Celtics work on timing in abbreviated training camp

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Celtics work on timing in abbreviated training camp

WALTHAM -- The no-look pass. The inbounds lob. The quick bucket in transition.

It is said that timing is everything, and in basketball, it can be the difference between the game-winning basket and a missed shot.

With just days before the regular season begins, the Boston Celtics are working on their timing -- even if time isnt on their side in this abbreviated training camp.

Most of the plays, weve got great position players but the timing is so important, Ray Allen said prior to Wednesdays win against the Toronto Raptors. Its executing out of timeouts. Its out-of-bounds plays. Its everything that you have opportunities to put those things in (during a regular training camp). You have preseason games spread throughout a two-week period, and then you have scrimmaging amongst the teams, even times when we have two a days, we just dont have that (time). Nobody has it, so it just requires an intense amount of focus for everybody when theyre out there.

With limited days for practice in a condensed regular season schedule, Allen expects shootarounds to be longer to work on the timing of plays. Wednesday morning was an example of that.

Its always a process, he said. Even this mornings shootaround, were putting in new stuff, and its stuff when Doc (Rivers) calls a play and hell put something new in, I go right to my spot. I know exactly what were running. But the other guys dont know it.

You just fall into that rhythm from playing," he added. "I always say when you play games and then you dont play games, you almost lose a little bit of your timing. Around here I think its easier when you play games, youre working on it as you play games and youre getting that timing in real life, real game situations.

For Rajon Rondo, the teams playmaker, timing is critical to the execution of plays. Even though the Celtics have less time to work on it in training camp, he echoed Allens belief that it will get better as the season goes on.

Timing is very important, Rondo said after practice on Thursday. We prepare for the playoffs each year, execution down the stretch, and timings a big part of it. Guys are going to get into us, defend us, try to throw us off a rhythm, but we still have to find a way to get our timing down and execute. Its okay. Cant give it a number right now but the more games we play, the better our timing will be.

Patriots hatch latest backup plan at QB

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Patriots hatch latest backup plan at QB

Tom Brady needs a Hail Mary at this point to get himself on the field for the first four games of 2016. The Patriots are more aware of that than anyone, so Friday night they grabbed a little security, using a third-round pick on North Carolina State quarterback Jacoby Brissett.

The 6-4, 235-pound Brissett was a two-year starter for the Wolfpack and had 23 touchdowns and five picks in his senior season. He’s lauded for his leadership, has outstanding physical skills and is a tireless worker.

All that said, he’s not going to beat out Jimmy Garoppolo. Brissett isn’t in Foxboro to be the long-term No. 2 in 2016. But if he shows a high level of competency between now and the end of August, the Patriots will likely go into the four-game Brady-less stretch with Garoppolo as the temp starter and Brissett as the temp backup.

When Brady returns, everybody moves back down the ladder again.

But a look at the contracts of Garoppolo and Brady shows that, after 2016, Garoppolo may become expendable. Brady is signed through 2019 and isn’t going anywhere. Garoppolo is up after 2017 and will be a free agent. If Garoppolo plays well enough to impress the rest of the league in his four-game audition, the Patriots could look to deal him prior to the 2017 season.

The return on the former second-rounder isn’t relevant right now. What is relevant is that the Patriots are going to have to carry three quarterbacks on their 53-man roster in 2016: Brady, Garoppolo and Brissett. For a team that’s always churning the end of its roster to get the best players ready for every week’s matchup, the team will have one less roster spot to deal with than it’s had in past seasons.

The only way around carrying Brissett all year on the 53 would be to release him, hope he passes unclaimed through waivers and then sign him to the practice squad. It’s likely someone would claim him. So the Patriots will be working with three quarterbacks on their 53 for 2016. Forecasting, it’s not likely they’d do that two years in a row.

The addition of Brissett is a signal that the team isn’t preparing for life after Brady, but life after Jimmy G.