Wakeup Call: Scottie Pippen kept Obama on his game yesterday

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Wakeup Call: Scottie Pippen kept Obama on his game yesterday

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Wednesday, November 7:

BASEBALL
Yu Darvish says he'll pass on the World Baseball Classic . . . a decision that probably won't go over too well in Japan. (AP)

The Cubs are talking the talk about how to approach free agency. But as Theo and crew demonstrated during their later years in Boston, walking the walk can be tougher. (CSN Chicago)

The Red Sox missed out on Lew Ford all those years ago. But now, if they want, they can make up for that mistake. (CSN Baltimore)

Come on, Lucas. You guys make all that money. You couldn't hire a mover? (AP)

Um, Blue Jays? As we can tell you from last year's sad experience, dragging out the search process doesn't necessarily result in you getting a great -- or even good -- manager. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
It can get windy on an aircraft carrier, so Syracuse and San Diego State are going to play on Sunday afternoon instead of Friday night. (AP)

It won't be so windy on Georgetown's boat, so they're still on for Friday night. And since they're playing on a military venue, Georgetown plans to dress for the occasion. (CSN Washington)

Some AAU irregularities will cost two Indiana freshmen the first nine games of their college careers. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
When it comes to joining in the BCS debate, Brian Kelly says he'd just as soon sit this one out, thanks. (CSN Chicago)

They're still going to call it the Sugar Bowl, anyway. (AP)

First, Jim Mora wanted to send Twitter imposters to jail. Then he had a better idea. (NBC's College Football Talk)

GOLF
A trip to Disney is no vacation for some golfers, since it's their last chance to break into the top 125 on the money list and keep their Tour cards for 2013. (AP)

And if Davis Love III makes it, it'll be the 26th straight year he's been in the top 125 . . . a distinction some of the greatest golfers in history (Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods) can't claim. (AP)

HOCKEY
Ready to leave your Fourth of July picnic to get to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals? You might have to, if one of the NHL Governors gets his way. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
Now we know: Scottie Pippen's part of President Obama's posse. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

If this kind of flip-flopping is any indication, we can see politics in Kobe Bryant's future. (Pro Basketball talk)

That'll teach Monty Williams to keep his mouth shut. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Kudos to the Giants for their 500,000 donation towards the Hurricane Sandy recovery effort. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

It's never too early to try and smoke out the playoff picture. (nbcsports.com)

The Steelers' injury bug has spread to the wide-receiver corps. (AP)

You knew this was coming, right? (CSN Philly)

Adam Vinatieri sure looks strange with a shaved head, but it's a great gesture by him and his Colts teammates. (Pro Football Talk)

Mickey Loomis is back on the job in New Orleans. (AP)

Brandon Jacobs, solid citizen? What are they putting in the water out there in San Francisco? (CSN Bay Area)

Somehow, Skip Bayless made Terrell Suggs look rational and reasonable. (CSN Baltimore)

Brown taking opportunities with Celtics as they come

Brown taking opportunities with Celtics as they come

BOSTON -- Compared to most high draft picks, Jaylen Brown doesn’t log a ton of minutes for the Boston Celtics.
 
Playing on an experienced team with legit hopes of making a deep playoff run, rookies seeing limited minutes is a given.
 
Knowing playing time will come in a limited supply, Brown understands all too well the importance of taking advantage of every opportunity he gets on the floor.
 
He did just that on Saturday in Boston’s 107-106 win over Philadelphia, and he hopes to do more of the same on Monday when the Celtics take on the Houston Rockets.
 
When you look at Brown’s stat line, nothing about it looks impressive. He played 15 minutes, scored two points with one rebound and one blocked shot.
 
But beyond the stats was the fact that he was on the floor for seven minutes in the fourth quarter in a close back-and-forth game on the road. Rookies on the floor in crunch time is not the norm in the NBA.
 
“It means a lot,” Brown told reporters after Saturday’s win. “I try to be as best I can be for my team; try to put my best foot forward every night out.”
 
And he did just that on Saturday.
 
In the fourth quarter with the Celtics leading 87-83, Brown blocked a Gerald Henderson shot that wound up in the hands of Jae Crowder. Moments later, Jonas Jerebko hit a 3-pointer that gave the Celtics their largest lead of the game, 90-83.
 
And just two minutes prior to the blocked shot, he was out in transition following an Isaiah Thomas steal and threw down a dunk that pushed Boston’s lead to 86-83 with 7:11 to play.
 
Brown acknowledged making the most of those opportunities bodes well for him and the franchise.
 
“It’s great for our team in general; not just for me,” Brown said. “Those plays helped us to pull the game out in the end. So I’m glad we got the win. I think we should have played a little better than we did.”
 
The continued pursuit of self-improvement is a hallmark of what Brown’s focus and desire are at this stage of his pro career. He has talked often about not wanting to be just one of the best in this draft class but also one of the best in the NBA overall.
 
But he’s also learned that to get there takes time and experience developing both physically and mentally. Part of that mental growth entails having the right approach to games.
 
“Usually you try to tell yourself not to mess up,” Brown said. “Now that I’m getting more comfortable, it’s just play basketball, bring energy, things like that; come out and do what you’re supposed to do. A lot of times you try to tell yourself to not mess up and it’s counteractive; just come out and play basketball and have fun.”
 
And by doing so the minutes will come.
 
“You can’t control that. I just have to control what I can control,” Brown said. “I trust coach (Brad Stevens); I trust my coaching staff. I have to come out and in the minutes I get, play my hand as best I can and take advantage of what I do get and impact this team as much as possible.”
 
This season, Brown is averaging 4.8 points, 2.0 rebounds while shooting 41.9 percent from the field.

Zolak: Bennett helps with Gronk loss, but Pats need to manage him

Zolak: Bennett helps with Gronk loss, but Pats need to manage him

Scott Zolak said on Pregame Live Sunday that the Patriots are better-suited to survive a season-ending injury to Rob Gronkowski than they were a season ago. 

Zolak said that given the health of Dion Lewis, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and the signing of Chris Hogan, the offense has more stability at other positions to make up for the loss of Gronkowski, whose season is over due to back surgery. As for the tight end position, Zolak said he feels the Patriots traded for Martellus Bennett to protect themselves against scenarios like the one they currently face. 

“This offseason they [acquired] Martellus Bennett, I think for this very reason: to prepare for what really happens year after year, is some sort of issue comes up with Rob Gronkowski and you have to play without him,” Zolak said.

Bennett was questionable with an ankle injury for this week’s game, but is expected to play. Asked about the health of Bennett, Zolak said that he believes the tight end is good to play, but that his importance to the team with Gronkowski out means the Pats will need to be careful. 

“I think he’s healthy enough to get through about 30-35 snaps,” Zolak said. “They’ve got to balance him now moving forward.”