Familiar formula: KG's D, Pierce's offense

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Familiar formula: KG's D, Pierce's offense

WASHINGTON The Celtics' version of Yin and Yang - known to most as Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett - were delivering some serious Celtic synergy on Saturday night.

Pierce delivering a steady dose of scoring went hand-in-hand with Garnett's stout defense as Boston held off a late Washington rally to escape with an 89-86 win.

After dropping the first two games of the season, Pierce was determined to avoid a trilogy of terrible losses to start the season.

"Aggressive" was how C's coach Doc Rivers described Pierce's play to begin the game.

While Pierce may have been more eager to make his mark offensively, Rivers believes his teammates did a better job of getting him and Kevin Garnett (15 points) more involved in the offense.

And the result was the C's racing out to a 17-2 lead.

"I reminded our guys that Paul is on our team, and Kevin was on our team," Rivers said. "I loved at halftime they had the most shots.

At the half, Boston had a 49-42 lead. Pierce led the way with 12 points on 4-for-11 shooting. Garnett chipped in 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting. The rest of the C's starters had a total of 14 points.

"In the third and middle of the fourth quarter our transition defense reverted back to where we've been all year," Rivers said. "But overall, especially in the beginning of the game, I thought we came out with great defensive energy."

And leading that defensive charge was Garnett.

"We played with a purpose," Garnett said. "We came with a little fire. That's the way Doc's teams are built. We played with an edge."

True, but the C's left more than enough room for improvement.

"We know we have to play better," Pierce told Comcast SportsNet moments after the win. "We got off to a good start, so we have to be able to maintain that. Late in the third when we got up 12, 13 points, that's a time when you have a chance to put a team away. We didn't do that. So we still have a long way to go, but I'm happy we got the win."

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

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Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have signed free-agent tight end Rob Housler to a future contract. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound target last played for the Bears but was released at the end of training camp.

Housler won't be eligible to participate with the Patriots during the postseason, but he will be available for the offseason program and training camp leading up to the 2017 campaign. 

Housler taken in the third round by the Cardinals with the 69th overall selection in 2011. In 65 career games, he has 109 catches for 1,166 yards and one touchdown. 

The Patriots may have been intrigued by Housler's skill set last summer when he caught one pass for 52 yards -- making two Patriots defenders miss in the process -- during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots and Bears held joint training camp practices in August that would have given Patriots coaches and scouts a closer look at everything Housler has to offer as a player. 

Housler was one of the better athletes at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2011, running a 4.55-second 40-yard dash (fastest among tight ends), posting a 6.9-second three-cone drill, and recording a 37-inch vertical leap.

Bill Belichick and his staff hit big on a future-contract signing two years ago when a running back with a significant injury history was available to scoop up at the behest of then-assistant to the coaching staff Michael Lombardi. Since then, the Patriots still have never lost with Dion Lewis in uniform.