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20-08-2018 05:18 AM
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hongwei28
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Most of Boston’s regulars got a chance to watch some basketball – both on and off the court.

After watching some teammates on the court Cheap Jamal Adams Jersey , they found themselves sitting or standing in front of TVs in the dressing room after the game waiting to see their upcoming playoff opponent.

Following an easy season-ending 110-97 win over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night, their plans finally could turn to the ”Greek Freak” and the Milwaukee Bucks.

Aron Baynes led a short-handed Boston lineup with a career-best 26 points and 14 rebounds, carrying the Celtics in their regular season finale.

”Nice that we have the Vegas Knights-Kings game on,” Boston coach Brad Stevens joked when he looked up at a TV during his postgame press conference before the Celtics’ playoff opponent was determined.

Boston’s players had to wait a little while longer to see who they would be playing after Miami needed overtime to clinch the Eastern Conference’s sixth seed.

The Celtics, the No. 2 seed in the East, will face seventh-seeded Milwaukee – led by Giannis Antetokounmpo – in the opening round of the playoffs beginning this weekend.

Jonathan Gibson scored 18 points, Guerschon Yabusele had 16 and Shane Larkin added 12 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds for the Celtics (55-27).

Nik Stauskas scored 18 points for the Nets (28-54) who had their three-game winning streak snapped. Allen Crabbe had 16 points.

”Disappointed in tonight, but I’m going to look at the positive and look at the way we finished the season playing much better,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. ”Definitely trending upwards. Obviously, Boston’s program is a little ahead of us right now.”

The Celtics rested Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier and Marcus Morris. Tatum and assistant coach Jim Larranaga were watching to see if Boston would play the Heat. Brown was watching another screen to see if Denver or Minnesota would be the final team out West.

”We had a lot of young players on the court. We played together,” Yabusele said. ”We came (out) aggressive, and we just imposed our game. We played pretty well.”

Baynes was the only regular in the starting lineup for the Celtics and he helped them take charge by scoring six points during a 9-0 run midway into the third quarter that pushed them ahead 66-47.

The 6-foot-10 Baynes had a double-double (18 points, 10 rebounds) at halftime.

Boston led 83-70 entering the final quarter.

Entering the playoffs as the No. 2 seed, the Celtics hardly look like the team that was projected to go deep into the postseason.

Star guard Kyrie Irving was lost for the remainder of the season after left knee surgery last weekend and key reserve guard Marcus Smart is likely sidelined for most – if not all – of the opening round. That comes after Boston lost prize offseason free agent acquisition Gordon Hayward to a gruesome ankle injury on opening night.

”I just look at this as an opportunity for other people Nick Nelson Color Rush Jersey ,” Stevens said.

The Nets, meanwhile, headed into their third straight offseason without a playoff berth.

TIP-INS

NETS: The loss was their ninth straight against the Celtics and was their 11th consecutive time they’ve ended a regular season by losing.

Celtics: Stevens said Rozier injured his left pinkie finger against the Wizards on Tuesday night, but could have played. … Stevens said of the lineup filled with mostly reserves and former G-League players: ”This is a big night for some of those guys. I think we all owe it, guys that aren’t playing, coaches, to be really locked in and to bring everything we’ve got. This is their opportunity.”

RESPECT

Atkinson feels like the Celtics’ defense will be tough for any playoff opponent.

”No disrespect to the other teams, this is the best defensive team in the league,” he said before the game. ”I don’t care who they are throwing out there, they are very good defensively.”

RAINING 3s

Crabbe hit five 3-pointers, extending his Nets’ single-season record to 201. Deron Williams is next on the list with 169 in 2012-13.

His Twitter handle is perhaps the best in the NFL鈥攃antguardmike鈥攁nd defensive backs are finding it to be true.After he grabbed an NFL-record 196 passes in his first two seasons, why aren't we talking about Michael Thomas as one of the best wideouts in the game?We should be, but the third-year New Orleans Saints receiver is disrespected by those tasked with making lists or ranking players. He came in at No. 81 overall on NFL Network's Top 100 Players list and was No. 13 overall among wide receivers. Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Jarvis Landry and Davante Adams were all ranked ahead of Thomas, which is a slight he should print and hang in his locker all season.聽Why doesn't Thomas get the recognition he should?聽"Honestly, I'm not exactly sure," he said. "I really hope it's one of those prove-it-a-little-longer type of things James Daniels Color Rush Jersey , since I've only been in the league for two years. 聽But I don't worry too much about those type of things, because it's out of my control. I think it's a blessing in disguise at the end of the day because everything will have been earned and nothing will have been given to me. "At the end of the day, when I hang them up and walk away from the game, I believe I will have earned all the respect and acknowledgment I could ever want. So I just kind of accept it for now, and I'll just keep making history and breaking records and let history be the judge of the rest. Regardless of how anyone feels, I know if I stay consistent and keep working hard, they won't be able to deny what I brought to the table. "I have no doubt one day, not only will I get the respect, but I will be looked at by my peers as one of the best to ever do it. You play this game to be a champion and to be the best, and I work hard every day so I can accomplish both."Some league insiders believe he's overlooked because he plays with a Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees, which inflates his production. Others say he's overshadowed by Alvin Kamara and Brees in his own offense. But one NFC defensive backs coach said, "I don't know anyone in our line of work overlooking him. He's already elite."Jeff Haynes/Associated PressThe term "elite" is overused at times, but it applies when talking about Thomas. In his two NFL seasons, he has more catches than all but three players鈥擫andry, Antonio Brown and Larry Fitzgerald鈥攁nd he's fourth overall among wideouts and tight ends聽in receiving yards over that span, too.Based on the numbers, Thomas is already one of the NFL's top receivers, but many in the Saints organization think he's ready to challenge for the title of best in the game."We saw him come in after the draft and people were like Authentic Shaquem Griffin Jersey , 'Holy f--k. He's bigger, faster, stronger,'" a source with the Saints said. "A lot of guys work out over the break. He works over the break. The only thing that'll hold him back is a potential injury."聽When asked about his goals for the 2018 season, Thomas had one thing in mind."I want to win, man, and I want to win now. I honor my quarterback so much and have so much respect for him, and that goes for all my teammates. But Drew and I, we have a special relationship. I want to get him and this organization back to the top. They deserve it, we deserve it. He is the greatest to me鈥攈im and Sean, they are geniuses鈥攁nd they set the bar really high for this organization. I love it. So I take a lot of pride in this offense because I know those guys are all-in, and me playing at a high level only makes our chances higher of reaching that goal. "I want to be back in Minnesota in the playoffs and just do more. I live for those moments. I like get a rush. And once you have played on those big stages, you know the only focus is to win; the rest will follow and take care of itself. I know those goals don't just come overnight. It's a grind, but it's worth it. There are steps we must take first to get back to the playoffs, like take care of the division. But I believe you must know where you're headed before you arrive there. This will be a special year."Thomas' actions have spoken. His work over the offseason has become almost mythical when talking to players he's trained with and those who know him well off the field. "He's a maniac," one teammate said.Thomas, who came into the NFL listed at 212 pounds, is now rumored to be up to 220 pounds but with a completely different frame. He's already one of the league's best route-runners Broncos Su'a Cravens Jersey , but if he can add the size to be even more physical at the catch point, he'll become unstoppable in the Saints' quick-strike offense.聽In the ways we measure players鈥攕tats, advanced stats, potential, impact鈥擳homas is near the top in every category. Fantasy football fans are well-aware of his value, and NFL coaches and defensive backs are already worried about stopping him and the versatile Saints聽offense this year.Thomas' work ethic, drive and natural gifts聽make him a favorite not only to become one of the NFL's most dangerous weapons, but eventually to become the league's best receiver.Thomas at the Pro Bowl.Jeff Haynes/Associated PressLarry Fitzgerald will turn 35 at the end of August. Antonio Brown just turned 30 and is nearing a point when most receivers start to slow down. Odell Beckham Jr. hasn't stayed on the field consistently. Thomas' top competition for the crown comes in his own division, as 29-year-old Atlanta Falcons wideout Julio Jones has become a top-tier player. Should injuries continue to slow down Beckham, it'll be a battle of the two big NFC South receivers for the No. 1 spot in the near future.Thomas believes he'll edge Jones for that distinction. "I was raised with the mindset of be the best or don't do it at all, and I thank my family for instilling that in me as a child. Even still today, they are my biggest motivation. They know what it took for me to get here, and I know all the sacrifices they made, so I carry that weight on my shoulders. "The funny part is, I've always believed I would make it to this point and even further. If you've follow.
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