Jaguars laud Talib's contributions to Patriots defense

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Jaguars laud Talib's contributions to Patriots defense

FOXBORO -- Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne is aware that Bill Belichick's strategy against him involves bringing a lot of pressure. He knows that from his days with the Miami Dolphins.

And on Sunday in Jacksonville, Henne expects the same thing from a Patriots defense that he says relies on man-to-man coverage.

"Obviously they're a very disciplined defense," said Henne. "They're in the right spots, with Aqib Talib an addition to the outside at corner definitely helps them out. I think it's still a man-coverage team. The guys up front, their front four, they're stout, pressure guys.

"The Patriots defense looks similar," he added. "Obviously there's new guys in new spots, but for the most part, they kind of switched over to a 4-3 from last year, same thing. They've been switching up a little bit on the defensive fronts, moving around a little bit. But overall it's a lot of the same scheme. I think the pressure's down a little bit, but you always have to be aware of pressure with Belichick, because in the past, he's brought a lot of pressure against me."

Henne will also pinpoint where cornerback Aqib Talib is at all times on Sunday, while trying to avoid that pressure.

"I think he's done a great job," said Henne about Talib. "He's been traveling a lot with the No. 1 receiver in each game. He's making plays, he's had a couple picks. I thought he played pretty well last week, and I think overall, the defense is revolved around man coverage and winning those one-on-one match ups, so Talib adds that attribute to them."

Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey also acknowledged Talib's strong presence on the Patriots defense.

"I think he's a good addition, a very good addition," said Mularkey. "They do a number of things, and they've got very good players doing them. He just adds to the mix. You've got to be aware of who he's going to go against. And I think it's brought even more confidence, if they needed it, for that defense."

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics surge at end of second quarter

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics surge at end of second quarter

BOSTON –  For the second time in as many games, the Boston Celtics were hosting a team eager to get off a losing skid.

But a strong surge near the end of the second quarter gave the Celtics a 65-56 halftime lead over Portland which came into the night having lost four straight.

Boston opened with a 12-4 run capped off by a 3-pointer by Jae Crowder – his second within the game’s first couple minutes.

But the Blazers were being carried by C.J. McCollum, half of the most explosive backcourt in the NBA. His 12 first-quarter points were crucial to keeping the Blazers within 28-26 at the end of the quarter.

McCollum continued to out-perform everyone else on the floor, even Isaiah Thomas who had a quieter than usual first half.

But the 5-foot-9 Thomas continued to make all the plays needed to put the Celtics back on top courtesy of a 12-3 run that put them ahead 57-49 with 1:55 to play in the half.

From there, Boston was able to maintain control of the game.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Saturday’s game.

 

STARS

C.J. McCollum

While there’s still talk about whether Damian Lillard will be an All-Star this year, McCollum has played well enough to where he’s at least worthy of a mention in the All-Star conversation. He certainly carried Portland in the first half with 26 points on 8-for-12 shooting.

Isaiah Thomas

As usual, Thomas drew a considerable amount of attention from the opposing defense. And slowly but surely, he found cracks that he could exploit. At the half, he had 17 points, four assists and three rebounds, one of which was an offensive board that he put-back in for a lay-up.

 

STUDS

Jae Crowder

He put the Celtics on a good path from the outset, knocking down a couple 3’s in the first couple of minutes. He finished the half with 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting which included a trio of 3-pointers.

Meyers Leonard

He was 3-for-4 in the first half which included a pair of powerful dunks over Boston’s Jordan Mickey. At the half he had eight points and two rebounds.

 

DUDS

Damian Lillard

It was a rough half for the two-time All-Star, tallying just three points on 1-for-5 shooting. A big part of his problem? Foul trouble. He played just 10 minutes in the first half due in large part to having three personal fouls.