Kevin Garnette

Boston plays best game of season, routs Orlando. Don’t read much into it.

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For one night, it felt like 2008 in Boston again.

The Celtics played with tremendous defensive energy, shutting off driving lanes and seeming to choke off whatever the opposing offense wanted to do. They contained Dwight Howard and chased down a lot of three-point shooters. Boston set a franchise record for fewest points allowed. The offense wasn’t great — with Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo out it wasn’t expected to be — but it was good enough.

Boston routed Orlando 87-56.

That said, don’t read too much into it. Yet.

In this up and down season we have seen more than our share of one-off results — the Wizards beat the Thunder for crying out loud. This was Orlando’s off night and it was certainly not all the Boston defense.

The Magic were just missing shots — Ryan Anderson started went 0-8 and 0-4 from three (where he hits 42 percent on the year); Glen Davis was 2-9 in his return, even Dwight Howard was 4-15 on the kind of running hooks and shots he has hit 57 percent of the rest of the season. The Magic shot 24.6 percent for the game and the best three point shooting team in the land started 2-11 from deep.

It was that kind of game for the Magic. On one kick-out to a wide-open Jameer Nelson in the third quarter he tried to go up and the ball just slipped out of his hands, and when he caught it when he landed he was whistled for traveling. The whole night just seemed to go like that. The play started to effect their effort, which got worse as things wore on. It happens, especially this season. Wash it off in the post game shower and move on.

Maybe this (and the win the day before over Washington) are things Boston can build on. They were scrapping and being physical on defense. Contesting everything, diving for balls on the floor, trying to take the charge. Particularly Jermaine O’Neal, who stood in tough and took some abuse.

Play like this every night with Rondo and Allen back and the Celtics are going to win some games. Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass had 19 points, Kevin Garnett had 14 and 10 rebounds. It was impressive.

But the Celtics played bad for nearly a month at the start of the season and they are going to have to play good for a while longer before we — and more importantly Danny Ainge — really start to believe. Still, every journey starts with one step.

One more look back: Top 10 clutch shots of season to this point

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The opening weeks of the season have seen some dramatic finishes — and for a Saturday night, why not watch a compilation of them? What else were you going to do? You’ve got 3:30 to sit through these.

Who got the top spot? Marc Gasol? Damian Lillard? Al Horford? John Henson? If we told you it would just destroy the surprise.

Like crossovers? Check out Top 10 handles of NBA season so far

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It’s not really fair if you ask Nemanja Bjelica to cover Stephen Curry in space, but it does make for a good highlight.

On a nice slow Saturday afternoon around the NBA, let’s take a look at the top 10 handles moves of the season so far, courtesy NBA.com. Of course, there is some wickedness from James Harden, Derrick Rose, and Chris Paul, too. But I’m good with Jordan Clarkson in the top spot.

Watch Giannis Antetokounmpo find Jabari Parker for the slam

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I want the Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker combo to work better than it does. The Buck get outscored by 2.3 points per 100 possessions when those two are on the court together, with neither end of the court working terribly well.

And yet, there are flashes — like the play above — where you think this could start to work. It just may need more time (and getting Khris Middleton back in the mix would help).

Antetokounmpo is having a phenomenal season, and is making plays.

Draymond Green fires back at league: “It’s funny how you can tell me… how my body is supposed to react”

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It’s not hard to find out how Draymond Green felt after picking up a flagrant foul Thursday night when his leg flew up after a foul and caught James Harden in the face. Just go to his Twitter feed.

Saturday at Warriors’ practice, Green expanded on the subject, here’s the video via Anthony Slater of the San Jose Mercury News.

If you prefer to read are Green’s comments transcribed:

“I just laugh at it. It’s funny how you can tell me how I get hit and how my body is supposed to react. I didn’t know the league office was that smart when it came to body movements. I’m not sure if they took kinesiology for their positions to tell you how your body is going to react when you get hit in a certain position. Or you go up and you have guys who jump to the ceiling. A lot of these guys that make the rules can’t touch the rim, yet they tell you how you’re way up there in the air which way you’re body (is supposed to go). I don’t understand that. That’s like me going in there and saying, ‘Hey, you did something on your paperwork wrong.’ I don’t know what your paperwork looks like. But it is what it is. They made the rule. Make your rule. I don’t care. But if you’re going to say it’s an unnatural thing, an unnatural act, no offense to James Harden, but I’ve never seen nobody up until James started doing it that shoots a layup like this under your arm (sweeps arms in a demonstration). That’s really not a natural act either. That’s not a natural basketball play either. But, hey, if you’re going to make a rule, make a rule. But if you’re going to take unnatural acts out the game, then let’s lock in on all these unnatural acts and take them out the game. I don’t know. Let them keep telling people how their body react I guess. They need to go take a few more kinesiology classes though. Maybe they can take a taping class or functional movement classes. Let me know how the body works because clearly mine don’t work the right way.”

Two things.

First, Green should know that the ultimate hammer on NBA fines is Kiki Vandeweghe — former NBA player, two-time All-Star, who also coached in the league. You want a guy with a players’ perspective making the call? You already have it. And Vandeweghe played in a far more physical era than this one.

Second, the flagrant was not issued because of intent but because of the action — if you kick a guy in the face, it’s a flagrant foul. There’s no gray area here, and officials shouldn’t have to guess a player’s intent. When Green went up he was fouled by Harden, and to maintain his balance Green flailed his legs out, something he has done plenty and other players going back decades have done too. That doesn’t mean it’s not reckless. That doesn’t mean a player is still not responsible for his body. Ask soccer officials about this same issue — get your leg above the waist with other players around and it can be called a “dangerous play.” In the NBA, if your leg flies up and hits a guy in the face, it’s a flagrant foul. Whether or not you meant to do it.

Green knows the league is cracking down on this. He knows he’s a target. It’s on him to change. One would think the Finals would have taught him that lesson.