Boston Celtics

It didn’t take long for the sniping to start, did it? I’d say minutes.

Yes, minutes after LeBron James, with a little help from his friend Jeff Green, had eliminated the Celtics from the NBA playoffs Sunday night, 87-79, the barbs started flying. 

“The Celtics suck.” “I could have made those shots.” “They settled for too many three-pointers.” “They were awful!”

I was wrong. W-R-O-N-G!

As many in the sports scribbling and babbling business did, I wrote off the Boston Celtics as an NBA championship threat when All-Star Kyrie Irving checked out in March for the rest of the season with an infection in his surgically repaired left knee. His loss, coupled with the season-ending ankle injury to Gordon Hayward on opening night, was too much for this young, untested team.

My exact words written a little more than a month ago: “Irving’s departure dooms whatever hopes the Celtics had of making a run to the NBA Finals this season.”

Sixers-Celtics. Philly-Boston. Roll those syllables off your tongue a few times, and try not to smile. For the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers boast the longest post-season rivalry in NBA history. Nineteen times these iconic franchises have waged “basketball battle”, as the late great Johnny Most used to say from high above courtside, and they are at it again for the 20thinstallment.

Final Fours are finished, but the basketball beat goes on.

In Boston, it’s a downbeat. Point guard Kyrie Irving, one of the NBA’s most dynamic players, is out for the balance of the season due to an infection in his already surgically repaired left knee. On Saturay he had two screws removed from his kneecap that were inserted in 2015 after he fractured the kneecap in the NBA Finals. Two weeks ago he had had a tension wire removed to alleviate pain in his knee. 

The Celtics will win Game 7 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals Monday against Washington at TD Garden because of the home court advantage. The home team has won each of the first six games in this series.

Forget about Boston’s franchise history of success in Game 7s. Yes, the Celtics can boast 21 victories against 8 losses in the last game of a seven-game series. And yes, the Celtics are 18-4 in Game 7s played in Boston.

Lipofsky Basketballphoto.com

Basketball icon Bill Walton, one of only four players in history to win multiple NCAA and NBA championships, will deliver the commencement address at New England Institute of Technology’s commencement exercises on May 1 at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence.

Rhode Islanders will particularly remember Walton coming off the bench in 1986 to help the Larry Bird-led Boston Celtics to the NBA championship. Walton won the NBA’ s `Sixth Man of the Year’ award that year.

The sweat box that is the Rhode Island Statehouse in the summer months may become a thing of the past.

Providence College

Marvin Barnes, who rose from the gritty neighborhood of South Providence to the NCAA Final Four on the legendary 1973 Providence College basketball team and later had a promising career in professional basketball that  was cut short by drug addiction and scrapes with the law, has died. He was 62.

Barnes death was first reported by ProJo sports writer Kevin McNamara, who wrote that he got the news from Barnes old friend and teammate, Kevin Stacom. He died at his Providence home.

Richard Walton was a huge presence in our small state for more than a half century. A writer, journalist, teacher and political activist, Walton, of Warwick, was a leader in so many campaigns for peace and social justice that even his friends and fellow activists could barely keep count.

It seems sometimes like every Rhode Island business and political leader points to the better economy in Massachusetts. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay looked across the state border and finds more myth than reality.

Once again, Rhode Island has embarked on an advertising campaign to raise our state’s flagging self-esteem. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay says its time for us to stop running down our tiny corner of New England.

Back in 1996, when Jack Reed was waging his first U.S. Senate campaign, Texas Gov. Ann Richards came to Newport to speak at a Reed fund-raiser. The tall and tart-tongued Texan introduced the vertically-challenged Rhode Island Democrat by saying to prolonged laughter that Reed is proof ``that size doesn’t matter.’’