McQuaid improving, skating in limited capacity

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McQuaid improving, skating in limited capacity

Things continue to return back to normal for Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid.

The Bs defenseman, who is recovering from multiple blood clot surgeries on his arm, has been skating regularly with the rest of the local NHL players over the last few weeks with a trip home to Prince Edward Island for the holidays sandwiched in between.

On Thursday McQuaid was skating locally with NHL locals Shawn Thornton, Tuukka Rask, Keith Yandle, Ryan Whitney, Brian Boyle and Jay Pandalfo among other out-of-work hockey players.

Hes also graduated from skating on his own at one end of the rink to getting involved in games of shinny with the rest of the players and even snapping off a shot while the players are running through drills. Thats a long way from the multiple surgeries needed three months ago, and thats a very good thing.

Between those skating sessions and daily physical therapy McQuaid is feeling better every day, and getting more hopeful that hell be able to return at some point this season.

You just try something new every day and see how it feels, and so far its all been pretty good, said McQuaid. Its about working on my strength and getting my legs back because I was off the ice for so long. But things have been pretty good so far.

It doesnt appear that it will be when the NHL season is expected to open on Jan. 19 and it might not even be February when most normal people would be close to fully recovered from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. But McQuaid is off the blood thinner medication when it was originally thought he might be on it for a six-month period that would have kept him out of NHL action -- and building back up his upper body strength.

Its obvious that McQuaid is well down from his playing weight last season, and will need to keep building strength as his NHL game is based on being able to take hits and dole them out all at the same time.

In the meantime the Bruins will need to get along with new defenseman Aaron Johnson along with a host of hopefuls from Providence. None will be able to replace McQuaids intimidation factor in the interim, or his solid defensive capabilities in his own end.

But McQuaid is talking about when rather than if for a potential return to the lineup, and thats a very good thing.

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Rose looking like his old self

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Rose looking like his old self

BOSTON – The New York Knicks have been in a massive funk of late, something the Boston Celtics had to know which, not surprisingly, would result in them playing with a heightened level of desperation.

That desperation left the Celtics a bit exasperated at the half which ended with a 10-2 run by New York that put them ahead 63-54 at the half.

After falling behind by as many as nine points in the second quarter, the Celtics rallied to within a single point (53-52) following a basket by Isaiah Thomas.

The second quarter was all-New York afterwards.

It was just a one-possession game (Boston led 34-31) for the Celtics going into the second quarter, which was exactly where Boston didn’t want to be against a Knicks team whose bench ranks among the NBA’s highest-scoring second units recently. In their last three games, the Knicks’ bench has averaged 43.0 points per game which according to hoopsstats.com, ranks sixth in the NBA during that span.

At the half, they had 33 points compared to just 12 for Boston’s backups.

Boston fell behind early 9-5, but the Celtics rallied following a time-out with a 15-4 run capped off by a 3-pointer from Isaiah Thomas.

The Celtics’ lead peaked at nine points on separate occasions in the first, but the Knicks closed out the first with a 12-6 spurt that cut Boston’s lead to 34-31 at the end of the first.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half.

 

STARS

Derrick Rose

The former league MVP looked like his old self tonight instead of just old. He led the Knicks with 14 points on 7-for-11 shooting.

Isaiah Thomas

The Knicks had great success inside the paint against all the Celtics minus Thomas who did much of his dirty work offensively on drives to the basket. At the half he had 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting.

 

STUDS

Willy Hernangomez

Boston had problems rebounding the ball, and Hernangomez was the main reason why. At the half he had 10 points and six rebounds, three of which were offensive boards.

Jae Crowder

Dealing with Carmelo Anthony is enough to keep Crowder busy tonight. But he’s doing that at a high level in addition to providing a nice punch offensively with 14 points.

Mindaugas Kuzminskas

You may not know his name, but his game was pretty impressive in the first half. At the half, he had nine points.

 

DUDS

Al Horford

We’ve seen him air-ball a 3-pointer, miss a lay-up and strguggle to get any shots to go down tonight. At the half, he had three points while missing nine of his 10 shot attempts.

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.