Celtics rally in 4th, but Sixers hold on, 106-100

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Celtics rally in 4th, but Sixers hold on, 106-100

BOSTON The Celtics are still looking for that first win of the season over a team other than the Washington Wizards following Friday's 106-100 loss to Philadelphia.

Like Boston, the Sixers (3-2) are a team still in search of their identity having not played a single game with their franchise center, Andrew Bynum (knee).

The Celtics (2-3) have all their core pieces intact, but the continuity with them and the new guys is still a work in progress.

However, the chemistry between Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett is strong as ever, evident by a lob dunk from Rondo to Garnett early in the fourth that cut the Sixers lead to 83-76.

The Celtics would eventually get even closer following a three-pointer by Jason Terry that made it an 83-79 game.

Boston's bench was up on its feet, and so was the Celtics fan base soon after that. Giving them even more reason to cheer was the offensive foul call against Nick Young.

But every big play by Boston was matched by an even bigger play by Philadelphia, which kept the Celtics in a ditch that proved to be too steep to climb out of.

It was another game in which the Celtics showed some signs of progress as they try to play their way through what is clearly a period of growing pains.

That said, losing should not be such a prominent part of what fans are witnessing while the C's try to continue to acclimate themselves with one another.

While the new guys have taken much of the heat for the team's struggles, arguably the biggest problem for the C's on Friday - at least in the first half - was the play of Rajon Rondo defensively.

His inability to keep Jrue Holiday in front of him had the Celtics defense looking like a freeway in the middle of the night with all lanes open to whatever destination Holiday wanted to get to.

Most of the time, he was trying to get to the basket and either score or find a teammate, evident by a first half in which he had 10 points and eight assists in helping Philadelphia surge ahead to a 57-45 halftime lead.

The Celtics were a much more competitive team in the third quarter, courtesy of some much-improved play defensively.

Especially Rondo, who clearly took the challenge of defending Holiday a lot more serious.

Rondo's driving lay-up early in the third cut the Sixers lead to 63-54 which prompted Sixers coach Doug Collins to call a time-out with 8:06 remaining.

But in plugging up the holes created by Holliday, Philadelphia found another area to exploit with Dorrell Wright - primarily a spot-up, three-point shooter - attacking the Celtics off the dribble and finding much success.

Keeping the Celtics within striking distance was what has become their newest offensive weapon - the free throw line.

Boston came in averaging 24 free throw attempts per game. They had more than that (27) by the end of the third quarter.

Even with freebies from the line, Boston still found itself playing catch-up in the quarter which ended with the Sixers ahead, 83-74.

Quotes, notes and stars: Young Red Sox are 'fun to watch'

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Quotes, notes and stars: Young Red Sox are 'fun to watch'

BOSTON - Quotes, notes and stars from the Boston Red Sox' 8-3 win over Colorado Rockies:

 

QUOTES

"This is a very good fastball-hitting team and his ability to change speeds tonight was very (impressive).'' - John Farrell on David Price.

"Their preparation, their understanding of what their daily routine is. They come ready to play every single night. They come ready to play every single night. They're ready every single night when that first pitch is thrown.'' - Farrell on the team's explosiveness in the first inning.

"This game is a learning process and these kids work extremely hard every day. They want to be good. It's fun to watch.'' - David Ortiz on the core of young players and their success.

"As the game went on, I got stronger and that's good. I still want to be able to finish games better than I have my last couple of outings.'' - David Price.

 

NOTES

* Jackie Bradley Jr's hitting streak was extended to 28 games with a second-inning double.

* Xander Bogaerts extended his own hitting streak to 17 games when he doubled in the first

* The Red Sox saw their team streak of 22 straight games with at least one home run snapped.

* Dustin Pedroia posted his fourth straight multi-hit interleague game.

* David Ortiz (four RBI) has 13 multi-RBI games.

* The Red Sox are 12-2 in their last 14 home games

* David Price crossed the 1,500 inning threshold for his career, one of 11 active pitchers to reach that mark.

* Christian Vazquez delivered his first career triple.

 

STARS

1) David Ortiz

Ortiz slapped a single through the shortstop hole for two quick runs in the first, then added a two-run double in the fourth for a four RBI night.

2) Dustin Pedroia

Pedroia helped set the table at the top of the batting order, reaching base four times (three hits, one walk) while scoring two runs.

3) David Price

He took the early 2-0 (and 4-1) lead and ran with it, attacking the Rockies lineup and completing seven strong innings.

 

First impressions from Red Sox' 8-3 win over Rockies

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First impressions from Red Sox' 8-3 win over Rockies

First impressions from the Red Sox' 8-3 win over the Colorado Rockies:

 

The Red Sox continue to use Fenway as their own little offensive playground.

Since April 20, the Red Sox are averaging exactly eight runs per game at home. That's just over a month of the covering 18 games.

They've also collected 10 or more hits in 16 of those 18 games, utilizing every bit of the field.

For the last two seasons, Fenway stopped being a tough place to play for opponents. But at home this year, the Sox have outscored opponents by 67 runs.

 

All of a sudden, the Red Sox are a triples team and Fenway is a triples haven.

A triple by Christian Vazquez - of all people -- gave the Red Sox a league-high 13 triples this season.

Fenway has a reputation for being a doubles park, but the ballpark has been home to 12 triples in 26 games - five by visiting teams and seven by the Red Sox. That translates into almost one every two games.

 

David Price was solid, but not spectacular.

The positives: Price got through the seventh inning for the fifth time this season. He walked just one and fanned six in seven innings.

He was hit hard a few times, with a homer into the visitor's bullpen allowed to Charlie Blackmon and a triple to the triangle for Carlos Gonzalez.

Consider it another step forward for Price, but it fell far short of dominant.

 

Koji Uehara's deception is heightened against teams that don't see him much.

Uehara allowed a leadoff single to D.J. LeMahieu, but then fanned three in a row, finishing each hitter off with his trademark split-finger fastball.

That pitch can be tough to recognize for hitters who see it a few times per season. For those in the National League who are largely unfamiliar with Uehara's splitter, it's apparently some sort of Kryptonite.