Paul Pierce, DeMarre Carroll

Three Stars of the Night: Old Man for Rivers

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The Celtics were already pretty old to start the season. When Rajon Rondo tore his ACL, they got older. When rookie forward Jared Sullinger went out for the season, they were about as young as a men’s rec league team.

Older doesn’t necessarily mean worse, of course. Doc Rivers called it when the injuries happened — the Celtics weren’t going to expire so easily. A game in Utah against one of the youngest and best home teams in the league (21-6 at home going in) wasn’t going to be easy, but Rivers called on his old man to bring it home. To the stars!

Third Star: Bradley Beal – (20 points, 6 rebounds, 8-for-13)

Beal just keeps getting better and better. Every month this season Beal has improved his field goal percentage and points per game. Does it help he set the bar so low? Sure, but it’s clear to see Beal is becoming more confident and really figuring the league out. In January and February, Beal is shooting nearly 50 percent from behind the arc, and this month, he’s scoring 17.3 points per game. It’s too late for Washington to make the playoffs (they’re 9 games back of the 8-seed), but is it too late for Beal to steal some first place Rookie of the Year votes from Damian Lillard? If he keeps trending this way, it might not be.


Second StarAl Horford – (23 points, 22 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks)

Horford tied a career-high with 22 rebounds in a blowout win over the Pistons, mainly just by hanging around the rim and swallowing everything up. Horford’s 7 offensive rebounds gave the Hawks plenty of extra chances, and they knew what to do with it. Atlanta shot above 50 percent from the field as a team, thanks in large part to Horford putting in little shots around the rim.


First Star: Paul Pierce – (26 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists)

Pierce was great all night, but his incredible scoring in overtime put the Celtics over the top. After narrowly missing a potential game-winner in regulation, Pierce rattled off seven straight points in overtime on a variety of buckets. Even against a really solid individual defender in DeMarre Carroll, Pierce was able to come off screens and get his deadly jumper off with relative ease. Enjoy these performances while you can — it will be a long time before we see another scorer who manipulates space like Pierce does.

Players’ union, NBA to set up cardiac screening for retired players

2015 NBA Finals Cares Events
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First it was Darryl Dawkins. Then it was Moses Malone.

Two all-time great players who recently died — and at t0o young an age, 58 and 60 respectively — from undiagnosed heart conditions. Even before that, recognizing the issue the NBA players union and the league itself were setting up supplemental health coverage to provide cardiac screening for retired players, something ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan recently broke.

The joint effort between union executive director Michele Roberts and NBA commissioner Adam Silver — at a time when there still may be potentially acrimonious labor negotiations looming for their sides — is intended to ease the health concerns of its retired players.

Roberts said action from the players’ association on providing screening for its retired players is “imminent.”

“I wish I could give you an exact timetable, but we have to make sure all the components are in place,” Roberts told ESPN recently. “I will tell you we hope to have something sooner than later.”

The Cardiologists are affiliated with the NBA already, and some of the money will come from the league, while the union is both pitching in a chunk of cash and is the one organizing this, according to the report.

It’s good to Roberts and Silver working together on this. While you’d like to think this would be the kind of no-brainer move that the league and union would work together on, in the past the relationship didn’t always facilitate this sort of cooperation even on the obvious.

I’d like to think this bodes well for future labor talks, but I’m not willing to completely draw that parallel.


Stephen Curry drops 30 on Portland in preseason (VIDEO)

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Somebody is in midseason form.

Stephen Curry put up 30 on Portland in a preseason game Thursday night, hitting six threes and getting to the line 15 times over the course of his less than 26 minutes. It was quite a show.

Portland won the game 118-101 behind 25 points from Allen Crabbe and 22 from Damian Lillard. Not a lot of defense in this one but it was fun to watch.