Former Celtic Green learning in the D-League

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Former Celtic Green learning in the D-League

ORLANDO, Fla. It's all-star weekend, and former Boston Celtic Gerald Green is stealing all the attention.

But this is in front of a sparse crowd, the kind he has grown more accustomed to during his post-Celtic career.

It's the D-League All-Star game, one in which Green's West team won, 135-132, and he was the MVP with 28 points on 10-for-17 shooting which included 3-for-8 on 3s.

Now with the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the D-League, Green is no different than the other 19 D-League all-stars, hoping his play shined brightly enough to get a call-up to the NBA.

"He'll get another shot sooner or later," one NBA scout said. "He's too talented, and he's still young. And watching him out here, he's just a different kind of athlete than the other guys here."

And the D-League is full of athletes, for sure.

But for the most part, they come with a noticeable flaw.

Big men are often undersized; guards can shoot but often have shaky ball-handling skills; some are great playmakers but can't defend.

"There's a reason -- maybe two or three reasons -- why all these guys are here," another scout said.

And then there's Green, who has the size (6-foot-8), speed and athleticism to be on just about any NBA team's roster.

Right now, the only thing that's holding him back? Opportunity.

Teams have been reluctant to roll the dice on him again, concerned with what he admits was a lack of maturity earlier in his NBA career. After two seasons with the Celtics (2006-2007), Green bounced around the next couple years with short stints in Minnesota, Houston and Dallas. After that, Green had no choice but to take his game overseas.

While he has no regrets about entering the NBA straight out of high school, he readily admits that his youth played a role in his early struggles.

"I was young, out of high school, immature things didn't click as fast as things click to me now," Green said. "I'm a lot smarter. I'm a lot more humble than I was. I don't take things for granted anymore."

That's a common sentiment for guys who have to take their talents overseas when opportunities dry up in the NBA.

"Being overseas, that's a man business," Green said. "You can't go over there being a little kid. You're in the middle of nowhere. I grew up a lot faster being overseas, which I think is a good thing."

He added, "I had to go overseas, kind of refine myself, rebuild what I had started earlier in my career."

One of the first things he's had to do is shed the image that all he can do is dunk the ball. That comes with the territory when the most notable thing on your NBA resume was winning the Slam Dunk competition in 2007. That was a big reason why he did not want to participate in the D-League's slam dunk competition on Saturday.

Today, Green wants to be seen as a more complete player who, wisely enough, does a better job of learning more from those around him.

He had a chance to spend a week with the Los Angeles Lakers before the season, and said he paid close attention to Kobe Bryant.

"He took practices like a game," Green said of Bryant. "His focus was unbelievable. That's one thing I kind of took from that."

Those lessons, coupled with his play of late for the D-Fenders -- he's averaging 19.1 points and 4.6 rebounds while shooting 48 percent from the field and better than 46 percent on 3s -- has the 25-year-old Green optimistic that his return to the NBA will be come eventually.

"I am so happy that things are starting to look good for me," he said. "I'm just excited."

Wright-Phillips scores 16th goal, Red Bulls beat Revs 1-0

Wright-Phillips scores 16th goal, Red Bulls beat Revs 1-0

HARRISON, N.J. - Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his 16th goal of the season in the 55th minute and the New York Red Bulls beat the New England Revolution 1-0 on Sunday.

Revs goalkeeper Brad Knighton saved Alex Muyl's shot and Wright-Phillips put back the deflection with a half-volley into the right corner. Wright-Phillips has 61 goals in 100 career MLS games.

The Red Bulls (11-9-7) extended their undefeated streak to nine games and moved into a third-place tie in the East with the Philadelphia Union. The Revolution (6-12-9) are winless in their last six.

Has Brissett removed Patriots' need for veteran quarterback help?

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Has Brissett removed Patriots' need for veteran quarterback help?

FOXBORO – Talked to Jacoby Brissett on Sunday. His session with the media was as efficient and frills-free as his Friday night performance against the Carolina Panthers.

Brissett, the third-rounder From NC State, keeps improving. From 7-for-13 for 63 yards in the first game of the preseason to 9-for-13 for 87 yards Week 2 to a 9-for-9, 85-yard, one touchdown performance against Carolina.

He’s completed all manner of passes – inside, outside, checkdowns, tight windows – and looked preternaturally comfortable doing so.

Maybe I have a little recency bias working, but I don’t recall a drafted quarterback looking as poised and in command in his rookie preseason as Brissett has so far. Jimmy Garoppolo may have had more impressive game-by-game numbers, but Brissett oozes composure that that I don’t think Garoppolo matched.

Encircled by a media horde Sunday, Brissett was pleasant and perfunctory when asked about his performance.

“Definitely it was progress,” he said, adding that he’s, "still learning. I’m sure I’ll be learning until I leave here."

 Even though he was 9-for-9, Brissett said that watching film he could see “things you messed up on and could have done better.”

Asked for an example, Brissett talk about speed. At the line of scrimmage, going through progressions and delivering the ball, Brissett said all of it can improve.

The interesting question the Patriots face now is whether they are prepared to allow Brissett to be the lone backup to the still relatively green Garoppolo. Or does the team need an experienced backup to call on if Jimmy melts down?

Thursday night could be a telling evening for that. With Garoppolo unlikely to play a ton so the team can make sure he’s good to go for the opener, it comes down to who benefits more from reps against the Giants, Tom Brady or Brissett?

It shouldn’t be close. Brissett needs the reps.

Meanwhile, we made mention of Brissett’s relationship with Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells after he was drafted and I figured revisiting that on Sunday wouldn’t hurt.

Brissett said he’s circled up with Parcells “here and there” but smiled knowingly and said, “He’s not the head coach here so you kinda need to listen to what your coach here is saying.”

Sunday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Holt in for Pedroia at second base

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Sunday's Red Sox-Royals lineups: Holt in for Pedroia at second base

The Boston Red Sox close out their three-game series against the Kansas City Royals without second baseman Dustin Pedroia. 

Brock Holt will be at second base for Pedroia who will miss the game, reportedly attending to a family matter.

Eduardo Rodriguez (2-5, 5.11 ERA) will be on the mound for the Sox, facing off against Yordano Ventura (9-9, 4.27 ERA).

The lineups:

ROYALS
Paulo Orlando CF
Cheslor Cuthbert 3B
Lorenzo Cain RF
Eric Hosmer 1B
Kendrys Morales DH
Salvador Perez C
Alex Gordon LF
Alcides Escobar SS
Raul Mondesi 2B
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Yordano Ventura RHP

RED SOX
Brock Holt 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Chris Young LF
Sandy Leon C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
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Eduardo Rodriguez LHP