Celtics

Palko finally gets his shot to start for Chiefs

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Palko finally gets his shot to start for Chiefs

FOXBORO -- In 2008, Tom Brady suffered a season-ending injury after taking a hit to the knee against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Matt Cassel replaced Brady, and went on to win 11 games with the Patriots. He was rewarded with a six-year, 63 million contract with the Chiefs.

Three years later, Cassel finds himself on the sideline with a hand injury, watching his backup QB, Tyler Palko, replace him during Kansas City's Monday Night Football game in New England.

Like Cassel, Palko may have a chance to write his own script, after waiting five full seasons for his first NFL start, which comes against the Patriots on Monday.

But the new Chiefs quarterback isn't yet thinking about that potential Hollywood script.

"You can't write the story before it's written," said Palko in a conference call on Wednesday. "There's obviously comparisons and all that other stuff, but that's not going to win the game because it's aligning this way or it's not aligning this way. Right now, my job is to go out and give our team a chance to win. And I don't have enough time to think about all that stuff."

This is Palko's sixth year in the NFL. He said it hasn't been easy, waiting for his first start.

"What is it, my fifth year?" asked Palko, as he seemed to be thinking out loud. "I guess it's been a long time coming, but I guess when you're entrenched in it, you really don't think about how long it is. You set a goal, and my goal was to be a starter in the NFL, and I'm getting my opportunity right now."

Now, he'll face a Patriots defense, in their building, on a Monday night. And perhaps he'll have some advantage with the fact that there's not much game film of him, and also with the fact that his current defensive coordinator -- Romeo Crennel -- was once the defensive coordinator for the three-time Super Bowl champion Patriots.

But Palko, being as honest as he could be while entering his first career NFL start, said that his advantages are non-existent.

"I don't think there's really any advantage for me, going into this thing," said Palko. "I've got enough chips stacked against me."

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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