Lloyd 'very interested' in hearing Patriots' pitch

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Lloyd 'very interested' in hearing Patriots' pitch

When free agency begins March 13, the smart money is on the Patriots making a play for Brandon Lloyd. And it would be money smartly spent. The veteran wideout has flourished under Josh McDaniels. The former Broncos head coach and the offensive coordinator in St. Louis last season got Lloyd's talent and production to mesh. He's caught 128 balls in the last 27 gamesin a McDaniels offense. Now that McDaniels is the Patriots offensive coordinator, Lloyd is a natural fit.I spoke at length with Lloyd this week about free agency and the Patriots. You can see the interview by clicking on the video...

MORE VIDEO: Lloyd will compete for 5050 balls, unlike Randy Moss
Here are some key quotes from Brandon from the interview...On relationship with McDaniels:"It comes down to trust. He trusts me and I trust him. He knows that I'm gonna go out there and make plays for whoever the quarterback is and I know he's gonna put me in good situations where I can go out there and be successful."He gives me a bunch of routes to run and he treats me like a true No. 1 receiver in the sense thatI get to do all the things that make a team have to prepare for me and maybe not be able to prepare for other facets of our offense. It helps everybody be successful. A lot of receivers in Denver had over 45, 50 catches. It's just the creativity and how he's able to get everybody involved in the game and incorporate explosive plays in there as well."Onhis level of interest in joining the Patriots:"Very interested. And like I said earlier, I admire Coach Bill (Belichick), I admire Tom Brady, I admire how they run things over there. For any receiver to be considered to come in and play on the New England Patriots is gonna be excited just because of the history of success"On what will be the determining factor in his choosing a new team?"Winning is definitely the highest priority. I've been in the league for 10 years now and I don't look at theNFL as a place where I can horde money and get as much as I can because it's the end of the world (at the end of his career)."

DeRozan has career-high 43, Raptors beat Celtics, 107-97

DeRozan has career-high 43, Raptors beat Celtics, 107-97

TORONTO - DeMar DeRozan scored a career-high 43 points and the Toronto Raptors rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Boston Celtics 107-97 on Friday night.

DeRozan shot 15 of 28 from the floor as he surpassed his 42-point effort against the Houston Rockets on March 30, 2015, helping the Raptors overcome the absence of fellow All-Star Kyle Lowry. Lowry sat out with a right wrist injury.

Serge Ibaka, acquired by trade from the Orlando Magic last week, scored 15 points in his debut, while fellow newcomer P.J. Tucker, picked up from the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, had a game-high 10 rebounds and nine points in his first game for his new team.

Isaiah Thomas scored 20 points for Boston, which also got 19 points each from Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart.

Down 91-88 with 4:11 to play, the Raptors went on a 9-1 run to lead by five with 2:01 to play. Though Crowder cut that lead to three with a jump shot with 1:46 remaining, DeRozan drilled a jump shot with a minute remaining to put the Raptors up by five.

Tucker was unable to convert either free throw after being fouled by Al Horford with 47 seconds left, but Thomas missed the next time down the court, and after being fouled by Smart, DeRozan converted both free throws with 33 seconds to play. He then followed up with two more after a three-point play from Smart to take the game away from Boston with 27.5 seconds to go.

The Celtics found their range early, connecting on 55 percent of their shots from the floor and 40 percent from 3-point range in the first quarter. The Raptors could only hit 40 percent and went 0 for 3 from beyond the arc, and while DeRozan topped all scorers with 10 points, they were trailing 29-18 after 12 minutes.

Boston pushed its lead to 17 on a 3-point shot from Jaylen Brown with 1:29 to play in the half, but Toronto closed on a 7-0 run following a flagrant foul by Thomas on DeRozan.

The Raptors continued their comeback effort in the third quarter, with Ibaka's 3-pointer with 5:58 to go capping a 27-8 Toronto run to give the Raptors their first lead since the 3:54 mark of the first quarter. Smart's 3-pointer with 3.9 seconds remaining handed Boston a 77-74 edge entering the final 12 minutes.

Mannix: Celtics going to be in best bargaining situation this summer

Mannix: Celtics going to be in best bargaining situation this summer

Chris Mannix helps break down what the Boston Celtics could do with all the cap space this offseason in hopes that they can build a championship team to compete next season.