Brady tempers excitement in wake of big win

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Brady tempers excitement in wake of big win

FOXBORO -- Tom Brady did his best in the aftermath of New England's 42-14 win to remind people that Houston is a good team.
"It was a big game because they were 11-1, leading the AFC and we had to see where were at, see where we match up against the better teams in the league. We lost to Baltimore, whos winning their division; we beat Denver, whos leading their division; and we beat the Texans, who are leading their division.
"It's always good to win these games, certainly Monday night weve played in a lot of big games here but Monday night in December is an important one for us and we came out ready to go."
Brady completed 21-of-35 passes for 296 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions. Not bad against the NFL's No. 6 defense.
Coming into this week Houston's 'D' allowed the lowest third-down conversion percentage at 28.4. The Patriots went 6-for-12 on third down Monday night.
As Monday night rolled over into early Tuesday morning, the Texans hardly resembled the AFC's top team.
Houston averages 29.3 points per game (one spot behind New England's best 35.8), so finding the end zone just twice was disconcerting. Even the team's lowest output of the year, a 13 point effort in Chicago, came in a win.
Arian Foster certainly didn't help much. One of the league's best backs, Foster was held to just 46 yards on 15 carries.
Brady appreciated it.
"Our defense is playing with a lot of confidence and offensively, we feel like we can move the ball. We feel like we can put points on the board. Weve done that consistently throughout the season. Our defense has shown us they can really get the ball to us and play some complementary football and I thought we did that for the most part tonight."
Four quarters of complimentary football.
Or, in the words of Texans receiver Andre Johnson, "It was a good butt-whipping and that is pretty much it."
And this being New England's toughest test to date. Excellent timing.
"It needs to come together now," Brady said flatly. "This is the perfect time for it. We cant wait any longer than this. Weve got three games to play the three most important games of the year."
Ah, true. Overturning the Texans is swell and all, but there's still more football to play. And the Patriots have one of the NFC's fiercest teams waiting on the other end of this short week.
Perhaps that's why Brady tempered his excitement Monday night.
"It was just a good win. I dont want to make more of it than it really is. It was a very good opponent, we played them at home on Monday night, had an extra day to prepare, I thought we took advantage of it and we played a pretty good football game.
"I think there are still things we can do better and hopefully we do do them better because we're going to need to play almost a perfect game next week."

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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.”