Celtics

Celtics looking forward to rivalry game vs. Lakers

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Celtics looking forward to rivalry game vs. Lakers

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

WALTHAM We have seen this before.

The Boston Celtics suffer a disappointing loss to a team that they know they should have beat.

Sunday's 94-89 loss at Charlotte qualifies.

Next game out, the C's are expected to have some off-the-hook focus because the next opponent, well, is a better team.

Yes, the two-time defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers fit that description.

"We could have won (at Charlotte) and still had the antenna up," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "It's the Lakers. It's a good game to play because it's them."

It's also a good game because once again, both Boston and the Los Angeles Lakers are among the handful of teams in the hunt for an NBA title this season.

The two teams met on Jan. 30 in Los Angeles, and the Celtics pulled away for a 109-96 win. A Boston victory on Thursday would give them the season sweep for the first time since the 2007-2008 season - the year the C's hung Banner 17.

Regardless of their status among the NBA's elite, Boston versus LA is always going to be a highly-anticipated game.

Players for both teams are well aware of the extensive history that exists between these two franchises, a history that has been updated with some of the greatest games in their storied rivalry coming about in recent years.

"It's been intense since we met in the (NBA) Finals in 2008," said Lakers forward Pau Gasol. "It's been that way and it will continue to be that way for a while."

Of all the players on the floor Thursday night, few understand just how intense the rivalry is between these two more than Kobe Bryant.

"Our situation, our rivalry has become more real than others because of facing them in the (NBA) Finals twice, and the history that's involved," Bryant said. "It holds a little more substance than the rivalry we have with the (San Antonio) Spurs, for example."

And as much as the fans for both teams look forward to seeing the two square off, the anticipation is just as great for the players.

"Who doesn't look forward to that game?" said Boston's Glen Davis. "It's a great game where guys are going to be competing, try and rip each other's heads off. I'm all in. I'm looking forward to it."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Now, it gets real for revamped Celtics

Now, it gets real for revamped Celtics

CLEVELAND – For the Celtics, the preseason went about as well as expected.
 
No serious, long-term injuries.

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They won every preseason game, even one in which the team’s second unit played the role of starters.
 
And the chemistry concerns with so many new players, while very real, didn’t seem to be that big an issue.
 
Still, as good as the Celtics may feel about where they stand, they know it means absolutely nothing unless they get it done against elite, NBA-caliber competition.
 
The Cleveland Cavaliers.
 
Opening night.
 
It doesn’t get much more challenging than that.
 
And for the Celtics, win or lose, this is going to be a game for them to build upon going forward this season.
 
“I’m just ready to get going,” said Gordon Hayward. “A lot of things have happened this summer, a lot of buildup. I’m ready to get to the game. It’s going to be a fun matchup, for sure.”
 
Among the summer happenings was Boston and Cleveland pulling off one of the biggest blockbuster deals of the offseason with the Cavs trading Kyrie Irving to the Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic while also conveying Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick and Miami’s 2020 second-round pick to complete the deal.
 
Having spent his first six seasons with the Cavaliers, there’s a certain amount of corporate knowledge that the 25-year-old Irving brings to tonight’s matchup.
 
“I know a lot about them, they know a lot about me,” Irving said. “There’s plenty of film on all of us, but specifically going back and understanding the way we played last year when I played with them and now how they’re playing with the new guys, understanding how to implement themselves into their new system plus me implementing myself into this system...There’s definitely some benefits on our end, there are some benefits on their end. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
 
Part of the challenge for the Celtics will be developing the kind of on-court cohesion to be successful, which is easier said than done when you’re talking about getting nearly a dozen players on the same page in just a few weeks.
 
“We have good chemistry as a group,” said Al Horford. “We still have a ways to go as far as keep getting comfortable with each other and keep figuring out our spots. But we feel good with what we have. Our young guys, it’s been remarkable how quickly they’ve been able to come along and be up to date with everything. And our new guys as well. They’re up to date, they know what we need to do. They understand the game plan. It’s been good.”
 
Players aren’t the only ones eager to get to tonight’s game.
 
“To have to go into Cleveland with that level of intensity, with that level of attention, distraction, etc. is great,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “It’s great to experience that in game one, a tremendous learning experience for our group, so we’re preparing to play as well as we can. And we know that they’re really, really good. But this is..I’m looking forward to it because I want to find out where we are.”
 

'People took it the wrong way,' Isaiah says of his Ainge comments

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'People took it the wrong way,' Isaiah says of his Ainge comments

Isaiah Thomas told Sports Illustrated last week that he "might never talk to Danny [Ainge] again." And he sounded pretty bitter about his trade from the Celtics to the Cavs.

Now, on the "Road Trippin" podcast with new teammate Channing Frye and ex-Cav Richard Jefferson, Thomas, who is out until at least January with a hip injury, said those comments were misunderstood.

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“People took it the wrong way,” Thomas said. “I understand the business, I understand that we’re in position to get traded and sent to other teams and things like that. It’s just how it went down that I didn’t respect. As a man, I feel like if you respected me as much as you say you did, you would have at least informed me about what was going on before it happened. And that’s all I was talking about.

“I’m not tripping off the trade like I got traded to the Cavs and we’re going to win a championship. And at the end of the day, I’m going to be fine with that,” Thomas said. “[Ainge] sent me to an even better situation with a bigger platform. I’m blessed to be in the position, I’m grateful and I’m excited.”

The Cavs host the Celtics tonight in the season opener. 

Jae Crowder, who came to Cleveland from Boston, was also on the podcast and when Frye talked with him about players deserving communication from the front office, Thomas could be heard in the background, saying, “That’s what I’m talking about.”

“I already said what I’m doing," Thomas told Crowder about what he'll do should he run into Ainge. "I’m going to keep it pushing like he kept pushing when he traded me, I’m not going to disrespect him. He’s a man and I’m a man, too. Like, I’m going to go my way. I play for the Cavaliers and that’s what it is.”