Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Brad Stevens said Jae Crowder, sidelined since March 11 with a high ankle sprain, is scheduled to travel with the team during an upcoming five-game road trip that starts Saturday in Phoenix with the hope that he might be able to return to game action during the 10-day trek.
Stevens, however, continued to stress that while Crowder has made progress in his rehab, the team will remain cautious in bringing him back from the injury.
“Jae is progressing well,” Stevens said before Monday’s game against the Orlando Magic. “We think he’s about on the same timetable that I initially gave you, where you’re talking — he’s obviously already close [to two weeks] … but most likely that’s a very, very [ambitious] estimate.”
Friday marks the two week date of Crowder’s injury and – despite recent wins over dregs like Philadelphia and Orlando – this team really needs his ass on the court (Forsberg says the Celtics own a net rating of plus-5.3 points per 100 possessions with Jae).
Have you looked at next week’s schedule? Following Wednesday’s epic battle with Toronto, the Celtics embark on a 5 game, 9 day road trip that takes them to Phoenix, LA (Clippers), Portland, Golden State and back to LA (Lakers).
If Crowder misses all 5 games, a 2-3 record is the best case scenario. It’s possible the optimistic return date is Friday, April 1 vs Golden State.
I’m afraid the 3 seed is gone for good. Miami’s upcoming stretch is cupcake city (New Orleans, San Antonio, Orlando, Brooklyn, Lakers and Sacramento).
Although it’s still pretty cool to be talking about a home playoff series at this juncture of the season.
On Page 2, Kelly O. is back to feeling free and easy.
That all changed last night in his third game back. The big forward came off the bench with 22 points, including four 3-pointers on six attempts.
“I didn’t shoot a basketball in five weeks,” he said last night after the Celtics’ 107-96 win against Orlando. “It’s not easy to just go out there and start firing them up. You’re a little bit out of rhythm. Not all the strength is back in my shoulder yet. For a couple of games, I was shooting the ball the way I wanted it . . . but I didn’t have the same strength.
“You want to be able to shoot it free and easy, and today it was coming off free and easy. I was shooting the same shots I was shooting before, and I had a little more strength.”
Free and easy. That’s how I like my power forward’s shooting stroke and how I like my women.
And finally, Lebron can’t stop with the social media drama.
On Monday, some time before he was simply brilliant on the court against the Denver Nuggets, where he posted his 41st career triple-double and the Cavs won easily 124-91, James unfollowed his own team on Twitter.
… And it was, within a matter of hours. The Cavs knew it, nearly instantly. They didn’t know why he did it, didn’t ask him, but they weren’t exactly comfortable with it, either.
Almost immediately, speculation outside The Q began that this was another cryptic message from James on Twitter – and there’s been a lot of those this month – signaling his intention to potentially leave Cleveland for a second time, which he could theoretically do this summer by opting out of his two-year, $47 million contract this summer and becoming a free agent.
According to a source close to James who discussed the matter with him Monday night, that’s not why James unfollowed the Cavs. He did it as part of his process to prepare for the playoffs.
Focus? Purposely creating a social media controversy is the exact opposite of focus.
The rest of the links
Herald – Veteran Johnson springs into action | CSNNE – Celts look to turn renewed confidence into momentum | Globe – No time for Celts to be standing around