Bruschi: Can't question Brady's drive to be best

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Bruschi: Can't question Brady's drive to be best

FOXBORO -- Tedy Bruschi knows that Tom Brady still has that drive to be the best. How does the former Patriots linebacker know that? Not only does he currently see it on the field, but he also knows first-hand just how competitive Brady is.

In a conference call on Thursday, Bruschi told a soon-to-be legendary tale from the 2005 Pro Bowl, just a week after the Patriots had won their third Super Bowl in four years -- and their second straight.

But two in a row wasn't satisfying enough for Brady. Not even a week later, in Hawaii.

"It's never enough for him," said Bruschi. "And I think a lot of us were that way, early on. Myself, Troy Brown, Tom Brady, a lot of guys that people just didn't expect much from, that felt you always had something to prove, even when you had a lot of success achieved. It still wasn't enough.

"I remember, the only Pro Bowl that I played in, was after the Super Bowl against the Eagles. And we're waiting in the locker room -- all the Pro Bowl participants for the Patriots. So it was me, Adam Vinatieri, Larry Izzo, Brady.

"And, guys, seriously, we still had confetti in our pockets from the parade," added Bruschi. "The celebration and the euphoric feeling we had from the Super Bowl still was there. And before we went out to be introduced as the representatives of the Super Bowl champions -- the last introduction of the Pro Bowl -- we're there alone in the locker room, and Tom Brady looks at all of us and says, 'No one's ever won three in a row, guys.'

"And we all looked at him and said, 'C'mon Tom!' It was like, 'Take a break, take a little bit of a break and enjoy it.' I was sort of in disbelief that he was already there. He was already thinking about what was next."

Marcus Smart will get start for Celtics for injured Isaiah Thomas

Marcus Smart will get start for Celtics for injured Isaiah Thomas

As expected, Marcus Smart will get the start for the Boston Celtics tonight against the Orlando Magic in place of the injured Isaiah Thomas. 

Thomas, who leads the Celtics (12-9) in scoring (26.0) and assists (6.2) this season, suffered a right groin injury in Boston’s 107-106 loss at Houston on Monday.

Head coach Brad Stevens explained his decision a few minutes ago.

“He’s started a lot of games here in the past as a point guard,” Stevens told reporters. “He’s basically our sixth starter. It wasn’t one that I had to think a ton about.”

Starting Smart also allows second-year guard Terry Rozier to continue in his role coming off the bench. 

Whether he’s starting or coming off the bench, Smart’s production has been consistent. 

In the five games he has started this season, he has averaged 10.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. 

His numbers off the bench are almost identical with Smart averaging 9.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists as a reserve. 

Stevens also mentioned that Amir Johnson would be back in the starting lineup in place of Jonas Jerebko. Earlier in the day, Stevens told reporters the decision to start Jerebko on Monday was strictly because of the matchup with Houston. 

“We have to be able to be flexible in doing that,” Stevens said. “Houston plays four guards. We didn’t feel like we could defend them unless we switch one through four. I thought he (Jerebko) did a pretty good job. This (Orlando) team is different than Houston other than both are super-hot.”

Orlando (10-12) has won four of its last five games in part because of its size, strength and versatility along the frontline which includes Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo and Nikola Vucevic who now comes off the bench. 

And while the Celtics have benefited heavily from the play of their guards, obviously that plan will be amended tonight with Thomas out. 

“He (Thomas) generates a lot in the open offense what we call flow, spread offense,” Stevens said. “So some of those type of things you may not generate at the same rate. But certainly there are other ways that we’ll look to play when he’s not in the game normally, or when we’re trying to play through bigs in the post. You have different ways to play within all your schemes. Hopefully we can play to each other’s strengths and go from there.”