Sports Centralby Cian Fahey
- We've moved to The Sports Central
- Avery Bradley's stuttering start to Boston Celtics career is no more
- New England Patriots - a case for keeping Brandon Lloyd
- Tom Brady's contract extension puts pressure on New England Patriots to perform in short-term
- Jeff Green's approach epitomizes Boston Celtics Post-Rajon Rondo
With the 56th overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft the New England Patriots have selected Shane Vereen, Running Back, California.
After passing on Mark Ingram the New England Patriots decided to give Tom Brady a new weapon in the backfield with Vereen. Vereen has 74 catches over the past three years. He should take over the Danny Woodhead role with the team as he is a stronger bodied more reliable runner.
Running back was always going to be an option for the Patriots who have one more selection in the second round of the NFL draft.
With the 33rd overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft the New England Patriots have selected Ras-I Dowling, defensive back, Virginia.
Dowling is a versatile secondary player that has suffered in college because of injuries. He is a very good athlete that ran a 4.40 forty yard dasha t the combine. He will come in and give the team more depth at cornerback to go along with Devin McCourty, Leigh Bodden and Kyle Arrington.
Dowling can also play safety if need be.
With the 17th overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft the New England Patriots have selected offensive tackle Nate Solder from Colorado.
With the impending free agency of 33 year old left tackle Matt Light, the New England Patriots took a tackle to soften the loss. Solder will likely play on the right hand side of the offensive line during his rookie season as Sebastien Vollmer will likely shift to the left if Light doesn't return. The Patriots may bring Light back because Solder does need some development early in his career.
The biggest knock on Solder is his fluidity but his mixture of quick feet and size made him the Patriots' first overall choice.
The Miami Heat completed the 4-1 first round series win over the Philadelphia 76ers last night by 97-91.
This means that the second round series between the Celtics and Heat will begin this coming Sunday. After beating the Heat in the opening game of the regular season the Celtics will be looking to make the final game of this series the last of their post season ventures.
The Celtics won three of the previous four regular season match ups this season. They did lose the most recent match up but will have no reason to fear the Heat coming into round two.
The Boston Celtics got good news last night as they ended the New York Knicks season to advance to the second round of the playoffs after only four games.
The Celtics will now get the opportunity to watch the Philadelphia 76ers battle it out with the Miami Heat in game five of the first round. The 76ers upset the Heat on their home court thanks to big days from Evan Turner and Lou Williams.
This means that while the Celtics are resting the Heat's big three will at least have to play one more game against the energetic 76ers. This is bad news for a team that is relying on three players to play big minutes each night. Lebron James is averaging over 42 minutes per game during the first round while Chris Bosh is playing over 39 minutes a night and the migraine plagued Dwayne Wade must play 37.
Rajon Rondo had a triple double while Ray Allen knocked down eight of eleven three point field goals to silence the crowd in Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks were without Chauncey Billups for the second straight game while Amare Stoudemire was blatantly struggling with an injury. Add the fact that Carmelo Anthony barely looked interested and you can chalk this game down as an easy victory for the Boston based team.
No Celtic played poorly but Rondo, Allen and Paul Pierce were outstanding. The fact that Rondo had a record number of assists as part of his triple double and wasn't even the second best player on the court was startling.
The Boston Celtics head into game 2 of their first round playoff series against the New York Knicks tonight with the knowledge that Chauncey Billups is unlikely to play.
The team, and Rajon Rondo specifically, need to take advantage of this and put the series to bed as quickly as possible.
Don't get me wrong, the team should not be worried about losing to the Knicks when Billups returns. The Knicks are lacking too many pieces after the Carmelo Anthony trade during midseason.
The Boston Celtics didn't exactly erase the demons of their tumultuous regular season taking on the Knicks last night. However as the saying goes: A win is a win, and they'll take it in whatever form it comes.
The Celtics relied on one of their old heads (not that there are many young heads on the roster to begin with) as Ray Allen hit a game winning three point field goal with under 20 seconds remaining. It was part of Allen's team leading 24 points on a night when he started slowly.
1. The Portland Trailblazers over the Dallas Mavericks
There are very few people actually choosing the Mavericks to win this one even though they are the higher seeds. The Mavericks rely too heavily on Dirk Nowitzki while the Blazers have Wesley Matthews, Gerald Wallace and LaMarcus Aldridge all averaging over 15 points per game.
Wild Card to watch:
Jason Kidd: Kidd has been respectable this season but needs to make a greater impact during the playoffs. His eight assists per game should be closer to 10 from here on out.
LaMarcus Aldridge: Aldridge has proven that he can be the team's star during the regular season but things change in the playoffs. It will be interesting to see how he fairs.
1. The Spurs over the Grizzlies
The late injury to Manu Ginobli will disrupt the team somewhat but they should still have enough to get past the Rudy Gay-less Grizzlies. This will be one of the tightest 1-8 seed contests in recent years but I still expect the Spurs to ride Tim Duncan to the next round.
Wild Card to watch:
George Hill: Hill has averaged 11.6 points in 28 minutes during the regular season. His workload will increase with the limitations/loss of Ginobli.
Marc Gasol: Gasol is a good player but may be overpowered by the Spurs leader Tim Duncan. The Spurs will run their offense through Duncan even moreso without Manu.
Spurs 4-2 Grizzlies
1. The Celtics over the Knicks
The New York Knicks may have got the better piece of their respective deadline day deals but the Celtics will advance in this one. The Celtics don't look good approaching the playoffs as they still don't haven't dealt with the loss of Kendrick Perkins. Nonetheless the Knicks don't have the depth or defensive quality to overcome the Boston side.
According to a report appearing on ESPNChicago.com, the Chicago Bears will face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in London during the 2011 NFL season (should it go ahead).
The article sites "sources familiar with the situation" in confirming the fixture while Adam Schefter, ESPN's most respected reporter, has confirmed the news.
This should come as great news to all native Irish American football fans who should get to see two very good and competitive teams face off against each other in London.
Now that the NBA Playoffs bracket has been set in the East, it's time for Sports Central to do another prediction bracket.
We will be hoping to repeat the performance of the NFL Playoff predictions when our bracket had the Packers beating the Steelers in the Superbowl.
English Premiership side Leicester Tigers visit Dublin this weekend with no shortage of determination.
Leicester face off against the 2009 Champions of the Heineken Cup in a rematch of that year's final.
Eoin Reddan has reclaimed his place in the starting lineup for Leinster's highly anticipated clash with Leicester Tigers in Saturday's Heineken Cup Quarter Final.
In what has been a year of upsets for college basketball, the University of Connecticut women's basketball team are the latest team to fall.
Notre Dame fighting Irish women's team knocked out the two time reigning champions to set up a date with fellow underdog Texas A&M in the final after they beat Stanford in the Final Four.
Shane Horgan couldn't have chosen a better game in which to make his 200th appearance for Leinster. The versatile back sits on 199 matches played ahead of Leinster's clash with rivals Munster this weekend and is scheduled to wear the number 14 jersey in Thomond Park on Saturday night.
That milestone will probably be the furthest thing from the 32 year old's mind as this is a must win game for Leinster.
It may be a top of the table clash but Munster lead Leinster by 12 points atop the Magners League. Leinster are holding onto second place but barely as they aren't the only team sitting on 55 points ahead of this weekends fixtures.
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