Doc: 'We're a soft team; we have no toughness'

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Doc: 'We're a soft team; we have no toughness'

BOSTON NBA players are a prideful bunch who don't take too kindly to their manhood being questioned.
But there was no mistaking what Doc Rivers and all those Celtics fans at the TD Garden witnessed in Wednesday's 95-83 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
This team, as talented as they might be on paper and on the floor some nights, lacks a certain toughness that can no longer be ignored.
"If I'm Brooklyn and the league, you've got to think we're pretty soft the way we're playing," Rivers said. "We're a soft team right now; we have no toughness."
And for those who want to throw Rajon Rondo's incident -- lead official James Capers referred to it as a fight -- with Kris Humphries into the category of exuded toughness, Rivers isn't trying to hear that.
Especially when he knows that there's a chance that it will likely cost Rondo at least one game via suspension.
"That stuff's not toughness," Rivers said. "All that stuff, that's not toughness."
Inside the Celtics locker room, the disappointment was apparent on the faces of all the players.
And when told of Rivers' comments, players had no choice but to agree.
"It's the truth," said Jeff Green. "That's how we're playing."
Part of the Celtics problem might be that they are not taking these games as serious as their opponents.
The issue isn't whether the C's are showing up ready to play.
That's a given.
The real problem is that far too often, they're not showing up to win.
Boston guard Courtney Lee acknowledged that the Celtics didn't approach this game with the sense of urgency to win that their opponent did.
"I feel like they (Brooklyn) came into the game and approached it as a big game playing us, and we approached it like it was just a regular game," Lee said.
It was clear that the Nets, winners of four in a row now, came to Boston with one thing in mind -- a victory.
That "soft" play that Rivers speaks of has a lot to do with his players simply not understanding fully what it means to play for a team that has been the target of just about every team in the East for a number of years.
"When we play, every team is attacking," Rivers said. "It's a big game for them. What I saw tonight, honestly, was I thought Brooklyn looked at this game as a huge game. Huge game."
Following the victory, several Brooklyn players acknowledged the importance of not just playing with -- but actually beating -- the Celtics for a second time in as many matchups.
"Definitely a big game," said Nets guard Joe Johnson. "You know we're just trying to hold our own at this point. It's still early in the season, but this is a division game. We know if you want to do anything special in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics, regardless of their record, is still going to be right in the hunt. We definitely came in here trying to test ourselves."
Brooklyn's Jerry Stackhouse, who had 17 points which included 5 3-pointers, agreed.
"This is a team that we look at as a barometer, with their core guys," Stackhouse said. "I know it's different now, they made some changes. But with Doc as their coach, we know they're going to be good at the end of the year. We have to establish ourselves and if there's room for us to try and make up some ground or show that we're for real and be there at the end, I think we're doing that."
Still, Stackhouse believes the Celtics are a team that can't be taken for granted.
"Even with the new pieces, there are some champions over there," he said.
Maybe so, but they certainly aren't playing like ones.
Far too often, they have played a weak brand of basketball that doesn't resemble what Celtics fans have come to know and expect from them in recent years.
Garnett, well aware of the historical relevance of his play and those that donned the C's uniforms before him, does not take any of that for granted.
Getting some of his teammates to understand this is among the many challenges that lie ahead for both him and the Celtics.
"There's a lot of people who built this before me; there's due diligence and responsibility that comes with that," Garnett said. "We gotta get that back somehow."

A hungry ballplayer: Ex-Sox prospect Moncada once ate 85 Twinkies a week

A hungry ballplayer: Ex-Sox prospect Moncada once ate 85 Twinkies a week

This isn’t your average young and hungry player on the brink of the big leagues.

Yoan Moncada, the ex-Red Sox prospect who was one of the principal pieces in the trade for Chris Sale, ate 85 Twinkies in a week, his agent told ESPN The Magazine

David Hastings, Moncada's agent, clarified to CSNNE that this was a one-time thing when Moncada first arrived in the U.S. Moncada had never had Twinkies before, Hastings said, so he was like "a kid in a candy store."

He's still in great shape. Moncada had a huge spring training with the White Sox after a disappointing major-league debut with Boston in September. 

The 21-year-old third baseman has been optioned out of big-league camp, so he’s slated to start the year in Triple-A. But he hit .317 with a .391 on-base percentage and .683 slugging percentage and 3 home runs in 41 at-bats — some of the best numbers anywhere.

Moncada took a $31.5 million signing bonus from the Red Sox, money that the Sox turned into Sale. Moncada, meanwhile, didn’t exactly invest every cent.

Twinkies weren’t his only indulgence. 

More from the story: 

Moncada had money to spend on drones, video games, toys and clothes. He sometimes spent $1,500 or more during nights out, David says. After he purchased the second $200,000 car, Josefa [Hastings, David’s wife] tried to talk some sense into him.

Hastings reinforced to CSNNE that the message to Moncada was to invest in things that appreciate in value.

Belichick headlines big-name crowd in attendance at Ohio State pro day

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Belichick headlines big-name crowd in attendance at Ohio State pro day

Bill Belichick has counted both Urban Meyer and Greg Schiano among the list of coaches he trusts. On Thursday, the Patriots coach was in attendance at Ohio State's pro day to watch players who've been coached by both. 

Belichick has been closely tied to both Meyer and Schiano over the years, drafting multiple players from their programs when Meyer was at the University of Florida and Schiano was at Rutgers University. The Schiano connection has been particularly strong in recent years as Belichick's son, Steve, played for Schiano, and the Patriots had three key players in their secondary -- Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan -- for the last four seasons who studied under Schiano. 

Now the head coach and associate head coach/defensive coordinator, respectively, Meyer and Schiano have tutored some of this year's top draft prospects. Here's a quick breakdown of some of the top-tier talent hailing from Columbus this year . . . 

Malik Hooker, safety: The 6-foot-1, 206-pounder is expected to be the first true free safety off the board. His impressive ball skills made him a turnover waiting to happen in the Big Ten. 

Marshon Lattimore, corner: With a 38.5-inch vertical and a 4.36-second 40-yard dash time, Lattimore is one of the best draft-eligible athletes this year. He was hampered by hamstring injuries in college, but he's still projected to be one of the first defensive backs taken. 

Gareon Conley, corner: Among the draft's fastest risers after putting together a strong combine (4.44 40-yard dash, 6.68-second three-cone), Conley will give his next team good size (6-feet, 195 pounds) and length (33-inch arms). He may not be as polished as Lattimore, but still could very well be a first-round pick.

Pat Elflein, center: This smart, hard-working pivot may not have the world's best footwork, but he should be among the first players taken at his position. Elflein (6-foot-3, 300 pounds) is a former wrestler who has experience at both center and guard. 

Curtis Samuel, receiver: A true all-purpose threat in college (AP All-American, first-team All-Big Ten), he could have trouble adapting to life as a full-time receiver in the NFL. At 5-11, 196 pounds that's probably where he'll end up.

Raekwon McMillan, linebacker: At 6-2, 240 pounds McMillan was a second-team All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten choice. He's instinctive, but there's some concern as to whether or not he has the strength to hold up inside at the next level. The Patriots, as we've noted, have been looking at the linebacker position throughout the pre-draft process.