Celtics

Warriors' Kevin Durant enjoys watching film of "best friend" Kyrie Irving

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Warriors' Kevin Durant enjoys watching film of "best friend" Kyrie Irving

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant is a student of basketball.

When he's not playing basketball and winning championships, he's probably watching basketball, either a live game or film on some of his favorite players. 

In a recent interview with The Athletic's Shams Charania, Durant revealed three players who've really impressed him while watching film, and one of them is Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving.

“Kobe (Bryant), MJ (Michael Jordan) and Kyrie,” Durant said. “Just the way they move, I don’t understand why people don’t realize what they’re seeing in these three, especially Jordan and Kobe. Kyrie is younger than me, and that’s one of my best friends, so I watch his stuff. I get to play with Steph every day so I know his game inside and out. But watching Kobe and Mike, I’m like, ‘How do you not realize how good these dudes are?’ How do you not say they’re by far better than anybody who’s played the game? Just by the way they move, how fluid they are."

Later in the interview, Durant added: “I can’t do what MJ does. I can’t palm the ball. I wish. I can’t shoot the turnaround, pump-fake spin, half-spin fadeaway like Kobe. Or crossover like Kyrie. I can’t do it. But I can try it. I can do it in my version, do it in my way. It keeps me creative and my excitement level for the game.”

In fairness to KD, there are many players who cannot do what he does, especially at 7-feet tall. He's one of the most unique and most talented players in NBA history. 

It's interesting, though, that Durant considers Irving one of his "best friends." Of course, Durant can become an unrestricted free agent next summer, with rumors and speculation linking him to the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks and other teams.

He met with the Celtics in free agency in 2016 before ultimately signing with the Warriors. Would he consider the C's again if he decides to leave the Warriors? If he would, the Celtics should have one of his "best friends" try to convince him to take his talents to Boston.

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Boston Celtics vs. Denver Nuggets live stream: Watch NBA game online

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Boston Celtics vs. Denver Nuggets live stream: Watch NBA game online

The Boston Celtics came up just short the last time they faced the Denver Nuggets. They'll get a shot at revenge Friday night at TD Garden.

During the C's West-Coast road trip in November, Boston fell to Denver 96-92. More notable than the game itself was Kemba Walker going down with a scary neck injury and being taken off the court on a stretcher. Fortunately, Walker turned out OK and will look to lead the Celtics to a W in front of the home crowd.

Boston is coming off a 112-93 victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night in which Jaylen Brown dropped 31 points and Walker added 28.

Be sure to tune into NBC Sports Boston for Celtics Pregame Live at 7 p.m. ET, followed by the game at 8 p.m. ET or stream it via the MyTeams app. 

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ANALYSIS AND REACTION

BEFORE THE GAME: At 7 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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Smart: Oblique 'feels a lot better,' plans to play tonight vs Nuggets

Smart: Oblique 'feels a lot better,' plans to play tonight vs Nuggets

BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics are likely to have their defensive leader Marcus Smart back on the floor Friday night. 

Smart, who suffered an oblique bruise on Sunday, said he plans to return when the C's host the Denver Nuggets. 

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Smart participated in the team’s walk-through this morning although that normally does not involve contact. 

Following the walk-through, Smart was put through a series of drills that included contact, along with him moving laterally and as over and under screens - the kind of movements he’ll have to make quite often in a game. 

“The soreness is at a lower level,” Smart said. “It really doesn’t stop me with my movements; my breathing is getting better, a lot better.”

And on top of the oblique bruise, Smart also caught a cold that transitioned into flu-like symptoms which, more than the oblique, was at the root of him not playing on Wednesday against the Miami Heat. 

While he’s not quite 100 percent, Smart said he feels he’s good enough to get on the floor and help the Celtics try to extend their home winning streak to nine. 

Smart said he will undergo additional testing of the oblique between now and tip-off.

“We just got done doing a lot of contact,” Smart said. “We’ll see if the oblique is fine. It held up well, really well. I’m proud of the results, they’re [Celtics medical and conditioning staff] proud so we’ll see what they say.”

This is the second time this calendar year that Smart suffered an oblique injury. 

The previous one was last spring and kept Smart out for nearly a month. 

Back then, he wore a flak jacket to help protect the oblique from additional damage and in all likelihood he’ll wear one tonight. 

“We tried it when I came back the first time,” Smart said. “The thing with the padding is, you tend to get hit where the padding is. Some way, somehow, you find yourself still injured with the padding. We’ll have to discuss that and see where it goes. Most likely, I will be trying some type of extra padding around the oblique area.”

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Nuggets, which tips off Friday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Tommy have the call at 8 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.