Chicago Bulls v Boston Celtics

Doc Rivers says Garnett could return to Celtics Sunday

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UPDATE 12:29 am: Doc Rivers spoke with reporters after Kevin Garnett returned to practice on Thursday. Rivers said Garnett may go through shootaround but will not play Friday night.

However, he said Garnett may go Sunday.

As we said before, this is all good for Boston — their defense is elite when KG is on the court, pedestrian when he is not. What they really need him back for is the playoffs.

9:07 am: The Boston Celtics are not the same team without Kevin Garnett — defensively they fall apart. On the season, the Celtics defense gives up 7.2 more points per 100 possessions when Garnett is off the court (according to

He has missed the last seven games with an ankle injury and Boston has gone 3-4 without him, but it looks like he could return Sunday, according to the Boston Globe.

A team source said that forward Kevin Garnett, who missed his seventh consecutive game with inflammation in his left ankle, is expected to return to action Friday against the Cavaliers.

“Yeah, I guess. I don’t even know,” Rivers said when asked if Garnett would play this week. “Honestly, I haven’t asked one question about it.”

When Garnett went out he was expected to miss two weeks, which would be up over this weekend. So the timing is about right.

The Celtics have locked up a playoff spot and KG should not rush back to play in regular season games — they need him at 100 percent (or as close to it as he can get) for the playoffs. More rest is better than not enough here.

But they sure could use him on the court. And this is KG, you know he wants to get back out there. So maybe Friday.

Blake Griffin pre-game dunk knocks down shot clock

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The Clippers went north of the border to take on the Raptors in an exhibition game, but it was on the West Coast of Canada in one of the world’s prettiest cities — Vancouver. The two played at the Rogers Arena.

Where, they may want to upgrade the shot clocks behind the backboards. Watch over the shoulder of the Clippers announcers as Griffin dunks in warmups.

Notice that DeAndre Jordan loves this.

Nice to see Griffin dunking like his old self again. If you want another view, the NBA retweeted this.

Pizza and soccer on agenda for Celtics on trip to Italy

Perry Jones III, Malcolm Miller, James Young, Jordan Mickey
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MILAN (AP) — After a couple of days in Milan, Isaiah Thomas‘ Italian experience is still lacking a certain something.

“I’m waiting on some pizza,” said a laughing Thomas, who used to do commercials for a regional pizza franchise when he played for the Sacramento Kings. “The place we went to last night didn’t have no pizza so hopefully tonight we go somewhere I can order some pizza for real.”

This trip isn’t just about culinary experiences, though. The Celtics are in Milan to play an exhibition game against Olimpia Milano on Tuesday before traveling to Spain to play Real Madrid as part of the NBA Global Games.

Ahead of the team’s practice session on Sunday, Thomas was also looking forward to his first soccer match, as the Celtics headed to San Siro later for AC Milan’s home match against Napoli in the Italian league – after an afternoon trip to nearby Lake Como.

“That’s going to be fun,” Thomas told The Associated Press at the Celtics’ first practice in Italy. “I’m excited about that. I’ve never been to a soccer match, to have my first soccer match be in Italy is going to be nice.”

Teammate Marcus Smart said the trip was also an important bonding experience for a young roster with plenty of new pieces. They went for a players-only meal in Milan on Saturday night.

“We had a good time with each other,” Smart said. “No phones, so everyone was talking to one other. It was good overall fun.

“We understand the severity of this trip, it is a business trip but at the same time not many people get this chance to travel like we do so we understand its business but we’re here to have fun at the same time.”

Coach Brad Stevens has overseen plenty of rebuilding since taking over the Celtics in 2013 but still led the team to the playoffs last season after trading point guard Rajon Rondo – the only remaining player from the 2008 championship team. After being swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team is aiming higher this season. For Stevens, it all starts here in Italy.

“These sessions are really important to get something accomplished in practice and to make sure that we’re continuing to progress,” Stevens said. “It’s still very much a part of our training camp, and so you’ve got all of the great things about being a tourist – getting a chance to see new things and experience new things – and at the same time we’re 24 or 25 days away from our season opener.”

And after spending so many hours in the gym during the offseason, Thomas is ready to start playing actual games again – even if its just preseason.

“We’re ready to beat up on somebody else, we’re tired of beating up on each other,” Smith said.