Giants release Super Bowl hero

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Giants release Super Bowl hero

From Comcast SportsNetEAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The New York Giants continued their roster purge after missing the playoffs, cutting leading rusher Ahmad Bradshaw and defensive tackle Chris Canty.The salary cap-saving moves on Wednesday came one day after New York let starting weakside linebacker Michael Boley go after four seasons. The Giants also waived defensive tackle Martin Parker, who spent this past season on injured reserve with a back injury.Bradshaw, Canty and Boley were all veterans who contributed to the Giants' Super Bowl win over the Patriots a year ago, but they all had big contracts and battled injuries.Bradshaw, who has had knee and ankle injuries, was to earn 4.25 million. He became expendable with the play of rookie David Wilson. Canty, who had knee issues with the Giants after never missing a game with Dallas, was to earn 6.5 million next season. Boley, who had shoulder and hamstring injuries last season, was to make 4 million this season.The biggest surprise might have been the release of Bradshaw, who was one of the emotional leaders of the team.The 26-year-old, who played on two Super Bowl championship teams with the Giants, led the team in rushing each of the past three seasons, gaining 1,015 this past season."Pound for pound, Bradshaw is one of the toughest football players that I've been around," said general manager Jerry Reese, who took Bradshaw with the 250th pick in the 2007 draft. "Ahmad played football like Giants football should be played."One of the moments fans will remember is Bradshaw yelling at coach Tom Coughlin during a game this past season, saying he wanted the ball more. Coughlin had no problems with his fire."He is not only an exceptional football player, but he is the epitome of line up and play," Coughlin said. "Regardless of the circumstances, he's going to give you everything he's got. If you give the ball to him, he's going to get every inch of what is there -- and sometimes when it's not blocked, he still gets it."Bradshaw is sixth on the franchise's career rushing list with 4,232 yards and seventh with 921 rushing attempts. He rushed for 32 touchdowns, the ninth-highest total in team history.In his six seasons, he played in 84 regular-season games with 33 starts. He also caught 132 passes for 1,087 yards and three touchdowns.The Giants' first-round draft choice in 2012, Wilson rushed for 358 yards and four scores and also set a franchise record with 1,533 kickoff return yards. He will be backed up by Andre Brown, who rushed for 385 yards and a team-high eight touchdowns before breaking his leg in late November.Canty was signed in 2009 and played in 49 regular-season games with 45 starts, including all 20 games in the 2011 Super Bowl run. He had 155 tackles and nine sacks."Chris is a pro's pro, a true team player and competitor," Reese said. "He helped us get to the top in 2011 and it was a pleasure having him here during his time with the New York Giants."Canty missed the first six games of last season after having offseason knee surgery. He had 31 tackles and three sacks this past season, missing the finale because of a knee injury.Linval Joseph started at the other tackle for New York, which also has youngsters Marvin Austin and Markus Kuhn returning along with veteran Rocky Bernard.

Don't expect to see Celtics shy away from 3-pointers

Don't expect to see Celtics shy away from 3-pointers

BOSTON – There were a bunch of numbers from Boston’s 121-114 loss to Detroit on Wednesday that stood out. 

Among the eye-grabbing stats was the fact that the Celtics had taken 42 3s (with 15 makes), an unusually high number of attempts that we may see matched or even surpassed tonight against the Sacramento Kings. 

Don’t count head coach Brad Stevens among those surprised to see the Celtics attempt a lot of three-pointers. 

Last season the Celtics took 26.1 three-pointers per game which ranked 11th in the NBA. 

This season they’re up to 31.2 three-pointers attempted and 11.3 made which both rank fifth in the NBA. 

You can count Kelly Olynyk among the Celtics pleased with the team's increased emphasis on shooting 3s. 

The 7-foot led the NBA in shooting percentage (.405) on 3s taken last season.

"We play a lot of spread offense with four shooters, four perimeter guys," Olynyk, who is shooting 38.1 percent on 3s this season, told CSNNE.com. "We're trying to make teams shrink their defense and spray out and hopefully make shots. You're making extra passes, giving up good ones for great ones. And we have some pretty good shooters on our team. That's the way we're trying to play. It's just a matter of us making shots."

And the Celtics face a Kings team ranks among the NBA’s worst at limiting 3-point attempts with Sacramento opponents averaging 28.4 three-pointers taken per game which ranks 25th in the league. 

One of Stevens’ main points about three-pointers is while it’s an important shot for them, they need to be the right shot, the right basketball play at the right time. 

And when asked about the 42 attempts against the Pistons, he was quick to acknowledge those were for the most part the right shots to be taken. 

“They are,” Stevens said. “At the end of the day we want lay-ups. And if we don’t get layups, we want the floor to be shrunk. If the defense shrinks in, you’re able to touch the paint and kick out. Two of our last three games, maybe three of the last four, two-thirds of our possessions we touched the paint or shrunk the defense with a roll. That’s our objective. We’re not a team that gets to the foul line a lot. We’re not a team that rebounds at a high rate. And we haven’t scored in transition. To be able to be sitting where we are offensively, a big reason is because we space the floor.”

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

BOSTON – No one is proclaiming DeMarcus Cousins’ demeanor is all that radically different than past seasons. 

But the volatile nature that has often overshadowed his on-the-court-brilliance, doesn’t seem to shine as brightly as it used to. 

Maybe he’s growing up. 

Maybe he’s finally comfortable with his team. 

And then there’s the almighty dollar which was the incentive for one of his teammates, Matt Barnes, to clean up his act as far as racking up technical fouls and being fined by the league. 

I asked Barnes whether there was a light bulb moment or a teammate or player that helped him get on track and not draw so much attention from officials and the league office. 

“It was all the money I was being fined,” he said. “I think I lost like $600,000 over my career for fines. It was time to kind of wake and say ‘hey, they don’t like you so you have to stick to the book.’”

With Barnes returning to Sacramento (he played for the Kings during the 2004-2005 season), he finds an intense, kindred spirit of sorts in Cousins who like Barnes has had his share of technical and fines handed down by the league office. 

This season, Cousins is the NBA’s leader in technical fouls with six. 

“I’ve always had a good head on my shoulders,” Barnes said. “I’m just a passionate player. I play with my emotion on my sleeve. I think DeMarcus does the same thing. What I’m trying to show him now, we have to keep our emotions and energy focused towards the right things. That could be detrimental to the team if it gets out of hand.”

First-year coach Dave Joerger has been pleased to see how different Cousins is to be around on a daily basis as opposed to how he’s perceived. 

“He gets credit for his talent. He gets credit that he’s improved in the league,” Joerger said. “I think he doesn’t get enough credit for the way that his approach to the game and the way that he’s carrying himself and conducting himself has greatly improved. He’s a good person. Now being with him, I see improvement over the last three years, the way that he goes about his business. I think that’s very positive.”