Celtics

Brad Stevens campaigns for Marcus Smart to make All-Defensive Teams

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Brad Stevens campaigns for Marcus Smart to make All-Defensive Teams

Even as Brad Stevens was busy getting ready for Thursday night's nationally televised clash with the Rockets, the Celtics head coach took a little time out to hit the campaign trail.

Asked about the challenge of defending James Harden, Stevens lauded what Marcus Smart had done in previous matchups against the defending MVP and made the case that Smart should get some consideration when it's time to vote for awards at the end of the season.

"Marcus is a really good defender, who probably should have been on All-Defensive teams before and for whatever reason has not been," said Stevens. "So maybe if everybody could write a little blurb for him, I think that would be nice because he should be on it every year. He’s a great defender."

Smart has been a defensive stalwart during his five NBA seasons, but he hasn't landed on the All-Defensive First or Second teams yet. Despite that lack of official recognition, he still knows what he brings to the floor.

“I think that I do a pretty good job. These five years I’ve been here I’ve been showing and showcasing that I am one of the top defenders in this league, but I don’t let it get me too worked up," Smart said. "I know what I bring on the court to my team and to the game. So I’m not really worried about it if a piece of paper or somewhere online doesn’t say that I’m on some type of team that guys that, I don’t know, just want to see certain guys there.

"It’s a popularity contest and I’m out there to play ball. So I don’t need a piece of paper or something telling me I’m a great defender."

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Pieces of paper like actual box scores don't often show Smart's full impact on a game, with no official categories for grit and hustle. But Smart says he's always placed a value on that end of the floor.

"I was always raised that defense wins championships," Smart told NBC Sports Boston's A. Sherrod Blakely during a pregame interview Thursday night. "The game is you gotta stop your guy from scoring; it doesn't mean anything if you go out there and score 30 but so does the guy you're guarding.

And I don't like to be on any highlight reels, so I take good pride in playing defense. It doesn't work out all the time, but for the majority of the time it works out in my favor."

Maybe if he keeps up his solid work on the defensive end, he'll get some All-Defensive Team votes at the end of the season. And it wouldn't help to have his head coach keep pumping his tires.

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LeBron James doesn't regret breaking Celtics-Lakers routine to watch son play

LeBron James doesn't regret breaking Celtics-Lakers routine to watch son play

BOSTON -- How LeBron James got to Boston on Monday afternoon is up for debate.

One report suggested the Los Angeles Lakers star took a private helicopter from Springfield, Mass., to TD Garden ahead of his game against the Boston Celtics. The Athletic's Joe Vardon reported that James rode in a car like anyone else.

James quipped after the game that he "walked" the 90-mile distance: "I walked and they didn’t call it."

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What's undisputed is that James messed with his pregame routine Monday to watch his son Bronny James, a freshman at Sierra Canyon (Calif.) High School, play in Springfield's Hoophall Classic.

Bronny's squad played at 1 p.m. ET, meaning James had to attend the Lakers' pregame meeting Monday morning, haul out to Springfield to watch his son, and then hightail it back to play a primetime NBA game against a quality opponent.

According to Vardon, James napped in the car on the way to and from his son's game to try to maintain some normalcy. Not that he minded the disruption.

"I’d break every routine in my life for my family," James said after the game. "Listen, if the gods are with me, they’re going to make sure I get back safe, but my routine was broke today. 

"But I could care less if I’m seeing my family, my wife and my daughter and my kids. It was a unique opportunity for me to see my son play live that close to where I’m at."

The Celtics likely are glad James logged the extra travel; the Lakers star scored just 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting (with seven rebounds and 13 assists) as Boston cruised to a 139-107 win.

Bronny also struggled Monday, failing to score in Sierra Canyon's loss to Paul VI. But the final scores were the only issue James had with his busy travel day in Massachusetts.

"I didn’t mind going down to Springfield to check the game out,” James said. “The only bad thing about today was that I took two L’s. The 'James Gang' took two L’s, but there are always better days."

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Why LeBron James reportedly arrived at Celtics-Lakers via helicopter

Why LeBron James reportedly arrived at Celtics-Lakers via helicopter

LeBron James did what any good dad would do Monday -- with a little extra help.

The Los Angeles Lakers star's son, Bronny, plays for Sierra Canyon (Calif.) High School, which happened to be in Springfield, Mass., on Monday to compete in the Hoophall Classic.

Sierra Canyon played Paul VI at 1 p.m. ET, so James, whose Lakers were in town to play the Boston Celtics on Monday night, decided to go watch his son play.

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James then had to hightail it from Springfield to Boston -- about 92 miles and a 90-minute drive on a good day -- to get ready for Celtics-Lakers.

But rather than sit in traffic on the Mass Pike, James took a private helicopter, according to The Athletic's Jared Weiss.

That's a true helicopter parent.

James' express mode of transportation apparently worked: He arrived at the Garden on time and didn't miss the team's shootaround that morning, according to Lakers coach Frank Vogel.

"I saw him at the meeting this morning, I saw him on my phone this afternoon (at the Hoophall Classic), and I saw him in the locker room tonight," Vogel said before Monday's game, adding he had "no idea" how James got to or from Boston.

Sierra Canyon's game wasn't without incident, either: Bronny was held scoreless in the team's loss to Paul VI and a fan was caught throwing a piece of candy at him, prompting an admonishment from LeBron on Twitter.

The Celtics are hoping James' busy day wears him down a bit as they aim snap a three-game losing streak.

UPDATE (Tuesday, Jan. 21, 7 a.m. ET): Apparently James didn't take a chopper to Boston, after all.

The Athletic's Joe Vardon reported that the Lakers star made the Springfield-to-Boston trip in a car, citing someone who was with him for the drive.

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