Bradley: 'We're on our way there'


Bradley: 'We're on our way there'

BOSTON Through a season filled with injuries, illnesses and failed trades before and during the season, the Boston Celtics find themselves in a familiar place now - on top of the Atlantic Division standings.

Monday's win at Charlotte improved the Celtics' record to 27-22, identical with Philadelphia which has been alone atop the Atlantic for much of this season.

The C's record isn't nearly as good as they would want it to be, nor what they expect.

But when you look at all that has not gone their way, being able to see the Atlantic from the top for the change is pretty cool.

"That's one of our goals, to be first place in our division," said Celtics guard Avery Bradley. "We're on our way there. We just have to keep working hard every single game."

Boston's success of late has been fueled by their ability, more than anything else, to simply out-work teams.

They've had little choice when you consider the cut-and-paste lineups and rotations that head coach Doc Rivers has had to implement.

Consider this.

The Celtics went into Philadelphia last week without Ray Allen who was out because of an ankle injury. By halftime, his replacement Mickael Pietrus suffered a concussion and is out indefinitely. Boston didn't win that game, but their absence since then has afforded second-year guard Avery Bradley a chance to play with the starters.

In his first start filling in for Allen (his 10 previous starts were in place of Rajon Rondo), he responded with a career-high 23 points against Washington. Two of Boston's biggest road wins were at Atlanta and Milwaukee, games in which the Celtics identified the need to have a better effort on the boards.

Brandon Bass did just that, giving the C's a much-needed boost on the boards with 10 rebounds in each game - the first time this season he had back-to-back double digit rebounding nights.

"We're just hanging in there," C's coach Doc Rivers said. "I think since the all-star break, we haven't played well every night but we're winning some of the games that we don't play well in. We're grinding games out."

Bass knows the Celtics have been playing some of their best basketball of the season lately.

But he had no idea that Monday's win put them in a tie with Philadelphia for the best record in the Atlantic.

"I haven't been keeping up with the standings, to be honest with you," Bass "I don't care who we play. It's going to be a tough series, either way. It's going to be eight good teams, and we're just gonna have to grind."

Rivers knew what the ramifications of a Celtics victory on Monday, but said he didn't bother to mention it to his players.

"For us, we just gotta keep plugging along. I really don't focus on it right now," Rivers said. "It is important (to win the Atlantic). What do we have, 17, 16 games? So it would be nice to get."

Thursday, Oct. 27: Chara top D-man on All-Graybeard team


Thursday, Oct. 27: Chara top D-man on All-Graybeard team

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while saying RIP Vine but not really feeling it since it’s a rabbit hole I never really delved down into. 

*Down Goes Brown celebrates the “NHL’s old guys”, and yes, that means a gratuitous shout out to Zdeno Chara as the top defenseman on the All-Graybeard squad. 

*Hampus Lindholm has signed a long term deal with the Anaheim Ducks, so now that deal leaves everybody to wonder who is leaving the Anaheim roster in the eventual salary cap crunch. It will be interesting to see if this hastens any Cam Fowler trade talk as far as the Bruins are concerned because it looks like they need the help.  

*Pro Hockey Talk has the Oilers off to their best start since the Wayne Gretzky Era and people in Edmonton finally getting to see the hockey they’ve been waiting for over the past few years. 

*In honor of the Halloween season that we’re in, here are a few cool and scary goalie masks with a bit of spooky flair. 

*Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka is confident that his young team is going to rebound after a rough start to the season. 

*Speaking of creative uniforms, it’s a most wonderful time of the year for hockey when they bust out their Oktoberfest sweaters. 

*For something completely different: this matchup of Peanuts and Stranger Things hits all the right notes for fans of both. 


Van Noy: 'I was shocked" to be traded from Lions to Patriots

Van Noy: 'I was shocked" to be traded from Lions to Patriots

FOXBORO -- It's not often that NFL teams make deals before the trade deadline. Seeing starters get dealt before the deadline is a veritable rarity. It's no wonder linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who started in all seven Lions games this season, reacted the way he did when he was dealt to the Patriots earlier this week.

"I was shocked to go from starting there to traded," Van Noy said during his first back-and-forth with Patriots reporters. "I was shocked. I respect everybody with the Detroit Lions, they'll all be my guys there. Just grateful for the opportunity to come here and get it going."

Van Noy has been working closely with Patriots linebackers and linebackers coach Brian Flores since his arrival, even getting some last-minute notes from Flores before meeting with reporters and heading out to Thursday's practice. 

The 6-foot-3, 243-pounder wasn't completely unfamiliar with the operation in New England before being sent to Foxboro along with a seventh-round pick in exchange for a sixth-rounder. He admitted he had "a lot" of contact with the Patriots before being taken in the second round by Detroit.  

Now he's playing "catch-up" to learn the Patriots playbook, which could include learning multiple positions within the team's defense. He played mostly as an off-the-line linebacker in Detroit, but when he entered into the league out of BYU, he was considered to have the tools to be a productive pass-rusher as a pro. 

Van Noy, who lost about 15 pounds going into this season, indicated that the Lions didn't get the most out of him because of how he was used. 

"I mean, they didn't know where to put me," he said. "Here, they want me here, and I'm happy to be wanted." 

Van Noy was injured for much of his rookie season and had a hard time making an impact last year. He was relied upon to fill a more substantial role this season, playing in 60 percent of the team's defensive snaps. It's unclear just how Van Noy will fit in as a member of the Patriots, but he says he's willing to do whatever it takes to work his way back up another depth chart.

"I'm here now, and I'm gonna do whatever they have me [do], and whatever they want my weight to be at," he said. "Whatever they want me to do I'm gonna do it because I want to win and be part of this team."