No stopping Nash


No stopping Nash

BOSTON When it comes to game-planning, it doesn't take long for Doc Rivers and his staff to come to a consensus on the best way to approach a player.

And then there's the seemingly ageless one, Steve Nash.

Do you want him to score or pass more?

"It was split right in half," Rivers said. "You don't know which one you'd rather have him do."

When you throw Rajon Rondo (wrist) being doubtful for tonight's game against Nash and the Phoenix Suns, the Celtics will have their hands full building off of Wednesday night's win over Toronto.

Like the Celtics (5-8), the Suns (5-9) recently snapped a five-game losing skid with a win over the New York Knicks.

"He's just destroying people," Rivers said. "He put a clinic on in New York. It was an absolute clinic. When you factor in his age and the speed that he's doing it at now, it's laughable. The man is hard to guard because he's so crafty."

Nash, who will be 38 next month, is still one of the toughest point guards to match up with despite being the oldest playmaker in the NBA.

"He's one of a kind," said Rondo. "He's a great point guard. He's been doing it for a long time and he knows the game."

Rondo added, "It's going to be probably over 100 pick and rolls. We're not the best at it. He's good at exposing people as well."

Nash is the type of player that will challenge your mental toughness in ways few point guards in the NBA do now.

"You have to have a defiant attitude," Rivers said. "He's going to make some shots. He's going to do some things you just have to be defiant about. That's what he's supposed to do, and I'm supposed to stop him."

If Rondo doesn't play, Rivers will likely have Avery Bradley or E'Twaun Moore start at point guard. Although Moore is the better playmaker, Rivers might go with Bradley instead because he's the better defender.

"I've been watching him since I was in middle school," Bradley said. "It's going to be a challenge (tonight)."

Said Rivers: "He's like (Muhammad) Ali. Every fight, is he going to do the rope-a-dope, is he dancing? You don't know what he's doing. George Foreman said it, mentally the guy bet me before the game started. That's what Nash is."

And while Nash doesn't necessarily come up in talks about the top five or so point guards in the NBA, his ability to throw you off with his passing and shot-making ability creates a major challenge.

"Chris Paul and them are probably better at this point because of age," Rivers said. "But they don't present that problem. They pretty much score, and then they'll pass too. Nash, he's just he's spectacular. He should be studied. There should be a class about him, Nash 101."

Tom Brady will play Friday night vs. Panthers

Tom Brady will play Friday night vs. Panthers

CHARLOTTE - Tom Brady didn't merely fly to Carolina because he likes having his ears pop. 

The Patriots quarterback will indeed play Friday night against the Carolina Panthers. Given Bill Belichick's stated objective of making Jimmy Garoppolo's preparation for the season's first four games a priority, it was uncertain whether Brady would be on the field even though he traveled. But with Brady a late scratch last Thursday against the Bears after gouging his thumb just before kickoff, his chances for game reps before his exile were waning. 

Brady made it very clear this week that he doesn't just want the game reps for tuning up and getting knocked around but because he believes it's his job and responsibility to be out there leading the team, regardless of where he'll be the first four weeks of the year. With him feeling that strongly about playing being important for his preparation and for his standing within the team, it makes sense for Belichick to give him reps. 

It's not known whether Brady or Garoppolo will start or how many series either quarterback will play Friday night. 

Red Sox’ quotes, notes and stars from 2-1 loss to Rays


Red Sox’ quotes, notes and stars from 2-1 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Notes, quotes and stars from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Rays:


* "There's not much I can do about it now. It's kind of a waiting game and hopefully, the tests come back clean.'' -Andrew Benintendi, on the uncertainty surrounding his knee injury.

* "Sometimes, I like that, sometimes I don't because I'd kind of take a couple of quick outs in place of those to get a couple of more innings out there.'' -Drew Pomeranz on his career high 11 strikeouts.

* "That's probably the spot that looms the largest. Jackie's become more aggressive early in the count, but at the same time, that aggressiveness can work against you.'' -Farrell on Jackie Bradley Jr. swinging at the first pitch following a walk with the bases loaded.


* Drew Pomeranz recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts

 * Since moving to the leadoff spot, Dustin Pedroia has a slash line of .397/.418/.460 in 16 games.

* Pomeranz has yielded two runs or fewer in five consecutive starts.

* On the just-completed road trip, the Red Sox led in all but one game.

* Thursday's loss was the fourth this season in which the Sox allowed two runs or fewer.

 * The past 18 Red Sox losses have come by a combined 37 runs.

* Until Thursday, the Red Sox had won 20 of their past 31 day games.

* The bottom third of the makeshift Red Sox lineup combined to go 2-for-12.

* The Sox missed out on a chance to have an eight-win road trip, which would have been their first since 2011.


1) Jake Odorizzi

The Rays started, facing a depleted Red Sox lineup, limited the Sox to a single run over seven innings, allowing just five hits and getting out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam by allowing just one run.

2) Mikie Mahtook

Mahtook was 0-for-34 when facing Drew Pomeranz in the seventh inning, but that didn't stop him from doubling home Steven Souza Jr with what proved to be the winning run.

3) Dustin Pedroia

The Sox couldn't generate much of anything at all offensively, but don't blame Pedroia. The leadoff hitter had three hits and a walk and was on base four times for the Sox.

Benintendi's MRI inconclusive; will undergo more tests Friday in Boston

Benintendi's MRI inconclusive; will undergo more tests Friday in Boston

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Andrew Benintendi saga will continue for at least one more day, as an MRI taken here Thursday morning was, in the words of John Farrell, "inconclusive" and the rookie left fielder will undergo more tests Friday in Boston.

"Our doctors want to get him back to a full exam with (team orthopedist) Dr. [Peter] Asnis," Farrell said after the 2-1 loss to the Rays, which concluded the team's 11-game road trip. "Hopefully, when I speak to you all [Friday] afternoon (at Fenway Park, prior to the team's game against Royals), there will be a little more information on this."

Farrell said Friday's tests "will include some other imaging".

The Sox placed Benintendi on the 15-day disabled list after he injured his left night while running the bases Wednesday night. 

"We're going to do some more tests tomorrow and take it day-by-day," he said. "There's not much I can do about it now. It's kind of a waiting game and hopefully the tests come back clean.''
Benintendi found one sliver of hope:
"The more I walk on it, the better it feels. I'm going to stay as positive as I can.''