Celtics

Celtics-Lakers Overreactions: Not trading for Anthony Davis was a blessing for C's

Celtics-Lakers Overreactions: Not trading for Anthony Davis was a blessing for C's

The Boston Celtics fell to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday in a thriller, 114-112.

Here are three instant overreactions to the C's loss, which brings them to 39-17 on the season.

1. Not trading for Anthony Davis last summer was a blessing for the Celtics.

Verdict: Not an overreaction

Anthony Davis-to-the-Celtics rumors dominated the headlines in Boston both during and after last year's disappointing Celtics season. It turns out that not pulling the trigger on a deal for the superstar big man was one of the best decisions Danny Ainge has made as C's general manager.

A trade for AD likely would have cost Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and/or Marcus Smart, and draft capital. We'll never know how a move for Davis would have impacted the C's, but we do know what Boston has going for it right now is pretty special.

Tatum has taken over the lead role, and his supporting cast of Brown, Hayward, Smart, Kemba Walker, and Daniel Theis have done a tremendous job around him. It's frightening to think about what the Celtics' core would look like right now had Ainge overreacted to the letdown 2018-19 campaign. Fortunately, C's fans don't have to live in that reality.

This isn't to take anything away from AD, who had 32 points and 13 rebounds plus a clutch 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to help L.A. earn the victory, it's simply a credit to what this year's Celtics group has been able to accomplish without him.


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2. Celtics can survive without Kemba Walker.

Verdict: Overreaction

The Celtics offense has been firing on all cylinders these last couple of games with their star point guard sidelined.

In Friday's win over the Timberwolves, they had four players with 25-plus points. Sunday, they had five players in double-figures and another sensational performance from Tatum.

As great as they've looked, they'll need Walker to return sooner rather than later. His presence likely would have been the difference-maker in Sunday's loss.

Fortunately, it appears Walker won't be out for too long. Head coach Brad Stevens issued an encouraging update Sunday on Walker's knee, saying he doesn't expect it to be a long-term issue.

3. We can officially call Jayson Tatum a superstar.

Verdict: Not an overreaction

We were hesitant to rush to call Tatum a superstar following his sensational performance vs. the Los Angeles Clippers, but we're no longer going to hold back. Tatum has earned the superstar label.

The 21-year-old tied his career-high in points with 41 on the day (12-for-21 shooting). This kind of dominance from Tatum has become a regularity, and the All-Star has emerged as the clear No. 1 option on his team.

He'll still have to prove he can carry Boston through this year's NBA playoffs, but there's no reason to believe he's incapable of doing so. Sit back and enjoy Tatum's rise to superstardom, because he's only just begun his ascent.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Trail Blazers, which begins Tuesday at 9 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 10 p.m. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.

Al Horford makes generous donation to Boston amid coronavirus outbreak

Al Horford makes generous donation to Boston amid coronavirus outbreak

It looks like Philadelphia 76ers big-man Al Horford has yet to cut ties with Boston, or any former cities where he played basketball for that matter.

The former Celtic has made a generous $500,000 donation to aid coronavirus relief efforts in Boston and every other city where he's played basketball, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania. 

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Horford, who was born in the Dominican Republic, played high school basketball in Michigan before attending college at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He won two national championships with the Gators and was drafted third overall in 2007 by the Atlanta Hawks. 

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The 33-year-old spent three seasons with the Celtics (2016-2019) before signing a massive contract with the 76ers as a free agent this past summer.

It's pretty generous for Horford to donate a large sum of money amid the COVID-19 outbreak, and he joins a long list of athletes who are doing their part to aid the community during this difficult time. 

Kemba Walker's ideal playoff format if the NBA makes changes

Kemba Walker's ideal playoff format if the NBA makes changes

BOSTON β€” Like every other professional sports league that's had its season put on standby because of the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA has been spitballing ideas of what its season would look like if and when play resumes. 

There has been some talk about a 16-team, win-or-go-home format, something that would certainly get a number of players to get behind it ... including Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker. 

For Walker and the Celtics, such a format would be an ideal way to go for a number of reasons. 

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First and foremost, such a format minimizes the importance of having a deep, statistically impactful bench β€” which the Celtics don’t have.

It also tends to play into the strengths of Boston’s head coach Brad Stevens as well as Walker. 

A big part of Stevens being the Celtics head coach stems from the success he had in the NCAA Tournament at Butler University, a mid-major school Stevens led to a pair of NCAA championship runner-up finishes. 

One of those oh-so-close championship losses came in 2011 at the hands of UConn, as Walker's strong tournament run propelled the Huskies to the school’s third NCAA championship. 

So it’s no surprise Walker would not have an issue if the league decided to ditch its current format and went with one that more closely resembled what we see during the NCAA Tournament. 

β€œI guess I wouldn’t mind it,” Walker told NBC Sports Boston. β€œI love to hoop. At this point it doesn’t really matter because of the way things went and suddenly the season just got postponed.”

The Celtics were in Milwaukee on March 11, preparing to play the Bucks the following night when word spread that Utah’s Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, which led to the league postponing the remainder of this season almost immediately afterwards. 

As far as an NCAA Tournament-style postseason for the NBA, Walker added, β€œIt would be fun. It would be different.”

Especially if it ended with Banner No. 18 for the Celtics. 

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