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Celtics Notebook: Jonas Jerebko, Brad Stevens wowed by Patriots’ fortitude

February 9, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Celtics have a strong bond with the Patriots.

Led by super fan LeGarrette Blount, Patriots players are generally a fixture courtside at Celtics home games. There’s a lot of traffic going the other way to Foxboro as well.

But even a non-football fan such as Jonas Jerebko was swept up by the Patriots’ record comeback in Super Bowl LI.

“Loved seeing the Pats win that game. I don’t watch a lot of football games and never a full one, so this was the first full one I watched,” the Swedish forward said. “Just to see a Boston team win like that was great. That’s the main goal of my basketball career is to win a championship, and to do it in Boston would be something special. That’s what we’re working toward.”

Jerebko sees many of those same loyal Boston fans on game night.

“You can just look in our arena every night, and it’s almost a sellout every night. It’s different playing in Boston than in other cities — I’ve noticed that from playing in every (NBA) city many times. Even when I played for another team it was special to come to Boston and see those fans. When you get to do it every night in front of them, you don’t take that for granted. It’s special.”

Brad Stevens found the nature of the Patriots’ comeback all-the-more impressive because he knows how difficult that feat is in any sport.

“That was great, amazing, fourth quarter and overtime. We’ve all been in games where comebacks occur, and you’ve been on the good end of it and the bad end of it,” the Celtics coach said of the Patriots’ 25-point comeback, the biggest in NFL postseason history. “You could sense that if they had the ball enough times they weren’t going to lose. It was fun to watch. It’s really cool to see what they’ve been able to put together over there, and when you’ve got an all-time great like (Tom) Brady, and (Bill) Belichick with what he’s been able to do — just a special culture and winning program.”

And then there’s the age of Brady, who at 39 is only nine months younger than the 40-year-old Stevens.

“He’s much better than I am, I know that,” Stevens said. “I can’t hardly throw a baseball anymore, but he’s incredible.”

Price pitches Cousins

Count David Price as one of the bigger basketball fans on the Red Sox roster and someone who has an awful lot of faith in DeMarcus Cousins.

Though Cousins was suspended for last night’s Celtics game after picking up his 16th technical foul — the NBA’s ceiling — Monday night, he remains an intriguing subject of trade rumors. The excitable Cousins has been paired with the Celtics often.

Price believes the marriage could work.

“I think he definitely would add a spark to that team,” the pitcher told reporters yesterday in Fort Myers. “He plays hard. He might come with baggage but there are a lot of guys in professional sports that do that. I think the guys that come with that baggage just have to be put in the right setting. I think the coaching in Boston, Stevens I think will be able to handle that. And with the guys they have on that Celtics team I think it’d all work its way out. I think he’d be a good addition to any team in the NBA, especially one that’s got as much talent as the Celtics have already.”

An early challenge

Former Kings teammates Isaiah Thomas and Cousins each competed in last season’s All-Star skills challenge, though not head-to-head. Thomas eventually lost to Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns in the finals.

But Thomas and Cousins are both in the field again, with another chance to match skills.

“I’m going to beat his ass,” Thomas said with a laugh.

A small headache?

Cousin’s absence last night figured to make the Kings use some difficult smaller lineups for the C’s.

“I thought they played better in our game when they were smaller,” Stevens said. “(Matt) Barnes is a guy with his versatility who gave us big time fits in the last game. They’ve started (Kosta) Koufos and Cousins together, and then later in the game they go smaller with Cousins at the 5. The 1 through 4’s who are in the game will still be in at the end, and then one of those other 5’s. (Willie) Cauley-Stein has come along at a good rate, Koufos is a good player. They can go a number of different directions like that. Obviously when you have a guy like (Cousins) he brings a lot to the table, but they can be a lot different in the way they play at both ends, which has given us fits.”