Patriots

In their own words: Celtics and Nets react to fight

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In their own words: Celtics and Nets react to fight

BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics and New Jersey Nets reacted to Wednesday night's altercation in which Rajon Rondo, Kris Humphries, and Gerald Wallace were ejected in the second quarter. See what players from both sides had to say following the Nets 95-83 win.

Courtney Lee: "That shows signs of us being together. It was a negative situation that definitely our team, I know KG and I know Rondo, didnt want to be a part of, but it happened in the moment. Thats the leader of our team, so I feel that he did the right thing. Im sure there will be consequences from it but it just shows us being together."

Jeff Green: "It's not us. That's about it."

Andray Blatche: "Thats what family and brotherhood is all about. That was probably the biggest thing Ive seen so far. We all had each others backs out there on that court. Im not surprised at all. When that happened, I saw Rondo going at Humph. I knew everybody was about to have his back.

Jason Collins: "It happens. I've seen it lots of times over the course of my career. That's part of the game. Rajon was going in there and sticking up for his teammate like any good leader would do."

Joe Johnson: "Just protect yourself at all times. We were in a situation where we had our brother out there battling and he had to protect himself. From that aspect like I said its pretty understandable. Were not a team thats gonna be pushed around or back down from anybody. I was proud of our guys tonight and the way we fought.

Jason Terry: "Being a veteran, I want to first protect my teammates and make sure no one was injured. After that, whatever happens happens. I'm more of a peacemaker at this point in my career. If this was five years ago, I might have thrown the first punch (laughs). I've got to watch myself now but at the same time I definitely want to protect my teammates first."

Jerry Stackhouse: "That team has a lot of pride. I think that's why emotions got kind of high there for a minute. We could have gone the other way in the second half when something like that happens. It can inspire a team and we could have had some letdowns. But we came out and withstood a little mini-run they had at the start of the third, and then got some separation again."

Five quick thoughts: Patriots put it all together against Falcons

Five quick thoughts: Patriots put it all together against Falcons

FOXBORO -- Here are some quick-hitting thoughts on the Patriots' 23-7 victory over the Falcons on Sunday night.

1) If the Patriots attacked this game believing that the best defense is a good offense . . . they were right. 

They controlled the ball for more than 18 minutes in the first half and ran for 92 yards on 18 carries (a 5.1 yards per attempt average) with four backs sharing the load. Rex Burkhead gave the team a spark with his speed and vision in his first game back since suffering a rib injury in Week 2. The success the Patriots had running the ball had the added benefit of opening up the play-action pass game and it helped protect Tom Brady. After taking two sacks in the first quarter and a monster hit (penalized for roughing the passer) from Adrian Clayborn in the second, Brady was fairly well-protected. 

PATRIOTS 23, FALCONS 3

2) Tom Brady lamented the fact that he hadn't been more accurate in the red zone of late, but he was better in that area to help the Patriots pad their early lead. 

The Patriots went 2-for-3 in the red zone through the first half, with Brady hitting on touchdown passes to Brandin Cooks (which looked more like an end-around hand-off) and James White. Brady still had moments of inaccuracy. The pass he lofted before being croaked by Clayborn was a bad one that was intercepted. (The pick was wiped after the penalty was enforced.) He threw behind Chris Hogan on multiple occasions. He also had an odd throw float well out of bounds that was intended for Rob Gronkowski. But for the most part he was on point, completing 21 of his first 29 throws for 241 yards. 

3) The Patriots defense showed up in critical moments time and time again in this one. 

They stopped the Falcons twice on fourth down, and they allowed Matt Ryan and his offense to convert on just two of their first nine third-down plays. The Falcons coaching staff deserves plenty of criticism for going for it when they did, but with a banged-up secondary, going against the reigning MVP and one of the best receivers in the league, the Patriots responded.

4) Bill Belichick's run defense was particularly impressive in the first half on Sunday night, helping keep the Falcons from getting anything going until it was too late. 

They allowed just 30 yards on nine attempts in the first two quarters (a 3.3 yards per attempt average), with Malcom Brown, Trey Flowers, Kyle Van Noy, Lawrence Guy and Deatrich Wise all making impressive stops at, near or behind the line of scrimmage. 

5) The Patriots suffered a handful of injuries to key players that will be worth keeping an eye on moving forward. 

Malcom Brown left the game in the second half with an ankle injury. Their top defensive tackle this season, Brown's absence may be one reason for why the Falcons were able to pump up their rushing yardage to triple digits by midway through the fourth quarter. Dont'a Hightower also left the game and was announced as questionable to return with a shoulder injury. Hightower has had a history of shoulder issues and so perhaps this is an older injury that was re-aggravated. Chris Hogan also left the game briefly and was evaluated for a concussion, according to NBC's television broadcast. He later returned.

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