Celtics

Celtics on schedule to be ready for first exhibition

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Celtics on schedule to be ready for first exhibition

ISTANBUL Training camp is less than a week old, but that's usually more than enough time for the Boston Celtics to be off schedule.

But this year, things seem to be different.

Despite having camp split between Waltham, their current location in Istanbul and later this weekend in Milan, Rivers said things have gone surprisingly according to plan thus far.

"I have a list, we're on schedule, which is rare in camp," Rivers said. "But you want to get enough offensive stuff in that you can play a game -- not necessarily opening night game, but get through a game. And we're on schedule to do that."

During Tuesday's practice, Rivers said they installed a baseline-out set and worked on "a couple of other things."

"Really the first half of practice, I sat over there with (Comcast SportsNet play-by-play announcer) Mike Gorman and we talked about the old days," Rivers said. "That's about it. I really just wanted to get them in the gym."

While that may be true, Rivers -- as always -- kept an eye on how his team was handling itself defensively.

"Defensively is where you want to see if your identity is taken hold," Rivers said. "I don't know if you'll have it in, but you'll see it in the first couple games whether you can, certain things you can play."

Boston's first shot at working out some of those defensive kinks will come on Friday at 9 p.m. locally (2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time) against Fenerbache Ulker.

"I like playing the European teams," Rivers said. "They are usually great shooters. They spread the floor and run a ton of pick-and-rolls. And so I think that's great for us."

Blending those two worlds together -- strong defense and a better flowing offense -- will be one of the Celtics' biggest challenges this year.

And a big part of that will be strengthening the bonds that already exists, something that a trip overseas like this one lends itself to achieving.

"Each year since I've been here, we've had a close team," said Celtics guard Rajon Rondo. "We just have to do a better job of sacrificing on and off the court, being better followers. We have a lot of strong ego guys that at times may not want to follow or may not know when to be coached. It's just being a better listener and more positive with your teammates."

And that would keep the C's on track for achieving some, if not all, of their lofty goals this season.

Isaiah Thomas likes video of Jalen Rose calling Paul Pierce 'petty'

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Isaiah Thomas likes video of Jalen Rose calling Paul Pierce 'petty'

Just when all the video tribute controversy between Isaiah Thomas and Paul Pierce seemed to be dying down, Jalen Rose heated it right back up.

Live on ESPN's "NBA Countdown," Rose called Pierce "petty" for his comments on the Celtics potentially holding a video tribute for Isaiah on Feb. 11 when Pierce gets his jersey retired.

Jalen Rose called Paul Pierce petty right to his face... 😳

A post shared by DIME on UPROXX (@dimemagazine) on

Thomas tweeted on Tuesday that he (again) declined the Celtics' offer to hold the tribute for him so it wouldn't interfere with Pierce's night. But if you look at the likes on the Instagram video above, posted by dimemagazine, you'll see Thomas appears to agree with Rose on the matter.

It doesn't look like the video tribute drama is going to end until the Feb. 11 matchup between the Celtics and Cavaliers is over with.

Horford: Fighting in NBA 'needs to stop'

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Horford: Fighting in NBA 'needs to stop'

WALTHAM, Mass. – Three Houston Rockets players entered the Los Angeles Clippers’ training room before being stopped by security but not before a profanity-laced exchange that’s sure to result in fines and possibly some suspensions.

Orlando’s Arron Afflalo threw a punch – and barely missed – hitting Minnesota’s Nemanja Bjelica which led to both players being ejected and for Afflalo will likely result in a suspension of some kind.

Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons got into it with Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, resulting in both players being tossed and apparently leading to Simmons signaling to Lowry that they could continue having their “discussion” in the hallway.

That hallway encounter never happened (Lowry said he was there, Simmons said he didn’t see Lowry so you believe who you want to), but the fact that it was even a possibility speaks to this being one of the more bizarre weeks in recent memory when it comes to potential fighting in the league. 

And remember … it’s only freakin’ Wednesday!

I asked Boston’s Al Horford about this.

“It’s very, very bizarre,” said Horford, now in his 11th NBA season. “I don’t think I remember any period of time, (with) all this chippiness going on. You want to compete, you want to play hard; that’s fine. But all the extra stuff, I think needs to stop. At the end of the day you need to focus on basketball. We’re here to play.”

Horford added, “I’m sure the NBA will address those things and fix them.”

No one was shocked that things got a little testy in the Houston-Los Angeles Clippers game which was played on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It was the first time Chris Paul, now with the Rockets, returned to Los Angeles to face his former team. 

The Clippers won 113-102, a game filled with trash talk from both sides. But apparently the chatter soon turned to chippy play with hard fouls delivered and taken in the latter stages of play with a total of five technical fouls called, two of which were on Blake Griffin which is an automatic ejection. 

Talking trash gone bad was a factor in the Simmons-Lowry bruhaha with the Sixers emerging with the victory. 

And on Tuesday, Afflalo and Bjelica had already been assessed a technical for an earlier run-in. Soon after, there was a collision between the two which pissed off Afflalo who swung with great force at Bjelica’s face. 

“We’re professionals,” Horford said. “We can’t get caught up in that stuff.”

Horford plays around the basket and is no stranger to banging around with the big, bad angry bodies. 

But as much as there will be times when he’ll want to snap, Horford has consistently resisted the urge. 

“It’s hard; it’s hard,” he said. “But we have to remember what we play the game for; I play to win. I’m playing for my teammates and sometimes you need to take a step back before you do something you regret. That’s the way I look at it.”

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