Celtics

Celtics stay undefeated in post-Rondo world

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Celtics stay undefeated in post-Rondo world

It wouldn't be right to comment on last night's Celtics win without first commenting on their opponent. It's not that I want to take away from Boston's second straight victory in the post-Rondo era, I just think that it's important to remember that the Kings stink. Very badly. Like Logan Mankins' jock strap after a Training Camp double session in the blistering summer sun.

Now to that, you might say: "Wait a second. Wasn't this the same Kings team that beat the Celtics by 26 points in December?"

And I'll respond: Not really.

The roster is the same, but back then the Kings were at home, and in the midst of BY FAR their best stretch of the season. The win over the Celtics was part of four victories in five games for Sacramento which is the only time they've achieved that all year.

But since then, the Kings have slowly deteriorated into the team that you saw last night. They've gone 4-10 in their last 14 games, with their only wins coming against the Cavs, Bobcats and Wizards (x2). And just for good measure, the entire organization and fan base has been caught in a whirlwind of emotion surrounding the team's potential move to Seattle.

At least for now, it's bad to be the King(s). And that was certainly the case last night.

But with all that being said, there was something truly refreshing about the Celtics' performance. I'm not going to say that it was because Rondo wasn't there, because even if that's the case, it was a win against the Kings. It doesn't prove anything in terms of answering the question: Are the Celtics are better without their point guard?

I'll admit that it's a little strange to hear players like Courtney Lee, Jason Terry and Brandon Bass speak on the record about how much more comfortable they are without Rondo on the floor. But at the same time, of course, they're more comfortable. It means they get more shots. For Terry and Lee, they get more minutes. Name me a player who wouldn't be more comfortable with that arrangement. The question is whether, in the long run, the Celtics are better off with Rondo on the floor, or with a happier crew of role players and that won't be answered for sometime.

But in the meantime, no one will complain about performances like last night. Even if it came against the dregs of the NBA, seeing the hometown team click and actually look like they enjoy each other's company is a welcomed sight. And chances are we'll see it again tomorrow night, when the C's host a Magic squad that's lost 18 of its last 20 games and just lost Glen Davis to a broken drum stick. Orlando will be ripe for a Kings-like beat down.

After that? Well, Super Bowl Sunday brings a big time match-up to the Garden: The Los Angeles Clippers.

Granted, the Clips will likely be without Chris Paul, but that only seems fair. It would be even more fair if Blake Griffin hops in that Kia Time Machine and comes back as the 37-year-old version of his current self.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Smart 'not worried' about lack of contract extension with Celtics

Smart 'not worried' about lack of contract extension with Celtics

CLEVELAND – For the third year in a row, a first-round pick of the Boston Celtics is unable to come to terms on a contract extension prior to the deadline.

That means Marcus Smart will become a restricted free agent this summer. Last year it was Kelly Olynyk (now with the Miami Heat) and in 2015 it was Jared Sullinger (now with Shenzhen Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association).

Both the Celtics and Smart's camp intensified their discussions in recent days as the October 16th 6 p.m. EST deadline drew near.

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While there was progress made, there wasn’t enough to get a deal done.

Smart has repeatedly indicated that he wants to re-sign a long-term deal to stay in Boston.

And the market for the 6-foot-4 guard became clearer based on the contracts that some of his fellow rookie class of 2014, were receiving.

Denver’s Gary Harris agreed to a four-year, $84 million contract after establishing himself as one of the better young two-way talents in the NBA last season. And at the other end of the financial spectrum, you would have to look at Phoenix’s T.J. Warren who signed a four-year, $50 million contract.

More than likely, Smart’s deal next summer will fall somewhere between the deals those two players received.

As much as Smart would have preferred to get a deal done heading into the season, it’s not something that he’s going to cause him to lose any sleep.

“Get it done now, or get it done in six months, I’m OK either way,” he told NBC Sports Boston. “I’m not worried about it.”

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All signs point to LeBron James playing against Celtics Tuesday

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All signs point to LeBron James playing against Celtics Tuesday

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- A sprained left ankle injury kept LeBron James out of all but one of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason games, and has created a certain element of uncertainty as to whether he’ll play against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night. 
 
While it has yet to be determined for sure if he’ll play, all indications are that the 15-year veteran will be in the starting lineup as the Cavs kick off their quest to remain the team to beat in the East.

“I never hide stuff from you guys. I really don’t know,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said when asked if James would play against the Celtics. “Depending on how he feels, but I really don’t know.”
 
However, James looked pretty comfortable shooting the ball after practice with a trio of former Celtics in Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and Jeff Green. 
 
And if you listen to the man who would likely start in James’ place -- J.R. Smith -- there’s nothing to worry about Cavs Nation. 
 
According to Smith, James will play. 
 
“We were talking about it, he’s never missed, since he was 8 years old and he started playing, he’s never missed a first game,” Smith said. “I’m preparing for him to play.”
 
Despite having played more than 41,000 minutes -- only 33 players in NBA history have done so -- James has been one of the game’s more durable players. Last season James he sat out only eight games, and that was the most he has missed in a single season.
 
 "He's gonna go [Tuesday]," Smith said. "He's gonna go, trust me [on] that. I don't care what he's gotta do, he's gonna play."