Belichick not celebrating past late-season success

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Belichick not celebrating past late-season success

FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick can sound dispassionate about a lot of things. 
Want a taste? Ask the Patriots coach to reflect on his late-season success, especially that of the past. 
"I don't really concern myself too much with what happened in the past or what didn't happen in the past. Right now we're just worried about Miamiabout doing a good job in going down there and playing well Sunday."
It is for everyone else to be impressed, then. 
New England has gone 8-0 in the second halves of the last two years. 
"I don't think what our record was two years ago has anything to do with this week's game," Belichick said again. "We're just trying to focus on what we can do to play well this week."
The team has had perfect second half year records four times (2003, 2007, 2010, 2011) during Belichick's tenure, and gone 7-1 two other times (2001 and 2004). As of now, it looks like the Patriots are poised to do it again. 
"We can look back at other years and talk about them," the coach dared, sounding annoyed. "I don't know whether that's true this year or not. We'll see."
New England is currently on a five-game winning streak, going back to its 29-26 win over the Jets in Week 7.  While the road ahead isn't exactly bump-free -- the Texans and 49ers visit Gillette on back-to-back weekends in December -- it is a recent trend of this team to navigate adversity well as the season wears on. 
But that's another thing that bores Belichick. 
As the 38-year NFL veteran tells it, momentum doesn't really carry week to week. That New England has scored special teams touchdowns in the last two weeks, that Tom Brady has thrown six touchdowns and zero interceptions, that the defense has allowed just 21.5 average points -- it's all well and good. 
It just has nothing to do with the Miami Dolphins. 
"I think we've done some things well in the last couple of games. I don't think that really has any bearing on this game. Different team, different match ups, different schemes. It's all different. Whether we did or didn't last week, or some other week, or some other year, I don't think, any of it really matters."
Sunday's game against the 5-6 Dolphins isn't significant because New England can win the AFC East and clinch a playoff spot. 
It's significant because of basic math. 
"We all know the fewer games there are, the more important they become," the coach explained. "With each game, we play one less and each one becomes bigger. That's obvious. Sixteen games is sixteen games, but now there's five left so it's a five game season.
"We know it's a big game, Miami knows it's a big game. There's not many left. We've got two games left against a division rival. This is the first one down there and we know we've got to go there and play our best football this year. That's what we're looking to do." 

WATCH: Celtics vs. Sixers

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Celtics-Sixers preview: Road has been kind to C's lately

Celtics-Sixers preview: Road has been kind to C's lately

BOSTON – For most teams in the NBA, road games are a necessary evil. 
 
Not for the Celtics. At least, not lately.
 
The Green Team hits the road for its next three games, and that has been a good thing – a real good thing – lately. 
 
Boston (11-8) has won its last four road games, the kind of success that breeds a heightened level of confidence heading into this current trip which begins tonight at Philadelphia. 
 
And it only helps that they hit the road coming off a 97-92 win over Sacramento on Friday. 
 
“We have to carry that momentum with us,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “You know how...anytime in this league, the momentum, you have to stay with it. We’ve been having success away from home. It was big for us to get this win (over the Kings) to start the road trip off.”
 
A big part of Friday’s victory was the play of Al Horford who finished with 26 points, eight rebounds, and six blocked shots. The points and rebounds for Horford were both season-highs.
 
Horford’s breakout performance came on the heels of a 121-114 loss to Detroit, a game in which Boston’s $113 million man (Horford) only took five shots.
 
“Coach [Brad Stevens] didn’t say anything about going to him just specifically,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas. “We just found him and made the right play and when he got it he was very aggressive.” 
 
Part of Horford’s success was that he was in more of an attacking mentality. But he also benefited from a Kings defense that didn’t double-team him nearly as much as the Pistons did. 
 
“I got a lot of early looks in the game and like I said [following the Pistons loss] I think the Pistons did a good job defending and doubling and forcing me to pass the ball. [Friday night] I had more opportunities to be aggressive.”
 
Facing a Sixers team that ranks among the NBA’s worst in several defensive categories, Horford and the rest of his Celtics teammates should have ample opportunities to make plays offensively. 
 
And in doing so, they will be able to add on to what has been an already impressive stretch of play this season away from home.
 
“I think it will be good,” Horford said. “[Tonight] it’s a Philly team that plays hard and we just want to keep building on [Friday night’s win over Sacramento] and just try to be better.”