Varnado happy to be in Brooklyn with Celtics for holidays


Varnado happy to be in Brooklyn with Celtics for holidays

BROOKLYN, N.Y. Christmas came a little early this year for Jarvis Varnado, the newest member of the Boston Celtics.

The 6-foot-9 rookie was signed by the C's this week after a strong showing with the NBA Development League's Sioux Falls Skyforce.

"Playing in the NBA someday is what you always dream of," Varnado told moments before stepping on to the floor for the first time as a member of the Boston Celtics. "I'm really happy right now."

Varnado described his arrival in Boston as being a whirlwind of a courtship that came together in a matter of hours.

"I came in for a workout on Sunday, and I thought it went pretty good," he said. "I talked to a couple of people and they said they (Celtics) were thinking about signing me and I later got the phone call from my agent to confirm it."

The addition of Varnado took on an even greater importance after the C's learned that a thumb injury to Chris Wilcox would sideline him for about a month. Couple that with Darko Milicic being waived to be with his ailing mother, and the need for another big was obvious.

Varnado's goal is to do whatever he can to not just play well, but play well enough that the C's will want to keep him around for the rest of the season.

"I know my role; just do what I do best; rebound and block shots and bring that energy to the floor," Varnado said.

In 10 games with the Skyforce, Varnado averaged 14 points, 10 rebounds and a league-best 3.9 blocked shots per game.

A three-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year at Mississippi State, he finished his collegiate career as the NCAA's all-time leader in blocked shots.

However, Varnado has had trouble sticking with teams in part because he has yet to show that he can bring more to the game than blocking shots and defending.

But considering what the C's need, Varnado's strengths fit in well with what the Celtics need more of out of their current roster.

"I just feel blessed for this opportunity," said Varnado who was drafted by Miami in the second round of the 2010 draft but whose rights were released prior to the start of this season. "It's been a long journey to get here. The only thing I have to do is all I can do, to stick."

Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley


Beyond the numbers: The dual threat of Avery Bradley

BOSTON – Another year, another season in which Avery Bradley plans to showcase a new and improved skill that will benefit the Boston Celtics.
But with each improved skill, Bradley moves just that much closer to being an all-around, two-way talent that creates problems for teams at both ends of the floor.
We all know about Bradley’s defense, which was good enough to land him a spot on the NBA’s All-Defensive first team last season. He also gets props for steadily improving his game offensively in some area every summer, but defenses might have their hands full more than ever with Bradley.
According to NBA stats guru Dick Lipe, the 6-foot-2 Bradley was the only guard in the NBA last season to shoot better than 70 percent in the restricted area among players who took a minimum of 200 field goal attempts.
He is among a list that includes Los Angeles Clippers big men DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin; Miami’s Hassan Whiteside; current teammate and former Atlanta Hawk Al Horford; San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge; Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Atlanta big man Dwight Howard.
But if you’re thinking about keeping him away from that part of the floor, Bradley also made the 3-point shot a bigger part of his offensive game last season; as in, 40 percent of his shots came from beyond the 3-point line.

Having that kind of diversity makes him a difficult player to get a clear read on how to defend. And because of that, it may open things up even more so for his teammates.
Bradley can shoot from the perimeter; he can score close to the rim. His ball-handling skills have improved in the offseason to where it no longer looks as though it’s a major weakness.
And he defends at a level few players in the league can match.
Collectively it makes Bradley one of the many challenges awaiting teams whenever they face the Celtics, a player who is poised to showcase his diverse set of skills beginning tonight against the Brooklyn Nets. 

Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats


Wednesday's Patriots-Bills practice participation/injury report: Same names for Pats

FOXBORO -- When Dion Lewis wasn't spotted at Wednesday's practice, we had to make it clear when we mentioned his absence: He had only, as far as we knew, missed the start of practice. Though unlikely, there's always the chance a player emerges from the locker room once practice has started and goes through the remaining periods of the workout. 

Now that we have the injury report for Wednesday, we know that wasn't the case for Lewis. He did not show up on the report as a limited participant, meaning he didn't participate at all. 

There were no surprises on Wednesday's injury report, with nine players listed as limited, including tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle), linebacker Jamie Collins (hip) and receiver Julian Edelman (foot).

For the Bills, running back LeSean McCoy (hamstring) did not participate. Bills coach Rex Ryan explained on Wednesday that McCoy aggravated his hamstring injury against the Dolphins on Sunday, but he did not rule him out for the Patriots game this coming weekend.

Wednesday's practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Bills game:


TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Jamie Collins (hip)
WR Julian Edelman (foot)
DL Woodrow Hamilton (shoulder)
LB Shea McClellin (concussion)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
DL Vincent Valentine (back)


LB Lorenzo Alexander (non-injury related)
LB Zach Brown (illness)
DT Corbin Bryan (shoulder)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
TE Cordy Glenn (ankle)
WR Marquise Goodwin (concussion)
RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring)
LB Lerentee McCray (knee)
DT Adolphus Washington (illness)
S Aaron Williams (neck)

DT Marcell Dareus (hamstring)
RB Mike Gillislee (foot)
T Seantreal Henderson (back)
LB Jerry Hughes (hand)
G John Miller (shoulder)
WR Robert Woods (foot)