Rivers, Rondo fire back at Wade over 'punk' comment

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Rivers, Rondo fire back at Wade over 'punk' comment

WALTHAM Rajon Rondo is about as forward looking a player as you'll find on the Boston Celtics roster.

But there are some things from the past that aren't quite so easy to forget which is part of the reason why there's still a considerable buzz surrounding the late-game flagrant foul Rondo committed on Miami's Dwyane Wade during Boston's 120-107 loss on Tuesday.

Wade drove to the basket when Rondo came across and grabbed at Wade's neck which resulted in Rondo being whistled for a flagrant foul.

The C's seemed willing to move on from the incident until they were told after the game that Wade called it a "punk play".

"I don't think it was a hard foul," Rondo said on Thursday. "He (Wade) sold it a little bit, and that's basketball. They were up. He drove to the hole and I didn't want to give up a lay-up. It's as simple as that."

Rondo added, "I didn't come down, or dirty plays that you've seen him play in the past. That's what it is."

It's not a total surprise that Rondo took offense to Wade's comment when you consider the history between these two.

During the 2011 Eastern Conference semi-finals, Wade and Rondo got tangled in Game 3 with the end result being Rondo suffering a dislocated left elbow.

In Game 2 of that series, Rondo had a driving lay-up attempt in which the replay showed Wade fouling him across the face. No call was made and Miami went on to win the game in overtime.

A double technical foul was called on both players when they began jawing with one another in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals last year.

C's coach Doc Rivers has said little about the incident, preferring to instead focus on the C's home opener on Friday night against the Milwaukee Bucks.

But Rivers admits after seeing the play up close, he was surprised that Wade - who is from the Chicago area just like Rivers - was so bothered by it.

"I didn't think it was that hard," Rivers told CSNNE.com. "My thought was, Wade, I know where he grew up. I thought he was tougher than that."

Sunday, July 24: Dominic Moore mulls NHL offers

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Sunday, July 24: Dominic Moore mulls NHL offers

Here are the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling at how good the Justice League and Wonder Woman trailers were this weekend.

*PHT writer Cam Tucker has veteran center Dominic Moore mulling a couple of offers as he looks for an NHL contract for next season.

*Jordan Eberle joined Canadian sports radio, and agreed that something needed to change with the Oilers after continually missing the playoffs.

*I will miss Jim Prior’s trademark “The Teams are ready, so let’s play hockey!” open to every game as a PA announcer, and I’ll miss his warm personality around the rink. It’s a sad day for the BU hockey program.

*The Arizona Coyotes continue to put together a very interesting D-men picture by signing Luke Schenn to a two-year contract. For my money, Schenn has long been one of the most overrated players in the NHL.

*The Hockey News’ Mike Brophy has some thoughts and observations about the NHL offseason as it continues to wind on.

*Good piece by FOH (Friend of Haggs) Dave Stubbs on Andrei Markov and his candid thoughts on everything from the Montreal traffic to the PK Subban/Shea Weber trade.

*Here’s a spot to track the travels and stories of the Pittsburgh Penguins amid their summer with the Stanley Cup.

*For something completely different: as mentioned above, here is the trailer for the Justice League that shows a much lighter, better touch with what should be a fun movie to watch. Hopefully this means it won’t be another pretty-looking, Zack Snyder funeral dirge.

 

Kelly ready for his new role as a Red Sox reliever

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Kelly ready for his new role as a Red Sox reliever

BOSTON -- He had to make a longer trip than the rest of his team to Fenway Park for Sunday’s game, but Joe Kelly was more than happy when he got the call at midnight that he was leaving Columbus before his Pawtucket teammates so he could pitch in Boston again.

The righty rejoins the Red Sox for the first time as a reliever since Boston acquired him from St. Louis in the John Lackey trade in 2014. Kelly is expected to not only fill the vacancy left by Heath Hembree -- who was demoted to Triple-A after the game Saturday -- but to lighten the workload on Matt Barnes, Brad Ziegler and other relievers since key pieces of the bullpen went on the disabled list.

And the righty said he’s ready for his new role.

“My body and arm got ready a lot quicker than it would of if I was starting,” Kelly said. “It’s weird to see how your body feels on different days when you still have to get in the game. As a starter, you only have to prepare for that fifth day and if your body doesn’t feel that great in between those days it’s all right.”

Kelly’s apprehensions about pitching on consecutive days might sound like a cause for concern, but he also explained that he’s put himself through the ringer in to be in a position to succeed. He's also had good results at Pawtucket (no runs allowed in five relief innings with one walk and nine strikeouts) after compiling an 8.46 ERA in six starts this season in Boston.

“Out of the bullpen it was good to see different situations,” Kelly said. “[Sometimes I would] get a workout in before the game and go out and pitch that game just to see how I would respond. Pretty much did all the different type of scenarios to see where my arm and body was at.”

That preparation not only addresses the physical toll relieving can take, but also the mental toll.

So, now Kelly should be able to hop into any situation if he’s has worse command than he expects -- of which he noted an improvement.

“Yeah the command feels good right now for the most part with my secondary pitches,” Kelly said. “There hasn’t been a game yet where I’ve had a chance to throw more than two or three of them. For the most part, I’m getting one or two of the off-speed pitches over for a strike.

“And location of the fastball has been pretty good. Not exactly where I maybe where I want it to be, but for the most part it’s been if I want to miss it to a side of the plate, it’s been on that site.”

And now with the move to the bullpen, Kelly really only needs one good off-speed pitch to pair with his five-alarm fastball.

Given he has three to turn to -- including his curve that he said has reached 86 mph -- Kelly should be able to find more success in his shortened appearances.

“I’ve been using slider and curveball for the most part,” Kelly said. “Curveballs to lefties, but recently I’ve been getting some success on curveballs to righties because the velocity has been a little bit higher. Whatever pitch is working the best for me that day -- curveball, slider, changeup -- that’s what I’m probably going to use out there in the game.”

With that advantage Kelly is hunting for strikeouts now more than ever.

He went as far to say he’ll either strike a guy out or walk the batter if he enters the game with a runner on third in order to save the run.
 
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t trying to strike everyone out as a reliever now,” Kelly said.

The Red Sox hope he won’t work to many 3-and-2 counts in that scenario.