Celtics

Bean: LeBron James, who is the best, probably won't be bad

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Bean: LeBron James, who is the best, probably won't be bad

The reaction to Game 1 was all about LeBron. People wondered why he fell silent, Stephen A. Smith had a hilarious little video and LeBron acted like a tool in his press conference. Fun stuff. 

That's the way this series is going to be. No matter what happens, it will be about LeBron because he's the best player in the world. Brad Stevens coaches up a storm? It will be about Brad Stevens coaching his way past LeBron. Jaylen Brown turns in a full series worth of performances like Game 1? Jaylen Brown outplayed LeBron. 

Some sports' best players aren't necessarily its biggest stars. That's not the case for the NBA and LeBron James. So when LeBron James is involved, you already know what the story is. 

Yet it's one thing to make it about LeBron James. It's a much different (and awfully silly) thing to make any grand statements about LeBron James after one game of the series. Most of you have probably heard that LeBron has won the last five series in which he's trailed, 1-0. All of you are aware that LeBron James is a lot better than he was Sunday.

The result of this series might not depend on LeBron. It will depend on whether LeBron has anything of value around him. He didn't on Sunday; Kevin Love was meh and the rest of Cleveland's starters totaled 31 points. The whole team was held to 35 points in the first half. They're bad defensively. It's entirely possible that this team kind of stinks. One could say LeBron is the least of the Cavaliers' concerns, but then again he's also their only hope. 

In his press conference, James belittled a reporter with a very condescending, "I don't know if you've followed my career" spiel about how he uses the first game of a series to feel out the opponent. That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard in my life, but honestly it's more believable than LeBron James only putting up 15 points a game for a whole series. 

The sad thing if you're a Celtics fan is that, perhaps even without a supporting cast, James is capable of beating a better team -- within reason -- at any time. Hell, even in that extremely un-LeBron performance, he was sniffing around a triple double (seven rebounds, nine assists).

Factor in the likelihood that James will get to the line more than six times a night and the fact that some of these games will be in Cleveland and you're left with the conclusion that Game 1 ruled, but it will be an outlier. Maybe it won't be an outlier based on the fact that the Celtics outplayed the Cavs, but it will be based on LeBron not being much of a factor. 

Now, can we read into how the other Cavaliers played? Sure. It's totally within reason that Kevin Love will be just OK, as he was Sunday. He played like that in the first round, when the Pacers nearly eliminated the Cavs. He was really good the next round, but it's harder and harder with each passing day to put any stock in something that involved the Raptors. 

The Cavaliers have been a team in flux nearly all season, from the injuries and struggles early on to the deadline day team swap. Yet the one constant is LeBron James. He's the best player in the world. We know that he'll be better, way better even. What we don't know is whether that will be enough. 

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Jayson Tatum on overhyped talk: 'I'll stick to my job'

Jayson Tatum on overhyped talk: 'I'll stick to my job'

A story earlier this week from Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes calling burgeoning young Celtics star Jayson Tatum one of the NBA's five most overrated players has expectedly ruffled some feathers in the Boston sports stratosphere. 

But Tatum himself is taking the high road. In a conversation with ESPN's Chris Forsberg centered around his recent workouts with future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, the 20-year-old forward, who finished third in Rookie of the Year voting this past season, said he wasn't bothered by the article:

While Hughes acknowledged that Tatum could be a franchise player, his reasoning for inclusion on the list was that he could be a victim of the stacked team for which he plays, saying, "Kyrie has never been one to take a backseat, and with him back on the floor, it'll be much harder for Tatum to build on his postseason takeover."

As for the session with Kobe? Tatum clearly absorbed a lot:

Hughes also named Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins, Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard, Bulls foward Zach LaVine and Suns forward Josh Jackson in the company of overhyped players.

It's been quite a week for Tatum, the former No. 3 overall pick out of Duke University. Earlier in the week, the St. Louis native had his jersey number permanently retired at his high school alma mater.

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Anything is Podable Episode Four: Building the Roster

Anything is Podable Episode Four: Building the Roster

Even with three All-Stars in Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce, Danny Ainge and the Celtics knew that, in order to win a championship, the team needed a strong supporting cast of role players.

Episode Four of NBC Sports Boston’s “Anything is Podable” takes a look at how Ainge constructed the rest of the roster and how one word, “ubuntu,” set the tone for a memorable season.

Giving the team a shooter off the bench, as well as another veteran presence in the locker room, Eddie House was perfect for the 2008 Celtics.

“I remember going to a practice when he was a young player,” said Ainge regarding House. “Just watching him shoot, and shoot, and just amazed at what a great shooter this kid was.”

“I saw him have his 56 and 60 back-to-back point games in the Pac-10 and it was amazing.”

Long a fan of House, Ainge went out and got his guy, but he wasn’t finished yet.

James Posey, a veteran wing who had experience both starting and coming off the bench, was nearing a deal with the Nets, but one call changed everything.

“I actually told my agent, I’ll just go to New Jersey,” said Posey. “Then Eddie House called me.”

House convinced Posey to spurn the Nets in favor of the Celtics, giving Boston another veteran off the pine.

With the roster taking shape, what the team needed now was an identity.

Ubuntu.

Mentioned to Doc Rivers at a trustee meeting at Marquette University, the word that means “I am who I am because of you,” became the team’s mantra.

“I looked this word up and I spent, no exaggeration, hours and days on this word,” said Rivers. “Everything about the word epitomized what we had to be.”

Ubuntu was the rallying cry of the 2008 Celtics and it all started with a Board of Trustees meeting at Marquette.

Anything is Podable is a ten-part series diving into the story of the 2008 Celtics and their championship season, with exclusive, never-before-heard interviews with team executives, former players, and media members.

Narrated by Kyle Draper, it’s the perfect way for Celtics fans to pass time this offseason and get excited for 2018-19, a season in which the Celtics have as good a chance at raising their 18th championship banner as they’ve had since that magical 2008 season.

Fans can subscribe to the podcast through the link below and check out the other nine episodes for a look at this exclusive series.