Celtics

Ridley, Green-Ellis not battling each other

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Ridley, Green-Ellis not battling each other

FOXBORO -- The case of Stevan Ridley v. BenJarvus Green-Ellis continued Sunday.

Ridley got the start -- just his second in 16 games -- over Green-Ellis and racked up 81 yards on a 15 carries against Buffalo. It marked the third straight week he led New England in rushing. He also had more total snaps for two consecutive weeks (Ridley: 28, Green-Ellis: 11 versus Dolphins).

Green-Ellis had his say, though.

He scored both of New England's rushing touchdowns. In fact, just when you thought Ridley was doing all the work -- like in the second quarter, when he ripped off a 21-yard gain on his second of three straight carries -- Green-Ellis came in as the goal-line closer. And when Ridley fumbled on a third quarter second-and-10, who do you think got the ball on the next drive? Green-Ellis. He took Tom Brady's short second-and-10 pass and gobbled up 53 yards on the gain.

Green-Ellis said he's not looking for a fight.

"I don't even really look at it like that. Whenever we're in, whoever is in -- me, Danny Woodhead, Stevan, Shane Vereen, Kevin Faulk or Lou Lousaka Polite -- we go out there and try to make plays for our team and make us better. Its a team effort.

The stats could be volleyed all day.

Ridley has just nine carries for no gain on 87 attempts.

Green-Ellis has almost 100 more carries and 10 more touchdowns.

Ridley has five carries over 20 yards. Green-Ellis has zero.

Is this really a case for one over the other? The Patriots aren't worried about figuring out a pecking order or applying definitive theories on how the running game works. What's important is that it's working. New England is finding success in offensive balance. It's also developing young talent. This is why you're seeing Ridley get more carries as he earns them.

"He's just like a lot of us," said veteran guard Brian Waters. "He's got a lot of areas that he can grow in and get better in. The potential's definitely there for him to be a great back."

If he can tack some tough playoffs yardage to the resume, he'll be on his way.

Moving to power forward 'presents a different challenge' for Horford

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Moving to power forward 'presents a different challenge' for Horford

PHILADELPHIA – For the third time in as many games, the Boston Celtics will field a different lineup.

It will have a domino effect on Boston’s usual starters, but no one more than Al Horford who will slide over to power forward with Aron Baynes inserted into the starting lineup where he’ll be charged with trying to defend Sixers 7-footer Joel Embiid.

Meanwhile, Horford will be assigned to defend Robert Covington who is one of Philadelphia’s better perimeter scorers.

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“I feel like one of my strengths is being able to play multiple positions,” Horford told NBC Sports Boston. “It presents a different challenge for me, which is making sure I do a good job of covering him out on the perimeter, staying between him and the basket.”

In Philadelphia’s 120-115 season-opening loss to Washington, Covington led all Sixers with 29 points which included him going 7-for-11 from 3-point range in addition to grabbing seven rebounds.

While Covington will be Horford’s first defensive assignment, he knows he will also be called upon at times to defend Embiid who ranks among the best centers in the NBA despite having played just 32 games over the course of three NBA seasons.

In the loss to the Wizards, Embiid had a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Horford’s defense will be critical for Boston (0-2) to get its first win of the season, but the Celtics will also need him to take advantage of scoring opportunities as well.

“We have some guys down, but that creates opportunities for other guys to step up and contribute,” Horford said. “It’s going to all of us, the veterans, the young players, all of us to get that first win.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens agreed.

“I think that’s how we have to look at it,” Stevens said. “We’re going to have to make a few tweaks on how we do things, obviously. Hey, it’s gonna be something that we’re going to have to do really, really well on the fly.”

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