Celtics

The latest on the shootings outside Candlestick Park

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The latest on the shootings outside Candlestick Park

From Comcast SportsNet Monday, August 22, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The mayors of San Francisco and Oakland and the NFL called for an end to acts of violence at sporting events, after two men were shot and wounded following a San Francisco 49ers-Oakland Raiders preseason game. Investigators Sunday looked for suspects and interviewed witnesses to the violence the night before in the parking lot at Candlestick Park after the matchup. Motives for the shootings -- including whether they were influenced by emotions surrounding a game involving fiercely rival teams -- weren't known. But the shootings evoked memories of another recent disturbing act of post-game violence involving two rival California pro sports teams -- the near-fatal beating this spring of a San Francisco Giants fan outside Dodger Stadium. In Saturday's attacks, a 24-year-old man, who reportedly was wearing a "F--- the Niners" T-shirt, was shot several times in the stomach. Police said he managed to stumble to stadium security for help despite the severe injuries. He remained hospitalized in serious condition Sunday. A second victim, a 20-year-old man, was treated for less serious wounds in a separate shooting, also after the game. Sgt. Mike Andraychak said no arrests have been made and that police are looking for "a person of interest" connected to at least one of the shootings. He would not specify which shooting. Apart from the shootings, a third victim, a 26-year-old man, was also hospitalized in serious condition Sunday after he was knocked unconscious in a stadium bathroom during the game. That attack appeared unrelated to the other two, police said. The victims' names have not been released as the violent spree overshadowed the 49ers' 17-3 victory over the Raiders. The crimes prompted San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan to issue a joint statement saying that violence at stadiums in both cities will not be tolerated. "The incidents ... are completely unacceptable and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," the mayors said. "Fans come to our stadiums to enjoy an afternoon of football, not to be subjected to intimidation or violence. These games are family events and the types of images we witnessed last night have no place in our arenas." NFL spokesman Greg Aiello echoed similar comments, saying "we deplore the activities of a handful of fans at last night's game and pledge our full support to Mayors Lee and Quan and to state and local law enforcement agencies." 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who once was a coach in the Raiders organization, said he was saddened to hear about the violence. "I didn't know anything was going on during the game. I wasn't aware of that," Harbaugh said. "I feel bad for the people who got injured and the people who had to see that, for those who had to witness it." The team said that "these kinds of events are disquieting to everyone in the Bay Area community. We are working to assist the San Francisco Police Department in any way possible to understand how and why this happened." Raiders CEO Amy Trask said in a statement that "the incidents at last night's game are not acceptable to the Raiders or to any National Football League team and our thoughts are with all affected." Head Coach Hue Jackson also shared his desire for a safe fan-friendly environment "where we wish that people come out and enjoy a game and hopefully that those things don't happen." On Saturday, Sgt. Frank Harrell said the man shot wearing the T-shirt drove his truck to a gate and stumbled to stadium security. A second man shot before that in the parking lot and had superficial face injuries, Harrell said. He said the two shootings were being treated separately "but we believe they are related." The attacks come nearly five months after San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow was severely beaten by two men in Los Angeles Dodgers gear outside Dodger Stadium after the archrivals' season opener in Los Angeles. Two men charged in the beating, Louie Sanchez, 28, and Marvin Norwood, 30, have pleaded not guilty. Stow, 42, a Santa Cruz paramedic, suffered severe brain injuries and remains hospitalized in serious condition. That attack drew widespread attention and focusing the spotlight on security at Dodger Stadium, and the intense rivalry among Dodgers and Giants fans. Christian End, an assistant professor at Xavier University in Cincinnati, who specializes in sports fan behavior, said there are several factors for unruliness at sporting events -- including the magnitude of the game, if it is between arch rivals, adrenaline and alcohol. There's also "deindividuation," when fans supporting a particular team adopt a group mentality and may become uncivil. "The anonymity of large crowds can afford some fans the opportunity to act in a way that they typically wouldn't because there's less accountability and less fear of repercussion," End said. End said violence between fans of opposing teams can typically begin with light banter, followed by "one-upping" each other with statistics or other chatter that could draw a crowd. "Then it could be taken up a notch where the fun aspect is gone and it just escalates," End said. End said he doesn't believe fan violence has increased in the last 10 years but may appear that way partially due to new technology at hand. "There are more cameras covering games and more fans using their smartphones," End said. "Any acts of aggression have a higher probability of being captured and being shown over the Internet and on television. "It would give the impression that, Boy, fans are engaging in all of this aggressive behavior.' But you have to remember that a vast majority of them are not."

Streak reveals depth even Celtics didn't know they had

Streak reveals depth even Celtics didn't know they had

Coaches in all sports will tell you that winning is not easy.
 
Making the Celtics’ 16-game winning streak even more impressive is that a number of the victories have involved Boston turning to some unlikely sources of production.

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And that has provided a glimpse into a franchise that’s getting the best of both worlds: quality play from its core group while developing reserves who have contributed to the team reeling off 16 straight wins in a variety of ways.
 
Because coach Brad Stevens has gone deeper into his bench this season than past years, it has created a roster with minutes more evenly distributed and with that, less wear and tear on the bodies of key players.
 
And while this team is led by Kyrie Irving and Al Horford, there has been at least one other Celtic to emerge as a top-three performer every night...and often it’s not the same player.
 
“Much more unpredictable now,” a league executive texted to NBC Sports Boston. “That number three guy, is it [Jaylen] Brown? [Jayson] Tatum? Sometimes it’s Marcus [Smart]. You don’t know who it’s going to be because a lot of times, I don’t think they [Celtics] know who it will be. It’s why they’re so good, man.”
 
Here are five under-the-radar storylines heading into tonight’s game in Miami with the Celtics trying to push their winning streak to 17:

KYRIE FOR MVP
It’s one thing for the home crowd to get into the ‘M-V-P’ chants when you’re at the free-throw line. But it’s a completely different matter when those same cheers are being heard on the road. That’s where Irving was following the 110-102 overtime win at Dallas, a game in which Irving dropped 47 points, 10 in overtime. It’ll be interesting to see if another strong game by Irving will lead to another serenading of ‘M-V-P’ chants for the most dominant player on the team with the league’s best record.


 
TURNING DOWN THE HEAT
The streak is the talk of the NBA right now, but streaking was going to be part of the conversation leading up to tonight’s game regardless. The Celtics come into tonight’s game having won eight in a row over the Heat, their longest current winning streak over any team. Boston has dominated this matchup for years, posting a 70-44 record all-time against Miami in the regular season.
 

DUKE CONNECTION
College basketball just kicked off and Duke is once again among the game’s top teams, a school that consistently produces NBA talent at a relatively high level. That’ll be very apparent tonight when you consider this Boston-Miami matchup features three players (Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum for Boston, Justise Winslow for Miami) from Duke who will all be in the starting lineup and a fourth (Boston’s Semi Ojeleye) who attended Duke but later transferred to SMU.


 
JUSTISE WINSLOW
Every front-office executive has that one player they tried – and failed – to acquire that, in hindsight, not getting him was a really good thing. Winslow is that guy for the Celtics. While he hasn’t been necessarily a bust, his impact at this level hasn’t been enough to have warranted all the assets Boston was willing to part with on draft night in order to move up and select him. Still, he’s healthy now and starting to play better which is evident by his numbers in most offensive categories on the rise, while his defense has been relatively solid.
 

THREE-POINTERS
The Heat have made the 3-point shot a much bigger part of their offense this season, evident by Miami ranking seventh in the league in 3-point makes (11.2) this season. In Boston, one of the keys to their top-ranked defense has been their length, which has come in real handy defending the 3-pointer. In fact, Boston has limited opponents to just 32.1 percent shooting on 3’s this season, which ranks third in the league.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE


 

Gostkowski named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week

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Gostkowski named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week

FOXBORO -- Stephen Gostkowski is almost 34 years old, but in Mexico City he provided a reminder that he's not slowing down in his 12th NFL season. 

After going four-for-four on field goals -- including a team-record 62-yarder, a 51-yarder and a 40-yarder -- and making all three of his extra points, Gostkowski was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for the sixth time in his career. 

During a press conference on Wednesday, Bill Belichick explained that someone in Gostkowski's situation probably isn't improving at this point in his career. But if he's maintaining a strong level of play, that's OK. 

"I don’t know how much real improvement you’re going to see from a player that’s been in the league 12 or 20 years in a case like Adam [Vinatieri] or somebody like that," Belichick said. "But, if the level they’re performing at is pretty good, if they can maintain that, then that’s certainly enough to help the team.

"Are there things that a player can do better? Yeah, sure, there always are technique things. I think Steve has really improved in some of his alternative kicks on kickoffs, as an example, instead of just kicking every ball as far as he can. He’s done a great job of that. I’d say it’s maintaining the timing and the overall leg speed and technique that makes kickers good at their job."