Atlanta Hawks

Under-the-radar good games on next season's Celtics home schedule

Under-the-radar good games on next season's Celtics home schedule

When the Celtics' 2019-20 schedule was released on Monday afternoon, attention naturally focused on the biggest games on their slate.

From Kyrie Irving's return (if he's not dealing with "load management"), to the first visit for the LeBron-AD Lakers, to games against the probable big dogs in the East (Philadelphia, Milwaukee), there are a bunch of must-see games that headline the C's schedule.

But over the course of an 82-game season, there are a bunch of intriguing matchups that deserve attention, even if they won't get a ton of hype.

A. Sherrod Blakely takes a closer look at some sneaky good games on the parquet next season.

Click here for the gallery of under-the-radar C's home games in 2019-20.>>>>>

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NBA rumors: Celtics not only team interested in trading for No. 4 pick

NBA rumors: Celtics not only team interested in trading for No. 4 pick

The New Orleans Pelicans appear to have several potential suitors for the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, a selection they acquired as part of the Anthony Davis trade with the Los Angeles Lakers over the weekend.

The Boston Celtics reportedly are interested in acquiring the No. 4 pick, but they aren't alone. The Atlanta Hawks, the only team besides the Pelicans with multiple top-10 picks, also covet the No. 4 selection. Here's the latest update on the Hawks' pursuit of moving up in the lottery.

The Celtics have three first-round picks at No. 14, No. 20 and No. 22. Those selections obviously don't have as much value as Atlanta's first-rounders, but the C's also have talented young players (including Jaylen Brown) and future picks (including a valuable Memphis Grizzlies protected first-rounder) to offer in potential trade packages for the No. 4 selection.

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Boston reportedly is targeting Vanderbilt guard Darius Garland if it were to acquire the No. 4 pick. The other popular names for that range in the draft include Duke guard R.J. Barrett, North Carolina guard Coby White, Texas Tech guard Jarrett Culver and Virginia forward DeAndre Hunter. Duke forward Zion Williamson and the Murray State guard Ja Morant are the consensus top two picks. 

The 2019 draft class has been labeled as top heavy by many experts, so it's not surprising teams outside the top five are looking to move up.

Trading up in the lottery isn't the only path for the Celtics to pursue before the draft happens Thursday night. They reportedly "will be in on" a possible Mike Conley trade, and Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal reportedly is a "prime option" for Boston following its failure to acquire Davis from the Pelicans.

Click for the biggest winners and losers of the Anthony Davis trade>>>

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Happy 31st birthday, Larry Bird vs. Dominique Wilkins Game 7 duel

Happy 31st birthday, Larry Bird vs. Dominique Wilkins Game 7 duel

Thirty-one years ago today, the old Boston Garden was the site of one of the great superstar duels the NBA has ever seen.

Larry Bird vs. Dominque Wilkins. Celtics vs. Hawks. Eastern Conference Semifinal Game 7.

On a Sunday afternoon, in the first of a Garden playoff doubleheader (the Bruins and Edmonton Oilers would play Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final later that night), the two Hall of Famers staged a one-on-one battle to remember.

Bird and the Celtics came out on top, 118-116. Wilkins finished with 47 points - 12 in the fourth quarter - on 19-for-33 shooting. Bird had 20 of his 34 points in the fourth and was 15-for-24 for the game. And, in an ode to how different a game the NBA was then - each player only hit one 3-pointer. 

Tommy Heinsohn was the CBS analyst for the game with Brent Musburger doing the play-by-play. Former Celtics coach Doc Rivers was in Atlanta's backcourt. Heinsohn and Rivers looked back at the game with the voice of the Celtics.

Heinsohn: "Once it started to happen, you just saw the desire of both these players." 

Rivers: "The crowd here was amazing. I gotta tell you, I fell in love with the Celtic crowd in this game."

The Celtics would go on to lose to the Detroit Pistons in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals, but this game provided a lasting memory from that postseason.

Perhaps Musburger put it best after another late Bird drive and finish: "You are watching what greatness is all about."

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