Dolphins' Bush proving worth as full-time back

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Dolphins' Bush proving worth as full-time back

FOXBORO -- Reggie Bush has had three straight 100-yard rushing games. So far this season, he has rushed for 100-plus yards on four occasions.

His last 100-yard rushing game before this season? Dec. 24, 2006, when he rushed for 126 yards on 20 carries during his rookie season with the New Orleans Saints.

Bush has had other games in which he's gained more than 100 yards, but those were rushing yards combined with receiving yards.

Before this season, Bush had never been an every-down, put-it-on-the-ground running back. In New Orleans, he was used in all different ways. Most of the time, you'd find Bush receiving some type of dump-off pass.

Still, he's somehow always been linked to "the big play." But in each of his five seasons in New Orleans, those who watched him were left each season wanting more.

This year, in Miami, and more recently, in the last few weeks, Bush believes he's established himself as an every-down running back.

"Ya I think I've shown that, I think so," said Bush in a conference call on Tuesday. "I think I've tried to do my best at just, every time I touch the ball, running for four yards, and not trying to break the big run every time I touch the ball. More importantly, giving our offense a chance at the 2nd-and-shorts, the 3rd-and-shorts, and not putting them in long-down situations."

Bush and the Dolphins don't have to search too hard for motivation, entering Saturday's game with the division-champion Patriots. Bush says that, at this stage of the season, they're playing for their jobs, which may explain Bush's 406 rushing yards in the last three games.

"It's a division game, it's a big game," said Bush. "It's the New England Patriots. Any time you play a divisional opponent, it's always big. And we want to finish the season strong. And at the same time, we know that we're all still being evaluated, not matter what the record says."

'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.”