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The Largest Selection of Wholesale Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Products in Boston

When it comes to trying new, exciting cuisine, few foods hit the spot like a deliciously fresh Mediterranean meal. However, we know that it can be very difficult to find authentic Mediterranean grocery wholesalers in Boston, MA. Having lived in metro Atlanta for years, we realized that our customers needed an easy way to find quality wholesale Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food in bulk. That is why we created Nazareth Grocery Mediterranean Market - to give everyone a chance to enjoy tasty, healthy food, desserts, and authentic Mediterranean gifts at wholesale prices.

Founded in 2009, Nazareth Grocery has become one of Boston's leading international wholesale grocery stores. We are very proud to serve our customers and do everything in our power to give them the largest selection of high-quality wholesale goods available.

If you're looking for the freshest, most delicious Middle Eastern wholesale products and ingredients, you will find them here at the best prices in the state. We encourage you to swing by our store in Marietta to see our selection for yourself. We think that you will be impressed!

The Nazareth Difference

At Nazareth Grocery Mediterranean Market, our mission is simple: bring you and your family the largest selection of wholesale Mediterranean products in Boston. When coupled with our helpful, friendly staff and authentic Middle Eastern atmosphere, it's easy to see why we are the top Middle Eastern grocery wholesaler in Boston, MA. We're proud to carry just about every kind of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern product that you can think of, from prepared meals and hookahs to fine seasonings and sweets. We're here for our customers and want each one of them to have a unique, one-of-a-kind experience when they shop with us.

Our loyal customers love our selection of the following wholesale foods and gifts:

  • Fresh Breads
  • OlivesOlives
  • HummusHummus
  • CheesesCheeses
  • SaucesSauces
  • Savory-FoodsSavory Foods
  • DessertsDesserts
  • DrinksDrinks
  • HookahsHookahs
  • TobaccoTobacco
  • SaucesGifts
  • Much More!Much More!

Our Service Areas

Most Popular Wholesale Mediterranean Foods

There is so much more to Mediterranean food than pizza and pasta. The perfect climate combined with delicious foods and amazing wine makes the Mediterranean incredibly irresistible. That's why our customers absolutely love to buy this kind of cuisine in bulk. Every country in this region has its own set of specialties and delicacies, each with its own flavors and styles of preparation.

Mediterranean countries include:

  • France
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Turkey
  • Syria
  • Egypt
  • Israel
  • Libya
  • Morocco
  • Tunisia
  • Spain
Mediterranean Grocery Boston, MA

So, when it comes to the most popular wholesale Mediterranean products in Boston,
what are we talking about?

 Mediterranean Supermarkets Boston, MA

Feta Cheese

Feta cheese is a classic Mediterranean dairy product that is often enjoyed on its own, in Greek salads, on bread, or mixed with zucchini. Depending on where the feta is sourced and produced, the cheese can be made from cow, sheep, or goat milk, or even a combination of the three. Regardless of the animal it comes from, this delicious cheese is a crowd favorite.

 Mediterranean Grocery Store Boston, MA

Baba Ganoush

This Levantine dish is one of the most well-known Mediterranean dishes to eat in the United States. It typically comes in the form of a dip, served with pita or another kind of dipping bread. Commonly served before dinner as an appetizer of sorts, it usually features tahini, eggplant, garlic, spices, and sometimes yogurt. This tasty cuisine works great as a spread on a sandwich, or you can even eat it with a spoon, all on its own.

 Middle Eastern Grocery Boston, MA

Baklava

If you have never tried authentic baklava before, get ready to have your mind blown. This dessert is a traditional Mediterranean food that will have your taste buds craving more and more. Once you open a box of baklava from our Mediterranean grocery wholesaler in Boston, MA, you won't want to stop eating! Baklava is made with layers of thin filo dough, which is layered together, filled with chopped nuts (think pistachios), and sealed with honey or syrup. Baklava is so good that its origins are debated, leaving many wondering which country invented the dessert. Everyone from the Turks to the Greeks and even Middle Easterners hold unique takes on baklava. Try each one to discover your favorite!

Most Popular Wholesale Middle Eastern Foods

Fresh, healthy, aromatic, rich: it's no wonder that the popularity of Middle Eastern cuisine and products has skyrocketed in the United States. This genre of cuisine features a large variety of foods, from Halvah to Labneh. If there were one common theme throughout all Middle Eastern food, it would be the bright, vibrant herbs and spices that are used. These flavorings help create rich, complex flavors that foodies fawn over. Typically, Middle Eastern food is piled high for all to eat, with enough food for an entire republic to put down.

 Mediterranean Food Stores Boston, MA

Tabbouleh

This refreshing, healthy dish is chock-full of greens, herbs, tomatoes, and bulgur (or cracked wheat), creating a memorable, bold flavor. This dish may be eaten on its own or paired with a shawarma sandwich or helping of falafel. It's best to buy your ingredients in bulk to make this dish because it tastes best freshly made with family around to enjoy. Just be sure to bring a toothpick to the tabbouleh party - you're almost certain to have some leafy greens stuck in your teeth after eating.

 Middle Eastern Market Boston, MA

Shawarma

We mentioned shawarma above, and for good reason - this dish is enjoyed by men and women around the world, and of course, right here in the U.S. Except for falafel, this might be the most popular Middle Eastern food item in history. Shawarma is kind of like a Greek gyro, with slow-roasted meat stuffed in laffa with veggies and sauce. The blend of spices and the smoky meat mix together to create a tangy, meaty flavor that you will want to keep eating for hours. For western-style shawarma, try using beef or chicken. For a more traditional meal, try using lamb from our Middle Eastern grocery distributor in Boston, MA.

 Greek Grocery Store Boston, MA

Hummus

Traditionally used as a dip meant for fresh pita, hummus is a combo of chickpeas, garlic, and tahini, blended together until silky, smooth, and creamy. You can find hummus in just about any appetizer section of a Middle Eastern restaurant menu. That's because it's considered a staple of Middle Eastern food that can be enjoyed by itself, as a spread, or with fresh-baked pita bread. Hummus is also very healthy, making it a no-brainer purchase from our grocery store.

Benefits of Eating a Mediterranean Diet

If there's one diet that is most well-known for its health benefits, it has got to be the Mediterranean diet. In 2019, U.S. News & World Report listed the Mediterranean diet as No. 1 on its best over diet list. This incredible diet has been cited to help with weight loss, brain health, heart health, diabetes prevention, and cancer prevention.

Whether you already love Mediterranean food or you're looking to make some positive changes in your life, this "diet" is for you. Eating cuisine like Greek food, Persian food, Turkish food, and Italian food is healthy and tastes great. Even better than that? At Nazareth Wholesale Grocery, we have many staples of the Mediterranean diet for sale in bulk so that you can stock up on your favorites at the best prices around.

So, what exactly is the Mediterranean diet?

It is a way of eating that incorporates traditional Greek, Italian, and other Mediterranean cultures' foods. These foods are often plant-based and make up the foundation of the diet, along with olive oil. Fish, seafood, dairy, and poultry are also included in moderation. Red meat and sweets are only eaten in moderation, not in abundance. Mediterranean food includes many forms of nuts, fruits, vegetables, fish, seeds, and more. Of course, you can find at them all at our wholesale Mediterranean grocery store!

Here are just a few of the many benefits of eating a healthy Mediterranean diet:

Reduced Risk of Heart Disease

Reduced Risk
of Heart Disease

Many studies have been conducted on this diet, many of which report that Mediterranean food is excellent for your heart. Some of the most promising evidence comes from a randomized clinical trial published in 2013. For about five years, researchers followed 7,000 men and women around the country of Spain. These people had type 2 diabetes or were at a high risk for cardiovascular disease. Participants in the study who ate an unrestricted Mediterranean diet with nuts and extra-virgin olive oil were shown to have a 30% lower risk of heart events.

Reduced Risk of Stroke for Women

Reduced Risk
of Stroke for Women

In addition to the heart-healthy benefits of a Mediterranean diet, studies have shown that eating healthy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods can reduce the chances of stroke in women. The study was conducted in the U.K., which included women between the ages of 40 and 77. Women who stuck to the Mediterranean diet showed a lower risk of having a stroke - especially women who were at high risk of having one.

Benefits of Eating a Mediterranean Diet

First and foremost, purchase your Mediterranean and Middle Eastern wholesale foods from Nazareth Grocery - we're always updating our inventory! Getting started on this healthy, delicious diet is easy.

Try these tips:

Try these tips

1.

Instead of unhealthy sweets like candy and ice cream, try eating fresh fruit instead. It's refreshing, tasty, and often packed with great vitamins and nutrients.

2.

Try eating fish twice a week, in lieu of red meat. Fish is much healthier and doesn't have the unfortunate side effects of red meat, like inflammation.

3.

Try planning out your meals using beans, whole grains, and veggies. Don't start with meats and sweets.

4.

They're tasty, but try to avoid processed foods completely.

5.

Instead of using butter to flavor your food, use extra virgin olive oil instead. Olive oil contains healthy fats and tastes great too.

6.

Try to get more exercise and get out of the house. The Mediterranean lifestyle is an active one, best enjoyed in the beautiful sunshine when possible.

Why Buy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Products Wholesale?

Buying wholesale and retail are quite different. When you buy products from a wholesaler, you're essentially buying from the middleman between a retail establishment and the manufacturer. Wholesale purchases are almost always made in bulk. Because of that, buyers pay a discounted price. That's great for normal buyers and great for business owners, who can sell those products to profit. This higher price is called the retail price, and it is what traditional customers pay when they enter a retail store.

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 Middle Eastern Store Boston, MA

Latest News in Boston, MA

Casas exits Red Sox win with rib discomfort, sent for tests

ReactionsLike8Wow1Interesting1PITTSBURGH -- Boston Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas left Saturday's ...

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PITTSBURGH -- Boston Red Sox first baseman Triston Casas left Saturday's 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates with left rib discomfort.

In his postgame media availability, Red Sox manager Alex Cora expressed concern about the injury, adding that Casas, 24, felt something in the rib area during his first at-bat. He was undergoing tests, Cora said after the Red Sox defeated the Pirates for the second time in as many days.

"He's not doing OK," Cora added.

Third baseman Bobby Dalbec replaced Casas at first base in the bottom of the first inning, and Pablo Reyes took over for Dalbec at third for the short-handed Red Sox.

Boston is already managing several injuries to everyday players. Third baseman Rafael Devers (knee) and outfielder Tyler O'Neill (concussion) did not play in the win but could return Tuesday against the Cleveland Guardians, Cora said before Saturday's game.

Casas, Boston's cleanup hitter, has six home runs and 10 RBIs this season. In his first full season last year, he finished with 24 and 65, playing in 131 games for the Red Sox.

Once the lineup and positions were settled, Kutter Crawford allowed one run in six strong innings as the Red Sox handed the Pirates their fifth straight loss. Crawford (1-0) struck out six and walked three. The 28-year-old right-hander gave up a season-high seven hits after not allowing more than three hits in any of his previous four starts.

Kenley Jansen picked up his fifth save, striking out the side in the ninth, including Michael A. Taylor for the second out on an automatic third strike for not being set. Pirates manager Derek Shelton was tossed after arguing the strike call on Taylor.

Pittsburgh lost for the eighth time in 10 games after opening the season 11-5. Pirates ace Mitch Keller (2-2) look the loss after being tagged for four runs and allowed five hits and four walks in six innings.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

NBA Playoffs: What to expect in Celtics-Heat series

After one of the best regular seasons in NBA history, the Boston Celtics are the clear favorite to reach the NBA Finals out of the Eastern Conference. Their biggest threats – Milwaukee, New York and Philadelphia – are on the other side of the bracket and either dealing with injuries or have a star trying to work their way back from a long absence.The Celtics’ first-round opponent has also been shorthanded. The Miami Heat were without Jimmy Butler and Terry Rozier on Friday, and while they managed to ...

After one of the best regular seasons in NBA history, the Boston Celtics are the clear favorite to reach the NBA Finals out of the Eastern Conference. Their biggest threats – Milwaukee, New York and Philadelphia – are on the other side of the bracket and either dealing with injuries or have a star trying to work their way back from a long absence.

The Celtics’ first-round opponent has also been shorthanded. The Miami Heat were without Jimmy Butler and Terry Rozier on Friday, and while they managed to beat the Chicago Bulls by 21 points to earn the No. 8 seed, they aren’t expected to have Butler for this series.

Boston swept the three regular-season meetings, with its 143 points on just 96 possessions (149 per 100) on Jan. 25 being the most efficient offensive performance the Heat have allowed in the 28 seasons for which we have play-by-play data.

Series schedule

Here’s how to watch the Celtics vs. Heat series:

All times Eastern Standard Time

* = If necessary

Top storyline

TCB. These teams have a history, with this being their fourth playoff meeting in the last five years. And we’ve learned that we should never dismiss the Heat, who beat the top two seeds in the East (including Boston) last year on their way to the Finals. If any Eastern Conference opponent can put some doubt in the Celtics’ heads, it’s this one.

But primarily, this series is about the Celtics’ ability to take care of business. They ranked in the top two on both ends of the floor and had the fifth-best point differential in NBA history. They’re healthy, and if they play anything close to their best basketball, this should be a short series. They need to have their foot on the gas at the start of Game 1 and keep it there throughout until the job is done.

Keep your eyes on

Zone defense. For the second straight season, the Heat led the league in the percentage of defensive possessions (13.4%) on which they played zone, according to Synergy tracking. The Celtics’ offense ranked seventh with 1.12 points per possession against zone this season, though they didn’t see much of the Miami zone (16 total possessions) over the three regular-season meetings.

They saw a good amount of it in last year’s conference finals, scoring an anemic 85 points on 112 zone possessions (0.76 per) over the seven games. They can expect to see more in this series, and the zone can stifle the Celtics’ drive-and-kick game, keep them out of the paint, and put them into late-clock situations.

Of course, the Celtics didn’t have Kristaps Porzingis last year, and there’s nobody in the league with a better ability to shoot over the top of a zone than the 7-foot-2 big man looking to win a playoff series for the first time in his career.

1 more thing to watch for each team

For Boston: Bench play. We knew the Celtics had the best top six in the league. We didn’t know they would be at their best with Sam Hauser and Payton Pritchard on the floor. Their aggregate bench NetRtg (point differential per 100 possessions) with reserves on the floor was plus-6.2, the best mark for any team in the 28 seasons for which we have play-by-play data.

Hauser and Pritchard will certainly be targeted by opponents in the playoffs. If they can hold up defensively, they Celtics can continue to dominate their minutes on the floor and extend leads when their best players are resting.

For Miami: Secondary creation. The Heat probably won’t have Butler, but they will have Tyler Herro, who missed (almost all of) last year’s playoffs and led the way with 24 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in Miami’s Play-In victory over Chicago on Friday.

But they’ll need somebody else to create offense off the dribble in order to make this series interesting. That could be Rozier, who’s missed the last six games with neck spasms. It could be Caleb Martin, who was almost the MVP of the conference finals last year, averaging 19.3 points on 60% shooting over the seven games. It could be rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr., who’s averaged 18.5 points (on 50% shooting) and 5.5 assists over the last four. And they’ll probably need great series from at least two of those three guys.

1 key number to know

-8.3% – Jrue Holiday had a usage rate of just 16.1% this season, the lowest mark of his career and down from 24.4% in 2022-23. That (-8.3%) was the biggest drop, by a wide margin, among 209 players that played at least 1,000 minutes in each of the last two seasons. The two-time All-Star has embraced a smaller role in a stacked starting lineup with a new team, and it’s worked for both him and the Celtics.

Holiday had his most efficient scoring season of his 15-year career, registering a true shooting percentage of 59.7%. The Celtics had the most efficient offense in NBA history, scoring 122.2 points per 100 possessions. And Holiday wasn’t the only guy sacrificing shots, with both Jaylen Brown (from 30.7% to 28.3%) and Jayson Tatum (from 31.9% to 29.6%) also seeing not-insignificant drops in usage rate.

The Celtics ranked second offensively last season and had the second most improved offense this season. They’re more dangerous in part because they’re more balanced.

The pick

Celtics in four. The Heat have proven to be a resilient group, and the Celtics struggled against the zone in last year’s conference finals. And Boston has some recent postseason demons beyond that.

But the Celtics are simply the much better team, especially with Butler unlikely to play. While Miami was able to stifle the Bulls’ 19th-ranked offense to get here, it now faces a much tougher challenge. The Celtics are a machine and they shouldn’t have much trouble reaching the conference semifinals for the seventh time in the last eight years.

Takeaways and Surprises From the ‘New York Times’ 25 Best Restaurants in Boston List

The New York Times has been busy dropping city-specific restaurant lists over the past six months or so. There’s the mega list of top-100 restaurants in New York City that the Times’ restaurant critic Pete Wells is in charge of, and then smaller top-25 lists have been published in Seattle, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans, and San Francisco. This week, it was Boston’s turn for the treatment.On Monday, April 15, the newspaper published its guide to “...

The New York Times has been busy dropping city-specific restaurant lists over the past six months or so. There’s the mega list of top-100 restaurants in New York City that the Times’ restaurant critic Pete Wells is in charge of, and then smaller top-25 lists have been published in Seattle, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans, and San Francisco. This week, it was Boston’s turn for the treatment.

On Monday, April 15, the newspaper published its guide to “The 25 Best Restaurants in Boston Right Now” highlighting 25 restaurants in and around the city. It’s a big-deal spotlight for our city’s dining scene, which historically has been underrepresented when it comes to national media attention.

The process for putting together the list “involved a lot of scouting and a lot of dining out,” Jordan Cohen, a spokesperson for the Times, said in an email. “For all of these lists, Boston included, we eat in all of the restaurants we feature, but also in many that don’t end up making the lists, as part of our research diligence. We also pay for all of our meals and give no advance notice that we’re visiting.”

The effort was led by Kevin Pang, a former Chicago Tribune restaurant critic and food writer who is based in Chicago but, as the former editorial director at America’s Test Kitchen, traveled frequently to Boston for work, according to Cohen. San Francisco-based editor Brian Gallagher and New York City-based writer Priya Krishna also contributed entries for three restaurants that they’ve previously scouted for the Times’s annual list of the best restaurants in America. In 2022, Gallagher included North End seafood stalwart Neptune Oyster, while Krishna included Dorchester’s Comfort Kitchen on the 2023 version of the list, and Cambridge bakery and cafe Sofra on the 2021 list.

Another local spot that got a spot on the Times’ national best restaurant list in 2022, Cambridge wine bar Dear Annie, was absent on this Boston-specific list. However, Field & Vine, another restaurant run by Dear Annie co-owners Andrew Brady and Sara Markey, was included.

The list is heavy on Italian and seafood restaurants, with inclusions like Jamaica Plain gem Tonino and Quincy mainstay Ming Seafood Restaurant. However, a few well-known names with popular Italian restaurants in Boston, including Karen Akunowicz (Fox & the Knife, Bar Volpe) and Douglass Williams (Mida) were not included. No Italian restaurants in the North End made the list.

Many types of cuisines were not represented at all, including Mexican, Korean, Indian, and Portuguese restaurants. The Times’s city-specific restaurant lists have also included bars in other locations, but no Boston bars made the cut here. There were no pizzerias on the list, either.

In total, seven Boston neighborhoods were represented on the list. Dorchester was the neighborhood with the most restaurants included (Comfort Kitchen, Banh Mi Ba Le, and Via Cannuccia) while other restaurant-rich neighborhoods like Chinatown and Roxbury were not represented at all. Further afield, restaurants in Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline, and Quincy were included, while Newton received no entries on the list.

Here are some takeaways by the numbers:

New restaurants: 4. The restaurants on the list that have opened (roughly) within the past year are Via Cannuccia, Comfort Kitchen, Bar Vlaha, and the Eaves.

City representation: Boston proper has 10 entries on the list; Cambridge has 6; Somerville has 4; Brookline has 3; Quincy has 1; and Winthrop has 1.

Neighborhoods with the most restaurants on the list: Dorchester, Union Square, and Porter Square each have three entries on the list.

Seafood: 5. Row 34, Ming Seafood Restaurant, O Ya, Neptune Oyster, and Belle Isle Seafood

Italian: 3.5. Giulia, Via Cannuccia, Tonino. Pammy’s is Italian-ish, with a strong pasta program, but it also serves other dishes outside of the cuisine and is labeled as “New American” on the list.

Tasting menu restaurants: 3. O Ya (which only serves a 20-course omakase), Nightshade Noodle Bar, and Mooncusser

Vietnamese: 2.5. Banh Mi Ba Le, the Eaves, and Nightshade Noodle Bar, which takes its cues from both French and Vietnamese cooking.

Chinese: 2. Ming Seafood Restaurant and Sumiao Hunan Kitchen

Greek: 1.5. Bar Vlaha and Sofra, which dabbles in some Greek dishes

Thai: 1. Mahaniyom

Peruvian: 1. Celeste

Sushi: 1. O Ya

Sandwich spots: 1. Cutty’s

Pizzerias: 0.

Ramen spots: 0.

Restaurant groups with more than one place on the list: 1. Oleana leader Ana Sortun also co-owns Sarma and Sofra, both of which made the New York Times list.

Most expensive restaurant on the list: O Ya, where 20-course omakases start at $295 per person.

Least expensive restaurant on the list: Bagelsaurus, where the bagels start at $2.75 each.

2024 NBA Power Rankings: Can the Celtics and Thunder stay on top?

Entering the final week of the NBA regular season, the top of the FOX Sports NBA power rankings belonged to the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets, two teams who have spent the most time there over the last five months and remain the prohibitive favorites to finish the postseason there as well.Conversely, the thin air at the top once again proved ...

Entering the final week of the NBA regular season, the top of the FOX Sports NBA power rankings belonged to the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets, two teams who have spent the most time there over the last five months and remain the prohibitive favorites to finish the postseason there as well.

Conversely, the thin air at the top once again proved to be too much for the Oklahoma City Thunder. (The absence of their top two scorers, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Williams, didn't help.) Entering last week at No. 1, the Thunder promptly suffered their longest losing streak of the season, falling to the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers before eking out a win over the Charlotte Hornets. While the slide bolstered Gilgeous-Alexander's bid for this season's Most Valuable Player award — SGA missed all four games with a quad injury — it slid OKC to sixth in the rankings and raised questions about their playoff readiness.

Surging past them were the Celtics, Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers. Both the Mavs and Clippers, after up-and-down seasons, appear to be finding their stride at just the right time. The Mavs have won 14 of their last 16 games and the Clippers have won six of their last seven.

The other top team stumbling to the finish is the Milwaukee Bucks, who entered last week seventh in the power rankings but fell out of the top 10 by losing four straight. They now face the possibility of starting the postseason on the road with the Orlando Magic, New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers all within 1 1/2 games of overtaking them. It doesn't help that Milwaukee has a daunting final stretch, facing the Celtics, Thunder and Magic (twice).

At the other end of the spectrum, the Celtics reclaimed the top spot with a 4-0 week, assuring them of the best overall record in the league and home-court advantage against whoever they face in the postseason.

[Related: NBA Playoffs: One question for each first-round series]

Elsewhere, any remaining suspense over who will be playing beyond the 82-game schedule ended. Five consecutive losses doused the Houston Rockets' hopes of catching the Golden State Warriors for the 10th and final play-in tournament berth and the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks locked themselves into the ninth and 10th spots in the East. If there's one last wisp of intrigue, it's the status of Joel Embiid, whose return provided a major boost to the Philadelphia 76ers on the floor and in the rankings; how close can he get to playoff form after returning from a two-month absence?

Big picture, all that is left is jockeying for playoff seeding and first-round matchups — and one last power ranking to determine who is poised to out- or under-perform their place in the final standings.

And so the litmus test of how well regular-season superiority translates to postseason success begins. The Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder enter the playoffs 1-2 in the final FOX Sports NBA power rankings for the 2023-24 season, the Celtics by virtue of being the league's only 60-plus win team and the Thunder by virtue of finishing on a 5-0 run that earned them the top spot in the Western Conference, nudging the Denver Nuggets to No. 2 in the west and third in the power rankings.

There is reason to wonder if either team can live up to the standard they've set for themselves. Concerns about the Celtics were kindled anew with their losses in the final week to both the Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks, one of which they are sure to face again in the next few weeks. For the Thunder it is simply that they are now in uncharted territory, this being the first time in four years they've escaped the draft lottery.

The final week of the season bore witness to some sizable shifts in the power paradigm. The Phoenix Suns rode a three-game winning streak to escape the play-in tournament and snare the sixth seed, while the New Orleans Pelicans lost a pivotal season-ending battle with the Los Angeles Lakers and then Zion Williamson to injury in a play-in redux with the Lakers, dropping them into the eighth playoff spot and out of the top 10 in the power rankings. The Knicks, on the other hand, copied the Thunder with a 5-0 closing run that catapulted them into the East's No. 2 slot and, combined with the Dallas Mavericks' season-ending wobble and the Los Angeles Clippers' 0-3 season-ending thud, into the rankings' top five.

[Related: NBA Playoffs predictions: Nuggets send Lakers home again, Pacers upset Bucks]

NBA Power Rankings

Ric Bucher is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. He previously wrote for Bleacher Report, ESPN The Magazine and The Washington Post and has written two books, "Rebound," on NBA forward Brian Grant's battle with young onset Parkinson's, and "Yao: A Life In Two Worlds." He also has a weekly podcast, "On The Ball with Ric Bucher." Follow him on Twitter @RicBucher.

How this 31-year-old former carpenter overcame injuries to finally make his MLB debut for Boston Red Sox

CNN —Even after Cam Booser walked away from baseball in 2017 and became a carpenter following a series of injuries and setbacks, he would think about the game every single day.The 31-year-old relief pitcher has endured a “long journey” to make his ...

CNN —

Even after Cam Booser walked away from baseball in 2017 and became a carpenter following a series of injuries and setbacks, he would think about the game every single day.

The 31-year-old relief pitcher has endured a “long journey” to make his MLB debut, he told the league’s website on Friday after he was called up by the Boston Red Sox, becoming the franchise’s oldest player to make his Majors debut in the US since 1947.

A series of injuries had derailed the Booser’s career almost from the very start, beginning with a broken femur from playing football and a broken vertebra from lifting weights in high school. Then, in his freshman year at Oregon State, he underwent a Tommy John surgery, wiping out his college career as he pitched only 11 innings of Division 1 baseball, according to CNN affiliate WBZ.

The Minnesota Twins still signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2013 but disaster struck two years later when he was hit by a car and broke his back while recovering from surgery for a torn labrum.

Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports/Reuters

In 2015, he was suspended for 50 games for testing positive for marijuana, according to MLB.com, and after the 2017 season stepped back from baseball.

But after four years of working as a carpenter, Booser began coaching youth baseball, fell back in love with the game and started throwing again, realizing he could throw high 90s without feeling pain.

“I didn’t think about ever actually making a comeback until I started working with them,” Booser said, per the MLB. “It was just the more I was around the game, the more I couldn’t not be around it. It was like it just pulled me back in.”

That summer, the Chicago Dogs of the American Association signed him, and he soon caught the eye of other teams too, eventually getting the call up to the Red Sox.

So, when Booser took to the field on Friday for the Red Sox with his family in the stands, he took a moment to collect himself before heading to the mound where he pitched the ninth inning, tallying one strikeout while allowing one earned run in his team’s 8-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Afterwards, he sat alone on a bench overcome by emotion as his teammates walked past to pat him on the back.

“It’s by far the best moment of my career,” he told reporters. “Something I’ll always remember.”

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