Patriots

Celtics-Knicks review: What we saw . . .

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Celtics-Knicks review: What we saw . . .

BOSTON The Boston Celtics escaped with a 115-111 overtime win over the New York Knicks, a game in which the Celtics got so many big contributions from so many key players.

Paul Pierce had a game-high 34 points, including the 3-pointer to force overtime. Rajon Rondo had a tripled double of 18 points, 17 rebounds and 20 assists - numbers the NBA hasn't seen in more than a decade.

That doesn't even factor in the 18-point, 10-rebound game for Kevin Garnett, or the 18 points Boston got from Brandon Bass who left the game for a spell after injury his ankle.

"Everyone stepped up," Rondo said. "Ray (Allen) and Brandon (Bass), P (Pierce), we all made special efforts when it counted."

Rondo's right.

There were a number of factors that helped the Celtics extend their winning streak to four in a row.

Here's a review of some we focused on prior to tip-off.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR - Of course much of the attention going into today's game will be on Harvard's own Jeremy Lin who is scoring and passing at an incredibly high rate. Yes, he puts up a bunch of big numbers - including turnovers. Although he only committed one turnover in New York's last game on Wednesday, he has turned the ball over 68 times in his 12 starts - the most by any player in their first 12 NBA starts since 1977 which is when turnovers became an official NBA statistic. The previous high was 64, set by Allen Iverson in 1996.

WHAT WE SAW - The Celtics did a good job of not allowing Jeremy Lin to ever get into any kind flow all game. He finished with 14 points, but did it on 6-for-16 shooting. In addition, he turned the ball over six times while only dishing out five assists. "They sent a lot of bodies and they had me take a lot of tough shots," Lin said. "I didn't get a lot of easy stuff today, but still in my opinion I should have finished a lot of those shots."

MATCHUP TO WATCH - Kevin Garnett vs. Tyson Chandler: Garnett continues to play out of his mind, out of position. The power forward-turned center has been a stalwart at both ends of the floor, scoring and defending like the old Garnett - and not just an older, Garnett. He has had back-to-back games with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds, the fifth time he has done that as a Celtic but it's the first time since November 2008. ""Preference-wise, I don't like it," Garnett said of playing center. "I'm a 4 (power forward). I don't like - you know, it is what it is. I'll do whatever this team needs me to be, other than a cheerleader with pom-pons and some short-shorts." Chandler poses a different kind of challenge for Garnett. While the strength of most centers is usually the biggest concern for Garnett in the middle, Chandler's ability to run the floor well will be the biggest challenge for Garnett today.

WHAT WE SAW - Garnett continues to outplay his opposition, regardless of how younger or more athletic they may appear to be. Garnett delivered his 10th double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds and two blocked shots. Meanwhile, Tyson had eight points and 14 rebounds but for the most part, he didn't have nearly as much of an impact defensively as Garnett did.

PLAYER TO WATCH - During Boston's three-game winning streak, one of the more unsung heroes for the Celtics has been Chris Wilcox off the bench. In the last three games, Wilcox has averaged 8.7 points and 10.3 rebounds while shooting 60 percent (9-for-15) from the field. Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said Wilcox, more than anything else, is playing the role that he has to serve for the C's. "His role is pretty much defined," Rivers said. "His role is energy, rebounding, running the floor, setting picks, rolling, finishing. I mean, that's a simple role. But it's a hard role to do everyday, because it takes energy to do it."

WHAT WE SAW - Wilcox didn't play major minutes and didn't have a major impact on the game, but he did give the Celtics solid production when he was on the floor. He finished with six points on 3-of-4 shooting, to go with three rebounds.

STAT TO TRACK - The Celtics are coming off a 50-point night of points scored in the paint against New Jersey, the highest they had scored since they dropped 52 on the Knicks in the regular season-finale last April. One of the reasons the C's have to feel pretty good about their chances of scoring around the basket today, is because are not exactly a team filled with shot-blockers. In fact, New York ranks 28th in the NBA in blocks per game, with 4.2.

WHAT WE SAW - Boston continues to generate more and more offense around the basket. For the second straight game, the Celtics were able to hit the 50-point plateau in points scored in the paint, which speaks to how the C's are making a conscious effort to generate as much offense as possible in the paint.

Belichick takes some heat for 'earthquake' comment

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Belichick takes some heat for 'earthquake' comment

Bill Belichick sounded less than enthused about traveling to Mexico to play a game. And his line about being "fortunate there was no volcano eruptions, earthquakes or anything else while we were down there," didn't exactly sit well with some folks south of the border.

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“Personally, I wouldn’t be in any big rush to do it again,” Belichick said on his weekly appearance on WEEI's "Dale and Holley with Keefe" show Monday. “Players did a great job dealing with all the challenges that we had to deal with. I think we’re fortunate there was no volcano eruptions, earthquakes or anything else while we were down there. I mean you have two NFL franchises in an area that I don’t know how stable the geological plates that were below us [were], but nothing happened so that was good.”

Pancho Vera of ESPN Mexico took exception to Belichick's comment on Twitter, which, translated, called out the "ignorance of the genius of the NFL." More than 200 people were killed after a quake centered near Mexico City struck in September. 

Other Twitter users said, using Belichick's reasoning, they wondered if they'd be fortunate not to be killed or wounded in a mass shooting if they were to travel to the US:

Translated, the tweets read "I also have luck in Las Vegas I was not in a shooting" and "But you are right, I apply the same when I go to the U.S. and say I was fortunate I was not in some crazy shootout." 

HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

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HOFer Joe Morgan's letter urges voters to keep steroid users out of Hall

Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan is urging voters to keep “known steroid users” out of Cooperstown.

A day after the Hall revealed its 33-man ballot for the 2018 class, the 74-year-old Morgan argued against the inclusion of players implicated during baseball’s steroid era in a letter to voters with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The letter from the vice chairman of the Hall’s board of directors was sent Tuesday using a Hall email address.

Read the full text of Morgan's letter here. 

“Steroid users don’t belong here,” Morgan wrote. “What they did shouldn’t be accepted. Times shouldn’t change for the worse.”

Hall voters have been wrestling with the issue of performance-enhancing drugs for several years. Baseball held a survey drug test in 2003 and the sport began testing for banned steroids the following year with penalties. Accusations connected to some of the candidates for the Hall vary in strength from allegations with no evidence to positive tests that caused suspensions.

About 430 ballots are being sent to voters, who must have been members of the BBWAA for 10 consecutive years, and a player needs at least 75 percent for election. Ballots are due by Dec. 31 and results will be announced Jan. 24.

Writers who had not been covering the game for more than a decade were eliminated from the rolls in 2015, creating a younger electorate that has shown more willingness to vote for players tainted by accusations of steroid use. Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens each received a majority of votes for the first time in 2017 in their fifth year on the ballot.

Morgan said he isn’t speaking for every Hall of Famer, but many of them feel the same way that he does.

“Players who failed drug tests, admitted using steroids, or were identified as users in Major League Baseball’s investigation into steroid abuse, known as the Mitchell Report, should not get in,” Morgan wrote. “Those are the three criteria that many of the players and I think are right.”

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were inducted into the Hall of Fame in July. They were joined by former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta executive John Schuerholz, who were voted in by a veterans committee.

Some baseball writers said the election of Selig, who presided over the steroids era, influenced their view of whether tainted stars should gain entry to the Hall.

Morgan praised BBWAA voters and acknowledged they are facing a “tricky issue,” but he also warned some Hall of Famers might not make the trip to Cooperstown if steroid users are elected.

“The cheating that tainted an era now risks tainting the Hall of Fame too,” he wrote. “The Hall of Fame means too much to us to ever see that happen. If steroid users get in, it will divide and diminish the Hall, something we couldn’t bear.”

© 2017 by The Associated Press