Archives for February 2, 2017
NEW YORK – (Staff report from Official News Release) – Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas was named NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month for games played in January.
Thomas led the NBA in scoring (32.9 ppg) and tied for fifth in the East in assists (6.9 apg) for the month as the Celtics went 10-4 to take over first place in the Atlantic Division. The 5-9 Thomas, who was named an All-Star for the second straight season, shot 49.7 percent from the field, 43.2 percent from three-point range and 94.1 percent from the free throw line. He recorded eight games with at least 30 points, including two with 40 points or more. Thomas has scored at least 20 points in each of his last 33 games, the NBA’s longest streak this season. His current scoring average (29.7 ppg) is just shy of Boston’s single-season record, which Larry Bird set with 29.9 points per game in 1987-88.
Here is a closer look at January for Thomas:
Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics
Jan. 3 vs. Utah: Scored 29 points and dished out a career-high 15 assists in a 115-104 win over the Jazz.
Jan. 11 vs. Washington: Finished with 38 points, five rebounds and five assists in a 117-108 victory against the Wizards.
Jan. 30 vs. Detroit: Shot 15-of-15 from the free throw line on his way to 41 points and added eight assists in a 113-109 win over the Pistons.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass – (Staff Report by Digital Sports Desk from Official News Release) – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the 10 watch list finalists for the 2017 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award. Named after Hall of Famer and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Karl Malone, the annual honor in its third year recognizes the top power forwards in Division I men’s college basketball. A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates in October, which has now been narrowed to just 10.
“Karl Malone is recognized as a fierce competitor who delivered every time he set foot on the court, at both the collegiate and professional level,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “As we recognize and evaluate the best power forwards in the college game today, we will be looking for a player who displays these same qualities.”
Karl Malone attended Louisiana Tech University due to its proximity to his hometown of Summerfield, Louisiana. He led the Bulldogs to a Sweet 16 appearance and earned All-Southland honors in his three seasons while averaging 18.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Malone achieved great success during his 19 seasons in the NBA as a 14-time NBA All-Star (1988-98, 2000-02), 11-time All-NBA First Team player (1989-99) and a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. He also won two Olympic gold medals (1992, 1996) and is a 2010 inductee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
In March, five finalists will be presented to Mr. Malone and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee for the 2017 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award. The winner of the 2017 Karl Malone Award will be presented at ESPN’s College Basketball Awards, presented by Wendy’s, live from The Novo by Microsoft in downtown Los Angeles on Friday, April 7, 2017. Broadcast information will be released at a later date.
Previous winners of the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award include Georges Niang, Iowa State (2016) and Montrezl Harrell, Louisville (2015). For more information on the 2017 Karl Malone Award, log onto www.HoophallAwards.com.
2017 Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award Finalists
Lauri Markkanen (Arizona)
Johnathan Motley (Baylor)
Ivan Rabb (California)
Dedric Lawson (Memphis)
Miles Bridges (Michigan St.)
Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame)
Michael Young (Pittsburgh)
Caleb Swanigan (Purdue)
TJ Leaf (UCLA)
Alec Peters (Valparaiso)
*Players can play their way onto and off of the list at any point in the 2016-17 season*
HOUSTON – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – Malcolm Butler was on a priority free agent list, a designation that earns a barrage of phone calls in the latter rounds of the NFL draft.
One of those calls came from the New England Patriots. And did Butler ever answer the call.
A virtual no-name from Division II West Alabama, Butler picked the Patriots because they were offering the cornerback a tryout along with other rookies. A tryout — not a contract — meaning Butler was being invited to prove himself.
“When the draft was over, there was a number of players that were not signed that we still were interested in. We invited Malcolm up for rookie-minicamp,” coach Bill Belichick said. “We had probably 10 to 15 players like that. Players that finished their college careers but were not signed by a team.
“They were essentially there for a tryout, an extended tryout during that period. They were there along with our draft choices and players that we had signed during that draft. We also had a couple of veteran-type players that weren’t with a team that fell under a certain category. ”
Butler worked his way into the lineup during Super Bowl XLIX and the world was moving faster than the rookie’s mind could process information in the third quarter. On Seattle’s final offensive snap, with a chance to score a game-winning touchdown just outside the 1-yard line, Butler’s instincts caught up.
“I did not know what was going on. Everything was going fast,” Butler said. “I was just a rookie, and I did not know what to expect. This year, it is the complete opposite. I have a role in the game. I am expected to play. People kind of have an idea of who I am, and I will be able to prepare better because I know what is coming. I am just looking forward to Sunday.”
The play, a slant pass intended for Ricardo Lockette from Russell Wilson, showed up on film study done by Patriots researcher Ernie Adams. Adams relayed the information to defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and Belichick late in the week during Super Bowl preparations and on Saturday night before the game, during a walkthrough at the team hotel conference room, Butler saw the precise formation and execution that played out the next night.
Butler jumped the route, with help identifying the play call and formation from veteran Brandon Browner, and made the Super Bowl-clinching pick.
“I’d say once we saw Malcolm on the field after the first workout, it was pretty obvious that we felt like this was the type of kid that we want to work with,” Belichick said. “He was raw technique-wise and all of that. He had a good training camp and got a little bit of playing time during the year. We saw him firsthand when we actually saw him in our building in that rookie minicamp three years ago.”
Butler said he entered his first Super Bowl not knowing if he’d be on the field.
By the start of the following season, he had every idea of what his role would be, with starting corner Darrelle Revis gone to the New York Jets and the Week 1 game plan in his hands. His assignment? All-Pro Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“(Belichick) tells guys, leadership is attitude and performance,” defensive back Devin McCourty said. “I think guys take that in stride, work their butt off to get on the field. Two years ago, Malcolm sealed the game.”
Safety Patrick Chung said teammates learned all about Butler’s ability and potential before the rest of the world was let it on the secret two years ago.
“It’s definitely evolved. He’s one of the best corners in the NFL,” Chung said. “We saw that during training camp when he was practicing and not playing, we saw that. We saw glimpses of his athletic ability and things he can do. Now the whole world gets to see it. His role has definitely gotten bigger — you can see that — but that just comes from hard work and doing what he has to do.”
Sunday, what he has to do is check Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones, who is four inches taller and about 35 pounds heavier than Butler. Just As Belichick infamously asked him during the team celebration on the field at Glendale, Ariz., a long way from West Alabama.
HOUSTON – (Special to Digital Sports Desk from The Sports Xchange) – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell doubled down on Deflategate and reaffirmed his commitment to “Thursday Night Football” in his State of the League address at the George Young Convention Center on Wednesday afternoon.
“We’re thrilled to be here in Houston,” Goodell said, projecting attendance will reach one million after topping 250,000 for the first three days of the week.
Shortly after opening his address began at 1 p.m. CT, Goodell was peppered by multiple questions regarding DeflateGate, relocation and ratings.
With New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft seated in the first row five seats from the aisle and 15 yards from Goodell, the commissioner stood by his decision to suspend quarterback Tom Brady for the first four games of the 2016 season based on findings that revealed a violation of rules and besmirching the integrity of the game.
If the last game of the season ends with a Patriots victory, Goodell said he is ready to hand the trophy to the champions.
“I would tell you that it’s not awkward at all for me,” Goodell said, adding that he didn’t dodge two playoff games in Foxborough, Mass., to attend back-to-back games in Atlanta for that reason. “If invited I’ll return. I have no doubt if I wanted to return to Foxborough and I asked Mr. Kraft, I’d be welcomed back. I continue to respect and admire Robert and Jonathan (Kraft). I’m not afraid of disagreement. And I don’t think it leads to distrust or disrespect.” … We have a job to do. From our standpoint, we understand the fans who are loyal and passionate for a team object and don’t like the outcome. From our standpoint, this is just about making sure we take care of business.”
As for any conversation with Brady, Goodell cited a policy of never revealing when he speaks to players, only that it happens regularly.
On relocation, of the San Diego Chargers to Los Angeles and the Oakland Raiders to a city to be determined, Goodell said the NFL stands by its belief that relocation is a last resort. The league, Goodell said, deeply incentivized the city of San Diego to replace dilapidated Qualcomm Stadium with an unprecedented $300 million in total funding to kick-start a project.
The Chargers are leaving for Los Angeles after 56 years in San Diego.
“These are painful processes — it is hard on our fans, and it is not the outcome we were hopeful for,” Goodell said. “It has taken awhile to recognize that a new stadium was needed. It’s a process that has to identify a solution that is good for the community and the team. We weren’t able to do that.”
Placing a team in Las Vegas, the stated intent of Raiders owner Mark Davis, will not progress until owners review the status of the team’s relocation plan from Oakland.
Goodell said no determination was made on Las Vegas and its viability as an NFL market, of which stadium financing will be just one factor reviewed. Another is whether gambling can co-exist with the NFL.
“It does today, it exists throughout our world,” Goodell said. “What we’ve always said is there needs to be a fine line between team sports gambling and the integrity of the NFL. … That is something we think is imperative to us.”
Goodell said the league has been studying shifts in television ratings for a number of years and plan to enact a change in planned breaks per quarter — four instead of five — next season. That will not include eliminating “Thursday Night Football,” which Goodell touted as the No. 2 show in prime time.
“What we’re trying to do is make our games as exciting and action-packed as possible. We have not dismissed any theories. We’re going to have the competition committee focused on several issues,” Goodell said. “There are number of things where we think we can focus on management of the game, stopping the game. We have five breaks per quarter, we think we can do it with four. We think less is more in this area.”
St. John’s 86, Marquette 72
When: 7:00 PM ET, Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York
NEW YORK – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Exchange) – Bashir Ahmed scored 23 points to lead St. John’s to an 86-72 victory over Marquette on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Shamorie Ponds added 17, Marcus LoVett scored 14 and Kassoum Yakwe added 14 for the Red Storm (11-13, 5-6 Big East). St. John’s made 10 of 24 3-point attempts while shooting 48.5 percent from the floor.
The Golden Eagles (14-8, 5-5) got 21 points from Andrew Rowsey and 14 from Sam Hauser. Marquette made four of 14 3-point tries but shot just 37.1 percent overall and gave up 18 points off 17 turnovers.
Marquette got a scare when Markus Howard sustained a left leg injury with 7:48 left in the first half. Howard was examined on the team’s bench, then retreated to the locker room for treatment but returned to action with 2:03 remaining before halftime.
Howard hit a pair of 3-pointers in the opening 20 minutes and Hauser added three. However, the Golden Eagles turned the ball over twice times in the final minute, allowing St. John’s to close the half on a 7-0 run and take a 45-37 lead into the locker room.
The Golden Eagles opened the second half with four 3-pointers, but LoVett and Ahmed combined to score 11 straight points, putting St. John’s up by 17 with 11:53 to play.
The Golden Eagles finally snapped the drought on a fastbreak layup from Haanif Cheatham, sparking a 10-0 run of their own to make it a 68-61 game with 8:45 to play, but Marquette wouldn’t get closer than eight the rest of the way.
St. John’s had lost two of its previous three and six of eight. Marquette dropped its second in a row.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass – (Staff Report from Official News Release) – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the 10 watch list finalists for the 2017 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award. Named after Hall of Famer and 11-time NBA All-Star Julius Erving, the annual honor in its third year recognizes the top small forwards in Division I men’s college basketball. A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the watch list of 20 candidates in October, which has now been narrowed to just 10.
“After excelling at both the collegiate and professional level for nearly thirty years, Julius Erving is undoubtedly a legend of our game,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “To be recognized as a finalist for the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award puts these athletes in a very elite class.”
Julius Erving attended the University of Massachusetts and averaged 26.3 points and 20.2 rebounds per game, making him one of only six NCAA men’s basketball players to average more than 20 points and 20 rebounds per game. After two seasons, Erving made the jump to the American Basketball Association where he shined for five years and was the league’s most recognizable player when it merged with the National Basketball Association in 1976. During his professional career, Erving won three championships, four most valuable player awards and three scoring titles. In 1996, Erving was named a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team and in 1993 he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
In March, five finalists will be presented to Mr. Erving and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee for the 2017 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award. The winner of the 2017 Julius Erving Award will be presented at ESPN’s College Basketball Awards, presented by Wendy’s, live from The Novo by Microsoft in downtown Los Angeles on Friday, April 7, 2017. Broadcast information will be released at a later date.
Previous winners of the Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award include Denzel Valentine, Michigan State (2016) and Stanley Johnson, Arizona (2015). For more information on the 2017 Julius Erving Award, log onto www.HoophallAwards.com.
2017 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award Finalists:
Evan Bradds (Belmont)
Kelan Martin (Butler)
Jaron Blossomgame (Clemson)
Jayson Tatum (Duke)
Dwayne Bacon (Florida St.)
Josh Jackson (Kansas)
Justin Jackson (North Carolina)
Dillon Brooks (Oregon)
Josh Hart (Villanova)
Trevon Bluiett (Xavier)
*Players can play their way onto and off of the list at any point in the 2016-17 season*
Xavier 72, Seton Hall 70
When: 9:00 PM ET, Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Where: Cintas Center, Cincinnati
CINCINNATI – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – – Trevon Bluiett scored 24 points, including a go-ahead jumper with 4.4 seconds left, lifting Xavier to a 72-70 victory over Seton Hall on Wednesday night at Cintas Center.
The Musketeers (16-6, 6-3 Big East) were playing their first game since point guard Edmond Sumner sustained a season-ending ACL injury on Sunday at St. John’s.
Xavier got a scare Wednesday night when Bluiett went down with a right ankle injury in the first half. The guard returned moments later after getting his ankle taped, and he ended up being the hero.
Myles Powell tied his career high with 26 points for Seton Hall (13-8, 3-6 Big East). Desi Rodriguez added 16 for the Pirates.
Seton Hall tied the score 70-70 on Khadeen Carrington’s layup with 11 seconds left. His potential game-winning 3-point attempt caromed off the rim at the buzzer.
Seton Hall leads the series 9-6, but Xavier has won three straight against the Pirates at Cintas.
The Musketeers missed their first seven shots on Wednesday. However, Xavier went on a 7-0 run late in the first half to go ahead 23-16 on Bluiett’s 3-pointer. Seton Hall responded with a 7-0 run to tie the score.
Xavier led for most of the first half, but Powell’s 18 points helped Seton Hall take a 32-28 lead into halftime.
Bluiett scored eight points in the first half for Xavier.
Pirates’ top three scorers — Angel Delgado, Carrington, and Rodriguez — were a combined 5-for-19 for 10 points in the first half, but Powell carried the team.
Delgado scored 13 points for Seton Hall, which led for most of the second half until Kaiser Gates’ 3-pointer with 8:57 left put Xavier ahead 55-52.
Gates did a little bit of everything for Xavier, finishing with 13 points while going 3 of 4 from 3-point range and grabbing eight rebounds.
J.P. Macura banked in a jumper to put the Musketeers ahead 67-64 with 51 seconds remaining before the frantic finish. Macura scored 10 points.
Washington 5, Boston 3
When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Where: Verizon Center, Washington DC
WASHINGTON DC – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – After watching his top line get outplayed in Tuesday night’s loss to the New York Islanders, Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz issued a challenge and the results were impressive.
Top line center Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and two assists, winger T.J. Oshie had a goal and an assist, and the Washington Capitals defeated the Boston Bruins 5-3 at Verizon Center, snapping Boston’s three-game winning streak.
“They responded. I actually talked to them before the game today,” Trotz said. “I knew that they could be better. They should be a dynamite line every night and they were. Tonight, they made a statement.”
First-line winger Alex Ovechkin gave Washington a 3-2 lead late in the second period on a power play, and Brett Connolly made it 4-2 at 3:29 of the third when he scored against his former team.
Evgeny Kuznetsov, named the NHL’s “First Star” of the month for January on Monday, put Washington up 5-2 with 4:07 remaining to go along with an assist. He has six goals in his last seven games.
“Very important for us to come back and have a good game,” Oshie said. Everyone was playing fast, not a lot or turnovers. All in all, a pretty good game on the second night of back-to-backs.”
Braden Holtby made 29 saves for the NHL points leaders. Matt Niskanen added two assists for the Capitals (34-11-6), who have won eight straight versus the Bruins.
Brad Marchand scored two power-play goals and had an assist for Boston (26-22-6), and David Krejci — filling in for Patrice Bergeron on Marchand’s line — scored with 1:31 left to play. Marchand, the NHL’s “Second Star” of the month for January, has 23 goals on the season and six in his last four games.
“I think it’s pretty obvious. Some guys have to step up and give us some offense here,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “Our power play’s good, scoring goals, but 5-on-5 we have to be better. You can’t just rely on one line to score your goals every night.”
David Pastrnak had three assists and Tuukka Rask, playing the second night in a row, stopped 17 shots.
“It’s disappointing, especially when we battled back from a 2-0 deficit,” Marchand said. “We were playing pretty good. It’s tough to get down by a few there after you made a pretty good comeback.”
Bergeron took a slap shot off the right leg in the third period, returned briefly and then left again. Update to come. The Bruins said they will update his condition on Thursday.
The Capitals have won eight straight at home, outscoring the opposition by a combined total of 40-12 during the streak.
Washington took a 1-0 lead at 3:06 when Backstrom threaded a pass between two Bruins and sent Oshie in on a breakaway. Oshie didn’t miss as he put a low shot between Rask’s pads for his 19th of the season.
“I don’t get breakaways. I’m not fast enough,” Oshie joked after the game.
“I knew Nick was going to be able to get that puck through those two guys to me so after that I kind of glanced back a little bit and saw I had some time, so I slowed down just a little and tried to turn it into almost like shootout pace.”
Backstrom made it 2-0 at 13:34 of the period. Rask made a pad save on a blast from Niskanen, but Backstrom banged home the rebound from the slot.
Boston cut the deficit in half on a power play. Patrice Bergeron fed Marchand in the slot and he fired over Holtby’s shoulder with 1:14 left in the first.
Early in the second period, Boston got another power play opportunity when Kuznetsov was called for tripping in the offensive zone.
The Bruins cashed in on a pretty tic-tac-toe passing sequence as Pastrnak sent the puck across ice to Ryan Spooner, who fed it to a wide-open Marchand on the doorstep. Marchand tapped it in to tie the score at 2:49 of the period.
It appeared the teams would enter the third period tied, but with Boston’s Brandon Carlo off for holding, Ovechkin wristed a shot past Rask from the left circle for his 25th of the season with 15 seconds remaining in the second.
NOTES: Washington RW Justin Williams missed Wednesday’s game because of a lower body injury. The team said he is day-to-day. … Capitals C Evgeny Kuznetsov was named the NHL’s “First Star” for the month of January, the league announced Wednesday. Kuznetsov tied for first in the NHL with 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in 15 games in January. … Bruins LW Brad Marchand was named the league’s “Second Star” for January. He led the NHL with 11 goals and added nine assists for 20 points in 14 games. … Washington re-assigned D Christian Djoos to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL). … Boston recalled G Zane McIntyre from the Providence Bruins of the AHL and assigned G Anton Khudobin to Providence.
Boston 109, Toronto 104
When: 7:30 PM ET, Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Mass
BOSTON – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – The way things are going for Isaiah Thomas, the last thing he needs is extra motivation.
Wednesday night, Boston’s little big man had not one, but two sources of motivation that may or may not have led to his latest explosion that produced the Celtics’ latest win.
“Honestly, Brad (coach Stevens) killed us at halftime,” Thomas said after scoring 18 of his 44 points in the final 6:12 to propel the Celtics to a 109-104 victory over the Toronto Raptors — Boston’s fifth straight victory. “He yelled at us, that was probably the most mad I’ve seen him.”
The Celtics trailed by 11 at the half and 18 in the third quarter before the fourth again belonged to Thomas — who said after the game some words, that apparently were taken out of context because of a language barrier, by a Raptor urged him on.
“I remember when (Jonas) Valanciunas said we were trying to get for second (place) and they were going for first,” Thomas said of a Valanciunas comment made after the last time the teams played. “It’s the other way around now, they trying to chase for second and we’re going for first. Words come back to bite you if you can’t back it up.”
Thomas hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 48.1 seconds remaining and nailed it down with four free throws in the final seconds. He went 15 for 16 from the line and is 30 for 31 in the last two games, 39 for 40 in the last three.
The win, over a Toronto team playing the second half of a back-to-back without injured All-Star starter DeMar DeRozan, gave the Celtics (31-18) a 1 1/2-game lead over Toronto atop the Atlantic Division. It also gave Stevens the same lead over counterpart Dwane Casey in the chase to coach the Eastern Conference All-Stars.
The team ahead at the end of play Sunday’s sends its coach to New Orleans.
It was also Boston’s first win in three games against Toronto (30-20) this season.
“You know what’s crazy is I thought we played better in the first two games,” Stevens said.
Thomas, leading the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring at 10.3 points per game coming in, also had seven assists and four rebounds. The first two of those foul shots came after a big offensive rebound by Marcus Smart.
Thomas, who scored nine straight points in 1:33 to wipe out an eight-point deficit, won a fourth-quarter shootout with fellow All-Star Dwight Lowry. The Toronto guard had 12 of his 32 in the fourth for his fourth straight 30-point game.
“You gotta trap him, get the ball out of his hands,” Lowry said of Thomas. “He got three wide open looks in the fourth. That can’t happen.”
Thomas was 4 of 7 from the field in the first half, but his 10 for 11 from the foul line gave him his 33rd straight 20-point game as he closes in on John Havlicek’s club record of 40 set in 1971-72.
In the last 12 home games, Thomas has 440 points in 433 minutes. He is averaging 29.7 points this season.
Jae Crowder added 14 points and eight rebounds, Al Horford 11 points and six assists and Smart 10 points, five rebounds and five assists off the bench for the Celtics, who won without the injured Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk.
Former Celtic Jared Sullinger, making his TD Garden return, had a season-high 13 points and six rebounds in 15:37 off the bench. Norman Powell had 12 points and Patrick Patterson and Lucas Nogueira 10 apiece off the bench.
Ironically, Valanciunas, limited to 11:47 because of foul trouble, had only three points and three rebounds.
“It doesn’t always come down to the fourth quarter,” Casey said. “We missed a lot of free throws, a lot of mistakes in the first half even when we had the lead and those things add up and bite you in the behind going into the fourth quarter.
“But I thought our guys battled. I love the fight and scrap. We got to continue that, get everybody healthy, get guys off of minute restrictions and we’ll go to war. But I like our fight … we came up a little short and missed some shots we normally make.”
The Raptors, 8-10 since the start of January, went 14 for 25 from the foul line.
NOTES: Both teams were missing starting guards, with DeMar DeRozan out for the fifth time in the last six Toronto games with an ankle sprain. Boston’s Avery Bradley missed his eighth straight with an Achilles tendon strain and is considered day-to-day. … F Kelly Olynyk (shoulder) was also out for Boston as a late scratch. … The Raptors are at Orlando on Friday and Brooklyn on Sunday, while the Celtics host the two Los Angeles teams — the Lakers on Friday and Clippers on Sunday.