Celtics

Enes Kanter, Vincent Poirier join Celtics' Marcus Smart at Boston protest

Enes Kanter, Vincent Poirier join Celtics' Marcus Smart at Boston protest

Marcus Smart made his voice heard Sunday in Boston, joining a peaceful protest through the city's streets following George Floyd's murder by a Minneapolis police officer last Monday.

But Smart wasn't alone among his Celtics teammates, as Enes Kanter and Vincent Poirier also participated in Sunday's protest.

Wearing his No. 11 Celtics jersey, Kanter made a brief speech to a crowd of protesters to thank them for their support and call for further change.

"First of all, I want to thank you all for what you're doing," Kanter said in the video, via WCVB-TV Boston. "I really, really appreciate it. The second thing I want to say, man; we need change and change cannot wait, you know? 

"I get emotional, but we are on the right side of history, man. You know what? Black lives matter, right? Let's go."

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Kanter also participated in a chant of "I Can't Breathe," words Floyd spoke Monday as a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck, ultimately killing him.

Kanter has a history of speaking out against injustices; the Turkish national has been highly critical of Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and had his passport revoked by the country in 2017.

Poirier, a native of France, also posted a pair of videos that appeared to show him walking with protesters.

The Celtics' organization appeared to support Smart, Kanter, Poirier and Jaylen Brown -- who drove to Atlanta on Saturday to participate in a protest in his home state -- via a statement Sunday night emphasizing the need to "lead through our actions."

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WATCH: Jayson Tatum shows off impressive golf swing (to Kemba Walker's delight)

WATCH: Jayson Tatum shows off impressive golf swing (to Kemba Walker's delight)

What do NBA players do in the Orlando bubble when they're not on the basketball court?

They find other ways to show off their athletic prowess.

Boston Celtics teammates Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker blew off steam over the weekend by heading to a golf course near Walt Disney World, as golf is one of the recreational activities allowed under the NBA's 2020 restart plan.

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And according to his Snapchat, Tatum can hit a golf ball pretty darn far. Check out the video the Celtics forward posted Sunday night:

We're not sure what's better: Tatum's (alleged) 320-yard drive or Walker serving as his wholesome hype man.

"This view is fire, too, you've got to smoke this (drive)," Walker says in the video before shouting "Yessir!" after Tatum tees off.

If Tatum keeps improving his game, maybe he can take on C's president of basketball operations and avid golfer Danny Ainge.

In the meantime, Tatum, Walker and the Celtics appear to be finding a good work/life balance as they gear up for their restarted season, which kicks off with three scrimmages later this month before their first "seeding round" game July 31 against the Milwaukee Bucks.

2020 NBA Restart: How would Celtics fare in playoff series vs. Pacers?

2020 NBA Restart: How would Celtics fare in playoff series vs. Pacers?

The Pacers might have been an unsavory first-round matchup for any of the East’s top seeds. Then Victor Oladipo surprisingly opted out of the restart and, suddenly, a matchup with the Pacers seems far less daunting.

Yes, Indiana still has talent, especially if Malcolm Brogdon can get back to full health, especially after contracting COVID-19 during the break. A Pacers team that ranked 17th in offensive rating and 13th in net rating before the season paused remains a vulnerable foe, especially without Oladipo’s offensive talents.

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For Indiana, still stung by watching Paul George shuffle off to LA, Oladipo’s decision leaves the team pondering an uncertain future, particularly with Oladipo set to be a free agent after the 2020-2021 season.

The Pacers split two meetings with Boston this season, with Brogdon keying a December victory while Oladipo was still rehabbing. The Celtics, though, withstood Oladipo’s best performance of his brief comeback while emerging with a win in Indiana right before the season paused in early March.

The Pacers are not devoid of talent, leaning heavy on a frontcourt of first-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. But the absence of Oladipo puts pressure on players like T.J. Warren and Brogdon to shoulder the offensive burden. Suddenly it feels a lot like last year’s playoff team that Boston swept out of the playoffs in the opening round.

The Pacers had the seventh best defense in the league before the break, but they simply don’t have the offensive firepower to hang with the East’s top dogs in a seven-game series. Coach Nate McMillan did a commendable job keeping his team competitive, especially without Oladipo and Brogdon. But the team simply doesn’t have the horses to truly contend in the restart without Oladipo.

The bigger question for Indiana is what the future looks like and, after he opted out to the restart, it’s fair to wonder if Oladipo is eager to be in Indiana deep into the future.

PREDICTIONS FOR CELTICS-PACERS PLAYOFF SERIES

Chris Forsberg: It’s hard to see how this wouldn’t be a 2019 replay if the Celtics and Pacers meet up in Round 1. The Oladipo-less Pacers simply don’t have the top-end talent to hang with with the East elite. Indiana’s size has rarely bothered Boston.

The Pacers are the most agreeable foe for the East’s No. 3 seed and the only question would be whether Indiana could steal a game in a series. Boston might even get some added motivation in a matchup given the Indiana connections for players like Gordon Hayward, Romeo Langford, and Carsen Edwards. 

Prediction: Celtics in 4 games

A. Sherrod Blakely: Indiana's style of play will make this a hard-fought series regardless of who suits up or sits out for the Pacers. But without Victor Oladipo, Boston's edge in overall talent will be too much for the scrappy Pacers to overcome. 

Prediciton: Celtics in 6 games

DJ Bean: The Pacers really could have been a dark horse in the East, but with no Oladipo, I can safely say a Celtics-Pacers series would be the least scared I've ever been in my life. C's would sweep them again. 

Prediction: Celtics in 4 games

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