Celtics fall to Mavs, 90-85, drop below .500


Celtics fall to Mavs, 90-85, drop below .500

BOSTON Four days with nothing but rest and reps for the Boston Celtics didn't produce the kind of start they were hoping for against the Dallas Mavericks.

The finish was better, but it wasn't enough as the battle for better-than-average status was won by Dallas, 90-85.

Rajon Rondo finished with 24 points and seven assists in the losing effort.

After a 3-pointer from Paul Pierce tied the game at 85, Dirk Nowitzki scored while being fouled with 5.1 seconds to play.

Nowitzki, who had 16 points, made the free throw which put the Mavericks ahead 88-85.

Following a Celtics time-out, Boston turned the ball over on the in-bounds, which all but sealed the victory for Dallas.

The victory put the Mavericks (6-5) above .500 for the first time this season, and dropped the C's (4-5) below .500.

After falling behind 10-2 and trailing by as many as 10 points in the first half, Boston took its first lead early in the third quarter on a Ray Allen jumper.

A Jermaine O'Neal jumper - seriously, he took a shot and made it - soon came, and that was followed by a pair of Allen technical foul free throws after Mavericks coach and former Celtic Rick Carlisle was ejected.

But the C's momentum didn't last long.

Boston led by five points, only for the Mavs to counter with a 21-6 run to go back on top by double digits.

The Celtics got off to a nice start to the first, but their Achilles heel - rebounding - once again proved to be problematic.

Trailing 68-64, they forced a miss only to have Dirk Nowitzki out-work Kevin Garnett for the loose ball. Moments later, Nowitzki beat Garnett off the dribble for a lay-up.

Boston continued to battle, but the frustration of not being able to get over the hump began to set in as Rajon Rondo and Doc Rivers were each whistled for a technical foul in the fourth - a no-no, according to Rivers.

McAdam: Poor homestand puts Red Sox on tough road

McAdam: Poor homestand puts Red Sox on tough road

The Red Sox had their chance.

They could have beefed up during the just-completed homestand and taken advantage of the worst team in the American League (Minnesota) and another that was only three games over .500 when it came to town (Detroit).

Instead, the Red Sox were just 2-5 in the last seven games at Fenway, losing ground in the standings to the Orioles and Blue Jays rather than making the race tighter.

That's not to suggest the Red Sox played their way out of contention in the last week. There are better than two months remaining in the season and the schedule isn't yet two-thirds complete.

Moreover, there is no dominant team in the East, and, thus, no one capable of pulling away and leaving the rest of the teams in their wake.

Baltimore and Toronto are flawed, too, as the first 100 or so games of the season have demonstrated.

But what the disappointing homestand means is this: Because they didn't win as much as they should at Fenway in the last week, the Sox will have to make up for that on the road.

As has been talked about ad nauseum in the last week, the schedule is about to become more demanding for the Red Sox. It's bad enough that they're in the middle of a stretch that will see them enjoy one (1) day off in the span of 44 days. Making matters worse is that 41 of the final 63 games are away from home -- including the next 11.

Put another way: The Red Sox have not yet had a three-city road trip this season, but all four of their remaining trips are of the three-city variety, including two that include travel to the West Coast.

The Red Sox have played fairly well on the road (21-19) -- they're one of just four teams in the American League with a winning road record -- but the simple fact remains: It's harder to win on the road than it is at home. And that's before you take into consideration the toll that lengthy road trips can take.

Of the next three road opponents, one has a losing record, and another is just two games over .500. Only the Los Angeles Dodgers, next weekend's interleauge road opponent, are playoff contenders from among that group.

Then again, the Red Sox thought they could roll over the Twins last weekend and came away with a four-game split, so it's difficult to handicap these things.

It should help, too, that the Red Sox are getting healthier.

Junichi Tazawa returned this week, and Craig Kimbrel could be back as early as Monday in Seattle. Chris Young and Josh Rutledge could rejoin them before they head out on their next road swing in mid-August.

With all the talk of the daunting schedule and demanding travel ahead, Dustin Pedroia was having none of it.

"We can play just as well on the road as we have at home,'' said Pedroia. "That stuff (the schedule) is irrelevant.''

Maybe. But one way or another, we're about to find out.

Garoppolo: Make the best of this opportunity as starting quarterback

Garoppolo: Make the best of this opportunity as starting quarterback

Jimmy Garoppolo, who will start the first four weeks, talks to the media today about trying to take advantage of the opportunity of being the Patriots' quarterback.


Boston Celtics announce 2016 preseason schedule


Boston Celtics announce 2016 preseason schedule

New England fans will get their first glimpse at the 2016-2017 Boston Celtics when they kick off their preseason schedule on October 4 against the Philadelphia 76ers at UMass-Amherst’s Mullins Center.

That game will feature two of the top three picks in last month’s draft as Ben Simmons, the top overall pick, will face Jaylen Brown, who was drafted by the Celtics with the third overall pick.

Boston’s 7-game schedule features no back-to-back games, but they do face the Charlotte Hornets in their second and third preseason games on Oct. 6 (in Greensboro, N.C.) and Oct. 8 at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Here’s a look at Boston’s full preseason schedule:

DATE               OPPONENT                  LOCATION                                                        TIME
Oct. 4               Philadelphia 76ers         UMass-Amherst Mullins Center (Amherst, MA)     7:00 p.m. ET
Oct. 6               Charlotte Hornets          Greensboro Coliseum (Greensboro, NC)             7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 8               Charlotte Hornets          Mohegan Sun Arena (Uncasville, CT)                  3:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 13             Brooklyn Nets               Barclays Center (Brooklyn, NY)                          7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 15             New York Knicks           Madison Square Garden (New York, NY)             7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 17             Brooklyn Nets               TD Garden (Boston, MA)                                   7:30 p.m. ET
Oct. 19             New York Knicks           TD Garden (Boston, MA)                                   7:30 p.m. ET