Patriots

Sixers steamroll Celtics, 103-71

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Sixers steamroll Celtics, 103-71

PHILADELPHIA As the Boston Celtics clanged off one shot after another, you knew the C's would go into 'no excuses tonight' mode when all was said and done.

But the truth is they knew what happened, and so do the Sixers.

After playing back-to-back overtime games, the Celtics were simply too pooped to play at a high enough level needed to beat Philadelphia.

The Sixers, who hadn't played since Monday, pounced on the heavy, hardly moving legs of the C's on the way towards a 103-71 win.

Leading the way for the Sixers (23-17), who remain atop the Atlantic Division, was second-year wing man Evan Turner. He had 26 points for the Sixers who came into Wednesday's game having lost eight of their previous 10 games.

And the result, to no one's surprise, was a beating unlike anything the C's have experienced this season.

Put it like this.

Boston (20-18) was down by 16 ... after one quarter of play.

And at the half, Boston had just as many points (33) as the Sixers had rebounds (31).

The lack of energy was apparent at both ends of the floor.

Offensively, Boston didn't run the floor nearly as well as we had saw in their previous games. Defensively, Philadelphia had too many lightly contested or uncontested shots that to their credit, they made more often than they missed.

At the half, Boston trailed 55-33.

As bad as it was for the Celtics, it had the potential to be even worse if not for a sickness that kept key reserve Thaddeus Young out of the lineup. He averages 13.2 points per game, and is the team's third-leading scorer.

The focus for Boston to start the third quarter had to be on chipping away at Philadelphia's huge lead, hopefully getting the deficit down into the teens heading into the fourth quarter.

That plan, like just about every other one, didn't quite work out how the C's had hoped.

Instead of cutting into Philadelphia's lead, the Sixers began to crush the Celtics even more and took a 27-point lead into the fourth as the Celtics' core players watched the onslaught from the bench.

HOT SHOT: As a former No. 2 overall pick who hasn't exactly shined as an NBA player, Evan Turner has drawn some comparisons to another first-round flop taken with the No. 2 overall pick (by Detroit in 2003), Darko Milicic. Well Turner proved on Wednesday that he's a lot closer to being dominant than Darko, leading the way for Philadelphia with a game-high 26 points along with nine rebounds.

"He was absolutely wonderful tonight," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "I thought he was the key guy in the game. It's probably why he was drafted so high."

IN-N-OUT: It has to be Ray Allen, who literally could not make a shot all game. Not that he had many opportunities -- five, actually. But to see Allen score just two points -- both from the free throw line -- while missing every shot he took is indeed a rare moment. It was nearly two years to the day -- March 9, 2010 against Milwaukee -- that Allen played in a game and did not make a single basket. He was 0-for-3 that night in a loss to the Bucks.

"I don't think I was ever in the flow of the offense," Allen said. "Offensively, we just didn't have a flow. I was just a victim of a bad offensive flow."

SUPER SUB: Sixers rookie Nik Vucevic was among those getting in on the scoring binge against the Celtics, tallying his first career double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

TURNING POINT: Philadelphia's Jrue Holiday knocked down a jumper 12 seconds into the game. From there, the Sixers lead just continued to grow and grow and

BY THE NUMBERS: 8: That would be the number of 3-pointers taken -- and missed -- by Boston. It was the first time the C's did not hit a single 3-pointer since Jan. 22, 2009 against Orlando.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We know this team isn't 30 points better than us. I don't like to make excuses, but we know we're a better team than we showed tonight." - Celtics forward Paul Pierce.

Tom Brady: Achilles injury 'nothing to worry about'

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Tom Brady: Achilles injury 'nothing to worry about'

FOXBORO — Within 30 seconds of his Friday press conference beginning, Tom Brady was talking about biscuits. That should tell you how small a deal he considers the Achilles tendon issue that kept him out of Wednesday’s practice. 

Brady practiced for the second straight day Friday, after which he confirmed that he will be good to go Sunday against the Dolphins. 

“I feel great. Ready to go, so I’ll be excited for Sunday and it feels good to get a little extra treatment,” Brady said. “I’m feeling great this time of year. It will be a fun week. Nothing to worry about.”

After that, Brady spoke about the aforementioned Thanksgiving biscuits of which he posted pictures on Instagram. He said they were good. Rob Gronkowski said he wanted some and that there would be “problems” if Brady didn’t bring any in for him. Everyone got a real kick out of it. 

It’s hard to imagine Brady’s status for Sunday having actually been up in the air. He has gone 134 consecutive regular-season games without missing time do to injury. His only absence in that span came in the form of last season’s four-game suspension for Deflategate. 
 

Friday Bag: By all accounts, Brady is well-heeled

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Friday Bag: By all accounts, Brady is well-heeled

I'm going dark meat to start things off. Love all meats here -- other than tofurky, which I'm not positive is a real thing -- but dark meat is the best value on the board. Give me a whole turkey leg (should qualify) and not only am I satiated, but I all of a sudden have something on my plate that few others do. Value! For potatoes, have to go mashed and gravy. My value game plan is already out the window, but I can't go with anything else. This will come back to bite me. Give me the bread stuffing and brussels for my sides. Not even factoring in cost here. When done right, those are my No. 1 and 2. Plenty of cash left. Feeling good. I'll take dinner rolls for the bread because all of those breads listed are just gravy sponges for me. Biscuits aren't $1,500 better than dinner rolls when it comes to absorption. OK. Dessert. Don't have as much cash as I thought, but this is fine. It's fine. I'm not a gotta-have-pumpkin-pie-or-it's-not-Thanksgiving guy. Give me apple and I'm happy. If I do that, I've only got $5,000 left. I'll take banana pudding pie for my final selection and use the leftover $500 for a scoop of Brigham's vanilla ice cream for my apple slice. 

Why yes, Jim. There’s my karaoke go-to “Brandy” by Looking Glass.  I also can do a nice rendition of Iggy Pop’s “Candy”, “4th of July Asbury Park (aka, Sandy)” by Bruce Springsteen, “Handy Man” by James Taylor, “Some Kind of Wonderful” by Grand Funk Railroad, “Laid” by James, “Bluer than Blue” by Michael Johnson, “J’aurais Toujours Faim De Toi” by The Police and James McMurtry’s “Choctaw Bingo,” which is the greatest song in American music. IMHO!

If the canned stuff is in front of me, I'm eating it. Not necessarily seeking it out, but I'll never scoff at it. No place for elitism at the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Yes, Dave. Sometimes I just look at the Twitter question and think, “Hmmm. Good question. I don’t think I definitively know the answer to it . . . ” and then just scroll on by. However, in this instance, because of the promise made, I must respond. The answer is: I don’t know. Brady rarely has soft-tissue injuries because that’s everything his training and conditioning is aimed at stopping. I don’t know if this is just soreness or exertion-related or if someone stepped on the thing. Honestly, you’d prefer the latter because then it’s a trauma that would be healing as opposed to the thing being stretched like a banjo string. Either way, it was related to me that it’s not a big deal.

Not a huge concern, Rich. He was back at practice Thursday. Something to keep an eye on moving forward, but nothing to lose sleep over at this point. 

Happy Thanksgiving, Giant Wally. Neither has started practicing so it’s tough to handicap. Mitchell, to me, would be the safer choice if it were one or the other. Danny Amendola’s been brilliant but he’s got a ton on his plate and needs his workload trimmed. Mitchell could help with that (even if they don’t necessarily play the same spot in the offense). And Giardi? It’s eight years this month that he and I have worked together. Long road for two guys who worked at rival weeklies back in 1992 and 1993 (Barnstable Patriots for me; Falmouth Enterprise for him). Love having him on our team. Nobody does the hockey, baseball, football combo better nor does anyone else get in the trenches in locker rooms and press conferences and formulate fact-based opinions and analysis like he does. Big value in talking to players and coaches directly then passing it on to the audience.

If I'm the Patriots, I'd hold out hope that Mitchell can get to the point where he's healthy enough to contribute. He's on the right track, but he's still not practicing so we're in a holding pattern at the moment. The reason I'd go Mitchell over Valentine is that the Patriots are relatively thin at wideout. We're expecting Chris Hogan to come back and be himself eventually, but it looks like he's going to miss another game this weekend. Another injury to that spot and things would look dire there. Though the Patriots run defense could use the kind of boost that Valentine would provide, the Patriots can make up for deficiencies at defensive tackle a little bit easier. 

Absolutely, JT. The simple fact that the Patriots are 10 games into what will be a 17-to-19-game season means that the likelihood someone gets compromised physically is still pretty high. His relevance as a bigger back is presumably coming along with the cold and the wind. The Patriots have been screwing with bad coverage linebackers the past two weeks with Denver and Oakland and every other back is a better pass-catcher than Gillislee. I don’t think he’s been exiled. 

It's probably between Waddle and Jonathan Jones. Waddle has been tremendous in Marcus Cannon's absence, and Jones may have an argument as the team's most consistent corner from Week 1 until now. That says a lot about how Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore have played this year, but Jones' coverage has been sound, and his timing to contest passes has been impeccable. Kyle Van Noy deserves an honorable mention here as well. He's taken on the hybrid end/linebacker role with Dont'a Hightower out and more than held his own. Danny Amendola's volume of production would've been deemed a surprise, but with Julian Edelman out, not sure he qualifies. Always had the skill and trust from Tom Brady to do what he's doing. Just needed good health and opportunity. 

I'm looking on the defensive side. I'm looking at the front-seven in particular. I'm inclined to add to the edge with someone like Khalil Mack, Von Miller or Cameron Jordan -- all of whom are dynamic pass-rushers but would also excel against the run in Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia's defense. They need bodies there. But Aaron Donald -- who plays on the interior -- is just so talented that I wouldn't be able to pass him up. He'd rush the passer. He'd help their run defense. And he'd garner enough attention that it would make the others around him better. That's my choice. 

Just don’t call me late for DINNER!!!! Know what I mean Bob-O, Bobby, Bob-a-loo!!!!!!????? Happy Thanksgiving errrrryone. 

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