O'Neal: Lin 'has been tremendous'

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O'Neal: Lin 'has been tremendous'

BOSTON No NBA locker room is safe from the Linsanity that is Jeremy Lin, the Harvard educated basketball player that has taken the New York Knicks -- and the entire NBA with it -- by storm.

Not even the Boston Celtics, a team that seldom opines about other players on other teams, can help but acknowledge the instant impact he has made since the Knicks made him a starter.

Lin's story of being waived by multiple teams and on the cusp of being cut by the Knicks is well-documented.

Boston center Jermaine O'Neal never had that kind of adversity to overcome.

But like Lin, he too had to wait for his opportunity to play before eventually flourishing in the NBA.

"Me personally, I know where he's coming from," said O'Neal, a six-time all-star. "I kind of did the same thing in Portland, sat for four years and got an opportunity. As players, we understand when an opportunity comes, it's up to you to take full advantage of it."

And Lin has done just that.

In the last six games -- all wins for the Knicks -- Lin has averaged 26.8 points, 8.5 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game. The downside of his game, however, is in the fact that during the same span, he's averaging 5.2 turnovers per game.

"He's found a system that fits his skill level," O'Neal said. "Obviously he has a tremendous amount of skill level. Hopefully he can continue at the high pace that he's doing."

Chris Wilcox has also been impressed with Lin's play.

"Hopefully he can do it for the rest of the season," Wilcox said. "Big ups to him."

While most of the world was caught totally off-guard by Lin's play, NBA players are immune to guys coming out of nowhere to play well for a initial period of time.

"As players, we're not surprised," O'Neal said. "We understand more than anybody, if you get to a system and the coach doesn't think you fit the style of play they have, then you won't play. Then you get to a system where the coach feels like you can fit and throws you out there to play, then your skill level can really show. He's been tremendous."

But the Lin-lovefest can only go so far.

"We don't become fans," O'Neal said.

And with each win bringing the Knicks closer to Boston in the Atlantic Division standings, the C's are keeping all the hoopla surrounding Lin in perspective.

"We got other things to worry about here," Wilcox said.

"Hopefully it stops, the winning, from the perspective of a Celtic," said O'Neal. "But I wish him the best of luck, because I know how hard it is to do well in this league and be consistent at it."

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

Sam Travis among nine non-roster invitees added to Red Sox spring training roster

The Red Sox have invited nine non-roster players to spring training, the team announced Wednesday. The team now has a total of 15 non-roster invitees. 

Added Wednesday to the spring training roster were outfielder/infielder Allen Craig, third baseman Rafael Devers, first baseman Sam Travis, catcher Jordan Procyshen, outfielders Brian Bogusevic and Rusney Castillo, and right-handed pitchers Kyle Kendrick, Chandler Shepherd and Ben Taylor.

In addition to 39 players on the 40-man roster, the Sox have the following breakdown of non-roster invitees: 

Pitchers: Kyle Kendrick, Edgar Olmos, Chandler Shepherd, Ben Taylor, Marcus Walden
 
Catchers: Dan Butler, Jake DePew, Jordan Procyshen
 
Infielders: Rafael Devers, Matt Dominguez, Sam Travis
 
Outfielders: Brian Bogusevic, Rusney Castillo, Allen Craig, Junior Lake

Floyd looks to improve rapport with Brady: 'Tom likes things a certain way'

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Floyd looks to improve rapport with Brady: 'Tom likes things a certain way'

FOXBORO -- Michael Floyd has been with the Patriots for about a month, and he admits he still has a lot to learn.

Specifically when it comes to his rapport with Tom Brady, Floyd knows there's room for improvement. Against the Texans last weekend, he was targeted three times. One led to a pick. Another was almost picked. One was caught for nine yards. 

On the intercepted pass and the near-interception, Floyd ran slant routes from the left side of the Patriots formation, but he appeared to run them in ways that Brady didn't anticipate. Instead of coming back toward the ball as it approached, Floyd leaked up the field, perhaps hoping to turn what would be an intermediate gain into a bigger play. 

On WEEI earlier this week, Brady took the blame for the pick. But Floyd shouldered his share of responsibility for the turnover on Wednesday.

"You just gotta come downhill," he said. "Obviously at this time of the year, a lot of guys are really checked in on film work and how you play and splits and stuff like that. You gotta make sure you're really fundamentally sound and come downhill to every single ball."

It's one of many lessons Floyd has tried to absorb since being claimed off of waivers by the Patriots in mid-December.

In the regular-season finale against the Dolphins, he looked to be learning at an impressive rate as he caught three passes for 36 yards and laid a monster block that helped spring Julian Edelman for the longest touchdown reception of his career. 

As he prepared for the AFC title game, though, he acknowedleged that he has a way to go -- particularly when it comes to understanding the nuances of how his ever-demanding quarterback wants things done.

"I've only been here a month so I think that's every single day," Floyd said of getting to know Brady's preferences. "I gotta keep my head in the playbook and ask questions. That's what I do every single day. There's nothing wrong about asking a question. They see that I'm the new guy here, and I -- for the most part -- get all the answers that I need."

He added: "Tom likes things a certain way. Me being the new guy, or any of us, we make sure that we do it that way."