Thomas a Celtic now, but admits being a 'brainwashed' Lakers fan as a kid

Thomas a Celtic now, but admits being a 'brainwashed' Lakers fan as a kid

BOSTON – Isaiah Thomas grew up a Los Angeles Lakers fan. But he will tell you he didn’t have any choice on the matter.
“I told you I was brainwashed to want to be a Lakers fan,” Thomas told reporters prior to tonight’s game. “But I love being a Celtic. I’m fine being a Celtic.”
That was his pop’s favorite team, and so he followed suit.
“He was born and raised here,” said Thomas who added, “he’ll have Celtics stuff on (tonight). He’s not crazy.”
Now a Celtic, Thomas brings a rather unique perspective to tonight’s game between the two most storied franchises in NBA history who have combined to win 33 NBA titles (Boston with 17, the Lakers with 16).
Despite Boston (39-22) having one of the league’s top records while the Lakers (19-42) are at the opposite end of the winning spectrum, tonight’s game has major significance for both franchises.
“It’s always special,” Thomas told reporters prior to tonight’s game. “It’s the Lakers. Even if the Celtics weren’t good, it’s like playing back in Boston; it’s legendary. You have such great players who played here before.”
Boston comes in having won each of the last two games against the Lakers, but both were close despite the Celtics having the significantly better record leading into each matchup.
And their struggles haven’t been just a one or two-year thing, either.

The Lakers have had the second-worst record (57-168) in the NBA the last three seasons, with only Philadelphia (50-174) having a worst run of things in that period of time.
Avery Bradley is the longest-tenured Celtic having been drafted by Boston with the 19th overall pick in 2010.
He has been around long enough to recall when the Lakers were a title contender being led by Kobe Bryant in addition to the stretch prior to the last two Celtics victories, when Boston had lost five of six to the Lakers.
That’s why despite the Lakers not being among the better teams out West this season, there’s always a little extra incentive for Bradley to play well whenever he steps foot inside Staples Arena.
“It means something for me every time I’m in this building,” Bradley told reporters. “It’s always a rivalry game for me. I take pride going out playing hard as I can.
He added, “Celtics always want to come out on top against the Lakers.”

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