Brady still unhappy with lackluster victory

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Brady still unhappy with lackluster victory

A day after saying the Patriots "didn't compete" and were "lucky to win" in a 23-16 victory in Jacksonville, it was more of the same from quarterback Tom Brady in his weekly appearance on the "Dennis & Callahan Show" on WEEI radio in Boston.

"We've got to do a better job," Brady said. "We've got some pretty important weeks of football ahead, and that's when we really need to play our best. We just came out and got behind early, something you never really want to do on the road, and didn't really do too much to help our cause. That started really from the beginning of the game all the way to the end of the game. I wish we would have played better. We didn't."

Brady wasn't backing away from his pointed postgame comments.

"The self-inflicted errors, that's the biggest problem," Brady said. "There was just a few too many times yesterday that we could've done something better that we just didn't really handle as well as we're capable of."

After his second consecutive two-interception game, Brady put some of the blame on himself.

"Turnovers hurt," he said. "We had two turnovers in the first quarter Sunday. When we don't turn the ball over, we're pretty good. We've got to do a better job protecting the football and certainly I've got to do a better job protecting the football."

Brady took some hard hits for the second week in a row and sat out a day of practice last week. Still, he said it's nothing more than the normal bumps and bruises of a long season.

"That's part of football, and that's part of playing this long," he said. "Nineteen weeks we play, so you have those little bumps, but I'll be fine."

Looking ahead to the regular-season finale at Gillette Stadium against the Dolphins on Sunday -- a game that has been moved to a 4:25 p.m. start -- the Patriots (11-4) still have a shot at the top two seeds in the AFC, depending on how they, the Broncos (12-3) and the Texans (12-3) do.

Brady said he's not focused on playoff positioning.

"I don't really care who we play," Brady said. "I would just like to go out there and play our best football here next week and beyond. I don't care who we play or where we play or when we play or the time or the place or the opponent. It's about us. We've lost four games this year. We were pretty capable of winning all four of those games. If it wasn't for some of our own mistakes that we made, we could have."

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

BOSTON – Prior to Saturday’s game, Terry Rozier talked to CSNNE.com about the importance of staying ready always, because “you never know when your name or number is going to be called.”

Like when trailing by three points in the fourth quarter with less than 10 seconds to play?

Yes, Rozier was on the floor in that scenario and the second-year guard delivered when his team needed it.

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But Rozier’s fourth quarter heroics which forced overtime against Portland, did not provide that much-needed jolt that Boston needed as the Blazers managed to fend off the Celtics in overtime, 127-123.

For Rozier’s part, he had 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

The 15 points scored for Rozier was the most for him since he tallied 16 in a 30-point Celtics win at Orlando on Dec. 7.

But more than the points, the decision by head coach Brad Stevens to draw up a play for him in that moment, a time when most of what Boston does revolves around the shooting of Isaiah Thomas who has been among the top-3 scorers in the fourth quarter most of this season, was surprising to many.

And at that point in the game, Thomas already had 13 fourth-quarter points.

Stevens confirmed after the game that the last shot in the fourth was indeed for Rozier, but Thomas’ presence on the floor was important to its execution.

“He (Thomas) also draws a lot of attention,” Stevens said. “So I think you just weigh kind of … what kind of shot you’re going to get, depending on who it is.”

Rozier had initially screened for Thomas, and Thomas came back and screened for him.

“I was open as soon as I caught … and I let it fly,” Rozier said. “Coach drew up a play for me and it felt good to see the ball go in.”

Being on the floor at that time, win or lose, was a victory of sorts for Rozier.

He has seen first-hand how quickly the tide can change in the NBA for a young player.

After a strong summer league showing and a solid training camp, Rozier had earned himself a firm spot in the team’s regular rotation.

But a series of not-so-great games coupled with Gerald Green’s breakout night on Christmas Day, led to his playing time since then becoming more sporadic.

Rozier, in an interview with CSNNE.com, acknowledged it hasn’t been easy going from playing regular minutes to not being sure how much court time, if any, he would receive.

But he says the veterans on the team have been good about keeping his spirits up, and one in particular – Avery Bradley – has been especially helpful.

Like Rozier, Bradley’s first couple of years saw his playing time go from non-existent to inconsistent. But Bradley stayed the course and listened to the team’s veterans who continued to tell him that his hard work would pay off sooner or later.

Those same words of wisdom Bradley received in his early days, he passes on to Rozier.

“It’s big,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “He (Bradley) tells me things like that. I felt I was ready for this (inconsistent minutes) after all that he told me. It’s big to have a guy like him that has been through it all with a championship team, been around this organization for a while; have him talk to you is big. It’s always good. That’s why I stay positive, and be ready.”

Which is part of the reason why Stevens didn’t hesitate to call up a play for the second-year guard despite him being a 33.3 percent shooter from 3-point range this season – that ranks eighth on this team, mind you.

“He’s a really good shooter,” Stevens said of Rozier. “I think with more opportunity that will show itself true, but he made some big ones in the fourth quarter. We went to him a few different times out of time-outs, and felt good about him making that one.”

And to know that Stevens will turn to him not just to spell Thomas or one of the team’s other guards, but to actually make a game-altering play in the final seconds … that’s major.

“It helps tremendously,” said Rozier who added that his confidence is through “the roof. It makes me want to do everything. You know defense, all of that. It’s great, especially to have a guy like Brad trust you."