Felger: Durant slithers down a familiar path

Felger: Durant slithers down a familiar path

I can't believe I fell for it, can't believe I fell for the giant fraud perpetrated by the NBA media: That Kevin Durant only cared about the basketball. That he wasn't your typical NBA superstar. That his priorities were more grounded.

Please. From the house in the Hamptons used for his free-agent interviews, to the motives of his crossover agents at Roc Nation, to his ultimate decision to join the Warriors, Durant proved just another pampered superstar taking the easiest, most lucrative path put in front of him.

That doesn't make make him a bad guy; but it also doesn't make him any different. Those who thought he might be were sorely mistaken.

Read Royce Young's fine piece on ESPN and you'll find Durant's decision came down to the usual:

On the floor he wasn't getting the shots he wanted and felt he couldn't win it all with the players he was surrounded by.

Off the floor, he and his agents were concerned with his brand and the sales of his merchandise.

According to the story:

"His last two signature shoes -- the KD7 and KD8 -- didn't sell well. His jersey sales slipped. Durant has never sweat market size, but those around him were beginning to. The phrase that kept getting used: 'Shake it up.' "

Best way to get those sales up? Go get a ring. Easiest way to get it? Join Steph Curry and the Warriors. Sit in a mansion in the Hamptons with your agent Jay Z and let the suitors come in on their private jets to make it look like a process, but who are we kidding? Durant was headed to Golden State the whole way.

And here I had begun to believe he might want to forge his own legacy. Or perhaps just finish what he started. For some reason I thought this one wouldn't have anything to do with Nike or Under Armor or market share. Or market size, for that matter.

Stupid me. The Celts apparently knew better. Danny Ainge made sure to wear the KD8's (or were they the KD7's?) and the C's glitzed it up with Tom Brady as part of the entourage. But they were obviously no match for the easy ring waiting in California. No match for the bigger market, better team and easier path.

Because in the end, that's what Durant was about.

Email Felger at mfelger@comcastsportsnet.com. Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 FM. The simulcast runs daily on CSN.

NBA: Congrats to the Celtics on the win, but they for sure should not have won

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NBA: Congrats to the Celtics on the win, but they for sure should not have won

The NBA officials' Last Two Minute report for Tuesday is out, and boy did the Celtics get away with one!

The league admitted to missing two infractions -- both committed by Marcus Morris -- on the possession on which Morris hit a game-winning three-pointer against the Thunder. 

The C's began the possession with Morris inbounding the ball, but a stopwatch revealed to the league that Morris did not release the ball within the five seconds allotted on an inbounding play. Had the correct call been made, the ball would have been turned over to the Thunder, who at the time held a two-point lead with 7.7 seconds remaining. 

Furthermore, video replay led the league to determine that Morris traveled prior to taking the shot. The video evidence that suggested this was that Morris was wearing an NBA jersey in the video, but also he moved his pivot foot prior to the release of his dribble. That call would have also given the Thunder the ball. 

What these nerds didn't consider is that the basketball gods have more power than their stopwatches. What a win. 

Celtics have shown a knack for the comeback this year

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Celtics have shown a knack for the comeback this year

BOSTON -- As I made my way towards the Boston Celtics locker room following their 100-99 win over Oklahoma City on Tuesday night, I walked past co-owner Wyc Grousbeck, who, as you might expect, was pleased with what he had just witnessed.
“That was a good one,” he said.
That’s one way to describe it.


But explaining the Houdini-like way the Celtics seem to get out of some serious jams over and over again, and against really good teams, is indeed a head-scratcher for most.
It’s getting to the point where we’re running out of fresh adjectives to describe this team, which has a knack for the comeback.
“Improbable” doesn’t do justice to how Boston’s hit-the-lottery luck has played out so often on nights when it seemed on the doorstep of defeat.
And this town loves a good comeback story, whether it’s Tom Brady leading the Patriots to a Super Bowl win after being down by 25 points, or the Celtics spotting the NBA champ Golden State Warriors a 17-point cushion before rallying for a meaningful November win -- a rarity in the NBA.
But the obscure and unexpected have become standard in this seemingly alternate basketball universe that the Celtics play in, one that we have been bearing witness to all season.

I mean, look at their body of work:

DECEMBER 18: Down by one on the road at Indiana in the closing seconds of play in what appears to be a tough road loss, Terry Rozier steals and races down the floor looking like Deion Sanders in high-tops, for a game-winning dunk.

DECEMBER 28: Trailing the Houston Rockets by 26 points in the third quarter, they rally back and steal the win with not one, but two offensive fouls drawn in the last minute by Marcus Smart against perennial league MVP candidate James Harden.

JANUARY 11: In London, they erased a 22-point deficit and defeated Philly.

FEBRUARY 4: There was a buzzer-beater by Al Horford to beat Portland on Super Bowl Sunday.

And . . . well, you get the idea.

Boston has six wins by a single point this season, which is tied with Miami for the season lead and is one shy of tying the franchise record for one-point wins in a season. 

In addition, Boston has won 10 games this season in which it fell behind by 12 or more points. 
Winning so many games under less-than-ideal circumstances has not only padded the Celtics' win total, but also reinforced this team with a Teflon-strong mindset. They believe they're tthe ultimate practitioner of basketball necromancy, consistently finding a way to rise up from the basketball graveyard of defeat and win in dramatic fashion.

Like they did Tuesday night against the Thunder.

How can you bank on Carmelo Anthony, a career 81.2 percent free-throw shooter, missing a pair with less than nine seconds to play?
Or botching the play Brad Stevens drew up at the end of the game -- "We kind of messed [it] up," said Jayson Tatum -- but, rather than it leading to a turnover, instead becoming a game-winning 3-pointer by Marcus Morris with 1.8 seconds to spare? 


 It was another crazy ending in what has been a season filled with bizarre finishes, jaw-dropping rallies and a never-say-it’s-over brand of basketball that has kept Celtics fans on the edge of their seats all season.
“It’s great to be in a situation where you’re down six with under a minute to play or whatever it was, and you find a way to win the game,” said Stevens. “That’s going to be pretty unique, but they just kept playing the next possession and we were fortunate that that shot went down. That was a heck of a shot by Marcus."
A heck of a shot?
But in this bizarro world of Celtics basketball this season, it was predictable as the Thunder became yet another team to play Boston and leave wondering the same thing most Celtics fans do … “Did THAT just happen?