AP Photo/Phil Long

PBT Awards: All-NBA

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Kurt Helin

First team

G: James Harden, Rockets

G: Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers

F: LeBron James, Cavaliers

F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

C: Anthony Davis, Pelicans

Second team

G: Russell Westbrook, Thunder

G: Chris Paul, Rockets

F: Kevin Durant, Warriors

F: Jimmy Butler, Timberwolves

C: Joel Embiid, 76ers

Third team

G: Stephen Curry, Warriors

G: Kyrie Irving, Celtics

F: LaMarcus Aldridge, Spurs

F: Al Horford, Celtics

C: Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves

The first team was fairly clear for me — the positions just happened to shake out the same as my MVP ballot. If Stephen Curry had played more than 51 games he would have been much higher on this list. Also, there was some shifting here. For example, I have Davis as the first-team center here but list him as a forward for All-Defense, but he pretty much evenly split time between the positions and this gets the best players on the All-NBA roster. Same with moving Aldridge to forward, even though he played more center this season.

Dan Feldman

First team

G: James Harden, Rockets

G: Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers

F: LeBron James, Cavaliers

F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

C: Anthony Davis, Pelicans

Second team

G: Russell Westbrook, Thunder

G: Chris Paul, Rockets

F: Kevin Durant, Warriors

F: Jimmy Butler, Timberwolves

C: Joel Embiid, 76ers

Third team

G: Victor Oladipo, Pacers

G: Stephen Curry, Warriors

F: DeMar DeRozan, Raptors

F: LaMarcus Aldridge, Spurs

C: Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves

The first team matches my MVP ballot. Kyrie Irving and Kyle Lowry were tough cuts in a stacked guard class. Jimmy Butler and DeMar DeRozan benefited from being able to swing to forward. Al Horford, Nikola Jokic, Paul George and Ben Simmons received strong consideration for the third-team frontcourt spots, but DeMar DeRozan (keeping turnover rate low while offensive focal point), LaMarcus Aldridge (carrying shorthanded Spurs into playoffs) and Karl-Anthony Towns (such a talented scorer, even if his usage and defense were underwhelming) got the edge.

Dane Carbaugh

First team

G: James Harden, Rockets

G: Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers

F: LeBron James, Cavaliers

F: Kevin Durant, Warriors

C: Anthony Davis, Pelicans

Second team

G: Chris Paul, Rockets

G: Russell Westbrook, Thunder

F: DeMar DeRozan, Raptors

F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

C: Joel Embiid, 76ers
Third team

G: Jimmy Butler, Timberwolves

G: Victor Oladipo, Pacers

F: Paul George, Thunder

F: Al Horford, Celtics

C: Rudy Gobert, Jazz

There’s lots of ways to get angry about these picks, which is why I’m not going to lose sleep over anyone I left off. The first team is perhaps a little easier this year, if only because the MVP voting sort of shakes out in a way that mimics the same format. The obvious absence here is more guys from the Raptors, but that perhaps is due to the rising tide lifting all boats situation they have going on in Canada. I think that’s what you want, to be honest. Anthony Davis played 51% of his minutes at center this year according to Basketball Reference, by the way, so don’t tweet at me.

Report: Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown bickered in Celtics’ locker room

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After their Game 2 loss to the Heat last night, the Celtics – especially Marcus Smart – made a commotion in their locker room.

What actually happened?

Apparently, Smart and Jaylen Brown got into it.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Boston Celtics’ Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown had a heated confrontation inside that locker room after the Game 2 loss and needed to be separated by teammates, multiple sources told The Athletic.

Sources told The Athletic that Smart stormed into the Celtics postgame locker room saying that other players needed to be held accountable and not simply point the finger toward him when things are going wrong. As Smart continued and his voice grew louder, sources said Brown snapped back and shouted that Celtics players must stay together and that their actions must come as a team, not individually, and that Smart needed to cool off. Those sources added Smart had verbal exchanges with a couple of the assistant coaches during the game.

None of this is new for Smart. Not jawing with a Boston assistant coach during a game. Not getting hot after a loss. Not even clashing with Brown.

This is who he is – sometimes for good, sometimes not. But the same reasons Smart thrives as a feisty player are the same reasons he was going off last night.

Brown, via Justin Leger of NBC Sports Boston:

“He plays with passion, he’s full of fire, and that’s what I love about him most, to be honest. He has that desire and that will and we need him to continue to have that. There’s ups and downs with families all the time. But we embrace each other for who we are. And who Marcus is, I love him for it.”

Brown doesn’t mind a little chaos if it serves a greater purpose. He’s emotionally mature enough to handle this.

But will last night’s incident actually help the Celtics? Maybe it’ll light a fire under them to keep their foot on the gas when leading.

Offensive sets that can beat a zone defense would probably go further, though.

Gordon Hayward reportedly feels good, hopes to return for Game 3

Gordon Hayward return
Jim Poorten/NBAE via Getty Images
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After a frustrating come-from-ahead loss to Miami to go down 0-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics need a boost.

Like the return of Gordon Hayward.

That is on track to happen in Game 3, although nothing is official, reports Jared Weiss of The Athletic.

Hayward has been sidelined since he suffered a grade III ankle sprain in the first game of the playoffs against Philadelphia. He left the bubble for a time to get treatment, but has been back with the team, working out and going through a practice.

Gordon Hayward could be Boston’s X-factor in the conference finals — and his return may be the lift it needs. He gives the Celtics another versatile wing player — along with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum — who can create his own shot and knock down open looks. Throw in Kemba Walker, and Hayward would be the fourth scoring option for Boston, making the Celtics deep and difficult to defend. Hayward also spent time guarding Butler during the regular-season matchups.

 

Celtics try to play down postgame yelling, things thrown in locker room

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“You’re not supposed to be happy when you’re down 0-2. Nothing out of the ordinary, just talking about the game.”

Jayson Tatum is right in his postgame comments, to a point. The Boston Celtics should be frustrated after blowing a 17-point lead and losing to the Miami Heat Thursday night, putting the Celtics in an 0-2 hole.

However, that part about “nothing out of the ordinary” and “just talking” in the locker room postgame? That’s not what went down, according to multiple reporters on the scene in the bubble.

After the game, the Celtics tried to play it all down. That started with coach Brad Stevens.

“Guys were emotional after a hard game, hard loss.”

Kemba Walker wouldn’t even discuss it.

“It was nothing. It was nothing. I’m not speaking about it.”

Enes Kanter took to Twitter to echo the comments of several Celtics, that they are still a family.

Boston may have just been venting postgame, but if they don’t bring the fire from the locker room out onto the court Saturday for Game 3, or this may be a very short series.

NBA playoffs schedule 2020: Dates, times, matchups for all games

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And there were four.

The NBA is down to the conference finals — and the bubble has provided us with upsets galore. There are some unexpected teams in the NBA’s Final Four, but of course LeBron James is still there. The Lakers are the heavy favorites now.

Here are a few notes on the NBA playoffs schedule 2020:

• The NBA is continuing to push the pace with games every other day — except in the East, when ESPN wants a break not to clash with the NFL. The fast pace of games will return with the NBA Finals.
Families for the players, and with the final four now the coaches, are in the bubble.
• The NBA has released an NBA Finals schedule to teams and their target is still a Sept. 30 Game 1. If either conference finals goes seven games that date will need to be pushed back.

Here is the NBA playoffs schedule 2020 (all times are Eastern):

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

No. 3 Boston Celtics vs. No. 5 Miami Heat

Game 1: Heat 117, Celtics 114, OT
Game 2: Heat 106, Celtics 101 (Miami leads series 2-0)
Game 3: Sept. 19, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 4: Sept. 23, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 5: Sept. 25, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)*
Game 6: Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)*
Game 7: TBD (ESPN)*
*If necessary

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers vs. No. 3 Denver Nuggets

Game 1: Sept. 18, 9 p.m. (TNT)
Game 2: Sept. 20, 7:30 p.m. (TNT)
Game 3: Sept. 22, 9 p.m. (TNT)
Game 4: Sept. 24, 9 p.m. (TNT)
Game 5: Sept. 26, 9 p.m. (TNT)*
Game 6: Sept. 28, TBD (TNT)*
Game 7: Sept. 30, TBD (TNT)*
*If necessary

NBA playoffs schedule 2020: Second Round results

Eastern Conference

No. 3 Boston beat No. 2 Toronto 4-3

No. 5 Miami beat No. 1 Milwaukee 4-1

Western Conference

No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers beat Houston 4-1

No. 3 Denver beat No. 2 Los Angeles Clippers 4-3

NBA playoffs schedule 2020: First Round results

Western Conference

No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers beat No. 8 Portland 4-1

No. 2 L.A. Clippers beat No. 7 Dallas 4-2

No. 3 Denver beat No. 6 Utah 4-3

No. 4 Houston beat No. 5 Oklahoma City 4-3

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Milwaukee beat No. 8 Orlando 4-1

No. 2 Toronto beat No. 7 Brooklyn 4-0

No. 3 Boston beat No. 6 Philadelphia 4-0

No. 5 Miami beat No. 4 Indiana 4-0