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Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown says his body hasn’t felt the same since having COVID-19

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BOSTON — Celtics star Jaylen Brown said he’s still feeling the after-effects of COVID-19, saying that at times he feels like he’s played three games in one.

“I think so,” Brown said after Boston’s practice Friday, when asked if he’s still recovering from his positive diagnosis earlier this month. “I’ve noticed in the last couple of days — what, four games for me now? — my body hasn’t recovered the same in a sense. I’m talking to our medical staff about that.

“Like, I feel great. And then it feels like instead of playing one game, it kind of feels like I played three. I’m used to my body responding and recovering a lot faster. I know I just turned 25, but this can’t be what it looks like on the other side.”

Boston announced Brown had tested positive on Oct. 8. After sitting out the requisite 10 days, per the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols, he was able to ramp up in time to play in the season opener Oct. 20 against the New York Knicks.

Brown was spectacular in that game, scoring 46 points in 46 minutes in a double overtime loss, and he had 30 points in an overtime win in Charlotte on Monday. But he has had two duds in Boston’s two home games this season, going a combined 8-for-29 from the field for 22 points, including just 13 points on 5-for-16 shooting in a loss to Washington on Wednesday.

Before the season opener, Brown said he had breathing issues at times, which was his biggest concern in returning from COVID. But while he says that’s fine now, Brown said he’s he’s also dealing with joint pain in addition to his body not recovering fast enough.

“I talked to [the training staff] and that definitely is a side effect or a symptom [of COVID],” Brown said. “… As I continue to fight through it and continue to play more games and get the right stuff into my system, it will get better. Right now it has been inconsistent. I think that’s obvious. But my body hasn’t felt the same.”

Brown’s inconsistency from game-to-game was described as “mind boggling” by new Celtics coach Ime Udoka following the Washington loss. Brown, who has talked to Udoka since, said the comment didn’t bother him and he agreed with Udoka’s assessment.

“Ime came and talked to me about it yesterday,” Brown said. “It didn’t bother me. It’s mind-boggling to me too. I was surprised that my body didn’t respond the way it normally responds. I’m usually able to have that zip, that pop, flying up and down the court, but it wasn’t there. I think that was obvious.

“I don’t think he was out of line or anything for that. I gotta be better and get with my medical staff and figure how to get my body to the point where I feel normal. Some days I feel fantastic and then it’s like 2-3 days, it takes my body too long to feel fantastic again. That’s an issue for me. As I navigate that, we have to still tighten up on the details, tighten up on our defense and find a way to win games. Even though I don’t feel the same on the court, I could still be better in certain areas and detailed in certain areas. That’s more the conversation that we have.”

Brown, who made his first All-Star team last year, is also dealing with left patella tendinopathy, which caused him to miss Sunday’s game in Houston against the Rockets. He also said he’s talked to fellow Celtics star Jayson Tatum about his own difficult recovery from COVID-19 last year, though he added it was hard to compare the two because they weren’t dealing with the same issues.

“I think it affects everybody a little bit differently. I think Jayson, he said more his breathing was more his concern,” Brown said. “… My recovery has kind of not been the usual kind of recovery. Like, I usually go through a routine. And that routine works. It’s money. I’ve been doing it for a couple of years. Even after a hard game, I do my routine and I should be fine.”

The Celtics (2-3) head to Washington for a rematch with the Wizards on Saturday night. They’ll be without Marcus Smart, who won’t make the trip because of a non-COVID illness. Dennis Schroder is likely to start in Smart’s place.

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Sources — John Wall, Houston Rockets discussing return to play

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Houston Rockets guard John Wall has expressed his hope to the organization that he can resume playing for the team in the near future, sources tell ESPN.

Wall and the Rockets had agreed on him sitting out until a trade could be found, but the five-time All-Star guard talked to Houston general manager Rafael Stone on Friday about restarting discussions on a return to the active roster, sources said. The two sides are expected to continue talks on Sunday.

For Wall to play this season, a compromise probably would need to be found between respecting his stature with a supermax contract and the Rockets’ desire to have him play a complementary role to help develop their young core. That, along with other considerations, could be key to finding a path for Wall to play for the Rockets in 2021-22.

With two years and $91 million left on his contract, trade talks surrounding Wall have been a nonstarter this season and there is been no inclination on either side for a buyout to make him a free agent, sources said.

Wall, 31, arrived in Houston via a trade with Washington that sent Russell Westbrook to the Wizards prior to the 2020-21 season. After missing the entire 2019-20 season with an Achilles tear, Wall started 40 games for the Rockets and averaged 20.6 points and 6.9 assists. The Rockets and Wall agreed to shut him down late in the season, trying to protect his body and trade value.

The Rockets are counting on No. 2 overall pick Jalen Green and third-year guard Kevin Porter Jr. to play cornerstone roles for the future. Before the season, the Rockets and Wall agreed that he would continue practicing and working out with the team, but wouldn’t be an active player as Houston sought trade scenarios.

The Rockets are 2-16 to start the season, but ended a 15-game losing streak with a victory over the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.

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Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris start vs. Timberwolves on Saturday

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Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid returned for Saturday’s home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves after a nine-game absence due to health and safety protocols.

Tobias Harris also returned to the starting lineup after missing the last two games with a hip injury.

The shorthanded Sixers went 2-7 without Embiid, who is averaging 21.4 points, 9.6 rebounds and 4 assists this season.

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Sacramento Kings outduel Los Angeles Lakers, pull away in 3-OT thriller

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LOS ANGELES — De’Aaron Fox scored 34 points, Buddy Hield had 13 of his 25 after regulation and the Sacramento Kings beat the Los Angeles Lakers 141-137 in triple overtime Friday night.

In a game that saw 19 ties and 23 lead changes, the Lakers led 126-124 a minute into the third overtime when the Kings went on an 11-2 run to go up by seven with 1:54 remaining. Marvin Bagley III had five points during the spurt, including a three-point play to give Sacramento the lead.

Carmelo Anthony hit a 3-pointer with 9.4 seconds remaining to get the Lakers within a basket, but Hield sank a pair of free throws on the ensuing possession to put it away.

Tyrese Haliburton had 19 points for the Kings, who had seven players in double figures. They are 2-1 under interim coach Alvin Gentry.

The Lakers, who are 10-11 after dropping five of their past seven, had four players with at least 20 points with the first time this season. LeBron James led the way with 30 points, Russell Westbrook added 29, Anthony Davis 23 and Malik Monk 20.

The Lakers scored the first six points of the first overtime and were up 110-103 before the Kings scored seven straight, including Hield’s 3-pointer to tie it with 28 seconds remaining. Davis had a driving layup with 9.0 seconds remaining but Sacramento forced a second OT on Hield’s 18-foot jumper.

The largest lead anyone had in the second overtime was three points. James made a driving layup with 24 seconds remaining to tie it at 124. Sacramento had the final possession, but couldn’t get a shot off.

HOW WE GOT TO OVERTIME

Monk scored 11 points during a 24-8 second-half run that saw the Lakers turn a three-point deficit with 4 minutes to go in the third quarter into an 86-73 advantage with 10:02 remaining.

The Kings would counter through with a 22-5 rally, including eight points from Alex Len, to seize a 98-93 advantage with 2:26 to go. Los Angeles, though, scored seven of the last nine points of regulation to send it to overtime.

After a layup by James gave the Lakers a 100-98 advantage, Fox tied it with a layup with 21 seconds to go. The Lakers had the final shot, but James missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send it to overtime.

TIP-INS

Kings: It was Fox’s second game this season with at least 30 points. He scored 37 on Nov. 10 at San Antonio. … Terence Davis had 13 points before fouling out in overtime. … Harrison Barnes (right foot sprain) and Richaun Holmes (right eye contusion) were out of the lineup.

Lakers: Anthony (16 points) was 6 of 13 from the field after going 7 of 27 the past two games. … This was Monk’s third game with at least 20 points since joining Los Angeles during the offseason. … Davis reached 800 career steals when he stripped the ball from Fox during the first overtime.

UP NEXT

Kings: Travel to Memphis Sunday.

Lakers: Host Detroit Sunday.

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