Rondo ejected as Celtics fall to Nets, 95-83

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Rondo ejected as Celtics fall to Nets, 95-83

BOSTON Winning the Atlantic Division for years has been a given for the Boston Celtics.
Not any more, not with vastly improved teams in the division like the Brooklyn Nets who defeated the Celtics 95-83 on Wednesday.
As much as the focus going into this game was on both teams trying to improve their status as one of the top teams in the East, that became an afterthought with 29.5 seconds to play in the second quarter.
That is when Kevin Garnett was fouled by Kris Humphries, and an incident involving players from both teams spilled into the front row near the Celtics bench.
When the dust finally cleared, Rajon Rondo was ejected along with Humphries and Gerald Wallace for Brooklyn.
And with his ejection, Rajon Rondo's double-digit assists streak is over at 37, which ties John Stockton for the second-longest streak in NBA history.
Rondo had six points and three assists.
Despite winning the division each of the last five seasons, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers says he doesn't pay much attention to it.
"I honestly don't look at it (division standings)," Rivers said. "I really don't. I know it's a lot of good teams. Philly and Brooklyn, New York, I mean everybody is pretty good now. But I honestly can't tell you where anyone's at. I never look."
That's a good thing right now, because the C's (8-7) are looking up to a lot of teams -- and there's nothing good about that.
As for Brooklyn, they have now won both matchups with the Celtics, the kind of success that can not be ignored.
Leading the way for them on Wednesday was a surprisingly strong showing from their bench.
Andray Blatche had 17 points and 13 rebounds while veteran Jerry Stackhouse chipped in 17 which included five 3-pointers.
"I know my role here," Stackhouse told CSNNE.com earlier. "Wherever they need me to fit in, that's what I'm going to do. For me at this point in my career, it's all about winning."
As for the C's, Brandon Bass and Kevin Garnett each had 16 points. Pierce had 14 points and nine rebounds, in addition to a team-high seven assists.

Curran: New deal's a win-win for Amendola and Patriots

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Curran: New deal's a win-win for Amendola and Patriots

Danny Amendola’s not going anywhere. The Patriots wideout -- whose 2016 salary of $5 million and cap hit of $6.8 million were sticking out like a sore thumb -- reworked his deal according to a league source.

Amendola, who also reworked his contract in 2015, agreed to a two-year, $7.35 million deal with $750,000 in roster bonuses and incentives. Mike Garofalo of FOX Sports first reported the deal (yay, Mike!!).

In a statement, Amendola said, “It’s an honor to play for this franchise and with this group of guys. We have one goal – to win another Championship and that’s all we care about.”

This is a win-win for Amendola and the team.

Signed as a free agent in 2013 to a five-year, $28 million deal, injuries prevented Amendola from settling into a role until the tail end of 2014. Once he did, he became a valuable alternate weapon to Julian Edelman as opposed to the redundancy as a quick, mid-range little dude.

In the 2014 Super Bowl run, Amendola had 11 catches for 137 yards and three touchdowns in three postseason games. Last year, he caught 65 for 648 yards and three touchdowns and led the league in punt return average (12-yard average on 23 returns).

At 30 and with a playing style and slight build that leads to injuries, Amendola -- despite his recent work -- probably would have had a tough time getting a better deal on the open market.

Meanwhile, given the track record of receiver pickups in New England, it’s very likely a free agent signee with more upside (like Mohamed Sanu or Marvin Jones) would have cost more but contributed less. Having Tom Brady’s trust, an understanding of the program and the ability to catch 60 passes and return punts are hard to overstate.

This redo was something everyone saw as needing to happen. Now that it has, the Patriots pay structure at wideout isn’t out of whack as it was and the team has some certainty going into minicamps about who will be here.

The team now has on its roster (in order of perceived on-field value) Edelman, Amendola, Chris Hogan, Keshawn Martin, Malcolm Mitchell, Nate Washington, Aaron Dobson, Chris Harper, Devin Lucien and De’Andre Carter in the fold.

Washington, Dobson, Harper, Lucien and Carter will fight to stick.

Amendola restructures his contract to stick with Patriots

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Amendola restructures his contract to stick with Patriots

It's very clear Danny Amendola wants to remain a member of the Patriots. For the second time in two years, the veteran receiver has restructured his deal in order to remain with the team, according to Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran.

Amendola's deal will pay him $7.35 million over the next two years. Amendola's new contract also allows him an opportunity to make $750,000 more in roster and receptions bonuses.

Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports 1 was the first to report the news.

In 2015, Amendola put together what was his best season in a Patriots uniform, finishing with 65 catches on 87 targets for 648 yards and three touchdowns. He was scheduled to make $5 million in base salary this year and count $6.8 million against the salary cap. In 2017, he was due $6 million in base salary and would have counted $7.86 million against the cap. 

Amendola released a statement to Garafolo that said, "It's an honor to play for this franchise and with this group of guys. We have one goal -- to win another Championship and that's all we care about."

Amendola's original deal with the Patriots was set to pay him $4 million in base salary with a $5.7 million cap hit in 2015, but he re-worked it so that he was paid $1.25 million in base salary and his cap hit was knocked down to $3.11 million last year. 

The Patriots receiver group appears to be solid at the top with Amendola, Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan securely in the fold. The team also added a handful of pass-catchers this offseason -- including veteran Nate Washington and rookies Malcolm Mitchell and Devin Lucien -- who will compete for time alongside Keshawn Martin, Aaron Dobson, Chris Harper and DeAndre Carter. 

McAdam: It's early, but there's good signs with the Red Sox

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McAdam: It's early, but there's good signs with the Red Sox

Sean McAdam talks with Toucher & Rich about the good start the Red Sox have gotten off to this season, playing well on the road and for the most part taking care of business.