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Celtics’ Robert Williams, Marcus Smart both leave game with injuries Watch Shai Gilgeous-Alexander drain game-winner, lift Thunder past Nuggets WNBA trade/free agency updates: Breanna Stewart free agency could hinge on charter flights Hachimura on trade rumors: “I just want to be somewhere that wants me” Increasingly hot name in trade buzz: Jazz’s Malik Beasley

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The Celtics were already without Jason Tatum Saturday night in Toronto with left wrist pain when two other players started… Marcus Smart and Robert Williams left the game with injuries.

Smart fell with a sprained ankle shortly before halftime and did not return for the second half.

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Robert Williams also missed the second half after injuring his surgically repaired knee in a collision with Jaylen Brown. Williams played about 10 more minutes after the collision before the decision was made to put him on half.

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After the game coach Joe Mazzulla received a positive update on his missing beginnings.

“Rob overextended his knee. Nothing serious, just a precaution. He felt good walking off the court. Smart, obviously you saw, sprained his ankle. The x-ray was negative, the only question is how he copes with this day in and day out.

The Celtics will play next Monday night in Orlando. Smart is no doubt out of action, and a sprained ankle usually means at least a couple of weeks in street clothes, depending on the severity of the sprain (the Celtics haven’t announced this yet). It would also be unexpected to see Williams in this game, but his injury doesn’t seem too bad.

Boston had a 106-104 win over the Raptors, trailing 27 to Brown, as well as a big contribution on the bench from Grant Williams (25 points) and Malcolm Brogdon (23).

DENVER (AP) – Shay Gilgeus-Alexander earned a game-tying 8-foot jumper with 9.2 seconds left to finish with 34 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder snapped Denver’s league-leading nine-win streak to beat the Nuggets 101–99 on Sunday night .

After Denver Zeke Nnaji made two free throws to tie the score at 99 with 30 seconds left, Gilgeous-Alexander got the ball after a timeout and hit a mid-range jumper to give the Thunder the lead.

Nuggets Jamal Murray missed a fading 14-foot throw in the closing seconds.

“He has some balance in those situations,” Thunder head coach Mark Danyo said of Gilgeus-Alexander. “The game is slowing down for him. He is very confident and always at his own pace, even in the most stressful situations.”

The Oklahoma City win ended the Nuggets’ 16-game home win streak, the longest streak in 10 years.

Josh Giddy the Thunder had 18 points and nine rebounds to earn their seventh win in nine games.

Denver center Nikola Jokic missed the second game in a row with a strain in his left hamstring. The two-time reigning NBA MVP has a triple-double in five of his last six games. Nuggets interim head coach David Adelman said he expects Jokic to return “very soon.”

“I think it’s much easier with us to switch from one to five,” Adelman said. “When Nikola is on the floor, it’s almost impossible to do and it’s almost impossible to zone us. They did those two things, and they’re smart things.”

Forward Michael Porter Jr. also missed the game for “personal reasons”, leaving Denver without two of the top four scorers. Porter’s younger brother, Coban, a sophomore security guard at the University of Denver, was arrested Sunday on suspicion of car homicide and reckless driving after he was involved in a fatal crash.

Without Jokic and Porter, Murray took on most of the offensive workload, finishing with a team-high 26 points and nine assists, recording his first career triple-double in two days.

“They doubled me,” Murray said. “We kind of expected this. From what we went through on the rounds, we knew what they were most likely to do. We have prepared for this. We got what we wanted. We didn’t end the way you’re used to seeing us end. It’s only on us. It hurts knowing we did our best and we didn’t get over the hump.”

Denver made 51.5% of free throws to concede precious points in a narrow loss. Oklahoma City meanwhile hit 87.5% from the line and Gilgeus-Alexander hit 7 of 8.

Gilgeous-Alexander, who averaged 30.6 points, shot 13 of 21 from the field.

“It’s nice,” said Gilgeus-Alexander. “We have done a great job, a lot of guys have been in the team for a while and we try to enjoy the victories as much as possible and not take them for granted. When we see the guys playing the game at the end of the game, the funniest ones are the closest, the emotions are a little higher and it feels a little better.”

In a WNBA offseason that could turn the table next season, nothing looms more than the free reign of former MVP and two-time champion Brianna Stewart.

And its solution may depend on charter flights.

WNBA players must fly commercial airlines during the regular season as required by the WNBA CBA. Some owners want to pay for charter flights, but since not every team would agree, it’s forbidden as the league believes it would create an unfair advantage (when New York Liberty owner Joe Tsai did it anyway in the second half of the 2021 season, he was struck with a $500,000 fine). It has become a hot topic in the WNBA, where players, coaches and others insist that they be treated the way most high-level professional sports are treated.

There are contenders to get Stewart as a free agent, she will face the Seattle Storm (with whom she played her entire career), New York Liberty, Minnesota Lynx and Washington Mystics. reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Several other major trades and moves have taken place during the WNBA off-season, here are a few highlights:

• The New York Liberties look like the biggest winners of a big three-man team winning like this:

Connecticut Sun receives: Tyasha Harris, Rebecca Allen, 6th Pick 2023
Dallas Wings get: Crystal Dangerfield, Natasha Howard
New York Liberty receives: Jonquel Jones, Kayla Thornton

Jones is the 2021 WNBA MVP and imagining her pick and then rolling towards the rim for Sabrina Ionescu could set up one of the most unstoppable games in the league. In addition, the Liberty have cleared the cap and they can now offer free agent Stewart a maximum contract, potentially creating a super team that will become an instant title favorite.

It was also a good deal for Dallas, Howard fits them perfectly. It’s a little harder to like Connecticut, a team that was Jones’ rival, and now while they may be more versatile, they don’t feel that level of threat. The money the Sun saves they can use to keep unrestricted free agent Brionna Jones (they chose Jones, which is essentially a franchise tag).

• The Dallas Wings traded Allisha Gray to Atlanta for two…



Source: nba.nbcsports.com

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