Celtics

Brady: Not much of a break during bye week

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Brady: Not much of a break during bye week

Well, here they are again. After eight weeks, the Patriots are 5-3, just as they were last year. Easy to say that Tom Brady and Friends should be 8-0 considering their three close losses, but they're not. They're 5-3. Not perfect, but still good enough for first place in the AFC East.

Brady made his weekly call in to WEEI's Dennis and Callahan Show on Monday to explain that the Patriots are what their record says they are.

"We're at where we really deserve to be," Brady said. "I don't think we've played any better than our record. We don't deserve to be anything better than we are. Look, every team can go, 'Wow, without these plays we could be undefeated.' Every team can say that. But we're not, and there's a reason why. It's not like we've played great football over these last eight weeks. There is a lot of improvement we need to make. There is a lot of things we can do better. We need to get some guys healthy. We have to get everybody moving forward and make a big push here in the second half because this is where the best teams really start to show themselves."

The Patriots seemed to make their push early with a 45-7 drubbing of St. Louis in London on Sunday.

"Thats what were hoping every week," Brady said. "We played pretty well. I thought all the guys contributed. The guys were really focused. We had a good week of practice there and went over there and executed against a good team, a team that beat Arizona and beat Seattle. They have quite a few good players on their team. It just wasnt their day and we capitalized on some of their mistakes. It ended up being, certainly not an easy game, but in the second half it was well under control."

Brady was 23-for-35 for 304 yards and four touchdowns against a normally-stout Rams pass rush. He credited his tackles Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer for keeping him clean.

"Phenomenal job on two guys who can rush, who can really do the job, and guys that are really the heart and soul of their defense," Brady said of Rams ends Chris Long and Robert Quinn. "Nate and Sebastian have done that all year. Ive never had to worry about the defensive end or a pass rush. Its just something Ive never really had to think about. It seems like we play good ends every week, and they really step up to the challenge. They did a great job."

Now the Patriots go into their bye week. Time for some rest, right? Actually, no, not really.

"There's not much of a break, to tell you the truth," Brady said. "It's hard when you play quarterback to get away from of it. I'll talk to Josh McDaniels 50 times these next three days and then we practice on Thursday and I'm not sure what we have planned after that. This is still football season. This isn't mid-February, so I'm still thinking about what we need to do better, what I need to do better, my role on the team and things I can improve on."

For Celtics, winning streak is history in the making

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For Celtics, winning streak is history in the making

BOSTON – Beating the Atlanta Hawks 110-99 on Saturday did more than just pad the win total for the Boston Celtics.
 
It moved them even further up the food chain to what has already been a pretty amazing season.
 
Saturday’s win was their 15th straight, which places them in the penthouse of great Celtics runs of success.
 
Only four other teams in this franchise's storied history have won more consecutive games than this year’s group.
 
Here at NBC Sports Boston, we take a look back at the four teams that are ahead of the Celtics in what has been one of the greatest streaks in franchise history.


 
19 straight wins:  Nov. 15, 2008 – Dec. 23, 2008
 
Fresh off claiming Banner 17, the Celtics were determined to take their place among the all-time great Celtics teams by winning a second straight NBA title. They seemed well on their way with a 15-2 start to the season and of course, their 19-game winning streak. But what turned into a season-ending knee injury suffered by Kevin Garnett later in the year derailed their date with destiny and instead ended with them being upset by the Orlando Magic in the second round of the playoffs , brining a quicker-than-expected end to one of the best regular seasons in franchise history.


 
18 straight wins: Feb. 24, 1982 – March 26, 1982
 
Boston was still considered the best team in the East, although Julius Erving and the Philadelphia 76ers were very much closing the gap. The Celtics dodged a number of close calls during the streak with seven games decided by five points or less, including a 98-97 overtime win at Washington in which the Bullets (now Wizards) went into the fourth quarter with a nine-point lead. The Celtics’ streak eventually came to an end at the hands of the Sixers, which, in hindsight, served as a precursor for Boston losing to Dr. J and the Sixers in the playoffs.


 
17 straight wins: Nov. 28, 1959 – Dec. 30, 1959
 
The Celtics were defending NBA champions and seemingly off to a strong start, only to lose back-to-back games to Philadelphia. While it was still early in the season, they knew they had to quickly right the ship. And they did. During the 17-game winning streak, 12 were by double-digits with only three by five points. The streak ended on New Year’s Day 1960. But by then, the Celtics had re-established their presence atop the NBA landscape and would go on to claim the second of eight straight NBA titles.


 
16 straight wins: Dec. 19, 1964 – Jan. 22, 1965
 
There was little doubt in anyone’s mind that this Celtic team was going to have a special season. They got things going with an 11-0 record right out the gate. And they weren’t just winning games; they were thumping teams with flat-out beatdowns, which is evident by their average margin of victory being by 18.5 points per game. That’s not all that surprising when you consider most of Boston’s core group consisted of players in their prime such as Bill Russell and Tommy Heinsohn. The streak began with a double-digit win over the St. Louis Hawks and would roll along for another couple of weeks. During both the start of the season and the 16-game winning streak, both cemented Boston as the team everyone was chasing. And no one caught them. The Celtics continued to be the dominant force in the league and the season ended with another title, which was the franchise’s seventh straight.

Morning Skate: Payroll mess at the heart of Bruins' problems

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Morning Skate: Payroll mess at the heart of Bruins' problems

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while battening down the hatches for Thanksgiving week.
 
-- When longtime Bruins follower Clark Booth opines about the Black and Gold, I tend to listen. And he's not happy with the Bruins' salary cap situation at this point in time. It should be noted that this was written before they won the last two games. But some of those truths still remain self-evident when it comes to the B’s.

-- Kevin Bieksa will never stop talking about former teammate Rick Rypien, or about the factors that ultimately led to his tragic passing.
 
-- Alex Ovechkin is truly living up to the “Russian Machine Never Breaks” mantra these days, which led to the creation of an entire blog about the Capitals.
 
-- This Saturday Night Live skit with Chance the Rapper playing a clueless hockey reporter was funny, even to people that have been covering the league for 20 years and still struggle to pronounce a name like Brady Skjei.
 
-- The good, the bad and the ugly courtesy of FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mitch Melnick from last night’s Montreal blowout loss to the Maple Leafs that probably could have just been called the ugly, the ugly and the ugly.
 
-- It’s 20 games into the season, and the Buffalo Sabres media are wondering what’s wrong with their team, and star Jack Eichel.
 
-- For something completely different: It sounds like some of the NFL rank-and-file players want to know why Roger Goodell deserves $50 million and a lifetime private plane.