Jets loss is another win for Pats

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Jets loss is another win for Pats

In February, Rex Ryan said, "I guarantee we win it this year."In November, with a 245-pound quarterback bearing down on him and a choice between fight or flight, one of Ryan's prized defenders stepped aside and let the quarterback score. And the Jets dropped to 5-5. (Thanks to the disturbingly insightful Jerry Thornton at Barstool for noting this tidbit that Mike Mayock ignored). You can't blame Antonio Cromartie for being Antonio Cromartie when the 'stuff' is hitting the fan in front of him. But the Jets' collapse is eye-opening. And the fact is, this teamisno longer imbued by Ryan's blustering arrogance anymore.
From watching Mark Sanchez turtle multiple times in the face of the Denver pass rush Thursday night, to the special teams mistakes of the past week, to the absurd blitz call that blew up in the Jets faces when Tim Tebow was allowed to run for the game-winning touchdown with precious little football technique or resistance, it looks like Ryan is losing his Jets. And the Jets may have lost any shot at competing in the postseason. The Patriots are winning even before the weekend begins. With sliding Buffalo playing at suddenly surging Miami on Sunday, the Patriots will have a clean look at the AFC East landscape and the suddenly clearing AFC playoff picture by nightfall Sunday. The Jets are now 10th in the AFC playoff race. They're 2-2 in the AFC East with a game against the Bills next Sunday looming. Even worse, they're 4-5 in the conference. Why's that worse? Because if the Jets don't win the division -- which looks a likely scenario -- their way to the playoffs is the Wild Card and conference record matters heavily there. The Bills, meanwhile, still need to be paid attention to. They are just 1-1 in the division (New England's 3-1) and 5-4 overall. Because of their early-season win over the Patriots, the season-finale between the Bills and Patriots at Foxboro has the potential to be a win-to-get-in situation. Say Buffalo's 10-5 going into that game and New England's 11-4. A Buffalo win tie them with the Patriots and a season sweep of the series and head-to-head is the first tiebreaker. In other words, the Jets are -- at this point -- merely a curiosity for Patriots fans. The Bills? Still a mild concern.

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics surge at end of second quarter

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics surge at end of second quarter

BOSTON –  For the second time in as many games, the Boston Celtics were hosting a team eager to get off a losing skid.

But a strong surge near the end of the second quarter gave the Celtics a 65-56 halftime lead over Portland which came into the night having lost four straight.

Boston opened with a 12-4 run capped off by a 3-pointer by Jae Crowder – his second within the game’s first couple minutes.

But the Blazers were being carried by C.J. McCollum, half of the most explosive backcourt in the NBA. His 12 first-quarter points were crucial to keeping the Blazers within 28-26 at the end of the quarter.

McCollum continued to out-perform everyone else on the floor, even Isaiah Thomas who had a quieter than usual first half.

But the 5-foot-9 Thomas continued to make all the plays needed to put the Celtics back on top courtesy of a 12-3 run that put them ahead 57-49 with 1:55 to play in the half.

From there, Boston was able to maintain control of the game.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Saturday’s game.

 

STARS

C.J. McCollum

While there’s still talk about whether Damian Lillard will be an All-Star this year, McCollum has played well enough to where he’s at least worthy of a mention in the All-Star conversation. He certainly carried Portland in the first half with 26 points on 8-for-12 shooting.

Isaiah Thomas

As usual, Thomas drew a considerable amount of attention from the opposing defense. And slowly but surely, he found cracks that he could exploit. At the half, he had 17 points, four assists and three rebounds, one of which was an offensive board that he put-back in for a lay-up.

 

STUDS

Jae Crowder

He put the Celtics on a good path from the outset, knocking down a couple 3’s in the first couple of minutes. He finished the half with 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting which included a trio of 3-pointers.

Meyers Leonard

He was 3-for-4 in the first half which included a pair of powerful dunks over Boston’s Jordan Mickey. At the half he had eight points and two rebounds.

 

DUDS

Damian Lillard

It was a rough half for the two-time All-Star, tallying just three points on 1-for-5 shooting. A big part of his problem? Foul trouble. He played just 10 minutes in the first half due in large part to having three personal fouls.