The Heat fail in the clutch -- again

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The Heat fail in the clutch -- again

From Comcast SportsNet
MIAMI (AP) -- This does not sound like a winning formula. Miss 24 of 29 shots in one stretch, on the road. Watch an 11-point, second-half lead turn into a deficit. Have your entire team get outscored by two players in the fourth quarter. Somehow, it worked for the Indiana Pacers. And with one part of the Big Three gone, the Miami Heat might have a very big problem. David West scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and the Pacers took home-court advantage away from Miami by beating the Heat 78-75 in Game 2 of the teams' Eastern Conference semifinal series Tuesday night -- after LeBron James and Dwyane Wade both came up short on key opportunities in the final minute. "Defense and rebounding," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "We built this team, we started talking about smash-mouth basketball, about winning the war in the trenches, and that's with defense and rebounding. That's what I grew up watching Eastern Conference basketball being like. We understand offense is going to come and go, especially like a great defensive team like these guys ... but we're pretty good, too." The series is tied at 1-1, with Game 3 in Indianapolis on Thursday night. James scored 28 points for Miami and Wade finished with 24, though both failed to convert big chances late. James missed two free throws with 54.3 seconds left and Miami down one, and Wade was short on a layup that would have tied the game with 16 seconds remaining. Moments later, a few of the Pacers were leaping in celebration at midcourt of Miami's floor, something that Wade said was noticed afterward. "The game is not lost or won with two free throws," James said. "But I definitely want to come through for my teammates. So I'll get an opportunity again. I know I'll be at the line again in that situation. Just go up and make em." Miami was without Chris Bosh, who's sidelined indefinitely -- almost certainly the rest of the series, possibly longer if the Heat advance -- after he strained a lower abdominal muscle in Game 1. His absence was noted in many ways. Miami shot 35 percent, got outrebounded 50-40 and besides James and Wade, no other Heat player scored more than five points. According to STATS LLC, it was the first time in Heat franchise history that only two players scored more than five points in a game, regular-season or playoffs. After Wade's missed layup that would have tied the game, he remained on the court for a few extra seconds, looking exhausted until James -- who said Wade would make that shot "10 out of 10 times" -- pulled him up. "Chris was missed, no doubt about it," Wade said, after he and James outscored Indiana 21-17 in the fourth. "But that's not the reason we lost this ball game." The Heat were outscored 28-14 in the third quarter, shooting 3 for 17 in that period. They didn't score in the final 2:41 of the game, and when Mario Chalmers missed a 3-pointer that would have tied it on the last play, Miami dropped to 1 for 16 from 3-point range on the night, 1 for 22 in the series. "Welcome to the playoffs, for us," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "That's how we're viewing it. This series has started. They won on our home court. Now we have to collect ourselves, gather ourselves and get ready for Game 3. That's all that matters right now." George Hill had 15 points, Danny Granger scored 11 and Paul George added 10 for Indiana, which made only 38 percent of its shots. The Pacers had been 2-9 this season when shooting that poorly, yet got a split in Miami anyway. "I feel like we should be 2-0," George said. James had a chance to give Miami the lead with 1:22 left, but his shot was blocked from behind by George, who was fouled two seconds later. He missed both free throws, keeping the Indiana lead at 76-75. And after Wade missed a jumper, James was fouled by Granger -- his sixth -- battling for the rebound with 54.3 seconds remaining. James missed both shots, and Indiana held on from there. "Their third-leading scorer had five points and that's what you want to do," Granger said. "If LeBron James gets 11 assists they are probably going to win. They scored a lot, but we stopped everyone else." Emotions picked up considerably in the fourth. Wade was steaming when he missed a shot after trying to create contact with Indiana's Dahntay Jones with 9:53 left. As Wade argued, Jones went the other way and set Leandro Barbosa up for a score that put the Pacers up 63-56. Chalmers turned the ball over on the next possession, and as the Pacers took off for what set up as a 2-on-none break, Wade caught Darren Collison from behind and knocked him over. A flagrant-1 was called, Collison hit both free throws, the Indiana lead was nine and tensions were suddenly high. It all seemed to spark Miami. The Heat scored the next six points. James -- who got hit in the head by Granger with 7:25 left, sparking a bit of shoving that led to double-technicals given to both players -- added a putback off an offensive rebound and Wade did the same about a minute later, getting Miami within 69-66 with 5:57 left. The whole game was a grind. Indiana scored 16 points in the first seven minutes of the first half, then scored 17 in the next 17 minutes. And even after a drought like that, Miami's lead was only 38-33 at the break. Miami was 0-for-7 on shots that would have pushed its margin to double digits in the first half. "Playoffs," George said, "are about grinding it out." James missed a free throw that would have tied it with 4:30 remaining, but after George got the rebound, James dove in to create a jump ball situation. The MVP easily won the tap, sending it to Wade, whose bank shot over West put Miami back on top 72-71. Barbosa scored on the next Indiana possession. The Pacers weren't rattled, and never trailed again. "We never felt like we were the underdogs," Granger said. NOTES: James' six steals were a Heat playoff record. ... Trying to exploit the size advantage with Bosh out, the Pacers got 7-foot-2 C Roy Hibbert three shots in the first 1:11 of the game. He got three the rest of the game. ... Wade is now 39-11 in home playoff games. ... James will play his 100th playoff game Thursday.

New QB Brissett comes in with high praise from Parcells, Weis

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New QB Brissett comes in with high praise from Parcells, Weis

Suddenly, there’s an awful lot on the plate of young Jacoby Brissett.

Drafted in the third round by the Patriots, he’s charged with learning one of the most difficult offenses to in the NFL, performing in one of the league’s most demanding programs, dealing with being two heart attacks away from being the starter for a dynastic franchise and living up to the advance billing that’s built him up as one of the great Americans of the 21st century.

Bill Parcells, who’s known Brissett since the NC State product was in high school, spoke to Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. The Tuna pumped Brissett’s tires up beyond all reasonable inflation levels.

“He’s a Curtis Martin, Willie McGinest, Troy Brown-type player,” Parcells said, reeling off the names of one Pro Football Hall of Famer and two Patriots Hall of Famers. “That’s the kind of guy he is. That’s what New England is getting. Those kinds, those Tedy Bruschi types, those players who’ve been successful — he’s very similar in his personal life to those kinds of guys.”

Former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, who coached Brissett at Florida in Weis’ vagabond post-Patriots career, was also reached by the intrepid Guregian.

“I only got to coach him for one season, but I absolutely loved the kid as a player and a person,” said Weis. “I couldn’t be any happier that he ended up in New England.”

There’s much more from both Weis and Parcells but I’m not going to scavenge the whole article so click here to see it. 

Meanwhile, Josh McDaniels on Monday also spoke about Brissett in complimentary but far-less-fawning terms.

“We’ll find out more as we get to know him in our building, but I know we feel good about the kid,” said McDaniels. “He did a lot of good things in college. He played in a lot of big games and played against some really good football teams. He performed well and admirably for his team. He takes care of the ball, makes some smart decisions. He’s a big kid and sometimes he’s hard to bring down in the pocket. There are some other things that we’ll get a better chance to see and evaluate when he gets here, but I’m looking forward to working with him.”

We already heard from Brissett in his post-draft conference call and he was enjoyable. But it will be interesting to speak with him in the flesh when the 2016 rookies are introduced en masse. No doubt by then the Patriots will have stressed to Brissett the importance of being a name, rank, serial number conversationalist rather than delving too deeply into his pre-Patriots relationships with former New England coaches.

 

Patriots release a pair from end of roster

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Patriots release a pair from end of roster

After importing a fleet of corners over the weekend, the Patriots released veteran Rashaan Melvin on Monday.

Melvin was claimed off waivers in October of last season as the Patriots were combing the league for cornerback depth. He’d been with the Ravens previously and was targeted repeatedly by Tom Brady in the 2014 AFC Divisional Playoff win. Soon after joining the Patriots, he was on the field against the Giants in Week 9 when Justin Coleman got injured. It didn’t go well as Eli Manning sought Melvin out and chewed him up.

The Patriots released Melvin in mid-December and then signed him back to their practice squad.

The Patriots drafted Cyrus Jones on Friday and reportedly added four more undrafted corners (the team hasn’t confirmed those agreements yet) so Melvin became expendable.

The Patriots also released linebacker James Vaughters, who they signed to a futures contract in January.

Red Sox President Sam Kennedy on the "State of the Sox"

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AP

Red Sox President Sam Kennedy on the "State of the Sox"

In episode 9 of "The Baseball Show" podcast, Sean McAdam talks with Boston Red Sox Team President Sam Kennedy about a wide range of issues, including the pressure to win this season after two straight last place finishes, the long-term future of Fenway Park, increasing revenue with other events, and changing the schedule early in the season for more games played in better weather.

McAdam also talks about recent MLB suspensions for PED's of Chris Collabello of the Toronto Blue Jays and Dee Gordon of the Miami Marlins. Should teams pay a penalty for their players' actions? Are suspensions too long?