Curran: Quick analysis

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Curran: Quick analysis

INDIANAPOLIS -- When the final play of the Super Bowl comes down to a Hail Mary that either team could have come down with, well, I think that's how they're supposed to end.
Quick reaction to the Patriots' 21-17 loss to the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI:
The game-winning touchdown drive by Eli Manning -- highlighted by his brilliant, 38-yard throw to Mario Manningham down the right sideline -- marks him as one of the greatest clutch quarterbacks in Super Bowl history. The David Tyree catch in 2007 may have been lucky and memorable, but the throw to Manningham was majestic.
Tom Brady had a bad miss on the throw to Deion Branch that fell incomplete with four minutes left from the Giants 44. On that play, a third-and-11, Wes Welker had come open in the middle of the field. As brilliantly as he played for a huge stretch of the game, Brady had three game-altering mistakes: That miss, the safety he took at the start of the game, and the pick he threw at the start of the fourth quarter on a bomb intended for Rob Gronkowski.
The Patriots had two plays to thank for getting them back into the game after falling behind 9-0. The first was a third-and-4 completion for 15 yards to Branch that saved them from going three-and-out and saved an exhausted defense from going back on the field. The Patriots only got three on the drive, but they perserved their defense. Also, the hold on a third-and-1 play that wiped out a 10-yard Brandon Jacobs run was huge as the Patriots got the ball, drove 96 and scored a touchdown before the break they followed up with another score to start the second half.
The similarities between this game and the way the 2007 Super Bowl played out were remarkable. For the Giants to beat the top two seeds in the NFC and come from behind to beat the Patriots in the fourth quarter shows that when talk of resilient teams starts, the conversation should start with this era's Giants. And the conversation should end with them too.

Brown and Rozier seize opportunity, provide spark off Celtics bench

Brown and Rozier seize opportunity, provide spark off Celtics bench

There was Terry Rozier, delivering dizzying crossover dribbles that set up open jumpers, soon followed by defenders he then beat to the rim for easy scores. 
 
“I felt like I was in college a little bit,” Rozier told reporters Wednesday night. 
 
The second-year guard is a long way from his days at Louisville, but make no mistake about it.
 
His basketball education is ongoing, but on Wednesday it was Rozier and rookie Jaylen Brown teaching the Orlando Magic a lesson as Boston pulled away for a 117-87 victory.
 
Playing without Isaiah Thomas (right groin), Rozier came off the bench to score a career-high 16 points. 
 
And Brown, whose hustle and above-the-rim play energized the Celtics most of the night, had 13 points which included a powerful, poster-worthy dunk over an unsuspecting Nikola Vucevic. 

"I didn't expect to dunk, nor did I expect him to jump," Brown told reporters after the game. "When it happened, I was just as surprised as everyone else."
 
The Celtics (13-9) were pleased with the victory which included contributions from several players. 
 
But there was added pleasure for the veteran Celtics in watching their youthful teammates step up and play well.
 
“It’s hard as a young player to come in and find yourself on a team,” Boston’s Al Horford told reporters after the win. “And those guys are really hard workers. As the season goes on, they’ll become more comfortable with what we’re trying to do.”
 
We have seen Brown put in positions where he was given an opportunity to make a major impact. 
 
His first NBA start came against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. 
 
Boston lost 128-122 to the Cavs, but Brown had a career-high 19 points, five rebounds and three steals. 
 
Brown said when he’s on the floor with Rozier, the two have a very specific agenda. 
 
“Me and Terry get in, we talk to each other and say, ‘we gotta run,’” Brown said. “That’s our focus; we’re young. We try to get up and down the floor. It makes the game easier for us.”
 
The Celtics' second unit has been in a constant state of change most of this season due to the number of injuries sustained by the preferred starting five. 

So getting more consistent play from the team’s youngsters like Rozier and Brown is huge for this team going forward especially if they will be without Thomas for multiple games which is a possibility. 
 
“It was a great opportunity; they seized it,” Horford said. “Moving forward, if they play like they did tonight; defense first, confident, I feel like there will be plenty of more opportunities to show what they have.” 

Capitals lose 3-goal lead, recover to beat Bruins in OT

Capitals lose 3-goal lead, recover to beat Bruins in OT

WASHINGTON - Nicklas Backstrom scored 1:36 into overtime, helping the Washington Capitals beat the Boston Bruins 4-3 after blowing a three-goal lead Wednesday night.

Justin Williams scored twice and Daniel Winnik also had a goal to put Washington ahead 3-0 about six minutes into the second period.

After Winnik's tally, Washington went over 26 minutes without a shot on goal. Boston dominated the final five minutes of the second period, when Dominic Moore and David Pastrnak beat goaltender Braden Holtby. Colin Miller's power-play score 8:19 into third tied it at 3.

Boston arrived in Washington 4-0-1 over its last five games with three wins in a row, including a 4-3 overtime triumph against Florida on Monday night.

Evgeny Kuznetsov had two assists for the Capitals and Alex Ovechkin got his first point since Nov. 26.

Boston outshot Washington 34-20. The Capitals have won two straight following a three-game losing skid.