Celtics still confident in wake of loss to 76ers

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Celtics still confident in wake of loss to 76ers

PHILADELPHIA The Boston Celtics will spend today resting, licking their wounds from a humiliating 32-point loss at Philadelphia.

Kevin Garnett's run of double-doubles scoring and rebounding came to an end. Paul Pierce struggled with his shot. Ray Allen literally couldn't make a shot (he missed all five of his shot attempts).

It was the kind of Big Three performance that will bring out the boo birds who just a few weeks ago, had written them and the C's off as a team to worry about.

"You can't write three Hall of Famers off," Bass told CSNNE.com. "And the way Rondo's been playing you can't write us off until this thing is over."

A big part of the Celtics' improved play has been to not get too caught up with what's around the corner, and instead focus on what's in front of them.

"It's simplified a lot of things for us," Garnett said earlier this week. "We're not looking down the schedule and anticipating teams we haven't even played yet. The focus is on individual teams. I just know it's important for us to continue to play together basketball."

They did just that in Wednesday's loss, one in which not a single member of the Big Four played well.

And with the trading deadline a week from today, this will certainly be looked upon as yet another reason why the Celtics need to break up their core group.

Players are quick to say that all talk about who should stay isn't in their wheel house; that's Danny Ainge's department.

Still, there's no question that as this team continues to get healthier, so grows their confidence that they can not only play together, but also win together.

"We're definitely getting better as a team, for sure," Bass said. "And our Big Four, they lead us. The rest of us follow, fit in where we can and just keep getting these wins. That's what it's all about, winning games."

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.