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Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas Returns from Strained Groin

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Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens was explaining his decision to play point guard Isaiah Thomas the entire fourth quarter on Friday night against the Charlotte Hornets when he half-jokingly deadpanned, “You know, he didn’t do anything all week.”

Thomas sat out four games while rehabbing from a strained groin and missed a travel-heavy stretch for the Celtics. Limping home barely above .500 and with their confidence rattled, the Celtics needed a jolt — and Thomas, despite the obvious rust from his absence, was ready to provide it. Thomas logged nearly 35 minutes while scoring a game-high 26 points. That included playing a team-high 19 minutes, 48 seconds in the second half, while helping the Celtics rally from a double-digit deficit for a much-needed 96-88 triumph over the Hornets at TD Garden.

Source: Chris Forsberg of ESPN

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Report: LeBron James’ Camp Pessimistic of Paul George Leaving Thunder

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Remember when [Paul] George was so hell-bent on joining the Lakers? Well, that was before he found his way out of Indiana and into an Oklahoma City situation that might suit him well after all.

Even with the Thunder coming just two losses away from missing the playoffs, and then falling to Utah in six games during their first-round matchup, there is all sorts of optimism in Oklahoma City that George will re-sign. Conversely, there’s pessimism in [LeBron] James’ camp that George would leave Oklahoma City. George has raved about the Thunder since the beginning, making it clear to USA TODAY Sports in September that the organization had earned his confidence from the start.

It’s not hard to understand what might compel George to stay. The chemistry with Russell Westbrook is bound to improve if they have a second year together, and it doesn’t hurt that their off-court relationship continues to appear very strong. Ditto for George’s dynamic with coach Billy Donovan.

Source: Sam Amick of USA Today

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Report: Spurs Want to Keep Kawhi Leonard or Trade to East

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Fellow West teams have been told, in essence, to get lost – none moreso than the Lakers, according to ESPN. As it stands, the Spurs are determined to either fix the situation or trade [Kawhi] Leonard to an Eastern Conference team. For teams other than the Lakers, the threat of losing Leonard in free agency next summer makes the prospect of offering meaningful assets a complicated, calculated risk.

Not to mention the fact that the Spurs aren’t showing much urgency to make a move just yet.

Coach Gregg Popovich met with Leonard in San Diego on Tuesday in an attempt to mend fences, and longtime general manager R.C. Buford made it clear on Thursday that San Antonio is still trying to make this relationship work.

Source: Sam Amick of USA Today

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Report: No Rift Between Chris Paul and Rockets

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As for the recent report from Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard that there are rising tensions between the two sides because [Chris] Paul wants the full max and isn’t sure if he’ll get it, two people with knowledge of the situation refuted the idea there is any friction between the sides.

Source: Sam Amick of USA Today

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