Dolphins Bess, Bush will be threats to Patriots

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Dolphins Bess, Bush will be threats to Patriots

FOXBORO -- If the Miami Dolphins are going to play spoiler to the Patriots' division title celebration on Sunday, then wide receiver Davone Bess and running back Reggie Bush will certainly have to show up to play.
Bess is coming off his best game of the season, making seven catches for 129 yards in a 24-21 win over the Seattle Seahawks. In eight career games against New England, Bess has 41 receptions for 526 yards, 27 of those for first downs, and four touchdowns.
So the Patriots will know where he is at all times.
"Let me tell you, he's a great player," said Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo on Thursday. "Ever since I came into the league, he's always been a focal point. He does a lot of things for them, especially on third down. He has a lot of option routes to go go any way he wants to go. He's an integral part of their offense."
The same goes for Bush, who's coming off a 14-rush, 87-yard game with a touchdown in last weekend's win over Seattle. His five rushing touchdowns through 11 games this season gives him just one less score than he had in 15 games in 2011.
He'll once again be a threat for the Patriots defense on Sunday.
"He can run routes, he has great hands," said Mayo. "He also can take that 80-yard touchdown. So, it'll take 11 men to the football."
"This guy, he can hit you any way, anywhere on the field," said defensive lineman Vince Wilfork on Thursday. "In the pass game and the running game, being able to reverse field. We've all seen him in special teams and kick returns, maybe even punt returns to make plays for his ball club. We know how special this guy is."

'Ecstatic' Thomas was with Celtics teammates via FaceTime after Game 3 win

'Ecstatic' Thomas was with Celtics teammates via FaceTime after Game 3 win

CLEVELAND – Gone but definitely not forgotten.

Isaiah Thomas, out for the rest of the playoffs with a right hip injury, wasn’t in the Q Arena physically, but his presence – and his face via FaceTime – were inside the locker room in the initial moments following their 111-108 Game 3 win over Cleveland.

“We called him right after the game,” said Boston’s Avery Bradley. “He got to celebrate with us a little bit. It’s sad that he’s not here. We wish he was here with us. We just want him to get better.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens added, “I didn’t even realize that had happened until later on. one of my first text messages was from Isaiah.  He’s hurting not being out there but he’s completely invested, for sure.”

He initially suffered the injury on March 15 at Minnesota, but re-aggravated it in the first half of Boston’s Game 2 loss to the Cavs. Less than 24 hours later, Thomas was deemed out for the remainder of the playoffs.

Instead of Thomas being the rock of sorts that the Celtics lean on with his play, he has become their rallying cry for the remainder of the playoffs.

“All we can do is play hard for him,” Bradley said. “He was excited with the way we played. We’re a family. Other guys got an opportunity to step up for us. Marcus (Smart) had a big game for us. It could be somebody else next game.”

Smart led the Celtics with a career-high 27 points which included a career-best seven 3’s going down.

And most important, the Celtics avoided going down 3-0 which would have all but sealed their fate in this series considering no team in league history has ever come back for a 3-0 series deficit.

Doing so without Thomas, the Celtics’ leading scorer and the top regular season scorer in the Eastern Conference, made the win all that more impressive for Boston.

“It meant a lot,” Horford said. “We know, Isaiah gives us so much and gave us so much this year. For him, we definitely wanted to come out and fight for him and our season and our team. It felt good to keep believing despite being down big. Just felt good to win the game and bring life back to our locker room. Because going down 3-0, that’s a death sentence pretty much. This was big.”

Not only to the Celtics players but also to Thomas who also texted head coach Brad Stevens full of excitement following Boston’s surprising win.

“He was excited,” Horford recalled. “He was ecstatic. I know he wishes he was here being part of it. We just need to keep doing it for him and our group and doing the best we can.”