Celtics players happy roster intact


Celtics players happy roster intact

SACRAMENTO, Calif. The Boston Celtics didn't allow all the trade speculation the past couple of weeks bother them.

But it's obvious that they are pleased that the players they began the season with, are still around.

"It's good," Paul Pierce said of the C's keeping the band together. "We got a group that's been together for a while, especially me, Ray (Allen), Kevin (Garnett) and (Rajon) Rondo. We got a certain kind of chemistry that's hard to replace. Especially when you start getting into tough games, especially when we start getting into playoff moments. We got a group that can really come together and make things happen."

And it starts at the point guard position with Rajon Rondo, who was the subject of more trade rumors than any player in the league this year.

Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, said on a number of occasions that, aside from trying to acquire Chris Paul for Rondo, the C's had no intention of moving him. However, that didn't stop reports from surfacing that indicated Rondo had attitude issues with the organization, coaching staff and his teammates.

"I had fun with it, everybody's opinion of me, how my attitude is and stuff like that," Rondo said. "I had fun listening to everybody's opinion who doesn't know me."

One thing we all know.

The trading deadline passing does bring about a certain piece of mind for all players.

"As a team, you just want to know where you are. As a team, you want everybody two feet in," said Kevin Garnett, who at times was among the players mentioned as possibly being on the move.

"For me, trade deadline says some type of security if that's even possible. You hear the word 'loyalty' in this game, you kind of laugh at it. I don't think either side has a sense of loyalty no more. That's the way the league is being created, throughout our negotiations, all the CBA stuff."

Short of that, the C's understand that with time comes a smaller window of greatness for them.

In fact, many believe that this team's window of opportunity to win a championship has already been closed.

They, as you can imagine, feel differently.

Giving themselves a chance to go deep into the playoffs is no different now then it was during their first season together.

"The closer we get to the playoffs, the more sense of urgency we have," Pierce said. "The more you start to feeling the energy; knowing when the big moments come, we know what it takes. We understand the sacrifice, and with this ball club we're very confident. We feel like, you never know, this may be the last year of us playing together. You feel it more than ever."

Bruins need to 'find a way to start playing with a lead'

Bruins need to 'find a way to start playing with a lead'

BOSTON -- There’s only so long that a team can hope to thrive, or even survive, in the NHL if they’re constantly chasing the game on the scoreboard, and chasing the puck after digging themselves a hole. The Bruins have been that team in the first couple of weeks during the regular season, and made it five times in five games that they’ve given up the game’s first goal in an eventual 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden.

It’s a pattern that is long past getting old to Bruins head coach Claude Julien, who can’t seem to play the front-runner this season despite three comebacks that have allowed for a 3-2-0 record overall this season.

“I hope it’s not a habit. It’s certainly not what we’re looking for, but there’s no doubt. I think it’s pretty obvious that with the amount of games we’ve played, five games, we haven’t scored first,” said Julien. “We talked about that this morning, trying to get that first goal, and it hasn’t happened yet.”

The start to the game wasn’t really the problem on Saturday night as it’s been a couple of times this season. Instead the Bruins enjoyed a handful of quality scoring chances in the opening 20 minutes against the Habs, but couldn’t come through and finish off those plays when it might have meant an early lead.

Instead it lead to what Julien termed a “terrible” second period that was flat, full of mistakes and ended with the B’s trailing Montreal by a couple of goals. The Bruins scratched and clawed their way to making it a one-goal game in the third period, but that was as close as the Black and Gold would get in losing their ninth straight home game to the arch-rival Canadiens.

“It’s kind of been a story about how things are going for us this far, we’ve got to find a way to start playing with a lead. If you don’t capitalize on your chances, you see what happens when you come out [flat] in the second period,” said Torey Krug, who finished a game-worst minus-3 in the loss for the Bruins. “We had another poor second period and you know it’s kind of… you got to make sure that we put our hand on that and it doesn’t become a thing for the team this year. You see that when you don’t capitalize on chances early, that’s what’s going to happen.”

It’s been a positive development that the Bruins have shown the willingness and backbone to fight back into games after early deficits, and they showed that quality once again on Saturday night by scoring a couple of goals in the third period to keep things close. But the Bruins would be best served if they can start lighting the lamp a little earlier in these games, and see how the other half lives by playing with a comfortable lead every once in a while.