Celtics

With 2-0 series lead, Kyrie Irving knows 'big test' awaits on road

With 2-0 series lead, Kyrie Irving knows 'big test' awaits on road

Kyrie Irving made it look easy in the Celtics' Game 2 win over the Pacers, but he knows nothing easy awaits him and the C's on the road.

Boston takes a 2-0 series lead into Indiana thanks largely to Irving's 37-point performance on Wednesday night. While Irving is pleased with the way the first two games have gone, he isn't getting complacent.

"Now, it's about going on the road and doing the same thing," Irving told reporters after the victory. "And playing with an intensity that's needed to get a big-time win on the road. That's where the big test comes."

The Pacers went 29-12 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse this season, so Irving is correct in pointing out the Celtics have a sizable challenge coming their way.

Still, what the C's were able to accomplish Wednesday night was impressive. They outscored Indiana 31-12 in the fourth quarter with Irving, Jayson Tatum, and Al Horford all chiming in with clutch moments late.

Irving likes what he sees as his team moves on to Game 3 on Friday.

"I just love the sacrifices we're all making on this team," said Irving. "It's showing that it's well worth it. Those are two great wins at home, but now it’s time to go on the road, and I’m looking forward to that challenge with my brothers."

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Cedric Maxwell: LeBron James, not Michael Jordan, is the GOAT due to activism

Cedric Maxwell: LeBron James, not Michael Jordan, is the GOAT due to activism

If you believe Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time, Cedric Maxwell wants you to consider a new perspective.

The former Boston Celtics star joined NBC Sports Boston's "Arbella Early Edition" to explain why LeBron James, not Jordan, should be considered the GOAT -- for reasons that go beyond on-court talent.

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"LeBron James is the GOAT now," Maxwell said. "He's the GOAT because, not only on the basketball side, but social issues: He's been involved in every social issue that we look at.

"When somebody says, 'Shut up and dribble' -- LeBron James has put his money where his mouth is, and that to me resonates. That's why I think more of our players and more NBA people need to step up and find that same courage."

 

James has consistently used his public platform to speak out against social inequality and call attention to racial injustice. The Los Angeles Lakers star has shared several statements on social media about the recent killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and in 2014 wore a shirt reading "I Can't Breathe" prior to a Cleveland Cavaliers game to call attention to the death of Eric Garner at the hands of a New York police officer.

Jordan, meanwhile, has been criticized for staying out of politics and not taking a stand against racial injustice. Most notably, the former Chicago Bulls star took heat for not endorsing Harvey Gantt to become North Carolina's first African-American U.S. Senator in 1990. He later rationalized his decision by noting that "Republicans buy sneakers too."

Maxwell believes Jordan still values commercial gain over standing up for what's right, which is why he believes James deserves the true "GOAT" title.

"During this pandemic, Georgia opened up, and there was a shoe store that dropped Jordan's shoes during that time," Maxwell said. "And it showed all these kids with no masks on (trying to buy Jordan's shoes). Did Nike need that kind of publicity? Did Jordan need that kind of publicity?"

NBA Rumors: Season could resume July 31 under this 22-team format

NBA Rumors: Season could resume July 31 under this 22-team format

The NBA reportedly has settled on a plan to resume the 2019-20 season, and it's pretty fascinating.

The NBA plans to propose a 22-team format for a resumed season in a Board of Governors meeting Thursday, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Wednesday.

The league is targeting a July 31 date to resume the season, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, who added Wednesday that all 22 teams would play eight regular-regular season games at Orlando's Walt Disney World to determine playoff seeding under this format.

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The Boston Celtics had 18 regular-season games remaining before the NBA halted its season on March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The C's currently own the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference and are three games behind the No. 2 seed Toronto Raptors and 2.5 games ahead of the No. 4 seed Miami Heat.

In addition to the 16 teams currently in playoff spots (eight from each conference), five Western Conference teams and one East team will head to Disney World to battle for a playoff berth in their respective conferences, per Wojnarowski.

The Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, Spurs and Suns all are within six games of the No. 8 seed Memphis Grizzlies in the West, while the Wizards are 5.5 games back of the No. 8 seed Magic in the East.

In both conferences, if the No. 9 seed is at least four games behind the No. 8 seed after the eight regular season games, the No. 8 seed will automatically move on to the playoffs. If not, the teams would have a play-in tournament that's double-elimination for the No. 8 seed and single-elimination for the No. 9 seed, per Charania.

Under the current seeding, the Celtics would face No. 6 seed Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the playoffs. The Sixers have the same record as the Indiana Pacers, though, so a lot could change in eight games' time.

The Board of Governors is expected to approve this plan in Thursday's call, per Wojnarowski, so it's very possible we'll see the NBA return beginning July 31.