Johnson could see increased minutes down the line


Johnson could see increased minutes down the line

TORONTO With Jeff Green out for the entire 2011-2012 season, there is indeed a void that could be filled in some capacity by Celtics rookie JaJuan Johnson.

One of the things the C's like about Green was his ability to stretch the floor with his perimeter shooting skills, a trait that Johnson also possesses.

"JaJuan can shoot the heck out of the basketball," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "And he can really run the floor. Defensively, he's gotta get stronger, mentally and physically. And that'll come."

Although he played limited minutes in Boston's 76-75 preseason win over Toronto, Johnson chipped in with three rebounds and did a decent job defensively.

The idea that Johnson won't play much shouldn't be all that surprising, especially when you look at Rivers' track record with first-year players.

However, Johnson's lack of playing time will have less to do with his game, and more to do with the fact that there are a number of players, veteran players, ahead of him right now.

"The other guys are pretty good, (Brandon) Bass and Kevin (Garnett) and those guys," Rivers said. "We needed to get them first. It's great to want the young guys to play. But guys, we got two preseason games. He'll get his chance."

Like most NBA players, Johnson wants to play immediately.

But he's wise enough to know that his time to shine, may not necessarily be right now.

"I just feel like, obviously, the more reps you get at things, the more comfortable and the better you get at it," Johnson said. "Once I get more comfortable, get more reps - just in game situations - the better I'll be."

He added, "I understand with the talented players we have on this team, you gotta pay your dues. But I learn something everyday. And I'm always going to stay positive about it, and keep working."

Just Belichick being Belichick at Friday presser

Just Belichick being Belichick at Friday presser

On Wednesday, the Patriots media room was festooned with AFC Championship Game adornments. A big red backdrop behind the podium, Patriots and Steelers helmets arranged on a table facing each other with the Lamar Hunt AFC Champion Trophy in the middle. 

Bill Belichick, who's not big on festoons, noted the helmets during his press conference and deadpanned, "So exciting...". That clip got some run. 

On Friday, when asked to recall his first Conference Championship as a coach, he mentioned the 2001 AFC Championship Game in Pittsburgh and the fact that Belichick, Lawyer Milloy and Tom Brady were all required to fly to Pittsburgh on the Friday before the game to do media duties. 

"That was awesome," Belichick snarked. Then, looking to the area where the display was on Wednesday, Belichick smiled and said, "Where's all the stuff from Wednesday? Did it get thrown out?"

He is the turd in the NFL's punch bowl and it's endlessly amusing. 

Belichick not focused on Trump shout-out before inauguration: 'We've got a big game'

Belichick not focused on Trump shout-out before inauguration: 'We've got a big game'

FOXBORO -- During a dinner for donors at Union Station in Washington, D.C. on Thursday night, Donald Trump name-dropped Bill Belichick on two separate occasions. It marked what might've been the first time a president-elect publicly shouted out an NFL coach on the eve of his inauguration in the office's history.

Trump and Belichick have a long-standing friendship, Belichick explained back in November. Still, on Friday morning, the Patriots commander-in-chief had little reaction to his name being mentioned by Trump the night before. 

"We've got a big game," Belichick said matter-of-factly. 

There was little chance Belichick would utter anything else. He's still in preparation mode, still trying to out-work the Steelers in order to have his team at its best Sunday night. 

It's that approach that urged Trump to mention Belichick in the first place.

"I out-worked everybody" during the election, Trump said. "I think I out-worked anyone who ever ran for office. I learned that from Belichick."

Trump also mentioned the four-time Super Bowl-winning head coach while in the process of pointing out Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft during the dinner. 

"In the audience we have somebody that's under no pressure whatsoever because he's got a great quarterback named Tom Brady and a great coach named Belichick: Bob Kraft," Trump said. "Good luck, Bob."