Celtics

Celtics welcome Al Horford with special touch outside Sixers' visiting locker room

Celtics welcome Al Horford with special touch outside Sixers' visiting locker room

BOSTON -- Want proof the Celtics harbor no ill will toward Al Horford after he signed with the rival Philadelphia 76ers last offseason?

That proof was taped up just outside the visitors' locker room at TD Garden: a green and white sign welcoming Horford back to Boston.

It was a small but telling gesture from the Celtics to Horford in his first trip back to Boston -- and one not many former players get.

The photo, taken during the 2017-18 season, features Horford with Abdel Nader to the left and Jayson Tatum to the right.

Horford seemed pleasantly surprised when reporters pointed the sign out to him about 45 minutes before the game.

"That's pretty cool. That's really nice," Horford said. "Those are my boys over there. JT and, is that Nader? That's Nader. That's funny."

Horford was a team favorite during his three seasons in Boston from 2016 to 2018, providing consistent play on the court and veteran leadership off it.

The 33-year-old signed a four-year, $97 million contract with the Celtics' direct rival over the summer, though, and was unclear how fans at TD Garden would receive him Thursday night.

"Iโ€™m not really sure," Horford said. "But regardless, I've got no hard feelings here. Itโ€™s all love.โ€

The feeling clearly is mutual.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Mavericks, which tips off Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Scal have the call at 9:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Celtics get swimming lessons from Olympic medalists Cullen Jones, Elizabeth Beisel

Celtics get swimming lessons from Olympic medalists Cullen Jones, Elizabeth Beisel

Sunday was an eventful off-day for several of the Boston Celtics' stars, who got to hang with some of the finest American swimmers we'll see this summer in Tokyo.

Kemba Walker got some schwag from Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones and Elizabeth Beisel:

 

Elsewhere, Grant Williams got in the pool and took some lessons:

The swimmers teamed up with the Celtics to encourage more youths to pick up swimming. The benefits, as Williams explained, are manifold:

"Itโ€™s not only about learning a skill, but itโ€™s just fun. I enjoyed being in the water," Williams said. "It felt pretty cool to be able to say you know how to swim, and itโ€™s a workout. Some people hate lifting weights. Some people hate running. Swimming is one of those things that gets your whole body into it โ€” your arms, your legs โ€” and youโ€™re breathing, so I think it not only allows you to live longer, but look a little bit better as you get up there in age."

Even Danny Ainge was getting in on the fun . . .

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Lakers, which begins Monday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.

Jaylen Brown (thumb) and Kemba Walker (knee) questionable for Celtics vs. Lakers

Jaylen Brown (thumb) and Kemba Walker (knee) questionable for Celtics vs. Lakers

The Boston Celtics are going to be facing a tough task on Monday afternoon as they look to snap a three-game losing streak. They'll be taking on the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers in the Lakers' only trip to Boston of the regular season.

But in the game, the Celtics may be down a few key players.

According to the team's official Twitter account, both Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker are questionable for the game while Robert Williams will once again be out with a hip injury.

Brown has missed the last two games, both losses, with a thumb injury while Walker missed Saturday night's loss to the Suns with a sore right knee. The team would probably like to get at least one of them back given their recent struggles (2-6 in their past eight games).

Brown has averaged 20 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.1 steals per game this season for the Celtics and is shooting an efficient 49.2 percent from the field. Walker, meanwhile, is the team's leading scorer and he has averaged 22.1 points per game to go along with a team-high 4.9 assist per game. If both miss the game, the C's will seriously miss their respective presences. 

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That said, the Celtics could benefit from the Lakers not being at full strength for the contest. They have a couple of key players that will be questionable in the lead-up to the game and that includes Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo, according to Lakers reporter Mike Trudell.

Davis has missed the last five Lakers games with the injury and the fact that he didn't practice on Sunday morning could make him truly questionable for the game. So far this season, Davis is averaging 27.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 2.6 blocks per game for the Lakers and has served as a perfect superstar complement to LeBron James.

As for Rondo, the former Celtic has been a great bench option for the Lakers and is averaging 7.6 points, 5.4 assists, and 3.8 rebounds per game as the team's sixth man. Rondo has missed the past three games with his finger injury and it remains to be seen if he'll be ready to return in front of the TD Garden crowd.

We'll have more updates on these players as tip-off for Monday night's game draws nearer.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Lakers, which begins Monday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.