Curran: Ten thoughts before free agency hits

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Curran: Ten thoughts before free agency hits

A few items to ruminate on as free agency looms. 1. I'm not so sure it's going to be a free agent "frenzy" this year. The reason? There are way more free agents than normal. The uncapped year that pushed free agency eligibility in 2010 from four years to six years kept guys off the market. Then, the abbreviated offseason in 2011 caused a lot of teams (and players) to opt for one-year deals. So what we have is a flooded market and that means teams can idle down the aisles. 2. The Patriots are so unpredictable and tight-lipped during these periods that we're often left to read tea leaves and kick around for clues that indicate who they like or where they appear to need help. With that in mind, the 2011 season gave a big clue that safety is a huge need position.Too badfor the Patriots it's a tragically weak class. 3. Although the BenJarvus Green-Ellis Camp believes he'll draw attention on the free agent market, I believe it will be second-tier attention. It's going to leave him with a decision to make about chasing dough or staying in New England. I believe the Patriots will make him a respectable offer but they won't be in a bidding war. For an undrafted player, the money will be a powerful lure -- especially when that player is a running back whose career expectancy will be short. I believe he's likely to be somewhere else. 4. Mark Anderson could be a guy that attracts major attention. He rehabbed his career in 2011 with the Patriots after going into a graveyard spiral in Chicago. His decision to stay or go will be tougher than Green-Ellis' because the Patriots are the ones whogave him a shot and put him in a position to make plays. Of course, ifNew England lowballs him the decision won't be hard at all. 5. There is so much I enjoy about Randy Moss. When it comes to authenticity, he's got it all over Chad Ochocinco. Buthis separation from reality is apparent when he says, "I think when it comes to the world-wide sports media, Ive gotten a bad rap . . . not being a team player and things like that. That's what he insisted Monday night in a conference call after the 49ers signed him. Randy, do you remember your diatribe after the 2010 season opener? Yeah, that left a mark. 6. I know I've kinda turned into Brandon Lloyd's advance press agent, but it's been an obvious story. A top-15 receiver who wants to play for Josh McDaniels and has had success in the system -- why wouldn't we be finding as much out about him as we can? Is he Jerry Rice? No. Does the confounding start to his career need investigating? Sure. But Lloyd having been "moody" in Denver palescompared toVincent Jackson. The football world droolsabout Jackson's potential as a prospective free agent. Meanwhile, he's had two DUIs andis currently onprobation. 7. That said, if the Bills get V-Jax -- and they are very interested -- that's a helluva receiving corps to deal with between him, Stevie Johnson and tall slot receiver David Nelson. 8. Larry Fitzgerald got 50 million guaranteed when he signed a new deal. Andre Johnson got 48 million. Tom Brady got 48.5. Julius Pepper gets 40 million in the first three years of his deal. What will Mario Williams get? When you consider that Peppers has played very well yet the Bears went 8-8 this year (after a 12-4 2010), does it give a team pause about going into the 60 million guarantee range for a non-quarterback. 9. The 2011 Offseason Champions were the Philadelphia Eagles. They missed the playoffs last year. 10. I'm not buying on Matt Flynn. At least not to the "savior" level teams seem to be attaching to him. I do hope he does well, however. itsanirishthing.

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Wizards shoot ridiculous 65 percent from field

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Wizards shoot ridiculous 65 percent from field

After Boston’s last game against Portland – a loss – Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said he was encouraged by some of the things his team did defensively.

It’s safe to say Stevens won’t be singing that tone if the Celtics continue along the path they’re on defensively right now as the Washington Wizards went into the half with a 66-59 lead.

Washington, donning all-black clothes when they arrived at the Verizon Center, were very much looking as though they were digging a basketball grave for the Boston Celtics who allowed the Wizards to shoot a ridiculous 65 percent from the field in the first half and 61.5 percent (8-for-13) from 3-point range.

The Wizards scored the first four points of the game and spent all of the first half playing with a lead.

But the Celtics showed some fight late in the second quarter, going on a 14-6 run to cut Washington’s lead to 55-52 with 3:39 to play in the quarter.

Boston would later have a chance to tie the game, but Marcus Smart’s 3-pointer was off the mark.

And the Wizards, as they had done all game, made the Celtics pay as Bradley Beal drained a jumper that made it a two-possession game.

Here’s a look at the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half.

 

STARS

Bradley Beal

It was his idea to go with the all-Black look, and he backed up his talk with a strong first half of play. He has a team-high 14 points at the half along with five assists.

Isaiah Thomas

Thomas delivered yet another all-star caliber scoring performance in the first half for Boston. He led all scorers with 17 points on 5-for-9 shooting along with a game-high eight assists.  

John Wall

After scoring just nine points when these two met on Jan. 11, Wall has 13 points at the half on 6-for-9 shooting to go with five rebounds and three assists.

 

STUDS

Al Horford

It was an extremely efficient game offensively in the first half for Horford. He had 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting with three assists.

Markieff Morris

He’s one of four double-digit scorers in the first half for the Wizards. In addition to his 10 points, he also has five rebounds and three assists.

 

DUDS

Celtics defense

At this end of the floor, the Celtics were absolutely atrocious in the first half. The Wizards shot a ridiculously high 65 percent from the field, and were just as lethal (8-for-13, 61.5 percent) from 3-point land. They have no shot at competing let alone winning tonight’s game, if they don’t turn things around and do so soon!

Beyond the numbers: 'Game is slowing down' for Isaiah Thomas

Beyond the numbers: 'Game is slowing down' for Isaiah Thomas

Just about every part of Isaiah Thomas’ game offensively has seen tremendous growth this season.

But what has really separated him from earlier versions of himself, has been his 3-point shooting.

He comes into tonight’s game against the Washington Wizards shooting a career best 38.4 percent from 3-point range.

When asked about how he has elevated his game this season, the answer isn’t that simple.

“I don’t know” he told reporters prior to tonight’s game. “The game is slowing down for me. My teammates put me in position, my coach does … and I’m just knocking down shots.”

Because of his shot-making, Thomas has made it difficult for defenses to give him a steady diet of any style of play in trying to limit him.

And because they have to change things up with regularity, that has created more scoring opportunities.

“Sometimes they forget what they want to do (defensively) and leave me open for a three,” Thomas said. “Those are the the types of shots I need to knock down and I’m being aggressive.

He added, “I need to get to the free throw line, trying to make plays for my teammates. It’s one of those things where I’m in a really good zone now; a really good rhythm.”

A good rhythm?

According to NBA statistics guru Dick Lipe, Thomas is the first Celtic ever to make at least four 3-pointers in five straight games. Taking it a step further, he has made at least three 3-pointers in seven straight games which equaled Antoine Walker’s streak in 2001.

Thomas has also attempted 11 three-pointers in five straight games which is a franchise record. There have only been three longer streaks in NBA history - Golden State’s Stephen Curry (7 straight games, 2016); Washington’s Gilbert Arenas (7 straight games, 2005) and Dallas’ George McCloud (6 straight games, 2006).

He’s also averaging 3.1 made 3’s per game which would be a franchise record that’s currently held by Antoine Walker who averaged 2.7 during the 2001-2002 season.

And all those 3’s have added up to Thomas scoring at least 27 points in seven straight games, something that hasn’t been done by a Celtic since Larry Bird had eight such games in March 1988 as well as the 1987-1988 season.