Dan Feldman

Celtics will retire Paul Pierce’s number

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Paul Pierce, who finished his playing career with the Clippers, said he’d sign with the Celtics to retire.

They’ll also retire something of his.

Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, via CSN New England:

He’s the last number 34 ever for the Celtics.

This was beyond obvious, but it’s always nice to hear someone in charge state the plan.

Pierce is the greatest Celtic since Larry Bird. Even if Kevin Garnett was better at Boston’s most recent peak, which culminated in the 2008 title, Pierce earned credit with years of service before Garnett and Ray Allen arrived. Leading Boston to the 2002 conference finals is an underrated part of his legacy, which includes 10 All-Star appearances, an All-NBA second-team and three All-NBA third-team selections and the 2008 NBA Finals MVP. Pierce is the Celtics’ all-time leader in 3-pointers, free throws and steals, and he ranks second to John Havlicek in points.

After spending 15 years in Boston, Pierce ushered in the Celtics’ next era by facilitating a trade to the Nets, who sent major draft considerations to Boston. Pierce had his moments with the Nets, Wizards and Clippers, but he’ll always be remembered as a Celtic – with his jersey in the rafters serving as a deserved reminder of his impact in Boston.

George Hill out for Jazz-Warriors Game 2

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Stephen Curry in Game 1 of Warriors-Jazz, with George Hill:

  • On: 13 points in 14 minutes, 4-of-5 shooting, 122.1 Golden State offensive rating
  • Off: 9 points in 16 minutes, 3-of-6 shooting, 101.5 Golden State offensive rating

We’re dealing with small samples, and Curry is pretty darn good regardless.

But Utah is losing its top defender on the Warriors’ back-to-back reigning MVP.

Jazz:

The Jazz were already major underdogs. This makes an upset even harder to pull off.

Utah will turn to a hodgepodge of Shelvin Mack, Dante Exum, Raul Neto and maybe even some point guard-less lineups where Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood handle the ball.

This is also bad news personally for Hill, who rejected a contract extension and will enter free agency coming off a career year. But he has dealt with several nagging injuries, and they will collectively raise questions about his value.

Spurs: Tony Parker out rest of playoffs

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The back-and-forth Spurs-Rockets series has taken another, albeit expected, twist.

San Antonio point guard Tony Parker is finished for the playoffs.

Spurs release:

Spurs guard Tony Parker underwent an MRI examination this morning in San Antonio. The exam revealed that Parker has suffered a ruptured left quadriceps tendon. The injury occurred at the 8:52 mark of the fourth quarter of last night’s Spurs-Rockets game. Parker will miss the remainder of the 2017 NBA Playoffs. A timeline for his return will be determined at a later date.

San Antonio must now rely on Patty Mills, Manu Ginobili and maybe Dejounte Murray at point guard.

The Spurs like to use Mills and Ginobili together. Ginobili’s playmaking complements Mills, who’s more of a scoring guard. But staggering those two will be a necessity unless Gregg Popovich is ready to trust Murray, a raw rookie.

On the bright side, San Antonio has fared well when playing Mills without a secondary playmaker – especially with Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge, exceptional individual scorers, on the floor. It’ll just get tougher when the Spurs, sans Parker, can’t be as selective about when to use those lineups.

Al Horford on Markieff Morris: ‘I’m not going to give him the time of day’

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Markieff Morris keeps tormenting members of the 2015-16 Hawks who want nothing to do with him.

The Wizards forward egged on Paul Millsap during a first-round series against Atlanta until Millsap engaged. Now, Morris is turning his attention to Al Horford.

Horford slid under a Morris jumper, and Morris injured his ankle on the play in Game 1 of Celtics-Wizards. Morris said he’d ask Horford at Game 2 whether the play was dirty. I don’t know whether Morris posed his question, but he tossed Horford into the stands.

Jay King of MassLive:

When asked about the pregame chat, Horford replied, “I’m not going to give him any more play. That’s it.”

Horford took a similar stance when asked about the hard foul.

“Again,” he said, “I’m not going to give him the time of day.”

If Horford can maintain that stance, more power to him. But Morris will keep trying to get under his skin.

Report: Spurs’ Tony Parker undergoing season-ending surgery

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Update: Sam Amick of USA Today:

 

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Tony Parker‘s apparent knee injury was “not good.”

Just how not good?

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

If Parker is out, San Antonio will likely turn to Patty Mills, Manu Ginobili and maybe Dejounte Murray at point guard.

Mills sometimes relies on Ginobili as a secondary playmaker, but unless Murray plays, Mills will have to shoulder some minutes without that crutch. The Spurs’ offense has clicked– especially with Kawhi Leonard‘s and LaMarcus Aldridge‘s individual scoring skills – when Mills plays without Ginobili, but San Antonio has been selective about when to use those lineups. That luxury would be gone sans Parker.

Murray is a rookie point guard who doesn’t appear ready for the responsibility of major playoff minutes. Trusting him would be a major risk.

But the Spurs are left juggling those unappealing options – and hoping the MRI reveals they’re wrong about Parker.