Celtics Go 3-1 on West Coast Road Trip to Keep Their Title Hopes Alive

The C’s finished off their tour of Cali with a dud against a red hot Clippers team after an otherwise successful trip. I said after that Warriors game that if they could rattle off 5-6 wins, I’d be pacified. Well that didn’t happen, but I do have more confidence in this team thanks to the way they performed throughout the trip. This team is going to have issues throughout the rest of the season, and unless they sweep through the rest of the season, I’m always going to have doubts about their chances at winning a title. After all, before all the mayhem that this season has brought, I was convinced this team was going to win it all this year. However, I saw enough on this trip to think that this team is still capable of a title run, despite what all the doubters may say.

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Did they beat an undermanned Warriors team? Yes. Did the defense take an early flight home from LA and forget they still had to play the Clippers? Absolutely. But here’s what I saw outside of that Clippers game. I saw a team that was finally playing together, with key guys stepping up when starters were out. Against the Kings, everyone stepped up down the stretch and fought hard in Kyrie’s absence. People were hustling, diving for balls, making the extra pass, and playing four quarters of basketball. The energy was there.

I understand the middle two games we won weren’t against great teams. The Lakers have been devastated by injuries and an awful GM, but if LeBron is on the court you can’t mail it in. We all know he’s good enough to win games on his own. The Kings would be competing for the 5 seed right now if they were in the East, and have one of the best young backcourts in basketball (De’Aaron Fox is fast as fuck; I didn’t realize just how fast until watching this game). But the Celtics seemed to gain a little swagger back, and it seems like the guys are finally starting to come around on each other. Gordon Hayward seemed to find his shot again. There was a lot to feel positive about. At even with the stinker last night, 3-1 is pretty good. Seriously, who actually thought we’d go 4-0 on this trip? If I remember correctly, we’d only be the fourth team in history to go sweep a California road trip 4-0.

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That having been said, we need to figure out what’s going on with this defense. There are games where they look great, and then there are games where nobody rotates, everyone looks slow, and people like Lou Williams (all 32 years and 6’1″ of him) get to the hoop with ease. That kind of shit can’t happen when you’re playing the Sixers, Bucks or any of the other top teams in the league. We’d play well enough offensively, but 140 points? Ouch. The Celtics somehow rank 5th in the league in Defensive Rating on the season, but over the past 15 games they’re down to a mediocre 16th.

Image result for kyrie irving apology“For me, I think because of how fixated I was on trying to prove other people wrong, I got into a lot of habits that were bad, like reading stuff and reacting emotionally. That’s just not who I am.” – Kyrie Irving

As a fan, this interview with Yahoo Sports was just as important as a winning record on the road trip. Don’t get me wrong, the W’s are great, but Kyrie holding himself accountable is a major step forward to giving me faith in the Celtics as a team. Hopefully the younger guys feel the same way. It’s not easy being Kyrie, and this is exactly the response I wanted after my initial post. Now it’s time for the media to do their part and cut him a little more slack and not take his words out of context (I’m still salty about that “can’t wait to be done with this” nonsense). As Al Horford said in reference to Kyrie and the team bonding on the plane ride:

“He’s the one who got that ball rolling…We spent a good amount of time together, we talked, we laughed, stuff like that. It just happened to be extended. As opposed to an hour or two hours, almost seven hours. You’d think we’d get sick of each other but, actually, it made the plane ride go quicker. We were just hanging out and talking.”

There’s only 14 games left. Time for the final push. Let’s go Green!

PS. Stop shooting Marcus Morris, ya big mook.

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Could Julian Edelman’s Contract Be Holding the Patriots Back in Free Agency?

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As it turns out, I was right in predicting that the Pats would try and be players in the wide-receiver market this offseason.

Not only are there unconfirmed rumors that they may have offered a solid package for Antonio Brown, but we also now know for sure that they were aggressively pursuing former Tampa Bay slot stud Adam Humphries on Monday, before he ultimately signed with the Titans:

Humphries ended up signing with Tennessee for four years and $36 million, with $19 million guaranteed. Relatively speaking, that’s a freakin’ steal, and I’m really disappointed that the Pats weren’t willing to go above $9 million per to bring him in.

Disagree? Check this out:

He’s also averaged over 68 catches and 700 yards each of the past two seasons, catching 73 percent of his total targets. He is criminally underrated, and the Pats let him slip away. Plain and simple. (Also, Devin Funchess, who has surpassed 40 catches all of ONCE in four NFL seasons, got $10 million from the Colts yesterday, which can reach $13 [!!!] with incentives. Case in point.)

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Do not sleep on this man.

But is it because they really didn’t believe Humphries was worth that much? I don’t think so. In today’s NFL, you’d have to be a fool to think you’ll be able to bring in that type of talent for much less than eight figures, at minimum. Even Belichick knows that.

However, it’s actually mind-blowing to think about the fact that Julian Edelman – a multi-time Super Bowl Champion and the man who is second on the ALL-TIME postseason receptions list – has a base salary of just $2 million for 2019. WHAT??!! Including bonuses, his total cap hit is $4.5 million. But still, that number is unbelievably low – as in I wouldn’t have believed it had I not seen the proof myself.

Could the team be worried that bringing in a guy who plays the same exact role for MUCH more money would upset Jules? ESPN’s Mike Reiss thinks it potentially could:

Look, this is all pure speculation, and there are many out there who will respond – in typical Patriots toadie fashion – by saying that Edelman is “SUCH A TEAM GUY” and only cares about the old “Patriot way!” He loves it here, Mattes! That’s all that matters to him!

Wake up, people! You really think that he’d be OK making over five times less than a guy who, while playing well over the past two years, hasn’t won anything and is an entirely unknown name to the casual NFL fan? Especially coming off a Super Bowl MVP performance? OH, and let’s not forget that Edelman is 32 years old and knows time is running out to get that paper. Even if we don’t sign another wide receiver this offseason, I doubt Edelman allows the team to get to the regular season without forcing an extension, because this is also the final year of his current contract.

So while everyone, myself included, is focused on now-departed guys like Trent Brown and Trey Flowers or who else the Pats could potentially bring in this offseason, perhaps we’ve forgotten to think about taking care of one of our own. Sure, guys like Golden Tate (*heavy breathing*), Tyrell Williams, Cole Beasley (signed with Buffalo), and Randall Cobb are still out there, but I think we need to take care of Jules first – or at the very least have an immediate plan to do so. And who knows, maybe the team can even work some magic and create more cap room by re-working both his and Brady’s contracts at the same time.

I’m not saying they can’t still get something done with another player before taking care of Edelman; they certainly could. All I’m saying is that they’re certainly not making it any easier on themselves until they figure things out with No. 11. Stay tuned.

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Conor McGregor Arrested Again

CNN A fan just wanted a picture with Ultimate Fighting Championship star Conor McGregor, but Miami police say McGregor wasn’t having it.

The fan and McGregor were leaving the Fontainebleau Miami Beach hotel Monday morning when the fan tried to take a picture with the fighter with a cell phone, according to a police report. McGregor then slapped the phone out of the fan’s hand and stomped on the phone several times.

Police say McGregor picked up the phone and walked away with it. The fan said the phone was valued at $1,000.

Buh buh buh bullshit. Erroneous. Erroneous on all counts. I cannot imagine this ending with anything more than Conor McGregor paying for the phone and court costs. Maybe, and I mean maybe, a small fine or a small out of court settlement for something like “emotional pain” or something like that.

Look, I know we look up to pro athletes as Demigods but really they’re people. I get why someone would see one of their favorite athletes and entertainers and want to impulsively run up to them and take a picture. But maybe that’s just not totally cool. I mean maybe ask first? Furthermore, Conor McGregor has himself said that he is no “celebrity.” He’s a guy who “smashes orbital bones”. You aren’t running up to an NBA player or the star of “Silving Linings Playbook,” you’re approaching a trained killer. And I’m not absolving Conor McGregor. What he did was wrong and probably a bit overkill. He also has had enough of these little dust ups with overeager fans to know by now he can’t just go strolling through public. Whether or not that’s fair can be debated all day. But he can’t.

For me at least, there is an X factor here. And that is the fact that he’s been seen on vacation in Florida this week with his longtime girlfriend and at least his oldest kid. His youngest could have been with them as well. For me all bets are off if family is involved. If this guy ran up to Conor when his whole family is around, at worst putting them in some kind of danger and at best taking their picture when they just don’t want it taken, sorry bud that’s on you. Again, you just ran up to a breaker of face bones when he is with his young family and they don’t know who you are or what you intend to do with that picture.

Again, I’m not saying McGregor isn’t at fault here. He can’t keep acting this brashly. He has to control his impulses. It’s just irritating at this point he’s turning himself into a Jon-Jones (minus the roids) type of problem where it’s not injury that’s keeping him out of competition but getting into shit.

-Joey B.

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Trey Flowers to Reportedly Sign With the Lions and Matt Patricia

Well there you have it folks. Mere minutes after giving Justin “The Island” Coleman $36 million over four years Matt Patricia has landed another former member of his Patriots defense in Trey Flowers.

From the team side of things, Patricia is trying like hell to save his job. He lost the locker room last year, along with a fuckton of games, and he is desperate to get back in the win column not only on the field but with the entire organization. I guess he is hoping surrounding himself with familiar faces may do just that. And of course Trey Flowers as we know is a tremendous player so this is a win.

As for Flowers, well earlier today Malik Jackson got $10 million a year so you knew he was getting more than that. Boy o boy did he get paid. I was wrong about that. On top of that he’ll get to play for a coach he is familiar with and who knows how to utilize his talents in the best ways possible for both the team and, I’m guessing, Trey Flowers. If he stays in Detroit for the length of this deal, he’ll be 31 when it expires. That is plenty young enough for a defensive lineman to sign at least one more decent contract.

So this sucks. We’re losing one of our two best defensive players (I’d say it is/was Flowers and Gilmore). That will happen when you stand out as a swiss army knife stud on a perennial super bowl contender, and winner. Hopefully, the signing of Michael Bennett that Big Z and I have both written about will help cushion the blow. Nothing more we can do now but keep an eye on the draft.

-Joey B

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Seven Athletes I’d Like to Punch in the Face

ESPN– “A Birmingham City fan has been jailed for 14 weeks after pleading guilty to assaulting Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish during the derby between the sides on Sunday. Paul Mitchell, 27, swung a punch at Grealish when the player’s back was turned after Mitchell ran onto the pitch at Birmingham City’s St. Andrew’s stadium during the Championship match.

Mitchell, from Rubery, Worcestershire, also admitted to invading the pitch and has been banned from attending any football match in the U.K. for 10 years. He was also ordered to pay £350 in fines. The incident happened in the 10th minute of the match between the rivals as Grealish walked away from the stands when the ball went out for a corner. He required no further treatment and went on to score the winning goal for Aston Villa in the second half.”

Now, I’m not generally one for promoting morons running onto the field and streaking and all that jazz. I find it annoying and disruptive to the game, and they rarely do anything exciting aside from getting lit up by security guards (which admittedly can be pretty hilarious). However, if you’re going to do it, you might as well get your moneys worth and punch someone you hate in the face. Did you see the way that guy was celebrating as he was being escorted off the field? He was damn proud of himself, and for that, I’m proud of him too.

The big question becomes, is it worth it? There’s a lot of people I’d like to punch, but not all of those people would I want to spend 3.5 months in jail for on top of a $400 fine and disbarment from attending live games for a decade. In order to risk all that, I’d really have to pick my punches, so to speak. Unfortunately for Paul Mitchell, Grealish got the last laugh as he scored the game winning goal later on in the game, which is admittedly pretty badass on his part. Without any further ado, here’s my list:

7. DAVID PRICE

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For anyone who’s a Sox fan, I would think a lot of people agree with this. Although he may have slightly redeemed himself with the World Series run this year, he still pisses me off a lot. Whether it’s because he’s getting in fights with the legendary Eck, throwing 5 out duds in the playoffs, or gaming hard enough to miss games, he’s as irritating as they come for players are actually important to a team. If he sucked, we could just cut him. But since he’s good enough to want to keep around, I’ll settle with a shot to the jaw.

6. LANE JOHNSON

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I bet he had a lot of fun not winning a Super Bowl this year. This guy’s obsession with the Patriots is hilarious, and while he revels in beating us one time, we can rest easy knowing he’ll never be on a team as good as that Eagles team that won two years ago. He can run his mouth as much as he wants, but if I had a chance, I’d punch that fucking mouth.

5. BRYCE HARPER

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What a frat boy douche. I will admit, there are times in his press conferences that make me laugh, but it’s usually a “what a dumb idiot” kind of laugh. This guy is such a douche he named his dog Swag. If that’s not enough, he’s also the quintessential dipshit bro that describes himself as Hercules and takes 30 minutes to do his hair before games. On top of that, it looks like his jaw was sculpted for punching. I mean, look at that angular monstrosity jammed to the bottom of his mouth just begging for a left hook!

4. NDAMUKONG SUH

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This one is a little tough to put here, mainly because of everyone on this list, he’s the one who would murder me the hardest. However, he does make it because if we were to give me the o’ one punch KO at least I’d be too dead to go to jail and pay a fine. That having been said, dude’s a cheap-shotting asshole who probably shouldn’t be in the league anymore. What else is there to say?

3. LEBRON JAMES

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It may surprise some people that I only have Lebron at number 3. The truth is, since joining the Lakers, he hasn’t bothered me nearly as much. He’s finally gonna miss the playoffs, he’s one year closer to being too old, and his record off the court is impeccable. Not once has he ever been in an off-the-court scandal the likes of which so many other players fall victim to these days. However, the fact that he’s a known flopper and denies it to all hell, takes plays off on defense and blames his teammates, thinks his ring with the Cavs makes him the GOAT even though he’s 3-5 in the finals and has always been a frontrunner (until signing with the Lakers), and has been the bane of the Celtics existence for the last ten years makes me want to punch his god damn face so fucking bad.

2. ANY WHITE DUKE BASKETBALL PLAYER EVER

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Fuck all these guys. A bunch of gritty, obnoxious, punchable punks who rarely if ever become anything more than a role player in the NBA. From Grayson Allen to John Scheyer, JJ Redick to Greg Paulus, all these guys spend 4 years being dicks for Duke before eventually going on to not make the NBA or make sure the bench stays warm. JJ Redick is the main exception to this, and he still pisses me off to this day. And now he’s got that ridiculous sleeve that makes him look less tough than if he didn’t even have tattoos. Seriously, how is that possible? Then you have Grayson Allen, who despite not doing anything since coming to the NBA still drives me crazy for all the shoe untying, pants pulling sac taps he pulled off in his career at Duke. He’s like a dweebier version of Lance Stephenson, and with a much more punchable face. I’ll say it again, Fuck all these guys.

  1. Curt Schilling
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And our champion of the guys I’d like to punch in the face tournament, Curt Schilling. Now I know he hasn’t been an athlete for 10 years, and his bloody sock game is one of the best performances in Red Sox history, but I still can’t stand this guy. I respect the hell out of him as a player, but the rest of him can go screw. When he was playing, he had a tendency to be a dick in his morning interviews and blame it in on how he just woke up (maybe try scheduling them for when you’re awake? Just a thought). He is an arrogant, self-righteous prick that made enemies in the clubhouse, in the media and with management everywhere he went. One time when I worked at Best Buy back in college, he came in to buy a bunch of video games for his charity (I’ll give him that one), and my managers took me off the register because they were afraid I’d call him a douche to his face.

But despite being nearly universally hated, screwing over nearly 400 employees and conning $75 million out of the state of Rhode Island, he had the gall to run for political office and think anyone would vote for him? I would trade in all my punches from everyone else on this list to punch Curt in the face just once. Screw you, Schilling.

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BREAKING: The Patriots Reportedly Lose Trent Brown to the Oakland Raiders

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Well damn. That was fast!

Even though free-agent deals and offseason trades cannot be officially announced until Wednesday afternoon, teams were allowed to begin “negotiations” with available players as of Monday morning. But, as we are in the age of social media and “I SAID IT FIRST” journalism, we’ll probably know where most of the top guys are going before we all even sit down for dinner on Tuesday night.

Per Adam Schefter, we already know that Brady’s big ole blindside protector from last season is off to Cali:

Again, it’s no shocker to hear that Trent Brown is heading off to greener pastures. This isn’t to say he’s not deserving. After all, he did serve as the team’s left tackle on what was arguably the league’s best O-line last season.

It’s just that we all knew the Pats weren’t going to pay him, especially at over $16 million per year with more than double that amount guaranteed. (Seriously, though, that is one helluva windfall for a guy who had never been a full-time starting left tackle until 2018. Congrats, big fella!)

Most assume the Pats will simply plug in Isaiah Wynn as Brown’s replacement after spending a first-round pick on the 22-year-old just last season. That very well could happen, but let’s also not forget he lost his entire rookie season due to an Achilles injury he suffered just last August. Those are not easy injuries to come back from, especially for a position which relies so much on quick and stable footwork. I fully expect the Pats to bring in some competition for him, either with a high draft pick or a free-agent signing.

So there you have it: the first domino to fall for the Pats this offseason.

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The Patriots Reportedly Tried to Trade for Antonio Brown (Update: Maybe Not)

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(UPDATE: The Internet can be a funny place. While I did say “reportedly” from the get-go when first posting this story, it seems as though – as of 1:40 p.m. on Monday afternoon – nobody can say for sure whether or not the Pats actually made this offer. I was using a third-party tweet which was reporting a quote from one of the NFL’s leading experts, Ian Rapoport, after he supposedly broke the news on NFL Network this morning. Apparently, though, he may have been misquoted. However, there are many sites which are still reporting this story as fact, so who knows? IF this is true, below are my two cents on the matter as well as what it could potentially mean for the Pats going forward):

I think we all owe Jon Gruden an apology.

After a nine-year absence from the NFL sidelines, he was hired last January to become the new head coach (and de facto G.M.) of the Oakland Raiders. At first, many people (myself included) scoffed at the idea. Even though he had a pretty successful 10-year run as a head coach in the late 90s/early 2000s – which included a Super Bowl victory with Tampa Bay in 2003 – most were skeptical that the 55-year-old cartoon character of an individual could be successful in today’s NFL.

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He was then eviscerated by the media for trading away one of the game’s best defenders in Khalil Mack just two months later (even though he got a pretty solid return). He also “reached” on an offensive tackle with his first draft pick in May, and things weren’t looking all that great for Gruden heading into last season…and honestly, they didn’t get much better.

BUT, even in the midst of suffering through what was a pretty miserable season in 2018, Gruden was able to trade away a young but maddeningly inconsistent wide receiver named Amari Cooper to Dallas for a first-round pick. Again, even though he received yet another first-round pick – giving Oakland THREE of them in 2019 – people still blamed him for not using Cooper correctly and giving away one of the game’s premiere young talents.

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While things certainly got better for him in Dallas, Cooper was an absolute roller-coaster ride out in Oakland.

Now, he has Antonio Brown, the game’s best receiver over the past half-decade. OH, and he only had to trade away a third- and fifth-round pick for him. So basically, Gruden traded away Amari Cooper, Khalil Mack, a third, and a fifth for the following:

  • Antonio Brown
  • Three first-round picks (2018 [1], 2019 [2])
  • A sixth-round pick in 2019
  • A third-round pick in 2020

That is absolutely ABSURD. There’s also rumors the team is gearing up to sign Le’Veon Bell as well. Things could start to turn around for the Raiders pretty quickly.

On the flip side, the Steelers are being ripped apart for getting so little in return for a guy who has been on a truly historic run over the past six years (six-straight seasons of at least 100 catches, 1,200 yards, and nine touchdowns). To be fair, A.B. pretty much had all the leverage in deciding where he would go by making a new contract mandatory from whichever team he went to. The Bills, the team he was reportedly traded to on Friday morning but then wasn’t just two hours later, weren’t willing to do that; the Raiders, though, saw no issue with it. Therefore, the Steelers had to take the best offer available.

However, today we were told that there was allegedly at least one team out there who was willing to offer even more:

IF this is actually true, then this says two things to me:

  1. The Patriots have been so good that other teams are now willing to hurt themselves and TAKE LESS just so the Pats can’t get better. (Truly unbelievable stuff.)
  2. The Pats really are still trying to bring in a top-flight receiver, and maybe (juuuust maybe) they are getting ready to spend some capital to bring in some more talent to play with Brady – as I predicted they might do in my piece about the 2019 free-agent wide-receiver class this past Friday.

All we do know is that the offseason is starting off with a bang so far, and the Pats could be a lot more involved than most people think. Also, the Steelers are SHOOK and were just pantsed by two different star players this year.

Get your popcorn ready, folks. These could be a fun next couple of months.

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