Brady all business on holiday week

581516.jpg

Brady all business on holiday week

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady's weekly "Meet the Press" turn on Wednesdays serves a bigger purpose than just filling airtime, bandwidth and column inches. It is an opportunity for the team's most important player to set the agenda for his teammates. On this Wednesday, a semi-terse Brady stepped to the podium and made it very clear how he's treating Sunday's game in Philly. Like a playoff game. "We're putting it all into this week," Brady said in his opening remarks. "We got a lot on the line. It's a very good team. There's skill at every position. Going on the road and trying to win a tough game on the road at the most important time of the year. It says a lot about (us as a team)."The Patriotshave rebounded fromconsecutive losses to the Giants and Steelers with wins overthe Jets and Chiefs. They hold a two-game lead in the AFC East over the Jets and Bills and -- stepping into a non-conference game -- they actually have some breathing room. But Brady's tone registered urgency. I asked him why. "It's a big week for us," he repeated. "We need to play really well. Certainly better than we played the last few weeks. There's a lot of people on our team and our offense that have taken the challenge that our coach has given us and we're gonna go out there and try to play our best and I think we need to do that."The results are there for the Patriots, but the product is not as polished as it needs to be. Brady has said that over and over again this year. And he realizes that his offense is still trying to establish what it does consistently well as the calendar flips to December. "This is the time of year where it's most important," Brady said. "There's not a lot of games left so when you play a tough team on the road that came off one of the biggest games of their season, you've got everything you could ask for so we'll try to play our best."

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

BOSTON – This continues to be a historic season for Isaiah Thomas as more records fell in Wednesday’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee, and the company he’s keeping becomes even more exclusive. 

Thomas had a game-high 32 points on Wednesday which included five made 3’s on nine attempts. That gave him 223 for the season which is a new franchise single-season record for made 3-pointers. The previous record was 222 set by Antoine Walker during the 2001-2002 season.

And his 32 points scored gives him 2,012 this season. 

Only six players in franchise history (Paul Pierce was the last to do it during the 2005-2006 season) have scored 2,000 or more points in a single season. 

Oh, there’s more. 

With Wednesday being the 66th time this season he has had 20 or more points, Thomas has now tied Pierce (2005-2006) and Larry Bird (1985-1986; 1987-1988) for sixth on the Celtics’ single-season franchise list. 

“I didn’t even know that,” a visibly disappointed Thomas said following Wednesday’s loss. “It doesn’t feel that good right now. But when I look back on it, probably in the offseason, I’ll appreciate it a little more. But I’m just staying in the moment and try and play as best I can to lead this team to as many wins as possible.”

Other season milestones Thomas is in the mix for include the following:

  • The 5-foot-9 guard is one of three players this season to have 50 or more games of 25-plus points, joined by Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (57) and Houston’s James Harden (54).
  • Thomas has made at least one 3-pointer in a franchise-record 50 straight games (Dec. 3 – March 29). That’s also the longest current streak in the NBA. 
  • With 66 games of 20 or more points this season, Thomas is second in the NBA to Westbrook (67).

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

BOSTON – One of the more bizarre plays in Boston’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee came in the second quarter, requiring some explanation from the officials afterwards. 

With 3:55 to play in the second quarter, the officials had originally called a foul on Marcus Smart which he verbally protested that eventually led to him being whistled for a technical foul. 

After the officials reviewed the play, they changed the call to a personal foul against Khris Middleton but no change to the called technical foul against Smart who objected to a call that, upon review, they agreed was the wrong call to make. 

Official Sean Corbin, through pool reporter Ken Powtak of the Associated Press, acknowledged that the original call was a loose ball foul against Smart. 

“The (officiating) crew got together, we met prior to video and we decided that we needed to look at video because both players were on the floor bleeding so we went to the video for a hostile act,” Corbin told Powtak. “In the review we noticed that Khris Middleton initially made contact to Marcus Smart’s face. That’s how the original contact to the play occurred.”

Fortunately for the Celtics, Middleton missed his technical free throw while Smart split a pair of free throws which cut Milwaukee’s lead to 49-40.

Still, that’s no consolation for Smart who was whistled for a technical foul on a play that the official acknowledged was the wrong call to make. 

In the fourth quarter, Smart was at the center of yet another controversial call that was also reviewed by the officials. The verdict wasn't nearly as good for Smart who was whistled for a flagrant foul after getting his feet tangled up with Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo who was called for a non-shooting foul in the play with 4:46 to play. 

Antetokounmpo made one of two free throws and on the Bucks' ensuing possession, he was called for traveling.

Smart was unavailable to talk after the game in part because the aforementioned incident left an abrasion to his mouth and, because of the technical foul, a little lighter in the wallet as well.