Celtics bounce back, hold off Pacers

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Celtics bounce back, hold off Pacers

INDIANAPOLIS We've seen from time to time the Boston Celtics come in and save the day.

Saturday night was one of those times as the C's second unit gave the Celtics a nice cushion to play with in the first half, and the starters like Paul Pierce took care of business in the second half in Boston's 86-72 victory.

With the win, Boston (31-24) snapped a two-game losing skid and will go into Sunday's game against Philadelphia in first place in the Atlantic.

For Indiana (34-22), the loss snapped a four-game winning streak.

Boston went into the half Saturday night leading by double digits, similar to what they did against Chicago on Thursday night. But the second half brought about a Celtics slump against the Bulls, and ultimately a loss.

You can bet that was a message drilled into the Celtics players at the half.

To their credit, Boston showed no signs of letting up in the third quarter as Indiana missed five of its first six shots from the field.

Still, the C's couldn't quite pull away like they would have wanted to, courtesy of some poor shooting of their own.

Not surprisingly, the Pacers managed to get Boston's lead down to single digits.

But to the C's credit, they did just enough to still maintain a comfortable lead, 59-51, going into the fourth.

Just as Paul Pierce carried the C's in the third when the Pacers tried to mount a comeback, it was Rajon Rondo doing yet another masterful job of managing the game and getting all his teammates great looks at the basket. And then there was Kevin Garnett getting it done in the fourth as well, despite being in foul trouble.

His play down the stretch was a nice compliment to the strong performance in the first half by his backup, Greg Stiemsma.

A number of Boston backups played well in the first half, but Stiemsma's play was instrumental in the C's setting a defensive tone that propelled them to a comfortable lead for most of the night.

And as the half ended, he was on pace for his first career triple-double with 10 points, five rebounds and five blocked shots. He didn't score another point in the second half, but he did finish with a career-high nine rebounds.

Stiemsma wasn't the only backup burying the Pacers in the first half.

Sasha Pavlovic, who has teeter-tottered in and out of the C's rotation all season, was on his game from the start.

He had eight points in the first half which included a buzzer-beating jumper to end the first quarter.

And then there's the new guy to the second unit, Ray Allen.

Coming off the bench for the second straight game - and sixth time in his career - Allen shook off some early shooting woes to tally 10 points on 4-for-11 shooting.

While Boston's bench did its share of scoring in the first half, it was their defense that really set the tone, as Indiana fell behind by as many as 17 points in large part because they missed their first 11 shots from the field in the second.

However, Indiana rallied with a 7-0 spurt that cut Boston's lead to 10 with 2:35 to play in the half. From there, the two went back and fourth with the half ending with the C's up by 10 points.

Bruins cancel practice to 'regroup' after bad loss to Islanders

Bruins cancel practice to 'regroup' after bad loss to Islanders

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins were supposed to hit the ice for the eighth day in a row on Tuesday following their empty 4-0 loss to the New York Islanders on Monday afternoon, but those plans were scrubbed.

The reeling Black and Gold instead cancelled practice, with only Matt Beleskey, Jimmy Hayes and Zane McIntyre taking the ice at Warrior Ice Arena and the rest of the B’s hitting the giant reset button after an embarrassing loss.

“I think it’s one of those [things] where you’ve got to regroup and recharge the batteries, and feel better,” said Patrice Bergeron. “Maybe a little bit of fatigue was part of it [Monday vs. the Isles] and you use a day like today to look forward, look at videos and be better the next day. It happens today and we have another game tomorrow [against Detroit].”

While it is true that the Bruins and Winnipeg Jets have played more games than anybody else in the NHL in this wacky season with a condensed schedule, the B’s leaders weren’t having it as an excuse with both the Maple Leafs and Senators holding an incredible six games in hand on Boston. Blown opportunities against bad opponents are exactly the recipe for missing the playoffs, as they have in each of the past two seasons, and the Bruins are tracking to do that again.

“All of the teams are in the same situation. It’s about managing and finding ways to be at your best every night and in every game. Yes, maybe [the condensed schedule] is part of it, but you can’t just put the blame on that. We’re professionals and we need to show up every game.”

The Bruins didn’t show up against the Islanders on Monday afternoon and basically pulled their second no-show vs. the Isles on home ice this season. There’s no excuse for that given the B’s current situation battling for the postseason. 

Maybe a day off the ice will improve that situation and maybe it’s simply rewarding a team that didn’t earn it on Monday afternoon, but the B’s have to hope it’s much more of the former than the latter. 

Tomlin apologizes for language, calls Brown's actions 'foolish' and 'selfish'

Tomlin apologizes for language, calls Brown's actions 'foolish' and 'selfish'

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin indicated that stunts like Antonio Brown’s Sunday night video are the kind that get good players shipped out of town.

“He's a great player, respected largely in the locker room but incidents such as this don't help him in that regard,” said Tomlin told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette and others at a Tuesday press conference in Pittsburgh. “That's often why you see great players move from team to team. Don't want that to happen to Antonio Brown.” 

Tomlin, who referred to the Patriots as “a--holes” after the Steelers beat Kansas City in a Divisional Playoff game, apologized for his profanity and the other off-color comments made in the 17-minute broadcast.

“Like to say the language on the video is regrettable, by me and by others,” Tomlin stated.” That's why we go to great lengths to preserve certain moments and interactions between us. As a parent, as a member of the community I take that very seriously. I issue an apology in that regard.”

Tomlin added that he has “absolutely no worries on the video's effect on the game, on the Patriots, on the Steelers. Game is too big.”

Returning to Brown – who has yet to address why he thought this was a great idea – Tomlin said, “It was foolish of him to do that, selfish and inconsiderate. It was violation of our policy, league policy. He has to grow from this. He works extremely hard, he's extremely talented and those things get minimized with incidents like this."