Celtics will retire Kevin Garnett’s jersey

The Boston Celtics announced tonight that Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Nominee and 2007-08 NBA Champion Kevin Garnett’s number 5 will be retired, joining other Celtics legends to receive the team’s ultimate honor. Garnett’s number will be elevated to the TD Garden rafters during the 2020-21 season.

“I’m honored and thankful to have my number retired with the Celtics,” said Garnett. “I will always have immense respect and appreciation for ownership, Danny Ainge, Doc Rivers, my past teammates and Celtic Nation!”

“From the moment he arrived in the summer of 2007, Kevin changed everything for us,” said Wyc Grousbeck, Celtics Co-Owner. “His complete commitment to winning was a decisive factor in our 2008 championship. He will always be one of my very favorite Celtics.”

“KG arrived in Boston as a quintessential Celtic who embraced the ‘team first’ ethic and brought a competitive fire,” said Steve Pagliuca, Celtics Co-Owner. “We will be forever grateful for his extraordinary contribution to bringing the 17th championship banner to Boston, and we will always remember him as a leader on and off the court. He was the true embodiment of Celtics pride.”

“Kevin gave everything he had to the Celtics in every practice, in every game, and his unique blend of energy, intelligence, and talent brought out the best in his teammates and coaches,” said Danny Ainge, Celtics President of Basketball Operations.

Andrew Wiggins off to good start for Warriors

Are you mentally prepared to read something nice about Andrew Wiggins?

Hopefully so, because it’s about to happen. Here’s NBC Sports Bay Area reporting:

In his first week as a Warrior, Wiggins is averaging 23 points per game on an incredibly efficient 57.5 percent from the field and 53.3 percent from deep. His 23 points have come on 13.3 field goal attempts per game, rather than the 22.4 points on 18.8 field goal attempts he put up in the first 42 games this season with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

He has shown an impressive ability to make quick moves off the dribble to attack the hoop, and slash through the lane off the ball. Unlike his days with the Timberwolves, Wiggins is buying into Kerr’s free-flowing, ball movement offense, and avoiding unnecessary dribbling and stagnant iso-ball. Per Kerr’s wishes, he also is sprinting in transition and using his athleticism and size to beat his defender down the court.

Of course, this is all well and good, but the real test for Wiggins’ long-term prospects this squad is how he looks alongside a full-strength squad that includes a healthy Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. But we won’t know the answer to that for quite a while.

For now, after one mere week, Wiggins hasn’t disappointed.

Wizards not far from playoffs in East

The Wizards haven’t gotten many mentions this season. That’s what happens when you aren’t playing particularly hot basketball. But lately, the team has been solid on the floor. Here’s the Washington Post with an update:

At the NBA all-star break, Wizards are making outsiders look closer. Washington compiled the fourth-best record in the conference over the last 10 games and are heading into the midseason respite with a 20-33 record. On some nights the Wizards have caught the attention of the Szczerbiaks of the world — beating playoff-caliber opponents such as the Brooklyn Nets and Dallas Mavericks. However, over that same stretch, they’ve also lost to the worst team in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors…

Despite the up-and-down stretch, the Wizards remain three games behind the Orlando Magic for the eighth seed…

A major reason for the Wizards’ good position has been Beal’s play. Since Jan. 22, Beal has ranked second in the league with a 35.2 points per game average. Although Beal was not voted as an all-star reserve by Eastern Conference coaches, he will enter the break as the lone NBA player to have scored at least 25 points in 12 consecutive games.

Sure, being a few games out of the playoffs isn’t anything to write home about. But a team doing that is playing respectable basketball. Which for this season’s Wizards deserves a nod.

A quick look at Tom Thibodeau Bulls history

Here’s the Chicago Sun Times with a look at former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who says his passion is definitely still in coaching:

In his five years as the head coach of the Bulls, the franchise was 255-139 (.647 winning percentage), posted a franchise-best 86 consecutive-game streak without losing more than two games in a row, and led the league in close-game winning percentage at .626 (66-40).

All of that even with a horrific torn anterior cruciate ligament derailing Derrick Rose’s career, as well as the dynasty the franchise thought it was building.

Thibodeau only had Rose for 47 percent of the games he coached with the Bulls, and when Rose was on the floor, the coach won 73 percent of those games.

We have to think that eventually, Thibs will get an NBA head coaching job again. The only question is when.

Dame D.O.L.L.A. still expected to perform at 2020 NBA All-Star

Damian Lillard won’t be playing in the 2020 NBA All-Star game or firing threes in the three-point contest, due to injury. Suns guard Devin Booker has replaced him in both events.

But his alter ego, Dame D.O.L.L.A., is still likely snatching the mic and spitting lyrics. Here’s NBC Sports Northwest reporting:

For the past three summers, Dame D.O.L.L.A. has released an album each offseason: The Letter OConfirmed, and BIG D.O.L.L.A. He has also released three singles: “Bigger than Us,” “Run It Up” feat. Lil Wayne and “Shot Clock.”

It won’t be his first time performing live since Dame D.O.L.L.A. put on a concert in 2016 for Rip City.   

It’ll be fun to see what Dame can do live on a big stage with a mic instead of a basketball.

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.