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Danny Ainge: Player We Want Will be Available at No. 3

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Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Monday that he believes the player the team would have selected with the No. 1 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft will be there when the team picks at No. 3.

“I think even before the lottery, we’ve been evaluating these kids for a couple years, and we felt like it was very close with the top handful of players and we still feel that way,” Ainge said in a conference call Monday after the Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers formally announced their swap. “We think there’s a really good chance the player we’ll take at [No.] 3 is the same player we would have taken at [No.] 1. So this was a great opportunity to acquire an impactful asset.”

Source: ESPN

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Sources: Milwaukee Bucks Fire Coach Jason Kidd

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The Milwaukee Bucks have fired coach Jason Kidd, sources ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN

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Clint Capela: ‘We are better’ than Golden State

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Superstar guard James Harden called the Houston Rockets’ 116-108 win over the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night important “for our swag,” which was soaring after the Rockets claimed the regular-season series over the defending NBA champions.

“We’re confident because we know if we’re doing what we’re supposed to do, we’re going to beat them,” Rockets center Clint Capela told ESPN. “We’ve got to keep playing. We know that they’re going to come back if we have the lead, and we’ve just got to keep that mindset. Sometimes I feel like, in the past, we were all dragging down after mistakes. But today, we were ready. I think that if we’re doing what we’re supposed to do on defense — all the switches, the weak side — and keep playing our offense by keeping that mentality all game long, we have the weapons to beat them.

“We are better than them.”

Houston won two of three meetings with Golden State this season. The Rockets rallied from a 17-point deficit for a road win in the season opener despite Chris Paul playing on a bruised knee that sidelined him for the next month. Golden State won in Houston on Jan. 4 in a game in which Warriors star Kevin Durant and MVP front-runner Harden sat out because of injuries. The Rockets withstood a Warriors rally from a 17-point deficit, with the lead changing six times in the fourth quarter, to claim a tiebreaker that Houston hopes to make relevant.

Source: Tim MacMahon of ESPN

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Report: Spurs Demote Tony Parker to Bench, to Start Dejounte Murray

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San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker met with Gregg Popovich before Sunday’s 94-86 loss against the Indiana Pacers, and the coach told him he “thought it was time” to go with someone else in the starting lineup.

So, with second-year man Dejounte Murray hitting the court with the starters at point guard, Parker came off the bench for the 21st time of his 17-year career (postseason included), and for the first time since the 2010 playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks.

“I was like, ‘Oh, no problem,'” an upbeat Parker said of his reaction to Popovich’s decision. “Just like Manu [Ginobili], just like Pau [Gasol], that day’s going to come. And if Pop sees something that is good for the team, I’ll try to do my best. I support Pop’s decision, and I’ll try to help [Dejounte Murray] out as best I can, and try to be the best I can in that second unit with Manu [Ginobili] and Patty [Mills].”

After undergoing surgery to repair a torn quadriceps tendon last May, Parker spent seven months working through the rehabilitation process, and returned to the lineup Nov. 27 in a win over the Mavericks. Throughout Parker’s return, the Spurs have worked to manage the veteran’s minutes. But Parker admitted to “hitting a wall” recently, saying “I’m just more focused on my leg because I know I [still] have another two months before I feel 100 percent.”

Source: Michael C. Wright of ESPN

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