Celtics seeding games schedule starts July 31 vs Bucks

The Boston Celtics will open its slate of eight “seeding games” against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, July 31, after the NBA and the NBPA announced today a finalized comprehensive plan for a restart to the 2019-20 NBA season inside a single-site campus at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

As part of the agreement, remaining games for all 22 teams involved in the season’s resumption will be held at a trio of Walt Disney World Resort facilities – The Arena, the HP Field House and Visa Athletic Center at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex – with no fans in attendance.

The restart will begin with each participating team playing eight “seeding games”, as selected from its remaining regular-season matchups. All eight of Boston’s games, which range from July 31 through August 13, will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Boston. Six of those eight contests are currently scheduled to air on National Television (ABC, ESPN, TNT).

At 43-21, the Celtics boast the fifth-best record throughout the NBA in 2019-20.

UPDATED CELTICS “SEEDING GAMES” SCHEDULE FOR DISNEY:

July 31: Milwaukee (A)
August 2: Portland (H)
August 4: Miami (A)
August 5: Brooklyn (H)
August 7: Toronto (A)
August 9: Orlando (H)
August 11: Memphis (A)
August 13: Washington (H)

Red Claws guard Tremont Waters wins 2019-20 G League Rookie of Year award

Maine Red Claws guard Tremont Waters has been named the 2019-20 NBA G League Rookie of the Year, the G League announced today. The award, voted on by the league’s 28 head coaches and general managers, recognizes the first-year professional who most significantly contributed to his team’s success during the season.

Waters (5-10, 175, LSU), a two-way player with the Boston Celtics, averaged 18.0 points, 7.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.89 steals in 36 games for Maine. He ranked sixth in the NBA G League in assists per game and 14th in steals per game. Waters registered 10 games with at least 20 points and seven assists, including a season-high 33-point, seven-assist performance in a 155-131 road win over the Greensboro Swarm on Nov. 27.

Behind the 22-year-old Waters, the Red Claws finished in third place in the Eastern Conference with a 28-14 record. Waters was named the NBA G League Player of the Month for November and earned a spot on the 2019-20 Midseason All-NBA G League Team in the Eastern Conference.

Boston selected Waters in the second round (51st pick overall) of NBA Draft 2019 presented by State Farm after he averaged 15.3 points, 5.8 assists and 2.91 steals as a sophomore at LSU in the 2018-19 season. Signed to a two-way contract last July, Waters has appeared in 10 games with the Celtics this season.

Waters is the fourth Maine player to be selected as the NBA G League Rookie of the Year, joining Abdel Nader (2016-17), Tim Frazier (2014-15) and DeShawn Sims (2010-11).

Waters appeared in 36 of Maine’s 42 games this season. The NBA G League canceled the remainder of its 2019-20 season on June 4. The regular season was suspended on March 12 and had been scheduled to conclude on March 28.

Salt Lake City Stars forward Jarrell Brantley and South Bay Lakers forward Devontae Cacok finished second and third, respectively, in voting for the 2019-20 NBA G League Rookie of the Year Award.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens wants players staying one week away from game shape

Here’s Boston.com with an update from Boston Celticvs head coach Brad Stevens:

As the NBA’s hiatus continues due to coronavirus, Brad Stevens and the Celtics are just waiting for their numbers to be called.

The coach of the Celtics, appearing Monday on Kentucky coach John Calipari‘s “Coffee with Cal” show, said he’s encouraging his players to be “a week away from their best shape” in the event that NBA commissioner Adam Silver decides to lift the league’s suspension that came down on March 11.

“In an ideal world, I don’t think there’s any question, everybody associated with all these teams, especially with all of us that are in playoffs, we want to play,” Stevens said.

Like the rest of us, Danny Ainge is waiting to see what happens

Here’s the Boston Herald with an update on what Celtics front office guru Danny Ainge is thinking these days as we all wait to see what happens with the NBA season and playoffs in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic:

“This is a time for the really self-motivated that are going to be able to take advantage of this opportunity in their career to get stronger, to get in greater condition,” [Ainge] said. “We’re approaching this like we’re going to return to play and that we’re going to be playing playoff basketball. And we are staying in touch. We are having conference calls where we have guest speakers, motivational speakers, that address all of our guys on Zoom. We are doing workouts with the coaches and with the strength coaches via Zoom and so forth.

“So we’re trying to do all we can. Some players are better than others at doing things on their own and doing extra work, and some players are more compliant than others, some are harder to reach than others, but for the most part, I’ve been impressed with how our players have bought in and the work that’s going on behind the scenes.”

The NBA regular season was suspended six weeks ago today. And the 2020 playoffs were due to start this past Saturday. But for now, everything remains on hold.

Jayson Tatum says Stephon Curry is a top 20 NBA player of all time

Ranking the best NBA players on just about any best-of list is always a fun but tough challenge. And it’s especially hard choosing where to place players whose careers are still ongoing on an all-time list. Here’s young Celtics star Jayson Tatum talking about Stephen Curry’s place in NBA history, as reported by NBC Sports Bay Area:

One of Curry’s peers, Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, believes Curry is the best point guard in the NBA right now.

Then Tatum backed that up with some high praise for the only unanimous league MVP.

“Steph’s a top 20 player of all time, bro,” Tatum said this week during an Instagram Live interview with Pep Stanciel, a basketball skills coach and consultant.

“Steph changed the game bro,” Tatum said. “They don’t want you to shoot mid-range no more.”

It’s definitely debatable why mid-range shots have declined. And crediting any single player for it would be a real stretch. But Steph is definitely a legendary, all-time NBA talent.

Kevin Garnett part of 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame class

The 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame class was announced this weekend, and one of the former NBA superstars to make it is Kevin Garnett.

Here’s the New York Post reporting his reaction to the honor:

“It’s the culmination,” Garnett said on ESPN. “It’s the culmination, man. You put countless hours into this. You dedicate yourself to a craft. You take no days off. You play through injuries. You play through demise. You play through obstacles. You give no excuses for anything. You learn, you build.

“This is the culmination. All those hours … this is what you do it for, right here. For me, to be called a Hall of Famer, is everything.”

The Class of 2020 will be enshrined in the Hall, located in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Saturday, August 29, 2020.

Boston Celtics player tests positive for coronavirus

A Boston Celtics player has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the team, who did not name the player, but shortly after the announcement, guard Marcus Smart confirmed it’s him.

Smart says he feels okay, and is in self-quarantine.

Testing was initiated because of exposure to a known positive case, the Celtics say.

The Celtics player, who is not exhibiting symptoms, has been in isolation for several days and will continue to do so while being monitored by team medical staff.

The team is awaiting further testing results.

Per the Celtics, “taking steps to maintain the health and safety of everyone in our organization and across the NBA remains our top priority, and we will continue to work closely with health officials and the league in addressing this situation.”

Celtics coach discusses possibility of playing NBA games with no fans in arena

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, many sports teams in various countries around the world are playing games, but with no fans in attendance. As a health safety precaution. All sports fans should consider the very real possibility that other leagues are pondering this option as well. As for the NBA? Here’s the Indianapolis Star reporting:

Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens isn’t in favor of playing in front of empty arenas, saying it’s “counterintuitive” to play games without fans.

“Nobody wants to play without fans,” he said before the Celtics played the Pacers on Tuesday night. “That would be really too bad. But totally understand if those decisions are made … This thing is built on people liking it. The reason why we are where we are, and get a chance to do this for a living, and make a good living, is people are interested in it.”

Gordon Hayward, the Brownsburg alum who plays for the Celtics, said players aren’t taking precautions beyond those health officials recommend for the general public — common sense and cleanliness — but he said the situation is “certainly concerning.”

As Celtics coach Stevens said, he understands if it’s necessary. But hopes it can be avoided. Same with us. Same with everybody.

But if we were given a choice of games not being played, or being played safely with almost nobody else in the building and fans all forced to watch on TV at home, the latter is certainly preferable to the former.

Caris LeVert scores 51 points against the Celtics

Nets shooting guard Caris LeVert wasn’t having a standout game last night in Boston against the Celtics. And then a switch was flipped, and he went absolutely wild, unleashing one of the most dramatic late-game performances we’ve seen in the NBA this season. Here’s the New York Post:

Caris LeVert led the way with a career performance to carry them to a 129-120 come-from-behind overtime win at TD Garden.

LeVert poured in a career-high 51 points, including 37 after the third quarter that saw the Nets trail by as much as 21.

The Nets hung up a team-record 51 points in the fourth quarter. LeVert had 26 of them, as well as every point for them in overtime as the Nets outscored the Celtics 11-2.

The Nets got 16 points and eight rebounds from Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, eight points and a game-high 15 rebounds from DeAndre Jordan and sparkplug play from little-used two-way Chris Chiozza.

The Nets are now 27-33, currently 7th in the Eastern conference, narrowly ahead of the 8th place Magic.

Kyrie Irving, who earlier Tuesday underwent season-ending shoulder surgery, and Kevin Durant, who isn’t playing at all this season, have to be excited to see LeVert’s ability and potential.

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.