Wilcox rounding into form with Celtics


Wilcox rounding into form with Celtics

BOSTON As a former NBA lottery pick, Chris Wilcox is used to being an NBA starter.

But he understands his role with the Boston Celtics is one in which he'll come off the bench most nights. And depending on how that goes, he might crack double digits - in minutes played.

However, on Sunday the Celtics once again found themselves short on bodies and long on providing opportunities to guys who normally come off the bench. Guys like Wilcox.

And the veteran once again made the most of his increased role in helping the Celtics defeat Chicago, 95-91.

Wilcox, who got the start because Jermaine O'Neal (left shoulder) and Brandon Bass (left knee) were out, responded with 11 points, nine rebounds and a blocked shot.

His success was in part due to a renewed focus by the Celtics to get out and run as much as possible; bigs included.

"I knew what I had to do tonight," Wilcox said. "Their bigs, I had to run them and that's what we did all night."

And the C's looking to run more plays well into what has been one of Wilcox's strengths throughout his career.

Rajon Rondo, who tallied his second triple-double of the season (32 points, 15 assists, 10 rebounds), was able to find a number of teammates in transition - including Wilcox.

Rondo's alley-oop to Wilcox with 5:08 to play, capped off a 9-1 spurt that put the Celtics ahead, 86-74.

"Chris was phenomenal with his speed," said coach Doc Rivers.

Kevin Garnett has competed against Wilcox for a number of years when both were in the Western Conference.

You can count Garnett among those happy to now call Wilcox, a teammate.

"He played very confident," Garnett said. "He's been in this league for a while. He knows how to play. He plays hard. He knows his role. And the reason we win is because guys know their role and they know their role well."

And while that role may vary from one game to another, one thing remains a constant with Wilcox: staying ready.

"You never know, coming off the bench, you might get one chance (to start)," Wilcox said. "So you have to make the best of it. Good things happen when you play hard."

Monday, Sept. 26: So what happens if Canada loses World Cup final?


Monday, Sept. 26: So what happens if Canada loses World Cup final?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while finding it hard to believe that it’s game day for the Boston Bruins. Summer is officially O-V-A.
-- The Montreal media is starting to get on board with this tougher, grittier version of the Habs, along with a healthy Carey Price.
-- Pierre McGuire sits in with Ottawa’s TSN sports radio station and talks Team Europe in the World Cup, as well as a number of other things.

-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Zeisberger is already openly wondering what would happen in Canada if they lose to Team Europe in the best-of-three final to the World Cup.

-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) Puck Daddy Greg Wyshynski asks Brad Marchand if a part of him has thought about playing with Sidney Crosby on the Penguins if he hits free agency. Bells, alarms and whistles should be going off on Causeway Street to give No. 63 whatever he wants at this point. In case you missed it, I talked about the danger of Crosby trying to woo his Nova Scotian buddy to Pittsburgh last week.
-- PHT writer James O’Brien says it sounds like the St. Louis Blues are going to play a more aggressive brand of hockey this season.
-- For something completely different: Forbes Magazine says Pete Carroll, not Bill Belichick, should be considered the NFL’s foremost cheater.

Rookie Dak Prescott solid again, Cowboys beat Bears, 31-17


Rookie Dak Prescott solid again, Cowboys beat Bears, 31-17

ARLINGTON, Texas - Maybe the Cowboys will be OK without quarterback Tony Romo this time. The future of the Dallas running game with Ezekiel Elliott looks pretty good, too.

Dak Prescott led scoring drives on all four Dallas possessions in the first half before throwing his first career touchdown pass in fellow rookie Elliott's first 100-yard game, and the Cowboys beat the Chicago Bears 31-17 on Sunday night to snap an eight-game home losing streak.

With his second straight win, Prescott doubled the number of victories the Cowboys (2-1) had in 14 games without the injured Romo over three seasons before the fourth-round pick showed up.

Prescott's first TD pass was a 17-yarder to Dez Bryant for a 31-10 lead in the fourth quarter, and he's up to 99 throws without an interception to start his career. Philadelphia's Carson Wentz has 102, and those are the two highest career-opening totals for a rookie in NFL history.

"Dak's handled every opportunity he's had right from the start really, really well," coach Jason Garrett said. "No different tonight."

Brian Hoyer had trouble moving the Chicago offense early with Jay Cutler sidelined by a sprained right thumb as the Bears fell behind 24-3 at halftime and dropped to 0-3 for the second time in two seasons under coach John Fox.

Making his 27th career start for his fourth different team, Hoyer was 30 of 49 for 317 yards - a good portion of that with the game out of each late in the fourth quarter - and threw for two scores to Zach Miller.

"We haven't played a complete game," Fox said. "This week was the reverse of what we've had. We played very poorly in the first half."

Elliott finished with 140 yards on 30 carries, including a 14-yard run when he hurdled safety Chris Prosinski. The Cowboys kept giving him the ball while trying to work the clock with a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter a week after he was benched because of two fumbles in a win over Washington.

"Made a lot of good runs tonight, a lot tough runs, a lot of NFL runs," Garrett said. "He's physically tough. He's mentally tough."

It didn't even bother Prescott that Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith missed just the second game of his six-year career after his back tightened up during the week.

Prescott was 19 of 24 for 248 yards in Dallas' first home win since last year's opener, which was a week before the first of two broken left collarbones that kept Romo out of 12 games last season.

Romo is expected to miss about another month after breaking a bone in his back in the preseason.

Prescott had one of three rushing touchdowns for the Cowboys, who have seven this season after getting eight all of last year, when they finished 4-12.

Because the Bears fell behind again, they couldn't do much with the running game. They had just 15 carries for 73 yards and lost leading rusher Jeremy Langford to an ankle injury in the second half.