Despite losing to the Hawks in the first round of the NBA playoffs, the Celtics feel that they’ve made progress as an organization this season, Kyle Hightower of The Associated Press relays. “You go from … under .500 and barely making the playoffs and kind of eking in at the end by winning six straight, to being in the mix for being a top-four seed in the East. And so yes, there’s progress,” coach Brad Stevens said. Stevens also added that expectations for the team will be raised for next season after reaching the playoffs the past two springs, Hightower notes. “People have told me all along there’s two really tough tasks, right? One is getting to be a very good, competitive team at a top 10-15 level on offense and defense and give yourself a chance to be in the discussion we’re in now. And that’s been a path in the last three years to get there,” Stevens said.
Here’s more from around the league:
- The Magic should resist sentimentality and decline to pursue center Dwight Howard this summer if the big man opts out of his deal, as he is expected to do, opines Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. While Orlando’s fans may push for the team to ink Howard in their desperation for the Magic to land a star player, the center’s lack of post game and diminishing physical skills should give the team pause when considering a reunion with the veteran, Robbins adds.
- The Rockets appear open to retaining Howard, despite chemistry between him and James Harden that’s “cordially bad,” as Calvin Watkins of ESPN.com relays (via Twitter). “I’d say we need a great player to go with James [Harden] and Dwight Howard is a great player so it’s for sure an option we’re looking at,” Houston GM Daryl Morey told reporters. Howard would reportedly prefer to remain with the Rockets, but at least four other teams seem to be more likely options.
- Warriors superstar Stephen Curry told reporters that he is “feeling better” since spraining his MCL, and he’s trying to return to action before the team’s target date of May 9th, writes Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN.com. “Feeling better but just got a ways to go,” Curry said. “I always have an optimistic view, no matter what it is. I hope to get back sooner. I haven’t talked to the doctors, athletic training staff, all the experts. That two-week timeline was, as [GM] Bob [Myers] says, an educated guess.”