Celtics-Hawks preview: Praise for Bradley

976365.jpg

Celtics-Hawks preview: Praise for Bradley

BOSTON - When Avery Bradley burst on to the scene last season, his numbers rarely showed what kind of impact he had on games.

Now that he's back on the floor for the Boston Celtics, not a lot has changed for the third-year guard whose greatest contributions seldom show up among the final statistics except for the one that matters most - wins.

Bradley's play was instrumental in Boston snapping a four-game losing streak with a 94-75 win over Indiana on Friday. And his play will likely be a factor in tonight's game at Atlanta.

Following the C's win over the Pacers, there was plenty of praise to be passed around.

But Rivers made a point of singling out Bradley's performance which included him shooting 3-for-11 from the field for six points.

"Avery was three for eleven and he may have been the most valuable player," Rivers said. "Because of his defensive pressure, just on the ball, it made them take so much time to get into their sets and when they got in their sets it wasn't the right spot."

Indeed, Bradley is known as a player who provides many of the intangibles that teams looking to compete at the highest of levels, needs in order to be successful.

The praise from Rivers is not lost on Bradley.

"That's what I try to bring every night," he said. "I try to bring that intensity on the defensive end but that's my role, to be the energy when I come into the game."

The Celtics will indeed be looking for Bradley to make an impact tonight as the C's face the Atlanta Hawks.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: A big part of Boston's success against the Pacers was their ability to hold their own on the boards. In fact, Boston was plus-2 on the boards which is a major coup for them. They will look to be just as good or better tonight.

MATCHUP TO WATCH:  Kevin Garnett vs Al Horford:  Both have the ability to score around the basket as well as facing the basket. But Horford's experience and youthfulness give him a slight edge over the future Hall of Famer.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Jason Terry could use a stretch of consistent play which isn't coming anytime soon for the Celtics. Against the Pacers, he missed six of his eight shots from the field and finished with six points.

STAT TO TRACK: Boston should capitalize on an Atlanta team that sends opposing teams to the free throw line - a lot. Hawks opponents are averaging 14.5 free throws made and 18.4 free throw attempts - both league highs.

Quotes, notes and stars: Betts has first career five-hit night

red_sox_mookie_betts_082516.jpg

Quotes, notes and stars: Betts has first career five-hit night

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 6-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals

QUOTES:

"We continually do a great job in creating opportunities and I'm confident that (the struggles with men in scoring position) will turn.'' - John Farrell

"When you start off with a five-run spot in the first, that's a tough deficit to overcome.'' - Steven Wright.

"That's how it goes sometimes. Sometimes, we score when we're not expecting to and then when we need to score, sometimes it doesn't happen.'' - Mookie Betts on the team going 4-for-15 with RISP.

 

NOTES:

* The loss was just the third in the last 13 series openers for the Red Sox.

* The game marked the first time in 20 home games in which the Sox never led.

* Boston was 4-for-15 with runners in scoring position.

* The first four hitters in the order were 13-for-19 (.684). The fifth-through-nine hitters, however, were just 2-for-21 (.095).

* Mookie Betts (five hits) leads the majors with 55 multi-hit games.

* Dustin Pedroia has reached base in each of his last eight plate appearances.

* David Ortiz's double was the 625th of his career, passing Hank Aaron to move into 10 place in MLB history.

* Ortiz leads the A.L. in doubles (41) and extra-base hits (72).

 

STARS:

1) Eric Hosmer

Hosmer cranked a three-run homer into the Monster Seats four batters into the game, and the Royals were off and running with a five-run inning.

2) Ian Kennedy

The Royals starter wasn't dominant, allowing nine hits in 5 1/3 innings, but he bailed himself out of a number of jams and limited the Sox to just two runs.

3) Mookie Betts

Betts had his first career five-hit night and knocked in two of the three Red Sox runs, though he also got himself picked off first base.

 

Knighton on future after DNP vs. Panthers: 'If I'm here, I'm here...If I'm not, I'm not'

patriots-terrance-knighton.jpg

Knighton on future after DNP vs. Panthers: 'If I'm here, I'm here...If I'm not, I'm not'

When Terrance Knighton was signed by the Patriots as a free agent this offseason, many assumed he would factor into the rotation that the Patriots would use on the interior of their defensive line in 2016. After not seeing a single snap against the Panthers on Friday night, it seems as though Knighton's roster spot in New England is no sure thing. 

"Everybody wants to play. I didn't get a chance to," Knighton said after the game. "That's the decision they made . . . I have faith in my ability. I have faith in, you know, the coaching staff's decisions -- whatever the decision was. I'm not looking for an explanation or anything. [I'll] show up to work tomorrow. I still got a lot of ball left in me so it is what it is."

The Patriots opted to go with rookie third-round pick Vincent Valentine as the defensive tackle starter next to Malcom Brown in Carolina. Even so, because Alan Branch -- who was re-instated from a week-long team suspension on Thursday -- was not in uniform it would have made sense for Knighton to see playing time. 

He admitted it was disappointing that he didn't. 

"It's disappointing just because I've played a lot of ball in this league," Knighton said. "I've seen a lot of things. I'm not gonna make too much of it. It is what it is. Whatever happens happens. If I'm here, I'm here. If I'm not, I'm not. I'm just taking it a day at a time."

Knighton is vying for a role alongside fellow defensive tackles Markus Kuhn, Joe Vellano, Anthony Johnson and Woodrow Hamilton -- all of whom saw some action in Carolina. The former Jaguars, Broncos and Redskins defensive tackle saw playing time against the Bears last week, but he was in the game late, and when he was on the field, he had difficulty holding his ground at times. 

After the Panthers game, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked about Knighton's lack of playing time, and he alluded to the fact that Knighton is still trying to pick up some of the techniques he's being taught in New England, where defensive tackles are expected to two-gap effectively. 

"Some new techniques, some new things...different things than what he's used to doing," Belichick said. "We played the younger guys tonight. We didn't get as much of a look at him as some other players. He played a little more last week. I think there's good competition at that position. We'll just have to see how it all plays out."