Rondo returns, Celtics top Timberwolves, 104-94

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Rondo returns, Celtics top Timberwolves, 104-94

BOSTON Kevin Garnett was feeling it at both ends of the floor, providing the kind of inside-outside game that doesn't come around often enough for Celtics Nation.
Soon after, he got some help in the form of Brandon Bass and Jason Terry. And then Rajon Rondo got into the act.
Just like that, the Celtics were in the midst of a strong team-wide performance that proved to be too much for the Timberwolves as Boston pulled away for a 104-94 win.
Garnett, who has now won 10 straight against his former team, had 18 points and 10 rebounds along with four assists.
Rajon Rondo, returning to the lineup after serving a two-game suspension, had 17 points and 11 assists.
All five of Boston's starters had double figures scoring with Brandon Bass (12 points), Paul Pierce (18 points) and Jason Terry (17 points) having strong games, too.
The victory came after some not-so-stellar play by Boston in the game's early moments.
Boston got off to a good start, but their control of the game took a detour in the first quarter when -- you guessed it -- Garnett took his first break from the game.
When he left, the Celtics were ahead by three points.
By the time the first quarter ended, Boston was literally on the other side of the scoreboard facing a 30-27 deficit.
Not surprisingly, Doc Rivers was not happy with his team's play in the first quarter defensively and didn't mince his words during a time-out to let them know.
They began the second quarter strong with a lead that peaked at 39-32 following a 11-foot jumper by Terry.
But the Timberwolves cut into the C's lead and eventually pulled ahead with a 5-0 spurt to end the half and led, 51-47.
Boston had a solid third quarter with Bass leading the way early, and Rondo coming through near the end.
But in between, Minnesota all-star Kevin Love was doing what he does best -- rebounding. He finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds.
And his boardwork coupled with that of his teammates, kept the Timberwolves within striking distance going into the fourth with the C's ahead, 79-72.

Whether Goodell visits Foxboro or not, Patriots players say they don't care

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Whether Goodell visits Foxboro or not, Patriots players say they don't care

FOXBORO -- Roger Goodell will reportedly be in Atlanta for the NFC Championship Game this weekend and therefore will miss the AFC title game between the Patriots and Steelers at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. His absence will mean he hasn't been to a Patriots game in more than two years, when he was present for the AFC title game in 2015 -- the birth of Deflategate. 

It's news that broke on Tuesday and sent some Patriots fans into an uproar. Patriots players, though, sound like they're having a hard time caring one way or the other.

"He’s the commissioner, so obviously whatever he wants to do, he can do," Tom Brady told WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Monday. "If he wants to come, that would be -- yeah, he can come."

In the Patriots locker room on Tuesday, others struck a similar tone.

"I could care less," said Patriots receiver Chris Hogan. "I'm focused on Pittsburgh and their defense and studying them as much as I can this week, watching them as much as I can so that I can go out there on Sunday and be prepared."

Special teams captain Matthew Slater was similarly disinterested in the discussion.

"The game's going to be played," he said. "Whoever's in attendance is in attendance. We'll just worry about trying to play well."

Hogan 'feeling good' as he recovers from thigh injury

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Hogan 'feeling good' as he recovers from thigh injury

FOXBORO -- Patriots wideout Chris Hogan indicated after Saturday's divisional round win over the Texans that he'd be OK, and he doubled down on that stance when meeting with reporters Tuesday. 

The veteran receiver, whose first season with the Patriots has brought his first career postseason experience, injured his thigh against Houston. He left in the third quarter and did not return. 

"Feeling good," Hogan said. "Just had a little minor setback in the game. I'm working back every single day and feeling better every day."

Hogan had an awkward collision with Texans defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney at the end of the first half on a play at the goal line. To that point, he had reeled in four passes for 95 yards as the team's primary deep threat. With Hogan out, Brady relied upon Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd as wideouts.

Hogan explained that he was expecting to practice this week.

"I'm just gonna go day by day," he said. "Come in here tomorrow. Everything's been feeling better day by day. I'm looking forward to getting out there and practicing this week."