Celtics

Celtics' Gordon Hayward sets record straight on Kobe lane violation

Celtics' Gordon Hayward sets record straight on Kobe lane violation

MIAMI — Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward didn’t want to take praise for something that wasn’t true and set the record straight Tuesday after it was suggested he purposely tried to commit a lane violation to ensure Kobe Bryant would score 60 points in his final NBA game.

A clip of Hayward stepping into the lane early as Bryant took the final free-throw in a 60-point night against Hayward’s Utah Jazz circulated on social media Monday and NBC Sports' Mike Tirico suggested Hayward did it intentionally to ensure Bryant would get another free throw in case he missed.

Hayward said friends bombarded him with messages Monday and he felt the need to set the record straight, taking to Twitter that night to dispel the story. He reiterated that stance Tuesday at Boston’s morning shootaround in Miami.

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"I don't get on Twitter. So, for something to come to my attention, it's got to be pretty big. A bunch of my friends were hitting me about it, and just wanted to get ahead of it and speak the truth about it,” said Hayward. "It would have been really cool if that was the case, but it wasn't. The tweet kind of speaks for itself.

"It's obviously been a tough couple days with what happened. I haven't watched the game or anything like that, but my buddies started texting me about it, and that was the first I'd heard of it. It just was kind of awkward. All these people were sending me stuff about things that, or giving me praise, I guess, for something that I didn't do, or deserve or anything. So I just wanted to set the record straight.”

Hayward praised Bryant while noting, “he got 60 on me and I didn’t give him anything free all night.’ He was asked Tuesday what his memory of that game was.

"Just the whole thing,” said Hayward. "I wrote a blog about it when it happened. The atmosphere was electric and something I probably won't ever be part of again.”

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Heat, which begins Tuesday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live. You can also stream it on the MyTeams App.

Celtics 'thrilled' for new Duke women's head coach Kara Lawson

Celtics 'thrilled' for new Duke women's head coach Kara Lawson

The Boston Celtics are sad to see Kara Lawson go, but ecstatic to see her begin a new chapter as head coach of the Duke University women's basketball program.

Lawson, who joined the C's prior to this season and became the first female assistant coach in franchise history, was officially welcomed aboard by Duke on Saturday. Former Duke star Jayson Tatum promptly congratulated her on the exciting opportunity, and several C's followed suit after their practice Sunday.

"We’re thrilled for her," said head coach Brad Stevens. "I don’t want to take away from her press conference tomorrow before she gets more of a chance to talk about it. I can’t say enough about what a terrific person, terrific coach, she’ll be a great fit at Duke with their incredible tradition.

"She’s really excited. We actually went on a walk – Kara, [Stevens’ wife] Tracy and I – a couple of months ago. And we were talking about what she’d be interested in the future, and being the head coach at Duke was one of the things that came up. So it’s really cool that she’s getting a chance to do that. She’ll be terrific."

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Even after just one season, Lawson has made a tremendous impact on Boston's players. Celtics big man Robert Williams opened up about how Lawson was a positive influence both on and off the court.

"Kara is always known for putting a smile on players' faces," Williams said. "She stays in your ear, even though she may not be your personal coach she always keeps asking how I'm doing and if there's anything I need to talk about, so I feel like Duke is going to get a great head coach. We're going to miss her. We don't want her to go, but it's on to bigger and better opportunities."

Smart echoed Williams' sentiments, calling Lawson a "friend" and someone he had a connection with since she was hired by the Celtics last summer.

"When Kara first got here, actually, and this is why our bond has been strong, she had the option to work with anybody. Brad gave her the option to choose who she wanted to work with, and the first person she chose with me," said Smart. "When she told Brad the reason why, she just liked the way I play my whole game. So that really hit home for me and it meant a lot. And like I said our relationship just built amongst that and she became more than just my shooting coach, she became a longtime friend and somebody I know I can talk to if I ever need advice.”

Lawson starred as a player at the University of Tennessee and went on to have 13 successful seasons in the WNBA. She served as an NBA and WNBA analyst for ESPN before joining the Celtics' coaching staff.

If what the C's had to say about Lawson is any indication, there's no doubt she will do great things for Duke as it aims to make its way back into the NCAA Tournament.

Kemba Walker held out of Celtics' first 'hard practice'

Kemba Walker held out of Celtics' first 'hard practice'

The Boston Celtics' plan to ease Kemba Walker back into the flow of things was on full display Sunday as Walker (knee) was held out for all of the team’s first "hard practice" since the team entered the Orlando Bubble as part of the NBA's return to play.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said this is part of the team’s plan of progression in working Walker back into being at his best physically for the playoffs, so that the stop-and-start state of his play won’t be the case by the time Boston gets to the postseason.

Walker has been among the most durable players in the NBA for years.

But this season, the 30-year-old has missed 16 games, most of which were due to left knee soreness. To put that in perspective, Walker missed just four games the four previous seasons combined.

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Without Walker, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens liked a lot of what he saw on Sunday in what was the team’s first hard practice. 

“Guys really got after it,” Stevens said.

He anticipates another hard practice on Monday with a day off on Tuesday. 

Walker is in the first year of a four-year, $141 million deal he signed after spending his first eight NBA seasons in Charlotte. 

This season, he is Boston’s No. 2 scorer with a 21.2 points per game average along with dishing out 4.9 assists while grabbing 4.1 rebounds.