Moore earns playing time, makes most of it


Moore earns playing time, makes most of it

INDIANAPOLIS The loyalty that Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers has to players with some NBA experience over rookies is commendable - almost to a fault.

But at some point, Rivers had no choice but to give the C's second-round pick E'Twaun Moore a chance to play meaningful minutes instead of coming in for end-of-the-game, mop-up duty.

The Celtics suffered yet another defeat on Saturday, this time a 97-83 loss to Indiana.

But within the defeat, the C's may have found a reliable backup guard for Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen in Moore.

The fact that the 6-foot-3 combo guard played so well on Saturday shouldn't be all that surprising. In the shortened preseason, Moore was clearly one of the Celtics' better players - not just among the rookies, but among all the C's.

So when you try and figure out why he hasn't played more, Rivers is quick to lay the blame where it belongs.

"I've held up his progress, honestly," Rivers said. "I've been saying for a week now, 'he should play. He should play.' You're trying to give other guy's a chance to take that. And E'Twaun just the thing I was most impressed, he didn't get discouraged. He just kept pushing forward; kept pushing forward, every practice, everything we had, he kept standing out. His play screamed at me, to put him in. And he was terrific."

If Rivers sticks to his guns and continues to get Moore on the floor, that means Avery Bradley's playing time will be slashed and at times, wiped out altogether.

Moore, who played at nearby Purdue and grew up on the East Chicago, Indiana - about two hours away from Indianapolis - had seven points, three assists, two steals and a couple of rebounds in about 20 minutes.

Rivers added, "he played well tonight and you don't get too excited about it. But I know he can play. We just have to give him more of a shot."

Moore, like the rest of the media, has heard for days from Rivers how his opportunity to play was going to come.

Play or not, Moore said his preparation didn't change.

"It's a learning process," Moore said. "I'm trying to get better everyday. By seeing these guys play and watching the games, I'm very observant and try to get better from there."

Having unshakable confidence has been a key to Moore's progress. Having a head coach like Rivers who believes in his game, also helps.

But ultimately, it comes down to how well the Celtics veterans, players like Paul Pierce, feel about his game.

Needless to say, you can count Pierce among those who likes what he's seen thus far from the rookie.

"His poise; for a rookie, the calmness that he brings to the game," Pierce said. "Most rookies that you see come in, are a little erratic. They really rush things. He really has a good poise about him. I don't know if that comes from his maturity of being a four-year college player. Maybe that's it; being well coached in college. He's a mature rookie, and he understands the pace of the game."

Geno Smith has torn ACL; Ryan Fitzpatrick to start for Jets


Geno Smith has torn ACL; Ryan Fitzpatrick to start for Jets

The Jets’ quarterback situation took a comically typical turn Monday, as Ryan Fitzpatrick will be under center after an MRI revealed that Geno Smith has a torn ACL. 

After starting New York’s first six games of the season, Fitzpatrick was demoted to backup for Sunday’s game against the Ravens. Smith was injured on a sack by Baltimore’s Matt Judon, forcing Fitzpatrick back into action. 

After leading the Jets to a 24-16 win, Fitzpatrick made his dissatisfaction with being benched known. 

“The biggest thing in this game in order to last, is to have belief in yourself,” Fitzpatrick said in his postgame press conference. “Because when the owner stops believing in you and the GM stops believing in you and the coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself. That’s something that I’ve had to deal with before. That’s something I’m dealing with now.”

On the season, Fitzpatrick has completed 136 of 237 passes for 1,561 yards with six touchdowns and a league-leading 11 interceptions. 

McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup


McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It was a bitter pill for Adam McQuaid to sit out the first five games of this season, but it looks like the veteran Bruins stay-at-home defenseman is nearing a return to the lineup. McQuaid was cleared to potentially play in Saturday’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens after an upper body injury kept him shelved for the team’s first four games, and could be approaching a return in the next few days as Claude Julien mulls a number of possible lineup changes.

“It was obviously frustrating, but I’m where I’m at now and trying to move on from it. Looking forward to getting back into the lineup hopefully as soon as possible here,” said the 30-year-old McQuaid, who had a goal and nine points in 64 games for the Black and Gold last season. “The excitement level is high for me, and it is for everybody after a loss when you’re looking forward to getting back out there.

“It would have been nice to have started the season with the guys, but you can’t change that now. I’ve had some good practices, and I’m just trying to my game as simple as possible, and take it as it comes. Obviously guys have played some games and it’s been a couple of weeks for me, so I’ll just have to keep my game simple.”

The B’s bench boss indicated it was only a matter of time before McQuaid makes his 2016-17 regular season debut, but that he’s got plenty of things to decide prior to dropping the puck against the Wild.

“[McQuaid] was cleared last game. I haven’t made any decisions based for [Tuesday night vs. Minnesota]. There’s a lot of things that are up in the air, and I’ve just go to juggle those things,” said Julien. “Who knows? Hopefully tomorrow morning I’ve got a better picture [of injury situation], and if not then it will be game-time decisions. I wish I could have a better answer [on if McQuaid will play], but I’ve got no answers right now.”

With Colin Miller (minus-4), Joe Morrow, Torey Krug (a rough minus-3 against Montreal) and John-Michael Liles all minus players after the first five games of the season, there are ample options for Julien on which potential blueliner to bump up to the press box. McQuaid is just happy he’s getting closer to a return while skating with 23-year-old Rob O’Gara at practice, and he can get back to helping a B’s team that’s smack dab in the middle (ranked 15th allowing 3.0 goals per game) of the NHL for team defense this season.