Collinsworth on the Pats: 'They'll bounce back'

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Collinsworth on the Pats: 'They'll bounce back'

The Patriots' two consecutive losses have the locals in a panic . . . but not Cris Collinsworth.

The ex-Bengals receiver, who now serves as the analyst on NBC's 'Sunday Night Football', calls the Pats' recent struggles "a little bump in the road" and reminds everyone there's one big reason "it's hard to imagine this team not bouncing back".

"This is a league where you still pick the quarterback, and when you still pick the quarterback you still pick Tom Brady," Collinsworth said Tuesday on 'The Dan Patrick Show', while admitting that "maybe Brady's second now to Aaron Rodgers . . . "

He also thinks there's another reason New England lost two in a row.

"But I think the other thing we have to remember is who they played the last two weeks," said Collinwsworth. "Watching the Giants in that game, their pass rush is devastating now that they have all their injured players back. They were hitting Tom Brady about the time his back foot was hitting the ground, and that offensive line for the Patriots is not that bad. I mean, they are okay. So I think we have to give the Giants a little credit.

"Obviously, the Steelers surprised them. The Steelers came out and went completely out of character, played the bump-and-run coverage. The Patriots did not adjust very fast, which I thought was stunning in and of itself . . . We're talking about the great Bill Belichick, the great Tom Brady, and yet you could tell it took several quarters for them to figure out that this was what the Steelers were going to do to them."

But for all the happy talk, Collinsworth still has a warning:

"Now they get the Jets, and I thought the Jets played more like the Jets than I've seen them all season this past weekend against Buffalo."

Shots don't fall for Celtics in frustrating 114-98 loss to Hawks

Shots don't fall for Celtics in frustrating 114-98 loss to Hawks

BOSTON – You hear coaches and players often refer to the NBA as a make-miss league.

When summing up what happened in Boston’s 114-98 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, sadly it was that simple.

Dennis Schroder led the six double-figure scorers for the Hawks with 21 points on 9-for-14 shooting.

Boston got many of the shots that they have been getting throughout this run in which they came into Monday’s game having won 11 of their previous 14 games.

The Celtics (38-22) have now lost three of their last four games. Life won’t get any easier for them with defending NBA champion Cleveland coming into town on Wednesday.

We have seen the Celtics make some miraculous comebacks under fourth-year coach Brad Stevens, but Celtics fans understandably began hitting the exits with more than three minutes to play and Boston looking up at a 108-84 deficit.

Credit the Hawks defense which played with a greater sense of urgency, the kind you would expect from a team that had come in riding a three-game losing streak.

Meanwhile, Boston looked like the team that we have seen most of this season which relies heavily on their perimeter shooting to win games.

That’s not all that surprising against the Hawks whose interior defense is anchored by Dwight Howard.

Howard, who had 17 points and 12 rebounds, also had a pair of blocked shots and altered many others.

But the Celtics spent a good chunk of the second half with Howard out of the game.

Howard, an absolute unstoppable force for the Hawks all game, picked up his second technical foul (an automatic ejection) for hanging on the rim following a put-back dunk with 4:03 to play in the third and Atlanta ahead 74-65.

He had picked up his first technical foul for shoving Al Horford earlier in the game.

But with Howard out, the Celtics still couldn’t take advantage of an Atlanta team that was much more vulnerable to dribble-drive penetration.

In fact, Atlanta began to pull away and took their biggest lead up to that point of the game, 84-69, following a 3-pointer by Tim Hardaway Jr. late in the third quarter which ended with the Hawks ahead 84-71.

And Boston’s struggles stemmed from their inability to make open shots.

For the game, the Celtics shot 39.1 percent from field which is a somewhat inflated figure considering the mini-run Boston's backups went on in the final minute or two of play.

Not even the usual high-scoring exploits of Isaiah Thomas could save the day.

The NBA’s leading scorer in the fourth quarter, Thomas had another sub-par night in the game’s final quarter of play.

He led the Celtics with 19 points, but only two came in the fourth quarter. And by failing to reach 20 points, Thomas’ franchise-record of consecutive games with 20 or more comes to an end at 43 straight.  

Reports: Blues trade Kevin Shattenkirk to Capitals

Reports: Blues trade Kevin Shattenkirk to Capitals

The Kevin Shattenkirk-to-Bruins rumblings are done for the remainder of the season.

Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Dispatch is reporting that the Blues have traded defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to the Washington Capitals.

According to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, the “main parts” the Blues will receive in the deal are 2017 first-rounder, a second-rounder in 2018 and Zach Sanford 

More to come. . .