Celtics

The NBA's first buzzer-beater was made by...

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The NBA's first buzzer-beater was made by...

From Comcast SportsNetSAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Tony Parker swished the buzzer-beater and unleashed a cathartic scream. Under the basket, Kevin Durant stood frozen in disbelief.Throw in the trade that sent James Harden to Houston, and that's two stunners for the Oklahoma City Thunder during the first week of this NBA season.Parker sank a 21-footer as time expired and the San Antonio Spurs won a thrilling rematch of the Western Conference finals, beating Oklahoma City 86-84 on Thursday night without having to chase around Harden this time.Parker scored the last of his 14 points while Serge Ibaka -- the NBA's leading shot-blocker last season -- ran at him full steam. The All-Star guard calmly swished a long jumper from the left wing before breaking into a sustained scream while his teammates mobbed him in front of the Thunder bench."I was like, I have to shoot fast," Parker said about eluding the outstretched arm of the 6-foot-10 Ibaka. "He was coming very fast."Durant led all scorers with 23 points and began his sixth NBA season by becoming the second-youngest player behind LeBron James to reach 10,000 career points. Durant, however, stood silent under the basket for several seconds after Parker's shot before walking off the court."We lost him. We didn't get him in time, but he still made a tough shot over Serge," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "It's not an easy hand to shoot over."The defending West champions broke up their Big Three by trading the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year to Houston on Saturday. Harden had 37 points and 12 assists in a brilliant debut with the Rockets on Wednesday night.Speaking before the season opener, Brooks succinctly acknowledged Harden's performance before saying his team was moving forward.Until Parker's game-winner, it was almost as if nothing had changed for Oklahoma City.Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 20 points and eight rebounds. Parker also had 11 assists and hit a 3-pointer with 28.4 seconds left that tied the game at 84 and set up his buzzer-beater on the next possession.Durant also had 14 rebounds. Russell Westbrook scored 18 points but made a poor pass on the Thunder's final possession that gave the ball back to the Spurs with 5.9 seconds left, giving Parker plenty of time to set and release his shot.The Thunder are starting anew with newcomers Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb, who along with draft picks, are what the Thunder got in exchange for their third-leading scorer. Small-market Oklahoma City wasn't willing to offer Harden a maximum contract, and the No. 3 overall pick in the 2009 draft wouldn't accept its lesser offer.By Wednesday, Harden had agreed to a five-year, 80 million extension with the Rockets. That night, he stepped into Houston's starting lineup and became the first player in NBA history to have more than 30 points and 12 assists in a debut with a new team.Asked before Thursday's game whether the second-guessing had begun, Brooks didn't linger on the topic."He's played good basketball. He had a good game," Brooks said. "We're real focused on our group, our guys and moving forward."Westbrook, who took responsibility for losing Parker on the screen on the game's final play, acknowledged the first game without Harden didn't feel the same."It was definitely odd not playing and practicing with him," Westbrook said. "But we still need to find a way to win."Martin had 15 points and was Oklahoma City's only bench player in double figures. But backup Eric Maynor made his own big contribution, hitting a half-court heave to tie the game at the end of the third quarter.Spurs guard Manu Ginobili missed his second game with back problems but could make his season debut Saturday against Utah.Parker played 35 minutes and scored 23 points in Wednesday night's season-opening win at New Orleans. He played another 35 minutes against the Thunder, more than what Spurs coach Gregg Popovich would prefer for his Big Three on back-to-back nights this early in the season."Down the stretch, you think he might be getting a little tired on the back-to-back," Popovich said. "Be he had his legs on the shot and did a great job."Notes: Spurs C DeJuan Blair made his season debut after Popovich kept him on the bench Wednesday, which prompted a clearly frustrated Blair to take to Twitter after the game. Blair, who started 62 games last season but was stuck on the bench by the playoffs, insisted he wasn't complaining but at one point tweeted, "I'm might not b tall enough." ... Duncan surpassed Charles Barkley for 17th on the NBA's career rebounding list.

Now, it gets real for revamped Celtics

Now, it gets real for revamped Celtics

CLEVELAND – For the Celtics, the preseason went about as well as expected.
 
No serious, long-term injuries.

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They won every preseason game, even one in which the team’s second unit played the role of starters.
 
And the chemistry concerns with so many new players, while very real, didn’t seem to be that big an issue.
 
Still, as good as the Celtics may feel about where they stand, they know it means absolutely nothing unless they get it done against elite, NBA-caliber competition.
 
The Cleveland Cavaliers.
 
Opening night.
 
It doesn’t get much more challenging than that.
 
And for the Celtics, win or lose, this is going to be a game for them to build upon going forward this season.
 
“I’m just ready to get going,” said Gordon Hayward. “A lot of things have happened this summer, a lot of buildup. I’m ready to get to the game. It’s going to be a fun matchup, for sure.”
 
Among the summer happenings was Boston and Cleveland pulling off one of the biggest blockbuster deals of the offseason with the Cavs trading Kyrie Irving to the Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic while also conveying Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick and Miami’s 2020 second-round pick to complete the deal.
 
Having spent his first six seasons with the Cavaliers, there’s a certain amount of corporate knowledge that the 25-year-old Irving brings to tonight’s matchup.
 
“I know a lot about them, they know a lot about me,” Irving said. “There’s plenty of film on all of us, but specifically going back and understanding the way we played last year when I played with them and now how they’re playing with the new guys, understanding how to implement themselves into their new system plus me implementing myself into this system...There’s definitely some benefits on our end, there are some benefits on their end. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
 
Part of the challenge for the Celtics will be developing the kind of on-court cohesion to be successful, which is easier said than done when you’re talking about getting nearly a dozen players on the same page in just a few weeks.
 
“We have good chemistry as a group,” said Al Horford. “We still have a ways to go as far as keep getting comfortable with each other and keep figuring out our spots. But we feel good with what we have. Our young guys, it’s been remarkable how quickly they’ve been able to come along and be up to date with everything. And our new guys as well. They’re up to date, they know what we need to do. They understand the game plan. It’s been good.”
 
Players aren’t the only ones eager to get to tonight’s game.
 
“To have to go into Cleveland with that level of intensity, with that level of attention, distraction, etc. is great,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “It’s great to experience that in game one, a tremendous learning experience for our group, so we’re preparing to play as well as we can. And we know that they’re really, really good. But this is..I’m looking forward to it because I want to find out where we are.”
 

'People took it the wrong way,' Isaiah says of his Ainge comments

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'People took it the wrong way,' Isaiah says of his Ainge comments

Isaiah Thomas told Sports Illustrated last week that he "might never talk to Danny [Ainge] again." And he sounded pretty bitter about his trade from the Celtics to the Cavs.

Now, on the "Road Trippin" podcast with new teammate Channing Frye and ex-Cav Richard Jefferson, Thomas, who is out until at least January with a hip injury, said those comments were misunderstood.

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“People took it the wrong way,” Thomas said. “I understand the business, I understand that we’re in position to get traded and sent to other teams and things like that. It’s just how it went down that I didn’t respect. As a man, I feel like if you respected me as much as you say you did, you would have at least informed me about what was going on before it happened. And that’s all I was talking about.

“I’m not tripping off the trade like I got traded to the Cavs and we’re going to win a championship. And at the end of the day, I’m going to be fine with that,” Thomas said. “[Ainge] sent me to an even better situation with a bigger platform. I’m blessed to be in the position, I’m grateful and I’m excited.”

The Cavs host the Celtics tonight in the season opener. 

Jae Crowder, who came to Cleveland from Boston, was also on the podcast and when Frye talked with him about players deserving communication from the front office, Thomas could be heard in the background, saying, “That’s what I’m talking about.”

“I already said what I’m doing," Thomas told Crowder about what he'll do should he run into Ainge. "I’m going to keep it pushing like he kept pushing when he traded me, I’m not going to disrespect him. He’s a man and I’m a man, too. Like, I’m going to go my way. I play for the Cavaliers and that’s what it is.”