The Celtics got Kevin Durant, and why so many great college basketball coaches are retiring

Happy Thursday everyone! Phew, what a crazy Wednesday it was.

Let’s cut to the chase.

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Hello everyone, but especially to…

THE BOSTON CELTICS…

It’s no fun to play against Celtics. the Nets and their superstars find out the hard way. Boston used a suffocating defense and balanced offense to win 114-107 and take a 2-0 series lead.

  • The Celtics dominated the Nets 29-17 in the fourth quarter.
  • Seven of eight Celtics who played has reached double digit dotsdirected by Jaylen Brown (22) and Jayson Tatum (19).
  • After 39 points in Game 1, Kyrie Irving had 10 points on a 4-for-13 shot.
  • Kevin Durant had 27 dots, but he only went 4 for 17 from the field. It was Durant’s fourth-worst shooting night of his playoff career, and he had more turnovers (six) than baskets scored.

The Celtics made it extremely difficult on Durant because every player knows how to defend it. It’s not just Brown and Tatum, but the trio of Al Horford, Grant Williams and of course, Defensive Player of the Year Smart Marcus who did a wonderful job. Our NBA guru Jasmyn Wimbish explains Boston’s outstanding defense.

  • Wimbish: “That’s what makes Boston’s defense so elite. It has the ability to change almost anything, and the Celtics have so much length and athleticism that it’s not entirely surprising that Durant has the restless air in attack…. It is without a doubt the best a team has ever defended Durantand it’s going to force Brooklyn to adapt to the rest of the show to try to find a way to give him better opportunities.”

For more on Durant’s struggles, check out Chronicle of Brad Botkin.

…AND ALSO A GOOD MORNING TO THE KENTUCKY WILDCATS

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Attention, college basketball: Oscar Tshiebwe returns to Kentuckyand the 2021-22 National Player of the Year is looking to avenge a disappointing end to the season.

  • Tshiebwe is the first reigning National Player of the Year to return to college since Tyler Hansbrough In 2008(!). Hansbrough and North Carolina won the title the following season.
  • At Tshiebwe 15.1 rebounds per game were the most in over 40 yearsand he also added 17.4 points per game.
  • However, Kentucky lost in Saint-Pierre in the 64th final.

Tshiebwe’s return propels Kentucky to second in our college basketball reporter Gary Parrish Top 25 And 1.

  • Paris : โ€œWildcats rankings based on CBS Sports National Player of the Year Oscar Tshiebwe going back to school alongside other newbies Sahvir Wheeler and Keion Brooks, the latter declared himself for the draft of the NBA but maintains his eligibility to the university. For now, I’m projecting the guard 5 stars Shaedon Sharpe to enter and stay in the NBA draft given that he is projected among the top 10 picks – but, let the record show, John CalipariThe Wildcats could move up to No. 1 if Sharpe finally decides to play next season in the UK.

Tshiebwe is back in Kentcuky, but several other big names in the country declared themselves for the NBA Draft yesterday, including…

  • Paolo Banchero
  • Kofi Cockburn
  • Johnny Juzang

Here is our NBA Draft underclassmen decision tracker.

Honorable Mentions

And not such a good morning for…

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THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS…

Last season, Deebo Samuel has become one of the most dangerous weapons in the entire NFL. This season, he wants to take his talents elsewhere. The 26-year-old star requested a trade from the 49ers after breaking off contract talks with the team.

According to reports, the 49ers really want to pay Samuel, but Samuel is determined to play elsewhere. He deleted the 49ers from his social media accounts.

How good is Samuel? Consider this, since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970…

  • There have been 99 instances of a player having more than 1,400 receiving yards in a season.
  • There have been 631 instances of a player having more than 8 rushing touchdowns in a season.
  • There was ONE case where a player had both in the same season: Deebo Samuel in 2021.

So yeah, he’s damn good.

Now, Where could Samuel end up? Our NFL expert Bryan DeArdo has five potential landing spotsincluding…

  • DeArdo:Chiefs Samuel would replace Tyreek Hill as Patrick Mahomes‘ best receiver. … The Chiefs, who currently have the 29th and 30th overall picks in the draft and four picks in the first two rounds, have plenty of business capital … The Chiefs also play in the AFC, which is another reason Kansas City would be the most likely destination should the 49ers sell Samuel.”

…AND ALSO NOT SO GOOD MORNING FOR DEVIN BOOKER AND THE PHOENIX SUNS

Two games into what they hope will be a lengthy playoff streak, the Suns deal with difficult news: Star guard Devin Booker is unlikely to play in game 3 or 4 of Phoenix’s first-round series against the Pelicans due to hamstring strain.

  • Booker was injured in the third quarter of Game 2, which the Pelicans won 125-114.
  • Booker scored 31 points in the first half of the game but failed to score in the second half before leaving.
  • Reservation was not ruled out for the series.

The Suns are still a big favorite in the series. They went 5-2 on a December streak that Booker missed with a left hamstring injury. In the regular season, Phoenix had a +4.7 net rating with Booker off the court, a number that would have ranked sixth in the NBA. Sure, it’s not as good as the +9.5 net rating they posted when he was in the field, but it’s still very good.

Not so honorable mentions

Villanova head coach Jay Wright retires; Kyle Neptune to take over ๐Ÿ€

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Another offseason, another shocking retirement among men’s college basketball coaches. Hall of Fame Jay Wright retires after 21 seasons with Villanova. Reports of Wright’s impending retirement began Wednesday night and he called a team meeting later that night to make it official.

Wright’s resume is simply outstanding.

  • 642-282 career high at Villanova (21 seasons) and Hofstra (seven seasons)
  • Villanova’s all-time winningest manager (520 wins)
  • Two NCAA championships (2016, 2018); one of 15 coaches with multiple championships
  • Four Final Four appearances (2009, 2016, 2018, 2022)
  • Eight Big East regular season titles (absolutely and shared); five Big East Tournament titles

Why did Wright choose to leave now? Our college basketball insider Matt Norlander, who was one of the first reporters to break the story last night, has the details.

  • Norse: Fresh off of his fourth Final Four appearance, Wright decides to step away from the routine of college basketball. Privately, he shared his frustrations with some of the significant changes to how the sport works. He also went through understandable exhaustion with the drudgery of the job, a source said..”

Now at the helm of the Wildcats is Kyle Neptune, who was Wright’s assistant from 2013-21 before spending last season as head coach at Fordham. The Rams went 16-16, a marked improvement from their 2-12 record the year before.

Be sure to check Gary Parrish’s column on Wright as well.

Embiid plays the hero as 76ers take a 3-0 series lead raptors ๐Ÿ€

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Joel Embid picked a good time to do what he admitted to being the best shot of his career. the 76ers‘ star center knocked down a 3-pointer with less than a second left in overtime, elevating Philadelphia to a 104-101 win over the Raptors. The 76ers now lead the series 3-0, and no team has ever lost a 3-0 series lead.

  • It was Embiid’s first career winner in the last second of a game.
  • Embiid finished with 33 points (28 after halftime) and 13 rebounds.
  • Tyrese Maxey and James Harden both had 19 points.

What we’re watching on Thursday ๐Ÿ“บ

We are watching the NBA playoffs. Here’s how you can too.

And also…

๐Ÿ’ maple leafs in lightning8 p.m. on ESPN

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