Boston Celtics

Celtics' Jayson Tatum has a scare in Team USA's overtime win over Turkey

Celtics' Jayson Tatum has a scare in Team USA's overtime win over Turkey

While Team USA survived a scare in an overtime win over Turkey, an important part of the team’s roster also had one.

Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum sprained his ankle during the overtime period, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. Tatum will be re-evaluated on Wednesday. 

Windhorst did share an optimistic update.

It’s certainly a scary moment for Gregg Popvich and Team USA, but an even scarier one for the Celtics. Tatum has emerged as a key contributor for Boston and will be counted on even more for the Celtics with Al Horford’s departure to the Sixers.

Several NBA players — including Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris and Horford — opted not to play in the World Cup this summer. Though Tatum’s injury doesn’t appear to be serious, it’s a reminder of why some players decided against participating.

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2019-20 Sixers schedule: 8 of the Sixers' best matchups

2019-20 Sixers schedule: 8 of the Sixers' best matchups

The Sixers (just like 29 other NBA teams) play 82 regular-season games in 2019-20 and, if we're being honest with ourselves, some of them will be more worth watching than others.

The team's full schedule is below. All times listed are local start times. 

Here are eight games that figure to be among the best:

Oct. 23: Sixers vs. Celtics, 7:30 p.m.

When these two teams played on opening night last year, Dario Saric, Robert Covington and Markelle Fultz combined for 19 points and 8 for 25 shooting in a 105-87 loss. The Sixers have replaced those three players with Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris and Al Horford. Though the Sixers’ new starting five likely won’t gell immediately, another blowout loss would be a stunner. 

Nov. 25: Sixers at Raptors, 7:30 p.m.

Nobody associated with the Sixers needs a reminder of the bitter conclusion to last season. Kawhi Leonard, the man who made that painful, high-bouncing shot, has departed, but Kyle Lowry, Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam haven’t gone anywhere. Unlike in May, the Sixers should have a healthy Joel Embiid, and a backup center who’s in a different class than the combination of Greg Monroe and Boban Marjanovic they tried to scrape by with in that second-round series. 

Dec. 25: Sixers vs. Bucks, 2:30 p.m. 

The Sixers’ first home Christmas game since 1988 should be a good one. It’s a matchup between what appear to be the two best teams in the Eastern Conference, two teams who lost to the Raptors in last year’s playoffs and don’t have to worry this season about Leonard’s playoff heroics — unless they meet the Clippers in the Finals. 

How will the Sixers handle defending Giannis Antetokounmpo? While the MVP averaged a staggering 48.5 points in the teams' final two matchups last season with Embiid as his primary defender, the Sixers won in Milwaukee on March 17 and led with less than two minutes left in an April 4 loss at Wells Fargo Center. Despite significant roster turnover for the Bucks, Antetokounmpo is still surrounded by shooters, including new additions Wesley Matthews and Kyle Korver. 

Jan. 3: Sixers at Rockets, 7 p.m.

Embiid has some history with both James Harden and new Rocket Russell Westbrook. After Embiid and Harden each picked up double technical fouls for an incident on Jan. 22, the big man said, “I’m always having fun and a lot of guys take it seriously. Especially when it comes to that, we just had one guy our last game that was acting crazy.” That guy who was “acting crazy” happened to be Westbrook, who Embiid said is “always in his feelings” following the then-Thunder guard taking exception to a hard foul by Embiid. 

Jan. 20: Sixers at Nets, 3 p.m. 

Kevin Durant will be rehabbing from his ruptured Achilles tendon, but there are still plenty of compelling storylines for this Martin Luther King Jr. Day game. The Sixers ended the Nets’ 2018-19 season with a Game 5 win in Philadelphia that was over well before halftime. There won’t be any sparring, verbal or otherwise, between Jared Dudley (now a Laker) and Ben Simmons, but Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris and Caris LeVert are among the supporting cast still in Brooklyn. The star they’re now supporting, of course, is Kyrie Irving. 

Jan. 25: Sixers vs. Lakers, 8:30 p.m.

LeBron James; Anthony Davis; A colorful collection of role players that includes Rajon Rondo, DeMarcus Cousins and JaVale McGee. Regardless of how you feel about them, the 2019-20 Lakers are going to be must-watch television. Embiid has a career 3-1 record against Davis and dominated the six-time All Star on Nov. 21, 2018, outscoring him 31-12 as the Sixers held on for a 121-120 win. 

Feb. 11: Sixers vs. Clippers, 7 p.m.

There’s been so much change around the league that it’s hard to confidently project much about next season, but it seems safe to say the Clippers and Sixers will be two of the NBA’s best defensive teams in 2019-20. In addition to another matchup vs. Leonard, this game should feature former Sixers Landry Shamet and Lou Williams, as well as a six-time All-Star who averaged 28 points per game and led the league in steals in 2018-19 in Paul George. 

March 7: Sixers at Warriors, 5:30 p.m.

The Warriors are still the Warriors. Sure, they no longer have Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala, and Klay Thompson will be working his way back from a torn ACL. Stephen Curry, D’Angelo Russell and Draymond Green still sound like a highly entertaining trio, though. Another note of interest for Philly basketball fans is that Golden State now has two Villanova products, rookie Eric Paschall and Omari Spellman. Simmons averaged 25.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 8.5 assists against Golden State last year, making 20 of 28 field goal attempts. 

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Al Horford thinks Celtics' tampering complaints are 'ridiculous'

Al Horford thinks Celtics' tampering complaints are 'ridiculous'

Did the Sixers engage in tampering with Al Horford?

Horford didn't directly address the question Monday in an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show, but he did respond to ESPN's Brian Windhorst saying the the Celtics had "stomped their feet" about teams talking with Horford. 

"I just think it’s — what can I say? — it’s ridiculous,” Horford told Patrick, per NBC Sports Boston's Chris Forsberg. "It is what it is. Danny [Ainge] — I love Danny. Danny was really good to me. I know he’s definitely frustrated that things didn’t work out with us.”

At his introductory press conference with the Sixers on July 12, Horford acknowledged that things progressed rapidly in free agency.

"When I decided to opt out, it wasn't an easy decision, but I did it and I felt like there was going to be a lot of options for me," he said. "When June 30 came around, things escalated very, very quickly. There were multiple teams, a lot of strong interest and I had to make what was the best decision for me. When Elton called and spoke with my agent, he laid down his offer, I was very surprised there was that strong interest of me being here and it made the decision very easy. It was very easy and I'm just excited to be a part of this."

It would be naive to think that none of the free agents who signed on the night of the 30th had engaged in discussions with teams before 6 p.m. It's just the way the NBA works right now, fair or not.

To be upset, as the Celtics reportedly were, does indeed seem rather "ridiculous."



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