Celtics players happy roster intact

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Celtics players happy roster intact

SACRAMENTO, Calif. The Boston Celtics didn't allow all the trade speculation the past couple of weeks bother them.

But it's obvious that they are pleased that the players they began the season with, are still around.

"It's good," Paul Pierce said of the C's keeping the band together. "We got a group that's been together for a while, especially me, Ray (Allen), Kevin (Garnett) and (Rajon) Rondo. We got a certain kind of chemistry that's hard to replace. Especially when you start getting into tough games, especially when we start getting into playoff moments. We got a group that can really come together and make things happen."

And it starts at the point guard position with Rajon Rondo, who was the subject of more trade rumors than any player in the league this year.

Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, said on a number of occasions that, aside from trying to acquire Chris Paul for Rondo, the C's had no intention of moving him. However, that didn't stop reports from surfacing that indicated Rondo had attitude issues with the organization, coaching staff and his teammates.

"I had fun with it, everybody's opinion of me, how my attitude is and stuff like that," Rondo said. "I had fun listening to everybody's opinion who doesn't know me."

One thing we all know.

The trading deadline passing does bring about a certain piece of mind for all players.

"As a team, you just want to know where you are. As a team, you want everybody two feet in," said Kevin Garnett, who at times was among the players mentioned as possibly being on the move.

"For me, trade deadline says some type of security if that's even possible. You hear the word 'loyalty' in this game, you kind of laugh at it. I don't think either side has a sense of loyalty no more. That's the way the league is being created, throughout our negotiations, all the CBA stuff."

Short of that, the C's understand that with time comes a smaller window of greatness for them.

In fact, many believe that this team's window of opportunity to win a championship has already been closed.

They, as you can imagine, feel differently.

Giving themselves a chance to go deep into the playoffs is no different now then it was during their first season together.

"The closer we get to the playoffs, the more sense of urgency we have," Pierce said. "The more you start to feeling the energy; knowing when the big moments come, we know what it takes. We understand the sacrifice, and with this ball club we're very confident. We feel like, you never know, this may be the last year of us playing together. You feel it more than ever."

Brady, Harbaugh found common ground on plane ride back from Michigan

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Brady, Harbaugh found common ground on plane ride back from Michigan

FOXBORO -- What could have been an awkward plane ride for Tom Brady and John Harbaugh was made less so thanks to a high school lacrosse player. 

Brady and Harbaugh shared a private plane back from Michigan where Jim Harbaugh and his University of Michigan program put on an event for National Signing Day. About a year earlier, Brady told a room full of reporters that Harbaugh and his coaching staff should study the rule book and "figure it out" after hearing that they were pretty upset about the unusual formations the Patriots ran during their AFC Divisional Round win over Baltimore. 

They may not have been on the best of terms.

"I was pissed off," he told ESPN's Ian O'Connor before the start of this season. "It was uncalled for. And the rules are deeper than that, and I know the rules, and I stand by why that play shouldn't have been allowed. ... So yeah, that should never have been said."

But on the flight was Harbaugh's daughter Alison, a high school lacrosse player. When Brady took some time to share a few thoughts on competitiveness with her, he and Harbaugh found common ground.

"We had a lot of fun," Harbaugh said of the flight. "I don't know if he's talked about that at all, but we ended up sharing a plane ride along with my daughter and a couple of his people, friends of his. We just had a chance to just talk for a couple hours. And really more than anything, Alison got a chance to listen to Tom Brady talk about competing and what it takes to be great at what you do.

"And one of the funny things about it was, he was so nice to her. He gets off and they go, and we get back on the plane and we're talking, and she says something like, 'Boy, Tom really is a nice guy.' And I look at here and go, 'Tom?' I'm thinking 'Mr. Brady' would have been more appropriate. She said, 'He said to call me Tom.' I got a kick out of that.

"It was good. Lot of respect for him and a lot of respect for what he's accomplished. He's very tough to compete against. The best quarterback that's played, certainly in this era, without question in my mind. That's how I would rank him. And it's just another tough challenge to have to play against him."

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

Lowry, Sullinger and Blount interrupt interview with DeRozan

DeMar DeRozan didn't get a chance to answer one question in his postgame interview before being interrupted by Kyle Lowry, Jared Sullinger, and LeGarrette Blount.