Celtics dominate the Heat, 91-72


Celtics dominate the Heat, 91-72

BOSTON The Boston Celtics absolutely crushed the Miami Heat -- and no, this is not an April Fool's Day joke, folks.

That said, it didn't take long for the Celtics to make this into a laugher, dominating the Heat in every way imaginable for a 91-72 win.

Rajon Rondo came up with another strong performance before a nationally televised audience, putting together a strong first half that put him well on his way to a triple-double by halftime. He finished with 16 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds. It was Rondo's 18th career triple-double, 14 of which have come in nationally televised games.

With the win, Boston (30-22) puts just a little more distance between themselves atop the Atlantic Division and the Philadelphia 76ers (29-23) who were idle on Sunday.

The win itself was impressive, especially because it came in such emphatic fashion.

After a relatively close first half, the C's went into full-blown blowout mode with a dominant third quarter that ended with a 29-8 Celtics run which gave them an 80-56 lead going into the fourth.

Boston continued to handle the Heat in the fourth, leaving little doubt who the better team was on this day.

The Boston beat down began with a huge first quarter led by Rondo, who had a hand in just about every basket made by the Celtics as they jumped out to a 29-19 lead after one. Rondo either scored or had an assist in all but one of the C's baskets in the quarter.

However, the Heat made a run. Though they fell behind by as many as 11 points in the second quarter, they reeled off off 10 straight to make it a one-point game.

Dwyane Wade's post game was huge in the comeback, using his size and strength to shoot over Avery Bradley.

But Bradley held his own most of the half, and even got the better of Wade on one occasion as Wade tried to shoot a running one-hander over Bradley who swatted it away.

Unfortunately for Boston, the ball fell into the hands of Shane Battier, who drained the 3-pointer.

Battier and Wade each had 11 points in the first half, which ended with the Celtics leading 49-44 while Paul Pierce 12 first-half points.

LeBron James had 23 points for the Heat, while Wade finished with 15 points. Paul Pierce led five double-digit scorers for the C's, with 23 points.

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

Two more Pastrnak goals pull him into tie for NHL lead with Crosby

BOSTON – While the loss to the Avalanche on Thursday night was a monumental dud, it put another dazzling display on the hockey resume of David Pastrnak. 

The 20-year-old star right winger scored two more goals in the 4-2 loss at TD Garden and nearly brought the Bruins back into the game by himself before another defensive breakdown at the end of the second period doomed them. 

Instead, Pastrnak had to settle with being the proud owner of 18 goals scored in 23 games that places him in a tie with NHL superstar Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead in goals. 

The goals also showed his wide range of lethal offensive skills. On the first score, he just broke away from the Avalanche defense and managed to bury a second-effort breakaway chance after a nice Tim Schaller stretch pass off the boards. The second goal was a straight one-timer bomb from the high slot off a slick setup pass from Brad Marchand in the corner, and it had the Bruins right back into the mix after a dreadful first period. 

It wasn’t enough when the B’s defense faltered again toward the end of the second period, but it was enough for everybody to be singing Pastrnak’s praises once again following the loss. 

“He’s a game changer. The momentum is going the other way, and he has the ability to break away on any given shift and score a big goal for us. He did that tonight,” said Torey Krug. “We can’t just keep relying on the same guys to score goals. We’ve got to come up with secondary offense, and I know every other guy wants to do that. 

“Now it’s about showing that on the ice and making sure we’re doing the work and getting better and proving to ourselves. But Pasta [David Pastrnak] has been great for us so far, and we’re obviously lucky to have him.”

The 18 goals barely two months into the season are not too shabby for a kid, in his third NHL season, who just now coming into his own. He’s nearly halfway to 40 before Christmas. For Pastrnak, however, it’s about the team result and he wasn’t overly satisfied with his two goals in a losing effort. 

“I’ve said before the season that our goal is to make the playoffs and to have that experience and have the chance to win the Stanley Cup. I’m still focusing on that,” said Pastrnak, who has yet to experience the Stanley Cup playoffs in his two-plus seasons with the Black and Gold. “We have zero points from tonight’s game and we have to move on. I think our game gets better in the second and third periods, you know, and we have to regroup and get ready for Saturday’s game.”

The Bruins will undoubtedly regroup and once again count on another Pastrnak offensive explosion to help lead the way in what’s become a truly spectacular season for the youngster. 

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, according to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.