Celtics shut down Anthony at the end

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Celtics shut down Anthony at the end

BOSTON New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony was a one-man show in carrying the Knicks past the Boston Celtics when the two met on Christmas Day.

And he did it with a slew of clutch baskets in the fourth quarter, with very little help-defense being offered up or provided by the Celtics players.

Boston didn't make the same mistake on Friday night, sending waves of defenders at Anthony in the fourth, which left him no choice but to pass to less-prolific scorers.

The Celtics' plan worked, as they held on for a 91-89 win and go two games over .500 (12-10) for the first time all season.

Anthony finished with a team-high 26 points, but only two of those points came in the fourth quarter.

"We didn't want a repeat of what happened last game," said Boston's Chris Wilcox, referring to how Anthony scored 17 of his game-high 37 points in the Knicks' 106-104 Christmas Day win. "We went and pressured him and got the ball out of his hands and make somebody else make plays."

Which for New York, was the problem.

Anthony, who is known for being a bit ball-hoggish from time to time - OK, a lot of the time - did exactly what he was supposed to do when facing a double and triple team - pass the ball.

"I told my teammates, 'Every time I catch it, the Celtics are sending two, three guys at me; just be open. I'll find you',"said Anthony, who missed four of his five fourth-quarter shots.

He found rookie Iman Shumpert open for an open 3-pointer with less than a minute to play.

Shumpert missed it . . . badly.

Anthony spotted Landry Fields open a few seconds later, and he, too, missed.

It was that kind of night for Anthony and the Knicks (8-15) who have now lost 11 of their last 13 games.

"The only thing I can do when someone double- or triple-teams me is to find the open man," he said. "That's what I did."

And his teammates responded just how the C's anticipated.

"It's important to learn, and apply your lessons," said Kevin Garnett. "Tonight we did a good job of controlling him, making other guys beat us; putting other guys in position to beat us. And they're not really in position to do that. They really key in on Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemireto lead them. When you control those two a little bit, you sort of control their team."

Hightower, Branch will begin training camp on PUP list

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Hightower, Branch will begin training camp on PUP list

The Patriots will be without two of last year's defensive starters when training camp begins later this week. 

Both Dont'a Hightower and Alan Branch were placed on the physically unable to perform list on Monday. They are eligible to come off the list at any time. Once they are removed from the list, they will be eligible to practice fully. Players on PUP count against the 90-man training-camp roster.

Undrafted rookie tackle Andrew Jelks will begin camp on the active/non-football injury list. The Vanderbilt product dealt with knee injuries that kept him off the field each of the last two seasons. 

Neither Hightower, nor Branch, nor Jelks participated in spring practices at Gillette Stadium. Hightower was present for voluntary work, but during practices open to the media he typically did some conditioning off to the side. Branch skipped optional team activities (as he usually does), and though he was in Foxboro for mandatory minicamp, he did not practice during that three-day stretch.

Hightower was limited last season with knee and shoulder injuries. The MMQB.com's Albert Breer said on Sports Sunday that Hightower's health concerns made teams reticent to make him offers that would lure him away from New England. 

Report: Patriots in talks with CB Brandon Flowers

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Report: Patriots in talks with CB Brandon Flowers

In what’s been a somewhat busy offseason for their secondary, veteran cornerback Brandon Flowers is in talks with the Patriots, according to Adam Schefter. 

Flowers, who spent the first six seasons of his career with the Chiefs and last three with the Chargers, was released in March. He is set to meet with the Cardinals this week as well. 

The Pats lost cornerback Logan Ryan this offseason, but landed the top free agent corner on the market in Stephon Gilmore. A potential addition of Flowers might give them an insurance policy if second-year pro Cyrus Jones fails to improve from a dismal rookie season. 

Flowers was limited to just six games last season, as a concussion ended his season in December. He has played in at least 11 games in the rest of his NFL seasons. His lone Pro Bowl nod came in the 2013 season.