Green, Sullinger lead Celtics to 87-79 win over Suns


Green, Sullinger lead Celtics to 87-79 win over Suns

BOSTON With the goal being to extend their winning streak to a season-long four in a row, there are few teams in the NBA that would have made for more obliging guests than the Phoenix Suns.
In addition to losing nine of their last 10 games overall, Phoenix had lost 10 in a row coming into Wednesday's matchup.
The Celtics controlled the action for most of the night, but a weak third quarter showing made it a closer game than it should have been.
Still, the C's are in no position to be picky when it comes to winning, which they did by the count of 87-79.
Wednesday's win extended the Celtics (18-17) winning streak to a season-long four in a row.
For the second straight game, Boston got a huge lift from its bench with contributions coming from just about every player who stepped on the floor.
Jason Terry (13 points) and Jeff Green (14 points) did a lot of the scoring. Jared Sullinger (12 points, career-high 16 rebounds) continued to do a lot of the dirty work around the glass.
And Courtney Lee continues to come into his own as a defensive spark off the bench, tallying six points, two assists and a slew of strong plays defensively.
It appeared that the Celtics were well on their way to an easy victory, fueled by a 20-8 run to close out the second quarter that gave the C's a 53-41 lead at the half.
But the C's went through one of their usual offensive lulls.
However, their defense couldn't bail them out this time.
The Celtics' offensive woes opened the door for the Suns to go on a 17-2 run that put them ahead, 58-55.
Boston didn't spend much time playing from behind -- one minute, 46 seconds to be exact -- as Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce scored back-to-back baskets, respectively, to put the C's back on top.
Phoenix had made a game that wasn't all that close, a relatively tight affair (67-64) going into the fourth quarter.
But the C's went with a hybrid second unit that worked well for them in the second quarter -- Terry, Lee, Green, Sullinger and Kevin Garnett who is a starter.
That group, just like they had did earlier in the game, provided a much-needed lift at both ends of the floor as the Celtics blitzed the Suns with a 13-4 run to start the fourth and never looked back.

Randy Moss: Roger Goodell is 'biggest reason' for NFL's problems

Randy Moss: Roger Goodell is 'biggest reason' for NFL's problems

With the NFL facing more PR issues by the day, Randy Moss has identified what he feels is wrong with a league that can’t seem to stay out of trouble.

In wake of the Josh Brown situation, which saw the NFL blame the King County (Wash.) Sheriff’s Office for the lack of initial punishment given to the Giants kicker for domestic violence, Moss said on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown that commissioner Roger Goodell is the league’s biggest problem. 

“[This is] a bad time to show up now, breast cancer awareness month where we’re supporting the women, and then you come up with this Josh Brown, where it doesn’t seem like we are supporting women,” Moss said. “I think the NFL needs to take a deep look. I think the owners are mad, and Roger Goodell, he is the biggest reason to all of this stuff that’s fallen downhill with the NFL. I have to agree with that.”

Brown was initially given a one-game suspension for violating the league’s conduct policy stemming from his 2015 fourth-degree domestic violence charge. On Friday, the 37-year-old was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list. 

Steelers know they'll have their hands full with Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett


Steelers know they'll have their hands full with Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett

PITTSBURGH – So far this season, Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski have combined for 39 catches, 644 yards and five touchdowns. Making the numbers that much more impressive is the fact the numbers were rolled up with Gronk inactive for two games and fairly useless in another thanks to his hamstring injury.

Will the Steelers slow the roll of Robellus Grennetski?

Hard to imagine. As Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out, Gronk alone has tuned up the Steelers with 26 receptions for 403 yards and seven touchdowns in six meetings.

Fittipaldo explored the strategies the Steelers defense may unveil Sunday afternoon when the Patriots and Steelers get going. He also pointed out that the return of linebacker Ryan Shazier after a three week layoff and injuries for safeties Mike Mitchell and Robert Golden may put Pittsburgh at a disadvantage.

Said Shazier: “They have the tandem they want at tight end. Now they can use tight ends the way they want. You have to respect everyone on the field. Both of them are good blockers, good pass threats and great at running after the catch.”

Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler said Pittsburgh will alter its approaches.

“We have to be able to play more than one defense,” Butler said. “They’re very good and they’ll pick you apart if they can figure out what you’re doing. We just have to execute the defense more than anything else. If we can do that … that’s been our problem for the most part. Some of the things that went on last week, we missed some things we should have made mentally.”

What “went on last week” was a 30-15 loss to the Dolphins.

Pittsburgh hasn’t been a big-play group so far -- eight sacks and three picks -- nor have they seen a gauntlet of great quarterbacks in the first six games. 

Interestingly, their losses have been to Ryan Tannehill and rookie Carson Wentz, probably the two quarterbacks one would figure Pittsburgh would do best against.
Between a smoking hot Brady and a can’t-be-stopped tight end tandem, there’s probably not a lot Pittsburgh can do aside from hoping for an off day.

Said linebacker Arthur Moats hopefully: “You have to continue to mix it up against (Gronkowski). You can’t give him the same look over and over. He has success on guys like that. If we disrupt him, and rush Brady and speed up his clock, I definitely think that will help out.”

In theory, perhaps. In practice? We’ll see.