Magic plan accordingly for Bradley's defensive pressure

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Magic plan accordingly for Bradley's defensive pressure

ORLANDO, Fla. Glen Davis is not a player that comes to mind when you think about an enforcer.

But he understands all too well that Boston's Avery Bradley's on-the-ball pressure has to be curtailed tonight if the Magic are to avenge Boston's decisive win on Monday.

"He'll be seeing me today," said the former Celtic, who will look to set more screens in hopes of freeing up the Orlando ball-handlers from Bradley's suffocating on-the-ball pressure.

Orlando head coach Stan Van Gundy said the key to not allowing Bradley's defense to dominate tonight's game is two-fold.

Orlando point guard Jameer Nelson has to do a better job of handling Bradley's pressure, and the Magic as a whole have to take some of the ball-handling pressure off of Nelson as well.

Van Gundy has been around long enough to know that on-the-ball pressure is a given most nights.

What made Bradley's pressure wasn't that he did it; but that he did for so long.

"It's generally with backup guards like Avery Bradley, that you're going to see that kind of ball pressure," Van Gundy said. "What Avery Bradley did, he did it for a lot of minutes in that game. You gotta give him a ton of credit pressuring the ball.

"But if you had to to do that 82 games a year, this year 66, as a starter, it would be very difficult. So it's generally those guys who don't have to play 3,000 minutes in a year who can come in and use that energy. So you're not used to seeing it a lot. You might see it a possession or two, but that full-game thing I give him a lot of credit. It's the best job of anybody doing it, I've seen in a lot of years in this league."

Davis, in his first season with Orlando after four seasons in Boston, said he saw signs of this kind of potential in Bradley during his rookie year last season.

"Avery is a great player. His defensive game is unbelievable, the way he approaches the game defensively, the way he attacks," Davis said. "I've seen it. It's just about him getting on the court and doing what he has to do.

Davis added, "I've never seen a point guard dominate the game like that, in a way that got us out of our offense, got some key steals."

Gronkowski takes exception to Cowboys’ ‘Do Your Job’ sign

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Gronkowski takes exception to Cowboys’ ‘Do Your Job’ sign

The Dallas Cowboys have a “Do Your Job” sign posted in their locker room and “Gronk Nation” isn’t happy about it.

Here’s an excerpt from “Gronk Nation” - the website of Rob Gronkowski and his family - about “America’s Team” co-opting the slogan of the 2014 Patriots' Super Bowl run: 

While we all know that the Pats thrashed the Cowboys 30-6 last October and Dallas hasn’t been to the Super Bowl since the 1995 season, so they need all the motivation they can get – but can’t America’s Team come up with their own slogan instead of stealing ours?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First impressions of Red Sox’ 2-1 loss to Rays

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First impressions of Red Sox’ 2-1 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- First Impressions from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field:

 

* When the guy who was 0-for-34 produces the go-ahead RBI, it's probably not your day.

The Red Sox and Rays were tied 1-1 in the seventh when Steven Souza Jr. singled to lead off the inning. That brought Mikie Mahtook, hitless in his last 34 at-bats to the plate.

Naturally, Mahtook roped a line-drive double to left field, scoring Souza all the way from first base. It was that kind of day for the Red Sox, who were 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position and stranded five baserunners.

For a team that still leads the majors in runs scored, the Red Sox have shown an uncanny ability to go cold at the plate.

On Thursday afternoon, that happened again, while the most unlikely hero for Tampa Bay came through in an improbable spot.

 

* The Red Sox' struggles with the bases loaded is almost comical.

It happened again.

In the sixth inning, the Red Sox loaded the bases with no out. Mookie Betts then hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring one run. Hanley Ramirez then walked, re-loading the bases, this time with one out.

But Jackie Bradley Jr. then swung at the first pitch and hit into an inning-ending, rally-killing 4-6-3 double play.

In two plate appearances with the bases loaded, the Sox failed to get a hit.

The Sox are hitting .216 with the bases loaded (24-for-111), ranking them 14th in the American League. Only Seattle and Detroit have had more bases-loaded opportunities, and yet the Red Sox rank in the second half in runs scored in such situations.

 

* Drew Pomeranz is showing no signs of innings fatigue

True, Pomeranz failed to provide a shutdown inning in the sixth after the Red Sox had gotten him a run in the top of the inning.

Still, Pomeranz pitched into the seventh and allowed just two runs while striking out a season-high 11 batters.

In his past five starts, he's compiled a 2.37 ERA, and both the power to his fastball and the sharpness to his curve offer no evidence that he's hit any sort of wall despite already establishing a career high at the major league level with five weeks remaining in the season.