Rivers: 'We can't ease into games'


Rivers: 'We can't ease into games'

NEW ORLEANS With the games coming fast and furiously for the Boston Celtics, they would love to develop a rhythm, a pattern of sorts to their play.

The Celtics have done just that.

But they're not the least bit happy about it, especially when that pattern consists of slow starts that have been major factors in both of their losses.

They're hoping to end that trend - and their two game losing streak to start the season - tonight against the New Orleans Hornets. To do so will likely involve having a better beginning than they have had in their first two games.

In the loss at New York on Sunday, the Celtics got down by as many as 17 points before their rally came up short. They followed that up with another early deficit to the Miami Heat on Tuesday, and once again they made it a game in the second half but could not get over the hump.

Rivers believes more than anything else, his team's attitude at the start of games must change.

"We can't ease into games," he said. "We just can't. It's like we get down, we get upset and then we fight back. That's how, you get down. It's two games, so it'll get better."

With so many new faces, there is a sense that the Celtics are trying to figure out what type of team they are.

Fortunately for the Celtics, tonight's game against the Hornets will be their first test against a team that, in many ways, is searching for an identity as well.

The Hornets (1-0) won their season opener, 85-84, over Phoenix. But it was a game that, based on their play, rarely results in a victory.

Consider all this:

The Hornets shot 2-for-16 (12.5 percent) on 3s.

They were 13-for-21 from the free throw line (61.9 percent) They shot 2-for-16 on 3s

They had more turnovers (13) than assists (10).

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only once in the last eight seasons has a team performed that poorly and emerged victorious (Golden State vs. Utah in November, 2010).

So while the Celtics are certainly disappointed in their start to the season, there remains a strong sense of optimism that the issues they can get on track tonight and head into the home opener on Friday against Detroit, with a bit of momentum and even more important, that first win of the season.

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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