Celtics-Sixers preview: A formula for success

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Celtics-Sixers preview: A formula for success

PHILADELPHIA Sixers head coach Doug Collins has a plan against the Boston Celtics that like every game he coaches, is subject to change.

But he knows all too well that keeping the Celtics under 45 percent shooting and 100 points scored, usually adds up to a formula for success against the Celtics.

"That's sort of their benchmarks," said Collins after Philadelphia knocked off the Celtics 95-94 in overtime on Friday.

Boston is 6-3 this season when they score 100 or more points. And when they shoot 45 percent or better from the field, the C's are 7-5 which includes victories in their last three games under such conditions.

While the Celtics don't necessarily focus on those two particular stats, they know achieving either bodes well for their chances of winning especially against a team like the Sixers who they will hosttonightin Boston.

"It's probably going to be a great tooth-and-nail type of fight," said Boston's Paul Pierce. "It will also probably be even lower scoring (tonight) because we know everything they're going to do and they know everything we're going to do, so it will be an even tougher game (tonight)."

Here are some of the keys totonight's game as the Celtics need a win to avoid losing the head-to-head series with Philadelphia this season.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Boston has made a point of getting Kevin Garnett the ball early and often in the post the last two games, which has helped him get into an early groove and the C's get off to a solid start.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Paul Pierce vs Evan Turner: Both carried their respective teams for long stretcheson Friday nightwith Pierce leading the C's with a game-high 27 points and Turner tallying a double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds which included the game-winning basket.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Jason Terry had his worst shooting game in a Celtic uniform on Friday, tallying just four points while missing 11 of his 12 shots from the field. He promises to be better - a lot better -tonight.

STAT TO TRACK: The Celtics' rebounding numbers place them at the bottom of the NBA standings this year, but there has been a noticeable improvement lately. Boston came into Friday's game against Philadelphia being out-rebounded by 4.2 boards per game. In the C's last five games, they have edged opponents on the boards by 0.6 per game. Keeping that margin relatively close will once again be a factor in Boston's chances to win tonight.

Brady hears from Manning and Favre on wins record, but not Goodell

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Brady hears from Manning and Favre on wins record, but not Goodell

The congratulatory messages rolled in for Tom Brady following win No. 201 on Sunday. He heard praise from his teammates and coach Bill Belichick and he received a game ball from Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Two of the guys he recently passed on the all-time wins list reached out as well.

Both Brett Favre (199 career wins) and Peyton Manning (200) touched base with the new record-holder after he surpassed the two retired quarterbacks in back-to-back weeks. 

Favre posted a video online to show his support for Brady, which Brady saw after a friend sent it his way, he told WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show.

"We were in touch this week a few times just with a couple of things that we were talking about football-wise," Brady said of Favre. "We exchanged some text messages, too. He’s a great guy. He’s someone I’ve always looked up to . . . There’s nobody physically or mentally tougher than that guy and endured the streak that he had. It was incredible. I’ve always really looked up to him. It was really cool."

Manning checked in, as he's wont to do, with something a little more traditional.

"I did hear from Peyton. He's someone that I've always been in touch with for a long time. I've known him for 16 years. He sent me a very nice note," Brady said. "I have a lot of respect for him and all that he accomplished, too. He's a great guy. We share a lot of things in common and I just always appreciate him as well."

Kirk and Callahan co-host Gerry Callahan acknowledged that the NFL sent out a tweet recognizing Brady's achievement, but he wondered if Brady had heard anything from commissioner Roger Goodell. Brady laughed when he heard the question initially. When he didn't respond at first, Callahan circled up again.

"I don't hear anything from the league," Brady said.