Moore back for more after heady first game

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Moore back for more after heady first game

FOXBORO - The Patriots' back end is in some discomfort. And nobody likes that. James Ihedigbo's shoulder is hurting, Devin McCourty's too. Patrick Chung's right foot is still in disrepair. And Kyle Arrington's hurts as well. So the little-known guys who were on the field a ton last week - Antwaun Molden at corner and Sterling Moore at safety being the main ones - will be out there again Monday night against the Chiefs.

On Wednesday of last week, Ihedigbo mentioned that Moore would be instrumental against the Jets if Chung was unable to play. I honestly wasn't sure who Ihedigbo was speaking about until he pointed at Moore's locker. Moore played all 72 defensive snaps for the Patriots in New York. He'dnever even played the position in a game before last week. "It wasn't a shock but it was like, 'OK, time to step up,' " Moore said of the moment he learned Chung couldn't make it througha pregame workout. "I tried to make it not bigger than it was and I think I did a really good job of that. It wasn't too big of a stage I don't think."Being able to reduce a game to its essence is practically a measurable attribute. The player concerned about prime time and big lights and how he'll say his name for the network introductions is spending focus and energy on things that can detract from on-field performance. Norman Dale pretty much demonstrated that concept for his team in Hoosiers."I've always been able to do that and that's something I try to do," said Moore. "When you let(the hype)get in the way, you don't tend to play fast and you don't remember your Xs and Os so I just try to keep a level head and go out there and play."How could a group with two guys who'd barely played regular defense in an NFLgame - Moore and Jeff Tarpinian - play as fast and efficiently as the Patriots did last week?"We had confidence and we studied well throughout the week," Moore offered. "When you study well you can play fast and that's the key any week, knowing your opponent and Ithink we knew the Jets well."ThePatriots' familiarity with the Chiefs is a lot more shallow. Add in the fact that Tyler Palko starts instead of Matt Cassel at quarterback for Kansas City andthe ability to know what's coming is pretty much gone for Monday night. But because Moore and Co., didn't get blown away by the moment last week, they'll be back for another round.

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

BOSTON – No one is proclaiming DeMarcus Cousins’ demeanor is all that radically different than past seasons. 

But the volatile nature that has often overshadowed his on-the-court-brilliance, doesn’t seem to shine as brightly as it used to. 

Maybe he’s growing up. 

Maybe he’s finally comfortable with his team. 

And then there’s the almighty dollar which was the incentive for one of his teammates, Matt Barnes, to clean up his act as far as racking up technical fouls and being fined by the league. 

I asked Barnes whether there was a light bulb moment or a teammate or player that helped him get on track and not draw so much attention from officials and the league office. 

“It was all the money I was being fined,” he said. “I think I lost like $600,000 over my career for fines. It was time to kind of wake and say ‘hey, they don’t like you so you have to stick to the book.’”

With Barnes returning to Sacramento (he played for the Kings during the 2004-2005 season), he finds an intense, kindred spirit of sorts in Cousins who like Barnes has had his share of technical and fines handed down by the league office. 

This season, Cousins is the NBA’s leader in technical fouls with six. 

“I’ve always had a good head on my shoulders,” Barnes said. “I’m just a passionate player. I play with my emotion on my sleeve. I think DeMarcus does the same thing. What I’m trying to show him now, we have to keep our emotions and energy focused towards the right things. That could be detrimental to the team if it gets out of hand.”

First-year coach Dave Joerger has been pleased to see how different Cousins is to be around on a daily basis as opposed to how he’s perceived. 

“He gets credit for his talent. He gets credit that he’s improved in the league,” Joerger said. “I think he doesn’t get enough credit for the way that his approach to the game and the way that he’s carrying himself and conducting himself has greatly improved. He’s a good person. Now being with him, I see improvement over the last three years, the way that he goes about his business. I think that’s very positive.”

Game notes: Celtics look to extend Kings’ Boston losing streak to nine

Game notes: Celtics look to extend Kings’ Boston losing streak to nine

BOSTON – Here are a few odds and ends to keep an eye on heading into tonight’s game against the Sacramento Kings: 
 
· The Celtics have won eight in a row over the Kings in Boston, with the last loss to Sacramento at the TD Garden coming on Jan. 19, 2007. Current Celtic Gerald Green was in the starting lineup that night. 

· Only six times in franchise history have the Celtics launched 38 or more 3-pointers in a game, four of which came in the month of November this season. 

· Speaking of 3-pointers, 36.2 percent of Boston’s shots are 3s. That ranks fifth in the league behind Houston, Cleveland, Brooklyn and Golden State.

· Don’t be surprised if Avery Bradley gets off to a good start tonight, especially from 3-point range. He’s shooting 59.1 percent on 3s in the first quarter which ranks second in the league. 

· Isaiah Thomas tallied 395 points scored in November, the most by a Celtic since John Havlicek had 406 points in November during the 1971-1972 season. 

· Boston leads the NBA in points scored (46.3 per game) by second-round picks. The Celtics’ second-round picks include Isaiah Thomas; Jae Crowder; Amir Johnson; Jonas Jerebko; Demetrius Jackson and Jordan Mickey.

· The Celtics are 5-0 this season when they outrebound an opponent. 

· Tonight’s game will be Boston’s fifth set of back-to-back games this season. In the first game, they are 3-1 this season. On the second night, they are 2-2.