Horton all smiles at Bruins' practice

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Horton all smiles at Bruins' practice

WILMINGTON, Mass. It can be nothing but a good sign that Bruins power forward Nathan Horton was spotted wearing his trademark gleaming grin while walking out of the Bs dressing room following Thursdays morning skate.

He looked happy, relatively healthy and upbeat while saying hello as he walked out of the TD Garden after checking in with the teams medical staff.

But it hasnt changed Hortons prognosis while attempting to recover from a mild concussion suffered during a Jan. 22 win over the Flyers in Philly. Horton has now missed 16 games and close to six weeks of the regular season after bearing the brunt of a Tom Sestito blindside hit, and is still far away from a return to the ice.

Sestito was given no penalty or supplemental discipline on a play thats knocked one of the Bs best forwards out of the lineup with his second concussion within an eight-month span.
A source close to Horton indicated on Thursday that there is still a ways to go before the Bs right wing will be cleared for skating, practicing or playing and hes out indefinitely.

The Bruins acquired Brian Rolston at the deadline as needed forward depth with both Horton and Rich Peverley out of the lineup for the majority of the regular season, but theyve struggled mightily with five shutout losses among the 16 games without Horton.

It may be that Horton and the Bruins have determined to sit Horton out until closer to the end of the season to give him the best possible chance for a healthy run during the playoffs, and multiple sources have indicated that the right wing will definitely be returning at some point this year.

So currently Marc Savard, Horton and Johnny Boychuk are all missing action with the after-effects of head injuries, and only Boychuk appears on the verge of returning to the Boston lineup.

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics have no answer for Lowry

Stars, studs and duds: Celtics have no answer for Lowry

BOSTON — For most of Friday night’s game, the Boston Celtics played the kind of game that on most nights would result in a victory. 

But Toronto is one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference with talent, depth and an undeniable desire to win at all costs. 

One strong quarter by the Raptors was just enough to put away the Celtics, 101-94. 

And it came in the third when Toronto outscored Boston 33-18 which turned out to be the only quarter the Raptors (16-7) outscored the Celtics. 

“They got hot; made some tough shots,” said Boston’s Marcus Smart. “The tough shots kind of hurt us.”

The tough shots and a flawless 8-for-8 performance from the free throw line. 

While it’s a 48-minute game, there was no getting around the fact that it was Toronto’s dominance in the third that ultimately determined the game’s outcome. 

“If you look at it from our perspective it’s what went wrong; if you look at it from theirs, they ratcheted up the defense quite a bit (in the third quarter),” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “It was hard for us to break their … break their wall of defense.”

In the third quarter, Boston shot just 27.8 percent from the field, 30 percent (3-for-10) on 3’s and a woeful 5-for-10 from the free throw line. 

“We started making everything difficult for them and not letting them get that easy in and try to take advantage of that,” said Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Friday night’s game.

 

STARS

Kyle Lowry

The Celtics had no answer for the All-Star point guard who led all players with 34 points, 21 of which came in the second half. 

Avery Bradley

Bradley was the lone Celtics starter who seemed to be in a good shooting flow, tallying 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting which included five made 3’s. 

DeMar DeRozan

The Celtics made him work a lot harder than he usually does to score, but he still managed to tally 24 points – just four points below his season average – on 9-for-25 shooting.

 

STUDS

Al Horford

He made a few more turnovers than usual, but Horford still put together a relatively balanced performance. He had 19 points and seven rebounds with six assists and a blocked shot. 

Norman Powell

The X-factor in Friday’s outcome had to be Powell. A 5.8 points per game scorer this season, Powell had 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting along with a game-high five steals. 

 

DUDS

Jae Crowder

With Isaiah Thomas (right groin) out, the Celtics really needed its core starters to step up and have a productive night offensively. Crowder just didn’t have it going on Friday, scoring just seven points on 2-for-11 shooting which included a number of 3s that rimmed in and out on him.