Celtics

Tacko Fall (finally) brings Tacko Time to an NBA game

Tacko Fall (finally) brings Tacko Time to an NBA game

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Bucks, which tips off Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Tommy have the call of the game at 7:30 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.

*****

NEW YORK -- When Tacko Fall is on the bench, more times than not he’s paying attention to the action on the floor, chatting with teammates or an assistant coach, looking at the way Boston’s bigs are moving on the floor and executing with the knowledge that someday he would get an opportunity to do so. 

But on Saturday, Fall’s first NBA game on the Boston Celtics’ active roster, he found himself doing a bit more scoreboard watching than usual. 

Fall knew as well as anyone the bigger Boston’s lead grew against the New York Knicks, the more likely he was to get a chance to see his first NBA action. 

“The lead was 11, then 13, 15 … it got up to 20 and I was like, ‘it’s time,’” Fall told NBC Sports Boston. 

With 3:59 to play and the Celtics ahead by 25 points, Tacko Fall made his NBA debut before finishing with four points and three rebounds as part of Boston’s 118-95 win. 

Fall’s first points as an NBA player came on - what else? - a dunk just 21 seconds after he checked into the game. He followed that up seconds later with another basket as the Madison Square Garden crowd gave him the kind of applause you seldom hear given to a two-way contract player, let alone one who plays for the Boston Celtics. 

But as we have all seen with Tacko-mania, the connection that fans have drawn to him has no partisan divide. 

And Fall, as he has done throughout his time in Boston, doesn’t seem the least bit swayed or overwhelmed with all the adulation and attention that comes his way by doing the simplest things such as checking into a game or catching the ball on the block.

“It’s just a blessing to be out there,” Fall said. “Not everyone gets the opportunity I have right now. Like I said, it’s definitely a blessing and I don’t take it for granted.”

Celtics coach Brad Stevens is among those impressed with the way the 7-foot-7 Fall has handled the immense amount of attention that is primarily generated because of his height.

“I don’t know if anybody not drafted in the top two or three has ever felt the kind of stuff he feels when he touches the ball,” Stevens said. “I just want people to appreciate him for how good of a kid he is and how hard he is working to make the NBA. Everyone is yelling about his size; I get it. But I hope people appreciate him for who he is and how hard he’s working.”

His teammates certainly do, which is why they are among the first to cheer him on with each and every successful milestone he reaches. 

“Even somewhere like this, that’s so well known for basketball, is almost considered a rival, for them to be cheering for him, it’s crazy,” Boston’s Carsen Edwards told NBC Sports Boston. “But he deserves it. He’s a good guy, puts in the work. At the end of the day, he doesn’t want to be a distraction. He’s just trying to be the best he can for this team. At the end of the day, if anybody gets that kind of love I’m glad it’s Tacko.”

Click here to see highlights from Tacko Fall's debut>>>

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

NBA Rumors: 76ers star Ben Simmons expected to miss rest of season

NBA Rumors: 76ers star Ben Simmons expected to miss rest of season

The Philadelphia 76ers' 2020 NBA title hopes have taken a major hit.

Sixers star Ben Simmons left the Orlando bubble to undergo surgery on his left knee after injuring it in Wednesday's game against the Washington Wizards. Now, it looks like his season is over.

Simmons had the surgery in Philadelphia to remove a loose body in the knee, and he'll stay there for rehab. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Simmons isn't expected to return to the bubble for the 76ers' playoff run.


Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Grizzlies, which begins Tuesday at 4 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 5 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

That's obviously a huge blow to a Philly team that currently holds the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. Without one of their most important players for the postseason, it'll be extremely difficult for them to gain any kind of momentum.

The news directly impacts the Boston Celtics, who are locked into the No. 3 seed in the East. As of Monday, the 76ers would be their first-round opponent. But Philadelphia still has to wrap the season up with seeding games against the Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets.

Simmons averaged 16.4 points, 8.0 assists, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.1 steals per game during the 2019-20 season.

NBA power rankings roundup: Where Celtics stand ahead of playoffs

NBA power rankings roundup: Where Celtics stand ahead of playoffs

The Boston Celtics recently have put the league on notice in the NBA's Orlando bubble.

Their dominant victory over the No. 2 seed Toronto Raptors turned heads and served as a reminder of what they're capable of accomplishing come playoff time. Even with star point guard Kemba Walker (knee) on a minutes restriction, the C's have gone 4-2 inside the bubble and are riding a three-game win streak into Tuesday evening's matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies.

As of Monday, Boston has the sixth-best odds of winning the 2020 NBA championship at +1600, per DraftKings Sportsbook. Those odds put them behind the Milwaukee Bucks (+250), Los Angeles Lakers (+260), Los Angeles Clippers (+310), Raptors (+1000), and Houston Rockets (+1300).

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Grizzlies, which begins Tuesday at 4 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 5 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

NBA experts are high on the C's, who have locked up the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, with the playoffs looming. Several outlets have recently published their NBA bubble power rankings, and Boston is right near the top of the list in most of them.

Take a look below:

CBS Sports: No. 2
The Athletic: No. 2
NBA.com: No. 5
theScore: No. 5
ESPN: No. 7

Live coverage of the Celtics' matchup vs. the Grizzlies will begin Tuesday at 4 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, right here on NBC Sports Boston

Celtics Talk Podcast: Banner 18 in the bubble? Celtics' title chances getting stronger as postseason nears | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube