The Enes Kanter Show: Back from break healthy; preparing for boos in Utah

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The Enes Kanter Show: Back from break healthy; preparing for boos in Utah

It's a 28-game dash to the playoffs for the Boston Celtics that begins in Minnesota Friday night and Enes Kanter is focused on one key element as the C's return to the court for the first time since the week-long All-Star break.

"Please stay healthy," the Celtics big man told Chris Forsberg on the latest episode of The Enes Kanter Show podcast. "If we all stay healthy, we can beat every team on every floor."

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When we last saw Kanter, he was limping off the floor late in the C's double-overtime victory over the Clippers. He's been bothered by a hip injury but he said he'll be good to go Friday. 

Also on the mend from a hip issue is fellow big man Robert Williams. Though he won't play on Boston's upcoming four-game trip, Williams has had his practice restrictions lifted and Kanter liked what he saw Wednesday as the C's got back to work.

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"Rob was amazing. He can change the game,"  Kanter told Forsberg."He hasn't played for like two months and he got a lob and dunked the ball on his first possession. This is special. He just needs to get into game shape."

Kanter also talked about his 1-on-1 battles in practice with Marcus Smart.

"It's always good because now the NBA is going small, right?" the 6-foot-10 Kanter said of matching up with the 6-foot-3 guard.  "Marcus Smart is one of the best, if not THE best defender out there. When I go against him, I get better. To be able to go against a small guy and try to guard him, it makes him better and makes me better."

Forsberg captured a portion of their showdown on video:

I always try to get under his skin," Kanter said of Smart, "but he's tough mentally."

This trip takes Kanter and the Celtics to Utah, where his NBA career began from 2011-2015. Will he get a warm welcome from Jazz fans?

"I wonder who's going to get more booed, me or [Celtics forward and ex-Jazz star] Gordon [Hayward]? Every time I touch the ball, I get booed there," Kanter said.

Because Hayward is a more recent departure, Kanter said he might be able to escape most of the fans' wrath.

"I feel good this time because I've got Gordon."

Check out the Enes Kanter Show each week on NBC Sports Boston Podcast network. 

This Friday is Jayson Tatum Day here at NBC Sports Boston. Be sure to check out our exclusive content around Tatum throughout the day, both online and on the broadcast of Celtics-Timberwolves, which begins Friday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 8 p.m. You can also stream it on the MyTeams App.

Classic Celtics: Larry Bird lifts C's over Rockets in 1986 NBA Finals clincher

Classic Celtics: Larry Bird lifts C's over Rockets in 1986 NBA Finals clincher

Some consider the 1986 Boston Celtics one of the greatest NBA teams of all time.

Here's your chance to watch them finish off that historic season.

NBC Sports Boston's "Classic Celtics" series -- which brought you Kemba Walker's 32-point outburst against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday -- rolls on Friday with Game 6 of the 1986 NBA Finals between the Celtics and Houston Rockets.

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The Rockets took Game 5 in Houston to send the series back to Boston, but they weren't prepared for Larry Bird, whose magnificent performance in Game 6 (29 points, 11 rebounds, 12 assists) helped the C's earn a 114-97 win and clinch their 16th NBA championship.

Our re-broadcast of Celtics-Rockets airs Friday at 7 p.m. ET, and if watching Bird at the height of his powers wasn't entertaining enough, former Celtics center Bill Walton will join Brian Scalabrine throughout the night to provide color commentary.

Here's when and how to watch:

When: Friday, April 3, 7 p.m. ET
TV: NBC Sports Boston
Streaming: NBCSportsBoston.com and in the MyTeams app

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How Kobe Bryant once used a cutout of Paul Pierce as 'motivation'

How Kobe Bryant once used a cutout of Paul Pierce as 'motivation'

Kobe Bryant will forever be remembered as one of the fiercest competitors in sports history. That unmatched competitiveness was amplified whenever his Los Angeles Lakers faced off against their archrival, the Boston Celtics.

Two months after the Lakers fell to the C's in the 2008 NBA Finals, Bryant headed to China to take part in the Summer Olympics. There, he helped the United States earn its first gold medal since 2000.

But the sting from his loss to the Celtics overshadowed the euphoria of his Olympics victory.

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WNBA star Sue Bird, who also was in China for the '08 Games, told a great story about witnessing Bryant's competitive attitude while drinking wine and playing card games with him that summer.

“He was fresh off [the Finals loss] and you could tell [he was still thinking it]” Bird told Los Angeles Sparks star and ESPN analyst Chiney Ogwuimike.“… [We were] just kicking it and he saw this newspaper — it was something about the Lakers series and blah blah blah — and there was a picture of Paul Pierce celebrating.

“And he didn’t say a word. He didn’t say anything. But we saw him take the paper. He started cutting out the Paul Pierce picture. He folded it up and put it in his pocket and was like, ‘Motivation.’ And we were like, ‘Oh, it never stops with him.’ And you can tell.”

Watch below:

There never will be another player like the "Black Mamba."

Bryant tragically passed away in a helicopter crash on January 26 along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others. He was 41 years old.

You can listen to Pierce reminisce about the C's Finals win over the Lakers in the Celtics Talk Podcast below: