Celtics crash the boards in win over Magic


Celtics crash the boards in win over Magic

BOSTON Rebounding was once again a hot topic of postgame discussion for the Celtics.

But instead of the usual lamenting about how the C's were getting beat up on the boards, the talk Sunday night was instead all about how Boston pushed, poked and punished the Orlando Magic. The end result was a surprisingly comfortable rebounding margin (plus-9) that catapulted the C's to a 116-110 overtime win against the Magic.

Boston was particularly effective on the offensive boards by grabbing 17 which was instrumental in the C's generating a season-high 21 second-chance points.

The Celtics big men like Brandon Bass have been hearing all season about how bad Boston is when it comes to rebounding. And with good reason: Boston came into Sunday's game as the worst rebounding team in the NBA.

Even though that won't change following Sunday's performance, it did serve as a blueprint of sorts for what the C's have to do in order to be better on the glass moving forward.

"We have to be more assertive as a group to be more aggressive as far as rebounding," said Brandon Bass who grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds for the Celtics. "I was just trying to do my part."

As good as Bass was rebounding the ball, he was by no means the lone player helping Boston deliver their most lopsided rebounding margin this season. In addition to Bass, Boston also got six boards -- all on the offensive end of the floor -- from Jared Sullinger off the bench.

Point guard Rajon Rondo barely missed his first triple-double of the season as he tallied 15 points, 16 assists and nine rebounds.

The biggest difference was that, for a change, Boston made a conscious decision to attack the offensive glass early and often.

"It was just a team effort as far as continuously crashing the glass, the offensive boards and defensively," Rondo said. "We all crashed the boards."

While the crashing of the boards certainly stood out, the ability of Rondo and Boston's other guards to limit dribble penetration was just as important to the dominate board play.

"Doc made an emphasis on just rebounding the ball as a team collectively," Rondo said. "Try to keep guards out of the paint which allow the bigs to stay on big's bodies and rebound the basketball."

Not only did it prevent the Magic from having multiple opportunities to score, but it also resulted in the Celtics getting a season-high 105 shots.

"We were running a lot more; we got up a lot more shots," Rondo added. "I don't know if we got up that many since I got here, even including overtime. We pushed the pace. It was a good win."

Bruins need to 'find a way to start playing with a lead'

Bruins need to 'find a way to start playing with a lead'

BOSTON -- There’s only so long that a team can hope to thrive, or even survive, in the NHL if they’re constantly chasing the game on the scoreboard, and chasing the puck after digging themselves a hole. The Bruins have been that team in the first couple of weeks during the regular season, and made it five times in five games that they’ve given up the game’s first goal in an eventual 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden.

It’s a pattern that is long past getting old to Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who can’t seem to play the front-runner this season despite three comebacks that have allowed for a 3-2-0 record overall this season.

“I hope it’s not a habit. It’s certainly not what we’re looking for, but there’s no doubt. I think it’s pretty obvious that with the amount of games we’ve played, five games, we haven’t scored first,” said Julien. “We talked about that this morning, trying to get that first goal, and it hasn’t happened yet.”

The start to the game wasn’t really the problem on Saturday night as it’s been a couple of times this season. Instead the Bruins enjoyed a handful of quality scoring chances in the opening 20 minutes against the Habs, but couldn’t come through and finish off those plays when it might have meant an early lead.

Instead it lead to what Julien termed a “terrible” second period that was flat, full of mistakes and ended with the B’s trailing Montreal by a couple of goals. The Bruins scratched and clawed their way to making it a one-goal game in the third period, but that was as close as the Black and Gold would get in losing their ninth straight home game to the arch-rival Canadiens.

“It’s kind of been a story about how things are going for us this far, we’ve got to find a way to start playing with a lead. If you don’t capitalize on your chances, you see what happens when you come out [flat] in the second period,” said Torey Krug, who finished a game-worst minus-3 in the loss for the Bruins. “We had another poor second period and you know it’s kind of… you got to make sure that we put our hand on that and it doesn’t become a thing for the team this year. You see that when you don’t capitalize on chances early, that’s what’s going to happen.”

It’s been a positive development that the Bruins have shown the willingness and backbone to fight back into games after early deficits, and they showed that quality once again on Saturday night by scoring a couple of goals in the third period to keep things close. But the Bruins would be best served if they can start lighting the lamp a little earlier in these games, and see how the other half lives by playing with a comfortable lead every once in a while.