The Boston Bruins went into Monday night’s match up on a 6-game winning streak, but left it with nothing but a bruised ego after suffering their worst lost of the season in a 10-2 pounding by the Washington Capitals. The Capitals scored early and often, lighting the net six times in the first period alone. Bruins Goaltender Tim Thomas was pulled from the game not once, but twice after allowing a season high of seven goals on 24 shots.
“It’s really tough to take,” Thomas said on yahoo.com. “It was embarrassing. On the other hand, what’s the difference? If you lost 3-2 or you lost like that, we’re still in the playoffs as of now. You definitely should learn from it, but you can’t get too far down.”
For the Capitals, Alex Ovechkin scored three goals and had two assists to lead the strong offensive attack. Ovechkin now has 52 goals on the season, best in the NHL, and almost had a fourth goal in the contest until it was re-scored as an assist on a deflected goal by Brooks Laich.
“Today, everything just went to the net,” Ovechkin said on yahoo.com. “You are going to score (in) lots of games, and some you (won’t). I always tell myself not to think about goals and to just play how I can.”
The Bruins need to bounce back from the tough loss and skate again tonight vs. the Florida Panthers who have been struggling this season. The Panthers bring a 29-31-8 record to the ice and have gone 3-4-3 over their past ten games compared to Boston’s 7-2-1 record.
P.J. Brown, newest member of the Boston Celtics, sat out for his second straight game on Sunday. “Physically, I’m in shape. But I’m not in NBA shape,” said Brown. “The two biggest things are timing and stamina. It’s not going to be overnight, but I’ll put in a lot of work and work my tail off. … When the time comes and my number is called, I’ll be ready to go.” Brown will likely see his first action on Friday against his former team, the Chicago Bulls. In addition to P.J. Brown, the Celtics are ready to add Sam Cassell to their roster as soon as he clears waivers on Monday. Both players will add depth on the bench, and allow the ‘Big 3′ to get some extra rest before the playoffs.
On Sunday the Celtics extended their win streak to five straight, winning a tight game against the Atlanta Hawks at home. Kevin Garnett had his best game since coming back from an abdominal injury, scoring 20 points and pulling down 16 rebounds. Ray Allen contributed 17 points, and Kendrick Perkins put out his best effort of the season; 11 points, a season-high 12 rebounds, and a career-high 6 assists. Paul Pierce had a game-changing 17 points in the 3rd quarter, 30 total on the game. The Hawks could not wrestle the lead back, and the C’s would go on to win their 5th straight game.
The Celtics and Detroit Pistons will play on Wednesday, possibly a preview of the Eastern Conference Finals.
At the trading deadline, the Pittsburgh Penguins added Marian Hossa, Hal Gill, and Pascal Dupuis to their roster. The Boston Bruins stood pat, deciding to keep their young players and not interfere with the chemistry the team had developed all season.
Even without young star Patrice Bergeron (sidelined since October with a grade 3 concussion), the Bruins have become a force to be reckoned with in the East. After a 4-win, 1 overtime loss road trip; the B’s returned home to annihilate the conference-best Ottawa Senators with a 4-0 shutout. The Bruins are now in 6th place with 74 points; 3 points behind the Canadiens for 5th place.
On Thursday night the B’s faced off against the 4th place Penguins. With Sidney Crosby out for at least 2 more weeks, Evgeni Malkin has been putting up similar numbers in his abscence.
Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, the defense allowed Marco Sturm to score twice in the first period, setting the tone for the rest of the game. Captain Zdeno Chara and PJ Axelsson scored in the second on mental mistakes by the Pen’s D.
The Penguins seemed to hit the boiling point in the third period. At about at 10:36 a scuffle broke out that resulted in roughing penalties for Wideman and Chara, and a boarding call on Pitt’s Maxime Talbot. A couple minutes after the tussle, new Penguin Pascal Dupuis scored their only goal of the night.
The highlight of the game may have been when 19-year-old Milan Lucic threw off the gloves and grappled with Jarkko Ruutu for nearly two minutes. The fight gave the team (and the fans) a boost. Only seconds later a Mark Stuart shot deflected off of David Krejci’s foot for the 5th goal of the game.
Another decisive victory against a higher-seeded team helps the B’s playoff chances. They will look to extend their seven-game point streak on Saturday against the Atlanta Thrashers.
I’m sure every Celtics fan has heard the rumors regarding Sam Cassell coming to the Celtics over the past few weeks. The seasoned veteran hinted at his interest in joining the Green Machine but couldn’t say much as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers released the oft-injured guard yesterday opening the door for a move to the Celtics. Cassell has played in 38 games this season, averaging 12.8 points, 4.7 assists, and 2.8 rebounds. No word on whether or not the Celtics will pursue Cassell. Sam could provide some veteran leadership and experience off the bench for the Celtics. Cassell needs to clear waivers by midnight tonight to be eligible in the playoffs for any team that signs him.
It had been over two weeks since the Boston Celtics stepped foot in the TD Banknorth Garden, but it felt great to return home Wednesday night with a huge 92-87 win over the surging Cleveland Cavaliers. The C’s were in control most of the way which pleased another sell-out crowd of over 18,000 fans and brought them to their feet for the games final seconds.
Not only did Celtics supporters get to see a great game, they got to witness a piece of history as Lebron James became the youngest player in NBA history to score 10,000 points. He did it in 23 years and 59 days, which was more then a year faster then it took Kobe Bryant to reach the milestone when he was 24 years and 193 days old.
“It doesn’t make me happy to do it in a losing effort,” James said on NBA.com.”To be in the record books is a tribute to my teammates, myself and my family.”
The historic basket came on a thundering dunk with 4:54 remaining in the third quarter that cut the Celtics lead to 9 points (63-54) but 21 seconds later after a Rajon Rondo floater put the C’s back up by 11 and the double-digit lead held until the final minute of the contest.
“We had our hands full (with James), but I thought we did a pretty good job,” said Ray Allen on NBA.com, “I think we gutted it out.”
Allen led the Celtics in scoring with a 7-10 shooting performance, good for 22 points in 36+ minutes of action. Kevin Garnett also contributed with a double-double grabbing 11 boards, hitting for 18 points, and snatching a game high 4 steals. Paul Pierce and Leon Powe were also in double figures scoring 12 and 13 points respectively in the win.
At one point mid-way through the fourth quarter, the Celtics lead was as high as 16 points.
This is a big win for the club, especially coming off of a sub-par road-trip in which they went 2-3 over the week. Now, in the midst of a five game home stand, the Celtics hope to defend their home territory and stay a top of the East. The Cavaliers game was exciting, but the gem of this home stand is the match up on Wed. March 5th, vs. Detroit. The Pistons are currently 3 games behind the C’s for the top spot in the East, but the Celtics have not forgotten that it was the same Pistons who handed them their first home court loss of the season back on Dec. 19th.
In addition to the victory, the Celtics also announced yesterday that they had signed veteran PF/C P.J. Brown for the stretch run. Brown plays aggressive low post defense and once in game shape will be used off the bench when Garnett and Kendrick Perkins are in foul trouble. The leadership role he will assume immediately will be more influential than his physical presence on the floor. He’s not a selfish player and truly believes in the concept of team, and that’s exactly the type of guys the Celtics could use.
“First and foremost, [I'm] just try to be even more of a stabilizer on the bench, being there for the guys, being another pair of eyes on the bench, another voice in the locker room and keep them going in the right direction,” Brown said on Yahoo Sports. “I know I’m probably not going to be playing a lot here real soon, but just being there for the guys for whatever they need – encouraging, supporting and being the biggest cheerleader I can possibly be as of right now.”
Looking at the rest of the Celtics current home stand, they will battle it out with the Charlotte Bobcats March 29th, and then the Atlanta Hawks come to town for an April 1st contest. Mark your calendars if you haven’t already for the war with the Detroit Pistons on April 5th and to cap off the stand the C’s will welcome the Chicago Bulls to town for a game on April 7th.
The Boston Bruins won their fourth straight game last night beating the Ottawa Senators 4-0 at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston. The Bruins pounced on a struggling Senators team scoring their first goal within the first six minutes. Thornton, Krejci and Chara were the goal scorers for the Bruins. Tim Thomas recorded his 2nd shutout of the year with 22 saves.
The Bruins are playing great hockey of late and currently hold the 6th spot in the Eastern Conference. Last night’s win bumped the New York Rangers into the number 7 spot in the East. The two teams are tied with 72 points each. With such a tight race in the East the Bruins, like all teams near or over the playoff threshold, need to keep winning if they want to stay in the hunt.
The Bruins will host the Penguins on Thursday 2/28 at the Garden.
The Boston Celtics were able to salvage their West Coast trip with two consecutive wins, finishing the trip at 2-3. Last night the Celtics dominated the Los Angeles Clippers 104-76. After struggling on offense and defense in their first three games on the trip the Celtics were firing on all cylinders last night. The Celtics once again used a balanced attack approach on offense, with Pierce and Posey scoring 17 points and Ray Allen adding 15. Kevin Garnett in his fifth game back from an abdominal strain added 11 points and 6 rebounds.
The Celtics will be back in Boston on Wednesday 2/27 to host the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs have won three straight since completing a trade that landed them Ben Wallace, Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak. This will be a great test for both teams. Celtics tickets are still available for this game.
After 3 consecutive losses to West Coast teams, the Boston Celtics were able to get back on track in Portland last night. The Celtics had dropped games to the Denver Nuggets, the Golden State Warriors and the Phoenix Suns before defeating the Trail Blazers 112 to 102 on Sunday. Paul Pierce led the way for the Celtics scoring 30 points with 7 rebounds and 5 assists. The effort from Pierce was no doubt an improvement from his awful performance in Phoenix on Friday. The Celtics were able to fight back in Portland after trailing by 17 points in the first quarter. Ray Allen added 19 points for the Celtics.
The Celtics will finish up their West Coast trip tonight with a game in L.A. against the Clippers. The Boston Celtics are back home on Wednesday night to face the new look Cavaliers. Great Celtics tickets are still available for Wednesday night’s game.
Entering the 2nd half of the NBA season, the Boston Celtics were clearly the team to beat and that’s exactly what happened in the first game back after the All-Star break weekend. The Denver Nuggets shot .513 percent from the floor en route to a high scoring, 124-118 victory over the team with the NBA’s best record. This was the Celtics first lost to a team from the Western Conference and their 4th straight loss to the Nuggets in Denver.
Unfortunately for the C’s, there is no time to regroup, the team is in the midst of a week long West Coast road trip in which they will play five games in the seven nights. They will now go onto face Golden State, Phoenix, Portland, and L.A (Clippers) before they return to Beantown for an Eastern Conference showdown with Lebron James and the Cavaliers on Feb. 27th.
One bright note in last nights’ loss was the return of Kevin Garnett who had been sidelined for two weeks with an abdominal muscle strain. The injury forced him to also miss out on the All-Star game which no one was happy. Garnett had received the most votes out of any player in the league for the game but due to his injury missed out on the action. He was still in attendance for the weekend’s festivities, cheering on the East and supporting teammates Paul Pierce and Ray Allen who were also elected as team members.
Hope you had a fun weekend guys because you all looked jet lagged and fatigued late in last nights’ game and it may have cost you the win.
Garnett looked especially rusty and his statistics for the evening were sub-par at best. He netted a season low of 4 points, grabbed only 8 rebounds and turned the ball over 4 times in a mere 20+ minutes of action. Celtics coach Doc Rivers was not very shy with reporters after the game about how he felt of the superstar’s performance.
“Not very good,” said Rivers, “But you have to expect that when he sits out that long. He was rusty.”
By the end of the road trip, expect to see Garnett back in his normal routine of double-doubles every night. As uninspiring as last nights performance was, there is no reason to get down on the Big Ticket because he’s good… he’s really good. KG is allowed to have an off night on the day when he returns from a two week absence due to an injury. All we saw last night was that Garnett is simply human. I know, I was shocked too.
With four remaining games on their West Coast swing, Garnett and the Celtics need to pick up the intensity level and find a way to win like they had been doing the whole first half of the season.
As long as the team is in first place, they will have a target on their back wherever they go. Teams all over the league are gunning for them, now its gut check time to see how well the men in green can dodge those bullets in order to stay hot and on top.
The Boston Celtics have been playing great basketball all season long, even recently without the presence of former league MVP Kevin Garnett. Garnett who suffered an abdominal muscle strain two weeks ago has missed the team’s last seven games. Over that time period the men in green have produced a 5-2 record with nice victories over the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks.
One key to the teams overall success this year has been their dominant play versus the Western Conference. After yesterdays win over the Spurs, the Celtics season record against the West is a perfect 16-0. The energy at the TD Banknorth Garden this season feels like that of the old Boston Garden in the 80’s when Larry Bird was still in uniform and leading the team to their 16th NBA Championship in 1986.
Did someone say Green 17?
It might still be too early to start to think about another banner hanging from the rafters, but it’s not too early to see that this team definitely has the potential to win another title. When was the last time that midway through the NBA season the Celtics were the heavy favorites to represent the East in the Finals? Can’t remember? That okay because neither can the team. Most of them were in middle or elementary school when the Celtics last made a run at a title in 1988 but fell short to the Detroit Pistons in 6 games in the Eastern Conference Finals. The teams post-season run in 2002 was more of a Cinderella story then the domination we are seeing this year.
Besides the off-season additions of Garnett and Ray Allen, what makes this year’s team so much different from last years? It’s the little things, not to mention the C’s are showing some heart on the court every night. They’re diving for loose balls, hustling back on defense, taking charges, out rebounding bigger teams, and most importantly they are doing it all as one unit.
Members on this year’s team are accepting their roles. The Celtics are not asking Paul Pierce to take the 20 shots he was averaging a game last year. He has a better supporting cast, therefore his shot selection has improved, creating better offensive looks and more production for the team. James Posey is only averaging 24 minutes a game, but in those minutes is producing on both ends of the court. He’s providing a defensive spark and the three point shot as well, shooting at .410 percent from behind the arc through 48 games.
It’s about time that a Danny Ainge trade is finally panning out, the Celtics can say that they clearly got the better end of the KG deal. Not only is the team winning, but the hibernating fans of the past ten years are coming to life, and Boston is once again a basketball city and not just an East Coast tourist attraction.
As the playoffs approach and the anticipation continues to grow, keep an eye on the younger players on the roster like Rajon Rondo, Glen Davis and Kendrick Perkins who have never been in the NBA Playoff atmosphere before. The mix of veterans on the team should be able to help them along the way but one can only hope that they will step up to the challenge when the time calls for it.
When Garnett returns from the injury and the C’s are back at full strength the rest of the NBA needs to keep one thing in mind; this team is on a mission and they will not stop until it is complete.