Celtics overcome Mavericks in double OT, 117-115

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Celtics overcome Mavericks in double OT, 117-115

BOSTON The Boston Celtics have a tendency to make things much harder on themselves than they should be. 
If ever there was a game that was indicative of that, it was Wednesday night's 117-115 double overtime win over the Dallas Mavericks.
Paul Pierce led all scorers with 34 points, which included him making five of his last six free throws in the final seconds of Boston's second overtime. 
Dallas had one last shot at tying up the game, but Darren Collison threw the ball away with 5.3 seconds to play in the second overtime, a fitting end to the night for a Dallas team that turned the ball over 28 times that resulted in 34 points for the Celtics. 
Collison then fouled Courtney Lee with 4.1 seconds to play. Lee went to the line and made both to secure the Celtics victory. 
O.J. Mayo led the Mavericks with 24 points which included an end-of-the-game buzzer beater that meant nothing other than another 3-pointer to pad his individual stats line.
Rajon Rondo, who came about as close as you can to a triple-double, finished with 16 points, 15 assists and nine rebounds.
So much of the chatter leading up to Wednesday's game against Dallas was centered around Celtics guard Jason Terry seeing his former team for the first time since leaving. 
But that wasn't the reunion of sorts that had the Celtics feeling good afterward.
It was them re-introducing themselves to an old friend called winning streak, a friend they haven't seen much of this season. 
Bringing the two together was not easy as the Celtics made a slew of miscues in the fourth that led to the first of two overtime sessions.
Boston led most of the night, but the Mavericks chipped away at Boston's lead and eventually tied the game at 92 on a driving lay-up by Collison with 2:20 to play and then took their first lead of the night on a 3-pointer from Derek Fisher, 95-94, with 1:47 to play in the fourth quarter. 
Boston regained the lead just 17 seconds later on a jumper by Pierce. 
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle came into Wednesday's game well aware that the Celtics were a better team than their slightly-above .500 record.
"I like their team," Carlisle, a former Celtic, said prior to the game. "I like their veteran savvy. They have a real good mixture of different kinds of players. They're tough and physical and they're obviously well coached. They're a team that's going to get better as the year goes on."
Boston (12-9) is three games over .500 for the first time this season after winning their second straight game -- something they had not done since wins on Nov. 23 and 25 against Oklahoma City and Orlando, respectively. 
The Celtics also snapped a four-game losing skid to the Mavericks.
Getting off to a great start for the Celtics was Kevin Garnett, who made his first three field goals before finishing the night with 16 points and five rebounds.
Boston pushed its lead back to double digits in the third quarter after a Brandon Bass put-back basket gave the Celtics a 63-52 lead.
The first half belonged to Boston which led by as many as 10 points, only to see its lead cut down to 48-43 at the half.

Tom Brady on Donald Trump: 'I certainly disagree with what he said'

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Tom Brady on Donald Trump: 'I certainly disagree with what he said'

After beating the Texans on Sunday, 36-33, Tom Brady didn't want to delve too deeply into what went into his locking arms with teammates during the national anthem. 

"I just think," Brady said, "there's just a great love for my teammates."

He didn't want to get into Donald Trump's comments about players kneeling for the anthem, but he was willing to go there during Monday's Kirk and Callahan Show on WEEI.

"Yeah, I certainly disagree with what he said," Brady explained. "I thought it was just divisive. Like I said, I just want to support my teammates. I am never one to say, ‘Oh, that is wrong. That is right.’ I do believe in what I believe in. I believe in bringing people together and respect and love and trust. Those are the values that my parents instilled in me. That is how I try and live every day.

"I have been blessed to be in locker rooms with guys all over the United States over the course of my career. Some of my great friends are from Florida, Virginia, New York, Montana, Colorado, Texas. The one thing about football is it brings so many guys together -- guys you would never have the opportunity to be around. Whether it was in college, and all the way into the pros. We’re all different, we’re all unique. That is what makes us all special."

Brady was one of several players locking arms on the Patriots sideline for the anthem. More than a dozen others, including Devin McCourty, took a knee. Just before and immediately after the anthem, fans booed the demonstration.

"I think everyone has the right to do whatever they want to do," Brady said of the response. "If you don’t agree, that is fine. You can voice your disagreement, I think that is great. It’s part of our democracy. As long as it is done in a peaceful, respectful way, that is what our country has been all about."

Curran: In the end, everyone stood because of the game

Curran: In the end, everyone stood because of the game

FOXBORO – The boos and demands to “Stand up!” rained down just as the Star Spangled Banner began. The players on the Patriots sideline who knelt – the ones boos and invective was directed at – stayed down. Others stood, locking arms with teammates while others stood with their hands over their hearts.

By game’s end, everyone was on their feet. Players. Coaches. Fans. Together.

Unless they left early because of traffic and a late Patriots deficit. Or because they couldn’t bear the thought of watching an NFL game on a beautiful September Sunday because the entertainers didn’t do what they wanted them to do before the performance began.

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The whole thing’s complicated. I understand why people take offense at those who don’t stand for the anthem.

I understand why others want to deliver a symbolic message about their American experience.

I completely understand why, two days after President Trump thought it appropriate to use the phrase “son of a bitch” to refer to someone making a silent, reflective statement, many NFL players felt challenged, backed into a corner and somewhat dehumanized. The message delivered was, in essence, “Shut up and dance.”

Personally, I prefer to stick to sports. I don’t think I’m equipped to talk politics because I don’t know policy, legislation, constituencies and special interests – all the things that I define as politics – well enough to drone on at anybody.

As for sociology – which is what this is about rather than politics – I have my experiences and others have theirs. I’m trying to mow my own lawn over here. You do you. I’ll do me. As long as you don’t encroach on me doing me while you do you, I’m fine. When I’m not completely self-absorbed, a respectful exchange of ideas can make me see things in a different light.

It didn’t surprise me some people at Gillette Stadium had a visceral and vocal reaction to players kneeling. The pot was brought to a boil all weekend, the lid was just lifted and it bubbled over.

But the irony of how the afternoon played out – that Brandin Cooks, a player booing fans were screaming at to stand three hours earlier brought them to their feet with his toe-tapping last-minute touchdown – was perfectly symbolic.

Ultimately, everyone was there for the football – the players, coaches, media and fans – and in the end it was the football that brought the unified response that stood in contrast to the divided reactions in the stands and on the field before the game.

“That’s what sports is,” said Patriots safety Devin McCourty. “That’s what sports does. That’s what makes them great. They bring out what we have in common.

“I don’t think people look at us as human,” McCourty said. “I don’t think they ever have. We’re just the entertainment. They don’t understand that there’s a human behind it. People want to shake your hand or have their picture taken with you but they don’t want to know you. That’s reality.”

Maybe. Or maybe people feel their voices aren’t heard. They don’t have a column they can write or a TV or radio show to spout off on. They don’t have the chance to demonstrate their individual feelings at their cubicle before the workday starts.

All they know is they spent $500 or more to get to and into with a belly full of steak tips and beer and they don’t need to feel like being reminded about somebody else’s societal oppression on their day off, thank you very much.

It’s not so much about who does what during the Star Spangled Banner as much as it is that a lot of people don’t appreciate the intrusion. That, and they’re tired of hearing how bad everyone else has it when it’s really no damn picnic for most people these days.

Believe me, there’s not unanimity of opinion in the Patriots locker room any more than there is in your office, home, dorm or neighborhood. Players of different races, backgrounds, economic circumstances and ways of expressing themselves are thrown in a pot together and told to work for a common goal and rely on each other.

The mish-mash of ways in which players responded during the anthem on the Patriots sideline, the reticence of some players to dip a toe in the conversation, McCourty’s opening statement at the podium and then his declining to take questions and Bill Belichick’s comment that he would “deal with that later” all seemed to indicate that the team itself is still working through how it expresses itself as a whole.

It’s complicated for them too.

But in the end, it was the football that bound them together. It was the game that left them jumping on each other and the fans standing and screaming and nobody thinking at all about who did what when the song played before the game.

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