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Mitch's Sports Report: Two Long-Time Patriots Thorns Removed From Playoff Side

The NFL post-season is nearly set after a slate of dramatic games on Xmas day, none more nail-biting than the Pittsburgh Steelers winning the AFC North and knocking the Baltimore Ravens out of the playoff picture on the very last play of the game.

Trailing by three with just ten seconds to go and no time-outs left, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger found Antonio Brown on the one yard line, where he was immediately hit by two Ravens defenders, but Brown reached his arm out with the ball, breaking the goal line by inches even though his body remained outside the end zone, and that was enough to give the Steelers a 31-27 win in Pittsburgh and a post-season berth. This is good news for the New England Patriots, who now have two teams in the Denver Broncos and now the Ravens who play them especially tough out of the way for a possible return to the Superbowl. The Broncos were eliminated after getting blown out by the Kansas City Chiefs yesterday, and will watch the playoffs from home if they choose to do so just one year after winning the Superbowl.

As for the Patriots they have already clinched the AFC east and a first round playoff bye and can secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win or tie against Miami in the last game of the regular season or a loss by the Oakland Raiders.

In the NBA yesterday the Boston Celtics held off a late rally by the NY Knicks to win 119-114 at Madison Square Garden. The Celts had a nine point lead that disappeared on an 11-2 New York run with just over a minute to play, but Marcus Smart hit a tie-breaking three pointer to give Boston the eventual winning bucket. Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 27 points. Carmelo Anthony had a game-high 29 for the Knicks in the losing effort. Boston has won five of their last six.

Another big game yesterday featured a rematch of last year's NBA finals opponents and it again went the way of the Cavs. Cleveland's Kyrie Irving sank the game-winning bucket over Steph Curry with just three seconds to go to give the Cavaliers a 109-108 win over the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors will be kicking themselves for letting this one get away, watching a 14-point early fourth quarter lead evaporate. LeBron James scored 31 points and added 13 rebounds for a double-double in the rematch.

A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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