Greg Monroe calls Andre Drummond “a beast on the boards”

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Ah, the six weeks before training camps open is when optimism reigns. Every rookie looks like the rookie of the year, every injury is healing well, every player has worked on his game and will come back to camp playing his best.

With that in mind, we bring you this note from Pistons.com (via the Detroit Free Press), who spoke to center Greg Monroe. The Pistons anchor in the middle has been working out in Las Vegas with teammate and rookie Andre Drummond and had this to say.

“He had a great week out there. He was definitely a beast on the boards. He was working hard, getting a lot of second shots for our team, separating himself from other guys. He worked hard the whole week.”

Physical skill was never the question with Drummond. There are scouts that thought he could be the second best player in this draft eventually (Anthony Davis was everybody’s No. 1). The question was focus, desire, it was in his head. If he brings it every night he could be a force as a big man in the league, he has the body and skills. But if he doesn’t he will fade away.

Right now, optimism reigns. As it should. And we’re not going to puncture that bubble; only Drummond himself will do that.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)