Collins mans paint with KG in first start for Celtics


Collins mans paint with KG in first start for Celtics

BOSTON Jason Collins has known Kevin Garnett since the two were highly regarded high school ballers.

Over the years, the two developed a mutual respect for one another in part because as different as they may seem, they each care deeply for the same thing when it comes to basketball - playing great defense.

And with Collins now in the starting lineup, Garnett has a big man in the first unit with a similar defense-first mindset that he hasn't been paired with since Kendrick Perkins was traded to Oklahoma City in 2010.

There have been glimpses of the Garnett and Collins on the floor together during practices as well as during the preseason games.

But it wasn't until Wednesday's 103-91 win over Cleveland did the defensive duo actually start in the same game.

Although the decision didn't become official until about an hour before tip-off, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he had been giving it serious thought for a while.

The decision didn't catch Collins off guard.

"I could feel a change was coming," Collins said. "So you know with that you've just got to be ready for anything. But I didn't get the confirmation until about 50 (minutes) before (tip-off)."

Although Wednesday was their first game starting together, you would have thought the two of them have been on the same team for years.

"He's not going to make too many mistakes," Garnett said of Collins. "He knows his role."

And having competed against Garnett for the better part of this past decade, Collins understands how big a plus it is for him at this point in his career to play with a future Hall of Famer like Garnett.

"It's better being on his team than against him," said Collins. "Obviously he's a great defender, he talks out there which is so important. I pride myself on being a defender first, and you know we are both 7-footers, so we have the height, we have the length. We're just trying to clog up the paint and make the other team shoot jump shots."

Randy Moss: Roger Goodell is 'biggest reason' for NFL's problems

Randy Moss: Roger Goodell is 'biggest reason' for NFL's problems

With the NFL facing more PR issues by the day, Randy Moss has identified what he feels is wrong with a league that can’t seem to stay out of trouble.

In wake of the Josh Brown situation, which saw the NFL blame the King County (Wash.) Sheriff’s Office for the lack of initial punishment given to the Giants kicker for domestic violence, Moss said on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown that commissioner Roger Goodell is the league’s biggest problem. 

“[This is] a bad time to show up now, breast cancer awareness month where we’re supporting the women, and then you come up with this Josh Brown, where it doesn’t seem like we are supporting women,” Moss said. “I think the NFL needs to take a deep look. I think the owners are mad, and Roger Goodell, he is the biggest reason to all of this stuff that’s fallen downhill with the NFL. I have to agree with that.”

Brown was initially given a one-game suspension for violating the league’s conduct policy stemming from his 2015 fourth-degree domestic violence charge. On Friday, the 37-year-old was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list. 

Steelers know they'll have their hands full with Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett


Steelers know they'll have their hands full with Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett

PITTSBURGH – So far this season, Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski have combined for 39 catches, 644 yards and five touchdowns. Making the numbers that much more impressive is the fact the numbers were rolled up with Gronk inactive for two games and fairly useless in another thanks to his hamstring injury.

Will the Steelers slow the roll of Robellus Grennetski?

Hard to imagine. As Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out, Gronk alone has tuned up the Steelers with 26 receptions for 403 yards and seven touchdowns in six meetings.

Fittipaldo explored the strategies the Steelers defense may unveil Sunday afternoon when the Patriots and Steelers get going. He also pointed out that the return of linebacker Ryan Shazier after a three week layoff and injuries for safeties Mike Mitchell and Robert Golden may put Pittsburgh at a disadvantage.

Said Shazier: “They have the tandem they want at tight end. Now they can use tight ends the way they want. You have to respect everyone on the field. Both of them are good blockers, good pass threats and great at running after the catch.”

Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler said Pittsburgh will alter its approaches.

“We have to be able to play more than one defense,” Butler said. “They’re very good and they’ll pick you apart if they can figure out what you’re doing. We just have to execute the defense more than anything else. If we can do that … that’s been our problem for the most part. Some of the things that went on last week, we missed some things we should have made mentally.”

What “went on last week” was a 30-15 loss to the Dolphins.

Pittsburgh hasn’t been a big-play group so far -- eight sacks and three picks -- nor have they seen a gauntlet of great quarterbacks in the first six games. 

Interestingly, their losses have been to Ryan Tannehill and rookie Carson Wentz, probably the two quarterbacks one would figure Pittsburgh would do best against.
Between a smoking hot Brady and a can’t-be-stopped tight end tandem, there’s probably not a lot Pittsburgh can do aside from hoping for an off day.

Said linebacker Arthur Moats hopefully: “You have to continue to mix it up against (Gronkowski). You can’t give him the same look over and over. He has success on guys like that. If we disrupt him, and rush Brady and speed up his clock, I definitely think that will help out.”

In theory, perhaps. In practice? We’ll see.