Celtics

But Danny Woodhead really IS tiny

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But Danny Woodhead really IS tiny

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

A couple thoughts on the recent Danny Woodhead buzz:

There has been coverage overkill of New England's newest running back's diminutive size, it's true. Nobody is actually going to set a drink down on the guy's head because she's accidentally mistaken him for an end table. Not unless she has been shooting Mind Erasers at Daisy Buchanan's, but even in that case she will probably have tried to set her drink down on not just Woodhead but a barstool, toilet tank, or... air.

So I will acknowledge that there have been too many size similes thrown excitedly around. And then I'm going to add to the whole steaming pile. It's one thing to read articles about Woodhead and choke your Style Booklet in disgust, scoffing at the overwritten lines.... But come meet him sometime.

During the September 22 Patriots media scrum, one reporter grabbed another by a sleeve, "You've gotta' see this,'' the scribe said. The two of them tiptoed over to where Woodhead was being interviewed. The first reporter pointed, "Look,'' he whispered to his colleague, the way children point and whisper at sleeping kittens.

"Oooh,'' was the cooed response.

Such is the Woodhead effect. Among the Mike Wrights, the Gerard Warrens, and other enormous New England professional football players, Danny Woodhead looks like the kid who should be running around collecting jock straps in the locker room, not ducking NFL tackles on the gridiron.

The sight sincerely catches you off-guard.

And you won't find a plethora of tiny footballers on Boston's list of folk heroes, however long it appears to be. So have a little patience with the people whose job it is to cover this team. You can't really blame them when they pick Woodhead up by his little feet and bludgeon you to death with the pithy headlines and HOW AMAZING IT IS THAT SUCH A TINY PERSON MAKE SUCH GREAT BIG PLAYS.

I mean, the movie Rudy grossed almost 23M bucks. So, yeah. Give it time. The novelty will wear off eventually.

(Hilarious Photo via Sports Pickle)

Mary Paoletti can be reached at mpaoletti@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Mary on Twitter at http:twitter.comMary_Paoletti

Celtics-Hawks preview: C' defense looks to keep up historic pace

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Celtics-Hawks preview: C' defense looks to keep up historic pace

As the wins continue to pile up for the Boston Celtics, so does the praise and adulation from others throughout the league. 

It’s a double-edged sword if you think about it. 

Acknowledging how good the Celtics are, is indeed a sign of respect. 

But it also means Boston plays every game with a large target on its back unlike any of Brad Stevens’ previous Celtics teams. 

And that means every game they play, even those like tonight’s matchup at Atlanta where they will be heavily favored, are dangerous matchups.

Because for some teams, the next best thing to competing against the champ (Golden State) is facing the team with the best record who just knocked off the champ. 

That will be one of the dynamics at work tonight when the Celtics (14-2) kick off a three-game road trip against a trio of sub-.500 teams beginning with the Hawks (3-12).

Boston has shown tremendous focus and attention to detail during their 14-game winning streak. But in that span, the Celtics have never had a trio of teams right behind each other that struggled as much as the Hawks, the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks have this season. 

Not including games played on Friday, Boston’s next three opponents are a combined 11-33. 

All three of those teams would love to be the one to knock off the Celtics, the kind of victory that could significantly shift the direction of their respective franchises from their current downward spin. 

Meanwhile, the Celtics will look to continue to play with the kind of defensive temperament that has catapulted them to the top of the NBA’s defensive standings in several categories. 

“The way they’re beating teams it ain’t pretty,” a league executive texted NBC Sports Boston. “But they win. Last I checked, that’s what matters most.”

And that success has to a large degree, put a bigger bullseye on the Celtics than ever. 

“Now that we have a reputation, I think everyone is coming for us,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “Now we have to come play even harder, and I think we can do that. I think we are more than capable.”

Especially if they continue to defend at a level we haven’t seen in years. 

Boston has a league-best defensive rating of 95.4. A key component in Boston’s strong play defensively has been their ability to win the battle of the boards. They come into tonight’s game with a .530 rebounding percentage which is second in the league to Portland (.539).

And that defense, while praised for how it functions collectively, it also consists of some pretty good individual defenders as well. 

Among guards averaging at least 20 minutes per game, Boston has four players ranked among the top 10 in defensive rating (Marcus Smart, 93.5 defensive rating, 2nd); Jaylen Brown (93.6, 3rd); Terry Rozier (95.0, 5th) and Kyrie Irving (96.4, 8th). 

When you look at forwards, Brown headlines a trio of forwards that includes himself, Al Horford (94.2, 3rd) and Jayson Tatum (96.1, 7th). 

Aron Baynes has the best defensive rating (90.6) among centers, followed by Horford (94.2).

“Our guys are locked in and really trying and again we can really play some pretty ugly basketball at times,” Stevens said. “But I do think that we are competing which is really good.”