Samuel says he's Hall-worthy

Samuel says he's Hall-worthy

By Tom E. Curran

Asante Samuel belongs in the Hall of Fame like I deserve a Pulitzer.

What brought that on? This:"No one that's come into the league with me or before me that's played my position, or even, I'm going to say, any defensive back should be going to the Hall of Fame before me. That's just what it is. Nobody should make it before me."

That gem, uttered by the erstwhile Patriots corner, hit the ears of Paul Domowitch when Domo was down in Atlanta this month.

As the Hall of Fame presenter for the Philadelphia market, Domowitch has been having his posterior smooched by Samuel for years. So when the writer went to visit Samuel - who was traded to the Falcons for a seventh-round pick - Samuel saw an opportune time to lobby for his Hall-worthiness.

Hence, the delusional quote found above.

Asante Samuel has been a good pro since 2003 when he was a fourth-round pick out of Central Florida. Some years, he's been excellent. His ability to intercept passes is his forte. Great ball skills, great anticipation, terrific quickness. As an overall defender - coverage, tackling, playing within the scheme and making the entire defense better - he's a B player. Hall of Famers are A players.

Charles Woodson, a Defensive Player of the Year in 2009, and a seven-time All-Pro is the first guy I think of when Samuel says nobody should get inducted over him.

Then I think of Champ Bailey. Then Ty Law. And Darrelle Revis might be a post-Samuel corner who needs consideration.

Samuel's picked off 45 passes. He's returned five for touchdowns in the regular season and returned another four for scores in the postseason. Good stuff.

But when Asante Samuel truly had a chance to set himself apart and make some history Hall of Fame voters would remember when they do their deliberations, he would have done well to have caught the most important pass that ever came his way.

During the New York Giants' final drive in Super Bowl XLVII, Eli Manning threw high toward the right sideline and Samuel mis-timed his jump. The ball hit his hands and then the ground and - as it turned out, - that was the last, best chance the Patriots had to preserve the only 19-game perfect season.

Sooooo, that kinda leaves a mark. You gotta love Samuel for conning himself into believing he's one of the best ever. You also have to wonder where he gets his version of reality.

Fast-break points aren't necessarily a good thing for Celtics

Fast-break points aren't necessarily a good thing for Celtics

BOSTON – Conventional NBA wisdom tells you that getting out to score in transition is a good thing, usually serving as easy points scored, which is what every team wants, right?
 
But bundles of transition points have been nothing but trouble for the Celtics this season.
 
They are coming off a game against the New York Knicks in which they scored 22 fast-break points, which was their second-best showing this season. But the final score, a 117-106 loss, wasn’t all that unusual from what has happened this season when their transition game has generated a decent amount of scoring.
 
Boston has a 2-6 record this season when they score 16 or more fast-break points. On the nights when Boston’s fast-break offense generates 10 or fewer points?
 
They’re 11-5.
 
While there are several possible reasons why this is, here’s what you have to remember.
 
The Celtics are a ball-movement, 3-point shooting team.
 
Often that means they’ll pass up potential shots in transition, to instead work the ball around from one side of the floor to the other, until they get what they deem is the best shot to take (usually it’s a lightly contested to wide open 3-pointer).
 
The Celtics average 329.6 passes per game, which ranks second in the NBA (Philadelphia, 354.8). Not surprisingly, that has led to them ranking among the league’s leaders in assists (24.9, third in the NBA).
 
And that has led to Boston being ranked among the top-3 in several other key passing statistics, such as secondary assists (7.1, 2nd in the NBA); potential assists (49.5, 2nd); and assists points created (60.8, 3rd);
 
Here are a few more stats to crunch on, courtesy of CSN Associate Producer Andy Levine.
 
PAINT BY NUMBERS: When the Celtics score 40 percent or less of their points in the paint, they are 19-5 this season. When Boston gets 40 percent or more of its points in the paint, they are just 7-11.
 
BROWN IN THE FOURTH: Jaylen Brown has been among the better rookies this season, especially in the fourth quarter. Among rookies who played in at least 20 games in the fourth quarter, Brown is second in fourth quarter shooting at 54.9 percent. With those same standards, he’s sixth in shooting 3’s in the fourth at 38.5 percent.
 
CROWDER BOUNCES BACK: The past four games has seemingly brought out the best in Crowder. In that span, he has averaged 18.5 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 57 percent from the field and 48 percent from 3-point range. Crowder’s 3-point shooting of late has elevated him to seventh in the league while connecting on 42.5 percent of his 3-point attempts (minimum 150 attempts).

OUCH! It has not been a smooth start for Evan Turner with his new team, the Portland Trail Blazers. This season, Turner’s plus/minus is -234, which is the fourth-worst plus/minus in the NBA.
 
 

Stevens: Bradley, Zeller, Jerebko out vs. Trail Blazers

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Stevens: Bradley, Zeller, Jerebko out vs. Trail Blazers

BOSTON – Before Brad Stevens addressed the media before the Celtics faced the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday afternoon, he had to take a moment to make sure he wouldn’t forget anyone who wasn’t able to play.
 
Yeah, the list was a pretty long one.
 
Tyler Zeller, Demetrius Jackson and Jonas Jerebko will not play tonight due to sickness. And Avery Bradley (right Achilles strain) will also be out with a timetable that’s starting to feel like it’ll be longer than anyone would want.
 
“I don’t anticipate Avery this week at all,” Stevens said. “He still has some soreness. Obviously we’re concerned about the long-term impact of a sore Achilles; what it means on that foot but also what it means when you compensate off it. But he’ll be back when he’s ready but I think he’s still a little bit away.”
 
Bradley, the team’s top on-the-ball defender and No. 2 scorer this season at 17.7 points per game, will be out for the sixth time in the Celtics’ last seven games because of the Achilles injury.
 
Replacing him in the starting lineup will be Marcus Smart whose status for tonight’s game wasn’t a sure thing.
 
On the Celtics’ pregame notes package, Smart was listed as probable with a sore right ankle injury. I asked Stevens about Smart’s status a few minutes ago, and he said the 6-foot-4 Smart will play tonight.
 
In his 15 starts this season, Smart has averaged 10.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.5 assists while shooting 38.4 percent from the field and 31.7 percent on 3's - all of which are better than what he produces when coming off the bench.