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Kerr: Cousins will start at center when he returns – WSAIGO Sports
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Kerr: Cousins will start at center when he returns

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When DeMarcus Cousins returns to action on Jan. 18 for the Warriors, he’ll be doing so as the starting center, according to coach Steve Kerr

Though Kerr said Cousins would start, how many minutes he’d play in his first game back has yet to be determined.

 Cousins, who has been out all season while rehabbing from a torn Achilles, averaged 25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds last season for the Pelicans.



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Irving says team meeting helped Celtics clear air, find rhythm

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The Boston Celtics are perhaps starting to show the kind of teamwork they’ve been looking for all season.

Star guard Kyrie Irving said Wednesday that a team meeting held after a Dec. 21 home loss to the Milwaukee Bucks helped players to clear the air about several topics.

“We could pinpoint a lot of turning points,” Irving told reporters after last night’s win vs. Indiana, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “We just want to build that chemistry first. Just getting with one another, really put everything out there and then move on from that point.

“At that point, playing against Milwaukee, we weren’t at rock bottom, but we needed to address some [expletive] in this locker room. It’s just good to get stuff out in the air. As grown men and guys that have expectations for themselves, it was good to hear guys talk about what they wanted for themselves and what they wanted for this team.”

 

The Celtics used a pass-happy offense to dismantle the Pacers on Wednesday.

The Celtics dismantled the Indiana Pacers 135-108 to notch their fourth straight win, with the victory coming largely because of Boston’s willingness to share the ball. The victory marked their fifth straight game with at least 30 assists (after failing to reach that mark in nine of their previous 10 games). Since Dec. 23, the Celtics rank No. 2 in assist percentage (70.2) and are among the league leaders in offensive rating, net rating, true shooting percentage and more during that span.

The Celtics had 32 assists last night and put together their highest scoring game this season. Boston (25-15) also ended a three-game skid against the Pacers, who entered the night third in the Eastern Conference having won seven of eight. Additionally, Boston led 68-53 at halftime after shooting 56.5 percent (26 for 46) in the first half.

That Dec. 23 date is an important one, since it was Boston’s next game after the Bucks loss that capped off a three-game losing streak. After that loss to the Bucks, the Celtics were mired in the lower-half of the Eastern Conference standings and had their team meeting.

The Celtics have seen a slight uptick in pace (they rank 18th in that category overall) since Dec. 1, and are getting more comfortable in terms of team chemistry. Overall, Boston has won seven of its last nine games to stay within striking distance of the upper crust in the East.

”We’re all understanding that we’re trying to play faster and the ball movement has been working for us,” said Al Horford, who led Boston last night with eight assists. ”It keeps the defense on their toes, really makes the other team work. It’s kind of contagious.”

 

The Starters think the Celtics may be undervalued as 2019 wears on.

“Well, you see the type of connection that we have out there in terms of our pick-and-roll and what we do and how we talk is pretty seamless,” Irving said, per Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. “We came in the same time and have this understanding of where our journeys have started and where it is now and an appreciation of where we are. So we just want to take full advantage of it for this year.”

Since Thanksgiving, the Celtics are No. 1 in offensive rating, have a net rating of 11.2 (tops in the NBA) and are 16-6 (the best record in the league). In short, Boston is finding its way — at least over the last few weeks — and developing chemistry with a roster filled with talent.

“It was hard to find good clips at the start of the year,” coach Brad Stevens said, per the Boston Herald. “And I think some of that was because we were pressing; some of that was because we missed shots when the ball was moving.  All looks a little bit better when it finishes with a make, but that’s who we have to be.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Carter thankful for video tributes Nets, Raptors have given him

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NEW YORK (AP) — Vince Carter looked up at the highlights, enjoying the view of himself back in the days when he was among the NBA’s highest flyers.

He’s about to turn 42, now in his 21st season, and he doesn’t jump quite like the guy being shown Wednesday night on the Barclays Center overhead screens.

The Nets honored Carter, who is the oldest active player, with a tribute video during their game against Atlanta, a way to say thank you for his 4 + seasons with the franchise.

 

The Nets honored Vince Carter with a video tribute on Wednesday.

“It was great. Any time you can see old video of when you were young and spry and springy and all of that good stuff, I mean, it’s always great to see,” Carter said.

Good times, yes.

But was it goodbye?

Carter hasn’t said if he plans to retire following the season. He would make NBA history if he returns, as nobody has played 22 seasons in the league.

So was the video premature?

“I’m OK with it. Either way it’s cool,” he said with a smile. “I’m very thankful for it, that they even considered it.

“When it was mentioned to me I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ “

The video was played in the first half, shortly after Carter had come off the Hawks’ bench for the first time. He received ovations from the crowd both times, and he acknowledged the fans after the video played.

He never played in Brooklyn but was one of their best when the Nets played in New Jersey, ranking third on the franchise scoring list while playing in the backcourt alongside Jason Kidd.

 

Raptors fans gave Vince Carter a standing ovation earlier this week.

“Obviously it wasn’t in this building, but nevertheless the feeling is still the same,” Carter said. “My five years here was fun, a lot of fun. J-Kidd made it obviously easy to play the game up and down and create a lot of highlights and memories, so it was awesome to see.”

The Hawks’ road trip has been right down Carter’s memory lane. They played Tuesday in Toronto, where he began his career and has repaired his relationship with fans that was damaged when he pushed for the trade that landed him in New Jersey.

“It’s a great trip. Stressful sometimes, a lot of people to see, but the appreciation I’m very thankful for and I’ll never forget it,” Carter said. “And like I said, the video, yes it could be premature, or not. It’s still, they’re thinking about me and I’m very thankful for that.”

He’s still productive, starting eight games and averaging 7.2 points, with a 21-point performance last month. If he comes back, he breaks a tie with Kevin Garnett, Robert Parish and Kevin Willis for the most NBA seasons. (Dirk Nowitzki, like Carter drafted in 1998, is also in his 21st season).

Carter was informed during his postgame interview that he was overheard as he was leaving the arena Tuesday in Toronto telling someone that he would see him next year.

“Really?” Carter said with a laugh. “Well, I’ll see you guys next year.”

 

Take a look back at some of the best plays from Vince Carter’s career!

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Reports: Patrick McCaw plans to sign with Raptors

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Free agent guard Patrick McCaw plans to sign with the Toronto Raptors, according to reports from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The deal is reportedly a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract.

McCaw began the season as an unsigned, restricted free agent with the Warriors. He agreed to an offer sheet with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Dec. 28, which the Warriors elected to not match. After three games with the Cavaliers, McCaw was waived on Sunday before his contract would have been guaranteed for the remainder of the season. McCaw was free to sign with any team after clearing waivers.

The 23-year-old guard should provide solid depth for the Raptors, who currently have the best record in the NBA at 31-12.

McCaw averaged 4.0 points in 128 regular-season appearances with the Warriors in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons. He scored five points in the three appearances with the Cavaliers.

Information from the Associated Press was included in this report.



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