x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Finley joins Celtics as he turns 37

The veteran Michael Finley has signed with the Boston Celtics, hoping to turn around his fortunes with the deal on the eve of his 37th birthday.

The veteran Michael Finley has signed with the Boston Celtics, hoping to turn around his fortunes with the deal on the eve of his 37th birthday. Finley, whose NBA career dates back to 1995 and who was named to the All-Star team in 2000 and 2001, was released by the San Antonio Spurs earlier this week after being relegated from the main playing rotation to a reserve role. He had asked for his release so that he might be able to join another club. Finley, who played in only 25 games this season for the Spurs because of an early season ankle sprain, will earn a pro-rated portion of US$1.1million (Dh4m), the minimum annual NBA contract for a veteran.

The 6ft 7in shooting guard-small forward won an NBA championship in 2007 with the Spurs and set a franchise-record for three-point field play-off goals in the first round of the post-season. The Celtics coach, Doc Rivers, said Finley, who signed on Friday, would play today against Washington. "We don't know where we're going to fit him in, but adding a veteran can never hurt," Rivers said. The Celtics, 38-21, lead Toronto by seven games in the Atlantic division and have the fourth-best overall record in the Eastern Conference.

On court on Friday the Celtics handed the Philadelphia 76ers a fifth successive loss, beating them 96-86. Rajon Rondo had 16 points and 11 assists and Kevin Garnett got 22 points for the Celtics. It was a third victory in succession for Boston, and Garnett said: "We're a veteran team, we know how to play. "It's just [about] when we want to put our heads together, go out and execute and do the things we have worked on. I think the second half of the season is when you really get into what you do."

* With agencies