Missing KG and Bass made it difficult for Celts


Missing KG and Bass made it difficult for Celts

BOSTON Not having Kevin Garnett certainly played a role in the Boston Celtics' 98-88 loss to the Detroit Pistons Wednesday night.

And while Garnett's defense was clearly something they would have liked, Celtics coach Doc Rivers was just as concerned with how Garnett's absence - as well as Brandon Bass - would impact the game's outcome.

Pistons head coach, and former Celtics assistant, Lawrence Frank's defensive game plan capitalized on this most of the night.

"Lawrence obviously knew that," Rivers said.

In fact, not having Garnett and Bass had a major impact on the play of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, who often are able to operate in one-on-one situations because of the perimeter threat that Garnett and Bass present.

Without those two, Pierce was 3-for-11 shooting. Allen wasn't any better, missing four of his five shots. They each finished with 10 points.

"They trapped Ray and Paul every time they caught the ball without worrying about our bigs popping for shots like we do," Rivers said.

Rookie JaJuan Johnson has some of the skills to help offset not having Garnett and Bass. But even he acknowledges that in terms of making an impact, he has plenty of room to grow, and a lot to learn still.

In terms of what he takes away from Wednesday's loss, Johnson said, "just paying attention to detail. I'm still learning the game. It's just a learning experience for myself."

The same can be said for the Celtics, who have to adjust to life - temporarily at least - without Bass and potentially Garnett, too.

Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'


Butler imitates Brown with post-interception dance: 'Nothing personal'

Malcolm Butler didn't mean any disrespect. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. 


When the Patriots corner picked off a Landry Jones pass in the first quarter -- one that was intended for receiver Antonio Brown -- Butler stood up in the end zone, faced the Heinz Field crowd, stuck one arm in the air a and gyrated like someone had attached jumper cables to his facemask. 

He was doing his best to mimick one of Brown's well-known touchdown dances.

"Me and Brown had conversation before," Butler said, "and it was a joke to him once I showed him how I do it. Much love for that guy. Nothing personal."

For Butler, it was the highlight of what was a productive afternoon. The third-year corner was asked to shadow Brown for much of the day, and he allowed Brown to catch five of nine targets for 94 yards. He also broke up a pair of passes intended for Brown's teammates.

“Stopping Antonio Brown, that’s impossible," Butler said. "You can’t stop him. You can only slow him down. I just went out there and tried to compete today . . . Great players are going to make plays but you have to match their intensity.”
Even on the longest throw from backup quarterback Landry Jones to Brown, a 51-yarder, it appeared as though Butler played the coverage called correctly. 

Butler lined up across from Brown and trailed him underneath as Brown worked his jway from the left side of the field to the right. Butler was looking for some help over the top in that scenario, seemingly, but because Brown ran across the formation, it was hard for the back end of the defense to figure out who would be helping Butler. 

Belichick admitted as much after the game. 

"He was on [Brown] a lot the way we set it up," Belichick said. "Look, they've got great players. They're tough to cover. They hit us on a couple over routes, in cut where they kind of ran away from the coverage that we had. 

"The plays were well designed. Good scheme, good thorws and obviously good routes by Brown. They got us on a couple, but I thought we competed hard. We battled all the way. We battled on third down. We battled in the red area. They made some. We made some, but they're good. They have a lot of good players."

And Brown, in particular, is about as close as it gets to unstoppable in the NFL. Butler found that out in Week 1 of last year when he matched up with Brown in his first game as a starter, giving up nine catches for 133 yards to the All-Pro wideout. 

Though Sunday might not have been perfect for Butler, it was better than that day about 14 months ago. And at times, it was worth dancing about. 

SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6


SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Seahawks, Cardinals miss OT FGs, tie 6-6

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won the game in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals settled for a 6-6 tie Sunday night.

Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.

The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.

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