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Sports Thoughts - Pats and Celts

Oh, it's a good time to be a Boston sports fan.  I follow the Patriots and Celtics closely and go to a lot of their games.  Some thoughts on recent happenings:

Patriots: The Patriots won a close game yesterday against the Eagles.  This preserves the Patriots unbeaten season at 11-0, but I am sure that a lot of fans are disappointed.  The Patriots had won their previous games by an average of 25 points per game (including a 4-point win over the Colts).  So, a 3-point win feels like a letdown.  And, the pointspreads on the Patriots games have gotten ridiculous.  How can the Eagles be 24-point underdogs?  That's like saying that the Eagles are average compared to the teams the Pats have beaten this year.  We saw last night that the Eagles are still a good team.  I did expect the Pats to win more easily, but 20+ pointspreads are ridiculous in the pros.

By the way, don't think that a couple of close games hurt the Patriots legacy vs. some of the other teams considered the greatest of all time.  The 1985 Chicago Bears actually LOST one game, to the Dolphins 38-24.  They also had 6 and 7 point wins (and a lot of blowouts).  They only allowed 11.5 points per game and won their first two playoff games by shutouts (and crushed the Patriots 46-10 in Super Bowl XX).

The 1972 Miami Dolphins are the only team to go undefeated through a full NFL season (so far!).  They had wins of 2 points, 1 point, and 4 points (and 52 points vs. the Patriots!).  To be fair, they played most of their season with their back-up quarterback (Earl Morrall) instead of Hall of Famer Bob Greise.  They were very run-oriented, with two 1,000 yard backs, Larry Csonka and Jim Kiick.

They Pats are almost as dominating as the 1985 Bears.  If they go undefeated, they certainly join this pantheon of greatest teams ever.  Even if they lose one game, they may belong there.

By the way, if the Patriots only go 3-2 in their last five games, they will still clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Celtics: They Celtics are off to a great start.  They have also won two close games, including Saturday night's last second come-from-behind victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.  I'm impressed with how quickly the Celtics have jelled given how many new players they have.  And, they have a decent bench with some NBA veterans like James Posey, Eddie House, and Scott Pollard.  The Celtics have an interesting stretch of games coming up against the Cavaliers (twice), the Miami Heat (who almost beat the Celtics earlier this season), and the Knicks (always a circus). 

I love how the Celtics are playing, with lots of passing leading to easy baskets.  If you check out the stats, you'll see that the Celtics lead the league in assist differential (the number of assists the Celtics have per game vs. the number of assists that their opponents have).  The Celtics average 24.41 assists per game, and their opponents only have 17.  The Celtics are third in the league in assists and first in giving up the fewest.  This is indicative of getting a lot of easy baskets and not allowing the same by the opponents.  Sounds like a good recipe for success to me.  And, fun to watch.

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