Garnett's return to make big impact for C's

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Garnett's return to make big impact for C's

DETROIT The Boston Celtics are hoping for a different outcome when they face the Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

Having Kevin Garnett can only help.

Garnett did not play in Boston's 98-88 loss to Detroit on Wednesday because of a hip flexor injury.

The Celtics have had players banged up all season, so the idea of a starter being out is not a foreign concept to the C's.

But there are starters and then there's Kevin Garnett.

"Anytime he steps on the floor, he's capable of going for big numbers," Pistons center Ben Wallace, told CSNNE.com. "That factor alone, you gotta play him honest."

Despite being one of the league's elder statesman, there's no mistaking the impact that Garnett, 35, still can make on a game.

Bulls coach and former Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau is well-versed on all that is Kevin Garnett.

And while his numbers alone make him Hall-of-Fame worthy, those who have coached with and against him - folks like Thibodeau - understand that his value to a team is difficult to quantify.

"The thing about Kevin his numbers certainly speak for themselves," Thibodeau said. "But you can never measure that guy statistically, no matter how good his numbers are. He brings so many different things to winning. Leadership, intensity, gets the ball moving. often Kevin would be the guy swinging the ball side to side, even when he had a good shot to take."

And that selflessness, while appreciated, can sometimes be maddening for a coach.

Thibodeau remembers vividly how upset Celtics coach Doc Rivers would get sometimes when Garnett would pass on a wide open or lightly contested shot, and instead pass to a teammate.

"He (Garnett) just stays true to the game," Thibodeau said. "He's just a winner; he's going to do whatever he thinks it takes to win."

And if that means getting into the heads of young players like Charlie Villanueva, or Andray Blatche consider it done.

"He really doesn't care about the opponent," Rivers said. "He cares about his teammates. He'll do anything for his team to win."

That kind of approach sounds more like a backup player, then a Hall-of-Fame bound superstar.

"He's a superstar that plays like a role player," Rivers said. "And that's rare."

Foes alike recognize how Garnett's play tends to elevate the play of those around him.

"Just his presence is going to force teams to take notice that he's on the floor, and that helps his teammates out so much," Wallace said.

Garnett doesn't say much about his game as it stands now, or how it has evolved over time.

His words, much like his play, are simple but effective.

"I'm a skilled player that knows how to play, that looks forward to making other guys better," Garnett said. "I make the sacrifices for the betterment of the team. That's (who) I am."

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Is Rob Gronkowski good to go?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Is Rob Gronkowski good to go?

00:43 - Rob Gronkowski says he's ready to go against the Texans. Michael Holley, Tom Giles and Kayce Smith talk about this risks of him playing while injured.

05:47 - Phil A.Perry follows up the Gronk discussion with a deeper breakdown of Gronk’s decision to play this Sunday.

10:02 - David Price appears to be easing back into baseball after pitching Friday night. Evan Drellich joins BST to talk about Price’s outing in Cincinnati. 

16:12 - The BST crew recaps the Red Sox win over Reds. Drellich returns to analyze how the pitchers performed and how that will impact the Red Sox postseason stretch.  

Trump says NFL should fire players who kneel during anthem

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Trump says NFL should fire players who kneel during anthem

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — President Donald Trump says National Football League owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem. And he’s encouraging spectators to walk out in protest.

In an extended riff during a freewheeling rally speech in Alabama Friday night, Trump also bemoaned that football games have become less violent.

“They’re ruining the game,” he complained.

Several athletes, including NFL players, have refused to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to protest of the treatment of blacks by police.

Trump says those players are disrespecting the flag and deserve to lose their jobs.

“That’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect of everything that we stand for,” he said, encouraging owners to act.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ’Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,” Trump said to loud applause.

Trump also predicted that any owner who went through with his encouragement would become “the most popular person in this country” — at least for a week.

Trump, who was in Alabama campaigning for Sen. Luther Strange, also blamed a decline in NFL ratings on the nation’s interest in “yours truly” as well as what he described as a decline in violence in the game.

He said players are being thrown out for aggressive tackles, and it’s “not the same game.”

The NFL has made several efforts to reduce violence in the sport, particularly hits that may cause damage to the head. A July report on 202 former football players found evidence of a debilitating brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them. The league has agreed to pay $1 billion to retired players who claimed it misled them about the concussion dangers of playing football.

During his campaign, Trump often expressed nostalgia for the “old days” — claiming, for example, that protesters at his rallies would have been carried out on stretchers back then. He recently suggested police officers should be rougher with criminals and shouldn’t protect their heads when pushing them into quad cars.

It’s also not the first time he’s raised the kneeling issue. Earlier this year he took credit for the fact that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started the trend of kneeling during the anthem, hadn’t been signed by an NFL team.

Trump said the protest was the top reason NFL viewership had waned this season.

“You know what’s hurting the game more than that? When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they’re playing our great national anthem,” he said.

Trump encouraged his supporters to pick up and leave the stadium next time they spot a player failing to stand.

“I guarantee things will stop,” he said.

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