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.

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 'capable of more' vs. lefties

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Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 'capable of more' vs. lefties

CHICAGO -- Quotes, Notes and Stars from the Red Sox' 4-1 loss to Chicago:

 

QUOTES:

"He's rarely in the middle of the plate. He pitches to the edge very effectively. He's got a number of different looks he can give you.'' - John Farrell on White Sox starter Jose Quintana.

"We have such a heavily righthand-hitting lineup, you would think that our guys would be able to handle the off-side pitching coming at them. . . We're capable of more.'' - Farrell on the Sox 0-3 record against lefty starters.

"He's done everything that we could have asked, to get deep into games and low run situations -- and not just this year. This goes back to when he was in the rotation last year.'' - Farrell on tough-luck loser Steven Wright.

"That's what I'm working for every time.'' - Carson Smith on his scoreless inning in his Red Sox debut.

"It is what it is. Keep working and try to be ready on whatever opportunities come. That's all I can say about that.'' - Chris Young, on the infrequency of lefty starters.

"A little frustrated with the walks. I gave them the second run with the walks. When I'm out there throwing 20 pitches an inning, it's hard to get into a rhythm.'' - Steven Wright.

 

NOTES

* The Red Sox have faced three lefty starters this season and are 0-3. They've managed two runs in 23 innings and hit just .108 (8-for-74) against them.

* When the opposition scores first, the Red Sox are 5-6 this season.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to nine games with a sixth-inning single.

* Dating back to last season, Steven Wright hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in his last nine starts.

* Hanley Ramirez's homer in the fifth was his first since April 6, covering 96 at-bats.

 

STARS

1) Jose Quintana

Chicago's starter was brilliant, allowing a single run in eight innings on just four hits without issuing a walk.

2) Jose Abreu

The White Sox first baseman drove in three of the four White Sox runs with a first-inning triple and a two-run double in the eighth.

3) Steven Wright

Once again, the knuckballer got almost no run support and was stuck with the loss despite allowing just two runs in six innings.