Celtics-Sixers review: Close but no cigar

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Celtics-Sixers review: Close but no cigar

PHILADELPHIA The Boston Celtics continue to play with the kind of fight and grit that Doc Rivers is looking for.

The next step?

Winning.

The Celtics did essentially everything they wanted against Philadelphia except come away with a victory as the Sixers escaped with a 95-94 overtime win.

Evan Turner had the game-winning basket with 3.9 seconds to play in overtime.

Boston had a chance for a game-winning basket of their own, but Rajon Rondo slipped on the floor just prior to launching an air ball that had no chance of hitting the rim let alone going in.

So for all the work Boston did to hold their own on the boards (54-53, Philadelphia), for all that Jeff Green (19 points, eight rebounds) did at both ends of the floor not to mention Rondo's first triple-double of the season (16 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds), all the C's had to show for it was more of the same 'good try, good effort' sentiments and another loss.

"I don't listen to that," Rondo said. "It's all about wins and losses."

He added, "you play great and lose every game it doesn't mean anything. It's about wins and losses."

Here are some key points outlined prior to tonight's game that while didn't render the Celtics what they wanted - a win - it did move them that much further away from the dreaded "soft" label their coach Doc Rivers slapped on them following a Nov. 28 loss to Brooklyn in which Rondo wound up getting ejected and later suspended two games for pushing Nets forward Kris Humphries.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Kevin Garnett was so good against Minnesota because he got the ball so often on the block with plenty of time on the shot clock. Getting Garnett lots of early touches offensively usually works out well for the C's over the course of a game. Knowing this and actually doing it, that's another story.

WHAT WE SAW: Garnett had a solid game of 17 points and 10 rebounds for his sixth double-double this season.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Jason Terry vs. Jason Richardson: Terry has been in a nice groove lately, scoring at least 13 points in each of the Celtics' last four games. The C's will need more of that, especially with Richardson struggling the way he has shooting the ball recently.

WHAT WE SAW: Far and away the worst shooting game we have seen from Terry this season, he missed 11 of his 12 shot attempts and finished with just four points. Richardson was so-so for the Sixers with 13 points on 5-for-13 shooting. However, he did rack up a game-high five steals which contributed to the C's turning the ball over 19 times which generated 21 points for Philadelphia.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Brandon Bass had a stretch in the third quarter of Boston's win over Minnesota in which he was the best scorer on the floor. Finding a stretch like that against the wan will bode well both for him and the Celtics' chances of winning.

WHAT WE SAW: Bass only had two points for Boston, but that doesn't necessarily mean he had a bad game. He missed a few defensive rotations, but for the most part was OK for the Celtics. More important, he was a presence on the boards for the C's with seven rebounds.

STAT TO TRACK: The third quarter is usually a big one for both teams. The Celtics average 24.9 points in the third which ranks seventh in the league, while the Sixers are giving up just 23 points in the third quarter which is the sixth-lowest average in the league.

WHAT WE SAW: This was arguably the most important quarter of the game. Sixers head coach Doug Collins began to trap and double-team Rajon Rondo more which threw both Rondo and the C's off track. After a near triple-double in the first half, Rondo had just two points in the third. In addition, he had twice as many turnovers (4) in the quarter as assists (2). The end result was the C's scoring just 20 points in the quarter compared to Philadelphia tallying 26 which gave the Sixers a two-point lead going into the fourth.

Avery Bradley (Achilles) will not play vs. Knicks

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Avery Bradley (Achilles) will not play vs. Knicks

BOSTON – Both New York and Boston will take to the floor tonight minus a starter courtesy of a sore Achilles injury.

For Celtics guard Avery Bradley, tonight will be the fifth time in the last six games, that his right Achilles injury will keep him sidelined.

Meanwhile, New York’s Kristaps Porzingis will miss his fourth straight game with a sore left Achilles injury.

The 7-foot-3 Porzingis averages 19.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

Porzingis’ absence tonight was established well before tip-off.

“I’d say I’m 90 percent ready; still not there yet,” Porzingis told reporters prior to the game. “But I’m getting closer … hopefully the next game or after the next game.”

As far as Bradley is concerned, he was a last-minute matter.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens was asked about his roster earlier tonight, and indicated Tyler Zeller (sinus) and James Young (ankle) would be on the inactive list tonight with injuries.

Without Bradley, the Celtics are expected to start Marcus Smart who has filled in as the team’s starter previously when the 6-foot-2 Bradley was unavailable.

 Bradley is the Celtics' second-leading scorer with 17.7 points per game this season, along with a team-high 6.9 rebounds per game and 2.4 assists. 

Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

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Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines, Ivan Rodriguez elected to Hall of Fame

NEW YORK - Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame on Wednesday, earning the honor as Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero fell just short.

Steroids-tainted stars Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens were passed over for the fifth straight year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. But they received significantly more votes this time and could be in position to gain election in coming years.

Bagwell, on the ballot for the seventh time after falling 15 votes short last year, received 381 of 442 votes for 86.2 percent. Players needed 75 percent, which came to 332 votes this year.

In his 10th and final year of eligibility, Raines was on 380 ballots (86 percent). Rodriguez received 336 votes (76 percent) to join Johnny Bench in 1989 as the only catchers elected on the first ballot.

Hoffman was five votes shy and Guerrero 15 short.

Edgar Martinez was next at 58.6 percent, followed by Clemens at 54.1 percent, Bonds at 53.8 percent, Mike Mussina at 51.8 percent, Curt Schilling at 45 percent, Lee Smith at 34.2 percent and Manny Ramirez at 23.8 percent.

Players will be inducted July 30 during ceremonies at Cooperstown along with former Commissioner Bud Selig and retired Kansas City and Atlanta Braves executive John Schuerholz, both elected last month by a veterans committee.

Bagwell was a four-time All-Star who spent his entire career with Houston, finishing with a .297 batting average, 401 homers and 1,401 RBIs.

Raines, fifth in career stolen bases, was a seven-time All-Star and the 1986 NL batting champion. He spent 13 of 23 big league seasons with the Montreal Expos, who left Canada to become the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season, and joins Andre Dawson and Gary Carter as the only players to enter the Hall representing the Expos.

Raines hit .294 with a .385 on-base percentage, playing during a time when Rickey Henderson was the sport's dominant speedster.

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star who hit .296 with 311 homers and 1,332 RBIs, was never disciplined for PEDs but former Texas teammate Jose Canseco alleged in a 2005 book that he injected the catcher with steroids. Asked whether he was on the list of players who allegedly tested positive for steroids during baseball's 2003 survey, Rodriguez said in 2009: "Only God knows."

Bonds, a seven-time MVP who holds the season and career home run records, received 36.2 percent in his initial appearance, in 2013, and jumped from 44.3 percent last year. Clemens, a seven-time Cy Young Award winner, rose from 45.2 percent last year.

Bonds was indicted on charges he lied to a grand jury in 2003 when he denied using PEDs, but a jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts he made false statements and convicted him on one obstruction of justice count, finding he gave an evasive answer. The conviction was overturned appeal in 2015.

Clemens was acquitted on one count of obstruction of Congress, three counts of making false statements to Congress and two counts of perjury, all stemming from his denials of drug use.

A 12-time All-Star on the ballot for the first time, Ramirez was twice suspended for violating baseball's drug agreement. He helped the Boston Red Sox win World Series titles in 2004 and `07, the first for the franchise since 1918, and hit .312 with 555 home runs and 1,831 RBIs in 19 big league seasons.

Several notable players will join them in the competition for votes in upcoming years: Chipper Jones in 2018, Mariano Rivera and Roy Halladay in 2019, and Derek Jeter in 2020.