Celtics

About last night: Kevin Durant's injury overshadows Warriors' rally in Game 5

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About last night: Kevin Durant's injury overshadows Warriors' rally in Game 5

WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT

Blakely: Durant’s (not-so-certain) future  

The euphoria Golden State fans are feeling after they staved off elimination with a Game 5 win, is undercut by the utter disappointment that they and so many basketball fans are feeling after Kevin Durant’s short-lived return. 

Having missed a month of the postseason due to a calf injury, Durant suffered what team officials are calling an Achilles injury.

While no timetable has been set (he’s due to have an MRI Tuesday), no one expects him back on the floor in this series. 

The domino effect of his injury not only makes the Warriors’ efforts to come back in this series that much tougher, but it raises all sorts of issues throughout the league.

There’s plenty of time to discuss and re-discuss the impact of Durant’s injury on the NBA free agency landscape. 

But for now, the focus should be on wishing one of the game’s all-time greats a speedy recovery so that he’ll be back to playing sooner rather than later, regardless of whether it’s in a Warriors uniform or elsewhere.

Forsberg: It's getting Hot in Herre 

We’ve got a Nelly earworm this morning because “Heart of a Champion” is on repeat in our brains after watching the Warriors save their season at the end of Game 5 (and, to be fair, that song is pure fire if only because of John Tesh’s “Roundball Rock” theme looped throughout).

The Warriors should have been toast. Durant was injured, champagne was on ice for @champagnepapi (and the Raptors).

Instead, Steph Curry hit a 3-pointer to tie the game with 82 seconds to go that had Raptors players cradling their heads on the sideline in disbelief. Klay Thompson did the Sam Cassel dance in the first half of Game 4 but should have saved it for his eventual game-winning 3-pointer with 58 seconds to go in Game 5. These Warriors got some crazy stones.

Of course, the win was tempered by the injury to Durant but, my gosh, in a vacuum that was an incredibly gutsy win by a team whose dynasty seemed ready to crumble. If only we could get rid of the Nelly earworm.

SO... THAT HAPPENED


THEY SAID IT

"I don't believe there's anybody to blame, but I understand in this world and if you have to, you can blame me. I run our basketball operations department. And to tell you something about Kevin Durant: Kevin Durant loves to play basketball, and the people that questioned whether he wanted to get back to this team were wrong."

-- Warriors general manager Bob Myers, on Kevin Durant

NUMBER OF NOTE

77 -- Steph Curry & Klay Thompson scored or assisted on 77 of the Warriors' 106 points in Game 5. Their 57 combined points were their third-most in an NBA Finals game.

MONDAY'S SCOREBOARD

  • Warriors 106, Raptors 105 (TOR leads series 3-2)

WHAT WE'LL BE WATCHING

Blakely: Kawhi Leonard is human after all 

After what has been an amazing run of games in the postseason, Kawhi Leonard picked as bad a night as there could be, to have an off night. With a chance for the Raptors to knock off the defending champions, Leonard the cyborg morphed into playing like a human; capable of missing shots that his cyborg side knocked down over and over and over again. 

The end result was a Toronto loss, one in which Leonard scored 26 points on 9-for-24 shooting, with 12 rebounds and six assists while turning it over five times. 

That latter stat, the five turnovers, was the eye-popping one because the one thing Leonard has consistently done besides dominate scoring and the boards, was avoid turnovers and miscues. 

In this series, it was the second time Leonard had five or more turnovers. Both games resulted in Toronto losses. 

But here’s the thing: Last night’s five-turnover game was the sixth time during this postseason that Leonard had a game with five or more turnovers. His record in the game right afterwards?

5-0.  

Forsberg: Waiting for word 

All eyes are on Durant’s MRI and the long-term ramifications of his injury. An Achilles tear could change the entire NBA offseason and makes the 2019-20 season a whole lot more of a toss up around the league.

The bigger question is how exactly do the Warriors respond in the aftermath of an emotional win? Can they harness the energy and rally around their fallen comrade?

In a series that hasn’t disappointed, Game 6 could be another treat to watch — and selfishly we want a Game 7.

Click here for A. Sherrod Blakely's NBA Mock Draft 5.0>>>>

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After Ben Simmons' extension, the Sixers are in a familiar place the Celtics were a year ago

After Ben Simmons' extension, the Sixers are in a familiar place the Celtics were a year ago

BOSTON -- So Philly went out and got Al Horford this summer, bolstering its title aspirations for the present. And now the Sixers have reportedly just cut another fat check -  a five-year, $170 million dollar one - to Ben Simmons which on the surface strengthens their core for a basketball eternity like, you know, the next three or four years. 

In looking at their core of Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and now Simmons all signed to deals that’ll last through the 2023 season, there’s no question they’ll be in the conversation as the team to beat in the East. 

And as you start to look at their success being fueled in large part by their young core, you look over at Boston’s youth movement and … the optimism isn’t nearly as bright. 

Jayson Tatum remains the one member of the Celtics’ youth group who has shown flashes of having all-star makeup. You love what Jaylen Brown does most nights, and how he has shown progress as a player every year he has been in the NBA. 

But an All-Star in the making? 

Probably not. 

And we won’t even get into Robert Williams III whose promise ranges from being a starter to not playing at all. 

The rookies they drafted are all nice players.

But high impact players in the NBA?

Not really.

It all adds up to a Celtics team that when you talk about youthful talent, is not on the same level as the Sixers whose young core of Embiid, Harris and Simmons are all either All-Stars or in the case of Harris, a player with All-Star caliber talent. 

Boston’s hopes of remaining in the conversation for years to come in the East will hinge on more than just the development of its young players. Even more invaluable will be Danny Ainge’s ability to wheel and deal his way to building another title contender via trades and free agency. 

The addition of Kemba Walker who signed a four-year, $141 million deal certainly helps. The same could be said for Gordon Hayward bouncing back and playing more like last-year-in-Utah Gordon Hayward versus up-and-down, on-the-mend Gordon Hayward we saw last season. 

The reality is this. 

The Sixers have built a team that is poised to compete both in the present and future, but Celtics fans know all too well how quickly that can all come crashing down in a hurry. 

First Gordon Hayward got hurt, followed by the team’s up and down start. Kyrie Irving struggled to be the kind of leader this team needed, only to leave this summer for Brooklyn and soon after, so did Al Horford for Philly. 

I give the Sixers credit for doing all the things a franchise needs to do to best position themselves for long-term success. 

But even with Simmons locked into a long-term deal, how long will it be before rumors start to be floated that Simmons is making goo-goo eyes at playing with the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James and Anthony Davis? 

The fact that Simmons has signed a long-term deal means nothing; not in this NBA era when players with years - plural not singular - left on their contracts all but force a trade to the team of their choice if they don’t like the team they’re on as much. 

There are a series of other plausible factors that could torpedo the efforts Philly has made to insulate itself from the teams coming at them both now and in the future, similar to what the Celtics just experienced. 

And that’s why while the rest of the East should definitely be on guard for the Sixers building themselves into a potent squad, by no means should their core group be deemed an insurmountable unit that’s impervious to change. 

They have a good team, one that on paper is clearly better than Boston is right now in terms of their overall unit and their youthful core. 

But things change in a hurry in the NBA, where teams built upon talented youth are suddenly torn down by too many egos and not enough shine to go around. 

We’ll see if the Sixers become the latest to succumb to that, or if their young core of Embiid, Harris and Simmons will lead them into an era where that youth comes of age in time to win a title. 

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Celtics snubbed from All-NBA Summer League teams

Celtics snubbed from All-NBA Summer League teams

Even though Celtics fans rejoiced in every second of Tacko Fall, Carsen Edwards, Grant Williams and Robert Williams III action in July, no Boston Celtics player made the All-NBA Summer League first or second teams. 

The NBA announced the first and second team honors on Monday afternoon, which failed to recognize the Summer C's, who earned the top seed in the postseason before losing to the Grizzlies in the quarterfinals. 

Edwards, Boston's second-round pick out of Purdue, arguably had the strongest case for All-Summer League recognition. Edwards averaged 19.4 points on 48% shooting in 23.4 minutes per game. Even though he didn't make an All-Summer League team, Edwards earned himself a nice rookie contract. 

In the frontcourt, Williams III nearly averaged a double-double and Grant Williams provided an all-around boost on both ends of the court.  

The Celtics are apparently confused about the NBA's selection process, at least according to their official Twitter account. 

twitter.com/celtics/status/1150875806312390657

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