Celtics

Celtics guard Kemba Walker earns All-Star starter nod over Kyrie Irving

Celtics guard Kemba Walker earns All-Star starter nod over Kyrie Irving

The NBA's All-Star Game starters for 2020 were revealed on Thursday night. And the Boston Celtics will have one this year, Kemba Walker.

This will be Walker's second consecutive All-Star start and his fourth appearance overall since entering the league in 2011.

Walker just edged out former Celtic Kyrie Irving for a spot in the East's backcourt. Irving led Walker for a majority of the fan voting process but Walker made the push to make the starting lineup by finishing first in player and media voting while Irving finished sixth in both categories.

And Walker getting the nod over Irving definitely makes sense. 

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Irving has slightly better numbers than Walker -- Irving is averaging 26.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 6.9 assists per game while Walker is averaging 21.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists -- but Irving has only played in 15 games this season.

And the Brooklyn Nets are just 5-10 in those contests and currently sit in the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Meanwhile, the Celtics have a 26-12 record with Walker in the lineup and the team has the third-best point differential in the NBA. They're sitting in the East's fourth seed as of this writing, but they're only 1.5 games out of the second spot, a spot that they held down with regularity before a recent losing streak knocked them down a peg.

Because of this, Walker probably deserved the nod over Irving. But in the lead-up to the announcement, Walker didn't seem too concerned with locking up a starting spot in a recent interview with NBC Sports Boston's Chris Forsberg.

"It'd be cool. Don't get it twisted, that's always a huge accomplishment and a huge honor. But you know, that's not something where I'm like just dying over, you know," Walker said. I got my opportunity last year obviously it was in Charlotte with the team I was playing for. It was really cool to start for the city and the organization.

"But for this year, it's whatever. Whoever gets it, gets it. Much respect to whoever gets it."

That certainly sounds like the Kemba that Celtics fans have come to know and love over the course of the past sixth months.

And Walker was actually more concerned with getting some of his teammates to the All-Star Game and he spent some time talking up Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, as you see below in the full conversation with Forsberg.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Magic, which begins Friday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 7 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Why Doc Rivers blames himself for Ray Allen's rift with 2008 Celtics

Why Doc Rivers blames himself for Ray Allen's rift with 2008 Celtics

Doc Rivers just wishes the "Big Three"-era Boston Celtics would all get along.

The talented group that brought the 2008 NBA title to Boston still hasn't fully reconciled with Ray Allen, who left the Celtics' core of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo in 2012 to join LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

For example, when the Celtics retired Pierce's No. 34 jersey at TD Garden in February 2018, many members of that 2008 championship team were in attendance -- but not Allen.

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In a recent interview with CLNS Media's Jeff Goodman and The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan, Rivers took the blame for the continued coldness between Allen and his former teammates.

"This one I take on myself," the former Celtics coach said. "I really failed with the Paul jersey retirement. I really thought Ray should have come to that, and I tried to get him to, and he just -- he wanted to, he was going to, and then he just didn't."

Rivers said he's tried to convince both sides to get together and let bygones be bygones -- which Pierce and Allen did briefly in 2017 -- and that he'll try again next season when the Celtics raise Garnett's No. 5 to the rafters.

"The last conversation I had with my guys, I said, 'There is no right time. The time is now. Just do it. And it'll be all fine. It'll be great,' " Rivers said.

" ... So, we've got to get this one done. I think it would be magical next year when they retire Kevin's jersey. I think it would be absolutely magical to get (Allen) to come out. He would be shocked by the ovation that he got."

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Rivers admitted he also was upset that Allen left to join the Celtics' "arch-enemy" in Miami, which had just defeated Boston in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals.

But the Los Angeles Clippers coach sincerely believes both Boston fans and Allen's ex-teammates appreciate his contributions to that 2008 title.

"At the end of the day, the one thing I know about Celtics fans and our players: They all know we don't have a ring without Ray Allen," Rivers said.

Unfortunately for Allen and his former teammates, they won't be reconciling in person anytime soon with the country in a virtual lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Classic Celtics: Larry Bird lifts C's over Rockets in 1986 NBA Finals clincher

Classic Celtics: Larry Bird lifts C's over Rockets in 1986 NBA Finals clincher

Some consider the 1986 Boston Celtics one of the greatest NBA teams of all time.

Here's your chance to watch them finish off that historic season.

NBC Sports Boston's "Classic Celtics" series -- which brought you Kemba Walker's 32-point outburst against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday -- rolls on Friday with Game 6 of the 1986 NBA Finals between the Celtics and Houston Rockets.

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The Rockets took Game 5 in Houston to send the series back to Boston, but they weren't prepared for Larry Bird, whose magnificent performance in Game 6 (29 points, 11 rebounds, 12 assists) helped the C's earn a 114-97 win and clinch their 16th NBA championship.

Our re-broadcast of Celtics-Rockets airs Friday at 7 p.m. ET, and if watching Bird at the height of his powers wasn't entertaining enough, former Celtics center Bill Walton will join Brian Scalabrine throughout the night to provide color commentary.

Here's when and how to watch:

When: Friday, April 3, 7 p.m. ET
TV: NBC Sports Boston
Streaming: NBCSportsBoston.com and in the MyTeams app

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