Celtics

Nuggets' Jamal Murray buries Celtics with career-high 48 points

Nuggets' Jamal Murray buries Celtics with career-high 48 points

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 115-107 loss to the Denver Nuggets which extended their losing streak to two in a row.

STARS

Jamal Murray: The third-year guard got off to a fast start with 14 first-quarter points and continued to provide timely shot-making for the Nuggets in their comeback. He finished with a career-high 48 points on 19-for-30 shooting from the field.

Kyrie Irving: For most of the night, Kyrie Irving was in mix-tape, ankle-break, Uncle Drew mode with a flurry of highlight-worthy moves ending with lots of points. Irving led all scorers with 31 points coming on 13-for-17 shooting from the field to go with five assists.

STUDS

Nikola Jokic: The Joker was doing what he does most nights – contributing in all the major categories. Murray’s scoring was indeed the dominant factor in the game, but that still didn’t keep Jokic from flirting with a triple-double by finishing with eight points, eight assists and 10 rebounds.

Jaylen Brown: Brown was active at both ends of the floor for Boston before finishing with 15 points on 7-for-14 shooting from the field.

Marcus Smart: He was being a defensive pest as always, but also did a solid job of making the most of his shot attempts. He had nine points on 3-for-4 shooting from the field along with a career-high four blocked shots.

DUDS

BWA: The usually reliable Celtics’ second unit – Bench With Attitude – was a non-factor for most of the game. They collectively finished with just 17 points on 10-for-26 shooting. Every reserve Brad Stevens used finished with a negative plus/minus except for rookie Robert Williams III (+1).

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Brad Stevens praises Adam Silver for handling of NBA-China tensions

Brad Stevens praises Adam Silver for handling of NBA-China tensions

The NBA and China aren't in a good place right now.

Neither are players like LeBron James, who's gotten backlash for indirectly siding with China in a feud ignited by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's tweet about protests in Hong Kong.

Brad Stevens doesn't seem to share James' opinion, though. The Boston Celtics coach sided with the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver on Wednesday when asked about the league's ongoing tensions with China.

"I'm glad we have Adam Silver to lead the league," Stevens told 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Zolak & Bertrand" in his weekly interview. "Obviously, after Daryl's tweet, I thought the most important thing that Adam could say and that we and the league could say is that we value the freedom of expression.

"The NBA's been big on that, and the way that he's handled that and the way that he's basically said, 'We're not going to regulate what people say. It's part of what we all believe.' I think is really important. I agree with him."

Stevens' comments also are an endorsement of Morey, whose tweet supporting protesters in Hong Kong has led several businesses and state-run offices in China -- which has sovereignty over the coastal state -- to cut ties with the NBA.

"I haven't paid attention to everybody's talk and quotes since then," Stevens added. "I'm not going to pretend like I was a political expert on China prior to whatever day that was when it all came out. But I appreciate (Adam's) leadership and certainly have been reading and learning and trying to get up to speed with everything."

Stevens hardly is going out on a limb by supporting free speech. But he's still offering more of an opinion on the thorny issue than some of his contemporaries -- notably Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, who essentially declined to comment when the controversy first started.

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Report: Jaylen Brown seeking more than this Celtics extension offer

Report: Jaylen Brown seeking more than this Celtics extension offer

Jaylen Brown and his new agent reportedly are getting right down to business.

The Boston Celtics have offered Brown a four-year contract extension worth $80 million, Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported Wednesday.

But the 22-year-old guard, who is set to become a restricted free agent this offseason, is "pursuing a bigger offer," according to Haynes.

A $20 million-per-year deal would make Brown the third-highest-paid player in Boston, behind only max-contract players Kemba Walker and Gordon Hayward.

Brown may be wise to bet on himself, though. He'd likely be a top-10 free agent in a weak 2020 class, and possibly could vault into the top five with a strong fourth season.

Whether Brown deserves a maximum contract remains to be seen, but it sounds like he's pushing for more than what the Celtics are offering him.

"Everybody says that they’re not concerned with it, but in some way, shape or form they are,” Brown told The New York Times' Marc Stein in a recent interview, via Stein's email newsletter. "But to be honest, it’s really not overwhelming me or ruling my thoughts. I know what type of talent I have. I’m confident in myself. I’m confident in my ability."

The Celtics have until next Monday to offer Brown an extension, or risk him testing the market in restricted free agency.

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