From Comcast SportsNetFOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- The New England Patriots silenced their "End Zone Militia" on Sunday night, taking the muskets away from the Revolutionary War re-enactors who fire into the air to celebrate every score.The memory of the Connecticut school shooting was still too fresh for the sight of firearms and the smell of gunpowder."It just doesn't show the right respect for those that lost their lives," said Bob Elliott, the group's sergeant. "But we're still here cheering (the Patriots) on."Two days after 20 children and six adults were shot to death at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., NFL fans gathering in stadiums across the country honored the victims' memory with periods of silence and reflection. Some teams darkened their scoreboards and lowered their flags to half-staff, while others wore helmet decals or black ribbons.After learning he was the favorite player of one 6-year-old victim, New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz wrote "R.I.P. Jack Pinto," "Jack Pinto, my hero" and "This one is for you" on his shoes for the game against the Falcons in Atlanta. Cruz said he called the boy's family after hearing he was a Giants fan and was told they planned to bury him in one of Cruz's No. 80 jerseys."I don't even know how to put it into words," Cruz said. "There are no words that can describe the type of feeling that you get when a kid idolizes you so much that unfortunately they want to put him in the casket with your jersey on. I can't even explain it."The Patriots, the closest team to Newtown that played at home on Sunday, wore a helmet sticker with the city seal and a black ribbon on it; the cheerleaders and mascot wore black armbands, and owner Bob Kraft pledged 25,000 to the community, where he also owns a box-making factory. Before the game, the public address announcer asked for silence while 26 flares were sent into the air.But each time the Patriots scored in the 41-31 loss to San Francisco, the soldiers in the End Zone Militia clapped their empty hands like the rest of the crowd. Elliott said the Patriots asked the group, which has been standing sentry at home games since the mid-1990s, to skip the ceremonial fire."Out of respect for those that were killed, we were asked yesterday not to fire the muskets, which we all agreed with," said Elliott, who is a manufacturing manager for a dental implant-maker. "It was just such a horrific thing. It's hard to put it into words."The Sunday Night Football broadcast on NBC was moved to CNBC and the NBC Sports Network while President Barack Obama addressed the nation. The game returned to its regular channel after the president's remarks from Newtown.The Giants, another popular team in southwestern Connecticut, affixed a decal with the school's initials -- "SHES" -- on their helmets."Being close to home, the players were greatly upset about it," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "Many of the players have young children so they can empathize with the parents who had young children killed."Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt wrote "Newtown, CT" on one of the gloves he wore in warmups and on both of his shoes for the game."We're playing football, and there's something much bigger going on in this world," Watt said. "I just wanted them to know, and I wanted everyone to know, that our thoughts are with them. Nothing is bigger than that. We played our game today, but honestly our thoughts are with them, the families, the teachers, the friends, the first responders, who had to go see that. My dad is a first responder. They were just kids."In St. Louis, the players who wear No. 26 -- Rams running back Daryl Richardson and Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield -- joined hands in a circle with their coaches at midfield before their game, surrounded by dozens of children wearing jerseys."I have a son that's in kindergarten. It choked me up because I would hate to be one of those parents," Rams running back Steven Jackson said. "You drop your kid off at school and he or she wants to go there and learn and better themselves, and to then go to the school and find that your child will no longer be with you. I couldn't imagine that thing."Flags were also at half-staff in Baltimore, where the scoreboards went black as the public address announcer asked the crowd at the game between the Ravens and Denver Broncos to observe "silent reflection" in the wake of Friday's "horrific tragedy.""As a parent you drop your kids off at school many times," said Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin, whose 21-year-old son Michael fell into a Wisconsin river and drowned in January. "It's hard to put into words what that community and those families must feel like. We obviously kept them in our prayers."A moment of silence was observed at all 14 NFL games on Sunday; in Houston and in Arlington, Texas, the scoreboard went black. Members of the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks stood quietly with their heads down on their sideline while fans stood silently at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.The Bills did continue their pregame habit of playing U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday," which they've played before every home game this season. The song is in reference to British troops shooting and killing unarmed protesters in Derry, Northern Ireland in January 1972.In Chicago, Green Bay wide receiver Donald Driver retweeted the names of the victims. St. Louis defensive end Chris Long said after the 36-22 loss the Vikings that it was hard to feel sorry for himself."As we sit here and feel sorry for ourselves after losing a football game, it really helps put things in perspective," he said. "I was watching TV last night and saw a victim's parent and I was really moved by that, the strength that they were showing up there. If we can all show that strength, we'll be all right as a team and as people."
Stop comparing Jayson Tatum to Paul Pierce. Turns out he's Larry Bird. Numbers don't lie.
In posting 14 points and 10 rebounds, Tatum became the first Celtics player to notch a double-double in his NBA debut since Larry Bird in 1979. Numbers also suggest that Bird went on to be very good, so that pretty much settles it. You can't just accept the numbers that say Bird was great and ignore the numbers that say Jayson Tatum is Larry Bird. You've got to accept all the numbers. Cherry-picking certain stats for your argument is what Mike Felger does.
Tatum, who was the apple of Danny Ainge’s eye in the draft when he traded down from the first overall pick to the third spot, finished third on the C’s in scoring in Tuesday’s loss to the Cavs. Jaylen Brown led the way with a career-high 25 points, while Kyrie Irving posted 24.
CLEVELAND – Adversity has been a given with the Boston Celtics, so why would the season opener be any different?
Despite being without their prized free agent signing in the offseason for all but the first five minutes against Cleveland, the Celtics gave themselves a chance to win down the stretch only to come up short in a 102-99 loss.
Boston led in the fourth only for LeBron James to score a go-ahead basket to make it 99-98 and then force a Celtics turnover seconds later.
- Celtics lose Gordon Hayward to fractured left ankle
- Dr. Chihlas: Optimistically Gordon Hayward could be back by end of season
- Gorman: Gordon Hayward injury could deflate the Celtics for quite a while
- Isaiah Thomas visits Gordon Hayward in locker room after injury
- Paul George, J.J. Watt send Gordon Hayward wishes after gruesome injury
Following a time-out with 1:04 to play, Kevin Love hit a 3-pointer with 46.3 seconds to play to make it a 102-98 game.
The loss certainly hurts, but that pales in comparison to what losing Gordon Hayward for most if not all of this season, means to the Celtics after Hayward went down with fractured left ankle injury in the first quarter.
With the Celtics ahead 12-9, Kyrie Irving saw Hayward sprinting towards the rim and threw him an alley-oop pass.
LeBron James slid over and leaped to try and deflect it, which threw Hayward off balance in mid-air.
But Hayward didn’t land cleanly because ex-Celtic Jae Crowder, who was defending him on the play, made contact with Hayward’s lower body that resulted in an awkward landing for Hayward.
Video replays showed how contorted Hayward’s left ankle was, the kind of gruesome image that was in some ways reminiscent to the knee injury that derailed the career of Shaun Livingston.
While Livingston eventually returned to the floor and won a pair of NBA titles with the Golden State Warriors, but he was never the same player afterwards.
It’s far too soon to say exactly how Hayward’s injury will impact him this season, let alone for his career.
But there is no mistaking seeing him go down the way he did, clearly rattled the Celtics and for that matter, the NBA family.
Current and former NBA players took to social media offering of prayers of healing for Hayward, who was named to his first NBA All-Star team last season and signed a four-year, $127.8 million contract with the Celtics this summer.
As for the actual game, the Cavaliers steadily pulled away in the second quarter and remained in control for most of the second half in a victory that certainly had to feel a bit shallow.
It wasn’t because the Celtics were undermanned without Hayward, but more important, because he’s part of the NBA family and regardless of how competitive players are, they never, ever like to see one of their own go down with such a devastating injury.
Moments after Hayward went down, the looks of disappointment and pain were apparent. Inside the Celtics huddle, you saw Kyrie Irving’s head in the shoulder of a teammate.
Former Celtic Isaiah Thomas, now with the Cavs, was inside the Cavaliers locker room which is where they took Hayward initially.
When Thomas left, he nodded, and shook his head, saddened by what he saw in the locker room.
Despite the pain that all the Celtics were in following Hayward’s injury, there was still a game that had to be played.
And anything less than their best against the defending Eastern Conference champions, would make for a long night.
But the Celtics showed a resiliency in the third quarter that saw them climb back into things and made it a relatively close game.
Trailing 54-38 at the half, Boston tied the game at 69 following a Marcus Smart free throw, followed by a go-ahead basket by Smart that put Boston on top 71-69.
However, the Cavs ended the quarter with a 3-pointer by Derrick Rose which put them ahead 72-71 going into the fourth, an envious position for the Celtics all things considered.
Even if the Celtics had been whole with Hayward, defeating the Cavs was going to be an extremely tall task.
They have after all, been to the NBA Finals each of the last three seasons and are the odds-on favorite to get back there for a fourth straight year.
But the Celtics lost more than a key player when Hayward went down.
They lost their focus, that intangible edge to their team that was supposed to be one of their strengths against a Cleveland team that has plenty of firepower and weapons of its own.
The good news for both teams is that regardless of who came out on top, there are lessons to be learned for both teams.
Unfortunately for the Celtics, those lessons going forward are likely to come about without Hayward in the lineup for some time.