Garnett, Celtics focusing on upcoming season

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Garnett, Celtics focusing on upcoming season

WALTHAM The last go-around for the Big Three. The window closing.

Spin it how you want, but there's a pretty good chance Kevin Garnett has heard some incarnation of it over the past few seasons.

And like a 5-foot-9 guard trying to score over him in the lane, Garnett rejected the question emphatically.

"Next question," he said.

Even though he's 35 years old and has spent nearly half his life in the NBA, the future is something Garnett doesn't give much thought to right now.

He's more consumed with the Celtics season opener against New York on Christmas Day. And once he unwraps a few presents after the game, he'll turn his attention to the next item on the Celtics' docket at Miami on Tuesday.

"I've been getting that question throughout the whole year," said Garnett, who truthfully, has been getting that question for the last two or three years. "I don't anticipate the future, because things are not set in stone. I'm not a person to go back on my word, so I don't know."

For Garnett, the idea of entertaining life beyond this truncated 66-game schedule is a dead issue.

"I'm not even going to give it any air," he said. "Because whatever this year presents itself to be, it would be just that. And the next year, everybody will come back and make a decision."

That doesn't mean he's completely oblivious to the reality that this may very well be his last go-around with this current core group which includes himself, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo.

"I'm cherishing a lot more not knowing what the future is," he said. "I'm embracing younger guys a little more; younger guys that want to work, embrace our culture and what we do here."

Following Thursday's practice, Garnett was barking out instructions to rookies Greg Stiemsma and JaJuan Johnson, both looking on intently.

Garnett has a well-earned reputation for tuning out rookies that don't work hard, don't listen, or both.

When asked if the two rookie big men were listening to Garnett's words of advice, coach Doc Rivers, grinning, said, "Clearly."

"All you have to do is watch," he added, "and see that he's still talking to them. The answer is yes."

Garnett has also been a major influence on Rondo.

Rondo will be the first to acknowledge that early on his career with the Big Three, he and Garnett butted heads a lot.

"I got into it with a lot of people my first couple years," Rondo said. "But we rely on each other. Kevin is one of my best friends on the team right now. Kendrick Perkins left, and I think it kind of made us closer. Kevin and I talk a lot lately, we're trying to stay on the same page. Both working on our attitudes for the better of the team. And me just growing up as a leader, he's been one of my mentors."

And that mentoring begins with Garnett's ability to lead both verbally and by example.

"Kevin is a great leader. If you want a leader, you want a guy like Kevin on your team, on your side," Rondo said. "He works hard. He does by it by his play, not necessarily his talk. He does a lot of talking too, but he backs it up. He's a future Hall of Famer. He's done a lot in this league. For having him as a mentor, a leader, whatever you want to call it, he's a great addition to anyone's team."

Patriots-Rams notes: Brady and the defense have record-setting days

Patriots-Rams notes: Brady and the defense have record-setting days

FOXBORO -- Notes from the Patriots' 26-10 win over the Rams Sunday, courtesy of the Pats' P.R. department:

PATRIOTS 26, RAMS 10

TEAM NOTES

 

A DEFENSIVE FIRST : The Patriots allowed just 25 total first-half yards to the Rams, the lowest total in a half in team history. The previous low was 28 yards by the Jets in the first half on Dec. 26, 2005 in a 31-25 New England win.

A DEFENSIVE SECOND: The Patriots yielded just 36 yards rushing to the Rams, the second time this season New England has held its opponent to fewer than 40 rushing yards. Cleveland rushed for only 27 yards in Week 5.

BY THE NUMBERS DEFENSIVELY: The Patriots have now held the opposition to less than 20 points in 8 of their 12 games this year, and are allowing just 17.3 ppg.

PATS HIT 10-VICTORY MARK FOR 14TH CONSECUTIVE SEASON: The Patriots are now 10-2 and have won 10 or more games for 14 consecutive season, the second-longest streak in NFL history. The 1983-98 49ers had a 16-year streak

RECORD-SETTING PERFORMANCE: Tom Brady did not throw an interception Sunday and Patriots QBs have been picked off just once in the first 12 games of the season, an NFL record. The previous record for fewest interceptions thrown in the first 12 games was three, held jointly by the 2016 Vikings, 2015 Chiefs, 1993 Cowboys and 190 Chiefs. The NFL record for fewest interceptions in a season is five.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES

THE GOAT: As noted elsewhere, Brady became the winningest QB in NFL history with his 201st career victory.

HOME BODY: Since 2007, Brady is 62-6 overall at home in the regular season. That is more wins than five teams (home and away) have combined during that span. (60 by the Bucs, 57 by the Raiders, 52 by the Jaguars, 47 by the Browns and 46 by the Rams).

GETTING CLOSER: LeGarrette Blount scored on a 43-yard run in the first quarter and is now one rushing TD away from the tying the franchise record for rushing touchdowns in a season. He has 13, one behind Curtis Martin (who scored 14 in both 1995 and 1996).

SOME FIRSTS:
-- CB Logan Ryan sacked Rams QB Jared Goff for a loss of 12½ yards in the second quarter for his first sack since 2013.
-- LB Kyle Van Noy recorded his first NFL interception when he picked off a QB Jared Goff pass in the third quarter.
-- WR Julian Edelman finished with 8 receptions for 101 yards, his first 100-yard game of the 2016 season. (He now has eight 100-yard games in the regular season and two in the postseason.)