EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey -- Wes Welker and Deion Branch sat with NBC's Rodney Harrison this week in an interview you'll see on NBC's Football Night in America before the Jets-Patriots game. Branch -- who this week bristled with local media when it was suggested the Patriots' offense was struggling -- pooh-poohed the notion that jamming the Patriots is a blueprint for success. "No, thats not a blueprint," said Branch. "Its a lack of execution. Thats the blueprint for us. If we execute, were okay. We only have to throw the ball down the field, five or six times a game. Hey, if were still scoring, still getting passing yards, whatever. Its not a big deal."Harrison, who hasn't shied away from ripping the Patriots on NBC or other places (cough, QuickSlants, cough), asked the receivers if criticism from former teammates was irksome. "We hear the rumors," said Branch. "The thing for us is to stay focused on what is at task, and thats our next game, which is the Jets. Weve got to stay in house . . . go out, work hard, practice hard, and try and put the same thing on the football field on Sunday."Added Welker, "We understand that you all just want to start controversy and everything else, and get more Twitter followers and everything else."To which Harrison replied, "Well, if you played better, Wes, I wouldnt have anything to criticize."
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BOSTON – For most teams in the NBA, road games are a necessary evil.
Not for the Celtics. At least, not lately.
The Green Team hits the road for its next three games, and that has been a good thing – a real good thing – lately.
Boston (11-8) has won its last four road games, the kind of success that breeds a heightened level of confidence heading into this current trip which begins tonight at Philadelphia.
And it only helps that they hit the road coming off a 97-92 win over Sacramento on Friday.
“We have to carry that momentum with us,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “You know how...anytime in this league, the momentum, you have to stay with it. We’ve been having success away from home. It was big for us to get this win (over the Kings) to start the road trip off.”
A big part of Friday’s victory was the play of Al Horford who finished with 26 points, eight rebounds, and six blocked shots. The points and rebounds for Horford were both season-highs.
Horford’s breakout performance came on the heels of a 121-114 loss to Detroit, a game in which Boston’s $113 million man (Horford) only took five shots.
“Coach [Brad Stevens] didn’t say anything about going to him just specifically,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas. “We just found him and made the right play and when he got it he was very aggressive.”
Part of Horford’s success was that he was in more of an attacking mentality. But he also benefited from a Kings defense that didn’t double-team him nearly as much as the Pistons did.
“I got a lot of early looks in the game and like I said [following the Pistons loss] I think the Pistons did a good job defending and doubling and forcing me to pass the ball. [Friday night] I had more opportunities to be aggressive.”
Facing a Sixers team that ranks among the NBA’s worst in several defensive categories, Horford and the rest of his Celtics teammates should have ample opportunities to make plays offensively.
And in doing so, they will be able to add on to what has been an already impressive stretch of play this season away from home.
“I think it will be good,” Horford said. “[Tonight] it’s a Philly team that plays hard and we just want to keep building on [Friday night’s win over Sacramento] and just try to be better.”