Judge won't delay Jerry Sandusky's trial

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Judge won't delay Jerry Sandusky's trial

From Comcast SportsNet
BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) - Jerry Sandusky's child sexual abuse trail remained on track to begin next week following a ruling by the presiding judge on Wednesday. Judge John Cleland rejected the argument for a delay by the defense for the former Penn State assistant football coach, who was charged in November and December with a total of 52 counts involving 10 boys he allegedly abused between 1994 and 2008. Sandusky's lawyers sought the delay by citing experts who would not be available or able to help, an investigator who was facing surgery, large amounts of material that had yet to be analyzed and two Penn State administrators who face their own trial and will not be available as witnesses. Another issue involved grand jury, and although Cleland did not elaborate on it, citing grand jury secrecy, he denied it. "The reality of our system of justice is that no date for trial is ever perfect, but some dates are better than others," Cleland wrote. Cleland said starting jury selection on Tuesday would, on balance, protect Sandusky's right to a fair trial, the alleged victims' rights to their day in court, the state's obligation to prosecute promptly and the public's expectation of a swift proceeding. The ruling came a few hours before a court hearing was scheduled to address any unresolved pretrial issues. Cleland has not ruled on a defense motion to have the charges thrown out, or on a recent request by attorneys for five alleged victims to keep their identities secret. Cleland said the delay request was the topic of a private meeting Tuesday with prosecutors, defense attorneys and Sandusky himself that had not been publicly disclosed ahead of time. Sandusky was not expected to attend the Wednesday afternoon proceeding. The charges against Sandusky concern his relationships with boys he met through his charity for at-risk kids, The Second Mile. Prosecutors allege Sandusky groomed the boys for sexual abuse, offering gifts and access to the team in addition to companionship. At least some of the alleged abuse happened in the Penn State football team's facilities, prosecutors said. One of the alleged attacks was witnessed by former receivers coach Mike McQueary, then a graduate assistant. Details of the grand jury report touched of a massive scandal that engulfed the university, ultimately leading to the firing of Hall of Fame football coach Joe Paterno and the ouster of university President Graham Spanier. Two other university officials are charged with failing to report suspected abuse and perjury related to their grand jury testimony. Those two officials, athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz, are the potential witnesses referred to in Cleland's latest order. Curley, on leave, and Schultz, now retired, have told Sandusky's lawyer they will invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if subpoenaed. Also Wednesday, Cleland issued a detailed "decorum order" that will govern reporters and others who plan to attend the trial. Cleland said opening statements will not begin before June 11, six days after the start of jury selection.

Sixers' success against C's defense shows Boston still has room to grow

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Sixers' success against C's defense shows Boston still has room to grow

Avery Bradley was a member of the NBA’s All-Defensive first team a year ago. And Al Horford has been among the league’s best interior defenders for a number of years.

But as talented defensively as they may be, the Celtics are still learning how to play with each other as well as off of one another.

Injuries have slowed down the chemistry developing as quickly as some might expect. Horford missed nine games due to a concussion, and another game due to wife giving birth to their second child, Alia Horford.

And in Boston’s 107-106 win over Philadelphia on Saturday night, defensive chemistry -- not only among Horford and Bradley, but with all of the players -- remains a work in progress for sure.

Boston had a number of defensive issues in the first half which factored in the Sixer shooting 46.1 percent from the field while shooting 9-for-18 from 3-point range.

But the second half was an entirely different story as Boston’s defense picked up his intensity and focus level which would prove to be just enough to beat a scrappy Sixers team.

The Celtics (12-8) are four games over .500 for the first time this season currently have the third-best record in the Eastern Conference behind Cleveland (13-5) and Toronto (14-6). 

And while the players point to a handful of games that they felt they gave away, Avery Bradley reminds all that the success of this team this season has for the most part come with key players out of the mix or limited in some capacity.

“We haven’t played that many games with the full roster,” Bradley told reporters after the win. “We’re still learning how to play with each other.”

Bradley pointed out a moment in Saturday’s victory where a miscommunication between him and Horford led to a defensive miscue.

Boston has had similar mistakes made on offense this season, too.

“We haven’t really been in pick-and-roll that much,” Bradley said. “Every single game we need to improve.”

And that improvement has to continue evolving on the defensive side of things for this team to achieve its goals this season which include being among the last teams standing in the East.

Doing that will likely mean Boston re-establishing itself as a defensive force, something that should come with time and experience playing with each other.

Horford, who signed a four-year, $113 million deal with Boston in the offseason, says it’s an ongoing process for all involved.

“I have to learn to play with our concepts, the guys have to learn to play with me,” Horford told reporters after Saturday’s win. “We just have to make sure we keep playing the right way, be more consistent with that. I feel like we’re getting better but there’s still some work that we need to do.”

Stars, studs and duds: Thomas churns out another strong fourth quarter performance

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Stars, studs and duds: Thomas churns out another strong fourth quarter performance

The pressure that comes with a tight game in the fourth quarter can be a weighty proposition for some NBA players.

Then there’s Boston’s Isaiah Thomas who continues to save his best work for the fourth quarter.

Saturday’s 107-106 win at Philadelphia had yet another Thomas-like finish for the Celtics as the 5-foot-9 guard was at his most dominant state in the game’s final minutes.

Thomas finished with a season high-tying 37 points which included a stretch in the fourth in which he scored 12 straight.

“I just love the fourth quarter,” Thomas told reporters following the win. “I just want to win. Whether it’s making plays for myself or making plays for my teammates, it’s about making the right play. I get ultra- aggressive in that fourth quarter. That’s what I’ve always done.”

And his teammates appreciate how Thomas elevates his play in the game’s most pivotal moments.

“A lot of the credit is to Isaiah, how he was able to finish the game tonight,” said Avery Bradley. “He was able to make shots when we needed him to.”

And while Thomas knows his shots won’t fall all the time down the stretch, his fourth quarter mentality does provide him with a level of confidence that no matter what the defense does to him or what the score may be, he can swing the game’s momentum in his team’s favor.

“Some guys get a little tight, they get a little timid (in the fourth quarter),” Thomas said. “I embrace it. I want to be great. I want to be somebody my teammates can call on when the game is close.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Saturday night’s game.

STARS

Isaiah Thomas: There was no more dominant player on Saturday night than Thomas. He finished with a game-high 37 points along with seven assists.

Dario Saric: It was a breakout game for the 22-year-old rookie who led the Sixers with 21 points as well as 12 rebounds for his third double-double this season. Both his points and rebound totals tied his career highs in those categories.

STUDS

Avery Bradley: Boston’s surge towards victory did not kick in until the third quarter which is when Bradley elevated his play offensively. In the third he scored 10 of his 20 points on the night, to go along with a team-high nine rebounds.

Ersan Illyasova: He finished with 18 points which included a pair of three-pointers in the closing seconds of the game. He also grabbed six rebounds and two assists.

DUDS

Celtics first half defense: There wasn’t much to like about Boston defensively in the first half. The Celtics struggled to take away or limit Philadelphia’s only strength Saturday night which was three-point shooting. The Sixers nailed nine of their 18 three-point attempts in the first half in addition to hurting the Celtics’ transition defense which gave up seven fast-break points to Philly compared to Boston scoring just one point in transition.