Celtics

Isaiah Thomas plays 4-on-4, nearing Cavs debut

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Isaiah Thomas plays 4-on-4, nearing Cavs debut

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio - Cavaliers All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas played 4-on-4 on Wednesday, a significant step in his recovery from a hip injury.

Thomas, who has yet to make his debut with Cleveland, scrimmaged along with injured forward Tristan Thompson, rookies Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic, and members of the coaching staff.

With coach Tyronn Lue and members of the team's front office watching intently from behind the basket, Thomas moved freely and didn't appear to have any restrictions during the half-court workout that took place following the team's morning shootaround.

Lue reported that Thomas "looked good" and absorbed some contact. It was the second straight day Thomas scrimmaged.

However, Lue did not provide any update on when Thomas might play in a game. Lue planned to check with the team's medical staff to find out the next step in Thomas' recovery program, which the 28-year-old has described as his "slow grind."

Because of Cleveland's schedule, there aren't many practice days for Thomas to get in work with his teammates. Lue said it's possible he'll practice with members of the Canton Charge, the Cavs' D-League affiliate.

Thomas has been making steady progress and nearing his return to action and helping the Cavs, who acquired him during the summer in the blockbuster trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics. Since training camp opened, the Cavs have said they expect Thomas to play in games by the end of 2017, and that projection could be moved up.

Thomas has been building up his workouts steadily as he recovers from a torn labrum in his right hip. It's possible Thomas could play in one of Cleveland's four home games this month before the team finishes December with three road games, including a Christmas Day matchup with the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

The Cavs would need to how Thomas recovers after taking contact during practice before he would be cleared to play.

"At the end of the day it's all about the next day," LeBron James said as he kept an eye on his teammates from the opposite corner of Cleveland Clinics Courts. "When they say they feel good the next day after a workout session, that's great to know."

Thompson has been sidelined since Nov. 1 with a strained left calf, but could return this week.

"Hopefully, yeah," Lue said. "Not sure how he's going to feel after today when he got done working out, so just trying to get a gauge on how he feels today, if there's any soreness or pain or anything and go from there."

Thompson said his return is completely up to the team's medical staff.

"I'm always ready to play, even when I first got hurt I was always ready to play," he said. "You've gotta listen to the medical team and that's their job, that's what they're here to do, to protect us and make sure when we come out to play we don't have nothing lingering or having a setback. When they say I'm ready to play and I'm ready to go, then, put back on the wine and gold."

James said the Cavaliers' 12-game winning streak has no bearing on when would be a good time for Thomas and Thompson to come back.

"That's not how we do it around here," he said. "When guys are healthy and are ready to get back in the lineup, then they'll be there, but there's never been no urgency for anyone."

The return of two rotational players will be a major challenge for Lue, who has spent much of the season juggling lineups because of injuries and trying to find the right combinations.

The Cavs have never played with Thomas, who averaged 28.9 points per game with Boston last year, but James said he has already visualized the impact the playmaker will have with Cleveland.

"I play a lot of NBA 2K," James said, referring to the video game. "It's the most realistic basketball game you could ever play. I mix and match a lot of lineup changes and things of that nature to see how we can be really good. I've done that."

And how do the Cavs look with Thomas?

"Looks pretty good," he said. "Looks pretty good."

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Anything is Podable Episode 6: The games behind-the-scenes

Anything is Podable Episode 6: The games behind-the-scenes

It’s hard not to be intense when Kevin Garnett is on your team. For the 07-08 Celtics, that fire extended beyond the court and into every waking moment they spent together.

Episode 6 of NBC Sports Boston’s “Anything is Podable” goes behind-the-scenes with the members of the world champion Celtics to get a never-before-heard glimpse into the games and competitions that brought them all closer together.

“Everything is about competition and we, as a staff, understood that early,” said Doc Rivers. “For practices, if there was no score, it was a bad practice. All you had to do was put a winner and a loser and the practice went from here to here. It was just that type of group.”

Whether it was on road trips, at practice, or in the weight room, everything about the team revolved around competition and an innate desire to win.

“Everything was competitive,” stated Rajon Rondo. “The boxing gloves came out in the weight room.”

As is the case with every great team, the bonding off the court was essential to finding success on it. Anything that could possibly be turned into a competition, was.

Arm wrestling? Check.

Push-upsYou bet.

On a road trip in Miami, Paul Pierce challenged Glen Davis to eat a large piece of bread in under one minute.

“Have you ever tried to eat a piece of bread like that?” Davis asked. “It gets dry. You can’t swallow it. It sounds easy, but people don’t know how dry bread is...I almost like choked and died.”

“You’re talking about a guy who loved to eat,” Pierce joked.

“I couldn’t do it,” Davis responded.

Competition off the court breeds competition on the court and, while the talent helped, little games like the ones played on road trips were vital to the Celtics achieving their ultimate goal.

Anything is Podable is a ten-part series diving into the story of the 2008 Celtics and their championship season, with exclusive, never-before-heard interviews with team executives, former players, and media members.

Narrated by Kyle Draper, it’s the perfect way for Celtics fans to pass time this offseason and get excited for 2018-19, a season in which the Celtics have as good a chance at raising their 18th championship banner as they’ve had since that magical 2008 season.

Fans can subscribe to the podcast through the link below and check out the other nine episodes for a look at this exclusive series.

Jayson Tatum on overhyped talk: 'I'll stick to my job'

Jayson Tatum on overhyped talk: 'I'll stick to my job'

A story earlier this week from Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes calling burgeoning young Celtics star Jayson Tatum one of the NBA's five most overrated players has expectedly ruffled some feathers in the Boston sports stratosphere. 

But Tatum himself is taking the high road. In a conversation with ESPN's Chris Forsberg centered around his recent workouts with future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, the 20-year-old forward, who finished third in Rookie of the Year voting this past season, said he wasn't bothered by the article:

While Hughes acknowledged that Tatum could be a franchise player, his reasoning for inclusion on the list was that he could be a victim of the stacked team for which he plays, saying, "Kyrie has never been one to take a backseat, and with him back on the floor, it'll be much harder for Tatum to build on his postseason takeover."

As for the session with Kobe? Tatum clearly absorbed a lot:

Hughes also named Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins, Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard, Bulls foward Zach LaVine and Suns forward Josh Jackson in the company of overhyped players.

It's been quite a week for Tatum, the former No. 3 overall pick out of Duke University. Earlier in the week, the St. Louis native had his jersey number permanently retired at his high school alma mater.

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