Young Sixers make most of playoff experience

937215.jpg

Young Sixers make most of playoff experience

BOSTON -- Last season, the Celtics sent the Philadelphia 76ers packing in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Sixers returned this fall with another young lineup, only this time these players were taking their posteason experience with them on to the court.

The 76ers beat the Celtics twice in the preseason and continued the streak with a 106-100 win in their first regular-season meeting. They applied what they learned from last season's seven-game series on Friday night at the TD Garden.

"Our game plan is to use our speed, to use our length, try to clog up the paint because we know they pretty much have everything," said Jrue Holiday (21 points, 14 assists). "They have size inside, three-point shooters, and they have guys who attack. We used our athleticism and speed, scrambling on defense to get stops. I think in the first half that was kind of how we blew the game open, by getting stops and getting fast breaks."

The 76ers jumped out 21-14 lead late in the first quarter and built the edge up to 16 in the second. The Celtics cut the deficit to four points during the fourth but were never able to get over the hurdle. The Sixers 57-45 first half lead was enough to stave off the Celtics 55-49 second half advantage.

"Just keep them on their toes," said Nick Young (10 points). "We knew they were going to come out and try to hit us hard in the third (quarter) and we fought through the turnovers, their runs, and we just kept going. We didn't get carried away. We stayed to our program and made some big plays down the end."

Years of experience aside, the Sixers are looking to take on their more veteran opponents with full force. They are not letting the names on the jerseys get into their head.

"Last year we took (the Celtics) to Game 7 and the organization got the right unit around us to keep helping us progress," said Evan Turner (25 points, 11 rebounds.) "Other than that, we're not intimidated, we want more. This is a year we keep progressing and every single games important. We dont walk out on to the court and say, 'Oh my gosh its Paul Pierce,' or one night, 'Oh my gosh, it's LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony. We expect to win and thats just progression.

The Celtics and Sixers will face each other three more times during the regular season -- in back-to-back games in December and a game in March in Philadelphia.

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

BOSTON – The Bruins simply weren’t ready to play on Thursday night when the puck was dropped against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

They fell down quickly by a 2-0 score, had a couple of completely inept power plays in the first period that sucked all the game’s momentum away from them and received some subpar goaltending from Anton Khudobin on the way to a 4-2 loss to the lowly Avs. About the only B’s person above reproach in this one was David Pastrnak after scoring a pair of goals in the second period to get Boston back into the game, but it all fell short in a very frustrating, lackadaisical loss to a Western Conference team that isn’t very good. 

MORE: 

Needless to say B’s coach Claude Julien wasn’t too happy after a loss where the Bruins might have had more success with a smarter approach to holding the puck. 

“There were a lot of problematic things [in the loss]. No doubt that the power play could have helped us in the first period, and failed to do that. They’ve got to be better,” said Julien. “We needed some saves tonight, and we didn’t get them. [Anton Khudobin] has got to be better. 

“A lot of things here that we can be better at, and take responsibility [for]. But at the same time, you got to move on here.  It’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, we would have had a chance.”

Clearly it was about a lacking group effort when dissecting the loss, and the minus-3 for David Krejci on Thursday night marked back-to-back negative performances from the playmaking Czech center in big spots. The goaltending was shoddy with Anton Khudobin allowing four goals on 22 shots for Colorado, and unable to make plays on a couple of Colorado shots from outside the painted area that built up the Avs lead in the first place. 

But it was also very much about the inability of the Bruins to generate consistent offense outside of David Pastrnak’s offensive burst in the second period, and the complete breakdown of the Boston power play in the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins struggled to enter the zone in their first PP possession of the game, and then allowed a Nathan MacKinnon shorthanded goal after Torey Krug futilely dove at the blue line to try and keep the puck in the offensive zone. 

The Krug misplay at the offensive blue line gave MacKinnon a clear path the net, and he buried a wrist shot past Khudobin to get the one-sided loss rolling. Beyond the costly mistakes that ended up in the back of the net, the Bruins looked sloppy and slow-reacting in their breakouts and more than willing to settle for outside perimeter shots.

That doesn’t exactly make for a winning combo even when it comes against a flawed, underachieving team like Colorado, and especially when it comes less than 24 hours after a hard-fought road game in Washington DC. 

“I think we were still sleeping there early in the game and they were able to capitalize on their opportunities. We couldn’t claw our way back,” said Brad Marchand, who picked up an assist on David Pastrnak’s second goal of the night on a perfect dish for the one-timer. “I think it was definitely a mental [block]. You’re able to battle through that physical fatigue. It was more the mental mistakes and not being prepared right off the hop of the start of the game. Again, that’s kind of where we lost it.”

The sleepwalking Bruins lost Thursday night’s valuable two points as soon as the opening puck was dropped against the Avalanche, of course, and the Bruins never got out of lollygag mode at a time when intensity should have been automatic. 

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Chiefs top Raiders 21-13, take AFC West lead

raiders_chiefs_derek_carr_120816.jpg

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Chiefs top Raiders 21-13, take AFC West lead

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Tyreek Hill had touchdowns receiving and on a punt return, Kansas City's defense made life miserable for Oakland quarterback Derek Carr, and the Chiefs beat the Raiders 21-13 on a frigid Thursday night to take control of the AFC West.

Charcandrick West also had a touchdown run for the Chiefs (10-3). They moved into a first-place tie with Oakland (10-3) but holds the tiebreaker with two wins over their longtime divisional rival.

Click here for the complete story