Celtics-Raptors: What you saw


Celtics-Raptors: What you saw

BOSTON Finally, the Boston Celtics are done streaking!

Wednesday's 96-73 victory for Boston snapped a five-game losing streak and in the process, extended the Toronto Raptor's losing skid to six and counting.

Before the game, we pointed out four areas to keep tabs on that would be major factors who won. Now that the game is over, we point out how it all actually went down.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR - If you're looking for a lot of points scored, you're not going to like tonight's game which features two of the NBA's lowest-scoring clubs. The C's average 89.8 points per game which ranks 26th in the NBA. The Raptors are even worse, averaging 86 points per game which ranks 29th in the league.

WHAT YOU SAW - The Celtics' were clicking at both ends of the floor. When you combine that with facing a bad team that was without their best scorer (Andrea Bargnani) because of injury, it's not a stretch that the C's dominated the game with such relative ease.

MATCHUP TO WATCH - Rajon Rondo vs. Jose Calderon. Similar style, both playmakers are more concerned with getting their teammates shots than taking them. However, both players sense a need to change that up some, which is why both are shooting the ball more than usual. Still, these two veterans will continue to rack up the assists. Rondo is tied for first in the NBA with 10 assists per game. Calderon is third with 9.1 assists per game.

WHAT YOU SAW: Rondo had no problem getting to the basket anytime he wanted to. He led all scorers with 21 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the field.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Paul Pierce. All eyes are usually on the Captain anyway. But you can expect folks to pay even closer attention to him after a report earlier this week indicated that playoff-contending teams are inquiring about whether the C's are willing to trade him.

WHAT YOU SAW: Pierce prides himself on giving the game whatever it needs. On Wednesday, he was needed to be more of a facilitator instead of a scorer. Along with eight points, Pierce also had a game-high seven assists.

STAT TO TRACK: Field goal percentage defense: The magic number for the Celtics is 45. The C's are 0-5 when teams have shot 45 percent or better from the field against them.

WHAT YOU SAW: Boston controlled the boards and contested most shots. Doing those two things against a bad team like Toronto, all but guarantees you a convincing win which is exactly what the Celtics got on Wednesday.

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.