Opponents: Celtics are 'missing Ray'

928555.jpg

Opponents: Celtics are 'missing Ray'

The Boston Celtics had little interest in discussing former teammate Ray Allen at the start of this season. Some players politely wished him the best after he signed with the Miami Heat last summer. Kevin Garnett noted he no longer had Allens phone number. Rajon Rondo referred to him as Number 20.
Allen will return to the TD Garden on Sunday for the first time as a member of the Heat. He will face a Celtics team struggling to establish consistency and currently ranked eighth in the Eastern Conference (20-21).
Even though the Celtics have focused on looking forward this season, opponents have noticed a difference in the team without Allen on the floor:
Rip Hamilton (Chicago Bulls)Theyre different. When you go into the game, you know with him, hes coming off curls, hes coming off pindowns. He really spaces the floor for Paul Pierce to go ahead and to what he do, for KG Kevin Garnett to do what he do. It was a guy that you never ever could not guard.
Ramon Sessions (Charlotte Bobcats)You can definitely tell they look different. They just play a little different without him out there. When he comes in, he kind of solidifies that second unit. I think they brought in JT Jason Terry to fill that role. He kind of started off to a slow start but I think once it gets deeper into the season, being a veteran, hell kind of take over that role. You definitely defend them differently any time Rays not out on the court because Ray is a pure shooter and they ran a lot of sets for him with that second unit. Its definitely a different vibe and a different feel with that second unit now that hes not out there. They still play the same way, I think. Of course in the back of their minds, they probably miss him a little bit because hes a guy that can hit big shots. But I think JT will step in and fill that void.
Luol Deng (Chicago Bulls)Its going to be difficult. Ray Allen takes so much attention and he gets guys shots. He made a big difference for them. You could always replace everyone. Its just, how do you do it? Its not going to be one guy. Dont think that youre going to bring one guy in and hes going to just fill in the shoes. It takes a team effort and a team goes in a different direction, whether its Paul Pierce or Kevin or Rajon Rondo who are scoring more. I think people fall into, This guys gone, so this guy has to be that guy. Its never like that. Every individual is different. Thats why every time you get a superstar in the NBA, people want to compare the new player to him and its never the same because everyone is so different, our fingerprints are different. Youre just not going to get the same thing.
Marcin Gortat (Phoenix Suns)Obviously theyre missing their sharpshooter, but still, theyve got so much talent. Theyve got so many guys that can shoot the ball, they still run a great system, theyve still got KG whos running the whole defense, they have Rajon Rondo who can distribute the ball so well. So I dont think theres a huge drop off from Ray Allen. Obviously the team would be better if he would have stayed, but right now theyre still pretty good.
Tony Allen (Memphis Grizzlies)Thats a Hall of Fame kind of guy. So that right there just lets you know, theyre missing Ray. Period, point blank. Theyre missing Ray.

Tom Brady will play Friday night vs. Panthers

Tom Brady will play Friday night vs. Panthers

CHARLOTTE - Tom Brady didn't merely fly to Carolina because he likes having his ears pop. 

The Patriots quarterback will indeed play Friday night against the Carolina Panthers. Given Bill Belichick's stated objective of making Jimmy Garoppolo's preparation for the season's first four games a priority, it was uncertain whether Brady would be on the field even though he traveled. But with Brady a late scratch last Thursday against the Bears after gouging his thumb just before kickoff, his chances for game reps before his exile were waning. 

Brady made it very clear this week that he doesn't just want the game reps for tuning up and getting knocked around but because he believes it's his job and responsibility to be out there leading the team, regardless of where he'll be the first four weeks of the year. With him feeling that strongly about playing being important for his preparation and for his standing within the team, it makes sense for Belichick to give him reps. 

It's not known whether Brady or Garoppolo will start or how many series either quarterback will play Friday night. 

Red Sox’ quotes, notes and stars from 2-1 loss to Rays

boston-red-sox-drew-pomeranz-rays-082516.jpg

Red Sox’ quotes, notes and stars from 2-1 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Notes, quotes and stars from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Rays:

QUOTES:

* "There's not much I can do about it now. It's kind of a waiting game and hopefully, the tests come back clean.'' -Andrew Benintendi, on the uncertainty surrounding his knee injury.

* "Sometimes, I like that, sometimes I don't because I'd kind of take a couple of quick outs in place of those to get a couple of more innings out there.'' -Drew Pomeranz on his career high 11 strikeouts.

* "That's probably the spot that looms the largest. Jackie's become more aggressive early in the count, but at the same time, that aggressiveness can work against you.'' -Farrell on Jackie Bradley Jr. swinging at the first pitch following a walk with the bases loaded.

NOTES:

* Drew Pomeranz recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts

 * Since moving to the leadoff spot, Dustin Pedroia has a slash line of .397/.418/.460 in 16 games.

* Pomeranz has yielded two runs or fewer in five consecutive starts.

* On the just-completed road trip, the Red Sox led in all but one game.

* Thursday's loss was the fourth this season in which the Sox allowed two runs or fewer.

 * The past 18 Red Sox losses have come by a combined 37 runs.

* Until Thursday, the Red Sox had won 20 of their past 31 day games.

* The bottom third of the makeshift Red Sox lineup combined to go 2-for-12.

* The Sox missed out on a chance to have an eight-win road trip, which would have been their first since 2011.

STARS:

1) Jake Odorizzi

The Rays started, facing a depleted Red Sox lineup, limited the Sox to a single run over seven innings, allowing just five hits and getting out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam by allowing just one run.

2) Mikie Mahtook

Mahtook was 0-for-34 when facing Drew Pomeranz in the seventh inning, but that didn't stop him from doubling home Steven Souza Jr with what proved to be the winning run.

3) Dustin Pedroia

The Sox couldn't generate much of anything at all offensively, but don't blame Pedroia. The leadoff hitter had three hits and a walk and was on base four times for the Sox.

Benintendi's MRI inconclusive; will undergo more tests Friday in Boston

Benintendi's MRI inconclusive; will undergo more tests Friday in Boston

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Andrew Benintendi saga will continue for at least one more day, as an MRI taken here Thursday morning was, in the words of John Farrell, "inconclusive" and the rookie left fielder will undergo more tests Friday in Boston.

"Our doctors want to get him back to a full exam with (team orthopedist) Dr. [Peter] Asnis," Farrell said after the 2-1 loss to the Rays, which concluded the team's 11-game road trip. "Hopefully, when I speak to you all [Friday] afternoon (at Fenway Park, prior to the team's game against Royals), there will be a little more information on this."

Farrell said Friday's tests "will include some other imaging".

The Sox placed Benintendi on the 15-day disabled list after he injured his left night while running the bases Wednesday night. 

"We're going to do some more tests tomorrow and take it day-by-day," he said. "There's not much I can do about it now. It's kind of a waiting game and hopefully the tests come back clean.''
 
Benintendi found one sliver of hope:
 
"The more I walk on it, the better it feels. I'm going to stay as positive as I can.''