Horton (concussion) ruled out for 2012 playoffs

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Horton (concussion) ruled out for 2012 playoffs

WILMINGTON, Mass. -- While there was a hubbub of excitement over the news that Nathan Horton skated for more than 30 minutes on his own Wednesday, he was no closer to a return than he was in the two months prior to that.

The Boston Bruins officially announced on Wednesday that Horton will miss the entire Stanley Cup playoffs after suffering a what was called a "mild concussion" on Jan. 22 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Horton missed the final 36 games of the regular season and seven weeks of action after suffering the head injury. Those close to the power forward tell CSNNE.com he was never close to a return.

Here are a couple of reasons why: Horton was still weeks away from potentially practicing with his teammates entering the playoffs and even if he didnt have a single setback wouldnt have been ready to go until the final few rounds of the playoffs.

It was unrealistic to think that a tentative, healthy Horton would be a better option than battle-hardened Bruins wingers that had already passed through the first few postseason rounds.

To put it in further perspective, in 2007-08 when Patrice Bergeron suffered his serious concussion and harbored hopes of returning for the playoffs, he had been skating hard since the beginning of March. He might have been ready for the second round but says in retrospect he was glad that he wasnt tossed into playoff action before he was ready.

Theres also this startling fact: If Horton had returned to this springs playoffs for the Bruins and suffered another concussion, it would have been his third major head injury for the 26-year-old in less than a full year.

Thats the kind of risk that can put a players entire future at risk. Its also the kind of mistake the Bruins made in rushing Marc Savard along for the postseason two years ago against the Flyers. Savard was never the same again after playing in the playoffs against Philadelphia.

The Bruins would be making the same kind of error in rushing Horton back just because hed had a few good weeks.

Hortons biggest priority is not returning for this year's postseason. It's returning to full health next season, scoring goals, and giving Boston a power forward to complement Milan Lucic and David Krejci.

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

Barnes, Cousins trying to keep 'emotions and energy focused'

BOSTON – No one is proclaiming DeMarcus Cousins’ demeanor is all that radically different than past seasons. 

But the volatile nature that has often overshadowed his on-the-court-brilliance, doesn’t seem to shine as brightly as it used to. 

Maybe he’s growing up. 

Maybe he’s finally comfortable with his team. 

And then there’s the almighty dollar which was the incentive for one of his teammates, Matt Barnes, to clean up his act as far as racking up technical fouls and being fined by the league. 

I asked Barnes whether there was a light bulb moment or a teammate or player that helped him get on track and not draw so much attention from officials and the league office. 

“It was all the money I was being fined,” he said. “I think I lost like $600,000 over my career for fines. It was time to kind of wake and say ‘hey, they don’t like you so you have to stick to the book.’”

With Barnes returning to Sacramento (he played for the Kings during the 2004-2005 season), he finds an intense, kindred spirit of sorts in Cousins who like Barnes has had his share of technical and fines handed down by the league office. 

This season, Cousins is the NBA’s leader in technical fouls with six. 

“I’ve always had a good head on my shoulders,” Barnes said. “I’m just a passionate player. I play with my emotion on my sleeve. I think DeMarcus does the same thing. What I’m trying to show him now, we have to keep our emotions and energy focused towards the right things. That could be detrimental to the team if it gets out of hand.”

First-year coach Dave Joerger has been pleased to see how different Cousins is to be around on a daily basis as opposed to how he’s perceived. 

“He gets credit for his talent. He gets credit that he’s improved in the league,” Joerger said. “I think he doesn’t get enough credit for the way that his approach to the game and the way that he’s carrying himself and conducting himself has greatly improved. He’s a good person. Now being with him, I see improvement over the last three years, the way that he goes about his business. I think that’s very positive.”

Game notes: Celtics look to extend Kings’ Boston losing streak to nine

Game notes: Celtics look to extend Kings’ Boston losing streak to nine

BOSTON – Here are a few odds and ends to keep an eye on heading into tonight’s game against the Sacramento Kings: 
 
· The Celtics have won eight in a row over the Kings in Boston, with the last loss to Sacramento at the TD Garden coming on Jan. 19, 2007. Current Celtic Gerald Green was in the starting lineup that night. 

· Only six times in franchise history have the Celtics launched 38 or more 3-pointers in a game, four of which came in the month of November this season. 

· Speaking of 3-pointers, 36.2 percent of Boston’s shots are 3s. That ranks fifth in the league behind Houston, Cleveland, Brooklyn and Golden State.

· Don’t be surprised if Avery Bradley gets off to a good start tonight, especially from 3-point range. He’s shooting 59.1 percent on 3s in the first quarter which ranks second in the league. 

· Isaiah Thomas tallied 395 points scored in November, the most by a Celtic since John Havlicek had 406 points in November during the 1971-1972 season. 

· Boston leads the NBA in points scored (46.3 per game) by second-round picks. The Celtics’ second-round picks include Isaiah Thomas; Jae Crowder; Amir Johnson; Jonas Jerebko; Demetrius Jackson and Jordan Mickey.

· The Celtics are 5-0 this season when they outrebound an opponent. 

· Tonight’s game will be Boston’s fifth set of back-to-back games this season. In the first game, they are 3-1 this season. On the second night, they are 2-2.