TORONTO — The Clippers officially hired former Celtics star Kevin Garnett as a consultant, reuniting him with former Celtics coach Doc Rivers and Celtics legend Paul Pierce.
“He’s a great spirit, a great basketball mind, a Hall of Fame guy, somebody I looked up to coming up and even playing the game,” Clippers center DeAndre Jordan told reporters in Los Angeles Tuesday. “So any pointers he can give me and tips is great. I just want to be a student whenever he’s here.”
Jordan said that one of the reasons he became such a loud, fast-talking player on the court was by watching Garnett.
“The presence that he has on the game on both ends of the floor is something that’s contagious,” Jordan said. “You want to take things from people like that, especially if that’s already in your personality.”
Rivers, Pierce, and Garnett were together for each of Garnett’s six seasons in Boston, including the 2007 NBA title. Garnett, who retired this summer, worked with the Clippers in an unofficial role during training camp this year. This season he has also been making weekly appearances on the TNT show, “Inside the NBA.”
Isiah Thomas has received, at minimum, hundreds of fan votes on social media for next month’s NBA All-Star Game. The problem is that he retired from the Detroit Pistons 23 years ago.
By accepting votes on Twitter and Facebook, the league simplified the process and also made it a way for people to share their fandom loudly and proudly. But as the unique ballots poured in, so did misspellings.
There was Isiah Thomas instead of Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas. There was Dwayne Wade instead of Bulls guard Dwyane Wade. And then there’s Bucks guard Giannis Antetokounmpo — at least we’re pretty sure that is how it’s spelled.
But fear not, because the NBA says it has mostly prepared for your gaffes. Over the years, the league has developed a list of common misspellings of players’ names. And that list has been used to collect the All-Star votes, so Isiah, Dwayne and other similar errors will all be accounted for.
Also, many voters list players’ first and last names together, without a space in between. Those votes will be included, too.
The league submits its list of common misspellings to a third-party vendor that tabulates the votes, and if a new and common misspelling emerges, the vendor will alert the NBA about that as an extra safeguard.
The league’s preparation could be bad news for internet trolls who have been intentionally misspelling names of rivals as an attempt at comedy. In the end, the joke might be on the voter.
The Sacramento Kings even jumped into the fray. In a tweet calling on fans to vote for their sensational big man, DeMarcus Cousins, they also included the misspelled stars Stephen Cury, Russell Westbrok, James Haren and Kevin Duran. As of Tuesday afternoon, it had been retweeted more than 15,000 times, meaning it would count as more than 15,000 votes.
It’s unclear whether the intentional gaffes would be picked up by the league’s system, but several seem well within reason.
Of course, there are myriad ways to mess up Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is in the midst of an All-Star-caliber season, and especially egregious attempts likely will fall through the cracks. Also, if you’re an outlier who spells LeBron James as LeBron Jamez, that likely will be missed, too.
But the safest approach, the league says, is to simply use a player’s Twitter handle. Or, one can vote on NBA.com, which still uses a ballot-style system. Fan voting will close on Monday at 11:59 p.m., so if your misspellings were particularly gruesome, there is still time to clean up your work.
Stevens: ‘I could care less’
The Celtics’ 114-106 loss Tuesday night in Toronto cost them a chance to tie the Raptors for the No. 2 seed in the East and the lead in Atlantic Division. The Cavaliers likely are to remain in the No. 1 spot in the coming weeks, but since coaches cannot coach in the All-Star Game in consecutive seasons, Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue is not eligible, so Celtics coach Brad Stevens or Raptors coach Dwane Casey would likely get the nod.
But Stevens is not overly concerned.
“I don’t want this to come off wrong, because I think it’s most important that that’s a real honor to be a part of a team that’s in position to do that,” Stevens said before Tuesday’s loss. “So if you’re in the top couple in either division, then that’s a real good thing. Otherwise, I could care less.”
No update on Bradley
Stevens had no update Tuesday regarding the status of guard Avery Bradley, who remains sidelined with a strained Achilles’ tendon. Stevens said center Tyler Zeller, who has been sidelined for two weeks because of a sinus infection, has seen “a bunch” of different doctors over the past few days.