Tracy McGrady has storybook debut… almost

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mcgrady_Knick.jpgTracy McGrady looked like hadn’t lost a step despite only playing in nine games prior to tonight… well, almost.

Donnie Walsh looked like he might be sheer genius in the debut of the revamped Knicks lineup… well, almost.

And the New York Knicks beat the Oklahoma City Thunder…well, almost.

There will be plenty of time to talk about Kevin Durant’s streak of 25+ games (27 and counting), the Thunder’s incredible poise, and the significance of Sam Presti’s decision not to interfere with the chemistry of the young squad.

But we’d be remiss if we didn’t chronicle the work of McGrady tonight. The return of TMac.

The boxscore itself is not enough to appreciate what McGrady did tonight. Though the Knicks’ pace is down significantly this year from previous runs and guns, there’s still an inherent swell to the statsheet when you operate under Mike D’Antoni’s guises. So 26 points in 32 minutes, 4 rebounds, 5 assists, and a steal is impressive, but not unbelievable. It’s very possible to put that line in a quiet way under 7 Seconds or Less.

It was not a quiet line.

McGrady wasn’t the same McGrady we’ve seen the last few years. He was the McGrady we were promised by the former prodigy, attacking the basket, draining threes, making steals, handling the ball in key situations, and generally playing like a king. Or a Knickerbocker of old.

McGrady has settled for inside-the-arc jumpshots, the death of effiiciency for years, as his body wore down. But tonight he attacked the basket, drawing contact, following misses, and being hyper aggressive, rather than passively shooting whatever the defense granted him. There were a fair amount of “inefficient” shots, to be sure, the 16-23 foot jumpers that were part of what frustrated the efficiency-obsessed Rockets. But McGrady countered it with aggressiveness and creating opportunities for his teammates.

McGrady definitely seemed to tire as the game went on, his first in months, and he sat the entire overtime period when he was needed. But tonight serves as notice that even though he may not be 100%, the old Tracy McGrady, the one that drove fear into the hearts of men, still exists, and we may be seeing more of him for the rest of the season.

Dion Waiters explains decision to sign with the Heat in an Instagram post

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 24:  Dion Waiters #3 of the Oklahoma City Thunder reacts in the first quater against the Golden State Warriors in game four of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 24, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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On Monday, Dion Waiters agreed to a one-year, $2.9 million deal with the Heat, far less than most people thought he would get as one of the few significant free agents still on the market. Tuesday afternoon, he posted an explanation on Instagram for his deal.

Here’s what he said:

I didn’t do it for the money… I did it for the opportunity to go out & ball & have fun. Everything else will take care of its self!!! I just felt like it was the best situation for me…& my family. I could have waited & got wat I wanted. But I rather be happy then miserable at the end of the day!!! Meaning Yu can have everything & still not be happy… #heatnation let’s get it!!! #provethemwrong #stamped #Philly

It seems clear, based on the market, that the kinds of offers Waiters was hoping for weren’t out there for him. In Miami, with Dwyane Wade gone, he’ll probably start at shooting guard and have plenty of opportunities to prove himself in hopes of landing a long-term deal next summer.

Report: Celtics sign second-round pick Demetrius Jackson to four-year deal

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 27:  Demetrius Jackson #11 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish walks to the bench late in the second half against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament East Regional Final at Wells Fargo Center on March 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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While we wait for the Celtics to make a bigger move to trade for another star, they’re filling out the end of their roster. Sheridan Hoops’ Michael Scotto is reporting that they’ve signed Demetrius Jackson, the No. 45 pick in last month’s draft, to a four-year deal.

Jackson declared for the draft after his junior season at Notre Dame. Talent-wise, he has the chance to be a major steal for Boston — DraftExpress has him ranked as the 17th-best overall prospect in this year’s draft class. But he might not play much his first year. The Celtics’ roster is already crowded and there’s still the chance that they’ll make another move with some of their much-vaunted assets if the right star becomes available.

Hawks sign former Michigan State center Matt Costello

ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 18: Matt Costello #10 of the Michigan State Spartans handles the ball against Darnell Harris #0 of the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders in the second half during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Scottrade Center on March 18, 2016 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Hawks have signed undrafted rookie free agent center Matt Costello of Michigan State.

The 6-foot-9, 245-pound Costello averaged 5.7 points and 5 rebounds on the Hawks’ summer league team in Las Vegas.

Costello averaged 10.7 points and 8.2 rebounds as a senior at Michigan State. He holds the school’s career record with 146 blocked shots.

Terms of the deal were not released.

Watch Jamal Crawford drop an effortless 44, hit game winner at Seattle pro-am

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Jamal Crawford knows how to get buckets.

He does it against NBA level defenders, so put him in a free-flowing pro-am — let’s say the Seattle pro-am in his hometown — and he barely breaks a sweat dropping 44. And nailing the game winner.

Doc Rivers hopes to see a lot of that next season.