Celtics

This Date In Celtics History: Avery Bradley's dramatic game-winner vs. Cavs

This Date In Celtics History: Avery Bradley's dramatic game-winner vs. Cavs

The 2016-17 Boston Celtics were an improbable team in many ways.

They finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference despite lacking a true "superstar," as Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Al Horford led Brad Stevens' plucky club.

And on this date three years ago -- May 21, 2017 -- they took down the defending champions with an improbable victory.

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Facing a 2-0 deficit entering Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals against LeBron James and Kyrie Irving's Cavaliers, the Celtics went on the road and upset Cleveland 111-108 in dramatic fashion.

Here's how it ended: Bradley's 3-pointer rattled around the rim before falling to break a 108-108 tie with just 0.1 seconds left.

The Celtics lost the next two games of the series to bow out in five games, but their impressive Game 3 win characterized the resolve that made the 2016-17 squad special.

Here are two other notable May 21 performances from the C's, who are 5-2 all-time in games played on this date:

May 21, 2002: Antoine Walker scores 26 points on a game-high 32 attempts -- the fewest points of any player in Celtics playoff history who attempted at least 32 shots -- as the C's tie the Eastern Conference Finals against the New Jersey Nets in a 93-86 win.

May 21, 1987: Isiah Thomas leads all scorers with 36 points, but Larry Bird's near-triple double (31 points, nine rebounds, 12 assists) carries the day as the Celtics open up a 2-0 East Finals lead over the Detroit Pistons.

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Enes Kanter, Celtics offer inside look at NBA bubble meals, hotel rooms

Enes Kanter, Celtics offer inside look at NBA bubble meals, hotel rooms

The Boston Celtics have entered the bubble.

The Celtics flew to Orlando on Wednesday and reported to Walt Disney World's Gran Destino Tower, where they'll stay throughout the NBA's restarted 2019-20 season.

Other NBA teams arrived earlier than the Celtics, and some players complained about the underwhelming meals they received and some less-than-ideal living conditions.

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A few C's players had a different experience, however. Here's Celtics big man Enes Kanter showing off a solid Wednesday night dinner spread that included steak, sweet potatoes and greens:

Kanter also took a video of his breakfast Thursday morning, shouting out the NBA for giving him halal food in accordance with his observation of Islam.

Jayson Tatum, meanwhile, called in reinforcements, as his mother apparently came through to feed her 22-year-old son: 

As for their living arrangements, Kanter gave fans a tour of his living quarters at the Gran Destino:

Life in a single suite can get lonely, but the C's already are finding ways to connect and stay entertained. Celtics forward Semi Ojeleye hopped on Twitch on Wednesday night for a video game session, while big man Vincent Poirier shared his own gaming setup on Instagram.

The 22 teams in the NBA bubble have to adhere to strict safety protocols (sorry, no doubles ping pong) to limit the spread of COVID-19. But they're all playing by the same rules, so the teams that best adapt to their new environments may have the best chance of succeeding once games start later this month.

The Celtics will play three scrimmage games beginning July 24 before opening their "seeding round" schedule July 31 against the Milwaukee Bucks.

2020 NBA restart: It's OK for players to vocalize bubble concerns

2020 NBA restart: It's OK for players to vocalize bubble concerns

Even after Jayson Tatum very eloquently detailed his apprehensions about entering the bubble, there are some who continue to roll their eyes whenever a player expresses even the tiniest bit of concern about their sport’s resumption of play.

Listening to Boston Celtics players explain their various issues over the past week, I found it refreshing. I found it human. These players are leaving their families and risking their safety to bring us a tiny slice of normalcy with the return of pro sports.

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Yes, most are handsomely compensated — but they are also being thrust into an unprecedented situation with restraints they never signed up for, all largely for our entertainment.

What’s more, most recognize this. Tatum admitted it would be callous of him to sit out the restart solely in fear of compromising future earnings at a time when unemployment numbers are so outrageously high.

But if players want to vocalize their concerns — big and small — I’m all ears. There is no playbook for what players are about to endure inside this bubble and how they handle it all is a big part of the story.

When Tatum bemoans being apart from his 2 ½-year old son for as much as three months, I get it. FaceTime and Zoom make the world smaller but they are not substitutes for daily interaction between child and parent. When Gordon Hayward is adamant he will depart the bubble, and deal with the obstacles of reentering, to be there for the birth of his first son, I get it.

Life events, particularly those that could not have reasonably been expected to interfere with one’s work schedule, should not be ignored because it might temporarily hinder a team’s quest for a trophy.

At a time when all of our lives have already been altered, players are being asked to sacrifice even more of their typical freedoms.

It’s fair for them to be skeptical. It’s fair for them to voice concerns, even if others don’t believe they are as much of a hindrance as that player might be suggesting. We’d go so far as to suggest it would be weird if players didn’t have concerns about how this is all going to work, or offer emotional reactions to the infancy of their bubble stay.

We’re guessing many of the anxieties and inconveniences will likely dissipate as players settle into the bubble. Eventually, the return of games and competition should offer a much-needed jolt of normalcy in an otherwise bizarre living situation.

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If a player expressing their concern somehow diminishes your excitement for what’s ahead, I’m not sure what to tell you. To expect robot-like enthusiasm from athletes is misguided. To fret that players might vocalize genuine human emotion instead of simply reciting boring sports clichés flies counter to what we constantly yearn from our athletes.

There is a delicate line to walk. And players bemoaning 5-star hotels and pre-packaged meals won’t sit well in all corners. But I don’t mind the glimpse it offers if a player wants to share his knee-jerk reaction.

The guess here is that when Celtics players put on their uniforms and see the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo on the other side of the floor, competition will take center stage and the NBA will deliver a product much like the one we’ve yearned for since everything paused in March.

Sure, it's fair to wonder how the early scrimmages and seeding games will look, as each team will have different motivations in the ramp-up to the postseason, but the playoffs should have much of the excitement that we’re used to from those games. Let the famed Dream Team scrimmage be a prime example of how the absence of a crowd doesn’t always affect the intensity on the court.

This is all wildly unique. If being away from his son affects Tatum’s play, I want to hear about it. If Jaylen Brown worries that the return of games stunts the momentum of the social justice movement, I want to hear him vocalize that.

The human element is a major storyline to this wild experience.