Thibodeau: Team effort required to contain Pierce, Garnett


Thibodeau: Team effort required to contain Pierce, Garnett

BOSTON -- Tom Thibodeau watched from the sidelines as Paul Pierce struggled.

The Boston Celtics captain shot 5-for-17 from the field against the Chicago Bulls, including 2-for-9 in the first half alone. Yet the Bulls head coach and former Celtics assistant coach saw something different than a tough shooting night. He saw the player who was named the 2008 NBA Finals MVP, one of the toughest competitors in the league, and a shooter who could not be left alone.

"A guy like Pierce, hes such a great scorer, he scores so many different ways, youve got to guard him with your team," Thibodeau said following the Bulls 100-99 overtime win. "He missed some shots he normally makes, but you have to make him play in a crowd and challenge his shots as much as you can. He still has the ability to make it even if you defend it well. He was off a little bit so that was our good fortune, but Pauls a great player. Hes been a great player for a long time.

"Every time he shoots the ball, I think its going in and he plays you at a great speed. You know hes always under control, he has great strength. People dont realize what a great athlete he is. So you guard him with your team."

Then there was Kevin Garnett, who shot 1-for-10 through three quarters and scored 13 points between the fourth quarter and overtime.

"Garnett just works the game," said Thibodeau. "The first half, nothings really going and then in the end, making big shots, big plays, he impacts the game in so many different ways. As does (Rajon) Rondo. Theyre so disruptive."

Pierce, Garnett, and Rondo are the only remaining members of the 2008 championship team. Thibodeau has experienced their talent firsthand and believes they have enough to drive the Celtics.

What he saw on the court Friday night isn't a reflection of how good he thinks they can be.

"The Celtics are a great team," he said. "I think (Avery) Bradley being out made it a little different for them, hes been playing well. But they have a lot of new players, who as you can see are getting more comfortable. And once they get some games together, this team is going to be very, very dangerous.

Felger: Sorry, Tom, but Jimmy G. and Brissett need to play Friday

Felger: Sorry, Tom, but Jimmy G. and Brissett need to play Friday

If there's any Patriots quarterback who should be getting meaningful time other than Jimmy Garoppolo on Friday in Carolina, it's not Tom Brady. It's Jacoby Brissett.

Brissett, obviously, will be the Patriots backup the first four games of the year, and the team has yet to go through the annual preseason exercise of subjecting him to the situation under which he's most likely to see time during the regular season. Typically, Bill Belichick will yank the starting QB out of the first half of an exhibition game unannounced and tell the backup to throw on his helmet and get out there. Brissett has yet to go through it, and you have to figure it's coming in the next two weeks.

Other than that, Garoppolo should see all the time while the starters are on the field. He's had little success going against the opposition's starters so far this month and needs every rep he can get. He needs to go through the routine of starting a prime-time game on the road, which will be the case Sept. 11 in Arizona.

Where does that leave Tom Brady? Stewing, probably. It's clear he wants to play. It's clear he wasn't happy missing last Thursday against Chicago and is pining for work Friday. If you were wondering how Brady would feel about losing time in training camp to Garoppolo as the Pats got ready for the regular season, you probably have your answer. He's not a fan.

There is a case to be made that the team and Belichick, in particular, owes Brady some love. Deflategate was dropped in Brady's lap from the start, and while the coach skated, the quarterback's sentence has finally become a reality. The Pats should want to make Brady happy. He deserves the respect.

But, ultimately, we ask the fallback Patriots question: What's best for the team? The answer isn't even close. Garoppolo deserves every snap, save for that potential emergency exercise with Brissett.

As for Brady's feelings? He'll get over it.

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Draw with Earthquakes extends Revolution's winless streak


Draw with Earthquakes extends Revolution's winless streak

SAN JOSE, Calif. - David Bingham had his sixth shutout of the season and the San Jose Earthquakes tied New England 0-0 on Wednesday night, extending the Revolution's winless streak to five games.

Bingham, who was tied for second in MLS soccer with 12 shutouts last season, had three saves - including a stop on Diego Fagundez's shot in the 86th minute.

The Revolution haven't scored since a 3-1 victory over Chicago on Aug. 9, a stretch of more than 270 minutes.

New England (6-11-8) had beaten San Jose three straight times.

San Jose (7-7-10) has just one loss in its last seven matches.