Picked-up pieces while assembling a shrine to Australian prime minister Scott Morrison …
▪ So many topics, so little space.
One could rant about the ongoing Antonio Brown circus. One could ask for compassion for the much-traveled wideout, or simply conclude that AB is a manipulative liar and we should save our compassion for his multiple (alleged) victims and all those he has mistreated.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady get no compassion. They enabled Brown, did headstands to work around his baggage, lowered all standards in the quest for a championship, and ultimately deserve the predictable mess AB left behind.
One could spend a lot of time trying to come up with the best possible playoff scenario for the Patriots. Young Ben Volin thinks the Patriots would be best off playing the Bills in the playoffs. Felger and Mazz like the Patriots’ chances against the Bengals. I’m happy waiting until Sunday night to see how this shakes out, but I will be picking the Patriots to win their first-round playoff game … unless they have to go to Kansas City.
Then we have the 2021-22 Celtics, who have become the region’s most annoying and infuriating team since … last year’s Celtics.
What is it with these guys? Wednesday’s and Thursday’s losses to San Antonio and New York were as bad as it gets. No team blows leads like these guys. Six times in 16 days your Green Team lost games in which they had a lead or a tie in the fourth quarter. They are the worst finishers in the NBA. Thursday they blew a 25-point lead in New York and after the game their poor new coach said that they lack mental toughness.
If it makes you feel better, Bob Cousy sees the same things you see.
“There’s something wrong,” the Cooz said after watching a recent Celtics debacle. “It’s just schoolyard. Run up and down and take the first shot that shows. There doesn’t seem to be intelligent direction.
“I think a stabilizing piece is missing. They usually [expletive] it up in the fourth quarter when you need to be paying attention to business.
“I hate to bring it back to a point guard but … you don’t have that control. When we got a lead of 6-8 points, that was when I would take it home. I just would not allow us to lose the lead.
“From 1957-63, I remember one game when I let it get away and I took full responsibility. It was against Syracuse at the Providence Arena and we had a lead of 6 or 8 points and we blew it and I feel bad to this day about it.
“Good, solid point guards are difficult to come by. They had one in Kyrie [Irving], but he was a head case. They potentially had one in Kemba [Walker], although Kemba was a shooting guard more than a point guard. You need a penetrating point guard at that point who is a threat and then he passes off to the Tatums and the Browns.
“I love Marcus Smart, but I don’t love him as a point guard. He thinks he’s the best point guard; he’s not, but he’s still a positive factor.
“Right now, at crunch time in the fourth quarter, they’re giving it to Brown and Tatum to create for themselves and 70 percent of the time they do, but they don’t have the creating skills that a clever point guard would have, so they [expletive] it up.
“So we’re in last place in fourth-quarter performance. Tatum and Brown have great skills, up to a point, but not necessarily those of a point guard.
“They should be a lot better than they are. It doesn’t look like we’re going to be hanging banner No. 18 any time soon.”
Bring back Tiny Archibald!
▪ Quiz (from Tyler Kepner of the New York Times): Only four members of the 500-home run club have higher career batting averages than Miguel Cabrera’s .310. All played for the Red Sox. Name them.
▪ The Novak Djokovic episode features the latest and thus far best handling of anti-vax athletes. Chris Sale, Aaron Rodgers, and even Irving all got their way when they put their personal freedom ahead of the health of their teammates and the good of their sport. Not so for Djokovic, who landed at the Melbourne airport with his vax exemption and was told “no.”
“Any individual seeking to enter Australia must comply with our border requirements,” said Morrison. “We await his presentation and what evidence he provides to support that. If that evidence is insufficient, then he won’t be treated any different to anyone else and he’ll be on the next plane home. There should be no special rules for Novak Djokovic at all. None whatsoever.”
▪ Curt Schilling, who will not be elected to the Hall of Fame again this year, has announced that if he is elected, he will never go in as a Red Sox player. On the “Faith on the Field” podcast, Schilling again cited Red Sox owners as “very bad human beings.” These are the same owners who paid him $8 million when he did not throw a single pitch during the 2008 season.
▪ Mac Jones is in rare company. The Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels notes that there have been 23 first-year quarterbacks who started a playoff game since 1950, but nine of them were injury replacements. The most recent rookies to take teams to the playoffs were Lamar Jackson (2018), Dak Prescott (2016), Russell Wilson (2012), Andrew Luck (2012), Robert Griffin III (2012), and Andy Dalton (2011).
▪ According to Gulfshore Business, a 10-parcel piece of real estate near downtown Fort Myers, Fla., once owned by the late Haywood Sullivan and his son Marc, recently sold for $20 million and will be redeveloped by an investment group. Haywood Sullivan died in February of 2003 at the age of 72.
▪ New Year’s Day e-mail from Hall of Famer Jim Palmer: “Sorry to hear about Sam [Jones]. I used to run into a lot of Celtics at charity golf events. They were like royalty. They had a well-earned aura about them. Tons of class.”
▪ One day later, e-mail from new Hall of Famer Jim Kaat: “One of the joys of being in professional sports is that you get to cross paths with athletes from other sports. I was in awe when I met Sam Jones at a charity function years ago. I always wished that I had a ‘bank shot’ like Sam.”
▪ A reader points out that it’s somewhat unfair to talk about Bill Belichick’s 10-win seasons compared with Don Shula’s since half of Shula’s 10-win seasons came when the NFL played a 14-game regular season. Belichick has had the advantage of 16-game seasons (17 this season).
▪ Geno Auriemma Note of the Week: Sacred Heart Academy of Hamden (Conn.) beat Lyman Hall-Wallingford, 92-4, Monday night. It was 29-0 after one, 56-0 at the half, and 80-0 after three quarters. Sister Sheila O’Neill apologized in a Tuesday statement.
▪ There’s a grand opening/ribbon cutting for the G.R.A.C.E. Center scheduled for Jan. 16 at Our Lady of the Valley Regional School in Uxbridge. The gym was built in honor of Holy Cross rower Grace Rett, who died in a car accident while riding to practice with her teammates in Vero Beach, Fla., in January of 2020.
▪ Former Celtic and current-day crooner Walter McCarty is scheduled to perform with James Montgomery at the wedding of PR guru George Regan July 30.
▪ Quiz answer: Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Manny Ramirez.
Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @dan_shaughnessy.