Dyami Starks scored all 17 of his points in the second half, including a tiebreaking driving basket with 1:44 to play, lifting Bryant past Boston College 56-54 for the school's first victory ever over an Atlantic Coast Conference team.
BUFFALO – A year ago Don Sweeney traded away one of his talented young players for pennies on the dollar when he shipped Dougie Hamilton to Calgary for three draft picks, and it would appear he’s learned from that experience. While the Bruins general manager admitted he was desperately in search of some defensemen help this weekend, Sweeney said the prices were too high to get a deal done on Friday night at the First Niagara Center.
A source indicated to CSNNE.com earlier on Friday that All-Star defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk would end up with “the Bruins, Flyers or Rangers” this season, but it sure sounded like the St. Louis Blues were pricing themselves out of making any deals. According to Sweeney, other team’s managers were asking him to include both of his 2016 first round picks and more to swing a deal for a defenseman, and that young right wing David Pastrnak’s name kept coming up in these discussions.
That was far too steep an asking price in the rightful minds of Sweeney and Bruins management, so there were no defensemen that ended up getting moved on Friday night. Unfortunately, other NHL teams will keep asking about the emerging Pastrnak knowing full well that the Bruins are in a desperate position to repair their personnel on the back end.
“In all honesty it would have taken both first rounders and then some…the acquisition cost was high. We want to continue to improve our hockey club with whatever we have to do, but it’s not unlike last year when it would have taken all three first rounders [to get a deal done]. There’s a balancing act there,” said Sweeney. “There was not a lot that moved around today. People have been laying foundation [for trades] for quite some time, but there are players that we’re just not comfortable putting into deals. I’m going to defend that. I’ll be honest with you that I just am.
“We’ve taken a position where we’re going to build this the right way. We want to be competitive and improve our team, and we’ll be active in the free agent market to fill holes while allowing our young players to push through. But I wasn’t trading David Pastrnak. We’ve been criticized, and rightfully so at times, for being impatient with our younger, skilled players. This represents a good opportunity that we don’t want to do that.”
Instead the Bruins selected Charlie McAvoy and Trent Frederic with the 14th and 29th overall picks in the first round, and they’ll start at the drawing board on Saturday while hoping to build toward a deal for a top-4 “transitional defenseman.” They’ll also do it knowing they made the right call in protecting the 14th pick where they selected a future transitional defenseman that will perhaps be a younger, cheaper version of Shattenkirk three years down the road.
Joe Haggerty can be followed on Twitter: @HacksWithHaggs
Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Rangers:
* “(Matt) Bush has tremendous arm, but what we’ve seen . . . I don’t know that there’s anyone that throws a hard enough to get it by Mookie [Betts]. Just lightening bat speed . . . The dugout erupted when he caught it.” - Farrell said on Betts’ ninth inning homerun.
* “It was an outstanding comeback. Just a tremendous character win tonight by our guys. The work that our bullpen did tonight was just outstanding. ” - John Farrell said following the comeback win over Texas.
* “Koji comes back after a couple of rough outings and was vintage Koji here tonight.” - Farrell said on Uehara striking out the side in the ninth to earn the save
* “The homerun. Without that homerun, you don’t get to that wild pitch.” - Jackie Bradley said on what the Red Sox dugout was more excited about in the ninth.
* “Winning, to me that’s everything. I definitely want to go out there and throw the baseball better. I want to win myself. But at the end of the day I want the Red Sox to win.” - David Price said following the Red Sox win, despite his inability to keep the game close throughout the duration of his start.
* David Ortiz extended his hitting streak to 10 games with his fourth inning single. He’s now 12 for his last 36 during his 10-game hitting streak.
* Sandy Leon’s ninth inning double was his 12th hit of the year. He’s now 12-for-22 (.545) to start his 2016 campaign. Four of his hits are doubles and he also has four RBI.
* David Price’s 2.1-inning start is his shortest with Boston yet. The lefty gave up a season-worst 12 hits -- the most hits he’s given up since May 8th last season in a 6.1 inning start.
* Hanley Ramirez’s two-run homerun marks his third in the last ten games.
* The Red Sox improve to 22-3 when Jackie Bradley Jr. hits a homerun following his 13th homerun of the season.
1) Mookie Betts
Betts had over three hours between his two base hits, but his second proved the most important. He launched a 2-0 fastball into left center, tying the game in the ninth.
2) Jackie Bradley Jr.
Bradley laced a homerun into the right field second deck to put Boston in striking distance at 7-4. In addition to knocking in two runs, he scored in the ninth after he walked, starting the ninth inning comeback.
3) Koji Uehara
Despite struggling of late, Uehara was called on to close and struck out the side to seal the win. He was the final piece of the 6.2 innings of relief from the bullpen that came in one of Boston’s biggest wins of the year.
Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar
The wheels of the Kevin Durant free agent train have been set in motion.
"Durant’s representatives at Roc Nation are working to solidify invitations" for meetings with a list of five teams, which includes the Boston Celtics, according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski. The other teams listed are the Warriors, Clippers, Heat, Spurs and Thunder. The Nuggets, Knicks, Lakers, Rockets, and Wizards could "could still find audiences with him," but they are considered outsiders.
Wojnarowski says the Thunder remain the frontrunners, but "the Warriors have Durant's attention."
If Durant chooses the Warriors it could happen very quickly. Warriors restricted free agent Harrison Barnes could sign an offer sheet for a contract on July 1, which would mean the Warriors would have only have three days to match the deal. They'd likely need a decision from Durant before then, or they'd risk losing one of their valuable pieces without being able to fill his role.
Durant plans on making his decision before July 9 anyway, according to Wojnarowski, because that's when he's leaving for a publicity tour in the Far East.
The fact the Celtics are even on Durant's primary list shouldn't come as a surprise considering his actions after his game in Boston against the Celtics earlier this year. They do have tough competition though. Both the Warriors and Heat have the cap space to absorb Durant's likely max contract worth about $26.4 million, and the Spurs can easily create the space if necessary.
The Clippers are interesting though, because they'd have to deal one of their stars (Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, or Blake Griffin) to free the cap space to sign Durant. If he does choose the Clippers, maybe Danny Ainge could help Doc Rivers swing a deal. How about something involving Blake Griffin and Jae Crowder?
But the Celtics have an edge. Their the only team listed that can sign two max contract free agents. If Durant wants to play with his buddy Al Horford, or anyone else for that matter, the Celtics can make it happen easily. How about a 2007 draft class reunion with Durant, Horford, and Jared Dudley? It's an odd trio, but Dudley has already expressed interest in joining the Celtics.
No matter what happens, though, the Celtics are in the race. Celtics fans might be disappointed after Thursday night. But we're just getting started, folks.
Kevin O’Connor can be followed on Twitter: @KevinOConnorNBA