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Eastern Conference

Bucks’ Thon Maker Downplays Trade Rumors



Milwaukee Bucks forward Thon Maker is downplaying trade rumors just days after reports circulated saying he requested a trade from the team, citing his unhappiness with his role.

Maker participated in a Q&A style interview with JSOnline’s Matt Velasquez and addressed the rumors while stating his love for the Bucks organization.

“Q: How far in advance did you know that story was going to come out? Did you know it was going to come out?

A: No, no. I’ve been focused on the game, like every single game all year just like I always do. I’m a winner. I focus on the games and that’s all that matters to me. I’ve never just said things recklessly without thinking about it or talking to people about it. I always go back to my people and talk to them about it. I just focus on the game; that’s all I’ve done so far.

Q: For you, does it end up distracting you? Obviously, you’re going to focus on the game, but when something like that comes out I would assume there would be some level of distraction to it.

A: Me, I’m just focusing on the games, man. I love this game so much, I can’t let anything distract me. Like if something happens within a family or something happens to a friend or something like that, I always find a way to focus back on the game. I love Milwaukee. I really want you guys to get this down. I love Milwaukee, I love the fans, the city – it works hard, I work hard and I’ve always done that since the first day I decided to play basketball.”

Milwaukee may not be interested in dealing Maker, but needs to give him more minutes if they believe in his potential, and want to keep him happy.

Boston Celtics

Celtics’ Kyrie Irving Credits Long Plane Ride for Big Win Over Warriors



The Boston Celtics roller coaster season moved in the right direction as they had a big, blow-out victory over the Golden State Warriors in Oakland on Tuesday night.

Celtics guard Kyrie Irving credits a long plane ride, in which he had a lengthy talk with Celtics’ head coach Brad Stevens, for helping the team snap out of their recent funk, and the good feeling has spread throughout the team.

“I understand it’s one game,” Hayward said, according to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “You are going to have ups and downs in the season. I’ll try to build off the things I did correctly tonight, and the next time you have a bad game, try to learn from that one.”

Hayward’s recent play has provided a spark for the team.

“It makes our team even better when he’s the confident Gordon and playing like the Gordon we know,” Celtics guard Marcus Smart said.

“We know it’s been tough on him. That’s one thing about him, you have to give it to him: That man keeps working and working. Even though things aren’t going for him, he continues to work, he doesn’t quit, and that’s why we’re so, so optimistic about getting the old Gordon back, because we see how hard he works.”

“That long plane ride helped us out,” Celtics guard Kyrie Irving said. “I’ll just say that. That long plane ride helped us out.

“We needed it. It was just we were going to get to a point where we were just going to get tired of fighting each other, fighting the outside world. And it doesn’t even really matter. So, we just wanted to come out here and just play basketball. This is our sanctuary. And we have to do everything to protect it. We can’t let anybody infiltrate it.”

Irving opened up about the conversations he had with both Stevens and president of basketball operations Danny Ainge.

“Well, I mean, it gets a little overwhelming, like I said, but this is just the business I’m in,” Irving said. “The business part of it is what makes it terrible for me, honestly, dealing with all this s—. I’m going to be honest with you guys. The basketball part, I have to keep that fun. That’s where I’m great, that’s where I love to play and be around my teammates, that’s what makes me happy.

“The business part of it is going to be the business. Personal side of being out here with my teammates is the only thing that should matter. It wasn’t really a change of perspective; it was letting the guard down completely and just not thinking I’m at odds with everybody. It’s not a competition in this locker room; it’s a competition out there. That’s the most important thing.”

“Talking with Brad was very helpful, talking with Danny was very helpful, and just expressing myself rather than keeping it all in,” Irving continued. “That made it very easy to just go out and just have fun playing basketball.”

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Eastern Conference

Sixers’ Brett Brown Raves About Tobias Harris, J.J. Redick



Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown has enjoyed having forward Tobias Harris on his team, calling the veteran a “quiet assassin” on the court.

“He just plays with grace,” Brown said, according to Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times. “He’s like a quiet assassin. I just like coaching him.”

Brown also praised the recent resurgence of guard J.J. Redick, who has seem to have found his groove recently.

“Great shooters shoot. It’s 82 games,” Brown said, according to

“He had a few games where he was not himself. Some of that you give credit, to the Golden State Warriors as an example. Other bits, it’s just part of the flow of an 82-game, six-month season. He will respond. He’s that competitive, and that good.”

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Detroit Pistons

Pistons’ Blake Griffin, Reggie Jackson Clear the Air



Detroit Pistons superstar forward Blake Griffin wasn’t too pleased with guard Reggie Jackson when he interrupted Griffin’s postgame interview in a moment that went viral on social media recently.

According to the Detroit News’ Rob Beard, Griffin and Jackson spoke to clear the air about the incident and are now on the same page again.

“I was pissed in general and he knew that,” Griffin said. “Since I’ve been here, I’ve tried to hold everybody probably to a higher standard than needs to be, because I know what it takes to build that foundation of where we want to go. That’s all that is.

“I hold myself to that same standard — probably higher.”

The Pistons are currently locked in on a playoff spot, their first since 2016.

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