Having once left to help, Milicic returns home to help


Having once left to help, Milicic returns home to help

Darko Milicic's family has been closely tied to his basketball career for longer than just the recent period in which he has contemplated leaving the Boston Celtics to be with his ill mother in Serbia.

His desire to help his loved ones is the reason why he left them in the first place at the age of 13.

Milicic grew up the son of two parents with little knowledge of basketball. Sports and athletics were not a priority for the family in Yugoslavia. They were trying to make it each day in a war-torn country.

"My parents did everything they could to survive," Milcic recently told CSNNE.com. "They did a lot of stuff, a lot of stuff. My mom was working a lot of jobs in her life, my father too. My father also worked on the side to make money."

It was a coach who ran a youth team nearby Milcic's home that spotted the towering child. "He saw me tall and said I should come," Milicic recounted. He began playing organized basketball when he was around 10 years old. Three years later, he was offered a contract to play for another team two hours away from his family.

The 13-year-old would have to live on his own and learn how to support himself. Milcic made the move.

"I lived by myself," Milicic, now 27, said. "I was making money then playing basketball, I signed a contract when I was 13. It's easy to support yourself because we go through a lot of stuff as young guys back home, so we are by 13 already grown. You can go by yourself. It wasn't hard for me. During the bombings we went through a lot of stuff. For me, it was good to play basketball. I didn't think about being on my own because it was just two hours from home."

Life in the NBA has taken Milcic far from home over the past nine seasons. Last weekend, he returned to Europe for his mother. When asked on Tuesday if his time with the Celtics was over, head coach Doc Rivers replied, "Most likely, yes."

As a teenager, Milicic made the decision to pursue a basketball career that would improve his family's situation. Now in his tenth NBA season, he could walk away from it all to be with the ones he left 14 years ago to help.

Bruins need to "find a way to start playing with a lead"

Bruins need to "find a way to start playing with a lead"

BOSTON -- There’s only so long that a team can hope to thrive, or even survive, in the NHL if they’re constantly chasing the game on the scoreboard, and chasing the puck after digging themselves a hole. The Bruins have been that team in the first couple of weeks during the regular season, and made it five times in five games that they’ve given up the game’s first goal in an eventual 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden.

It’s a pattern that is long past getting old to Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who can’t seem to play the front-runner this season despite three comebacks that have allowed for a 3-2-0 record overall this season.

“I hope it’s not a habit. It’s certainly not what we’re looking for, but there’s no doubt. I think it’s pretty obvious that with the amount of games we’ve played, five games, we haven’t scored first,” said Julien. “We talked about that this morning, trying to get that first goal, and it hasn’t happened yet.”

The start to the game wasn’t really the problem on Saturday night as it’s been a couple of times this season. Instead the Bruins enjoyed a handful of quality scoring chances in the opening 20 minutes against the Habs, but couldn’t come through and finish off those plays when it might have meant an early lead.

Instead it lead to what Julien termed a “terrible” second period that was flat, full of mistakes and ended with the B’s trailing Montreal by a couple of goals. The Bruins scratched and clawed their way to making it a one-goal game in the third period, but that was as close as the Black and Gold would get in losing their ninth straight home game to the arch-rival Canadiens.

“It’s kind of been a story about how things are going for us this far, we’ve got to find a way to start playing with a lead. If you don’t capitalize on your chances, you see what happens when you come out [flat] in the second period,” said Torey Krug, who finished a game-worst minus-3 in the loss for the Bruins. “We had another poor second period and you know it’s kind of… you got to make sure that we put our hand on that and it doesn’t become a thing for the team this year. You see that when you don’t capitalize on chances early, that’s what’s going to happen.”

It’s been a positive development that the Bruins have shown the willingness and backbone to fight back into games after early deficits, and they showed that quality once again on Saturday night by scoring a couple of goals in the third period to keep things close. But the Bruins would be best served if they can start lighting the lamp a little earlier in these games, and see how the other half lives by playing with a comfortable lead every once in a while.