Morning Skate: Tuesday, December 18

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Morning Skate: Tuesday, December 18

 Good column from Scott Burnside: there is no winning move as the NHL lockout continues on into Christmas.

 Edmonton Oilers prospect Justin Schultz is on pace for a record-breaking season at the AHL while continuing to prove just how worthy he was of the free agent sweepstakes mania this summer.

 

 Ilya Kovalchuk doesnt think the NHL will be holding a season this year, and seems resigned to be spending the year playing in Russia.

 

 A SportsNet legal eagle says that the NHLPA disclaimer of interest might blow up in the players faces. We shall see. Nobody really knows anything until it hits the court room.

 

 Per FOH (Friend of Haggs) Tracey Myers, Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa has returned to Chicago and is happy to be feeling better.

 

 Sidney Crosby plays goaltender for a ball hockey league and pitches a shutout. That story will go viral3, 2, 1now!

 

 A lead marketing company tells the Globe and Mail that the NHL lockout is doing alarming damage to their brand.

 

 A Providence Bruins magazine for your perusal: stories about Christian Hanson, Carter Camper and Jordan Caron are included.

 For something completely different: Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim turns the end of his press conference into a plea for stricter gun control. I say Bravo.  

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics struggling with three-pointers

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Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics struggling with three-pointers

You knew the 3-point shots were going to be flying all game long when the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets tipped off Monday night. 
 
Now whether they would go in, that’s another matter entirely. 
 
Boston’s struggles with knocking down the long ball played a pivotal role in them going into the half trailing the Houston Rockets, 58-48.
 
Houston, the NBA’s leader in three-pointers made (14.0) and taken (37.0), were 8-for-21 in the first half on 3s while the Celtics were a not-so-impressive 5-for-18.
 
Despite the shooting struggles, Boston managed to lead 37-36 after a driving lay-up by Jaylen Brown. 
 
But the Rockets had too much firepower and when they weren’t knocking down shots, they were getting to the free throw line where there 18-for-20 compared to Boston which was just 1-for-2.
Here are the first half Stars, Studs and Duds from Monday’s game. 

 

STARS
 
James Harden

The MVP candidate was bringing it all areas, scoring 21 points to go with seven assists. But he was far from perfect, evident by his six turnovers. 
 
Isaiah Thomas

He led the Celtics with 11 points, but looks to be growing frustrated with the lack of calls going the Celtics’ way. Near the end of the second quarter, Thomas was grimacing while holding his right groin. But it didn’t appear to be too big a deal as he hit a 3-pointer just moments later. But it’s worth keeping an eye on in the second half. 
 

STUDS
 
Jaylen Brown

He gave Boston a surprisingly strong lift off the Celtics bench. At the half, he had seven points which included a lay-up that put Boston ahead 37-36.

Trevor Ariza

He doesn’t get a ton of attention, but Ariza’s play has been one of the keys to Houston’s success this season. At the half he had 10 points and six rebounds.

 

DUDS
 
Jonas Jerebko

He got the start tonight, but looks nothing like the high-energy, impact player he has been of late while coming off the bench. He was scoreless in the first half while missing all three of his shot attempts. 

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

New photo surfaces of noticeably thinner Pablo Sandoval

When it comes to Pablo Sandoval and his weight, a picture is worth a thousand words.

During spring training it wasn’t a good thing. Sandoval made headlines when a number of photos revealed significant weight gain for the Red Sox third baseman.

But the last two images have been more positive for Sandoval.

In October, a noticeably thinner Sandoval was photographed at an FC Barcelona game.

On Monday, Dan Roche of WBZ tweeted a more recent picture of the new-look Sandoval.

Sandoval, 30, is entering the third season of a five-year, $95 million contract. In his lone full season in Boston, 2015, Sandoval hit .245/.292/.366 with 10 homers and 47 RBI.