Seguin takes another step in Star-studded career

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Seguin takes another step in Star-studded career

KANATA, Ont. Tyler Seguin turns 20 as the Bruins prepare for the stretch run of their season.

Hes made a big step forward in his second NHL season, and his All-Star experience this weekend in Ottawa will have long-lasting positive effects on a player still learning just how good he can possibly become. Seguin assisted on a Joffrey Lupul goal in the third period of Team Charas solid 12-9 win over Team Alfredsson at Scotiabank Place Sunday, and he looked dangerous skating with Lupul and Phil Kessel over the course of the 60-minute exhibition.
You learn a ton. Last year was one thing where youre there and youre kind of observing, said Seguin, comparing last years rookie All-Star invite to this seasons entry into the NHL All-Star club. This year it was more talking and conversations. Guys know you by name and stuff like that. You get little details where you can pick their brains a little bit. Look at our first line tonight. You can sit there and talk to them while theyre playing phenomenally, and try to figure the reason behind it so you can be just as good.

Forwards like Corey Perry, Jarome Iginla, Pavel Datsyuk, Evgeni Malkin and Marian Hossa all manned spots on Seguins team, and thats the kind of veteran influence that can help Seguin continue his learning curve. Bruins coach Claude Julien has often spoke of Seguins development being slowed slightly because the youngster never played in the World Junior tournament or played for a Memorial Cup at the end of a junior hockey season.

So there were times when Seguin had played on the biggest, brightest hockey stage possibly, but winning a Stanley Cup and starring in an NHL All-Star game are the kind of things that show the Bs youngster the path of hockey righteousness.

Its great for a young guy to be around veteran star players in the league that have accomplished something; the way they act, the way they behave, how they approach their preparation for skills and games. Its huge for a young guy to see, said Chara. A lot of players probably think these guys just come and put on their skates and go.

But not . . . a lot of guys warm-up just like they do for other games. Nobody wants to get hurt. Nobody wants to pull anything. The way they are with media, the way they are with fans and the way they are with guys from other teams. Its a good chance for a young player to learn.

Now Seguin will take all of the lessons that he learned during the weekend full of hockey superstars and add them right into a regular season where hes pacing toward 30-plus goals and nearly 80 points if he stays consistent with his numbers in the first half of the year.

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

Bradley could miss 'a little more time' with Achilles injury

BOSTON – Wednesday’s 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks was the fifth time in the last six games that Boston Celtics guard Avery Bradley was out because of a right Achilles injury.

Well, it appears the 6-foot-2 guard may miss a few more with this injury.

“I can see him missing a little more time,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said following Wednesday’s loss. “I just think maybe he came back a little bit too early, whatever the case may be.”

Bradley was expected to play against the Knicks, but was a last-minute scratch.

Celtics big man Al Horford said he didn’t find out Bradley was out until the team was on the floor doing pre-game warmups and he didn’t see him.

“He was really sore,” Stevens said of Bradley. “Went through our walk-through and then came on to the court and did some stuff and was more sore today than he has been. I think he did treatment the whole game.”

This latest setback for Bradley is part of a growing narrative that has dogged him throughout his career which has included him missing games to injury in each of his six-plus NBA seasons.

Bradley came into this season once again hoping to be as injury-free as possible, only to see that dream dashed with this right Achilles strain he's suffering with currently.

Still, there’s no downplaying the significance and value the Celtics have in the 26-year-old. This season, he is second on the Celtics in scoring at 17.7 points per game and leads them in rebounds with 6.9 per game with both being career highs. In addition, he averages just under 35 minutes per game which is also tops on the team.

Marcus Smart has been Stevens’ choice to replace Bradley in the starting lineup when Bradley has been unavailable, and that’s not likely to change between now and Saturday’s home game against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Horford on rough night vs. Knicks: 'They deserved to win. They played better'

Horford on rough night vs. Knicks: 'They deserved to win. They played better'

BOSTON – With the night’s outcome all but a foregone conclusion, Al Horford’s last basket of the night got a sarcastic round of applause and a few jeers from the few fans that decided to stick it out for the final few seconds of Boston’s 117-106 loss to the New York Knicks.

Horford finished with a season-low five points for the Celtics (26-16).

Connecting on just 2-for-14 (or 14.3 percent) of his shots also represented the worst shooting night percentage-wise in Horford’s nine-plus NBA seasons.

“I struggled bad offensively,” said Horford who still managed to dish out a game-high 10 assists. “I tried to do anything I could to help us. It just wasn’t going for me.”

But as poorly as Horford shot the ball, he was more bothered by his defense and for that matter the Celtics’ team defense.

New York came into Wednesday’s game having lost 11 of its last 13 games and spent most of the night playing like a team that’s thirsty for a win.

They shot 50.5 percent from the floor, 40 percent on 3’s and dominated the glass 57-33 which helped fuel New York’s 24-12 advantage in second-chance points.

“We have to do a better job of holding teams to one shot,” Horford said. “That’s the first thing. I have to do a better job at protecting the rim. I know I can recall a couple instances where I needed to be there and I wasn’t impacting the ball as much as I would like to. I know I have to be better on the defensive end.”

Horford’s struggles on many levels mirrored the problems experienced by the rest of the Celtics.

“They punked us,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas who led all scorers with 39 points. “They were the harder playing team on both ends of the floor. That was the definition of this game; they played harder than us.”

For most of the night, the New York Knicks were making all the big plays defensively and clutch shots offensively while the Celtics consistently failed to get that one defensive stop or knock down the one jumper that could have at least shifted the game’s momentum closer to being in their favor.

Boston rookie Jaylen Brown believes the Celtics didn’t take the struggling Knicks as seriously as they should have.

“It’s very frustrating,” said Brown who came off the bench to score 12 points for Boston (26-16). “It’s a game we should have won. We underestimated our opponent. We are a better team than that even though we played bad we still had a lot of opportunities to win the ball game.”

Horford had a different take on how things went down on Wednesday.

“I don’t think we overlooked them,” Horford said. “But I think we kind of … consciously or not, we felt we were going to win this game like, ‘We’ll struggle a little bit, but we’ll figure it out and win it.’ It didn’t work like that. In the fourth, we were right there. They made a couple shots. They deserved to win. They played better.”

And as the Celtics found themselves on multiple occasions having a chance to tie the game or take the lead in the fourth, it would have been fool’s good if they somehow managed to squeak out a win on Wednesday night.

“We didn’t deserve it,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder who had 21 points. “When you don’t deserve it, the basketball gods don’t bless you.”

But there’s plenty of season left to be played, and the Celtics – as we saw on Wednesday – have plenty of room for improvement.

Especially Horford, particularly when it comes to getting back on track shooting the ball.

“It was at the point where I didn’t have it,” he said. “That was tough. So I tried to impact the game in other ways whether it was setting screens or giving people shots, stuff like that. That was definitely tough for me because they were good looks. They just didn’t go in.”