Celtics

Despite moving parts, offensive line remains strong

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Despite moving parts, offensive line remains strong

FOXBORO -- With Sebastian Vollmer inactive for Thursday night's game against the Jets, Marcus Cannon made the start at right tackle for the Patriots.

And Bill Belichick was pleased with what he saw.

"Marcus did a real good job filling in there at right tackle," said the Patriots' coach in a conference call on Friday. "I thought he did a good job in the passing game. He also had some strong run blocks. We all know he's a very athletic and powerful man. And he played to that a number of times, which I thought he did for us in preseason and then in training camp as well. He showed a very good presence on the field at that spot."

Belichick went on to praise the entire offensive line this season, for being a reliable group, even with all the moving parts.

"I think it's a real credit to the way that group works together, the way they practice together, and certainly the way that Dante Scarnecchia has molded them as a group and as a very respective offensive line unit," said Belichick. "That's even at practice when we move those people in and out of the lineup. Different guys play center. Different guys play the guard positions. We roll the tackles through, and so forth.

"It's a very comforting feeling to know that whichever guys have to go in there and play, they've all played with each other, the communication is good, and they can physically and functionally do the job that they're asked to do, and do it at a high competitive level.

"It's been a strength for us through the years, and it continues to be this year so far."

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

0:41 - Kyle Draper, Brain Scalabrine, Tommy Heinsohn, and Mike Gorman break down the Celtics loss to the Cavs and Gordon Hayward’s injury.

4:22 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions to the gruesome injury to Gordon Hayward and how it impacted the game.

9:39 - Dr. Chris Chihlas joins BST to give his medical opinion on Gordon Hayward and if he thinks there is a chance Hayward could return this season. 

13:40 - Chris Mannix and A. Sherrod Blakely discuss what the feeling was like in the arena when Hayward went down but how there is actually a 'cautious optimism' surrounding the injury.

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

CLEVELAND – Jayson Tatum has seen plenty of games featuring Cleveland’s LeBron James.

And in the Boston Celtics’ preparation for Tuesday night’s matchup, the 19-year-old rookie had seen plenty of James on film.

But facing him, up close and personal, was something entirely different.

“He’s way bigger than I thought,” Tatum said. “He’s way better than I imagined. That’s the reason why he is who he is.”

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James’ play was among the key factors in Cleveland handing Boston a 102-99 loss on Tuesday night.

But Tatum showed he too has some big-time potential by finishing with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds which included some nifty drives to the basket as well as showing the ability to hold his own on the glass in terms of rebounding the basketball.

The last Celtics rookie to post a double-double on opening night?

That was Larry Bird back in 1980, helping the Celtics to a 114-106 win over the Houston Rockets.

What’s even crazier?

Bird had 14 points and 10 rebounds in that Rockets game, too.

Tatum’s solid performance didn’t seem in the making in the first half when Tatum had missed all five of his shot attempts while tallying just two points.

But as the Celtics mounted their comeback, Tatum’s play was a key to the team’s improved play.

“Just being more relaxed” was how Tatum described his improved play in the second half.

Tatum added, “first half, I think I was nervous and anxious. And then the game slowed down for me. That helped out a lot.”

And the Celtics will need even more from Tatum going forward after Gordon Hayward’s left ankle injury that will keep him sidelined indefinitely.

There was plenty of room for him to improve upon following Tuesday’s game.

But for the most part, head coach Brad Stevens liked what he saw from the rookie.

“Jayson was pretty good,” Stevens said. “He did a pretty good job for a first game. That’s pretty hard to do, to be thrown into this environment, first game and play that well.”

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