Celtics

Doc: 'The playoffs are wide open'

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Doc: 'The playoffs are wide open'

BOSTON -- The NBA playoffs begin in two days and as far as Celtics head coach Doc Rivers sees it, there is not a clear-cut favorite to take it all.
I think the playoffs are wide open, he said prior to the Celtics regular season finale against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday. Obviously there are favorites out there and they earned that right, but I dont even know what youd call everybody else -- unfavorites? I think all of them have confidence, too. Everybody.
The Chicago Bulls (49-16) and Miami Heat (46-19) have dominated the Eastern Conference all season, and then it gets closer in the standings after that.
The Indiana Pacers (42-24) hold the third seed, followed by the Celtics (38-27) at fourth. The Cs first round opponent, the Hawks, are right behind them at 39-26. After that, only two games separate the Orlando Magic (37-28), New York Knicks (35-30), and Philadelphia 76ers (35-30).
In the Western Conference, seeds one and two (San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder) are separated by 2.5 games; seeds three through five (Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Clippers) are separated by three games; and the final three spots (Denver Nuggets, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz) are just two games apart.
I think every single team thinks they have a shot this year, said Rivers. I think if it had been 82 games, I just think this is one of those years that the favorites are the favorites, they deserve to be the favorites, but the underdogs, theyre confident. And I think were in that group.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Jayson Tatum vs. Markelle Fultz debate

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Jayson Tatum vs. Markelle Fultz debate

0:41 - Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions on the Celtics getting their first win of the season and a comparison between Isaiah Thomas and Kyrie Irving in the 4th quarter.

7:17 - Phil Perry joins BST to break down the tale of the tape between the Falcons and the Patriots as he breaks down the quarterbacks, offense, defense, coaching, and intangibles between the two teams.

11:57 - Our crew on BST discuss number 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz and number 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum going up against each other and debate who seems like the better pick so far. 

16:35 - In this segment of Irrelevant Questions, Tom Curran interviews Patriots WR Phillip Dorsett as he asks him a bunch of random questions. 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

ALCS: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees 7-1 to force Game 7

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ALCS: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees 7-1 to force Game 7

HOUSTON -  Justin Verlander remained perfect with Houston, pitching seven shutout innings when the team needed him most, and Jose Altuve homered and drove in three runs as the Astros extended the AL Championship Series to a decisive Game 7 with a 7-1 win over the New York Yankees on Friday night.

Acquired in an Aug. 31 trade, Verlander has won all nine outings with the Astros. And with his new club facing elimination in Game 6 against the Yankees, he delivered again.

After striking out 13 in a complete-game victory in Game 2, Verlander threw another gem. The right-hander scattered five hits and struck out eight to improve to 9-0 with 67 strikeouts since being traded from Detroit. George Springer helped him out of a jam in the seventh, leaping to make a catch at the center-field wall and rob Todd Frazier of extra bases with two on and Houston up 3-0.

Game 7 is Saturday night in Houston, with the winner advancing to the World Series against the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE