Garnett turns it up, holds Howard in check

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Garnett turns it up, holds Howard in check

BOSTON Kevin Garnett doesn't move about nearly as well as he did a year or so ago.

But every now and then, Garnett gets it going defensively which reminds us why he's considered one of the most complete players of this generation.

That defensive acumen was put to the test by the Orlando Magic and Dwight Howard on Monday.

Even with the most dominant one-man force in the NBA, the Magic were no match for the Celtics who had no problem racking up an 87-56 win.

While the Celtics' personnel has changed some, the approach to defending Howard remains the same.

Boston usually plays Howard with just one man, occasionally mixing in a double-team or a tilt just to keep him from getting into any kind of rhythm.

Garnett acknowledges there are some other tricks to the trade in defending Howard, but he won't share those publicly.

"When players get the whistle, when players are very talented, when players are athletic, you at his mercy, to be honest," Garnett said. "You have to do your dirty work early, which is try to take him off his sweet spots, contest his shot. He's strong, very powerful and explosive. You at his mercy, seriously."

Said Celtics coach Doc Rivers: "He was the Kevin we know. We don't like putting him at the 5 (center) a lot. But he was so good tonight, and so was JO (Jermaine O'Neal)."

While Garnett and O'Neal did their best to be as physical as possible with Howard, it was clear that the C's were taking him and his teammates out of the game mentally as well.

"We just allowed them to get into our heads," Howard said. "They won the mental battle. They've been doing it for a couple years. They would just get in our head, and we just have to learn to play through that."

Whether it's attacking him mentally or physically, Boston knows the best path to success against the Magic is to limit Howard's effectiveness.

"He's not the one for finesse," Garnett said. "He's either going to go through you or over you. There's no one in our league that looks like him, plays like him. That's why he's Dwight Howard."

Patriots-Rams notes: Brady and the defense have record-setting days

Patriots-Rams notes: Brady and the defense have record-setting days

FOXBORO -- Notes from the Patriots' 26-10 win over the Rams Sunday, courtesy of the Pats' P.R. department:

PATRIOTS 26, RAMS 10

TEAM NOTES

 

A DEFENSIVE FIRST : The Patriots allowed just 25 total first-half yards to the Rams, the lowest total in a half in team history. The previous low was 28 yards by the Jets in the first half on Dec. 26, 2005 in a 31-25 New England win.

A DEFENSIVE SECOND: The Patriots yielded just 36 yards rushing to the Rams, the second time this season New England has held its opponent to fewer than 40 rushing yards. Cleveland rushed for only 27 yards in Week 5.

BY THE NUMBERS DEFENSIVELY: The Patriots have now held the opposition to less than 20 points in 8 of their 12 games this year, and are allowing just 17.3 ppg.

PATS HIT 10-VICTORY MARK FOR 14TH CONSECUTIVE SEASON: The Patriots are now 10-2 and have won 10 or more games for 14 consecutive season, the second-longest streak in NFL history. The 1983-98 49ers had a 16-year streak

RECORD-SETTING PERFORMANCE: Tom Brady did not throw an interception Sunday and Patriots QBs have been picked off just once in the first 12 games of the season, an NFL record. The previous record for fewest interceptions thrown in the first 12 games was three, held jointly by the 2016 Vikings, 2015 Chiefs, 1993 Cowboys and 190 Chiefs. The NFL record for fewest interceptions in a season is five.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES

THE GOAT: As noted elsewhere, Brady became the winningest QB in NFL history with his 201st career victory.

HOME BODY: Since 2007, Brady is 62-6 overall at home in the regular season. That is more wins than five teams (home and away) have combined during that span. (60 by the Bucs, 57 by the Raiders, 52 by the Jaguars, 47 by the Browns and 46 by the Rams).

GETTING CLOSER: LeGarrette Blount scored on a 43-yard run in the first quarter and is now one rushing TD away from the tying the franchise record for rushing touchdowns in a season. He has 13, one behind Curtis Martin (who scored 14 in both 1995 and 1996).

SOME FIRSTS:
-- CB Logan Ryan sacked Rams QB Jared Goff for a loss of 12½ yards in the second quarter for his first sack since 2013.
-- LB Kyle Van Noy recorded his first NFL interception when he picked off a QB Jared Goff pass in the third quarter.
-- WR Julian Edelman finished with 8 receptions for 101 yards, his first 100-yard game of the 2016 season. (He now has eight 100-yard games in the regular season and two in the postseason.)