Celtics

Stevens: Not worried 'one iota' about player injuries in FIBA World Cup

Stevens: Not worried 'one iota' about player injuries in FIBA World Cup

BOSTON -- The sight of Jayson Tatum hobbling on the Team USA sideline in the closing seconds of their 93-92 overtime win against Turkey was exactly what so many Celtics fans feared when the 12-man US roster included a quartet of C's players. 

There’s a tremendous amount of pride that Tatum and all those associated with Team USA take in being part of a group whose goal is to win a gold medal at the FIBA World Cup in China. 

But they are still NBA players whose talents will be best utilized on an each of their team's roster when the season starts in a few weeks. 

However, the Tatum left ankle sprain doesn’t appear to be a major injury that will keep the 21-year-old out for an extended period of time. 

“It feels better than when it first happened,” Tatum told reporters after the Team USA win. “I can walk a little bit. Obviously, it’s sore … just get some treatment and see how I feel.”

There is indeed a risk-reward dynamic to Tatum’s injury that has a place in the discussion about whether players should participate or whether they would be better suited to spend the offseason working out on their own or participating with a national team. 

One of the biggest reasons there are four Celtics on the team is because several NBA players opted to not participate for an assortment of reasons. 

Celtics coach Brad Stevens understands the arguments those in favor of players not participating on national teams will make. 

No NBA team has the potential to be significantly impacted by an injury in this World Cup than the Celtics. 

Still, Stevens has made it clear on more than one occasion that the potential for one of his players to get hurt in World Cup play is not something he’s losing sleep over. 

“To me there’s risk in every workout, every five-on-five game, walking down the stairs …,” Stevens told reporters at the ABCD Hoop Dreams basketball event at the Celtics’ practice facility. 

Stevens added, “End of the day, I’m not worried one iota about that. Basketball injuries can happen in a lot of different avenues, a lot of different ways, organized and unorganized.”

As Boston gears up for another season, Stevens believes participating in the World Cup can only be a plus for his players on Team USA as well Germany (Daniel Theis) and France (Vincent Poirier) which gives Boston six players in the World Cup - more than any other NBA team. 

“There is no better preparation than for these guys to get a chance to play,” Stevens said. “We talked about it this morning. every game that’s close, it’s gonna be a tightness like you’re on the road; like it’s gonna be hard and that’s the beautiful part of what they’re doing.

Stevens added, “I can’t think of a better way for those guys to prepare and jell together and then bring back what they learned. Because, the other thing is they’re not playing against the same 29 teams they’re used to playing against, that runs stuff they’re used to playing against. It’s totally different. It’s fun to watch.” 

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Paul Pierce expects 'loudest boos in league history' when Kyrie Irving returns to Boston

Paul Pierce expects 'loudest boos in league history' when Kyrie Irving returns to Boston

Wednesday's Celtics-Nets matchup should be circled on every NBA fan's calendar as it could mark Kyrie Irving's first game back in Boston since leaving for Brooklyn over the summer.

Irving not fulfilling his promise to re-sign didn't exactly go over well with C's fans, which means there likely will be plenty of boos when Boston's former guard takes the floor.

Danny Ainge said he believes Irving deserves a video tribute and shouldn't be booed, but you'd be hard-pressed to find many Celtics fans who agree.

In fact, Celtics great Paul Pierce said Friday on ESPN's "NBA Countdown" he expects "one of the loudest boos in league history" when Irving returns to TD Garden on Thanksgiving Eve.

Watch below:

“This has never happened, a player of his caliber saying, ‘I’ll be back,’ and then leave,” Pierce went on to say. “This has never happened. When has that happened with a player of his caliber? It’s never happened. He deserves it.”

Irving's status for Wednesday's matchup remains up in the air as he's missed the last several games with a shoulder injury. He's averaging 28.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 7.2 assists with the Nets this season.

You can watch Irving's return to Boston right here Wednesday on NBC Sports Boston. We'll have you covered with Celtics Pregame Live at 6 p.m. ET, then Tommy Heinsohn and Mike Gorman will have the call at 7 p.m.

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Boston Celtics vs. Denver Nuggets live stream: How to watch online

Boston Celtics vs. Denver Nuggets live stream: How to watch online

The Boston Celtics (11-3) aim to finish their West Coast road trip strong on Friday night as they take on the Denver Nuggets (10-3).

Boston comes off a 107-104 loss in an overtime thriller against the Los Angeles Clippers. Although his team couldn't come away with the victory, Jayson Tatum was sensational dropping 30 points (12-for-24 shooting) and providing an unforgettable highlight at Paul George's expense.

The Nuggets have lived up to their preseason hype as they currently hold a second-place spot in the competitive Western Conference. The Celtics will have their hands full defending the likes of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.

Be sure to tune into NBC Sports Boston for Celtics Pregame Live at 8 p.m. ET, followed by the game at 9 p.m. or stream it via the MyTeams app. 

HOW TO WATCH

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ANALYSIS AND REACTION

BEFORE THE GAME: At 8 p.m., Celtics Pregame Live presented by TD Bank gets you ready for the game with reports from Kyle Draper, Chris MannixMike Gorman, Brian Scalabrine, A. Sherrod Blakely, Chris Forsberg, and Abby Chin. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AT HALFTIME: Tune in to watch a breakdown of the first two quarters on Halftime Live presented by Ace Ticket. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AFTER THE GAME: As soon as the game ends, tune to Celtics Postgame Live presented by New England Ford for analysis, commentary and player reaction. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream

Questions on our livestream? Get all your questions answered here on our Streaming FAQ.

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Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Nuggets, which tips off Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 9 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.