Celtics

It's Lonzo Ball who stinks, not LaVar

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It's Lonzo Ball who stinks, not LaVar

This is going to be very dramatic, so buckle up. 

Remember when Jesse is in the hospital after Hank beats his ass and Walter offers him a 50-50 split of the Fring money to be partners and he turns it down? He says “I am not turning down the money. I am turning down you!”

Well, imagine me beaten to a pulp sitting in a hospital bed as I say this next part all Pinkman-like. Makes it more dramatic. 

I don’t dislike LaVar Ball. I dislike Lonzo Ball. 

As the Celtics prepare to play the other projected top pick on whom they passed, the Ball family finds itself in the news yet again. This time it’s over LiAngelo Ball’s arrest in China for shoplifting. What an idiot. 

And “idiot” is a term that’s been thrown around a lot regarding basketball’s brashest family. Usually, it’s slapped on father LaVar, the guy who, in addition to selling overpriced trash shoes and talking ragtime in front of just about any camera that’s been stuck in front of him, may or may not have gotten third son LaMelo’s high school coach fired. 

Yet if LaVar’s an idiot, I don’t care. He’s background noise we’ve chosen to put in the foreground. As far as I’m concerned, he’s no worse than Cheryl Hines’ character in “A Bad Moms Christmas.” He’s a parent who loves his family so much that it’s literally the only way he spends his time. He’s out of control, sure. But he’s not hurting anybody. 

My issue is with Lonzo, who’s also not hurting anybody, but is the actual main event here. He’s the reason any of us have even heard of LaVar. And if we’re going to care about anyone doing dumb stuff, it’s the actual player. And I’ve got my eye on Lonzo. 

Here’s what Lonzo has done so far: 

- Sucked at basketball (more on that below). 
- Actually fixed his mouth to say Future was better music than Nas and that Nas wasn't "real hip-hop." 
- Was part of this iconic photo. 

I take more offense to Lonzo disrespecting Nas than I do LaVar and his winning smile acting like Lonzo played well in the first game of the season. I take more joy in watching Patrick Beverley stand over a defeated Lonzo than I do watching LaVar be proven wrong for the billionth time. So if we’re going to trash anyone, let’s go with the guy who matters here.

As for the actual basketball part (boring), I’m invested in seeing whether all of this is too big for Lonzo: The hype, playing for his hometown Lakers, knowing that opponents are gunning for him. So far, the Lakers are good in spite of Lonzo’s struggles (he is shooting under 30 percent lmaooooooooooo), as 22nd overall pick Kyle Kuzma has been the Lakers’ best rookie. 

If Lonzo does amount to anything as a player, that will be a good thing. The Celtics-Lakers rivalry will have its next duo, as Ainge chose to go with Tatum over Ball. You can focus your efforts on rolling your eyes at the dad, but you’ll be missing the point. 

[Also, that Foot Locker commercial with Lonzo wasn’t funny and I lost all respect for anyone who pretended it was.] 

Ray Allen among Hall of Fame finalists

Ray Allen among Hall of Fame finalists

Ray Allen, part of the Celtics' Big Three that won Boston's last championship in 2008, is one of the finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2018 announced Saturday at NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles.

Allen, the all-time leader in three-pointers with 2,973, who, with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, helped the Celtics hang their 17th championship banner, joins Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Grant Hills and WNBA stars Tina Thompson and Katie Smith as first-time nominees. Also among the finalists are Maurice Cheeks, Chris Webber, coach Charles “Lefty” Driesell, coach Kim Mulkey, coach Rudy Tomjanovich, referee Hugh Evans, and the Wayland Baptist University women’s team.

The inductees to be enshrined in the Hall in September in Springfield, Mass., will be revealed April 1 at the NCAA men's Final Four in San Antonio. 

Finalists for induction need to be retired for at least three seasons. They'll now be voted on by a 24-member panel that includes current Hall of Famers, basketball executives and media members. Those receiving at least 18 of 24 votes will be inducted.

More on the Hall finalists here from NBCSports.com's Pro Basketball Talk 

Allen was part of a recent Celtics Talk podcast where he talked about his Celtics career and the controversy after he left to join the Miami Heat in 2012. Click here or listen below.

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Jaylen Brown scores 35 in Rising Stars game

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USA TODAY Sports photo

Jaylen Brown scores 35 in Rising Stars game

LOS ANGELES – A year ago this time, Jaylen Brown couldn’t even get an invite to the rookie-sophomore game, the Rising Stars Challenge.

But this year, he was there and he played a prominent role for Team USA even though it wasn’t enough as the Team World squad easily won, 155-124.

MORE BROWN - Shut up and dribble? "That's ridiculous," says Brown 

It certainly wasn’t because of Brown who led all scorers with 35 points on 14-for-21 shooting along with 10 rebounds.

And it was vintage Brown, mixing in an array of jumpers, 3-pointers and of course a pair memorable between-the-leg dunks.

Brown put on a show, for sure which isn’t all that surprising when you consider how the perceived snub last year served as added motivation for him on Friday night.

“Definitely I feel like I've got a chip on my shoulder, so I come out with that tenacity that I want people to recognize,” Brown told reporters after the game. “I want people to see. I just come out and play with that fire and let everything else fall into place.”

In addition to leading all scorers on Friday night, Brown also set a Celtics record for most points scored in the rookie-sophomore game.

“Like I said before, it's just great being here,” Brown said. “It's a tremendous opportunity. I just thank the NBA for letting me be part of this weekend. I had a lot of fun, and I just came out and was playing some basketball. Simple.”

Brown's Celtics teammate, rookie Jayson Tatum, came off the Team USA bench and scored 15 points.

And while they didn’t play too many stints together on Friday, both being selected for the game is a reminder of just how their progression and growth within the Celtics organization is along the same lines for each of them.

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“This year we've grown tremendously together,” Brown said. “Just studying older guys – Kyrie [Irving], Marcus Morris, [Aron] Baynes, and learning the game together, Al Horford. So me and him have gotten better together. So anytime you can grow with somebody in this league and also be successful, it's always dope being a part of situations like this. Like the Rising Stars Challenge I think is pretty cool. I think in the future, if we continue to stay together and continue to grow, I think we could be special.”

The same could be said for Brown’s play on Friday night, the kind of performance that speaks to the improvement in his game this season.

“My growth from last year to this year was significant, and my growth from this year to next year is going to be even better,” Brown said. “So, that's all it's about at the end of the day. It's not about dominating, it's not about this. It's just about getting better each and every day, you know, and just trying to hang a banner in Boston.”

Here are some of Brown's best moves: 

And Tatum's:  

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