Connect with us

NBA

Jayson Tatum explodes for 50 as Boston Celtics claim 7th seed in NBA playoffs

Published

on

BOSTON — Bradley Beal has seen plenty of impressive performances from Jayson Tatum on a basketball court since the two were kids growing up together in St. Louis.

But after Tatum scored 50 points to lead his Boston Celtics past Beal’s Washington Wizards with a 118-100 victory Tuesday night, giving Boston the seventh seed and a date Saturday night with the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the NBA playoffs, Beal said there was nothing the Wizards could do to stop him.

“It didn’t matter who was in front of him,” said Beal, whose Wizards will head back home to face the Indiana Pacers in a winner-takes-all game for the eighth seed Thursday night. “That is something I have been trying to tell his ass for years. It’s tough when you guard him. He’s 6-9, he can get his shot off, he’s strong and can shoot the ball.

“He’s a three-level scorer. So you got to respect everything he does on the floor. I know a lot of his moves, and a lot of it I was there, but I am only 6-3. I wish I was 6-9 with robotic arms.

“He’s a special talent, and I have been saying that since he was in diapers. It doesn’t surprise me.”

It was a scintillating all-around performance from Tatum, who reached 50 points for the third time in six weeks. He also went 17-for-17 from the foul line, to go along with eight rebounds, four assists, a steal and two blocks in 41 minutes. That also included a 23-point explosion in the third quarter that put Boston back out in front for good.

“I don’t know,” Tatum said when asked if performances like this one have officially pushed him into the game’s superstar class. “I guess it helps. I don’t really get caught up in those who think I’m a superstar and those that don’t. What does that really mean? I know that my teammates, I’ve earned their respect. I’ve earned the respect of the guys I’ve played against and the coaches.

“I believe in myself, and that’s all that matters.”

Tatum nearly outscored the Wizards by himself in that third quarter (26-23), as the Celtics opened the second half with a 20-4 run. That, coupled with a 10-4 push to end the first half, turned what had been an eight-point lead for the Wizards into a 16-point cushion for Boston.

And while the Wizards made a couple of pushes to get back into the game early in the fourth quarter, the Celtics had an answer every time, usually coming from either Tatum or Kemba Walker, who had his own impressive 29-point performance to help carry Boston into a meeting with Brooklyn and old friend Kyrie Irving.

“We’ve been through a lot, and so we’re hardened in a lot of ways,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “We’ve been backs against the wall most of the year and [had] to play tonight to get into the playoffs just to earn the right to play probably the most talented team that’s been assembled since I’ve been in the NBA.

“It takes a lot of effort, it takes a lot of togetherness and it takes staying together through tougher times. We’ll get ready for Brooklyn starting Thursday when we get back together. We know that challenge. Those guys are the best of the best, and going into that, if I’m a fan and just a general fan of the NBA, I have a hard time seeing them lose. So we’re going to have to play great, we’re going to have to play great together and we’re going to have to be really, really sound on both ends of the floor.”

It has been a season full of ups and downs for the Celtics, who have dealt with a revolving door of players in and out of the lineup because of both injuries and COVID-19. That includes All-Star Jaylen Brown, who is out for the remainder of the season after undergoing wrist surgery last week.

But Tuesday night’s game was a reminder of what Boston, which has made the Eastern Conference finals in three of the past four seasons, is capable of when it’s clicking.

Those moments, however, have been few and far between this season. That’s how the Celtics wound up in the play-in tournament in the first place, and why they will go into this first-round series with the star-studded Nets as a massive underdog, despite their own talent and recent playoff pedigree.

“Study, preparation — I think the preparation is key,” said Celtics big man Tristan Thompson, who finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds in 30 minutes off the bench behind Robert Williams, who left the game early in the second half with a recurrence of a recent battle with turf toe. “If you can prepare for your opponent better than they can prepare for you, mentally put yourself in that mode, I think that’s how you try to gain an edge. We know how talented this Nets team is. So for us, our preparation is going to be key.

“Guys gotta watch film. KYP — know your personnel. Know the guy you’re matched up with, knowing their tendencies, knowing what moves they like to go to, because those little things count in the playoffs. Every possession counts. So whether it’s James [Harden] ISO-ing to a step-back when he has the ball in his right hand, or Kyrie ISO-ing to the side-step from the right wing, or Kevin [Durant] when it’s in his left hand for the pull-up or right hand to the drive, you’ve got to know that stuff going into the game because those little possessions can determine the game.”

Against a team full of stars, it also helps if you have some of your own to fight back with. With the way Tatum and Walker, in particular, played Tuesday night, Boston will head into its series with Brooklyn hoping to see more of the same against the team favored to win this year’s NBA title.

“Obviously, it’s going to be tough without [Jaylen],” Tatum said. “We know how good of a team they are. Everybody knows the guys that they have over there.

“But I’m excited to get this opportunity to be in the playoffs. It’s my fourth year in a row. I don’t take that for granted. Myself and everybody else, we’re excited. It’s the playoffs, so we just have to get ready for the next game.”

Source link

NBA

Top NBA draft prospect Jalen Suggs signs multiyear deal with Adidas

Published

on

Jalen Suggs has landed a multiyear footwear and apparel deal with Adidas ahead of his anticipated selection early in the 2021 NBA draft on Thursday.

“I’m so excited to be with the brand,” the former Gonzaga star said. “I grew up inspired by D-Rose and Dame [Lillard] and want to follow in the steps of the young Adidas family coming up now like Trae [Young] and Don [Mitchell].”

After a breakout freshman season leading the Nike-sponsored Bulldogs to the national championship game of the NCAA tournament, Suggs became one of the most sought-after players entering shoe deal talks this spring.

The deal was negotiated by Wasserman, with Suggs and the agency holding a series of seven presentations — most in person, some virtual — in Los Angeles to begin the process. Adidas ultimately emerged as Suggs’ choice.

Along with outlining product plans for Green in both basketball and lifestyle footwear categories, the brand committed to funding a court refurbishment in his hometown of Saint Paul, Minnesota, and mapped out a pathway to a potential signature shoe down the road.

Adidas currently makes signature footwear for James Harden, Derrick Rose, Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchell and Trae Young, with each product being released during the player’s second or third season with the company.

In addition to Suggs, Adidas has finalized endorsement deals with three other players expected to be selected near the top of the draft, signing explosive wing Jalen Green, versatile big man Evan Mobley and scoring guard Sharife Cooper.

“Each individual brings something unique to our team,” Eric Wise, global GM of basketball at Adidas, said in a statement. “From their talent and work ethic on the court, to a community-first mindset, values and openness to collaboration, we cannot wait to see where this week takes them.”

Behind the scenes, the brand recently merged its Originals and Basketball departments to work more closely together, as the culture of the sport has continued to blur the lines between performance and lifestyle in recent years.

Another factor in swaying players to land with the brand has been the recent appointment of designer Jerry Lorenzo, founder of high-fashion brand Fear of God, to help lead the creative and business strategy of Adidas Basketball. Lorenzo has launched coveted crossover basketball sneakers with Nike in the past, while also carving out his own sought-after footwear category at Fear of God, before signing a long-term partnership with Adidas in late 2020.

With new designers at the helm and a new hybrid marketing approach, along with existing signature athletes he has long looked up to, Suggs is looking ahead to a future with Adidas as he begins his NBA career.

“We will create culture together,” Suggs said. “And if you give me some time, I will pursue greatness like them.”

Source link

Continue Reading

NBA

Nets announce Mike D’Antoni’s departure from coach Steve Nash’s staff

Published

on

NEW YORK — Mike D’Antoni is leaving the Brooklyn Nets, forcing Steve Nash to make another change on his coaching staff.

Nash announced the 70-year-old D’Antoni’s decision in a statement Wednesday, saying having the two-time Coach of the Year was “invaluable” in his first season as a coach.

“I will be forever grateful for his guidance and will carry on a lifetime of lessons from the many years we’ve spent together,” Nash said in the statement. “Our players and staff all benefited from this time in Broolyn and we wish Mike, Laurel and their family the very best in what lies ahead.”

D’Antoni won the 2005 Coach of the Year award in Phoenix when Nash was his point guard, then another in Houston in 2017. He has long been regarded as one of the NBA’s best offensive coaches and helped the Nets reach the second round of the playoffs, where they lost to eventual champion Milwaukee in seven games.

The Nets already lost one assistant this offseason when Ime Udoka left to become Boston Celtics coach. David Vanterpool was hired to replace him.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Source link

Continue Reading

NBA

Mike D’Antoni announces departure from Nets coach Steve Nash’s staff

Published

on

NEW YORK — Mike D’Antoni is leaving the Brooklyn Nets, forcing Steve Nash to make another change on his coaching staff.

Nash announced the 70-year-old D’Antoni’s decision in a statement Wednesday, saying having the two-time Coach of the Year was “invaluable” in his first season as a coach.

“I will be forever grateful for his guidance and will carry on a lifetime of lessons from the many years we’ve spent together,” Nash said in the statement. “Our players and staff all benefited from this time in Broolyn and we wish Mike, Laurel and their family the very best in what lies ahead.”

D’Antoni won the 2005 Coach of the Year award in Phoenix when Nash was his point guard, then another in Houston in 2017. He has long been regarded as one of the NBA’s best offensive coaches and helped the Nets reach the second round of the playoffs, where they lost to eventual champion Milwaukee in seven games.

The Nets already lost one assistant this offseason when Ime Udoka left to become Boston Celtics coach. David Vanterpool was hired to replace him.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending