Celtics

Luck not trying to play Manning in Patriots-Colts rivalry

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Luck not trying to play Manning in Patriots-Colts rivalry

FOXBORO -- This weekend at Gillette Stadium we will see a Patriots-Colts matchup unlike any other in the last decade at least: Tom Brady versus The Rookie.

It was strange enough seeing Brady v. Not-Manning last year when Indianapolis' quarterback of 13 years was sidelined by injury. This season, the weight of one of the NFL's most storied rivalries falls on the shoulders of a 23-year old.

Or does it?

"I didnt view it like that," Andrew Luck said of taking the helm in Indy. "Obviously as an athlete, I try and put a fair amount of pressure on myself to go out and succeed, but I realized if I got caught up in trying to fill Peytons shoes and compare myself to him every day Id probably go crazy. I feel its unattainable, so I try not to be like that."

He respects the history as a fan of the game.

"As a young quarterback growing up, I took the opportunity to watch the sort of benchmarks of quarterback play. There were some great playoff games at both stadiums. I think Gillette had grass a while back so it got fairly muddy sometimes late in the year watching them play," Luck laughed. "Those are always fun for a lot of people, including me."

But Luck doesn't view Sunday's matchup as even a new chapter in that well-worn, treasured tale -- he's starting his own series. And that's about respect to the Brady-Manning rivalry as much as anything else.

"I definitely dont deserve to be in that sentence or breath as those two," the rookie said humbly. "If someday I can play at a level that Peyton and Tom play at, then thatd be a quarterbacks dream come true."

WATCH: Celtics vs. Heat

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WATCH: Celtics vs. Heat

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch the Celtics play the Heat in Miami. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview: Will Celtics be drained by emotional comeback win Monday in Dallas?

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

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Celtics-Heat preview: Will Celts be drained by emotional win in Dallas?

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Celtics-Heat preview: Will Celts be drained by emotional win in Dallas?

The Boston Celtics remain a team whose collective talents are far more valuable than their individual abilities.

But there are going to be nights when someone has to shoulder a larger burden of the team in order to win. More often than not, that “one” will likely be No. 11, Kyrie Irving. 

We saw in Dallas what can happen when Irving feels he has little choice but to put the team on his back and carry them to victory. 

The Celtics were desperate for a spark against the Mavericks and found it in Irving, who scored 47 points in leading the Celtics to a come-from-behind 110-102 overtime win. 

It remains to be seen if the Celtics will require a similar Herculean effort tonight when they take the Miami Heat with a chance to extend their winning streak to 17 straight. 

This team isn’t one to dwell on success in the past, even if the past was just 24 hours ago. But there’s no getting around how what happened on Monday night might impact what we see against the Heat. 

Boston expended a tremendous amount of energy in rallying from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter at Dallas, the kind of effort that may be difficult to replicate against a Miami team that you can count on to play hard from the opening tip to the final horn. 

Irving’s performance was one of the rare instances this season when Boston clearly could not have won without their top scorer having a big game. 

“When we needed it most, he made big shot after big shot,” said Al Horford. “He had such good rhythm, I was thinking, ‘just let him keep it going.’ He just kept being aggressive, taking really good shots. He recognized he needed to be extra aggressive, especially at the end and score the ball for us.”

Scoring could potentially be at a premium against Miami which allows 102.5 points per game which ranks ninth in the league in fewest points allowed. Also, the Heat will test Boston’s perimeter defenders. Miami comes into tonight’s game averaging 11.1 made 3-pointers per game which ranks ninth in the NBA. 

The Heat are led by Goran Dragic who is averaging team highs in scoring (18.3 points) and assists (4.7) this season. 

These two squared off earlier this season in Miami with the Celtics coming away with a 96-90 win as Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum led the way with 24 and 20 points, respectively. In that game, the Heat were without starting center Hassan Whiteside, who will be in the lineup tonight as the Heat try to bounce back after losing three of its last four games.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE