Celtics

Lockout drives many NBA players overseas

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Lockout drives many NBA players overseas

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
BOSTON -- The NBA lockout was still weeks away when Nenad Krstic took next season into his own hands. Rather than wait to see what happened at 12:01am on July 1, Krstic signed a two-year, 9.8 million deal with CSKA Moscow in early June, securing his opportunity to play basketball while the future of the 2011-12 NBA season is in question.

As Krstic told the Boston Herald from his home in Serbia, he is happy with his decision to play overseas. Its not about the money for the former Boston Celtics center he will earn less next season in Russia than he did last season in the NBA. With the lockout underway, Krstic has peace of mind that he has a place to play basketball.

I dont think you will see a lot coming here, Krstic told the Herald. Europe is not in a great situation financially. There are only four or five teams now that can offer much to NBA players, and those teams right now are almost full. Thats a problem for NBA players, I think. It was a reason why I had to go right away. I got maybe the best contract in Europe because of that.

It is too early to tell how many players will make the same move as Krstic and sign with an international team. Agent Mark Bartelstein told the Washington Post he thinks an athletes decision to play in another country would depend on his individual circumstances.

I think it depends on the player, what his salary range is, Bartelstein told the Post. There certainly will be a lot of players who might be a borderline NBA player that might not wait out the NBA and go to Europe. It depends on the opportunity that happens.

What is certain, though, is more and more rumors and speculation of players going overseas will emerge during the lockout. Here are just a few names being mentioned already:

Former Celtic (Connecticut Sun television analystrecent Comcast SportsNet New England co-host) Brian Scalabrine has been open to the possibility of playing in Europe since before the lockout. Last season he said he would go overseas if he did not get signed by an NBA team for the 2010-11 season. After playing a year with the Chicago Bulls, he is still open to the option. He told the Chicago Tribune, For me personally, if in the next 15 days its still kind of like it is now, Im just going to Europe and play.

On Friday the Los Angeles Times reported on early discussions of Kobe Bryant traveling to China to participate in a basketball tour with other NBA players: There are preliminary talks about a basketball tour to China this summer and perhaps beyond in which the Lakers superstar, who has called China a home away from home and has an enormous following there, would be the headliner with several other NBA stars forming two or three barnstorming teams. Bryant and his agent Rob Pelinka are trying to put together the tour, said Minnesota Timberwolves rookie forward Derrick Williams, who also is represented by Pelinka.

If Bryants teammate, Pau Gasol, were to play overseas, he would prefer to play in
his native Spain, but is also open to other options. According to an AP report: Gasol says if there is a lockout, Spain would be the first choice I wouldn't say only one, but the first on Friday. China, he adds, has great potential as an alternative to Spain.

Vladimir Radmanovic, who has played for five teams in 10 seasons, would consider staying put in Europe, according to the San Francisco Chronicle: He said he'll stay
overseas, if he starts playing in the Basketball League of Serbia. I was never playing for one last (NBA) contract, Radmanovic said. Let them argue. I might be over here, playing basketball.

According to HoopsHype.com, former Celtics second-round draft pick and Lithuania native Darius Songalia is close to an agreement to play for Lietuvos Rytas in his home country.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA

'Resilient' Celtics continue to find ways to win

'Resilient' Celtics continue to find ways to win

We have seen the Boston Celtics play less-than-stellar basketball for long stretches, only to turn it on in the second half and escape with a win.

But Monday night’s game at Dallas was different.

Usually it has been Boston’s offense that has kept the game closer than expected, but on Monday it was the team’s defense that struggled more than usual.

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But this team continues to show an ability to withstand all in-game struggles to eventually emerge victorious which was exactly what happened as the Celtics rallied from a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit to knock off the Mavericks 110-102 in overtime.

The Celtics (16-2) have now won 16 in a row which ties the fourth-longest winning streak in franchise history.

But this win, like so many of its predecessors during this historic run, was not one to celebrate afterwards.

“Quite a resilient comeback in the fourth,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “Not our best foot forward before that. Of all the comebacks, that did not look good for a long time. We found a way to win it.”

Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 47 points, 10 of which came in the overtime period.

But his performance was just one of many Boston needed to extend its winning streak.

“In a game like this, you have to do whatever it takes, both ends of the floor,” Boston’s Jayson Tatum told reporters afterwards.

And he did just that.

In the final seconds of the fourth quarter, Tatum’s defense forced a Harrison Barnes miss that would have won the game for Dallas.

And in the fourth quarter, Tatum’s rebounding was critical to Boston (16-2) extending its stay atop the NBA standings.

The 6-foot-8 rookie had a near double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds, with four of his boards coming in overtime.

Boston also got another strong game from Jaylen Brown (22 points, nine rebounds) and Marcus Smart, whose shooting was well off the mark most of the night (3-for-15) but like he has done too many times to count, Smart managed to make a positive impact on the game.

He led the Celtics with eight assists off the bench, in addition to a slew of hustle plays that included a desperation save of a ball going out of bounds that managed to find its way into the hands of Kyrie Irving, who drained a much-needed 3-pointer late in the game.

“Those are worth more than whatever the shot goes in,” Stevens said. “That’s why it’s hard to quantify Marcus Smart.”

The same can be said about Boston’s winning streak, which has come about despite several stretches, every game seemingly, where the Celtics struggle.

But to their credit, they don’t allow the in-game setbacks take away from their focus night-in and night-out and that’s to find a way, any way possible, to emerge with a victory.

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Stars, studs and duds: Kyrie Irving stands tall

Stars, studs and duds: Kyrie Irving stands tall

As NBC Sports Boston’s Kyle Draper talked with Kyrie Irving following his best performance as a Boston Celtic, you could hear the chants “M-V-P! M-V-P! M-V-P!” from the crowd behind him.
 
Considering the way Irving played on Monday night, that’s not just a case of fandemonium people!
 
Irving delivered a performance that won’t be forgotten anytime soon, tallying 47 points in leading Boston to a 110-102 overtime win at Dallas.
 
With the win, Boston has extended its winning streak to 16 in a row which ties the fourth-longest winning streak in franchise history.
 
While there were lots of Celtics who contributed to the victory, no one stood as tall as Irving who tallied 10 of Boston’s 16 points in overtime.
 
“We had to claw, fight our way back for this one,” Irving told NBC Sports Boston’s Kyle Draper. “But we had to earn it. These guys, the Dallas Mavericks, they gave us their best shot.”
 
And the Celtics countered with their best shot – Irving.
 
Even before the edge-of-the-cliff finish, Irving was in a rhythm that made it absolutely clear that he was going to have a big night scoring the ball.
 
“We just have to continue to get better from this point,” Irving said.
 
And as far as those “M-V-P” chants?
 
“It’s pretty awesome,” Irving said of the chants. “But we got a long way to go.”
 
Here’s a look at Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 110-102 overtime win over Dallas which extends Boston’s winning streak to 16 in a row which is the fourth-longest winning streak in franchise history.
 
 
STAR

Kyrie Irving

This wasn’t even close, folks. Irving kept the Celtics afloat for most of the game, then guided them to victory with a dominant performance. He finished with 47 points, the most he has scored as a Boston Celtic. And on a night when most of the team struggled to make shots, they needed everything he had to offer.
 
 
 
STUDS
 
Harrison Barnes

He had a chance to win it in regulation, but failed to knock down the game-winning shot. Still, Barnes had a strong game for the Mavericks while finishing with 31 points and six rebounds.
 
Jaylen Brown

Kyrie Irving’s backcourt mate had yet another strong performance for the Celtics. He had a near double-double of 22 points and nine rebounds.
 
Jayson Tatum

Don’t let the 15-point total fool you. Tatum was a major factor in Boston’s comebacks with his ability to finish in transition and his defense down the stretch on Barnes gave the Celtics a shot as the game went into overtime.
 
J.J. Barea

The former Northeastern star was a huge spark off the bench for Dallas, tallying 16 points.
 
Marcus Smart

You can count me among those who cringed at a lot of those shots Marcus Smart took – and missed. Despite going 3-for-15 from the field, Boston doesn’t win this game without Marcus Smart. He made hustle plays defensively. He set teammates up for easy scores. And as bad as Smart shot the ball, he did make one of the biggest shots of the night, a 3-pointer that cut Dallas’ lead to 96-94 with 1:23 to play.
 
 

DUDS
 
Al Horford

He poked the ball free from Harrison Barnes late in the game which was a huge play, but for the most part Horford’s imprint on the game was non-existent. He missed four of his five shots from the field, tallying 3 points to go with eight rebounds and seven assists.
 
Dennis Smith Jr.

He is an explosive guard and scored six points in the first couple of minutes. From there, he was a non-factor, finishing with eight points on 4-for-16 shooting and maybe most significant, being nothing more than a cool breeze defensively as Kyrie Irving blew by him time and time again.

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