Nobody wants to go home'

WASHINGTON – Brandon Jennings makes no secret that part of his game involves trying to mentally get into the head of his opponents.

And his target among the Boston Celtics?

That would be Terry Rozier who has had a couple of run-ins with Jennings this season, the most recent leading to both players getting tossed in Washington’s 116-89 Game 3 win.

They were each whistled for a technical foul with 10:36 to play in the fourth quarter due to their usual back-and-forth jawing with one another. And when they continued afterward,  the officials – wanting to make sure things didn’t get out of control and escalate into a bigger deal – whistled both players for a second technical foul just 42 seconds later which meant an automatic ejection for both players.

Jennings said the second technical foul picked up by both players was Rozier’s fault.

“I think it was because he (Rozier) just kept it going,” Jennings said on Friday. “I think they just threw us both out. We’re competitive and it’s the playoffs. Guys don’t want to show any type of weakness at all. Just two guys competing.”

But here’s the thing.

This series is full of guys competing, at every position.

There will be the usual smack talk, obviously.

Pushing, poking, hard fouls and hard screens?

Yup, that’s all on tap as well.

But there’s something different about Rozier and Jennings, something that seems to lead to both players getting under the other’s skin almost immediately upon stepping on the floor.

When these two met on March 20 in the regular-season finale, Jennings was whistled for a technical foul involving Rozier which seemed to be the jumping off-point in the unexpected disdain between these two which has carried over into what has been a very contentious playoff series thus far.

 “This series is going to be feisty, for one,” Jennings said. “It’s two teams competing. Both our goals is getting to the Eastern conference finals and also win a ring. For us, we took their first punches in Boston and we felt that. We wanted to come in Game 3 and do the same thing they did to us.”

The Wizards did just that, dominating the Celtics in every significant phase of play.

Rebounds. Assists. Points in the paint. Second-chance points.

You name the statistical category and the Celtics were owned by the Wizards in it.

And with Game 4 on the horizon, fans can bank on another testy, physical game between these two who have made it the worst kept secret in the nation’s capital that they do not like each other.

“It (Game 3) was very physical,” Jennings said. “I woke up this morning sore and I didn’t play that much.  I was just sore from all the mental, all the wuffing and elbows and things like that. It’s definitely going to be physical, but that’s what the playoffs are all about. Nobody wants to go home.”

Ainge: 'Setback' wrong word to use about Hayward

Ainge: 'Setback' wrong word to use about Hayward

When is a setback not a setback?

When Danny Ainge says, "You know what? Sometimes I talk too much," Ainge told the Boston Herald over the weekend. "'Setback' wasn't the right word, so let me rephrase that because it's not exactly true to say it - or say it that way.

The Celtics president of basketball operations, in his weekly radio interview with Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub and simulcast on NBC Sports Boston, used that word when he was describing how Gordon Hayward is coming along in his recovery. 

"He had like one setback for a couple of weeks, maybe a month and a half ago," Ainge said on the radio last week. "We were progressing a little bit too fast, we thought."

Ainge clarified that to the Herald's Steve Bulpett. 

"What happened is he went on the AlterG [anti-gravity treadmill] the first day and he felt some soreness," he said. "It was the first day he tried the AlterG, a long time ago. He just wasn't ready for it at that point. That's all it was."

Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been adamant that Hayward, recovering from his gruesome leg and ankle injury in the season opener, will not play for the Celtics this season. On Sunday, Stevens, via MassLive.com's Jay King, characterized Stevens' soreness as a "small" issue. 



Chest pains and lack of sleep lead to medical leave for Cavs coach Lue

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Chest pains and lack of sleep lead to medical leave for Cavs coach Lue

CLEVELAND - Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue is taking a leave of absence from the team to address health issues that have included chest pains and loss of sleep.

Lue said Monday in a statement that tests have offered no conclusion about what the issue is and offered no timetable for his return. The coach said he feels he needs to step away "and focus on trying to establish a stronger and healthier foundation" from which to coach the rest of the season.

Here's a portion of Lue's statement:

I have had chest pains and other troubling symptoms, compounded by a loss of sleep, throughout the year. Despite a battery of tests, there have been no conclusions as to what the exact issue is.

"While I have tried to work through it, the last thing I want is for it to affect the team. I am going to use this time to focus on a prescribed routine and medication, which has previously been difficult to start in the midst of a season," Lue said. "My goal is to come out of it a stronger and healthier version of myself so I can continue to lead this team to the championship we are all working towards."

A stress-filled season for the Cavs has taken a toll on the Lue, 40, a former Celtics assistant under Doc Rivers who led them to the 2016 NBA championship after taking over for David Blatt midway through that season. They are j40-29, third in the Eastern Conference, behind the second-place Celtics and East-leading Toronto Raptors, and have endured roster shake-ups, injuries and other distractions as they try to return to the NBA Finals.

David Aldridge of TNT reports that the plan is for Lue to return in a week. The NBA playoffs begin April 14. 

"We all want great players, we all want the best teams, but with that comes a lot of pressure as well. And what Ty Lue has had to go through this year with that team, with the trades and the injuries and the pressure, it's unrelenting," Denver coach Michael Malone said. "So I hope that he gets healthy and is able to get back in time for the playoffs and help that team win as many games as possible."

Lue spent the second half of Cleveland's victory in Chicago on Saturday in the locker room because of an illness, the second time this season he left a game because he wasn't feeling well. The former NBA guard also sat one out against Chicago at home in December.

Associate head coach Larry Drew coached the second half of Saturday's game, the finale of a six-game, 11-day road trip. Cleveland is back home to host Milwaukee on Monday.

"We know how difficult these circumstances are for Coach Lue and we support him totally in this focused approach to addressing his health issues," general manager Koby Altman said.

Charlotte coach Steve Clifford also left his team to address his health this season. He took six weeks off. Medical tests revealed that the 56-year-old Clifford did not have any internal problems, but the doctor's diagnosis was the coach was suffering from severe sleep deprivation.

AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.

© 2018 by The Associated Press