Celtics rally fizzles in Denver


Celtics rally fizzles in Denver

DENVER The Boston Celtics finally got the highest scoring team, the Denver Nuggets, to play their brand of slow down, drag-it-out basketball.

But the game's tempo swinging their way was too little too late as the Nuggets hung on for a 98-91 win.

A pair of free throws by Kevin Garnett made it a 94-91 game with about a minute to play.

After a Celtics stop defensively, Ray Allen's potential game-tying 3-pointer was off the mark.

That would be Boston's last gasp at what had been an impressive fourth quarter rally.

The rebound wound up in the familiar hands of Kenneth Faried, who snatched a game-high 16 rebounds to go along with 18 points.

The Celtics (23-21) have now lost their second straight and are now 2-3 during their current West coast road trip that moves back to the East for the next three games (Atlanta, Milwaukee and Philadelphia).

Denver shot a higher percentage and more than doubled the Celtics (28-12) on the boards in the first half.

It was the kind of basketball cocktail that would have the most talented team looking a bit punch-drunk on the floor, as the Celtics fell behind by 13 points at the half.

Denver's control of the game remained as strong as ever in the third, but the C's positioned themselves to get the Nuggets lead down to single digits on several occasions.

But Boston simply could not get over that double-digit hump, and trailed 80-68 going into the fourth.

Boston managed to get it down to an even 10 points, and had a chance to make it a single-digit game but Kevin Garnett threw an errant pass resulting in a turnover.

The C's eventually got the deficit down to single digits, but consistently failed to get the much-needed stop defensively or the clutch basket that we're so used to to them getting in close, down-to-the-wire affairs.

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.