Boston Celtics acquire Jordan Crawford from Washington Wizards for Leandro Barbosa

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Well, anytime you can trade a guy with one functioning ACL for a guy with two, you have to do it.

That’s obviously an oversimplification of things, but it’s hard to argue with the logic. The Boston Celtics needed a body in the backcourt, and to get it, they traded a player who was no longer of any use to the team.

The official deal has been reported as follows. The Boston Celtics will acquire guard Jordan Crawford from the Washington Wizards for the expiring minimum contract of Leandro Barbosa, according to Adrian Wojnarowski:

It’s a curious trade for Washington, if only because Barbosa is out for the season with a torn ACL. After previous reports had the Wizards landing rookie center Fab Melo from Boston, you’d like to think they could have squeezed a second round pick or something they could use going forward. Since Barbosa is on an expiring deal, the chances he re-signs as a free agent in Washington are slim and none. This is a straight player dump.

The Wizards must feel like this is addition by subtraction, and the further cleansing of an old era of Wizards basketball. Crawford is a bit of a knucklehead — you may remember him for hits like, “I feel I can be better than Michael Jordan” and his obsession with his “steez” — but his on court play is probably more destructive than his sometimes peculiar behavior. Crawford is a career 40 percent shooter from the field and a sub 30 percent 3-point shooter, but that hasn’t stopped him from firing up a whopping 17.3 attempts per36 minutes over his career.

While Barbosa used 21.4 percent of Boston’s possessions this year, Crawford has used 27.3 percent over his career. It might take some time for Crawford to get used to less minutes (he averaged 26 a game with Washington) and less shots, but he has to be excited for the shot at reforming his image in one of the most veteran heavy locker rooms in the league.

Crawford is still just 24, he’s a former first round pick, and he does have talent. His raw per36 numbers of 18.1 points, 5 assists, and 4.3 rebounds are only matched by a handful of players in the league, but we’ve still yet to see if Crawford can turn off the part of his brain that tells him to take horrible, horrible shots. He’ll have to do that first to take any significant playing time from Avery Bradley, Jason Terry and Courtney Lee.

For Boston, it’s a low-risk move since they aren’t sacrificing anything of use to them this year or down the line. Crawford is set to make $2.1 million next season, so the Celtics are essentially betting $1.3 million dollars of next year’s budget (the difference between a minimum contract and Crawford’s) that Crawford can help add backcourt scoring pop and depth. That seems like a bet worth making.

For Washington, it’s a bit disappointing. Crawford should have been able to net something of value in return, and Barbosa will never put on a Wizards jersey. Cleaning house is never as easy as it seems, but it’s still hard to comprehend the urgency to move Crawford for absolutely nothing.

Update: Celtics center Jason Collins will also go to Washington as part of the deal. 

Watch Giannis Antetokounmpo go off for 32 points, 13 boards, lead Bucks rout of Thunder

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MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points and 13 rebounds and the Milwaukee Bucks surged to a 24-point lead in the second quarter in a 133-86 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.

The 47-point loss was the Thunder’s worst of the season.

Chris Paul scored 18 points for Oklahoma City.

Both teams were without their second-leading scorers. Bucks All-Star Khris Middleton was a late scratch with a sore neck. An ankle injury kept Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari out.

The Bucks had won four in a row and the Thunder had won five straight.

The Bucks built their second-quarter lead behind 14 second-quarter points from Antetokounmpo, seven from Donte DiVincenzo, who started in place of Middleton, and back-to-back 3-pointers from Wesley Matthews.

A key moment occurred late in the second period.

With Milwaukee leading, 54-43, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer got a technical foul after approaching a referee during a timeout with 3:43 left in the quarter. That was moments after Eric Bledsoe was called for a charging foul that irked Budenholzer. After that, the Bucks went on a 17-4 run and led 71-47 at halftime.

Milwaukee outrebounded Oklahoma City, 67-36.

The Bucks made a season-high 21 3-pointers. The Thunder were 6 for 35 on 3-pointers.

Giannis Antetokounmpo shrugs off James Harden dig: ‘I’m just trying to do my job’

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There is some meat to the James Harden/Giannis Antetokounmpo beef.

Harden was pissed Antetokounmpo won Most Valuable Player over him last year and vented about it. When it came to this year’s All-Star Game, captian Antetokounmpo drafted Kemba Walker over Harden while joking he wanted someone who’d pass. After his team lost the All-Star Game, Antetokounmpo said his team’s strategy was to get the ball to whomever Harden was guarding and attack.

Harden ramped up the skirmish of words Friday when speaking to Rachel Nichols of ESPN, saying:

“I wish I could just run, run and was 7-feet and run and just dunk. That takes no skill at all. I’ve got to actually learn how to play basketball and how to have skill.”

Antetokounmpo decided to let it die when ESPN asked pregame about what Harden said.

“I’m not the type of guy to take stabs at somebody. … I’m just trying to do my job which is win games and go back home to my family. At the end of the day, if that’s what he believes that’s what he believes. I can’t say anything about it. I’ve just got to keep being focused.”

If you’re circling dates on your calendar, March 25 is what you’re looking for, the day the Bucks host the Rockets.

Harden should believe he is the best player in the game — you don’t get to be where he is without that level of confidence. Antetokounmpo should believe the same thing about himself. We could say the same things about LeBron James, Luka Doncic, and a host of others. It’s part of what makes them great, and not a surprise.

If the MVP thing is eating at Harden he might not like this season’s outcome any better. While I haven’t done a poll, most voters I’ve spoken to have The Beard third behind Antetokounmpo and LeBron James. There’s still more than six weeks of basketball before votes are cast — and the Rockets as a team are surging — but right now, the Greek Freak looks like a repeat winner from what I am hearing.

Rockets protested game despite Tilman Fertitta’s dissent

Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta
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Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta talks big about his devotion to winning.

But when Houston had a chance to turn a loss into a victory by protesting due to an uncounted James Harden dunk, Fertitta balked.

Fertitta, via Kirk Bohls of Statesman:

“That’s my basketball people who got mad at ’em. Honestly, I don’t think we should have filed the protest because honestly we blew the 22-point lead. But if something is important to my players and basketball ops people, I give them a lot of leeway.”

I wonder whether Fertitta would have publicly shared his stance if the protest succeeded. I also wonder whether how supported Fertitta’s basketball employees feel considering he’s publicly revealing that he wasn’t on their side.

But this is actually one of the more encouraging stories of Fertitta’s ownership. He allowed room for debate. He listened to the other side. He posted the $10,000 protest fee.

It didn’t pay off this time, but that’s how good owners operate.

As expected, Rockets sign veteran Jeff Green for remainder of season

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Before they committed fully, Houston signed free agent Jeff Green to a 10-day contract. They just wanted to make sure the veteran forward was a fit in their small-ball system.

It turns out, he was a perfect fit.

Through four games, playing a little more than 19 minutes a game, Green averaged 9.8 points a game on a ridiculous 89.6 true shooting percentage. That’s not sustainable (he’s shooting 61.5 percent from three), but it was enough for the Rockets to sign Green for the remainder of the season, something the team announced Friday.

Green, at 6’8″, played on the wing most of his career. However, with the Rockets he backs up P.J. Tucker at center.

Green started the season a member of the Utah Jazz, but the fit there was not as clean. While he averaged 7.7 points per game in 30 appearances, the Jazz ultimately waived him to create a roster spot for Rayjon Tucker.

This contract only runs through the end of this season, but the Rockets could re-sign Green for next season, if the sides agree this summer. For now, the focus is on the Rockets’ hot streak and building on that as the league moves toward the postseason.