Rondo credits Dooling with helping Celtics locker room


Rondo credits Dooling with helping Celtics locker room

BOSTON -- Keyon Dooling sat at a locker as Jeff Green, Jason Terry, and Chris Wilcox listened with somber expressions on their faces. The Celtics had just lost a game in early January and their struggles with consistency continued.

As the media began to fill the locker room, Dooling ignored all distractions and continued to speak. He stayed seated to deliver his message. He stood up to demonstrate his advice. All the while, he never took his eyes off the trio of players, and they didn't break their attention from him.

Dooling never wanted to leave the game completely when he retired from the NBA in September. After an emotion-filled summer, he walked away from the Boston Celtics as a veteran guard and re-joined the organization as a player development coordinator.

Just months into his new role, he is already being credited for delivering the motivation and positivity he was so passionate about bringing during his career.

Since Jan. 4, the Celtics have gone from a 14-17 team on a four-game losing streak searching for an identity to 20-17 club that has won six straight. Following the C's 100-89 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats, Rajon Rondo credited his former teammate and close friend for helping the team rediscover their swagger.

"Keyon Dooling has actually helped, actually," said Rondo. "Hes been in the locker room, amping guys up. His personality, I think it started with him."

Dooling earned the nickname "The Reverend" last season for his inspirational and impassioned talks. His trademark question, "What's driving you?" has forced countless athletes to look within and realize what they were playing for each day.

Rondo has noticed a change in the locker room since Dooling began infusing his personality within the walls. The point guard has seen his teammates playing more loosely on the court, with role players like Courtney Lee and Jeff Green smiling more often since the team began hitting their stride.

Our spirits are better, obviously," said Rondo. "It's not fun losing, and since we've been winning, the locker room has been a little bit more relaxed and not so tense. Guys are smiling again and joking, so it's back to where weve been from the start.

"We lost a couple games, but we never got down."

Just the type of optimistic sentiments Dooling would express, too.

Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'


Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'

Malcolm Butler didn't mean any disrespect. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 


When the Patriots corner picked off a Landry Jones pass in the first quarter -- one that was intended for receiver Antonio Brown -- Butler stood up in the end zone, faced the Heinz Field crowd, stuck one arm in the air a and gyrated like someone had attached jumper cables to his facemask. 

He was doing his best to mimick one of Brown's well-known touchdown dances.

"Me and Brown had conversation before," Butler said, "and it was a joke to him once I showed him how I do it. Much love for that guy. Nothing personal."

For Butler, it was the highlight of what was a productive afternoon. The third-year corner was asked to shadow Brown for much of the day, and he allowed Brown to catch five of nine targets for 94 yards. He also broke up a pair of passes intended for Brown's teammates.

“Stopping Antonio Brown, that’s impossible," Butler said. "You can’t stop him. You can only slow him down. I just went out there and tried to compete today . . . Great players are going to make plays but you have to match their intensity.”
Even on the longest throw from backup quarterback Landry Jones to Brown, a 51-yarder, it appeared as though Butler played the coverage called correctly. 

Butler lined up across from Brown and trailed him underneath as Brown worked his jway from the left side of the field to the right. Butler was looking for some help over the top in that scenario, seemingly, but because Brown ran across the formation, it was hard for the back end of the defense to figure out who would be helping Butler. 

Belichick admitted as much after the game. 

"He was on [Brown] a lot the way we set it up," Belichick said. "Look, they've got great players. They're tough to cover. They hit us on a couple over routes, in cut where they kind of ran away from the coverage that we had. 

"The plays were well designed. Good scheme, good thorws and obviously good routes by Brown. They got us on a couple, but I thought we competed hard. We battled all the way. We battled on third down. We battled in the red area. They made some. We made some, but they're good. They have a lot of good players."

And Brown, in particular, is about as close as it gets to unstoppable in the NFL. Butler found that out in Week 1 of last year when he matched up with Brown in his first game as a starter, giving up nine catches for 133 yards to the All-Pro wideout. 

Though Sunday might not have been perfect for Butler, it was better than that day about 14 months ago. And at times, it was worth dancing about. 

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6


SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals settled for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.

Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.

The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.

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