Tag: Brad Stevens

Daily Noontime: Thursday, January 23rd, 2020

DNJan232020

By NoontimeSports.com | @NoontimeNation

It’s Thursday – woo!

Today will certainly be a LOT warmer in Boston (and other parts of Massachusetts), so get outside and soak in some Vitamin D – it is good for you, especially in the winter.

As always, make sure to smile, be kind, and laugh – laughing is also good for you, too – and enjoy our first ‘throwback Thursday’ Daily Noontime!


The Boston Sports Scoreboard

  • The Boston Celtics continued their momentum from Monday by defeating the Memphis Grizzlies last night at the TD GardenJayson Tatum led the way with 23 points while Daniel Theis chipped in 14 points, four rebounds, and two assists in 19 minutes.
  • The Celtics are off tonight but are back in action tomorrow (Friday, January 24th) when they visit the Orlando Magic with tip-off scheduled for 7 p.m.
  • The Boston Bruins are off until the end of the month – they entered the National Hockey League (NHL) All-Star break with some momentum for the stretch run by beating the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday.

The Noontime Headlines (and Links)

  • Eli Manning, who quarterbacked the New York Giants to two Super Bowl victories over the New England Patriots, announced his retirement last night. (ESPN.com)
  • Will Eli Manning be elected to the National Football League (NFL) Hall of Fame? Possibly? (NFL.com)

  • Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens had some kind words to say prior to last night’s game against Jae Crowder, who played for the Green and White from 2014-2017. (Boston.com)

  • Former New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe didn’t think Tom Brady was ‘going to be a starter.’ (NESN.com)

  • Employees at The Ringer, which was started by Bill Simmons, are worried about their jobs with talks of a sale to an audio company called … Spotify. (Washington Post)

  • Major League Baseball (MLB) plans to test robot umpires during spring training. (Elite Sports NY)

Throwback Video of the Day: In honor of ‘Throwback Thursday,’ enjoy a look back at a dominant sports decade in Boston Sports, courtesy of Boston Sports Highlights

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Noontime’s Boston Sports Notebook: Will Tom Brady Return?

NSBostoNsportsEDIT

By Matt Noonan | @NoontimeNation 

It’s been just four days since the New England Patriots season concluded, but the setback to the Tennesse Titans doesn’t seem to be on the mind of many these days.

Instead, the biggest issue surrounding our beloved football team is the future of quarterback Tom Brady – will he really leave Boston as a free agent and sign with the Dallas CowboysLas Vegas Raiders or Los Angeles Chargers? Or will he stay in New England for one or two more seasons?

The speculation began quickly after the final whistle sounded last Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium as various reporters pressed the long-time signal-caller on his future with the team. Brady didn’t seem interested in discussing future plans. Instead, it appeared as if he wanted to go home and fall asleep. He also didn’t seem interested in reflecting on the entire 2019 season, too, which saw New England win eight-straight contests.

Will or will not, Tom Brady, return to New England will remain at the forefront of social media, blogs, websites, and media outlets going forward. But I have a hunch that Brady returns next season and concludes his career with the Patriots, not another team.

Watching Brady play for the Cowboys or Raiders would just seem strange in my opinion – I, along with other New England fans, would have a hard time seeing the six-time Super Bowl champion donning a different uniform.

I don’t know Brady – I have never covered any of his games, but have enjoyed watching him as both a fan and season ticket holder, and believe he will stick around the area and finish his impressive career as a Patriot, not a Cowboy or Charger. But for Brady to remain with the organization, New England is going to need to acquire some additional pieces on the offensive end so they can compete for a seventh championship next fall.

Brady, who just didn’t seem to have fun this season, needs help. And he certainly knows he can’t win games going forward with just Julian Edelman and James White. He needs receivers and tight ends that are accustomed to winning, but also those that are willing to commit to the process (also known as the ‘Patriot Way.’).

We’re still weeks (and months) away from finding out where Brady is headed, but again, I just have a feeling – yes, a feeling – that he returns for one or two more seasons and leads New England to their seventh (and maybe eighth) Super Bowl.

If Brady wins seven or eight Super Bowls then it will be really hard to say he is not the greatest ever to play football, right?

Noontime’s Quick Thoughts on some Boston sports news (and notes): 

  • The Boston Celtics have been really impressive and fun to watch this season – I think this team is destined for a deep postseason run.

    But after observing some of their previous starts against the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards, all I can say is the following: they need to play good basketball wire-to-wire, but also not allow mediocre teams dictate the pace of play following the opening tip.

    The Green and White host San Antonio this evening – the Spurs are currently eighth in the Western Conference – and should certainly provide the Celtics with a good test. But a win over the Spurs this evening followed by a victory tomorrow against the Philadelphia 76ers is a must for a team that didn’t play their best basketball against the Hawks and Wizards. Sure, they beat Atlanta (and the Chicago Bulls one night later), but if I am Brad Stevens, my message would be the following: we dictate the pace of play, not our opponent.

  • Could Alex Cora get suspended for 81 games or the entire 2020 season due to the latest report of the Boston Red Sox stealing signs during their 2018 World Series run?

    I think it is possible – do others?

    This is a bad look for the local nine that did not qualify for the postseason last year and has seemed to take a backseat to bolstering their roster this offseason, so they can compete with some of the best in the American League this season, including the New York Yankees.

  • In case you missed it, the Boston College men’s basketball team scored an impressive (and exciting) win last night over 18th ranked Virginia – hope Bob Whitney enjoyed watching this particular game.

    The win bumps the Eagles record to 9-6 overall and should provide the Maroon and Gold with momentum heading into upcoming contests against Georgia Tech and Syracuse University.

    Duke University remains the top team in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) while the Eagles sit two spots below the Blue Devils with a 3-1 league record.


Stay connected with our Noontime Nation Boston Sports coverage on Twitter by following @NS_Boston

Babson’s Brennan Reflects On An Exciting National Championship Victory

Babson Men's Basketball
It was a special moment for Babson College coach Stephen Brennan and the Beavers when they captured the program’s first-ever NCAA Division III men’s basketball championship. (PHOTO CREDIT: Keith Lucas)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

It’s been a few days since Babson College captured its fist-ever NCAA Division III men’s basketball championship and coach Stephen Brennan’s phone is still buzzing with text messages, phone calls and emails.

“I think that night after the game I had about 120 text messages,” said Brennan, who guided the Beavers to an exciting 79-78 victory over Augustana (Ill.) last Saturday in Salem, Virginia.

Everyone wanted to congratulate Brennan and the team, including past and current Babson presidents, friends from Bates College and current Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens.

Learn more about the connection between Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens and the Babson College Beavers, via MassLive.com

Even the New England Patriots expressed their excitement, tweeting out a congratulatory tweet to both Babson and Amherst College, which captured the women’s national title game last Saturday, too.

“When the Patriots sent a congratulator tweet, I was like ‘what’s that?’” said Brennan. “You don’t really expect that.”

The Beavers were also congratulated by Massachusetts Mayor Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey.

Babson’s win provided a great deal of excitement to both Massachusetts and New England college basketball fans. They all feel touched by this particular victory, according to Brennan, including Babson’s conference foes and regional opponents.

“(This win) has touched multiple members of our community from alums to our opponents (in the northeast),” said Brennan, “so it’s certainly nice to touch so many people and share it with our friends and friends of our program.”

The win also touched a quartet of Babson alums – David MackTravis SheldonEric Dean and John Wickey – that positioned the Beavers over the past few years for a potential national title-run. And despite coming-up short two years ago in the national semifinals, Babson was able to avenge its disappointing setback with a dramatic one-point victory.

“The key for success is you have to pay the rent,” said Brennan, “and this team (especially the seniors) put in the time.”

The senior class certainly put in the time, they will depart Babson Park with 103 victories, which is the most wins in program history.

Joey Flannery, who was certainly a catalyst behind the Beavers’ run toward the program’s initial national crown, concluded his career with 2,620 points, which positions him eighth all-time in Division III history. Additionally – and as noted in the game’s release – he also scored 167 points in six NCAA Tournament games this season.

Brennan and the Beavers will continue to enjoy this special accomplishment, but know a new season will be here soon. And in order to continue their current success, the tenured coach knows his team will need to ‘pay the rent’ every day.

“Everyone will have to grow,” said Brennan. “We’ll need to continue our current work ethic and culture (moving forward, while continuing) our toughness and work ethic, too.”

Sunday Column: It Is Time To Pump The Breaks On Jaylen Brown

Jaylen Brown was the third overall pick in this year's NBA Draft. (Photo Credit: Boston.com)
Jaylen Brown was the third overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. (Photo Credit: Boston.com)

By Matt Noonan 

I think it is time to pump the breaks on Jaylen Brown.

Seriously, let’s stop antagonizing this individual and see what happens when he competes for the Boston Celtics this season.

Since being selected third overall in the 2016 NBA Draft by the Green and White, Brown has been insulted by die-hard Green Teamers that are desperate for Banner 18.

I am a Celtics fan. I was born and raised in Boston – well, technically born in Boston, but grew up outside the city – and understand the immediate need for championships. And since the New England Patriots began winning Super Bowls, the need for additional hardware and celebrations on Boylston Street have increased.

As of today – Sunday, June 26 – we don’t know what Brown can do for the Celtics or what the Celtics can do for Brown – no play on UPS there, I promise! – but until he steps on the court and sprints up and down the parquet, there is no need to barrage this young man.

Following an introductory press conference last week, Brown exhibited his frustration by telling members of the media he is ready to ‘rip someone’s head off.’

Will he rip someone’s head off? Doubt it, but make sure you wear Celtics gear when walking around or near the Boston Garden.

According to NBADraft.net, Brown’s play should be identical to Jimmy Butler, which should excite Celtics fans – how many times have we heard Butler’s name when it comes to trade talks? We won’t know if this comparison is true until we see him compete for the Green and White.

In addition to the comparison of Butler, Brown has been touted as a strong, physical down-low player, as well as someone that can go toe-to-toe with ‘the best players.’

Maybe Brad Stevens will tell him to guard LeBron James or Steph Curry next season?

We can go round and round about the selection of Brown or what he will or won’t do for this organization. Yet, until he competes – or plays one or two series – there is no need to antagonize the former Cal Bear forward.

Brown could become a cornerstone of this organization – maybe he’ll join the Celtics Mount Rushmore of Paul Pierce, Bill Russell and Larry Bird – but again, until we see him compete, let’s slow down the criticism and focus our attention on perhaps luring Kevin Durant to Boston.

Could you imagine the tandem of Durant and Brown? Could become the greatest tandem in the league’s history.

Sunday Column: Boston’s Playoff Return Shows Progress Under Stevens

Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics begin their postseason play on Sunday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and after a semi-successful season, there is optimism surrounding the Green and White. (Photo Credit: Celtics Hub/CelticsHub.com)
Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics begin their postseason play on Sunday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, and after a semi-successful season, there is optimism surrounding the Green and White. (Photo Credit: Celtics Hub/CelticsHub.com)

By Matt Noonan

The Boston Celtics have returned to the postseason.

Yep, the “glory days” of Boston Celtics basketball has returned. However, don’t get your hopes up because Brad Stevens – the head coach of the month! – will be guiding a roster of second and third depth chart players against perhaps the ultimate favorite to defeat San Antonio in June (or Golden State).

Boston will once again see LeBron James in the “second season,” but unlike previous matchups, this particular series favors King James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and Framingham’s own David Blatt.

That’s right, the Cavaliers are going to win this series, probably in four or five games.

Perhaps six? Well, that would depend, especially if the Celtics could win one (and hopefully two) game(s) on their own parquet.

Yet, no matter the outcome of this series – again, expect Cleveland to win – this is a huge step forward for a team that became the biggest revolving door earlier this season.

Give credit to Stevens and most of the front office as the Green and White became “pit-stop” for a slew of players over the past few months. Players like Tayshaun Prince, Nate Robinson, Jameer Nelson and Austin Rivers stole the headlines when they all landed in the ‘City of Champions’ during Danny Ainge’s ‘Wheeling and Dealing’ escapade. Rajon Rondo was a Celtic – he was on the opening day roster – but was eventually shipped to Dallas.

Once Ainge stopped shuffling the deck, Stevens had a chance to get to know his team – for the most part! – and teach them a style of basketball that resulted in a 40-42 record.

Boston won more games this year, outlasting their 2013-14 squad that captured 25 games, including 16 contests on Causeway Street. This season, the Celtics won 21 games on their home court, 19 on the road, and 12 divisional matchups. Boston also finished 28-24 in the Eastern Conference, but again, don’t let those numbers fool you because the Celtics won’t be playing basketball in May or June (I am sorry, Boston!).

I am a Celtics fan – always have been! – however, I just don’t think this team has what it takes to defeat the second best team in the East. If they were matched up against the Atlanta Hawks, well … I would think they would have a chance. Chicago? Forget it, I like the Bulls because they’ll contend for an Eastern Conference crown.

Boston – on the other hand – should enjoy seeing their beloved Celtics in the playoffs. It is extremely nice to have a winter team extend their season into mid-to-late April, especially after the Bruins’ collapse last weekend. We love having our teams compete in the postseason, we do, but this team won’t be riding Duckboats around Government Center. Instead, most of the players will learn from this opportunity and apply it to next season.

Year number two of Stevens and the Celtics has been a success. They won more games, were competitive with the league’s top teams – remember when they almost beat the Warriors? – and showed they can compete, even if they look like a squad that resembles a college intramural unit.

I am extremely excited to see the Celtics taking a step forward. And now, it is all about playing your best – at least giving your best effort, Brad! – and learning from the experience. I believe in Brad just like I believe in Boston. Better days are ahead for the Green and White, so consider this the start of something special.

All good teams have to go through a “rebuilding” phase in order to contend. Atlanta was a decent team a few years ago and now they’re number one in the Eastern Conference. Toronto wasn’t that good, even when Vince Carter played for the Raptors, but now they’re a 49-win team. And the same could be said for Milwaukee, but the Bucks won 41 games, not 49.

Let’s all enjoy this series – please do the best you can to enjoy it, but remember that while Cleveland is indeed the favorite, Boston will one day be in their shoes and ready to contend for Banner 18.