Celtics-Sixers review: Close but no cigar

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Celtics-Sixers review: Close but no cigar

PHILADELPHIA The Boston Celtics continue to play with the kind of fight and grit that Doc Rivers is looking for.

The next step?

Winning.

The Celtics did essentially everything they wanted against Philadelphia except come away with a victory as the Sixers escaped with a 95-94 overtime win.

Evan Turner had the game-winning basket with 3.9 seconds to play in overtime.

Boston had a chance for a game-winning basket of their own, but Rajon Rondo slipped on the floor just prior to launching an air ball that had no chance of hitting the rim let alone going in.

So for all the work Boston did to hold their own on the boards (54-53, Philadelphia), for all that Jeff Green (19 points, eight rebounds) did at both ends of the floor not to mention Rondo's first triple-double of the season (16 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds), all the C's had to show for it was more of the same 'good try, good effort' sentiments and another loss.

"I don't listen to that," Rondo said. "It's all about wins and losses."

He added, "you play great and lose every game it doesn't mean anything. It's about wins and losses."

Here are some key points outlined prior to tonight's game that while didn't render the Celtics what they wanted - a win - it did move them that much further away from the dreaded "soft" label their coach Doc Rivers slapped on them following a Nov. 28 loss to Brooklyn in which Rondo wound up getting ejected and later suspended two games for pushing Nets forward Kris Humphries.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Kevin Garnett was so good against Minnesota because he got the ball so often on the block with plenty of time on the shot clock. Getting Garnett lots of early touches offensively usually works out well for the C's over the course of a game. Knowing this and actually doing it, that's another story.

WHAT WE SAW: Garnett had a solid game of 17 points and 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double this season.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Jason Terry vs. Jason Richardson: Terry has been in a nice groove lately, scoring at least 13 points in each of the Celtics' last four games. The C's will need more of that, especially with Richardson struggling the way he has shooting the ball recently.

WHAT WE SAW: Far and away the worst shooting game we have seen from Terry this season, he missed 11 of his 12 shot attempts and finished with just four points. Richardson was so-so for the Sixers with 13 points on 5-for-13 shooting. However, he did rack up a game-high five steals which contributed to the C's turning the ball over 19 times which generated 21 points for Philadelphia.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Brandon Bass had a stretch in the third quarter of Boston's win over Minnesota in which he was the best scorer on the floor. Finding a stretch like that against the wan will bode well both for him and the Celtics' chances of winning.

WHAT WE SAW: Bass only had two points for Boston, but that doesn't necessarily mean he had a bad game. He missed a few defensive rotations, but for the most part was OK for the Celtics. More important, he was a presence on the boards for the C's with seven rebounds.

STAT TO TRACK: The third quarter is usually a big one for both teams. The Celtics average 24.9 points in the third which ranks seventh in the league, while the Sixers are giving up just 23 points in the third quarter which is the sixth-lowest average in the league.

WHAT WE SAW: This was arguably the most important quarter of the game. Sixers head coach Doug Collins began to trap and double-team Rajon Rondo more which threw both Rondo and the C's off track. After a near triple-double in the first half, Rondo had just two points in the third. In addition, he had twice as many turnovers (4) in the quarter as assists (2). The end result was the C's scoring just 20 points in the quarter compared to Philadelphia tallying 26 which gave the Sixers a two-point lead going into the fourth.

Bruins' skid continues in 6-3 loss to Lightning

Bruins' skid continues in 6-3 loss to Lightning

BOSTON – The Bruins are doing it again. 

With a team that was badly in need of a win, the Bruins couldn’t get any separation from the Tampa Bay Lightning before ultimately sagging in the third period on the way to a deflating 6-3 loss at TD Garden on Thursday night. 

It marks four losses in a row for the Black and Gold with Thursday night as the worst among them, and doesn’t extinguish any of the concerns that Boston is in another late-season tailspin. 

Jonathan Drouin beat Tuukka Rask with a shot from the face-off circle that dipped underneath his glove hand for the game-winner, and Nikita Kucherov added the final two goals to give him a hat trick for a Bolts team that snapped their own three-game losing streak. 

This game had all the warning signs after a nondescript first period with the Bruins giving up goals immediately after they scored three times in the second period. The first was a David Pastrnak power play strike for his 32ndof the season, and the Lightning struck 44 seconds later with a Brayden Point rebound score after a big breakdown by Boston’s best players on the ice. 

Zdeno Chara again gave the Bruins a short-lived lead on a shorthanded goal in the second period, but Tampa Bay responded with a blistering Nikita Kucherov one-timer just 24 seconds later with the Bolts still on the power play. Boston scored again on a Riley Nash wraparound bid that he threw off the diving Victor Hedman in the crease, and Boston had a brief one-goal lead once again. 

It was 1:35 later that Anton Stralman beat Rask high to the glove side on an odd-man rush and that set up a third period where Tampa Bay scored three unanswered goals and sent the Bruins to their fourth straight loss. 

Report: Steelers' offer for Dont'a Hightower was bigger than Patriots'

Report: Steelers' offer for Dont'a Hightower was bigger than Patriots'

Dont'a Hightower left money on the table in New York and in Pittsburgh, and instead took a smaller deal to return the New England Patriots, according to CBSSports' Jason La Canfora.

The Jets' offer was previously reported to be $12 million per year, including incentives. La Canfora reiterated that report. But he also detailed Pittsburgh's offer, as the Steelers also outbid the Patriots with over $9 million per year.

Instead, Hightower settled for $8.7 million per season with New England, and will play under Bill Belichick in a Patriots jersey for the sixth season in 2017.

Hightower traveled a great deal during free agency, and ended up garnering interest from the Steelers, Jets, Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins.

The 27-year-old linebacker finished the 2016 season with 65 tackles tackles, 2.5 sacks, two pass deflections and one forced fumble. He also had a game-changing strip sack on Matt Ryan in Super Bowl LI that shifted the momentum of game.