Brandon Jennings still says ‘Bucks in six’ in advance of Game 3 against the Heat

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Before the first round playoff series between the eighth-seeded Bucks and the defending champion Heat got started, Brandon Jennings went on record as saying that his team would win the series in six games.

Now that we’re two games in, after Miami won Game 1 by 23 points and Game 2 by 12, Jennings (as seen in the video clip above) doesn’t see any reason to back down from those comments.

“I still said six,” Jennings told Craig Sager after Game 2. “So we’ll see what happens. Might take a little longer.”

In fairness to Jennings, what’s he supposed to say? That his team has no chance and is going to lay down to get willingly steamrolled for four straight games?

Milwaukee actually showed a lot of positive signs in Game 2, and those are the things they’ll need to build upon when the series shifts to Milwaukee Thursday night for Game 3.

The Bucks were within just three points after three quarters, before a 12-0 run from Miami to open the fourth put the game away. Milwaukee can’t afford those types of lapses, though the energy from Miami’s second unit, especially from Chris Andersen in this series, might be too difficult for the Bucks to match.

Regardless of how you view Jennings’ comments, he deserves credit for doing everything he can to back up his bold prediction. He leads the Bucks in scoring over the first two games of the series, although most of that damage was done during a stellar 18-point first half in Game 1; in Game 2, when Miami’s defense was focused on taking the ball out of the hands of both Jennings and Monta Ellis, he finished 3-15 from the field for just eight points.

Milwaukee got strong games offensively from Ersan Ilyasova and Larry Sanders in Game 2, as well as from Mike Dunleavy off the bench in a game where Jennings and Ellis both finished in single digits scoring. Milwaukee needs to get its two leading scorers more involved in Game 3, continue to get production inside from its bigs, and avoid being on the wrong end of one of those monster Miami runs to have a chance at extending the series beyond four games.

Gordon Hayward’s agent says return this season unlikely

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Wednesday night in Boston Gordon Hayward underwent surgery to repair his dislocated ankle and fractured tibia suffered just five minutes into the season-opening game, a gruesome injury that put a pall over the rest of the night.

There had been hope from some Celtics fans that Hayward could return this season, likely for the playoffs, but now that the surgery is complete Hayward’s agent told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN not to expect him back until next season.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who saw the injury. Hayward is in the first year of a four-year deal with the Celtics, they were always going to choose a cautious path rather than rush him back. Under Danny Ainge Boston has always taken the long view, even with all their moves this summer — specifically bringing in Hayward and Kyrie Irving — the target was to be the team set up for next as LeBron James and the Cavaliers faded. That plan does not change now.

Earlier in the day, Hayward had sent a video message out to Celtics fans thanking them for their support in the past 24 hours.

Without Hayward, the Celtics now will focus more on smaller lineups, rookie Jayson Tatum will get more run, as will Marcus Smart in his contract year. Jaylen Brown will be thrust into a more significant role. Also, Kyrie Irving will be asked to do more as the team’s second-best playmaker is now out for the season.

The Celtics will take a step back this season without Hayward, who was going to be crucial for them on both ends of the floor. That’s evidenced by their 0-2 start, falling to the Cavaliers and Bucks on the first couple nights of the season. Boston should still be a team well above .500 and in the playoffs, but they will not be quite the same this season.

Trail Blazers beat Suns by 48, biggest season-opening rout in NBA history

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Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.

More than fine.

Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.

Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):

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The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.

Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova scrap (video)

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Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.

Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.

Report: ‘Tremendous concern’ for Jeremy Lin’s knee injury

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The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?

Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:

If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.

The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.

It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.