Celtics

Celtics Talk Podcast: Which C's team deserves a 'Last Dance' documentary?

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

Celtics Talk Podcast: Which C's team deserves a 'Last Dance' documentary?

Donnie Wahlberg has been a Boston Celtics fan for most of his life. He has seen the original Big Three of Larry Bird-Robert Parish-Kevin McHale and was just as pumped up about the Big Three 2.0 with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. 

But as we bid adieu to the ESPN documentary “The Last Dance,” which centered around Michael Jordan’s final season in Chicago, Wahlberg says there’s one Celtics team he would love to see get a similar behind-the-scenes treatment. 

And in Wahlberg’s mind, this one ain’t even close. 

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“Last year,” said Wahlberg, referring to the 2018-2019 season. 

“I would pick them because the other teams, we know,” Wahlberg said on the Celtics Talk Podcast. “We know the second Big Three; we knew the 80's Celtics. What happened last year is what I want to know.”

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The 2019 Celtics were a favorite to get to the NBA Finals with a healthy Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward — neither of whom was available the previous year when the youthful Celtics squad came within minutes of getting to the NBA Finals before losing at home in Game 7 to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

But the 2019 team struggled to play with the kind of selfless cohesion we had seen the season prior, and the result was them getting bounced in the second round by the Milwaukee Bucks, followed by an offseason in which Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn) and Al Horford (Philadelphia) left the organization. 

“That’s the team (2018 Celtics) I fell in love with,” Wahlberg said. “The next year we were supposed to get better with Kyrie and Gordon and we didn’t. I’d love to know what happened to the chemistry; what really went on. You hear rumors, rumblings but I would love to see behind the scenes with that team.”

And when he looks at the current state of the Celtics, a young team that’s among the best in the NBA — the Celtics are one of just four teams in the NBA that clinched a playoff spot prior to the season being suspended on March 12 — that adds even more intrigue and interest to the 2019 team. 

“Look how good they are again,” Wahlberg said of this year’s Celtics. “It’s like there’s no reason with that additional talent… that (2018-19) team, everyone said it doesn’t matter if they get to the Finals, they would lose to Golden State. Golden State was missing a lot of guys and there’s no asterisks on a championship. (That) team should have gotten to the Finals. Al (Horford) and Kyrie (Irving) with the amazing talent around them, I’d like to know what happened."

Wahlberg added, “I don’t blame anyone; stuff happens. I certainly don’t blame the guys that are with the team. I don’t know who to blame for this. That’s why I would like to see a Last Dance with this team to see what happened.”

Check out the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast or watch it on YouTube below.

 

Celtics will return to limited practice routine starting June 1

Celtics will return to limited practice routine starting June 1

The Boston Celtics will move one step closer towards preparing for the remainder of this season, with voluntary individual player workouts beginning at the team’s practice facility on June 1. 

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Friday that professional teams in the state could resume practicing soon. 

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“I know we still aren’t to the point where we’ll have our pro sports teams back playing anything yet,” Baker said in a press conference at the State House. “The leagues are obviously working hard to host games again. And I think we all hope that at some point, opening practice facilities will help make that happen a little sooner.”

Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ President of Basketball Operations, echoed similar sentiments on Friday. 

“We’re happy that our players will now have the option to work out individually in a safe environment at the Auerbach Center,” Ainge said. “And we hope it signals a step back towards playing basketball again.”

The Celtics added that the workouts will adhere to strict protocols that include but are not limited to the following:

  • Workouts are voluntary & will be conducted in strict accordance with city, state, CDC, and NBA requirements and guidelines.
  • Symptom and temperature checks will be done by team medical staff before anyone enters the facility.
  • Workouts will be limited to individual (1-on-0) shooting, strength and conditioning work, and medical evaluation and therapy as needed.
  • Only essential areas will be accessed. There will be no access to locker rooms, showers, hydrotherapy, medical exam rooms, cafeteria, and offices.
  • Only four players will be able to work out at a time, each working with only one staff member at a time. There will be no more than one player per half court at a time.
  • All staff members will wear masks in the building, and any staff member working with a player must wear gloves. Players will wear masks except while engaging in physical activity. Players and staff will adhere to CDC and NBA compliant social distancing standards at all times.
  • Social distancing will be required in the building except in limited specific instances  (e.g. physical therapy), when PPE will be used.
  • A thorough cleaning and disinfection of all spaces and equipment, including basketballs, will take place before and after each player uses the building.
  • Only staff members essential to these workouts will be present at the Auerbach Center. There will be no access for general staff, public, or media. 

While no definitive date has been set for the NBA to resume play, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has reportedly told owners that the league is targeting July 31 as a return-to-play date. 

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NBA rumors: July 31 is a target date for 2019-20 season return

NBA rumors: July 31 is a target date for 2019-20 season return

Could we see the return of NBA basketball at the end of July?

The Athletic's Shams Charania has reported the league told its Board of Governors on Friday that July 31 is a potential target date for the resumption of the 2019-20 season.

Charania also reported the league discussed four return to play scenarios ranging from going directly to the playoffs with 16 teams to bringing back all 30 teams and having them play 72 regular season games (most teams already have played around 65) before the postseason. The latter scenario doesn't seem likely, though.

If the season does resume, the remaining games (including the playoffs) could be played at one location to minimize travel and maximize the safety and health of players, team employees and everyone else involved. One such location reportedly being considered is Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida.

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It's important to remember nothing has been announced by the league, and plenty of details must be sorted out before games can start up again. This news of a potential target date for a season return is encouraging, though.