Celtics-Bucks has playoff implications

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Celtics-Bucks has playoff implications

BOSTON The NBA season is still relatively young, but it's never too soon to think about the playoffs right?

Especially when you consider tonight's game between the Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks will be their fourth and final matchup of the season.

The game should have even more significance for the Celtics who come into the game having lost two of the three previous meetings.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers acknowledged that there is some thought given to the playoff implications after facing a team as many times as the C's have the Bucks.

"But really, I don't think about (it) that much anyway," Rivers said. "Obviously we know if we win, it's a 2-2 tie. But at the end of the day, you have to be playing well."

And that remains an issue for the Celtics, whose play tends to look like the basketball equivalent of the cha-cha slide - one step here, another step there, but never a lengthy string of steps forward.

Former Celtic and current Milwaukee Buck Marquis Daniels understands that tonight's game will give the Bucks a leg up on the C's in case both teams finish with an identical record which isn't out of the question when you consider the C's (13-12) and the Bucks (13-11) are separated by mere percentage points now.

"It would be nice to have that advantage, but our focus right now is more on us and just continuing to improve as a team," Daniels said. "We can't really think about the playoffs now. Our focus has to be on just trying to get better."

Boston's Courtney Lee had similar thoughts on the importance of tonight's game.

"We have to start winning games, first of all," Lee said. "That's our main focus now, try to get more than a two-game winning streak. Whether it's Milwaukee or whoever, we just have to starting beating teams, period."

The C's actually had one three-game winning streak this season, one that began with tonight's opponent, Milwaukee.

"Let's start up another one, a longer one," Lee said.

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

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Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.