Morning sports update: Kyle Van Noy’s real motivation doesn’t come from the skeptics

Also: Celtics' incredible passing, Jason Varitek's award, and more.

Kyle Van Noy Patrick Mahomes
Kyle Van Noy knocks the ball out of Patrick Mahomes's hands in the AFC Championship Game. Jim Davis /Globe Staff

The Celtics defeated the Cavaliers on Wednesday night minus Kyrie Irving (who was out with the flu). Yet Boston’s depth – led by Terry Rozier’s 26 points – carried the team to a 123-103 win.

The Patriots continue to prepare in Foxborough for Super Bowl LIII, with the team expected to travel to Atlanta over the weekend.

Kyle Van Noy talked about his main motivation: It’s no secret that Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy  is aware of the team’s critics. He recently suggested that ESPN pundit Max Kellerman should “stick to boxing” after his continued dismissal of Tom Brady’s playoff performances.

Still, Van Noy isn’t primarily motivated by proving doubters wrong, even if he enjoys it.


“That is fun,” Van Noy admitted to reporters on Wednesday, “but I want to prove the people right. There’s a lot of people — our families, teammates — that believe in each other. We went to prove those people right. That’s at least what I want to do.”

Of course, Van Noy’s supporters won’t necessarily have luck getting Super Bowl tickets from him. The 27-year-old had a succinct response for how he deals with a majority of those who ask.

“You just have to say, ‘Hell no.'”

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Where does this Patriots team stand in comparison to its predecessors? The Patriots have made four of the last five Super Bowls, a remarkable run even before considering the other title runs the team made in the previous decade. This time feels different, however. [The Boston Globe]

Dolphins meet with Flores for second time: Patriots defensive assistant Brian Flores met with the Dolphins for a second time about the team’s current head coaching vacancy. Flores is expected to become Miami’s new head coach, but the process is delayed because the Dolphins can’t make the hire official until New England’s season is over following the Super Bowl. [The Boston Globe]


Former Red Sox captain Jason Varitek was awarded NCAA Silver Anniversary Award:

On this day: In 1962, Jackie Robinson was the first African-American player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Here’s a recording of his induction speech.

Daily highlight: Celtics ball movement was on point, capped by Terry Rozier’s three.