Belichick, Brady explain end-of-half clock management

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Belichick, Brady explain end-of-half clock management

FOXBORO -- In the waning moments of the first half, the Patriots were caught in a time crunch that forced them to settle for a field goal when they hoped to take a shot at the end zone for six points.

With just under 30 seconds remaining, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady scrambled from the pocket and gained three yards before sliding at the Baltimore seven-yard line. With 20 seconds left, and one timeout, the Patriots had two options:

1) Call timeout, throw a pass into the end zone and hope for a touchdown catch or an incompletion, which would stop the clock and allow the Patriots to attempt a chip-shot field goal to end the half, or 2) spike the ball at the line of scrimmage, stopping the clock, and then still have time to run one quick play for a touchdown; if that didn't work, the Patriots could call time out and finish the half with a field-goal attempt.

Going off of coach Bill Belichick's explanation after the game, the Patriots tried for Option No. 2 but couldn't get to the line in time to "clock" the ball (read: spike it) in time.

Belichick said there was no thought of going with Option No. 1, calling an immediate timeout after Brady's run.

"I thought we could get up there, or we wanted to try to get up there and clock it and have time to run a play and have the timeout to kick the field goal," Belichick said. "So no there was no thought put into calling an immediate timeout, not really. I guess if we had known that it would take as long as it did to get the ball finally clocked we would have called a timeout, but then we didnt get a great look on the play."

Eventually, the clock ticked all the way down to four seconds and Brady was forced to call timeout just so the team had enough time to kick a field goal.

"Tom actually called timeout at the same time I did," Belichick said, "so we just didnt have it."

However, it looked like Brady was trying to line up a play without ever spiking the ball to stop the clock. He was lined up in the shotgun, lining up his teammates for a play before he looked up and realized time was running out in the half.

"Well, we had one timeout left so we were trying to save that for the field goal," Brady said. "I would have loved to get the touchdown there, but we settled for the field goal to go up, whatever it was, 13-7 at the half. We felt pretty good about where we were at halftime, but we just didnt come out in the second half and execute very well."

It was a bit of awkward time management that rarely seems to grip the Patriots, an uncharacteristic moment in a night full of them.

Highlights: Devin Booker puts up 70 points but Celtics get the win

Highlights: Devin Booker puts up 70 points but Celtics get the win

Highlights from the TD Garden as Devin Booker had a historic performance where he scored 70 points, but it wasn't enough to get the win over the Celtics.

Thomas on Suns: 'We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery'

Thomas on Suns: 'We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery'

BOSTON – Stacking wins on top of wins is the mindset of the Boston Celtics right now, so the players who did speak to the media following Friday’s 130-120 win over Phoenix drove that point home emphatically.

But inside the locker room, it was unusually quiet, the kind of silence you expect following a loss.

Considering how the Celtics’ defense was absolutely thrashed by Devin Booker’s franchise record 70 points, there’s no question at a minimum the Celtics’ pride overall was stung.

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And when Suns coach Earl Watson began calling time-outs and having his team commit fouls at the end of the game, there’s no question it rubbed a few Celtics the wrong way.

“I don’t think anybody has ever seen that; continuing to call time-outs, continuing to foul when we are up 15. But I mean, it was obvious what they were trying to do. They were trying to get him (Booker) the most points possible. Hat off to to him (Booker). He played a hell of a game.”

Following the game, Watson defended his late-game decision making.

“Calling time-outs at the end kept the game close,” he said. “It’s basketball; I’m not coming to any arena to be liked. If people don’t like us while we build … so what? Do something about it.”

The Suns (22-51) never came any closer than 10 points, which was the final score margin.

Al Horford acknowledged that there was some aggravation following the game.

“You can be frustrated when somebody is doing that to you,” he said. “It’s not to one guy, it’s to the team so I think we’re probably more aggravated at ourselves, at least personally I feel that way. I probably could have done a little better, maybe done some different things to prevent it. We got to give him credit, 70 points, I don’t care it’s 70, he got 70. It’s impressive.”

But there will be some inside the Celtics locker room and among their fan base, who were bothered by the Suns’ late-game actions which seemed more focused on Booker getting numbers than anything else.

When asked about being disrespected by the Suns’ late-game strategy, Thomas wanted no part of that conversation.

“It is what it is,” Thomas said. “We won the game. We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery.”

 Boom!