Belichick geared up for Pats-Jets intensity

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Belichick geared up for Pats-Jets intensity

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick sounded as if he was past preparation mode for the Jets on Friday and is starting to warm to the intensity that's looming. Belichick even squeezed in one of his accidentally-on-purpose non-sequiturs when illustrating the climate, saying, "Its a pretty intense atmosphere when these two teams play. I think if you played in a parking lot out there by CBS News, whatever it is, itd be pretty intense." Belichick was referring to the parking lot near Patriots Place which has a restaurant called CBS Scene. Anyway, back to Belichick's appraisal of the bitterness between the two teams. "A lot of energy here, a lot of energy down there,"Belichick said."Its a good football game. Two teams that know each other well, a good rivalry." Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald decided to probe Belichick with a question about the day back in 2000 when Belichick resigned as head coach of the Jets. (HC of the NYJ). Rapoport noted that Belichick looked younger then. "What's that supposed to mean," Belichick said sternly. He entertained the question, though, saying, "That wasnt a great situation all the way around, with Bill Parcells resigning the day before and me resigning the day after that. Thats all water under the bridge."

It's not something he spends time reminiscing about. "I honestly dont spend a lot of time looking back on that," he said. "At that point in time, that situation, I did what I felt I needed to do, and I don't have any regrets about that. There's certainly a lot of things that could have been handled differently or whatever, but anyway, that doesnt matter now." Not so much.

'Ecstatic' Thomas was with Celtics teammates via FaceTime after Game 3 win

'Ecstatic' Thomas was with Celtics teammates via FaceTime after Game 3 win

CLEVELAND – Gone but definitely not forgotten.

Isaiah Thomas, out for the rest of the playoffs with a right hip injury, wasn’t in the Q Arena physically, but his presence – and his face via FaceTime – were inside the locker room in the initial moments following their 111-108 Game 3 win over Cleveland.

“We called him right after the game,” said Boston’s Avery Bradley. “He got to celebrate with us a little bit. It’s sad that he’s not here. We wish he was here with us. We just want him to get better.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens added, “I didn’t even realize that had happened until later on. one of my first text messages was from Isaiah.  He’s hurting not being out there but he’s completely invested, for sure.”

He initially suffered the injury on March 15 at Minnesota, but re-aggravated it in the first half of Boston’s Game 2 loss to the Cavs. Less than 24 hours later, Thomas was deemed out for the remainder of the playoffs.

Instead of Thomas being the rock of sorts that the Celtics lean on with his play, he has become their rallying cry for the remainder of the playoffs.

“All we can do is play hard for him,” Bradley said. “He was excited with the way we played. We’re a family. Other guys got an opportunity to step up for us. Marcus (Smart) had a big game for us. It could be somebody else next game.”

Smart led the Celtics with a career-high 27 points which included a career-best seven 3’s going down.

And most important, the Celtics avoided going down 3-0 which would have all but sealed their fate in this series considering no team in league history has ever come back for a 3-0 series deficit.

Doing so without Thomas, the Celtics’ leading scorer and the top regular season scorer in the Eastern Conference, made the win all that more impressive for Boston.

“It meant a lot,” Horford said. “We know, Isaiah gives us so much and gave us so much this year. For him, we definitely wanted to come out and fight for him and our season and our team. It felt good to keep believing despite being down big. Just felt good to win the game and bring life back to our locker room. Because going down 3-0, that’s a death sentence pretty much. This was big.”

Not only to the Celtics players but also to Thomas who also texted head coach Brad Stevens full of excitement following Boston’s surprising win.

“He was excited,” Horford recalled. “He was ecstatic. I know he wishes he was here being part of it. We just need to keep doing it for him and our group and doing the best we can.”