Bench steps in, gives starters nice rest


Bench steps in, gives starters nice rest

BOSTON -- In an ideal situation, the Boston Celtics would build big enough leads so that the veteran starters could get rest in the fourth quarter while their bench closes out the game.

But this condensed season has not been an ideal situation for the Celtics, who have found themselves trying to dig their way out of early deficits late in the game, many times to no avail.

The Cs entered Wednesday's game against the Toronto Raptors on a five-game losing streak, a stretch that has included significant minutes from the starters and little opportunities for breaks.

After jumping out to a 15-point lead in the first quarter and pushing their advantage up to 27 points, the Celtics starters got the break they needed as the bench took care of the rest in their 96-73 victory over the Raptors.

Kevin Garnett played less than 25 minutes while backup power forward Brandon Bass played 31. Mickael Pietrus played only 30 seconds less than Paul Pierce, both around 23 minutes. Jermaine ONeal played just over 21 minutes as Greg Stiemsma was on the court for 14.

And once Rajon Rondo left the game with a sore right wrist, Avery Bradley and ETwaun Moore handled the backcourt, combining for nearly 30 minutes.

Marquis Daniels (12 minutes) and JaJuan Johnson (six minutes) also spelled minutes for the starters. By the end of the game, Sasha Pavlovic was the only member of the Celtics who did not play. (Keyon Dooling and Chris Wilcox were inactive with injuries.)

Theyre young and athletic and they run around just as fast as they can, said Doc Rivers. JaJuan is just so darn athletic. I mean, he had a blocked shot attempt that was just, it should be on TV. He didnt get it, but I dont even know where he came from. Like I said the other day with him and Avery and ETwaun, you know their minutes have been scattered, but theyve had a great spirit, they work every day, and thats all you can ask as a coach.

AFC: Vinatieri sets NFL record for consecutive field goals in Colts' win


AFC: Vinatieri sets NFL record for consecutive field goals in Colts' win

Ex-Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri hits his 43rd consecutive field goal, setting an NFL record, in the Colts' 34-26 victory over the Titans.

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AFC EAST: Ajayi runs for 200 yards for second game in row as Dolphins top Bills


AFC EAST: Ajayi runs for 200 yards for second game in row as Dolphins top Bills

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Jay Ajayi tied an NFL record by surpassing 200 yards rushing for the second game in a row, helping the Miami Dolphins rally past the Buffalo Bills 28-25 Sunday.

Ajayi rushed for 214 yards in 29 carries after totaling 204 yards a week earlier in a win over Pittsburgh. He scored on a 4-yard run , and busted a 53-yarder when the Dolphins were pinned at their 3 and trailing in the fourth quarter.

The Dolphins (3-4) used an extra lineman much of the time to clear big holes for Ajayi, who tied the NFL record for consecutive 200-yard games held by O.J. Simpson, Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams.