Palko finally gets his shot to start for Chiefs

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Palko finally gets his shot to start for Chiefs

FOXBORO -- In 2008, Tom Brady suffered a season-ending injury after taking a hit to the knee against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Matt Cassel replaced Brady, and went on to win 11 games with the Patriots. He was rewarded with a six-year, 63 million contract with the Chiefs.

Three years later, Cassel finds himself on the sideline with a hand injury, watching his backup QB, Tyler Palko, replace him during Kansas City's Monday Night Football game in New England.

Like Cassel, Palko may have a chance to write his own script, after waiting five full seasons for his first NFL start, which comes against the Patriots on Monday.

But the new Chiefs quarterback isn't yet thinking about that potential Hollywood script.

"You can't write the story before it's written," said Palko in a conference call on Wednesday. "There's obviously comparisons and all that other stuff, but that's not going to win the game because it's aligning this way or it's not aligning this way. Right now, my job is to go out and give our team a chance to win. And I don't have enough time to think about all that stuff."

This is Palko's sixth year in the NFL. He said it hasn't been easy, waiting for his first start.

"What is it, my fifth year?" asked Palko, as he seemed to be thinking out loud. "I guess it's been a long time coming, but I guess when you're entrenched in it, you really don't think about how long it is. You set a goal, and my goal was to be a starter in the NFL, and I'm getting my opportunity right now."

Now, he'll face a Patriots defense, in their building, on a Monday night. And perhaps he'll have some advantage with the fact that there's not much game film of him, and also with the fact that his current defensive coordinator -- Romeo Crennel -- was once the defensive coordinator for the three-time Super Bowl champion Patriots.

But Palko, being as honest as he could be while entering his first career NFL start, said that his advantages are non-existent.

"I don't think there's really any advantage for me, going into this thing," said Palko. "I've got enough chips stacked against me."

WATCH: Celtics vs. Magic

WATCH: Celtics vs. Magic

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Celtics-Magic preview: Orlando's poor offense gives C's chance to bounce back

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Celtics-Magic preview: Orlando's poor offense gives C's chance to bounce back

Talk about your basketball extremes.

After losing a 107-106 heartbreaker to Houston and their high-powered offense on Monday, the Boston Celtics will be in for a very different -- and less successful -- foe tonight in the Orlando Magic.

The Magic beat Washington 124-116 on Tuesday night despite John Wall’s 52-point effort, but have been one of the NBA’s most offensively challenged teams this season.

Orlando ranks near the bottom in scoring (29th, 94.6 points per game), field goal percentage (28th, .426) and Pace (24th, 96.71) this season.

But Frank Vogel’s crew has been a defensive force thus far in the East even if their record might suggest otherwise.

They rank among the league’s best in several defensive categories such as scoring defense (4th, 98.0 points per game allowed); opponent 3-point percentage (3rd, 33.0 percent), opponent 3-point attempts (4th, 23.6) in addition to allowing a league-low 8.0 made 3's per game.

That will be a stark contrast from the let-it-fly-all-night style Boston had to contend with against the high-scoring Rockets on Monday.

But this set of games is exactly why Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made of point of trying to put together a roster that was heavy on athleticism and versatility both in the frontcourt as well as on the perimeter.

Against Houston, Tyler Zeller recorded his first DNP-CD (Did not play -- coaches decision) of the season which made sense considering Houston basically plays void of a traditional center.

Orlando, that’s a different story.

Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo and Nikola Vucevic now coming off the bench form a physical triumvirate of big men that can cause lots of problems for a Celtics team that will look to attack the paint often.

When it comes to scoring in the restricted area, the Magic allow opponents to shoot 57.6 percent which ranks seventh in the league. They rank highly when it comes to defending mid-range shots (5-10th, 38.3 percent), corner 3's (6th, 34.5 percent) and above-the-break 3's (8th, 33.8 percent) as well.

And while they have had their issues offensively this season, their recent run of success has been in part aided by a much-improved offensive showing. In their last five games, they are shooting 48.5 percent from the field which ranks fifth in the NBA in that span. For the season, the Magic rank 28th while connecting on 42.6 percent of their shots.

Orlando’s improved shooting with a defense that’s stingy as ever, will make this a tough game for Boston to come away with a victory.

Just as the Magic seek to continue their successful ways, the Celtics come into this game with something to prove as well.

While the missed lay-ups by Al Horford and Isaiah Thomas in the final minute of Monday’s 107-106 loss certainly were factors in the game’s outcome, there were a series of miscommunications earlier in the quarter that fueled Houston’s late surge.

Following the game, Isaiah Thomas pointed out how he called out a play that Jonas Jerebko interpreted as another play the Celtics called.

The miscommunication led to a turnover and subsequent lay-up which in hindsight looms huge considering the margin of victory was just one point.

“The two play calls sound alike,” Thomas told reporters afterwards. “In the heat of battle, I have to do a better job of making sure everybody knows what play we’re running. He (Jerebko) handed the ball back to me when the play wasn’t to hand the ball back to me. That was one of the turnovers that was the key.

Thomas added, “It’s not his fault. As a group, as a point guard, I have to do a better job of letting my guys know what play we’re running. Those little things, especially on the road, those make you lose games. But that wasn’t the play that made us lose. I’m not putting this on Jonas at all.”

Indeed, this team’s success as well as their struggles are the collective efforts of all their core players, Thomas included.

And for them to get back on track, it won’t be one or two players that will make it happen.

It’ll be a team effort, the kind that will allow Boston to find success against different teams no matter how extremely different their styles of play may be.