Latest Articles

Here’s an updated list of all the recent stories I’ve written for SB Nation, Dirty Water Media, and various other websites.

Eric Dier ready to “shut everyone up” over Tottenham’s transfer window

Watch: Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium makes its debut in EA Sports FIFA 19

Tottenham reportedly contact PSG about left back Layvin Kurzawa

Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa reportedly £7 million apart in Jack Grealish negotiations

Official: Axel Witsel signs for Borussia Dortmund

Fernando Llorente is happy to stay at Tottenham and back-up Harry Kane

Mauricio Pochettino doesn’t know if Tottenham Hotspur will make any new signings

Premier League clubs put on transfer alert as Christian Pulisic rejects Dortmund deal

Juan Foyth to miss start of Tottenham’s season after suffering thigh injury

Andre Schürrle could be on his way to Crystal Palace

Son Heung-Min signs new contract with Tottenham Hotspur through 2023

Tottenham Hotspur and Erik Lamela reportedly working on new contract

Manuel Akanji is ready to fix Borussia Dortmund’s defensive deficiencies

Andriy Yarmolenko to have medical ahead of transfer to West Ham

Dortmund allowing Andriy Yarmolenko to seek a transfer to another club

Tottenham target Alassane Pléa set to sign for Gladbach

Borussia Dortmund confirm the transfer of Sokratis to Arsenal

Tottenham Hotspur set to allow Son Heung-Min to play for South Korea at Asian Games in August

Tottenham Hotspur reportedly one of five teams to have inquired about Real Madrid’s Mateo Kovacic

Report: Stuttgart close to signing Gonzalo Castro from Dortmund

Harry Kane scores England’s first goal of the 2018 World Cup

Dortmund reportedly interested in signing Tottenham midfielder Victor Wanyama

The Daily Bee (June 13th, 2018): World Cup drama

Tottenham Hotspur confirm “retain & release” list for 2018-19

Trading Kyrie Irving would be a terrible idea for the Celtics

Tanguy Ndombele is the Mousa Dembele replacement that Tottenham Hotspur desperately need

Real Madrid have reportedly given up on trying to hire Mauricio Pochettino as their new manager

Dortmund agree to personal terms with Mainz center-back Abdou Diallo

Josh Onomah speaks about his Aston Villa loan and his future at Tottenham

Transfer rumors are swirling, but Christian Pulisic isn’t ready to leave the Bundesliga yet

Dortmund and Arsenal battling to sign Mainz defender Abdou Diallo

Unpopular Opinion: Michel Vorm starting over Hugo Lloris in the semifinal cost Spurs the FA Cup

Manchester United “confident” they will sign Toby Alderweireld, Spurs ready to spend fee on Ajax starlet

Team news: Has Mousa Dembele played his final game for Tottenham Hotspur?

Dortmund interested in signing Bremen’s Thomas Delaney

Rumor: Manchester United want to swap Anthony Martial for Christian Pulisic

Dortmund close to signing Stephan Lichtsteiner on a free transfer from Juventus

Tottenham 2-0 Watford: Spurs creep closer to Champions League qualification

Lucien Favre reportedly met with Dortmund last week about becoming their next manager

Marco Reus volleys Dortmund into the lead against Werder Bremen

Tottenham set to play first matches of 2018-19 Premier League away as their new stadium is completed

Harry Winks set for return to training, hopes to feature before end of Premier League season

These are probably Borussia Dortmund’s kits for the 2018-2019 season

Report: Manchester United, Arsenal, and Juventus all interested in signing Sokratis

Tottenham 1-1 Brighton: Kane scores, but Spurs held to draw by the Seagulls

Michy Batshuayi’s injury should force Dortmund to make an early move in the summer transfer market

Tottenham 1-3 Manchester City: Spurs beaten at Wembley by soon-to-be Premier League champions

Bucks stop here as Celtics set to surprise in East

Ryan Mason returns to Tottenham Hotspur to work on his coaching badges

Borussia Dortmund coming to the United States this summer

Report: Thomas Tuchel to be next manager of PSG

Tottenham 3-1 Chelsea: Dele Alli leads Spurs to first win at Stamford Bridge since 1990

Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele speak about their friendship, Belgium, and Tottenham Hotspur

New York primed to topple Boston’s payroll kings

Rozier could keep Celtics rolling through playoffs

Tottenham Hotspur to play AC Milan in Minneapolis this summer

Dortmund and Bayern both interested in signing Jonas Hector

Sox-Yankees series won’t spike England’s interest in Baseball

Thomas Tuchel thinks that he would still be Dortmund manager if not for the bomb attack last season

Next year was always going to be the Celtics’ year

Victor Wanyama’s stunner against Liverpool named Premier League Goal of the Month for February

No one should blame Rob Gronkowski if he decides to retire from football

Marcus Smart’s return from injury proves to be the boost the struggling Celtics needed

Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho and Maximilian Philipp close to returning from injury

Tottenham preparing to bid £35 million for Fulham sensation Ryan Sessegnon

Michy Batshuayi calls out racist Atalanta fans after Dortmund advance in Europa League

Marco Reus’ latest wonder-goal shows that he can still beat injury and be an incredible player

Report: Dortmund want to spend money from Aubameyang transfer on Michy Batshuayi

Dortmund 3-2 Atalanta: Michy Batshuayi’s goals give BVB a slight advantage after the first leg

Eric Dier thinks Tottenham Hotspur’s squad has never been stronger

Juventus could also be without Andrea Barzagli for Champions League first leg

Mauricio Pochettino wants the FA to take action over the ridiculously unsafe pitch awaiting Spurs at Rochdale

Tottenham 2-0 Newport County: Erik Lamela scores as Spurs advance in the FA Cup

English tabloid posts another lazy rumor about Christian Pulisic moving to the Premier League

Jadon Sancho to miss time with an ankle injury

OFFICIAL: Lucas Moura completes £25m move to Tottenham Hotspur

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says goodbye and apologizes to Dortmund fans for his recent behavior

Aubameyang in London for transfer to Arsenal, Michy Batshuayi to Dortmund depends on Olivier Giroud’s move to Chelsea

Tottenham Hotspur (or Newport County) draw Millwall or Rochdale in FA Cup Fifth Round

Report: Arsenal agree deal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Dortmund looking at replacements

Mauricio Pochettino defends Moussa Sissoko, says he’s one of Tottenham’s “most important players”

Official: Neven Subotic moves to Saint-Étienne

Arsenal target Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang trained today with no apparent issues or drama

Zorc accuses Arsene Wenger of disrespect over quotes about Arsenal target Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Despite reports, Arsenal have yet to make a bid for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Watzke: André Schürrle needs to “find solutions on the pitch” to save his Dortmund career

Report: Manchester United and Liverpool both interested in signing Christian Pulisic this summer

As Bayern look to extend Heynckes, Dortmund need to do everything they can to get Julian Nagelsmann

Tottenham Hotspur draw Newport County in FA Cup Fourth Round

Report: Dortmund “intensify contact” with Henrikh Mkhitaryan over possible return

Team news: Victor Wanyama is back! And there’s a slight issue for Harry Kane

Dortmund in “advanced talks” over a move for Basel center back Manuel Akanji

Surprise, Surprise: Christian Pulisic named US Soccer male player of the year

Team news: Mauricio Pochettino dispels rumors about Toby Alderweireld’s injury status

Dortmund lose to Real Madrid, but qualify for the Europa League

Tottenham 3-0 APOEL: Spurs comfortably close out the Champions League group stage with a win

Maximilian Philipp to miss several months with kneecap injury

Tim Sherwood once again tries to take credit for Mauricio Pochettino’s success at Tottenham Hotspur

Team news: Hugo Lloris and Toby Alderweireld both out for Crystal Palace

Tottenham 3-1 Real Madrid: Spurs qualify for Champions League knockout stage with a famous victory

Dortmund – APOEL Preview: A must-win in the Champions League

Jadon Sancho’s Dortmund debut sends a message to the talented youngsters of Europe

Dortmund – Eintracht Frankfurt Preview: BVB try to hold on to top spot in the Bundesliga

Roman Bürki extends contract with Dortmund until 2021

Roman Bürki isn’t great, but Dortmund have no other options at keeper

Despite Christian Pulisic’s best efforts, the United States fail to qualify for the World Cup

Christian Pulisic opens the scoring for the USA in a crucial World Cup qualifier

Marco Reus speaks about injury issues and a possible transfer away from Dortmund

Mauricio Pochettino says Dele Alli “needs to learn” that diving isn’t helpful

Shinji Kagawa gives Dortmund the lead at Augsburg with a beautiful chip

Tottenham 3-0 APOEL: Harry Kane’s hat trick gives Spurs all three points in Cyprus

Dortmund’s Maximilian Philipp may be the Bundesliga’s signing of the season

Tottenham 1 – 0 Barnsley: Spurs win unconvincingly to advance in the League Cup

In honor of his 19th birthday, here are Christian Pulisic’s Top 5 moments in a Dortmund shirt

UCL Player Ratings: Tottenham 3-1 Dortmund

Dortmund – Tottenham Preview: BVB begin the Champions League group stage with a trip to London

Michael Ballack doesn’t approve of Ousmane Dembele’s behavior at Dortmund

Tottenham expect Erik Lamela to return from injury in late 2017

Marco Reus and Jadon Sancho omitted from Dortmund’s Champions League squad

Report: Ousmane Dembélé “hours away” from completing transfer to Barcelona

Christian Pulisic scores a beauty for Dortmund’s first goal of the Bundesliga season

Official: Davinson Sanchez is Tottenham Hotspur’s first signing of the summer

Report: Christian Pulisic won’t consider a transfer away from Dortmund until after 2018 World Cup

Peter Bosz leaves the door open for Ousmane Dembélé to return to Dortmund

Report: Dortmund teammates criticize Ousmane Dembélé for skipping training and demanding a transfer

Dortmund set their price for Ousmane Dembele amidst Barcelona interest

Report: Barcelona executives traveling to Germany in attempt to sign Ousmane Dembele

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang declares that he is staying at Dortmund

WATCH: Christian Pulisic gives Dortmund an early Supercup lead against Bayern

Trabzonspor president confirms that the Turkish club are close to signing Moussa Sissoko on loan

What does Neymar’s transfer from Barcelona mean for Dortmund and Ousmane Dembele?

Report: Fiorentina in advanced discussions to sign Dortmund winger Emre Mor

Dortmund will fund injured youth player’s collegiate education

Julian Weigl set to be fully recovered from ankle injury by September

New York Red Bulls cheat Spurs fans with last minute open training cancellation

Keeping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gives Dortmund a shot at winning the Bundesliga

Christian Pulisic dominates AC Milan in friendly (Video)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang set to stay at Dortmund despite transfer rumors

Tottenham still interested in Ross Barkley as Everton are prepared to compromise on asking price

Kyle Walker says thank you to Tottenham fans in farewell video

Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud linked to Dortmund as possible Aubameyang replacement

Spurs beat Leyton Orient 4-0 in friendly at Hotspur Way

Raphaël Guerreiro undergoes foot operation, will miss 3-4 months

AC Milan to meet with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s representatives this week about possible transfer

Photos from Peter Bosz’s first full Dortmund training session

Bild: Mario Götze to start pre-season training with Dortmund on Friday

Desperate English tabloid links Ousmane Dembele to Manchester United

Daniel Levy’s Imaginary Shortlist: Keita Baldé

Ryan Sessegnon set to snub Tottenham by signing a new contract with Fulham

Borussia Dortmund absolutely can not sell Ousmane Dembele this summer

Bat Country: Manchester United want Harry Kane instead of Cristiano Ronaldo

Raphaël Guerreiro provides Cristiano Ronaldo with a beautiful assist at the Confederations Cup

Barcelona reportedly met with Ousmane Dembélé’s agent, but Dortmund are demanding a record fee

Danny Rose and Erik Lamela could miss the start of the Premier League season

Christian Pulisic will not play for the USMNT at the Gold Cup this summer

Ousmane Dembele scores the winner for France against England

Christian Pulisic goals lead United States to victory in World Cup Qualifying

Tottenham and Hoffenheim are reportedly both targeting Matthias Ginter

BREAKING: Dortmund announce the signing of Maximilian Philipp from Freiburg

Mino Raiola links Mario Balotelli with a transfer to Dortmund

Dortmund’s 2017/18 Champions League kits leaked, and they’re absolutely beautiful

Christian Pulisic scored for the US against Venezuela last night

Dortmund linked with Ajax and Feyenoord managers after Nice resist Favre departure

Thomas Tuchel is out, so what comes next at Borussia Dortmund?

Moussa Sissoko was a major disappointment for Tottenham Hotspur this season

Pulisic earns a penalty, and Aubameyang converts to restore Dortmund’s Pokal Final lead

Ousmane Dembele gives Dortmund Pokal lead with stunning goal

Dortmund reportedly interested in Sampdoria striker Patrik Schick

A Dortmund fan gave Uli Hoeneß the finger and it was glorious

Dortmund U19s beat Bayern Munich for the title in front of over 33,000 at the Westfalenstadion

If Aubameyang leaves, Dortmund can’t afford to avoid replacing their star striker

Spurs 6 – 1 Leicester City: Kane and Son fillet the Foxes

Marco Reus won’t go with Germany to the Confederations Cup

Dele Alli can’t guarantee that he will stay at Tottenham Hotspur

Dortmund offer Lucien Favre deal to be Thomas Tuchel’s replacement

The best photos from Tottenham’s final match at White Hart Lane

Spurs are a religion, and White Hart Lane was our holy place

Report: Michael Zorc approached by Arsenal over possible move to Premier League

Demolition of White Hart Lane set to begin on Monday

Report: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang meets with PSG ahead of possible €70 million move

Fear The Roundtable: Will Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leave Dortmund this summer?

Dortmund have officially qualified for the 2017/2018 Champions League

Ousmane Dembele gives Dortmund the lead against Bayern with a stunning curler

Calm down Tuchel haters, Dortmund overachieved by reaching the Champions League Quarterfinals

Marco Reus scores and gives Dortmund hope in Monaco

Transfer Rumor: Spurs lining up bid for Portuguese youth international this summer

Police: Dortmund attackers were “far right” extremists who wanted to “incite a backlash” against Muslims

Sokratis gives Dortmund the lead against Frankfurt with a magnificent goal

Christian Eriksen recreates Gazza’s famous Wembley free kick

Shinji Kagawa scores and keeps hope alive for Dortmund

Ousmane Dembele gets a goal back for Dortmund after some sumptuous team-play

Thomas Tuchel unhappy Dortmund have to play so quickly after attack

The Daily Bee (April 12th, 2017): Watzke’s quotes and Bartra’s status following the attack on Dortmund

Dortmund – Monaco Champions League first leg postponed to Wednesday after explosions

Team News: Harry Kane back in full training, could feature against Watford…as could Pau Lopez

Spurs 3 – 1 Swansea: Three late goals see Tottenham complete an amazing comeback in Wales

Shinji Kagawa hungry for more Dortmund goals, and for success against Bayern Munich

Dortmund 3 – 0 Hamburg: Castro, Kagawa, and Aubameyang combine to see off HSV

Spurs 2 – 0 Burnley: Tottenham win a tense match at Turf Moor

OFFICIAL: Mahmoud Dahoud to join Dortmund this summer

WATCH: Ousmane Dembele embarrasses multiple defenders during France – Spain friendly

WATCH: Christian Pulisic scores against Honduras in World Cup Qualifying

Dele Alli gets three-game European ban for Gent red card

Sven Bender and Nuri Sahin set to appear for BVB reserves

Champions League Draw: Dortmund get Monaco in Quarterfinals

Champions League Quarterfinal Draw: Previewing Dortmund’s possible opponents

…and many more.

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Milwaukee Bucks represent favorable first round matchup for Celtics

The NBA Playoffs haven’t even started yet, but so many people have already given up on the Boston Celtics.

They have good reason to doubt Brad Stevens’ squad. Injuries have hit the Celtics harder than any other team in the league this season. Gordon Hayward has been missing since the opening moments of the campaign, and now Kyrie Irving’s knee has forced him to be shut down until next year.

Luck hasn’t been on the Celtics’ side all season. Could the playoffs be a different story?

It has been nailed on for weeks that the C’s would be the 2nd seed in the playoffs, but until yesterday it was unclear who their first opponent would be. Now we know they’ll be playing the Milwaukee Bucks in the opening round, and that’s a relief.

The Washington Wizards late-season collapse was worrying as it could’ve seen them paired with the Celtics as the 7th seed. Washington and Boston have history going back to last year’s playoffs, when a very different looking Celtics team beat them in seven games. Scott Brooks’ squad responded this year by winning three out of their four contests with the C’s. Kyrie was only available in one of those games, but the John Wall-Bradley Beal-Otto Porter triumvirate represents more talent than the Heat or Bucks possess on their entire roster.

Miami seemed like the slightly preferred opponent for one reason; they don’t have Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Giannis will be the Celtics’ main obstacle in this first round series. He is genuinely a freak. He’s tall, quick, long, athletic, and is starting to get better at knocking down jump-shots. Boston didn’t have anyone who could guard him a few weeks ago when they fell 106-102 in Milwaukee, but at some point this series they’ll get their lock-down defender back.

Marcus Smart’s rehab from thumb surgery is ahead of schedule, and he now looks set to return to the fold at some point during the first round. If Smart was available for that close loss in Wisconsin a few weeks ago, Boston would’ve probably gotten the victory.

If the games were decided by coaching alone, the Celtics would be the favorites in the Eastern Conference, and they’d be looking at a sweep in this opening series. The Bucks fired Jason Kidd midway through the season, and Joe Prunty has since taken over as the interim head coach. Prunty is better than Kidd, which isn’t saying much, but he’s still light-years behind Brad Stevens.

The Bucks’ defensive scheme is particularly vulnerable to good coaching. It revolves around blitzing and trapping, and it’s easy to beat with decent offensive spacing and ball movement. Milwaukee is letting opponents shoot 37.2% from three this year. That’s the fifth worst rating in the league, which is even more damning when you consider how much of their team is made up of players with long arms who shouldn’t struggle to get hands in the faces of shooters. They simply give up way too many open shots.

They also lack the strong interior defense that has killed Boston at times this year. Al Horford has struggled when he has had to face players like Andre Drummond, Anthony Davis, and Steven Adams. He won’t struggle against John Henson or Tyler Zeller. Giannis is their best interior defender, and he’ll likely spend most of his time guarding Jaylen Brown or Jayson Tatum.

If the Celtics do get past the Bucks they’ll face either the Heat or the Philadelphia 76ers in the next round. Philly finished the season as the hottest team in the league and would deservedly be the favorites, but the Celtics would still have a better chance against the Sixers than against the unstoppable entity that is Lebron James in the playoffs against Boston.

On paper, it looks like the draw has been kind to the Celtics, but they would still be unwise to look past the Bucks. Luckily, Brad Stevens is incapable of letting his teams underestimate an opponent.

Injuries will probably keep them from getting as far as the NBA Finals, which would’ve been their ceiling with a healthy Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, but this Celtics team has fought against the odds all season long. Don’t be surprised if they have another surprise up their sleeve and find their way to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Red Sox have the highest payroll in Baseball, but who is really the favorite in the AL East?

A few words come to mind when people think of the New York Yankees; pinstripes, championships, and of course, money. The financial advantage was often stressed by Boston fans as an excuse for the Bronx Bombers’ dominance of their rivals in the times before the events of 2004.

The Yankees have always been viewed as the “David” to the Red Sox’ “Goliath”, but is that still reality?

The Sox have won three World Series this century, while the Yankees have only won two. A curse was still in effect the last time Boston had the highest payroll in Major League Baseball. That was 1990, but now in 2018 they are back to being the dominant financial power in the sport.

However, despite their position atop the payroll power rankings, it doesn’t feel like the Red Sox are the favorites this year in the AL East. New York’s off-season was very Yankee-like in that it featured the blockbuster acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins. But it was also an unusual winter for a team run by the Steinbrenner family. For the first time since it was enacted in 2003, the Yankees are under the bar set by the luxury tax.

Barring any more major additions this season Aaron Boone’s team will have only the seventh-highest payroll in all of baseball, but they are still a popular pick to be the squad hoisting a trophy when push comes to shove at the end of October.

The Red Sox made quite a few improvements of their own, but they didn’t carry the same buzz that the Yankees’ moves did. Alex Cora is widely tapped to be one of the next great managers in the game. JD Martinez will add a punch to the middle of their lineup that should rival what Stanton brings to New York. Rafael Devers will be a year older, stronger, and more experienced, which is a scary thought after seeing how he ended last year’s campaign.

The Red Sox lineup surprisingly struggled to hit home runs last season. The Martinez signing, combined with a bounce-back year from Xander Bogaerts, should be enough to fix that.

But Major League Baseball is collectively infatuated with the gauntlet that will be the Yankees’ batting order. Aaron Judge, Stanton, and Gary Sanchez will take their toll on every opposing pitcher who stands before them. The safe money would be to bet on Cora developing into the better manager, but Boone’s return to his old team is the more romantic of the moves.

So the question arises; who really has the edge in a division that was already so closely contested last season?

Both teams will score more than enough runs, so it seems likely that it will come down to pitching and injury luck, where the Yankees have already suffered a blow with the news that Greg Bird will be out 6-8 weeks after undergoing ankle surgery.

Can a 37-year-old CC Sabathia really be relied upon over the course of a long season? Can David Price continue to right the wrongs that plagued the beginning of his time in Boston? Will Masahiro Tanaka stay healthy and dominant enough to be the pitcher the Yankees expect him to be?

There are so many questions, but the good news is that the arrival of real games means the answers will soon start to come. It’s not entirely fair to overlook the rest of the division, but the league is better when this famous rivalry is not just a historical one.

Either of these teams could seize glory in the AL East and beyond, and that’s when baseball is truly at its best.

 

The most underrated player in the NBA plays for the Celtics, and his name is Terry Rozier

They said he was a waste of a draft pick. They said he’d never do anything of note in the NBA. They said he’d likely be relegated to a career overseas or in the D-League.

They don’t say much anymore these days. Terry Rozier proves them wrong on a nightly basis.

CBS Sports had a particularly damning review when Rozier was selected 16th overall by the Celtics in the 2015 NBA Draft.

It’s safe to say that tweet has not aged well.

Last night Rozier led the Celtics to a 104-93 win over the Sacramento Kings. His jump-shot was unerring as he went 8/12 from the three-point line and scored a career high 33 points. He also chipped in 5 assists and 5 rebounds, showing clearly that he was the best player on the court.

Rozier has had a tremendous season, but his accomplishments have been overshadowed in what has been a crazy campaign for the Celtics. Isaiah Thomas was traded for Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward suffered a horrendous injury in the opening moments of the season, and Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are blossoming into stars right before our eyes. It makes sense that Terry’s abilities have been a bit overlooked, but that needs to change.

Brad Stevens’ squad is in the midst of one of the worst injury crises that any team in the league has suffered this year. Irving and Marcus Smart are likely out until the playoffs, Brown has only just returned from a concussion, Daniel Theis is done for the season, and they’re still without one of their marquee free-agent signings in Hayward. The only constant has been Rozier doing his best to pick up some of the slack.

There’s so much going on in the NBA that it’s easy for the national media to gloss over a guy like “Scary Terry”. The reality is that he’s the most important bench player on one of the best teams in The Association. With the way things are going right now in Boston, he’s about to get his time in the spotlight.

The Celtics are looking at a first-round match-up against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Miami Heat, or the Washington Wizards. None of these teams are pushovers. They’ve each gotten the better of the Celtics at some point this season. Boston, as the second seed, will be favored, but don’t be surprised if a tough series develops in Kyrie’s absence.

If Irving’s team is going to survive without him and some other key players, Rozier will need to keep doing what he has been doing. There is not enough scoring on this short-handed Celtics team to survive the heightened stakes and competition that come as the season turns into the playoffs. If Rozier can keep knocking down outside shots and cutting to the rim with the smoothness we’ve grown accustomed to seeing, then the team should be fine even in a first round series without “Uncle Drew”.

There will be doubters on the outside who see the depleted Celtics and think they might be vulnerable to a first-round upset. It will probably be a popular pick on some of the national media shows, but people who watch day in and day out have seen this team repeatedly come back and win against incredible odds. They recognize just how uniquely deep the Celtics’ fighting spirit runs.

No one embodies that more than Terry Rozier.

England doesn’t care about baseball, so why is MLB sending the Red Sox and Yankees to play in London?

Playing overseas is the cool thing for American sports leagues to do these days. The NFL and NBA have done it, and now Major League Baseball wants to get in on the action too.

According to various reports, the Red Sox and Yankees are close to a deal that would see the teams play a two-game series in London during the 2019 season. The games would be held at the Olympic Stadium, which houses Premier League side West Ham United.

MLB has previously had games in Mexico, Japan, and Australia. This year the league will return to Monterrey, and will also play a game in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The new CBA states that players would receive an extra $60,000 for taking part in overseas games. It makes sense from their perspective, but I’m not sure it does from the league’s perspective.

Previous international games have worked for the league because they have taken place in areas where there is already an interest in the sport. Games in Mexico and Japan have been played in front of sell-out crowds. There is a long history of players from both countries playing in MLB, and thus there are fans there who watch and care about the sport.

Australia’s games haven’t been as well attended, but they still weren’t played in front of empty stadiums. Attendance isn’t the issue. The issue is what the league is really trying to accomplish by playing in London.

If Rob Manfred thinks games in England will significantly increase interest in Baseball in the country, he’s wrong.

I studied in London for six months. I spent much of my time traveling around the country to Tottenham Hotspur’s soccer (football) matches. Since my time studying there I have made an effort to go back every year to attend more Premier League matches, and to visit friends that I made during my time there. Much of that time was spent getting to know some of the biggest sports fans in the United Kingdom. On trains, planes, and buses we would talk about various things, but the conversations would always come back to American sports. Brits were curious about the NFL, the NBA, and even Major League Soccer. But I can tell you, with the utter most confidence, that nobody over there cares about baseball.

Other than American expats, the interest in the game in England is basically nonexistent. English football has a stranglehold over the sporting landscape that is unique in such a developed country. If you’re a sports fan, you’re a football fan. Maybe you attend the odd rugby match, or Wimbledon, or a Formula One or PGA event, but nothing comes close to football’s popularity.

Sure, you will occasionally see people wearing Yankees or Red Sox hats, but those are usually nothing more than a fashion statement.

Any Brits with the attention span necessary to enjoy baseball are more than likely already interested in cricket. The sports are quite similar, and the rules of baseball are just as confusing to an English person as the rules of cricket are to an American.

If the goal is to play in the UK and eventually attract enough of an audience to televise games on Sky Sports and garner decent TV ratings, it won’t work. If the goal is to fill a stadium for two days and to sell some hats and t-shirts, then that will probably work.

But on a “growing the game” scale, that’s equivalent to lifting your leg to take a step out of the batter’s box. It’s not even close to being enough to safely reach first base.

Latest injuries a reminder that next year was always going to be the year for the Celtics

Celtics fans can’t deny that this year has been fun. Bostonians have grown accustomed to watching Kyrie Irving’s handles bewilder opposing defenses, they’ve seen the team reel off 16 wins in a row, and they’ve experienced the highs of big-time wins over the NBA’s elite in Golden State and Houston.

But the most memorable part of this season may prove to be the lack of luck allocated to the team with the shamrock logo.

Injuries have hit Brad Stevens’ squad hard. The latest ailments to Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Daniel Theis have dampened the expectations of even the most optimistic C’s fans. But those expectations had already taken a serious hit just six minutes into the new campaign when Gordon Hayward went down in Cleveland.

People have joked about Hayward possibly returning this year, but that was never going to happen unless the Celtics made it to the Finals, and even then it would seem unwise to rush him back. Gordon’s rehab has been encouraging, and he should be back for training camp in September.

Danny Ainge could always make another blockbuster trade, but it seems more likely that the Celtic’s core won’t be shaken up too much. Kyrie will be even more comfortable with his teammates, Brown and Jayson Tatum will have had another year of promising development, and hopefully the front office can add a bit more depth to the end of the bench through the draft and free agency.

That depth is being tested to the extreme right now, but still the Celtics haven’t folded. Brad Stevens is one of the best coaches in the league partly because he always gets the best out of his players. It would be unfair to give up on this team going into the playoffs.

But the Raptors look really good, and Boston has still struggled heavily with the Cavaliers. Getting to the Finals always seemed like the ceiling for this season. Despite some impressive victories, it’s tough to see this Celtics team being able to beat the Warriors or the Rockets in a seven game series.

A loss in the first two rounds of the playoffs would be seen as a failure, but nothing past that should be. The Celtics’ future is arguably the brightest of any team in the league.

Judge this project on next year, and the year after that, when they’ll hopefully have a full squad for more than just five minutes of the NBA season.

No one should blame Rob Gronkowski if he decides to retire from football

There are quite a few dramatic storylines lingering after the Patriots’ defeat to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII. There’s the hazy future of Bill Belichick, the fallout from the Malcolm Butler benching, and the departure of Matt Patricia to coach the Lions.

But one new uncertainty that has arisen recently has taken some by surprise; Has Rob Gronkowski played his final game in the NFL?

NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran reported that Gronk seriously considered retirement in training camp before last season. And ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio speculated during Super Bowl week that “The Big Game” could be Gronkowski’s last.

Ian Rappaport assuaged the fears of New Englanders the other day when he reported that the Amherst, NY native was still expected to come back to the team next year. But Gronk saw Rappaport’s report and responded with a tweet that only raised more questions about his future.

Who knows if Rob is simply pushing back against the media claiming they know what he’s thinking, if he’s really going to retire, or if he’s just a fan of the 1995 romantic comedy starring Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd?

Gronk is only 28-years-old and is still the best tight-end in the game. He managed to stay healthier this past season than he had in 2016, when his season was ended prematurely by a back injury. But the one injury he did suffer this past year is not one to be taken lightly.

In the AFC Championship game he took a helmet-to-helmet hit from Jaguars’ safety Barry Church and was slow to get up. He would miss the rest of the game and eventually be placed in the league’s concussion protocol.

Gronk has taken a lot of hits in his time, and this was certainly not his first concussion. Knowing what we know now about head injuries and the way they often affect NFL players later in life, would people really blame Gronkowski if he decided to retire?

Unfortunately, some would blame him, but they really shouldn’t.

Too many people think of Gronk as an expendable jock who was made to take big hits. They laugh at his carefree quips like “Yo Soy Fiesta” and forget that he is still a human being with a brain. He has given more than enough to the New England Patriots, and he has had a football career that 99% of players would be envious of.

People will smirk at his reported desire to want to be an actor, but many athletes have taken that path before. Should we judge him for having aspirations other than scoring touchdowns?

At the end of the day he is playing a game, and a particularly brutal one at that. He has made more money than he will ever need in his life. Why risk your physical and mental future for a few more years of accomplishing things that you have already accomplished?

Maybe he’ll come back, maybe he won’t. Whatever his decision is, Patriots fans should offer support and wish him the best in his future endeavors.

It’s not easy to put yourself in the shoes of a superstar athlete, but give it a try and see if you can’t attempt to understand where he’s coming from.

Marcus Smart’s return from injury proves to be the boost the struggling Celtics needed

It’s safe to say that the Boston Celtics were not enjoying themselves in the run-up to the NBA’s All-Star break.

The Celtics lost four of five games before the league’s best players jetted off to Los Angeles in mid-February. The low point of that losing streak came at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who crushed the Celtics by 22 points on an emotional day that also saw Paul Pierce’s number raised to the rafters.

Brad Stevens’ team had a chance to rest and recover during the All-Star break, but there’s another reason why they have bounced back to win all three of their games since the week-long layoff; Marcus Smart is back.

Smart is one of the most controversial players on the team. His shot selection can be poor, he is known to exaggerate contact, and the reason he was injured is because he punched a picture frame in a hotel in Beverly Hills after missing a potentially game-winning shot against the Lakers.

But one thing that shouldn’t be controversial is the overall positive impact that Smart has on the team.

Marcus is one of the best defenders in the league. He has a unique ability to play suffocating defense on anyone, no matter their skill level. When the Celtics face the Raptors, Smart guards DeMar Derozan. When they scrap with the Wizards he’ll spend most of his time defending John Wall or Bradley Beal. And Smart is one of the few players in the league who has a chance to match-up well against Lebron James when the Cavaliers come to town.

Smart almost single-handedly gave the Celtics a win over the Houston Rockets back at the end of December. Boston trailed by 26 points in that game, but they were able to come back thanks to a second-half stifling of one of the best offensive teams on the planet. Marcus’ defense was ultimately the difference as he drew two offensive fouls on Rockets’ star James Harden in the final moments of the game.

That difference was also palpable when the Texas native made his return from injury against the Detroit Pistons last week. The Celtics’ net rating with Smart on the court that night was a whopping +30.1. He also put up a team-best defensive rating of 84.4. Those in-game numbers don’t lie, and neither do the numbers in the wins column.

He was similarly effective against the Knicks a few nights later, with one key play really summing-up what Marcus brings to the squad.

When Marcus does put points on the board it’s often in a situation like that: good defense leading to good offense.

Boston started the season so well partially because of their incredible effort on the defensive end, but it’s not just about effort. They needed their most skilled defensive player to return to health and to return to shutting down opposing offenses.

Smart’s name was floated around quite a bit in trade talks before the deadline, but Celtics fans should feel relieved that he was not dealt. If the Celtics are going to get out of the Eastern Conference Playoffs they need the toughness and hunger that Marcus brings to the defensive side of the game.

Otherwise, they simply won’t be able to stop the various offensive threats that will be staring them down in April, May, and possibly June.