Celtics

Celtics present Hawks' Vince Carter with special gift upon last game in Boston

Celtics present Hawks' Vince Carter with special gift upon last game in Boston

Vince Carter came into the NBA wearing a dinosaur on his uniform, and at 42 years old, he's now a dinosaur in today's NBA.

And after making his NBA debut in Boston 21 years and two days ago, Carter will play his final game in Boston Friday night.

Prior to the game, C's President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge presented Carter with a framed gift of a piece of the original parquet floor along with a photo of Carter and Paul Pierce.

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Ainge praised Carter's longevity — he's the only player in NBA history to play in four decades — and quality over the course of his career, but he didn't realize the gift proved to have extra meaning for the likely future Hall of Famer.

The photo depicted Carter's first field goal attempt of his lengthy career, an eight-foot jumper over Pierce. Carter was genuinely touched by the gesture, as you can witness in the video below:

Carter didn't actually play in the original Boston Garden — it just seems he's been playing that long — but the longevity of his career is incredible.

Current Celtic Romeo Langford wasn't even born when Carter made his debut in 1999, and one of Carter's teammates from that first game, Charles Oakley, just turned 56 years old.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Hawks-Celtics, which begins Friday at 6:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 7:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Jayson Tatum gets rave reviews from Celtics teammates after practicing

Jayson Tatum gets rave reviews from Celtics teammates after practicing

For anyone still sweating whether Jayson Tatum will be able to pick up where he left off when the NBA season restarts later this month, Daniel Theis has an encouraging scouting report.

“[A lot of teammates] look great, especially JT,” said Theis. "He walked in the first day and couldn't miss a shot.”

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The Celtics started mandatory workouts Wednesday and Theis said that he’s crossed paths with most of his teammates as they shuttle through for individual work while ramping up activities in advance of relocating to Orlando next week.

"I know since the facility opened that I think everybody was around, working out,” said Theis. "I've seen the same faces every day because we have certain time slots. So I know Gordon [Hayward] is one of the first guys in the gym at 8 a.m., so I don't see him when I come in at 11. But I just know that everybody is really working and everybody looks good. Talking to players, coaches, everybody really used the time wisely to stay in shape, lifted as much as possible, and now just going back to basketball. I see guys like Kemba [Walker], JT, Enes [Kanter], I see those guys every day.”

Last month on The Enes Kanter Show podcast, Kanter pointed to Theis as the player that had most impressed him in individual drills. Theis stayed in the Boston area instead of relocating to his native Germany during the break and said the time off helped him get his body ready for what’s ahead.

"Overall, I think it was good for me, too, the break we had,” said Theis. “Just to get my body even more ready for the playoffs and for the rest of the season. Just my knees —  more lifting, more rehab because, in-season sometimes, it’s hard to get a lift in between games so I used the time really wisely. Just lifted a lot.”

Theis tore his meniscus during his first season in Boston and admitted he felt the lingering effects in recent seasons. He’s worked hard in the weight room to keep that knee strong and the shutdown could allow him to be particularly fresh entering the playoffs.

The Celtics will need a full-strength Theis, too. He’s Boston’s top option at the center position and could have to joust with the likes of Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo depending on Boston’s playoff path.

Theis said he’s eager to see what a healthy Boston team is capable of, especially on a neutral floor.

“From the basketball standpoint, I’m just excited,” said Theis. "I think it’s a great opportunity for us as a team and also every team has the same chance, because there’s no home-court advantage. It’s just about who is the better team on the court.”

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Footage of Kemba Walker's recent workout will get Celtics fans excited for NBA restart

Footage of Kemba Walker's recent workout will get Celtics fans excited for NBA restart

Boston Celtics fans don't have to wait too much longer to see their favorite team back on the court.

Training camps for the NBA's restart in Florida are expected to begin next week, with the eight seeding games scheduled to start July 30. Boston's first game back is against the Milwaukee Bucks on July 31.

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Many Celtics players have already made their way back to Boston to visit the Auerbach Center, where the team practices. Players have been going through workouts and getting up plenty of shots to fine tune their skills before traveling to Florida.

One of the players back in the gym is star point guard Kemba Walker. Check out footage from one of Walker's recent workouts in the video below:

It's good to see Walker's trademark smile hasn't gone anywhere.

Walker will be among the Celtics' most important players when the 2019-20 season resumes. He's the team's second-leading scorer and a player who head coach Brad Stevens can go to late in games when the team badly needs a bucket.

His last trip to the playoffs was with the Charlotte Hornets in 2016, when the Miami Heat eliminated them in an exciting seven-game series. Walker had most of the Hornets' scoring burden on his shoulders given the lack of talent around him. He doesn't have that problem in Boston. If Walker struggles, his teammates including Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward will be ready to pick up the slack on offense.