Will Ray Allen be at Kevin Garnett’s Celtics jersey retirement?

Will Ray Allen be at Kevin Garnett’s Celtics jersey retirement ceremony next season?

Doc Rivers hopes so.

Here’s Boston.com reporting:

Doc Rivers isn’t a fan of the lingering beef between Ray Allen and some of his former Celtics teammates.

“I just think we won a title with Ray and we need to get over it,” said Rivers, who coached the team to a championship in 2008.

Rivers, who currently coaches the Los Angeles Clippers and spoke to members of the media Saturday, said he hopes “everyone is there” when Kevin Garnett gets his jersey retired next year. That includes Allen, and Rivers told reporters he’ll “make the right calls” to try to get that to happen, though he doesn’t have any guarantees.

It would be fitting for Allen to be there. We hope Doc gets his wish.

Rudy Gobert calls for Utah Jazz to step up

The Jazz lost 113-104 to the Spurs Friday. And despite playing at home, they started slowly, trailing by six points after one quarter, and were outscored by 13 in the second. Center Rudy Gobert wasn’t pleased after the game. Here’s the Deseret News reporting:

“It’s on us to be more physical and come out with an edge that we used to have,” Gobert said after the 113-104 loss. “If you want to be a champion, if you want to be one of the best teams in the league it’s got to be who we are and we’ve got to come out every night with that chip on our shoulder. No matter who we play we’ve got to come out with something to prove. That’s what teams are doing to us and they’re having fun.

“They don’t really respect us, They come out, push us around, deny us, we don’t react, take us out of what we want to do, and then offensively they’re just playing free. Dejounte Murray, all these guys they’re playing like they get out of the cage and they can do whatever they want because it’s easy.”

Gobert did his part last night, putting up 18 points and 14 rebounds on nearly-perfect 7-of-8 shooting. But the four other Jazz starters each shot below 36% from the field. And Jazz perimeter defenders allowed 10-of-20 three-point shooting from San Antonio.

Still, the Jazz are 36-19 for the season. A very solid record.

Time for Celtics to really lock in, says Kemba Walker

All-Star Weekend was loads of fun. The regular season resumes Thursday.

The Celtics so far this season haven’t stood out in a mix of good Eastern conference teams who as a group are a level or so below the East-leading Milwaukee Bucks.

Boston certainly has the ability to rise up. All-Star guard Kemba Walker says it’s time. Here’s the Boston Herald reporting:

“It’s time to lock in even more,” said Walker as he paused amidst the work gear. “It’s time to get to … well, we’re going to get to the playoffs. It’s time to get there though and really just focus in. We’ve got to lock in. It’s about that time.”

The Celtics sit at 38-16, third in the Eastern Conference and just a loss-column game behind No. 2 Toronto. They have the fourth-best record in the NBA.

Not bad. But not enough.

“It’s been real, but now it’s definitely, definitely real,” said Walker. “We’ve got, what, 26 games left (28)? It’s go time.”

Earlier in a room with other players, fellow Celtic and fellow All-Star Jayson Tatum had a similar sentiment.

There is very clear reason to believe the Celtics are better than their place in the standings suggests. They’re a top five team in the league in both offense and defense. Add it together and you’d think their record would be better than it is. That’s a nice problem to have. And it bodes well for the final third of the season, and the postseason.

TNT to Air 2020 NBA All-Star Game’s Untimed 4th Quarter Commercial-Free

For the first time, TNT’s exclusive presentation of the 69th edition of the NBA All-Star Game 2020 presented by Kia will include commercial-free coverage coinciding with the NBA’s newly formatted, untimed fourth quarter on Sunday, Feb. 16.

The NBA announced a number of changes to this year’s NBA All-Star Game, which airs live at 8 p.m. ET, including a new fourth quarter format that will honor the late Kobe Bryant, who earned 18 NBA All-Star selections and a record-tying four NBA All-Star Game MVP awards.

Additional special elements during TNT’s NBA All-Star Game presentation will include a Los Angeles Lakers-themed tribute to Bryant within the virtual shot clock – displaying a combination of gold and purple accents at 24 seconds and eight seconds remaining on the clock during the fourth quarter, representing Bryant’s jersey numbers.

“Presenting the fourth quarter completely free of any commercial breaks creates a unique opportunity to showcase the new All-Star Game format, provide the best fan experience, and align with the league’s overarching plans to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant this weekend,” said Craig Barry, EVP and Chief Content Officer, Turner Sports.

On Sunday, Team Giannis and Team LeBron will compete to win each of the first three quarters, all of which will start with the score of 0-0 and will be 12 minutes long. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the game clock will be turned off and a Final Target Score will be set.

There are 19 international players participating in NBA All-Star 2020

A record 19 international players from 15 countries will participate in NBA All-Star 2020, which will reach fans in 215 countries and territories in 47 languages on their televisions, computers, mobile phones and tablets. This includes NBA Rising Stars on Friday, Feb. 14 at 9 p.m. ET, All-Star Saturday Night on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. ET, the 69th NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. ET, as well as behind-the-scenes coverage and interviews throughout the week.

Among the record eight international NBA All-Stars, a record four international players were voted NBA All-Star Game starters: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks; Greece), Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks; Slovenia), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2011) and Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2012). Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz; France), Nikola Jokić (Denver Nuggets; Serbia), Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers; Lithuania) and Ben Simmons (76ers; Australia) round out the record eight international NBA All-Stars.

Jaylen Brown and Brandon Ingram named NBA Players of the Week

Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown and New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram have been named NBA Players of the Week, for games played December 23-29, 2019. With Brown as the Eastern conference Player of the Week and Ingram from the West.

It’s the first time in Brown’s four-year career he’s received Player of the Week honors.

Brown, 23, averaged a team-high 27.0 points on 62.2% shooting (57.9% 3-PT), 6.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steal over three games at Toronto and at home against Cleveland and Toronto. He was the only Eastern Conference competitor to produce at least 25.0 points on 60.0% shooting throughout the week.

The fourth-year forward reached the 30-point mark in both of Boston’s victories, including a career-high 34-point performance on 13-of-20 shooting (5-10 3-PT) against the Cavaliers on Dec. 27. Brown scored 30 points (76.9% FG) the previous game on Christmas Day in Toronto, marking the first time in his career he’s produced 30+ points in consecutive games.

Brown is the first Celtics player to receive Player of the Week honors since guard Isaiah Thomas did so in Feb. of 2017.

In 27 games this season (all starts), Brown is averaging 20.6 points (51.8% FG, 40.0% 3-PT), 7.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 33.6 minutes played. He’s one of four NBA players averaging at least 20.0 points on 51.0% shooting in 2019-20, joining Giannis Antetokounmpo, Karl-Anthony Towns and DeMar DeRozan.

Ingram helped lead New Orleans to a 4-0 week while averaging 25.3 points on .493 shooting from the floor, including .542 from three-point range and a perfect 1.000 from the free throw line, as well as 7.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.0 steals. The fourth-year pro finished the week ranked fourth in the NBA in total points scored (101), was one of four players to average at least 25.0 points while shooting over .450 from the field and over .500 from three-point range (of the four, Ingram held the highest FT%), and was one of just two players in the NBA to average at least 25.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.0 steals. Ingram led the Pelicans in scoring three out of their four games, and assists twice. On Christmas Day, Ingram connected on a career-high seven three-pointers at Denver, setting a new NBA Christmas Day record for three-point field goals by an individual.

Ingram becomes the eighth player in franchise history to earn Player of the Week honors, joining Baron Davis, Jamaal Magloire, Chris Paul, David West, Greivis Vasquez, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. It is the first time in Ingram’s career he has earned Player of the Week honors.

In 30 games this season, Ingram is averaging 25.3 points (10th in NBA), 7.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.0 steals.

NBA Players of the Week are Kyle Lowry and Dennis Schroder

Raptors guard Kyle Lowry has been named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played Dec. 16-22. Lowry earns the honor for the sixth time in his career and fifth time with the Raptors.

Lowry averaged 24.5 points, 10.0 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 39.6 minutes while helping the Raptors to a perfect 4-0 record last week. He shot .448 (30-for-67) from the field, .424 (14-for-33) from three-point range and .774 (24-for-31) at the free throw line.

Lowry began the week by recording the first of three double-doubles (20 points, 11 assist) during a 133-113 victory Dec. 16 vs. Cleveland. He then earned his franchise-best 13th career triple-double Dec. 18 at Detroit (20 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds). Lowry finished the week by leading the Raptors in a franchise-record 30-point comeback Dec. 22 vs. Dallas. He scored a game-high 32 points, including 20 points in the fourth quarter rally that resulted in a 110-107 victory.

And on the West side of things, Thunder guard Dennis Schroder has been named Western Conference Player of the Week.

From the Oklahoman, “He averaged 25.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and six assists, lifting the Thunder to a 4-0 record last week. Schroder, an early Sixth Man of the Year candidate, beat out a field of starters to claim the honor.”

Devin Booker wins NBA Cares Community Assist award for November, 2019

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker has received the November NBA Cares Community Assist Award. This in recognition of his efforts to impact the lives of local children and families through his Devin Booker Starting Five initiative.

The award recognizes a player each month who best reflects the passion that the league and NBA players share for giving back to their communities.

Booker created the Devin Booker Starting Five to further his commitment to the Phoenix community, pledging $500,000 annually to five different youth-serving nonprofits in Arizona, and a total of $2.5 million over the course of five years. In November, he announced Special Olympics Arizona, Ability 360, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, UMOM New Day Centers and Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center as members of the Starting Five. Booker invited the organizations to Talking Stick Resort Arena to surprise each of them with an initial $100,000 donation. The funding will allow the organizations to address critical areas of need, including the construction and refurbishment of facilities, expansion of family services, improved patient support and investments in research.