Celtics-Nets review: Where's the pride?

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Celtics-Nets review: Where's the pride?

BOSTON Once upon not that long ago, the TD Garden really was like a jungle; a place where team after team would be devoured upon entry.

These days?

Not even close.

The Brooklyn Nets became the latest team to make themselves at home in the C's digs, as they delivered a 95-83 loss to the Celtics Wednesday night.

Rajon Rondo's ejection after fighting with Kris Humphries may be what most will take away from Wednesday's game.

But for the C's, this loss serves as yet another reminder that whatever home court advantage they thought they had, does not exist.

"We have to have more pride playing at home," said Boston's Kevin Garnett. "Since I been here, we take a lot of pride in ... putting these jerseys on. Sometimes I question if we really understand what it means."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers had similar thoughts on his team's play.

"You know, Kevin, Paul (Pierce) and Rondo and a couple other guys - it's not everyone - it's almost like they think because they put the jersey on that they are something. You've got to earn it here."

The C's certainly didn't play well enough to warrant a win on Wednesday. Here are some other key factors identified prior to the game, and how they ultimately played out in the Celtics' loss.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Brooklyn has the ability to post-up teams at just about every position within their starting five, the kind of luxury that makes keeping their points in the paint low. The Nets average 43.4 points in the paint which ranks 10th among NBA teams. That would be a pretty average night against a Celtics defense that ranks 28th in allowed points in the paint, at 43.6.

WHAT WE SAW: Although Boston only gave up 38 points in the paint, this was a game in which Brooklyn's interior play was overwhelming at times for the Celtics who gave up 23 second-chance points while generating just 11 of their own.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Kevin Garnett vs. Brook Lopez: The Big Ticket will have his hands full against Lopez who has been arguably the best center in the East this season. Lopez is averaging 19.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game.

WHAT WE SAW: Garnett had the better of Lopez most of the night, both in terms of statistics and impact on the game. Garnett had 16 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double this season. while Lopez had nine points and 10 rebounds in part because of early foul trouble.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Brandon Bass has emerged as a solid rebounding presence for the Celtics, something he'll need to continue doing against a Brooklyn team that's among the NBA's best rebounding squads. Bass is averaging 5.7 rebounds per game this season, but has snatched eight per game during the C's last three games.

WHAT WE SAW: Bass had a nice game shooting the ball (16 points, 7-for-12 shooting), but they needed so much more from him in terms of rebounding. He grabbed just three rebounds which was among the factors leading to the C's being minus-10 on the boards.

STAT TO TRACK: Boston's fourth quarter offense will be put to the test against a Brooklyn team that has made life difficult for most teams during the game's most critical moments. The Nets are giving up 21.3 points per game in the fourth quarter, the NBA's third-lowest total in the fourth. Meanwhile, the Celtics' fourth-quarter offense is churning out 25.3 points in the fourth, No. 5 in the NBA.

WHAT WE SAW: Fourth quarter scoring didn't really mean much on Wednesday, not with the Nets going into the quarter with a 15-point cushion. Brooklyn played the C's to a near-standstill most of the quarter as the Celtics could only trim Brooklyn's lead by three points (28-25).

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Friday, Dec. 9: John Scott calls it quits

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while digging the Spider-Man trailer that dropped last night. 

*John Scott has finally called it a day and announced his retirement, and apparently there’s a book of his memoirs also coming out too. I’m predicting it’s not headed for the New York Times best seller list. 

*Winter Olympics participation and the CBA negotiations for the NHL are starting to merge into giant issue.  

*Connor McDavid calls the Flyers' Brandon Manning classless for telling him on the ice that he purposefully tried to hurt him last season. Some players might also take issue with McDavid making public what another player said to him on the ice. That’s kind of a no-no for most hockey players and breaks an unwritten rule that McDavid might think he’s above given his star status. This whole thing isn’t a good look for anybody. 

*Kevin Stevens pleads guilty to federal drug charges in what’s become a pretty sad situation for the former NHL star. 

*New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is beginning to raise questions with his play, and his massive price tag. 

*Youngsters Zach Weresnki and Dylan Larkin took similar paths to the NHL, and are both considered part of the talented young generation full of hockey stars. 

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri has Carey Price taking a nutty on Kyle Palmieri after the player crashed into his crease last night. Price is being celebrated for sticking up for himself, but if another goalie did that to a Habs player at the Bell Centre, there would already be a warrant out for his arrest. Play it both ways, Montreal!  

*For something completely different: here’s the aforementioned new Spider-Man: Homecoming trailer that looks pretty darn good. 

 

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

BOSTON – While the loss to the Avalanche on Thursday night was a monumental dud, it put another dazzling display on the hockey resume of David Pastrnak. 

The 20-year-old star right winger scored two more goals in the 4-2 loss at TD Garden and nearly brought the Bruins back into the game by himself before another defensive breakdown at the end of the second period doomed them. 

Instead, Pastrnak had to settle with being the proud owner of 18 goals scored in 23 games that places him in a tie with NHL superstar Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead in goals. 

The goals also showed his wide range of lethal offensive skills. On the first score, he just broke away from the Avalanche defense and managed to bury a second-effort breakaway chance after a nice Tim Schaller stretch pass off the boards. The second goal was a straight one-timer bomb from the high slot off a slick setup pass from Brad Marchand in the corner, and it had the Bruins right back into the mix after a dreadful first period. 

It wasn’t enough when the B’s defense faltered again toward the end of the second period, but it was enough for everybody to be singing Pastrnak’s praises once again following the loss. 

“He’s a game changer. The momentum is going the other way, and he has the ability to break away on any given shift and score a big goal for us. He did that tonight,” said Torey Krug. “We can’t just keep relying on the same guys to score goals. We’ve got to come up with secondary offense, and I know every other guy wants to do that. 

“Now it’s about showing that on the ice and making sure we’re doing the work and getting better and proving to ourselves. But Pasta [David Pastrnak] has been great for us so far, and we’re obviously lucky to have him.”

The 18 goals barely two months into the season are not too shabby for a kid, in his third NHL season, who just now coming into his own. He’s nearly halfway to 40 before Christmas. For Pastrnak, however, it’s about the team result and he wasn’t overly satisfied with his two goals in a losing effort. 

“I’ve said before the season that our goal is to make the playoffs and to have that experience and have the chance to win the Stanley Cup. I’m still focusing on that,” said Pastrnak, who has yet to experience the Stanley Cup playoffs in his two-plus seasons with the Black and Gold. “We have zero points from tonight’s game and we have to move on. I think our game gets better in the second and third periods, you know, and we have to regroup and get ready for Saturday’s game.”

The Bruins will undoubtedly regroup and once again count on another Pastrnak offensive explosion to help lead the way in what’s become a truly spectacular season for the youngster.