It’s a funny thing about NBA roster moves.

“It was great,” Horford said. “I took advantage. I made sure I gathered myself and it was awesome, I feel like it was a big lift for us.”

It was a highlight for Horford in a game that ranks among his best as a Celtic: 21 points on 7-for-11 shooting, 5 for 5 from the free-throw line, nine assists and seven rebounds. It was also an exclamation point to a Horford postseason revival in the Celtics’ last three wins, following the wave of criticism that dogged him after Boston lost the first two games of the series.

It’s a funny thing about NBA roster moves. For years, fans in Boston lamented the fact the team had been unable to lure top-tier free agents. They got one when the Celtics signed Horford, an All-Star for the Hawks last year, to a max $113 million contract. But many of those fans spent the year largely unimpressed with their big prize. Horford averaged just 14.0 points this season, one of his lowest outputs, and 6.8 rebounds, the fewest of his career.

Horford did average a career-high 5.0 assists, however, helping Boston’s offense as a facilitator rather than a finisher. So while there was disappointment among large swaths of Celtics backers, there was satisfaction from Horford’s coaches and teammates.

Let’s take a look at our predictions for each first-round matchup in the Western Conference NBA playoffs:

The Warriors enter the playoffs having won 15 of their last 16. That sort of dominance is exactly what teams should strive for heading into the playoffs, and Golden State has Kevin Durant back after a knee injury cost him all of March.
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I don’t know what it was. They played well and we didn’t.

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Harden finished with just 10 points on 2-of-11 shooting and turned the ball over six times before fouling out with 3:15 remaining in the game. Houston’s MVP candidate didn’t even attempt a shot before knocking down a 3-pointer with 6:18 remaining in the second quarter.

I really didn’t have a rhythm at the beginning of the game, Harden said. As a team, and as a unit, we just didn’t have a rhythm and they capitalized on that.

Everything falls on my shoulders. I take responsibility for it. It’s tough, especially the way we lost a Game 6 at home. It happened, now we move forward.
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Harden said the Rockets did not take the Spurs lightly even though San Antonio was without leading scorer Kawhi Leonard because of an injured ankle.

Some nights, life hits you in the face, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. I know they feel as bad as I do and this is going to hurt and linger. Hopefully this will spur us on.

Just watching him wince a little bit when the ball was coming to him makes me think it’s a long shot (to play Wedneday). But if there’s anybody who will try to fight through it, it’s Rondo because of the competitor he is. He obviously wants to get back out there and is doing everything he can to put himself in that position, knowing it’s still a long shot that happens.

Rondo has played through tough injuries before, but this will be a hard one to overcome. Even though he’s left the door open for a return in this series, it seems unlikely at this point.

NBA Draft lottery 2017: Full results, pick order for first round

The rich got richer at the 2017 NBA Draft lottery.

Limited Kids Breshad Perriman Jersey The Celtics captured the No. 1 overall pick at the annual event Tuesday night just one day after earning a trip to the Eastern Conference finals. The Lakers retained their selection — much to the delight of team president of basketball operations Magic Johnson — and could potentially keep Lonzo Ball in California with the No. 2 pick.

Worst news of the night? Apologies to Suns fans. Despite having the second-best odds to win the top pick, Phoenix landed at No. 4 behind the Celtics, Lakers and Sixers.

The full lottery order and odds for the No. 1 pick are listed below. (For all you conspiracy theorists, you can watch the full drawing here. The process is explained, the ping-pong balls are selected and no one favored the Lakers.)

Limited Kids Casey Hayward Jersey P.J. Dozier, another playmaker/wing type that played quite a bit of point guard for South Carolina this season, measured in at nearly 6-7 with a 6-11 wingspan. Dozier has an injury history that will make medical testing extremely important for him, but that type of size could allow him to slide down to the 3 on occasion if he can become a knockdown shooter.

Kyle Kuzma had a nice day of five-on-five in his first game, and also came in quite tall and long for a combo forward/small-ball 4 that has potential to shoot it. Kuzma is 6-foot-9-plus with a 7-foot-plus wingspan, and a near 9-foot standing reach. For instance, these were bigger wingspan and standing reach numbers than T.J. Leaf (who mentioned he felt Kuzma was underrated in his media session), Cameron Oliver, John Collins and Jordan Bell.

The Pittsburgh defense is working to return to its roots.

Elite Lavelle Hawkins Jersey A lineup built around Beverley, Dekker, Griffin and Jordan should be competitive, and there will be room for more improvement — they’ll need a starting shooting guard, but will have pretty good depth overall. Should next season be a disappointment, the Clippers still will be able to put Griffin on the trading block, bring in some additional young assets and go into a full rebuild.

They can put off that decision for now, though. With Griffin firmly in place, the Clippers hope they won’t suffer much from the loss of Paul, and will have enough young assets to grow from here. Rivers is no fan of an old-fashioned rebuild, having gone through one before in Boston then bolting the Celtics in 2013 when it looked like the team was heading back in that direction.

By locking down Griffin — at least for now — Rivers can put that rebuild off a little longer.

The Pittsburgh defense is working to return to its roots.

Pittsburgh has been working to rebuild its Steel Curtain defense after falling into the latter half of the league’s yards allowed list in 2014 and 2015. After some extensive drafting, those plans are coming to fruition.
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Shazier has blossomed into a Pro Bowl talent, Harrison returned from a brief retirement to regain his status as the league’s preeminent tackling lunatic, and Bud Dupree showed flashes of pass-rushing brilliance in his seven games last season.

Wisconsin All-American T.J. Watt will add another quarterback-chasing threat this fall, and he’ll be flanked by a combination of veterans and younger talent. The Steelers aren’t yet their former fearsome selves, but the pieces are in place for a major revival at Heinz Field.

LeBron James says Steph Curry deserves $400 million contract

Saturday marks the official start of NBA free agency and if you set your phone down for a minute, take a nap or leave your house to grab lunch, you’re bound to miss the latest trade or free agency agreement.

Two-time MVP Steph Curry is among the big-name players in the headlines this weekend after he agreed to a five-year, $201 million supermax deal with the Warriors. However, LeBron James thinks Curry should be paid even more.

James spoke out on Twitter against the salary cap, while quote tweeting a San Francisco Chronicle columnist’s tweet about the significant increase in the value of the Warriors.

In James’ estimation, Curry deserves a five-year, $400 million contract.

Reese gets a surprisingly small amount of credit for the Giants’ turnaround, compared to the grief he got for the downfall that preceded it. He went against his and the franchise’s entire philosophy, dug deep into free agency and pulled out a bunch of winners. Re-signing Odell Beckham Jr. is already an adventure; how Reese navigates that will be under the kind of scrutiny the Giants try to avoid.

Robinson is off to a heck of a start in Tennessee. Going into his second season, he has the Titans in serious contention for the AFC South title. Most recently, they beat the pack to late-offseason free agent Eric Decker, who can only help Marcus Mariota, the way that DeMarco Murray’s acquisition and a strong first draft did.browns_039

Promotion to high-A proves the Tebow Timetable still in effect for Mets

Let’s start with this truth: The Mets did not sign Tim Tebow last September with the long-term goal of stashing him with their Class A team in the middle of South Carolina.

Injuries have hit the Phils’ pitching staff, which was supposed to be a strength of the team this season; now ace Jeremy Hellickson owns a 4.61 ERA. Howie Kendrick may be batting .339/.397/.470 but All-Star Odubel Herrera has regressed to a .253/.289/.401 slash line after signing a five-year extension with two team options this past offseason.

Ex-closer Jeanmar Gomez and outfielder Michael Saunders were designated for assignment Tuesday while slugger Maikel Franco is in the midst of a power outage after blasting 25 homers last season. He’s hitting .224 with eight homers. The team’s offensive struggles have even dipped to top prospects in the minors including J.P. Crawford (.194/.310/.251).
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General manager Matt Klentak is still sitting on a host of top prospects including Mickey Moniak, Jorge Alfaro and Nick Williams, and could add to the farm system by trading Kendrick, who is reportedly of interest from the Red Sox and Yankees if he’s able to play third base.
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The Phillies’ season is a loss but expect to see prospects called up well before September. If that fails, at least they can keep fans entertained with the Phillie Phanatic.

Meet everyone’s favorite superteam of tomorrow. Believe it or not, Karl-Anthony Towns hasn’t yet qualified for star status by this measure, which shows just how close this team is to superteam territory. RPM still views Andrew Wiggins’ peripherals as questionable enough to slot him outside the NBA’s top 250, but his scoring average — 23.6 points per game last season — suggests he’s on the cusp of stardom.

Slow down, Jim Irsay: Colts offensive line isn’t ‘fixed’ just yet, says former O-line coach

The Colts offensive line might not be as fixed as franchise owner Jim Irsay recently proclaimed.

But the person who Irsay cited in making such a statement believes it isn’t far away from happening.
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They cancelled a workout on us when we flew out to Sacramento, and they just decided to cancel it as we flew, Ainge said. So there was something that he didn’t want to play for the Celtics. In spite of that, we’ve watched Josh for two years and we’re fans. He’s a terrific kid and a good player. So we tried not to overreact to those kinds of things and make a big deal of it.
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Ainge was also quick to say the cancelled workout didn’t keep the Celtics from drafting Jackson but he certainly was mad about the situation the former Jayhawk put him and his fellow personnel in.

No. No. no. Well, there were thoughts, yeah, I was mad, Ainge said. We flew cross-country. Are you kidding me? I had to get up at 4 o’clock and fly back home.

The GM was specifically upset because Jackson forced them to fly to Sacramento and just chill out for a night. And considering the fact Ainge played in Sacramento, he knew that was a waste of time.

There’s nothing to do in Sacramento, he joked. After the laughter died down in the press room he went on. That could get me in trouble there.

The same can be said of the latest addition to the Saints’ backfield — running back Adrian Peterson. Even with his NFL experience, Strief admits he has gotten awe-struck by some of the plays Peterson has made in offseason practice.

I think the general perception of Adrian throughout our building is that he is still a total freak show, Strief said. You hear (outside) people’s perception of him, obviously coming off a knee injury and being later in a career for a running back, that maybe he’s not going to look or be a certain way. He sure still passes the eye-ball test.

Lebron James and Tristan Thompson give Cleveland a distinct size advantage.

He’s an effective rebounder for the position, and he’s capable of playing off-the-ball on offense. In spot-up situations, Fultz, hit shots at a 52.1 effective field goal percentage clip, an above-average level. He also has something of a burgeoning post-up game for a weapon against smaller defenders, is a smart distributor in transition and doesn’t turn the ball over a ton for what is his astronomical usage rate (a 13.4 turnover rate).

Overall, Fultz is the best offensive prospect in the draft and the most complete offensive guard to enter the league in at least the last five years.

Bruce Ellington Elite Jersey On paper, Golden State looks like a team that should dominate for a decade. And on NBA 2K17, the Warriors are basically unbeatable.
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But if Golden State loses the finals, it’ll be because it gets outrebounded, overpowered and bullied out of a title.

Playoff basketball tends to be more physical compared to the regular season, and Lebron James and Tristan Thompson give Cleveland a distinct size advantage.

Adding Durant gave the Warriors more of what they were already the best in the league at — shooting.

Golden State is a finesse team, and considering Klay Thompson’s recent playoff struggles, he could be the odd man out if the Warriors lose.

Thompson is averaging less than 15 points per game in the playoffs on 39 percent shooting and only 36 percent from three, compared to his regular season averages of 22.3 points per game on nearly 47 percent shooting.

In life, let’s say you own an iPhone, a MacBook and an iPad. Should your next Apple purchase be a Mac desktop computer or Apple Care to protect your three products? Probably Apple Care. In the Warriors’ case, Durant is the desktop computer. Golden State simply added more of what it already had.

Shipping Thompson for some size (or Apple Care) is something the Warriors will consider if they lose to Cleveland.

NBA Finals: Draymond Green already in foul trouble in Game 4

The Spurs have one of the best developmental cultures in the league, and have a need in the frontcourt and in terms of athleticism. I’m taking the highest upside big I can find. Anigbogu probably doesn’t fall this far on draft night for that reason — upside — but the Spurs would be happy to get a chance to work on his game and create a quick replacement for Dewayne Dedmon.

Jeanne has the same agent as Rudy Gobert, and the team will certainly have its eye on him. Jeanne would likely not be a stash in this scenario, as he’d take his preferred route of coming over to America for next season and working with Utah’s staff — either with the Jazz or the Stars in the D-League.

Golden State’s Draymond Green picked up a technical foul (one of many first-quarter fouls) on a controversial call in the first quarter of Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

Green’s outburst came after a jump-ball situation in which he was tied up with Cleveland’s Iman Shumpert with 1:55 left in the first quarter and called for a foul. Green argued and was given a technical afterward. Warriors coach Steve Kerr also sprinted down the sideline after the call.

Cleveland led 49-33 after the first quarter. The Cavaliers hit 14 of 22 from the line.

Charlotte could use one more player on the wing that can create offense, and Kennard fits that bill to a T. He would help to space the floor for a team that likes to shoot 3s, but finished 18th in the NBA in percentage from deep, and would also fit an organization that likes to run side pick-and-rolls for wings with Nicolas Batum. Steve Clifford might get angry defensively early on, but the Hornets could use the skill. nike_vikings_1973

NBA playoffs 2017: Cavaliers’ Tyronn Lue says Celtics more difficult to defend than Warriors

Limited Kids Stephon Tuitt Jersey Did Tyronn Lue throw some shade at the Warriors?

The Cavaliers coach made a shocking statement Wednesday, saying the Celtics were tougher to defend than the Warriors.

I don’t even think about (the Warriors), Lue told reporters, via ESPN.com. We’re just focused on Boston. The stuff they’re running, it’s harder to defend than Golden State’s [offense] for me, as far as the actions and all the running around and all the guys who are making all the plays, so it’s a totally different thing.

In the Cavs’ 15 playoff games, Smith has reached double-digit scoring just twice, with his high in shot attempts being nine. Compare that to his 2016 run when he took nine or more shots in 12 of Cleveland’s 21 playoff games, and you understand Lue’s reasoning.

The reason Smith is in the game his ability to get buckets. But if he’s not doing that, then Cleveland may as well put in a guard who plays better defense. Lue said as much after the game during his media session.

Q: If you would point a single aspect of your game you need to improve to win Game 3, what would it be?

Limited Kids Terrell Davis Jersey COACH LUE: Defensively. I think that having awareness, can’t relax, can’t fall asleep. This team, their offense is constant movement, so you got to be locked in, you can’t take a peek somewhere and lose your man, so they make you pay. And they have a lot of guys who can shoot the basketball, have a lot of guys who are great passers, so you got to be alert at all times.

Combine Lue’s comments with ESPN’s report, and don’t be surprised if you see Shumpert start Game 3.