What a difference a year makes. In 2018 the Celtics lost to Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Championship. That roster was minus a Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. This year, with a healthy roster the team slipped all the way to a fifth seed in the East. Several factors can contribute to this year’s disappointment. In this post, we will examine three reasons why the Celtics failed to play a brand of basketball fans can be proud of.
Three Reasons Why The Celtics Need To Play Like Celtics in 2019/20
No More Finger pointing One area that needs to be addressed in 2019/20 is no more finger pointing. This was the norm for this year’s squad. Previous Celtics greats Larry Bird, Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Kevin McHale, and Paul Pierce would never blame other teammates.
The team needs to focus on cohesiveness and unity. Over the course of 82 games, unity prevails where fingerpointing ends up in a losing battle. If the Celtics can regain their 2018 form, this is one area that needs to be eliminated immidiately.
For a team that came so close a year ago, you would never know by the actions of this seasons team.
Better Ball Movement The second area that needs improvement is the passing department. Games in which all five players were involved in were usually games that resulted in a victory. For most of the season, the ball and game fell on Kyrie Irving. Gordon Hayward returned after a season _ending injury in 2018 was a disappointment. The rest of the players Marcus Smart, Al Horford, Jayson Tatum,Jaylen Brown and Marcus Morris contributed significantly. Reserve guard, Terry Rozier spent most of the season complaining about his lack of playing time.
Better Shooting The biggest weakness, for this year’s team was the shooting. The Celtics finished fifteenth overall in three _point shooting. In the two_point shooting area, the club ranked fifth. In the rebounding department, the Celtics ranked 16th and on the defensive side, the team sank to 22nd.
All factors considered the club lacked consistency. At times they showed flashes of brilliance and other times they would return to unacceptable basketball. If the team aspires to be an Eastern Conference Contender, then they need to play like a Celtic team. Teamwork, Shooting and rebounding.
The Upcoming Season If 2019 /20 is going to be a success it will have to be a complete team game. Head coach Brad Stevens needs to be more of a disciplinarian. Too many times last season the coach allowed the players to walk all over him.Regaining trust in each other is an important ingredient for any teams success.
With a quarter of the 2019MLB season completed, it’s safe to say the 2019 Red Sox have many question marks. Question number one is pitching. Currently, the club is tied for third in the ALEast behind Tampa and New York. Any hopes of a mid _season surge into first place will fall on the starting pitching. In this post, we will review three areas that the organization needs to focus on a return to return to first place.
Lack Of A Closer Will Prove Costly For 2019 Red Sox
No, Craig Kimbrel In 2018 the Red Sox bullpen had a combined total of 46 saves. A lot of the credit went to closer Craig Kimbrel and setup man Joe Kelly. Kelly was instrumental in the post _season last year as he was one of the managers Alex Cora’s trusted relievers. In the offseason, Kelly signed a multi _year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Since Kelly’s departure, the majority of the responsibility has rested on reliever Ryan Brasier. Brasier has so far been adequate but does not even come close to Joe Kelly’s caliber. Kimbrel, on the other hand, remains a free_agent. He is believed to be seeking a long _term deal perhaps equaling six or seven years. Lack of Hitting So far, the Red Sox are 17-19 in the American League East. Overall, the club is hitting 283 as a team fifth best in the league along with a total of 42 home runs. As of late outfielder, Mookie Betts has been on a torrid hitting streak. Newly recalled Michael Chavis had been one of the teams most productive hitters belting seven home runs in less than two weeks. Also contributing with the bat have been Rafael Devers and catcher Christian Vazquez, and JD Martinez has been consistent. Starting Pitching Needs To Be Healthy After 36 games, the Red Sox starting pitching has suffered injuries to two key pitchers. Both starters David Price and Nathan Eovaldi have been placed on the DL Out of the two, Evoldi’s injury is considered more serious. It was diagnosed that Eovaldi will miss at least 4to 6 months of pitching due to Tommy John surgery.
If the team has any aspirations of returning to first place, then they will need a healthy David Price and Nathan Eovaldi. Also on the injured list is lefthander Brian Johnson. Johnson’s injury is not regarded as serious. The season Ahead If the club expects to have any hopes of postseason then a lot will depend on the health of the pitching. Also, investing in closer is one alternative the organization needs to think about if they expect to play even close to last season.
With the 2019 NFL Draft officially underway, the quarterback issue is an area of concern as long as Tom Brady stays healthy. Barring an injury, the only capable backup is veteran Brian Hoyer. The question is can Hoyer carry the Patriots through the whole season and the playoffs. Some possible names to keep an eye on are Justin Herbert of Oregon, Drew Lock of Missouri and Will Grier of W Virginia. In this post, we will examine three quarterbacks who could help the Patriots and make the 2019 roster. Three Quarterbacks Who Would Be A Perfect Fit In A Patriots Uniform In This Year’s Draft
Justin HerbertOregon Herbert is an interesting possibility whose stock has climbed the past month. The 21 year_old has the height 6’6” and weight 224 lbs. that appeal to a lot of NFL coaches. In 2018 Herbert threw for 3151 total yards and 29 touchdowns 8 interceptions. As a three year starter at Oregon, has thrown for 63 touchdowns with his longest an 83_ yard bomb in 2018. Herbert’s strong points are his decision making and arm strength. Look for Herbert to go in the mid_ rounds in this year’s draft. Herbert certainly has the size a characteristic that head coach Bill Belichick relishes. Will Grier West Virginia Grier has shown considerable interest from the Patriots as a possible fit in New England. The former transfer from Florida had a career year in 2018 throwing for 3,498 yards and 12 touchdowns. Grier’s strengths are his throwing accuracy and pocket presence. With, three _third round picks the chances of Grier being available are slim. Do not expect Bill Belichick to trade up to get him. Drew Lock Missouri Locke is an interesting candidate. As a three year starter at Missouri Lock has thrown for over 3000, yards in each season. In 2017 led the nation with 44 touchdown passes. At 6’4” Lock has the size and agility to be a legitimate NFL quarterback. He comes with the reputation of being a gunslinger and lacks patience. With an impressive resume under his belt look for Lock to be a fourth or fifth round selection. The Upcoming Season With a total of eleven draft picks this year look for the Patriots to be quite active. With Rob Gronkowski retiring the team has several needs to fill. The question still remains the Patriots will win as long as Tom Brady stays healthy.
Experienced Group; With three- quarters of the NHL season over, the team’s defence ranks second in the league in goals allowed. As the third-year coach, Bruce Cassidy rotates goalies Tuukka Rask, and Jaraslov Halak the Bruins have held onto fourth place in the NHL East.
The defensive group of Zdeno Chara, Charlie McAvoy, Brandon, Carlo, John Moore Kevan Miller, Steven Kampfer, and Torey Rug.. have remained fairly healthy. Early season injuries to Charlie McAvoy and Zdeno Chara the Bruins defence has been one of the best in hockey.
Except for John Moore and Steven Kampfer, the group has been together for five years or longer. At 42 years old Zdeno Chara is a valuable member of the clubs power play. Veteran Torey Krug is having a solid season by logging 44 games played and 5 goals and 33 assists. Krug is also an essential member of the Bruins power play. Sixty Minutes Of Hockey; One area the team needs to focus on is consistency. Saturday’s 5-4 win over the LA Kings the Bruins fell apart in the third period. Future Hall Of Fame winger Patrice Bergeron netted the game _winning goal in overtime to beat the Kings. It was also Bergeron’s 1,000 point as a Bruin.
The team has won and lost several close games this season because of a defensive breakdown. In a recent win over Washington, goalie Tuukka Rask kept the Capitals scoreless for three periods and earned his 253 wins as the organizations winningest goalie.
Staying Healthy; Despite early season injuries to Charlie McAvoy and Zdeno Chara, the Bruins have one of the top five defensive units in the NHL. Outside of the Bruins Anaheim, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Minnesota have better defensive units.
Zdeno Chara continues to pile up the minutes every night. If the rest of the defence can stay healthy, the team will be a serious contender going forward.
Looking Ahead; Head coach Bruce Cassidy continues to mix up his lines regularly. Keeping goalies Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak fresh will be another factor for a successful Stanley Cup run
With three weeks left in the 2018 Major League Baseball season, pitching will decide the outcome of the Red Sox success. The starting pitching has been spectacular. But it will be the bullpen that will determine the Red Sox success In this post, we will review three reasons why the bullpen will be a key factor.
Why The Red Sox Bullpen Will determine Their Post Season success
Depth In The Pitching department
Considering the pitching has been spectacular, they have also been getting quality starts from their fourth and fifth starters. Both Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez have pitched respectably in the absence of Eduardo Rodriguez.
It’s depth like this that have contributed to the teams best season ever. If the club can continue to get valuable performances from their back _end, then the pressure will help the pitching as the club heads into September.
A healthy Chris Sale
Chris Sale has been on the Disabled list since August 3rd with shoulder inflammation. Recently Sale has been throwing on the sidelines and is expected to return in September
Sale 12-3 had pitched superbly before going on the disabled list. Since then the club has been getting valuable contributions from Nathan Eovaldi, Brian Johnson and Hector Velazquez.
Getting contributions like this that has propelled the team to the best record in franchise history. Righthander Nathan Eovaldi acquired at the trade deadline, has provided a considerable boost for manager Alex Cora. E
Along with having a deep bullpen the organization has one of the best closers in the game in Craig Kimbrel. Kimbrel 4-1 37 saves is one of the teams most valuable players.
A club that has a Craig Kimbrel has an advantage. If the Red Sox expect to win in the post_ season, then Kimbrel will be a key factor. The Stretch Run The season of 2018 has been a historic one to say the least. The club is on it’s to a 110 win season, With new additions JD Martinez the post season will be very exciting.
The Patriots are heading to there eighth SuperBowl under head coach Bill Belichick. This was at the hands of the Tennessee Titans. For New England, it will be their seventh straight title game with Brady as their quarterback. This is the result of a recent controversy involving ESPN and head coach Bill Belichick.
Emphasis on Perfection; Since the arrival of, Bill Belichick eighteen years ago the emphasis has always been perfection. Belichick demands perfection from his players and coaches. Fans may think that Brady and Gronkowski are the two _star players but in Belichick’s mind, everyone is equal. In New England, there is a saying Do Your Job. This means that every player understands his role and doesn’t do too much. New England fans can attest to this motto and have seen good players get released or traded in the past. Recent examples are Jamie Collins and Chandler Jones. ;
The Patriots as an organization believe in getting value. Over the years Patriot fans have witnessed Belichick trading his number one pick. This maneuvering results in extra mid_ round picks. This enables Belichick to not only add depth this year but start planning for future drafts. Currently, the Patriots have at least five starters on the roster that Belichick had never drafted.The most notable free agent was Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler. Tom Brady himself was a late seventh rounder eighteen years ago. This is what separates Belichick, from the rest of the coaches in the NFL
No one person can predict their future, but one thing is certain in New England Tom Brady will be the quarterback for the next four years. This comes after a recent controversy involving Brady and the Patriots. The long controversy whether to keep backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, or trade him came to an end. Garoppolo was traded to San Francisco which sent a clear message that Brady wasn’t going anywhere.
After three weeks of the 2017 football season, the New England Patriots have several red flags that seriously need improvement. Coming off their fifth Super Bowl win this year is no different. New England is an organization that demands excellence. But their are some areas concerning the team. Area number one is the pass protection; Last week against the Saints Tom Brady was sacked three times one sack resulted in a fumble ran back for a touchdown. The Patriots have all their lineman returning from a year ago. Since the season opener against Kansas City, Brady has been under constant pressure. Veteran tackle Nate Solder has been a huge disappointment, so far getting beat on mostly every snap this season. I f the protection doesn’t get better his days as a Patriot may come to an end. Special teams has been another area of concern, for New England. Long time kicker Stephen Gostowski has lost the confidence of the fans,after last years poor playoff performance. Punter Ryan Allen has been sub parr so far this season. After three games this season Allen has been averaging only 35/40 yards per punt. Defense has been the biggest disappointment, this season. Normally the Patriots rank close to the top,but this year the team ranks towards the bottom. Safety Devin McCourty leads the team with 23 solo tackles. In the off season the Patriots went out and signed Buffalo free agent corner Stephon Gilmore. After three games Gilmore has look lost and confused, but does have one interception. Controversial corner back Malcom Butler has been also off missing several assignments. If the defense doesn’t play better, head coach Bill Belicheck may have no choice but to trade some veterans for help up front. Veterans such as Alan Branch and Malcom Butler need to step up if they want to keep their jobs. For a team coming off their fifth Super Bowl win the Patriots realize that their are several areas of concern. Bill Belichick will not stand for complacency; With the NFL trade deadline a couple of weeks away Belichick won’t hesitate, to make deals in order to improve the Patriots.
The Celtics and Wizards continue their round two play off match up to night against the Wizards. So far the series has been pretty equal with the Celtics taking the first two games by scores of 123-111 and a 129-119 overtime win. Game three was won by the Wizards in a blowout 116-89. What has been the difference maker? For the Celtics it’s been Isaiah Thomas. Thomas was deadly in game two putting up 53 after getting a tooth knocked out in game one. For the Wizards John Wall’s 40 point performance only went down in defeat. The difference maker in game three was Otto Porter. Porter had one of the biggest games of his career pouring in 34 and dishing out 14 assist. So what are the keys needed in order to capture the series and move on to the Eastern Conference Championship? i would say it’s a combination of two things one bench and two obviously defense. This is where the Celtics have the edge. Bostons bench of Terry Rozier, Jonas Jerebko and Amir Johnson have it over Brandon Jennings, Ian Mahinmi and Bogdanovic aren’t as good as the Celtics. Defensively the Celtics need big games from Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley. Both are shutdown guards on defense. Smart on the other hand needs to keep his cool and not commit so many turnovers as he did in game three. Basically this series can go either way. Which ever team plays Smart and doesn’t commit turnovers will win. If either team flares up like in game three it could cost suspensions as in the case of Wizards Kelly Oubre. Oubre got into a shoving match with Boston’s Kelly Olynyk and this could be an edge for the Celtics Sunday night. So I give the edge to the Celtics with the scoring punch Of Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder. Offensively the Wizards led by John Wall Monkrieff Morris, and Bradley Beal aren’t as good as Boston. Basically their’s no stopping Isaiah Thomas. Also the Celtics have another edge over the Bullets. That’s none other than head coach Brad Stevens. Stevens has done a great job in molding this team together with his rotations and strategies. Look for the Celtics to win in seven. .
The Celtics have had an exciting twenty four hours after capturing the Semi Final East round against the Wizards 115.105. It only gets better as GM Danny Ainge and his brain trust gather to see what number they fall in this years NBA draft. The Celtics have two first round picks via a trade with the Nets. The obvious pick is to improve the teams field goal percentage. The problem is they’re well stocked at point guard. So who do they draft or sign over the summer? If the Celtics fall in the top three look for the C’s to draft either Kansas’es Josh Jackson or NC States Justin Jackson.Jackson a senior totaled 1626 points in his Jay hawk career with a field goal percentage 45 percent. Jackson is one of the top small forwards in the draft. Freshman Josh Jackson is one of the most intriguing players in the draft. Only a freshman Jackson finished his freshman season with 522 points averaging 16 points per game and has one of the best shooting percentages in the country at 51 percent. Kris Jenkins of Villanova is another dark horse player. Jenkins has perfect small forward size 6’6 inches 235 lbs Jenkins had an impressive college career totaling 146 games 1383 total points averaging 9.5 points per game. If the Celtics decide to select a point guard the best shooter in the draft is Markelle Fultz of Wasington. Fultz only a freshman had 579 total points averaging over 23 points per game and a pretty solid 41 percent from the field. Other interesting candidates to keep an eye on are UCLA’S Lonzo Ball A freshman who finished up his career at 36 games totaling 524 points. Ball is not quite as good as Fultz but has a bright future ahead of him. Kentucky’s Malik Monk is another possibility . Monk a freshman shooting guard had an impressive freshman season totaling 754 points and averaging 19.8 points per game. A player who could step right in and help the Celtics would be Iowa State senior guard Monte Morris. Morris has a reputation of not turning the ball over rather than lose it he’ll hold onto til the play is finished. Morris played a total of 140 games with a total of 1708 points . A very sound player who can step right in and help a team out. Another top prospect to keep an eye is Florida States Johnathan Issac. Issac a freshman led the Seminoles to the final eight in this years March Madness tourney.. A strong leader he played in 32 total games with an impressive 50 percent field goal percentage totaling 383 points. c Would be a quality NBA forward within time. If the Celtics decide to go big Arizona’s Lauri Markkanen would be a great fit for Boston. A 7 footer Markannen a freshman totaled 576 total points in 37 games for Arizona. He would be a nice compliment along with current Celtic big man Kelly Olynyk. No matter how the balls drop tonight the Celtics have plenty of options. They could trade this years lottery pick and be in the same position next because they the Clippers number one 2018 pick plus three second rounders. They own the 37th,53rd and 56th picks in this years draft. No matter what direction they go in it should be an exciting six or seven weeks. It only gets better the Celtics will have agood idea of where they stand after to nights lottery drop. Stay tuned.
Now that the 2017 NFL Draft is in the books let’s examine the four Pat’s picks and see if any of these for can measure up to be Patriots. This draft unlike other Pat’s draft only came away with four picks due to off season signings or trades. Unlike other years where Belichick has drafted the likes of Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edleman Devon McCourty just to name a few. This year Belichick came away with Youngstown State linebacker Derek Rivers, Troy offensive lineman Antonio Garcia, UCLA OT Connor McDermott and Arkansas DL Dietrich Wise. Starting with Rivers, Rivers was a two time All American for the Penguins. Rivers played a total of 49 games making 37 starts in his four years at Youngstown. Rivers registered 173 total tackles and 119 were solos. Look for Rivers to take the place of departed Chandler Jones at outside linebacker. Offensive tackle Antonio Garcia drafted with the second third round pick out of Troy University. Garcia is massive 6ft 5 291 pounds with exceptional long arms. Very productive starting in 37 games over four years at Troy. In that span Garcia just gave up an impressive 55 sacks. Good competition facing Clemson, Ohio State, Mississippi State and Wisconsin.A project player but look for him to eventually replace Nate Solder injury prone at left tackle within time. Dietrich Wise Wise the Pats 4th pick from the Razorbacks has unusual long arms.Wises length is 35 inch arms. Uses his length well and is very poised as a pass rusher.Also has very quick hands. Didn’t become a starter till his senior year. As a senior he had 119 stops for a total of 55 yards lost.Coming off the bench he was very productive averaging thirteen tackles and two sacks as a sophomore and junior. Will spell relief for Alan Branch and Malcom Butler . Connor McDermott OT UCLA. McDermott had a very solid career at UCLA. Gave up 14 sacks in a game during the 2015 season second lowest in school history. Started in 24 games over his junior and senior year. Also very versatile can play tight end . Something that Belichick relishes. Basically the Patriots traded a 1st,2nd,5th and seventh for off season acquisitions Kony Ealy DE, TE DeWayne Allen Colts, TE James O’Shaughnessy/KC running back Mike Gillislee Bills, Rex Burkhead running back / Bengals.They had a free agent blockbuster signing in signing Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Gilmore signed a four year deal with 40 million guaranteed. The team also came to terms with holdout corner Malcom Butler. Also they Also they acquired linebacker Kyle Van Noy from the Browns Van Noy was very productive for the Pat’s appearing in 14 games in 16 plus 3 playoff games. Overall give the Patriots a Dminus for this years draft. Its alot better to draft a player and have under team control for four or five years.By giving up all those picks for guys like Ealy and De Wayne Allen you still risk the chance of losing them in a year or two. Players like ex Patriot cornerback Logan Ryan cornerback Justin Coleman and safety Duron Harmon are examples of this. Players who take time to develop but eventually become quality NFL players.