Brady warns against complacency with Jets

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Brady warns against complacency with Jets

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick has a saying quarterback Tom Brady has repeated at press conferences before.

"The season doesn't really start until Thanksgiving," it goes.

If that's the case, New England's real work begins in just two days. The Patriots will play New York on the road Thanksgiving night. A divisional game is no easy way to start grinding out a playoff run, let alone on short rest.

"It feels different than any game you really play," Brady said Tuesday. "We're just trying to put as much as you can into it. These three or four days -- there's just no time for anything other than the Jets. You just try to watch as much film as you can. We're fortunate to have played them three weeks ago, so there's some recall from that previous game and preparation that we put in before that game, but . . . it's definitely a challenge.

"I think we're at that point where every game is bigger than the last one. It was a good win for us against Indianapolis the other night, but now we need to put together another one. This team makes it tough on you, they do quite a few things defensively and they really played us well last time."

Brady believes his teammates will manage fine -- if they stay smart.

"We're just trying to prioritize our time. We don't have much of it; we have to leave tomorrow. Hopefully, everyone is spending it wisely -- not playing video games and stuff like that -- trying to understand our plan and what we need to do," the quarterback smiled. "It's a very tough place to play -- we've always played this team very tough."

New England barely escaped the Jets' last effort, winning 29-26 in overtime. Brady has only had two games this season with a worse completion percentage (61.9) than he did in that Week 7 game. The 6.2 yards per pass is tied for his lowest of the year.

The Patriots quarterback remembers it well, and he's expecting another fight.

"Obviously we didn't execute very well. We had some opportunities that we just didn't take advantage of. And they play really well. They always seem to play us well. There's one game where we beat 'em up pretty good a few years ago, but other than that they've been tight games. That's just the way it always is against the Jets."

Rex Ryan's defense can cause problems even in the worst of times. Brady noted the array of blitz schemes and personnel groupings New York likes to throw at opponents to create chaos.

Of course, many of them are familiar to the Patriots; these two teams have faced off 21 times during Brady's tenure. But any advantage gained must be balanced against the danger of complacency -- exactly why Brady stressed the importance of this short week's work.

"I think you can maybe get lulled into a sense of confidence where, 'Oh, yeah, we know this team -- it's the Jets.' But you've got to prepare just as hard," he said. "You may know the players and some of the scheme stuff, but at the same time you have to put as much as you can into it in the short amount of time that we have.

"You just can't take anything for granted against this team. They'll have something new for us. They always do."

Blakely: Raptors newcomers show Celtics what they're missing

Blakely: Raptors newcomers show Celtics what they're missing

TORONTO – It’s far too soon to say if the Celtics’ decision to stand pat at the trade deadline was a mistake.
 
But the early returns aren’t encouraging.
 
Their 107-97 loss Friday night to the Toronto Raptors wasn’t because of Kyle Lowry (right wrist), who didn’t even play, or DeMar DeRozan, who played out his mind while scoring a career-high 43 points.
 
The game will be remembered by the new guys Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker, both acquired at the trade deadline by the Raptors.
 
Ibaka, who was a bad fit, and on most nights a bad player, in Orlando, looked like the O-K-C Ibaka while scoring 15 points to go with seven rebounds against the Celtics – numbers that were better than his two games combined against the Celtics this season with the Magic when he scored a total of just 12 points while grabbing eight rebounds.
 
And then there was Tucker, who got a crash video course on Raptors playbook just hours before the game, and proceeded to show the kind of toughness at both ends of the floor that has made him one of the league’s more underrated defenders as he finished with a near double-double of nine points and 10 rebounds.
 
It was their first game with their new team, but you would have thought they had been with Toronto all season long with how seamless they seemed to fit in.
 
Ibaka draining jumpers, Tucker causing chaos defensively, while absolutely crushing the Celtics on the boards...their play was a painful reminder of what could have been for the Green team.
 
Both were rumored to have been in the Celtics’ crosshairs prior to the Thursday 3 p.m. trade deadline. The Celtics were lukewarm at best on Ibaka (they didn’t want what would have been a 25-game rental) and just couldn’t quite strike a deal and cross the finish line for Tucker.
 
It’s too soon to hit the panic button and rip Danny Ainge for not getting a minor deal done like adding Tucker or Ibaka.
 
Still, his players have to embrace the truth behind what transpired this trade season.
 
Ainge went big-game hunting, focusing most of the team's efforts on landing a major difference-maker, a la Jimmy Butler or Paul George.
 
When that didn’t work out, he settled for the next best thing, which was to keep this group together.
 
The onus is now on them to prove that trust Ainge has in them, was well-placed.
 
Putting too much stock in the first game after the break is a risky proposition that no one should subscribe to.
 
But in the loss, it revealed many of the concerns and weaknesses of this roster that tend to get magnified in defeat while glossed over when they manage to win despite those flaws.
 
Isaiah Thomas may be the best scorer in the fourth quarter, but he’s human.
 
There will be games when Mr. Fourth Quarter can’t get it done.
 
Friday night was that kind of game for him. He scored just four of his team-high 20 points in the fourth.
 
And as the Raptors blitzed him repeatedly with two and three defenders, his teammates failed to step up when the opportunity was there to make impactful, game-altering plays down the stretch.
 
Watching the Celtics’ defense in the second half was painful.
 
DeRozan got whatever he wanted, when he wanted it.
 
And when he missed, the Raptors controlled the boards, got all the 50/50 balls and repeatedly out-worked Boston.
 
It exposed Boston in a way that’s painful to see, especially when those inflicting the greatest amount of damage could have been in the Celtics huddle and not the one on the other sideline.
 
 

Hardy: 'Celtics haven't reached that next level status'

Hardy: 'Celtics haven't reached that next level status'

Greg Hardy, Chris Mannix, and Glenn Ordway discuss what the Celtics should have done before the trade deadline, and what they need to do in the offseason in order to reach the next level in playoffs.