Celtics

To touch or not touch: that's the hockey question

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To touch or not touch: that's the hockey question

By Justin Aucoin
WickedGoodSports.com

Professional athletes are a peculiar bunch when it comes to well, everything. From how they put their gear on to what they eat before every game to how many times they wipe their butts after dropping the kids off at the pool theyre probably the biggest superstition believers since the Salem Witch Trials.

And when it comes down to conference trophies the big question is should the players touch the trophy or no?

Ask any fan and were sure 90 of them would scream at you for even suggesting the idea that their favorite team should touch a conference trophy. Youd think the act of touching would spread harmful disease.

Really the fans are just as paranoid and superstitious as players (if not more so) afraid that touching a minor achievement like earning the Prince of Wales trophy might tempt the gods into screwing their favorite team in the finals.

But is there any truth to the myth?

According to NHL.com, not really.

Since 2001 NHL teams that have touched their respective trophy have gone 4-5 in the finals.

A virtual 50-50 shot? So much for getting the hockey gods on your side.

And yet some players will touch the trophy, acknowledging the fruits of their labor.

While others barely want to be seen within the vicinity of it.

Were all for athletes staying focused at the task at hand but stopping off at major landmarks and milestones is a nice way to take a quick breather, realize how far youve come and how close you are to the ultimate goal.

But should fans and players be too paranoid about touch trophies, they should at least hire out Hayden Panettiere to do the trophy fondling for them.

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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