Rivers doesn't expect same Magic in next matchup

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Rivers doesn't expect same Magic in next matchup

ORLANDO, Fla. Doc Rivers doesn't have a crystal ball or a direct line to Miss Cleo, but he knows Thursday's game against Orlando will be significantly different than the C's 87-56 beatdown of the Magic on Monday.

"They came out and just absolutely dominated us with their energy and their defensive intensity," Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy said following the loss. "That's the most dominating defensive performance I have ever had against me.

Van Gundy added, "It's the first game in my career I've been through where not one guy played well. We didn't have one guy. That was an absolute beat-down, and in most senses it was much worse than the score indicated."

Orlando took the first step in getting back on track on Tuesday by beating Indiana by 19 points, on the Pacers' home floor.

Regardless of when the C's would face the Magic again after Monday's record-setting performance, Rivers would expect nothing less than a tougher battle the second go-around.

"It's human nature," Rivers said. "They're going to come in and they're going to want to show us, I guess."

And Rivers couldn't be any more pleased about that.

To play a game where both teams come in with something to prove - the C's want to show Monday wasn't a fluke while the Magic are determined to show they're a better team than the one that scored a franchise-low 56 points - at this point in the season is embraced fully by Rivers.

"I love that," Rivers said. "I think that's great. I wish every game had that feeling. I think that's how each team should play. They're going to come at us. That's fine by us. We're going to do the same. It's a great challenge."

One of the keys to Boston's win on Monday was the play of Paul Pierce.

He had 19 points, seven assists and five rebounds in the win.

And like Rivers, he too expects to see a Magic team that will play better.

"You have to expect they'll have some counters to some of the things that they didn't do well," Pierce said. "We have to be prepared for that."

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

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Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will head into Sunday's AFC title game with seven players listed as questionable, including three receivers. 

Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan have all been limited in practices this week due to their injuries. Amendola has been dealing with an ankle issue since a Week 13 win over the Rams, while Mitchell has not played since injuring his knee in Week 16 against the Jets. Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans and left the game in the third quarter.

Both Hogan and Mitchell indicated this week that they were moving in the right direction in terms of their recoveries. One would think that the Patriots would need at least one, if not both, to help stress the back end of the Steelers secondary this weekend.

Hogan has been the team's most consistent down-the-field threat this season, averaging a whopping 17.9 yards per catch during the regular season. Against the Texans, before his injury, he reeled in four passes for 95 yards. 

Mitchell, meanwhile, had a very productive second half of his rookie season before he was hurt. He compiled 25 catches for 306 yards between Weeks 11 and 16, establishing himself as one of Tom Brady's go-to targets. 

The overall health of the Patriots receiving corps -- which will also include Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd -- will bear watching when the Patriots and Steelers kick off in two days.

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

QUESTIONABLE
TE Ladarius Green (concussion/illness)
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)

NOT LISTED
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)