Celtics players react to Westbrook incident

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Celtics players react to Westbrook incident

BOSTON -- The incident involving Russell Westbrook and a Utah Jazz fan continues to be a hot topic of discussion in NBA circles.

The NBA fined Westbrook $25,000 for his role in the incident while the Jazz have banned the fan, Shane Keisel, after video evidence and the accounts of eyewitnesses confirmed Westbrook’s version of what happened. 

In addition to being one of the Celtics’ top players, Boston’s Jaylen Brown is also Vice President of the National Basketball Players Association.

The balancing act between fan-player interaction is among the issues the NBPA and the NBA are examining how to improve.

“As an NBA player, it’s our responsibility to represent our families, our team; we have to handle ourselves a certain way but we’re humans, individuals as well,” Brown told NBC Sports Boston. “If someone says something past the border, they should be held accountable as well; it goes both ways." 

Brown added, “Interaction . . . it should be friendly. It should never cross the line, and there are some fans today that cross that line. They feel they’re in a world where they can’t be touched.”


Celtics coach Brad Stevens wasn’t sure of the particulars surrounding the Westbrook incident, but said most of the interactions with fans and players that he has been around are “very light-hearted and don’t cross the line. But there are some that have.”

Stevens added, “I feel for the guys because they are right there. We talk about how close fans are to benches, it’s even more so in the NBA. I don’t go down to the end of the bench often, but there are times when people are literally sitting on the end of your bench.”

Boston’s Jayson Tatum had seen video of the Westbrook incident, describing it as “unfortunate.”

He added, “we appreciate the fans support, but sometimes they get carried away.”

After seeing video of the Westbrook incident, Tatum believes that particular Utah Jazz fan went too far with his comments directed at Westbrook that, according to Westbrook, included him telling him to get down on his knees “like you used to.”

“People always expect us to turn the shoulder,” said Tatum, who added, “‘we get paid all this money so we should let them talk to us any way and that’s not true. For the most part, we do a good job . . . what that person said (to Westbrook) was out of line and very disrespectful.”


And that’s ultimately what this is comes down to: respect. 

In this particular instance, Westbrook felt the words of Keisel were disrespectful — and apparently the Jazz agreed, which is why they banned him from the arena for all basketball and non-basketball events.

And in an effort by Utah Jazz fans to distance themselves from Keisel, a GoFundMe campaign aimed at raising $25,000 — equal to Westbrook’s fine — to go towards the Human Rights Campaign. 

“It is time to change the narrative on citizens of Utah, fans of the Jazz and those that call Utah 'home',” read a statement on the GoFundMe page, which as of the time of this article, had raised $7,120. “We are not a bunch of redneck, racist, bigots. Most of us are dads, moms, friends, hard-workers, kind-hearted, do right by each other, help our fellow man, good neighbors and welcoming to all.” 

Brown said he tends to ignore that kind of stuff, but “everybody is different."

He added, “For me, I brush them under the rug; everybody doesn’t have that M.L.K. (Martin Luther King Jr.) approach. Someone else might want to get vigilant or angry if you say something disrespectful. Everybody has to govern themselves responsibly and treat others the way you want to be treated at the end of the day.”

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Enes Kanter shows big support for 7-foot-7 Tacko Fall in latest tweet

Enes Kanter shows big support for 7-foot-7 Tacko Fall in latest tweet

Enes Kanter seems to be a fan of Boston Celtics' 7-foot-7 rookie Tacko Fall.

Kanter posted a video to Twitter of Fall practicing at Auerbach Center, and he took time to praise Fall's efforts on Twitter.

The Celtics' signed Kanter to a two-year $10 million deal back in July, while Fall entered Boston's system as an undrafted free agent but he impressed in the Las Vegas Summer League. Kanter is the replacement for Al Horford, who left the Celtics over the summer for the Philadelphia 76ers.

The two should be a great duo for the Celtics, as both have the height and skill to be something special this coming season.

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Countdown to Celtics Camp: Record predictions for the 2019-20 campaign

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Countdown to Celtics Camp: Record predictions for the 2019-20 campaign

Entering training camp a year ago, expectations were sky-high for the Celtics. Most pundits considered them the team to beat in the East. Vegas fancied Boston as a 59-win team, the second-highest win total behind only Golden State. And a Finals matchup between those two teams was far from a pipe dream.

Fast forward a year and expectations have been tempered. The Celtics lost a pair of All-Stars this summer in Kyrie Irving and Al Horford and, despite signing another in Kemba Walker, the team finds itself widely considered a Tier 2 team in the East behind projection darlings Milwaukee and Philadelphia.

So what happens this year? Do the Celtics go back to being the sort of overachievers that have defined Brad Stevens’ coaching career? Will a younger roster struggle to simply meet even the lowered expectations of this season?

To wrap up Week 1 of our Countdown to Camp series, we asked our NBC Sports Boston panel to look into their crystal balls and predict not only Boston’s final win-loss record but how far they’d advance in the playoffs.

The  Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook projects Boston at 49.5 wins this season. The Bucks (58) and Sixers (55) top the Westgate projections and the next five teams all reside in the west. 

The Celtics went 49-33 last season, settling for the fourth seed in the East. They swept the Victor Oladipo-less Pacers in Round 1 but bowed to the top-seeded Bucks in five games in Round 2.

When you consider that Westgate’s four lowest win totals reside in the East (Knicks, Wizards, Cavaliers, Hornets) and seven East teams sit below 40 wins, it feels like the Celtics should reasonably win 50+ games despite the roster changes.

So we’ll put the Celtics at 52 wins and a spot in the East semifinals. That seeding would likely mean a second-round matchup jousting with either Giannis’ Bucks or Embiid’s Sixers and Boston’s frontcourt development might dictate just how competitive those series could be. Remember, too, Stevens tends to produce his best magic when you least expect it.

The irony, of course, is that the Celtics could win 49 games this season and get bounced in Round 2 again but if they develop chemistry and are more enjoyable to watch then last year’s gang, then Celtics fans will be far more OK with that script playing out a second time — well, so long as players make the sort of strides that suggest more is possible in the coming years.

Abby Chin: 50-32 Eastern Conference Finals

I think purely based on better chemistry and grit, this team will improve on last year’s win total. And, I’ll bank on some luck in the playoff bracket. Maybe with injuries, or regular season Al Horford, Philly and Milwaukee fall to the 2 and 3 seed so the Celtics could avoid them in the first couple rounds.


A. Sherrod Blakely: 50-32, East Finals

I'm gonna keep the cookies on the bottom shelf with this one. They are a better team (team not individuals) than they're going to get credit for, and they have a roster that's full of talent with a huge chip on their shoulders from the coach on down. This group will play harder, smarter and win a lot of games they probably shouldn't and by doing so, keep Celtics fans extremely happy all season.

Max Lederman: 51-31, lose in 2nd round

Before last season the Celtics have always overachieved under Brad Stevens. I expect a return to that with lowered expectations this season. The Celtics also had their worst record vs winning teams last year since Brad's 2nd season. They should put up a better fight this season.

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