Celtics-Wizards review: Garnett more rounded


Celtics-Wizards review: Garnett more rounded

BOSTON A more assertive, more aggressive Kevin Garnett was in the building Wednesday night for the Boston Celtics.
And when he shows up, the Celtics usually don't lose.
That was indeed the case on Wednesday as Garnett led the way in Boston's 100-94 overtime win over Washington.
Garnett, who was encouraged by C's head coach Doc Rivers to be more assertive, took Rivers' words to heart at both ends of the floor.
He finished with 20 points and 13 rebounds, with most of his board work -- seven rebounds, actually -- coming in the game's first quarter which set the tone for a strong start for Boston.
Following the victory,Rivers talked about some of the players who put forth great effort and displayed strong leadership skills.
"Kevin, always, I always exclude him because he always plays the right way," Rivers said.
In addition to his scoring and rebounding, Garnett was also a bit more attentive to Washington big man Kevin Seraphin.
When the two teams played on Saturday, Seraphin had 19 points on 8-for-9 shooting from the field.
Although Seraphin had another 19-point scoring game on Wednesday, he did so on 8-for-19 shooting.
In addition to Garnett playing a more well-rounded game, here are some other keys to Boston's win identified prior to the game and how the C's fared in those areas.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Boston's first win of the season came on a night when they jumped on the opponent (Washington) with a 17-2 run behind suffocating defense and timely scoring. Being the aggressor at both ends of the floor will once again be a key to the C's beating the Wizards again.
WHAT WE SAW: Boston came out the aggressor once again, putting together a strong showing defensively with an efficiently-run offense to bolt out to an 11-2 lead.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: The Celtics bench vs. Jordan Crawford: Had it not been for an ankle injury early in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game, Crawford (21 points in 25 minutes) may have single-handedly outscored the entire C's bench. That should never happen. Jason Terry is more than due to have a breakout game. Ditto for Jeff Green.
WHAT WE SAW: Boston's bench was better while Crawford had problems most of the game. He had not practiced since suffering a left ankle sprain against the Celtics, and it showed. In 15 minutes, he had just two points while missing five of his six shot attempts.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Courtney Lee has been OK, but an intangibles player like him tends to have a breakout performance when you least expect it. With the Wizards wanting to limit Paul Pierce from having another big game, and withstand the strong play of Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo, it seems an ideal scenario for Lee to be an unexpected difference-maker.
WHAT WE SAW: Lee had another nondescript game for the Boston Celtics. He didn't play all that bad, but it wasn't the kind of performance that will get you all lathered up with excitement, either. He's clearly still trying to figure out where his shots will come from, and the reality that there will be fewer attempts and thus a greater premium on him to make the ones he gets to take. He finished with just two points -- from the free throw line -- while missing all three of his shot attempts.

STAT TO TRACK: Doc Rivers loves to keep the Celtics turnovers to 13 or less per game. In Saturday's win, the C's turned the ball over just nine times. That was a significant improvement compared to the first two games in which the Celtics turned it over an average of 17 times per game.
WHAT WE SAW: Boston's turnover numbers were higher than what Rivers likes to see, and those miscues factored heavily into the game being a lot closer than the Celtics would have liked. Boston turned the ball over 19 times which led to 18 points for Washington.

Talking Points: Price a problem for Bruins once again


Talking Points: Price a problem for Bruins once again

BOSTON -- GOLD STAR: The Bruins have a very hard time beating Carey Price, and that was proven once again on Saturday night in Boston. The best chances for the B’s probably came earlier in the game with Ryan Spooner getting a couple of quality scoring chances in the early going, and Price making a very solid stop on a spinning David Pastrnak surprise shot from the high slot through traffic in the closing seconds of the second period. In total, Price made only 19 saves but didn’t give in when the Bruins really needed a mistake to open the door and let them back in. It certainly won’t go down as Price’s best, but it was another great example of why the Montreal netminder is so important to the success of his Canadiens team.

BLACK EYE: Torey Krug had a rough night in 22:29 of ice time. He was on the ice for three goals against, he had five of his shots blocked throughout the game and he was beaten in a race to the puck by Paul Byron for a shorthanded goal during a key sequence in the third period. Krug was also on the ice for the crucial final goal scored by Torey Mitchell when both the D-man and David Krejci were prime culprits in the play developing as it did. It’s certainly not helping Krug that he’s playing on his “off” side with Joe Morrow right now, and that he’s doing all of this while also still ahead of when he was supposed to return from major offseason shoulder surgery. Krug has been “okay” through the season’s first two weeks, but he wasn’t good at all on Saturday night in the loss to Montreal.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins had a decent first period and played to a 2-2 draw in the third period, so it was the “terrible” second period, in the words of Claude Julien, which ended up sinking the Black and Gold’s battleship. The B’s made plenty of mistakes in managing the puck, had some very long shifts on the ice where they couldn’t get an easy change and started making mental mistakes as a result of the overextended shifts. That turned into some very soft defense on Montreal’s first goal of the game, and a bad decision by John-Michael Liles to pinch with skilled guys Alex Radulov and Phillip Danault ready to make the Bruins pay at the other end of the ice. The second period was Boston’s bugaboo plenty of times last season, and it was again on Saturday night vs. the Habs.

HONORABLE MENTION: It’s tough to pick out players from the losing side that really stood out, but Dominic Moore certainly deserves some consideration for the way things have started out for him in Boston. He and Tim Schaller executed a beauty of a give-and-go before Moore finished with a flourish against Carey Price, and that goal gives the fourth line center a pair of goals in his first five games with the B’s. Moore finished with the goal and four shot attempts in 13:02 of ice time along with 6-of-12 face-off wins, and earned a take-down, along with an extra two minutes, for grabbing Alexei Emelin in a headlock and driving him into the ice.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2-8-1 -- the Bruins overall record against the Canadiens in their last 11 meetings, and that doesn’t include nine straight home losses to the Habs dating back to 2012.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "There's no consistency in my game for whatever reason. I've gotta make sure I'm working to get better, so that my teammates can count on me every single shift. It’s not there right now, and I’ll take the blame for that. I’ve just got to work through it.” -- Torey Krug, who struggled with a minus-3 rating in Saturday’s loss to the Canadiens. 

Bruins 4-2 loss marks nine straight to the Habs at home


Bruins 4-2 loss marks nine straight to the Habs at home

BOSTON -- The Bruins made things interesting with a couple of goals in the third period to keep things close, but another home game against the Montreal Canadiens ended exactly the same way they have for the Black and Gold over the last four years.

This time the B’s dropped a 4-2 decision to the hated Habs at TD Garden on Saturday night despite a late push, and have now failed in nine straight home games versus their arch-rivals dating back to a Jan. 12, 2012 win. Some may remember that as the night Montreal traded Mike Cammalleri in between periods of the game, and unfortunately most others remember it as a period of time when Boston could still beat Montreal at home.

It didn’t look good with the Bruins down by a couple of goals entering the third period after earlier second period scores from Brendan Gallagher and Phillip Danault. But that’s when the Black and Gold once again attempted to engineer a comeback as have become commonplace for them in this young season.

Dominic Moore scored on a nice give-and-go with Tim Schaller to get the B’s on the board in the third period, and then the Bruins traded special teams’ goals with a Paul Byron shorthanded strike and a Ryan Spooner power play marker. It looked like the Bruins had some momentum to potentially tie things up in the third, but bad things happened once again with David Krejci and Torey Krug as they had for most of the night.

A turnover in the defensive zone allowed Torey Mitchell to score a backbreaking goal while simultaneously getting a high-stick to the face courtesy of Krejci. The Mitchell goal gave the Habs a two-goal cushion lead in the third period, and made the Bruins 2-8-1 in their last 11 overall games against their arch-rivals from Montreal.