Possible trade options for Bruins on deadline day

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Possible trade options for Bruins on deadline day

The NHL trade deadline day has finally arrived and the Bruins are still on the clock.

Through a dearth of available, attractive players, an unwillingness to deal players off their current NHL roster and a lack of top-level prospects at the AHL level, its been a challenge for Bs general manager Peter Chiarelli.

But there are still deals to be made for the Black and Gold, and they need to get a couple of transactions done with holes along the forward and defenseman ranks. The Bruins need another right wing as insurance should either Nathan Horton or Rich Peverley have difficulty getting healthy in time for the playoffs, and an experienced extra defensemen is another roster spot that needs an upgrade.

With that in mind here are some of the best players left that could be linked with the Bruins:

Mike Knuble He made sense on many different levels for the Bruins (net-front presence, leadership and size around the net), but it appears that the Capitals wont be selling after a few wins right before the deadline. Its too bad given the limited role hes been handed in Washington.

Ryan Malone Another big body that could fill the Horton role with David Krejci and Milan Lucic, but hes got a no-movement clause and carries a contract that would heave Chiarelli heartburn. Three more years at more than a 4 million cap hit isnt what any NHL GM is looking for with a limited player that hasnt lived up to his billing in Tampa Bay this year. Hes on a pace for 17 goals and a minus-21 this season and its difficult to see things getting better at 32 years old.

David Jones, Daniel Winnik and T.J. Galiardi Jones is the most attractive of the trio of Colorado Avalanche forwards with 27 goals scored last season and on pace for another 20-goal season this year. Winnik is a former University of New Hampshire star that has carved out a decent career in Phoenix and Colorado. Galiardi is a 23-year-old that had 15 goals two years ago. None are particularly sexy names on the trade market, but there arent many of those left available for the price Boston is willing to pay.

Sheldon Souray and Michael Ryder Possibly the oddest rumors have the Bruins trying to chase down a reunion with Ryder as the Stars appear to be sellers despite sitting in playoff position. No shot of this happening with the Bruins being forced to commit to another contracted year of Ryder if they brought him back, and its still doubtful Dallas blows up their roster. Souray is intriguing and could be an option for the Bruins if theyre willing to pay that price. Its expected Souray would cost prospects rather than any roster players.

Ray Whitney Anybody that thinks Whitney is still available in trade isnt much of a hockey fan. The Phoenix Coyotes are kicking butt and taking names, and is looking to add players rather than subtract.

Andrei Kostitsyn and PK Subban The Habs have reportedly kicked around the notion of trading both players, but there is little shot theyd trade either player to their mortal NHL rivals. No way would the Habs risk getting beaten by Subban in a Bruins uniform on a regular basis. Not gonna happen.

Bryan Allen A 31-year-old veteran defenseman that can play the physical game and wouldnt come with an extreme price tag. Allen can play close to 20 minutes a night and would be good insurance in case of postseason injuries along their blueline.

Drew Stafford The kind of forward that could create an impact for a Bruins team looking for another offensive option with Horton and Peverley down, and hes always played well against the Bruins. The question is the price tag for a Buffalo team that should be coming to grips with this season.

Samuel Pahlsson Would only cost a middling prospect and would be a creative solution for Chiarelli and Co. It wouldnt really arrive as a solution for Hortons absence, but would allow the Bruins to move some players around to find solutions. Moving David Krejci to wing has given the Bruins a little bit wider net to cast for forward replacements and it's clear Columbus is motivated to move the center.

Sixers' success against C's defense shows Boston still has room to grow

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Sixers' success against C's defense shows Boston still has room to grow

Avery Bradley was a member of the NBA’s All-Defensive first team a year ago. And Al Horford has been among the league’s best interior defenders for a number of years.

But as talented defensively as they may be, the Celtics are still learning how to play with each other as well as off of one another.

Injuries have slowed down the chemistry developing as quickly as some might expect. Horford missed nine games due to a concussion, and another game due to wife giving birth to their second child, Alia Horford.

And in Boston’s 107-106 win over Philadelphia on Saturday night, defensive chemistry -- not only among Horford and Bradley, but with all of the players -- remains a work in progress for sure.

Boston had a number of defensive issues in the first half which factored in the Sixer shooting 46.1 percent from the field while shooting 9-for-18 from 3-point range.

But the second half was an entirely different story as Boston’s defense picked up his intensity and focus level which would prove to be just enough to beat a scrappy Sixers team.

The Celtics (12-8) are four games over .500 for the first time this season currently have the third-best record in the Eastern Conference behind Cleveland (13-5) and Toronto (14-6). 

And while the players point to a handful of games that they felt they gave away, Avery Bradley reminds all that the success of this team this season has for the most part come with key players out of the mix or limited in some capacity.

“We haven’t played that many games with the full roster,” Bradley told reporters after the win. “We’re still learning how to play with each other.”

Bradley pointed out a moment in Saturday’s victory where a miscommunication between him and Horford led to a defensive miscue.

Boston has had similar mistakes made on offense this season, too.

“We haven’t really been in pick-and-roll that much,” Bradley said. “Every single game we need to improve.”

And that improvement has to continue evolving on the defensive side of things for this team to achieve its goals this season which include being among the last teams standing in the East.

Doing that will likely mean Boston re-establishing itself as a defensive force, something that should come with time and experience playing with each other.

Horford, who signed a four-year, $113 million deal with Boston in the offseason, says it’s an ongoing process for all involved.

“I have to learn to play with our concepts, the guys have to learn to play with me,” Horford told reporters after Saturday’s win. “We just have to make sure we keep playing the right way, be more consistent with that. I feel like we’re getting better but there’s still some work that we need to do.”

Stars, studs and duds: Thomas churns out another strong fourth quarter performance

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Stars, studs and duds: Thomas churns out another strong fourth quarter performance

The pressure that comes with a tight game in the fourth quarter can be a weighty proposition for some NBA players.

Then there’s Boston’s Isaiah Thomas who continues to save his best work for the fourth quarter.

Saturday’s 107-106 win at Philadelphia had yet another Thomas-like finish for the Celtics as the 5-foot-9 guard was at his most dominant state in the game’s final minutes.

Thomas finished with a season high-tying 37 points which included a stretch in the fourth in which he scored 12 straight.

“I just love the fourth quarter,” Thomas told reporters following the win. “I just want to win. Whether it’s making plays for myself or making plays for my teammates, it’s about making the right play. I get ultra- aggressive in that fourth quarter. That’s what I’ve always done.”

And his teammates appreciate how Thomas elevates his play in the game’s most pivotal moments.

“A lot of the credit is to Isaiah, how he was able to finish the game tonight,” said Avery Bradley. “He was able to make shots when we needed him to.”

And while Thomas knows his shots won’t fall all the time down the stretch, his fourth quarter mentality does provide him with a level of confidence that no matter what the defense does to him or what the score may be, he can swing the game’s momentum in his team’s favor.

“Some guys get a little tight, they get a little timid (in the fourth quarter),” Thomas said. “I embrace it. I want to be great. I want to be somebody my teammates can call on when the game is close.”

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

STARS

Isaiah Thomas: There was no more dominant player on Saturday night than Thomas. He finished with a game-high 37 points along with seven assists.

Dario Saric: It was a breakout game for the 22-year-old rookie who led the Sixers with 21 points as well as 12 rebounds for his third double-double this season. Both his points and rebound totals tied his career highs in those categories.

STUDS

Avery Bradley: Boston’s surge towards victory did not kick in until the third quarter which is when Bradley elevated his play offensively. In the third he scored 10 of his 20 points on the night, to go along with a team-high nine rebounds.

Ersan Illyasova: He finished with 18 points which included a pair of three-pointers in the closing seconds of the game. He also grabbed six rebounds and two assists.

DUDS

Celtics first half defense: There wasn’t much to like about Boston defensively in the first half. The Celtics struggled to take away or limit Philadelphia’s only strength Saturday night which was three-point shooting. The Sixers nailed nine of their 18 three-point attempts in the first half in addition to hurting the Celtics’ transition defense which gave up seven fast-break points to Philly compared to Boston scoring just one point in transition.