Celtics continue to stumble in 112-100 loss to Spurs

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Celtics continue to stumble in 112-100 loss to Spurs

BOSTON NBA championships are not won or lost in the first month of the season, which is a good thing for the Boston Celtics.
Because where the C's are now isn't anywhere close to that of a title contender, a point driven home by the San Antonio Spurs who handed the C's a 112-100 loss on Wednesday.
Tony Parker led all scorers with 26 points to go with six rebounds. Tim Duncan had a solid night as well with 20 points and 15 rebounds.
Boston (6-6) has now lost three of its last four games, and are in serious jeopardy of falling below-.500 with the Oklahoma City Thunder invading the TD Garden on Friday.
Rajon Rondo led a Celtics' rally in the fourth quarter which trimmed San Antonio's 16 point lead down to as little as six points. But the Spurs, as they had done all night, responded with a surge of their own to leave no doubt as to who the better team was on this night.
Rondo finished with a team-high 22 points along with 15 assists. The 15 assists extends his franchise record for double-digit assist games to 35 which is the third-longest such streak in NBA history.
The Celtics' problems began in the first quarter, and they were essentially a carbon copy of what has plagued them throughout this season -- poor rebounding and too many easy baskets given up.
Boston was especially bad on the offensive board where they only grabbed a single offensive rebound.
Not one.
Despite those issues, the C's held their own for most of the first half. But the offensive lulls this team tends to go through, creeped up at the worst time - at the end of quarters.
And that kept the Celtics in perpetual catch-up mode.
In the first, Boston led 25-20 with 2:36 to play. San Antonio closed out the quarter with a 10-2 run to lead, 30-27.
It was more of the same in the second quarter.
After a 16-foot, step-back jumper by Paul Pierce tied the game at 42, the Spurs finished the half with a 14-6 spurt to lead by eight.
San Antonio spent the entire third quarter with the lead, but the Celtics had their chances.
Trailing by two points with the ball, Courtney Lee was called for traveling. On the ensuing Spurs possession, Danny Green hit a 3-pointer.
It was that kind of game for the Celtics who continued to get close, but failed to get that one big stop or knock down that one big shot to take over control of the game.
Meanwhile, the Spurs seemed to ratchet up their play at both ends of the floor whenever they needed to, which was a big part of their 82-74 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Pastrnak's two goals lead Bruins past Panthers, 4-3

Pastrnak's two goals lead Bruins past Panthers, 4-3

BOSTON – The Bruins are undefeated this season when they manage to cobble together three goals in a game. 

It took a little extra as David Pastrnak knifed through former BC defenseman Mike Matheson in overtime for his second goal of the game, and his 15th of the season, to take a 4-3 win over the Panthers at TD Garden. 

It was thought the final offensive push they needed took place in the third period when Ryan Spooner hopped on the David Krejci line with David Backes, and fired a shot at the Boston net that Backes redirected through Roberto Luongo for his seventh of the season. 

But the Panthers tied it up on a Demers goal late in the third period, and that set up Pastrnak’s brilliant one-on-one move for the game-winner for the Black and Gold. 

The Bruins led off the scoring on a nice play by Tim Schaller winning a battle to enter the Florida zone, and then circling around behind the net before burying a one-timer from the slot as he crashed the net to connect with a David Krejci dish headed straight his way. 

The Panthers tied it a period later when the legend, Jaromir Jagr, buried a chance from the slot after his line had hemmed in the David Krejci line and Torey Krug/Adam McQuaid pairing for an extended shift in the Boston zone. It was goal No. 754 of Jagr’s brilliant NHL career as he continues to go strong for the Panthers, and it also tied the game 1-1. 

The Bruins looked like they might haven the lead for good on David Pastrnak’s 14th goal of the season, but it wasn’t mean to be. Pastrnak started it all by protecting a puck and retaining possession from his knees in the corner of the offensive zone. Eventually Patrice Bergeron fired a puck wide of the net, and Brad Marchand unleashed a spinning, no-look pass to a waiting Pastrnak for the easy score past Roberto Luongo. 

The Panthers tied it a second time in the third period when Reilly Smith stripped a puck from Patrice Bergeron going up the center of the ice, and eventually it found its way to Aleksander Barkov for a ripped shot from long distance for his fourth goal of the season. 

Then Florida tied it again in the final minutes of the third on a Jason Demers rebound bid after Mike Matheson’s shot went wide of the net and took a wild carom off the end boards in the exact opposite direction. 

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics struggling with three-pointers

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Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics struggling with three-pointers

You knew the 3-point shots were going to be flying all game long when the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets tipped off Monday night. 
 
Now whether they would go in, that’s another matter entirely. 
 
Boston’s struggles with knocking down the long ball played a pivotal role in them going into the half trailing the Houston Rockets, 58-48.
 
Houston, the NBA’s leader in three-pointers made (14.0) and taken (37.0), were 8-for-21 in the first half on 3s while the Celtics were a not-so-impressive 5-for-18.
 
Despite the shooting struggles, Boston managed to lead 37-36 after a driving lay-up by Jaylen Brown. 
 
But the Rockets had too much firepower and when they weren’t knocking down shots, they were getting to the free throw line where there 18-for-20 compared to Boston which was just 1-for-2.
Here are the first half Stars, Studs and Duds from Monday’s game. 

 

STARS
 
James Harden

The MVP candidate was bringing it all areas, scoring 21 points to go with seven assists. But he was far from perfect, evident by his six turnovers. 
 
Isaiah Thomas

He led the Celtics with 11 points, but looks to be growing frustrated with the lack of calls going the Celtics’ way. Near the end of the second quarter, Thomas was grimacing while holding his right groin. But it didn’t appear to be too big a deal as he hit a 3-pointer just moments later. But it’s worth keeping an eye on in the second half. 
 

STUDS
 
Jaylen Brown

He gave Boston a surprisingly strong lift off the Celtics bench. At the half, he had seven points which included a lay-up that put Boston ahead 37-36.

Trevor Ariza

He doesn’t get a ton of attention, but Ariza’s play has been one of the keys to Houston’s success this season. At the half he had 10 points and six rebounds.

 

DUDS
 
Jonas Jerebko

He got the start tonight, but looks nothing like the high-energy, impact player he has been of late while coming off the bench. He was scoreless in the first half while missing all three of his shot attempts.