Green, Sullinger lead Celtics to 87-79 win over Suns

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Green, Sullinger lead Celtics to 87-79 win over Suns

BOSTON With the goal being to extend their winning streak to a season-long four in a row, there are few teams in the NBA that would have made for more obliging guests than the Phoenix Suns.
In addition to losing nine of their last 10 games overall, Phoenix had lost 10 in a row coming into Wednesday's matchup.
The Celtics controlled the action for most of the night, but a weak third quarter showing made it a closer game than it should have been.
Still, the C's are in no position to be picky when it comes to winning, which they did by the count of 87-79.
Wednesday's win extended the Celtics (18-17) winning streak to a season-long four in a row.
For the second straight game, Boston got a huge lift from its bench with contributions coming from just about every player who stepped on the floor.
Jason Terry (13 points) and Jeff Green (14 points) did a lot of the scoring. Jared Sullinger (12 points, career-high 16 rebounds) continued to do a lot of the dirty work around the glass.
And Courtney Lee continues to come into his own as a defensive spark off the bench, tallying six points, two assists and a slew of strong plays defensively.
It appeared that the Celtics were well on their way to an easy victory, fueled by a 20-8 run to close out the second quarter that gave the C's a 53-41 lead at the half.
But the C's went through one of their usual offensive lulls.
However, their defense couldn't bail them out this time.
The Celtics' offensive woes opened the door for the Suns to go on a 17-2 run that put them ahead, 58-55.
Boston didn't spend much time playing from behind -- one minute, 46 seconds to be exact -- as Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce scored back-to-back baskets, respectively, to put the C's back on top.
Phoenix had made a game that wasn't all that close, a relatively tight affair (67-64) going into the fourth quarter.
But the C's went with a hybrid second unit that worked well for them in the second quarter -- Terry, Lee, Green, Sullinger and Kevin Garnett who is a starter.
That group, just like they had did earlier in the game, provided a much-needed lift at both ends of the floor as the Celtics blitzed the Suns with a 13-4 run to start the fourth and never looked back.

Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz in 'attack mode'

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Quotes, notes and stars: Buchholz in 'attack mode'

CHICAGO -- Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox' 5-2 win over the White Sox:

 

QUOTES

"I think the most encouraging thing was after a couple of hard-hit balls early on, he was still in attack mode.'' - John Farrell on Clay Buchholz.

"The biggest thing centers around his fastball. First inning, he might have been up a little bit. But after that, he was down in the zone and the curveball was a good compliment to that.'' - Farrell.

"Man, I tell you what -- he does it in such big moments.'' - Farrell on David Ortiz.

"If you could paint a picture, I think tonight would be just about what everybody would want to do.'' - Buchholz on his outing.

"I think everybody would be lying if they said they didn't see your numbers; you see them every day. (Being) 0-3 with a six-something (ERA) is obviously not where you want to be.'' - Buchholz.

"Hopefully, this is the start of something good coming out of him.'' - Ortiz on Buchholz.

"You feel like the luckiest man on planet earth - finally hitting the ball where no one's at!'' - Ortiz on beating the shift with a single through the shortstop hole in the seventh

 

NOTES

* When the Red Sox homer, they're 11-6.

* Clay Buchholz's win was his first since last July 10.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to 10 games.

* Mookie Betts has scored at least one run in 10 of his last 14 games.

* David Ortiz is now one homer from tying Carl Yastrzemski for second-most homers in franchise history at 452.

* Ortiz tied Gary Sheffield for 25th place all-time in homers with 509.

 

STARS

1) Clay Buchholz

After five straight poor outings, Buchholz turned in a gem, giving up two runs in the first, then nothing else for the next six innings.

2) David Ortiz

As he so often does, Ortiz delivered when the Red Sox needed him most, clocking a two-run homer in the fifth to turn a one-run deficit into a two-run lead.

3) Jose Abreu

The White Sox slugger belted a two-run homer in the first to give him five RBI in the two games in this series.

 

First impressions: Buchholz finishes strong vs. White Sox

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First impressions: Buchholz finishes strong vs. White Sox

CHICAGO - First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-2 win over the White Sox.

 

If this was some sort of must-win proposition for Clay Buchholz, he passed his test.

Buchholz found himself behind 2-0 just three batters in when he allowed a two-run homer to Jose Abreu, but he righted himself nicely after that.

Buchholz pitched seven innings and didn't allow another run. In fact, Buchholz only yielded two more hits after the first - both singles.

John Farrell said he wanted to see Buchholz attack the strike zone with his fastball, pitch with a quicker tempo and not rely so much on his secondary stuff. To varying degrees, Buchholz accomplished all three and finished strong - retiring the last 10 hitters in a row and 16 of the last 17.

 

Josh Rutledge had a nice night off the bench.

Rutledge was a last-minute addition to the lineup when Hanley Ramirez was scratched with the flu and Travis Shaw was shifted from third base to first base.

Rutledge reached base three times with two singles and a walk. One of the singles drove in the fourth run, scoring Chris Young with an important insurance run.

 

David Ortiz broke out of his U.S. Cellular slump in a big way.

Coming into the game, Ortiz was hitless here in his last 19 at-bats and when he hit into a double play in the first and flied to center in the third, that stretched to 0-for-21. Since the start of 2014, those first two at-bats made Ortiz 1-for-26.

But in the fifth, Ortiz hammered a pitch from Carlos Rodon into the seats in right for a two-run homer, giving the Red Sox their first lead of the series.

For all the talk about Ortiz's difficulty hitting lefties, he's now third among lefty batters in homers off lefthanded pitchers since last July 2.

 

The home run power continues to be in short supply beyond Ortiz.

Last season, the Red Sox didn't have anyone hit 20 homers other than the (then) 39-year-old Ortiz.

Might the same thing happen again this year?

Ortiz hit his sixth homer last night, again leading the club. Mookie Betts is the only other hitter on the Sox with more than three homers -- and he hasn't hit one in his last 58 at-bats, dating back a week and a half.