Celtics-Spurs review: Celtics worn down

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Celtics-Spurs review: Celtics worn down

SAN ANTONIO Aside from being on the short end of a 103-88 road loss to San Antonio, Doc Rivers liked a lot about Saturday's game.

But as the game wore on, it appeared as though the Celtics were simply worn down.

"I thought we played hard," Rivers said. "I honestly thought we got fatigued. So that's something ... we have to get in a little better shape because we want to play at that pace."

Rivers added, "it was a good pace; the game was a good pace. It was a fun game to watch. But the difference was I thought San Antonio was used to doing that and continued to do it throughout the game. They were able to sustain their play, and we couldn't. I thought that was the difference in the game."

It is disturbing to say the least that we're just barely past the first quarter mark of the season and the C's are already showing signs of being unable to sustain the necessary energy levels needed in order to play deep into the playoffs.

Even Kevin Garnett acknowledged that fatigue might have been a culprit in Saturday's loss - Boston's second straight in as many nights.

"Second half, you could see the fatigue come tired legs," said Garnett who quickly added that there are, "still no excuses. You step on the floor, you suit up. You have to perform."

Lately, the Celtics' performances haven't been good enough to do the only thing that truly matters to this franchise - win games and lots of them.

Here's how some of the keys identified prior to tonight's game actually played out as the Celtics will have three days to regroup before they return to the floor with the goal being to get another winning streak started on the road at Chicago on Tuesday.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Rajon Rondo had a near triple-double of points (15), assists (13) and sadly, turnovers (seven) in the Rockets loss. Look for him to do a much better job in terms of limiting his miscues despite San Antonio's better-than-average defense.

WHAT WE SAW: Sadly, Rondo had another seven-turnover performance which was among the many problems that plagued Boston on Saturday night. It was quite a different story for his counterpart on San Antonio's roster, Tony Parker, who easily won this individual matchup with a game-high 22 points and eight assists; and of course the game as well.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Kevin Garnett vs Tim Duncan. Two of the greatest big men of this generation, every opportunity to see these two champions duel it out in the twilight of their careers should be cherished.

WHAT WE SAW: Saturday's duel won't go down as one of their best, but each did their part to keep their respective teams in the game. Garnett had 13 points on 6-for-13 shooting while Duncan grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Do not be surprised if Paul Pierce has one of those statement-type performances. He had 18 points against Houston, but did so shooting 5-for-18 from the field. Knowing the Houston loss was a step back in the team's develop and growth this season, look for the Captain to try and get the C's back on track.

WHAT WE SAW: The Captain had a solid all-around game (18 points on 7-for-13 shooting, five rebounds, four assists and three steals), but it wasn't nearly enough for the C's to get a road win over San Antonio - always a challenge.

STAT TO TRACK: The Spurs have evolved into an offensive power, averaging 104.8 points per game which ranks second in the NBA. Keeping them under 100 points scored is the key to beating them, evident by four of their six losses this season coming when they fail to reach triple digits scoring.
WHAT WE SAW: San Antonio cracked the 100-point plateau with a steady game offensively by scoring 25 or 26 points in every quarter of play that proved to be too much for the Celtics to contend with on Saturday night.

Friday's lineups: Red Sox vs. Yankees

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Friday's lineups: Red Sox vs. Yankees

BOSTON -- Henry Owens will be on the mound tonight, making his second start of the season, as the Red Sox play the Yankees for the first time in 2016.

The lineups:

YANKEES:
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Mark Texeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Brian McCann C
Starlin Castro 2B
Chase Headley 3B
Didi Gregorius SS
---
Masahiro Tanaka P

RED SOX:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Brock Holt LF
Ryan Hanigan C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
---
Henry Owens P

After up-and-down rookie season, Hunter looks to get stronger

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After up-and-down rookie season, Hunter looks to get stronger

WALTHAM, Mass. – R.J. Hunter no longer has to worry about summer days spent with his nose inside a textbook (or tablet) while taking summer school classes.
 
But make no mistake about it.
 
The Celtics rookie knows he has a lot to learn in what will be an important offseason in his growth as an NBA player.
 
There were many things to like about Hunter, who was selected by Boston with the 28th overall pick in last June’s NBA Draft.
 
But like most rookies, Hunter’s play was an up and down affair throughout the season.
 
He appeared in 36 regular-season games, averaging 2.7 points and 1.0 rebounds in 8.8 minutes per game. In the playoffs, he appeared in five games and averaged 1.0 points, 1.2 rebounds in 8.2 minutes.
 
He had flashes of big-time talent like the 12-point performance against the Atlanta Hawks in November. But those type of games were few and far between as that would serve as his only double-digit scoring game of the season.
 
“It was up and down, but a lot more ups than downs,” Hunter said following his exit interview on Friday. “I was further along than I thought I would be. It’s kind of cool to see what I have to work on for the summer and not have summer school or any other summer obligation. I think it’ll be a fun summer.”
 
The big thing for Hunter this summer is to, well, get bigger.
 
He came into the NBA amid concerns that his lithe frame would not withstand the physical rigors of the NBA.
 
And while there’s no question Hunter had his problems at times defensively due to not being stronger, he seemed to know where he needed to be and what to do most of the time when he was no the floor.
 
That’s why for him to solidify himself as a viable option for the Celtics next season, it’s important that he put in the time to improve his overall strength.
 
Hunter said he will be doing that throughout the summer with half of his time spent here in Waltham.
 
“That takes time and a lot of dedication,” Hunter said. “But I’m definitely up for it.”
 
In addition to strengthening his body, he’ll also look to improve his understanding and knowledge of the game through studying video.
 
Among those he will study is Atlanta Hawks guard Kyle Korver, a player Hunter said he has been watching video of all season.
 
“You look at how hard Kyle Korver cuts all game long,” Hunter said. “It’s things like that. It’s about getting conditioning, getting stronger and doing a lot of preparation before the shot.”
 
Hunter said this will be the first time he has watched video in the summer months.
 
“That should put me two or three steps ahead to when the season starts,” he said.
 
Which would then put Hunter in strong contention to see his role next season expanded, especially when you consider his strength – shooting the ball – is arguably the biggest weakness on this Celtics’ roster.
 
 

Friday, April 29: Spacey backs Barkov for NHL 2017 cover

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Friday, April 29: Spacey backs Barkov for NHL 2017 cover

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while pumped that Jon Bernthal is getting his own Netflix show as The Punisher. He was the best thing about the second season of Daredevil.

*Kevin Spacey is officially endorsing Aleksander Barkov for the cover EA Sports NHL 2017, and that continues the unlikely friendship between Spacey and the Florida Panthers.

*Patrick Kane knows that all eyes will be on him – for unfortunately good reasons -- moving forward with the Blackhawks after everything that went down with him on and off the ice over the last year.

*In true hot take fashion, Ryan Lambert thinks Bruce Boudreau should remain coach of the Ducks because he’s been unlucky in those pesky Game 7 playoff scenarios. Yup, it’s all about luck in sports. That must be why the Ducks fired him on Friday afternoon. So it’s another spot on piece of analysis from somebody that knows as much inside NHL hockey info as your local high school gym teacher.

*Speaking of hot takes, FOH (Friend of Haggs) Rob Rossi says that Tom Wilson isn’t a hockey player after his knee-on-knee hit of Connor Sheary in Game 1 of their playoff series. Wilson definitely isn’t as good a hockey player as Milan Lucic is in terms of offensive production, but he definitely can play the game of hockey a bit in addition to the thuggishness on the ice.

*Gary Lawless says the NHL and NHLPA have come to an agreement on players with no-movement clauses, who will need to be protected by their respective teams in any upcoming NHL expansion draft.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Mike Halford says that Russian wild card Alex Radulov is expecting to play in the NHL next season. That could be bad news to coaches everywhere looking to limit their quota of enigmatic Russian players on their roster.

*ICYMI, here’s my radio hit with Bob Stauffer from Oilers Now talking about the state of the Bruins as they head into the offseason.

*For something completely different: the passing of former Patriots player Ron Brace at 29 is so sad given what an excellent person he was in addition to being a solid local football product.