Bucks hot on the Celtics heals

710276.jpg

Bucks hot on the Celtics heals

MILWAUKEE Fear the Deer is more than just an antiquated catch-phrase that once upon a time was applicable to the Milwaukee Bucks.

It is real right now!

No team in the Eastern Conference is playing better basketball than the Bucks, who come into tonight's game against Boston riding a six-game winning streak.

Milwaukee (21-24) has risen from an injury-riddled club bound for the NBA lottery, to one that's entrenched in the playoff race with the likes of the Celtics (24-21) just a couple games ahead of them.

The Bucks are currently in ninth place in the East after a 4-9 start to the season.

"They've played well, they're playing together and they're making shots," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "They're just cranking; they're playing well."

In the midst of their recent run, the Bucks added high-scoring guard Monta Ellis via a trade with Golden State, giving Milwaukee a lethal backcourt scoring tandem with Ellis (21.6 points per game) paired with Brandon Jennings who has been the Bucks' top scorer this season with 18.8 points per game.

"Monta's a great scorer," said Jennings, who added that the trade did come as a surprise. "I'm happy to have him. He can take a lot of pressure off me and a lot of other players out here."br>
Bucks coach Scott Skiles acknowledged that there were discussion about whether to pursue the trade when at the time, Milwaukee was riding a then-four game winning streak.

"You can't make every trade based on what's happening now," Skiles said. "It's also got to be based on looking forward. Hopefully anytime you make a roster move, you're thinking about short-term and long term, and not necessarily in that order."

In addition to Ellis, Milwaukee also added former first-round pick Ekpe Udoh who provides added depth for the Bucks front court.

"So far, Monta and Ekpe have fit in really well," Skiles said. "We just have to hope to keep it going."

Rask stops 35 shots in Bruins' 2-1 win over Sabres

boston-bruins-tuukka-rask-sabres-120316.jpg

Rask stops 35 shots in Bruins' 2-1 win over Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Tuukka Rask made 35 saves to help the Bruins hold off the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 on Saturday

David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron scored to give Boston a 2-0 lead and the Bruins improved to 3-0-1 in their past four.

Evander Kane scored his first goal of the season for Buffalo. Robin Lehner returned after missing one game with a hip injury and made 32 saves.

The Sabres combined for nine goals in their previous two wins but the NHL's lowest-scoring team reverted to form from the first 21 games, when star center Jack Eichel was out of the lineup with a high-ankle sprain.

Krejci got the Bruins on the scoreboard with 5:50 left in the first when he deflected Brandon Carlo's slap shot from the point off the right post and into the net.

The Sabres appeared to tie the game late in the second period but replays determined Brian Gionta kicked the puck into the net.

Bergeron made it 2-0 at 7:10 of the second at 7:44 of the third when he knocked on the rebound of his own missed shot. Bergeron initially hit the puck with his forearm on the left edge of the crease and skated around the net to chase down the puck and slip a backhand past Lehner.

The Sabres answered two minutes later, scoring on Rask for the first time in 109:12 this season. Sam Reinhart's feed off the rear wall set up Kane for a wrist shot from the slot that bounced in off Krejci. Reinhart has five points in his last four games.

NOTES: Bruins F Matt Beleskey was escorted to the dressing room in the final minute of the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return. ... Sabres D Josh Gorges did not play after injuring his foot blocking a shot in Thursday's win over the New York Rangers. With Dmitry Kulikov (lower back) and Zach Bogosian (MCL sprain) also out, the Sabres were down three of their top four defenseman and recalled 19-year-old Brendan Guhle from the minors to make his NHL debut. Guhle hustled back to thwart a breakaway by Krejci late in the third period. ... F Anton Blidh became the seventh Bruin to make his NHL debut this season after being recalled from the minors on Friday. ... The Bruins scratched F Jimmy Hayes. D Zdeno Chara, the Bruins' captain, missed his sixth straight game with a lower-body injury. ... Rask got a shutout in Boston's 4-0 win over Buffalo on Nov. 7.

UP NEXT

Bruins: Host Florida on Monday.

Sabres: At Washington on Monday.

 

© 2016 by STATS and The Associated Press.

Gronkowski put on IR, officially ending his season

Gronkowski put on IR, officially ending his season

The Patriots have placed Rob Gronkowski on injured reserve, officially ending the injured tight end's season. 

The Patriots have added running back D.J. Foster to the 53-man roster. 

Gronkowski underwent surgery on his back Friday in Los Angeles. There was some hope he might be able to return if the Patriots reached the Super Bowl, but this move ends that.

More to come...