Brad Stevens must guide Celtics through off-court drama, whether he likes it or not

first_imgTo this point, the Celtics have had to muck their way through the competing agendas of their own players and now have a layer of outside interference from those of us in the media that is attached to the trade deadline and will linger beyond.Still, they’ve won nine out of 10, and that’s Stevens’ job. The Celtics are third in the conference and within five games of the first seed in the East.But the trade deadline and the upcoming free-agent extravaganza will weigh heavily on Boston, and whether Stevens likes it or not, he must keep his team together through it. MORE: LeBron James addresses Irving’s apology callThankfully, for Stevens’ sake, the Celtics pushed off the Thunder long enough for a win, Boston’s ninth in its last 10 games. The Celtics go to Cleveland on Tuesday, and should continue their winning ways.But there’s much more at play than the schedule. The Celtics are a team eager to push through the coming week and the passing of Thursday afternoon’s trade deadline, which will be topped that evening by a visit from the Lakers, the team at the eye of just about every NBA storm these days.Few will be happier than Stevens, who has been the Celtics coach since he was plucked from Butler in 2013 to oversee the post-Doc Rivers rebuild. Stevens has proven himself as a coach in the intervening years, but it’s not until now, in his sixth season, that he is truly being baptized in the NBA’s turbulent waters.Stevens’ handling of the various Celtic controversies this season has mostly gone overlooked. Irving’s locker-room leadership has come under fire, but leadership needs to come from the coach, too. That’s not Stevens’ strong suit. Past Celtics veterans have said that Stevens tends to handle his players with too much emphasis on Xs-and-Os and not enough TLC.Indeed, Stevens, at least publicly, has approached the team’s various controversies with a shrug of the shoulders and a stiff upper lip. But how he holds this roster together will be his greatest NBA test to date and will go a long way toward determining whether Boston can truly contend for a spot in the NBA Finals this spring.Stevens has given stock answers to questions around his team all along. Last month, in the wake of the tussle between Celtics forward Marcus Morris and Jaylen Brown, Stevens said, “I’m not going to get into that. Ultimately, my focus is to on how we’re playing on the court.”He’s stuck with that line. The latest go-round on the Celtics’ drama-rama has been the rumors of Irving potentially bolting Boston, perhaps for the Knicks (who bleached their payroll last week with the trade of Kristaps Porzingis) or the Lakers. Further, the Celtics’ presumed offseason pursuit of Davis has been under assault from Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, who also represents LA star LeBron James and clearly wants Davis to play for the Lakers. Paul went so far as to trot out Davis’ father to ESPN — the senior Davis lambasted Boston for its treatment of Thomas, traded by the Celtics two years ago.In New York, Stevens told reporters, “I think that’s just part of being in this league and being in professional sports. Ultimately that’s our job, is to block out everything and make sure we understand what we need to do well to have success. And so it’s about focusing on the possession at hand and literally staying in that moment, and that’s really challenging.”There are a lot of things in human nature that pull against that, but I think the very best teams and the very best players all are able to do that and that’ll be the task.”TRADE RUMORS: Is Anthony Davis trying to scare off Celtics?On-court player scuffles, individual agendas, locker room turmoil, incessant trade rumors, star free-agent chatter — the Celtics have had all of the above in the past two months. That’s a new development. They certainly don’t have these sorts of tribulations in the Big East.  Before this season, Stevens was blessed with overachieving players and low expectations, and for a new guy taking over a historic franchise, that’s about as happy a situation as you could expect.That’s allowed Stevens to build on the same underdog reputation he had at Butler, which he took to the NCAA championship game twice. He’s never entered a season as a frontrunner, but he’s succeeded anyway. By the end of his second season in Boston, the Celtics were a playoff team, despite having erstwhile center Tyler Zeller as the roster’s top-ranked player in win shares.The following year, Stevens won 48 games with a primary starting five of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Jared Sullinger and Amir Johnson. Last spring, Stevens shocked the East by again getting to the conference finals — without injured stars Kyrie Irving or Gordon Hayward — coming within a game of the Finals.Along the way, Stevens was exalted in Boston. His rotations were unquestioned. His ability to develop players, whether bringing along Jaylen Brown slowly or throwing Jayson Tatum quickly into the NBA fire, was proven. His out-of-timeout plays were hailed as masterworks of art by the Twitter faithful.But NBA coaching is part Dr. Naismith, part Dr. Phil. Stevens has not had to play the psychoanalyst much with the Celtics. He has not had to defuse locker-room discord. That’s been the undoing of the bulk of NBA coaches over the decades, and it has been especially difficult for coaches from the college ranks, where coaches wield so much more power. BOSTON — By the time the Celtics took the floor here at TD Garden on Sunday afternoon, coach Brad Stevens looked at ease, finally.Nevermind he was preparing for the Thunder, winners of seven straight games. What mattered was that the Celtics were back among their home fans and all the kerfuffle that engulfed the team in the last few days, all the questions about Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis and Isaiah Thomas (yes, him again), could be safely filed away for a few hours.last_img read more

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Salvation Army to Hold Toy Distribution on Tuesday

first_imgRED BANK – Those who missed the signup dates for Christmas assistance from the Red Bank Corps of the Salvation Army have one more chance to get toys only.On Tuesday, Dec. 20, those who want toys for their children can come to the rear of the corps’ center at 180 Newman Springs Rd. between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.The Salvation Army will require photo identification from applicants (driver license or another form of state identification or a passport). Assistance will be limited to Monmouth County residents.People may not apply who already are receiving or plan to receive holiday assistance from another organization, church or agency.Questions may be directed to the Red Bank Corps at (732) 747-1624.Children of Rumson Department of Public Works employees helped with the DPW’s annual toy drive this year. Pictured left to right are Michael Guinan, 11, and Matthew Guinan, 9, of Eatontown; Brodie Davidson, 6, and Taylor Davidson, 9, of Rumson. DPW workers and their elves collected more than 1,000 new toys which will be delivered to area charities to brighten the holidays for those in need this year.last_img read more

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Ex-Nelson Leaf players making noise at next level of hockey

first_imgThe six-foot, 190-pound Martens, two time Terriers monthly award winner during the season, also scored once in the Game six before Devon McMullen’s wrist shot found its way in with 28 seconds left in regulation to snap a 3-3 tie.The Terriers advance to the Western Canada Cup in Nanaimo.The five-team tournament also featuring the MJHL, AJHL, and BCHL Champs, and host Nanaimo Clippers, begins Saturday, April 27.Yorkton meets host Clippers on opening night, the MJHL champions (Dauphin or Steinbach) the following afternoon, the AJHL champs (Brooks or Spruce Grove) the afternoon of Tue/Apr/30, and the BC reps (Surrey or Penticton) the afternoon of Thu/May/2 to conclude their round robin.Martens and Walchuk are just one of many players the Leafs have ushered through the development league and onto bigger and better things.Others include the likes of defenceman Brayden Sherbinin (Quinnipiac), forwards Chris Cucullu and Mike Lebler Iowa State NCCA Div III, Gus Correale (Lake Superior State University), Brett McKinnon and Shawn Hochhausen (Holy Cross and Alaska-Fairbanks of the NCAA respectively) and goalies Billy Faust (University of Vermont) and Matt Larose (University of Alabama-Huntsville).“Don’t get me wrong we like to win, but we also like to move kids on to the next level,” Wheeldon said.Martens, proof in the pudding, carries the Green and White colours into the Royal Bank Cup. The Nelson Leafs franchise prides itself on moving to players onto the next level.As the junior hockey concludes and most players ponder which to use, Titleist over Nike, one grad remains on the ice while another saw his career conclude.Patrick Martens is off to the Royal Bank Cup after the Yorkton Terriers won the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Canalta Cup in six games over the Humboldt Broncos.Meanwhile Dylan Walchuk — see http://thenelsondaily.com/news/former-nelson-leaf-concludes-junior-hockey-career-spokane-24250#.UWzJJYK8JE4 — concluded his career after the Portland Winterhawks eliminated the Spokane Chiefs in Western Hockey League playoff action.“It’s been a team philosophy of moving players onto the next level, whether is be Junior A, college or university,” said former Leaf coach Simon Wheeldon when asked about the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League franchise.Martens, playing on and off for the Leafs the past two seasons — the Maple Ridge native toiled for Langley of the BC Hockey League for some of the 2011-12 season — found a home with the Terriers and was a key part of the Canalta Cup drive with 11 goals in 15 playoff games.last_img read more

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10 months ago​Stock Market reacts positively to Man Utd axing Mourinho

first_imgTagsPremiership NewsAbout the authorIan FerrisShare the loveHave your say ​Stock Market reacts positively to Man Utd axing Mourinhoby Ian Ferris10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United made money despite having to pay Jose Mourinho an estimated £18m by sacking him, according to a football finance expert.The stock market reacted “positively” to Mourinho’s dismissal on Tuesday with the club’s value increasing by £170m, Kieran Maguire, a lecturer at the University of Liverpool, said.”They’ve probably made money by sacking him,” he added. “He [Mourinho] was turning into a toxic brand for the club,” Maguire told Sky Sports News. “The opportunity to have someone in who could be a bit more media friendly, have a positive impact on commercial sponsors and advertisers – the stock market likes the idea of that.”Manchester United, their success in the stock market and as a commercial entity, is very much based on delivering trophies on the pitch. They can’t go for a sustained time without that.””Manchester United is the world’s biggest sports brand and everyone wants to be associated with that because the club is associated with success,” he said.”The gloss of the moderate success Jose Mourinho achieved was beginning to dust slightly.” last_img read more

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a month agoRodgers focused on developing Leicester youth

first_imgRodgers focused on developing Leicester youthby Ansser Sadiqa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveBrendan Rodgers says he is focused on developing Leicester City’s younger players.The Foxes came up short in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Manchester United.But Rodgers remains concentrated on his goal of progressing his young squad.”I think we are disappointed with the result today,” he said on Saturday. “But it’s healthy for us that we can come away frustrated.”We come to a great arena like here and okay, we didn’t start the game well, but we showed great courage to get back into it and it was disappointing to come away with a point.”I’m very fortunate in that I’m working with a great group of guys – the senior professionals have been absolutely brilliant since I came in. The young players – they are so hungry to improve and that’s our job.”It’s going to be a constant development for them.”It’s time and we just do our best. We just continue to work.”There are a lot of improvements for us and thankfully the players are honest and they want to be better.” About the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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4 days agoLiverpool goalscorer Lallana: This can be my season

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Liverpool goalscorer Lallana: This can be my seasonby Paul Vegas4 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveAdam Lallana feels he’s back after scoring Liverpool’s equaliser in their 1-1 draw at Manchester United.The midfielder has endured a bleak period in his career in recent years, with injuries and strong competition in the Anfield squad reducing him to the role of bit part player.”I’m delighted. It’s obviously nice to contribute to a top team like this – and I feel that’s the first of big moments me for this season,” he said.”Just because I’ve not started any of the first nine games, I don’t think that means I am not going to play a big part in this team.“Can this be my season? Of course, yeah. It’s a long old season. We’ve got the World Club Cup to come. The Champions League this week, the Premier League at the weekend, the Carabao Cup next week.“So it’s important to stay strong and be ready. That’s where my focus will be and I’m delighted I can make an impact when I get the chance.” Lallana added: “Listen, obviously I feel like I’ve been fit for a good year now, especially since coming back from pre-season. But we’re European champions, we’ve got a top squad, so I’ve had to be patient for my chance.“I’ve done that, and I am delighted to come on and make an impact like that. We are a top team, so to be able to contribute to it is important.” last_img read more

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NKDA uses 78000 litres of recycled water in New Town

first_imgKolkata: New Town Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA) has used 78,000 litres of recycled water in New Town as a part of the drive to conserve water.It may be mentioned that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has announced that July 12 will be observed as Save Water Save Life Day, throughout the state. On July 12, she took part in a walk from Jorasanko Thakurbari to Gandhi statue on Mayo Road to make people aware of the need to conserve water. NKDA has recycled 78,000 litres of waste water from its two Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) in the past two months. This water has been used to water roadside trees in the central road median and other parts of New Town. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaIt may be mentioned that NKDA has planted trees all over New Town, which are watered daily with the help of water tankers. NKDA has proposed to introduce rain water harvesting in big housing complexes in New Town. To create awareness among people, several drives have been taken up. Even in Café Ekante, half glass water is served first and subsequently, water is served on demand. It may be mentioned that the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has proposed to stop washing cars using Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwaydrinking water. Mayor Firhad Hakim has proposed to set up a washing bay, where vehicles will be washed using unfiltered water. There was provision for unfiltered water in Kolkata earlier, which was used for flushing and cleaning. Every household had separate tanks where unfiltered water was stored. But over the years, the unfiltered water lifting station at Mallickghat became inoperative, leading to the collapse of the system.last_img read more

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21 councillors to move noconfidence motion against Arjun Singh

first_imgKolkata: Twenty one Trinamool Congress councillors will move a no-confidence motion against Arjun Singh, chairman of the Bhatpara Municipality.The councillors met Firhad Hakim, the state Urban Development and Municipal Affairs minister, Jyotipriya Mallick, the state Food and Supplies minister and president of the North 24-Parganas unit of the party and Partha Bhowmick, party MLA from Naihati on Monday afternoon. A letter bringing no-confidence motion against Singh and signed by 21 councillors was sent to the SDO. A copy of the letter was sent to Singh. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaBhatpara Municipality currently has 34 councillors. To retain the municipality, Trinamool Congress needs the support of 17 councillors. Mallick said the councillors have informed that they had received full support from party supremo Mamata Banerjee and had no intention to cross the floor and join Singh. He said four councillors who were still in two minds, would settle for Trinamool Congress. As per the Municipal Rules, the chairman of the municipality will have to convene a meeting to discuss the no-confidence motion within 15 days. In his absence, the vice-chairman can convene the meeting. The councillors will cast their votes in secret ballots. Bhowmick said that the councillors had formally decided to bring no-confidence motion against Singh on Sunday and the matter received a formal approval on Monday. Singh said that the secret ballot would clear the picture. Interestingly, he has not yet submitted his resignation from the position of MLA.last_img read more

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India signals to boycott Chinas Belt Road Forum for 2nd time

first_imgBeijing: India on Wednesday signalled that it will boycott China’s second Belt and Road Forum for a second time, saying no country can participate in an initiative that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity. India boycotted the first Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in 2017 after protesting to Beijing over the controversial China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is being laid through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) overriding New Delhi’s sovereignty concerns. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalForeign Minister Wang Yi recently said that next month China plans to hold a much bigger, second BRF which will also be attended by Pakistan Prime Minster Imran Khan. Speculation is rife whether India would attend the second BRF as China has deepened its commitment to expand the USD 60 billion CPEC, which aims to connect China’s Xinjiang province with Pakistan’s Gwadar port with a host of road, rail, gas and oil pipelines. China has also undertaken a host of energy projects under the aegis of the CPEC. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostIndia’s Ambassador to China Vikram Misri told the state-run Global Times that “above all, connectivity initiatives must be pursued in a manner that respects sovereignty, equality and territorial integrity of nations”. “No country can participate in an initiative that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he replied to a question about India’s concerns over the BRI and whether India would take part in the second BRF meet. The Indian envoy’s interview was carried by the daily on Wednesday. “To be honest, we have made no secret of our views and our position on the BRI is clear and consistent and one that we have conveyed to the authorities concerned. “India shares the global aspiration to strengthen connectivity and it is an integral part of our economic and diplomatic initiatives. We ourselves are working with many countries and international institutions in our region and beyond on a range of connectivity initiatives,” Misri said. “However, it is also our belief that connectivity initiatives must be based on universally recognised international norms, good governance and rule of law. They must emphasise social stability and environmental protection and preservation, promote skill and technology transfers and follow principles of openness, transparency and financial sustainability,” the Indian envoy said. India along with the US and several other countries have been highlighting the concerns over the BRI projects, leaving a number of smaller countries in debt traps. The concerns grew louder after China took over Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port on a 99-year lease as debt swap. Several countries including Malaysia and even Pakistan have wished to reduce the Chinese projects over debt concerns. Asked whether India-China ties are back on track, Misri said: “the bilateral relationship between India and China is of great significance not just to the two countries, but also to the larger region and the international community”. He said that the Wuhan summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping in April, 2018 was a “milestone in bilateral relations during which the two leaders exchanged views on overarching issues of bilateral and global importance, and elaborated their respective visions and priorities for national development in context of the current international situation”. Last year, the two leaders also met on the sidelines of multilateral summits. “These meetings have reinforced strategic communication between the two countries at the highest levels and helped in elaborating a road map for continuing contacts. China is India’s biggest neighbour and we assign a very high priority to this relationship,” the Indian envoy said. “Unlike some 50 years ago, when our relationship had a much narrower basis and there was not much communication, today we have what one would call a full-spectrum relationship. “This has been possible because our respective leaders have realised that mutually-beneficial cooperation responds to the most urgent developmental needs of our people and these needs to be prioritised over other issues,” Misri said. Asked about the impact of India’s elections on India-China ties, Misri said: “my own feeling is that on foreign policy issues there is a broad political consensus in India on where our national interests lie. I do not think therefore that the outcome of the elections will impact the broad contours of India’s foreign policy in general or the very important relationship with China in particular”.last_img read more

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