Celtics snap six-game win streak, beat Bucks, 100-91

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Celtics snap six-game win streak, beat Bucks, 100-91

MILWAUKEE The weather is starting to heat up and apparently, so are the Boston Celtics, who went on a blistering fourth quarter shooting spree to pull away from the Milwaukee Bucks, 100-91.

Boston (25-21) heads into Friday night's game against Atlantic Division rival Philadelphia (26-21) down by just half a game, with the winner -- similar to when the two met earlier this season -- taking their place atop the Atlantic Division.

The Celtics used a balanced attack in the fourth quarter for the win, but for most of the game it was too much Paul Pierce for the red-hot Bucks (they had won their previous six games) to handle.

He finished with a game-high 25 points along with nine rebounds.

The comfortable finish was in stark contrast to the first three quarters of play.

After a close first half, it was more of the same in the third quarter. However, a slew of missed shots by both teams brought the score down to a more manageable Celtics pace.

Boston spent a good chunk of the quarter with a slim lead courtesy of Pierce, who was at his best in the first and third quarters when he scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.

However, Boston has had a season-long problem with closing out quarters and Thursday night they decided to flip the scrip.

After allowing the Bucks to regain the lead with a 5-0 spurt, back-to-back baskets by Kevin Garnett to end the quarter put the C's ahead, 74-71.

The C's led 35-29 after the first quarter as Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen combined for 10 points, which equaled Milwaukee's high scoring backcourt duo of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings.

Boston's 35 points were the most they've scored this season in the first quarter, so an offensive lull in the second quarter seemed likely.

Meanwhile, the Buck kept a steady clip offensively with another 29-point quarter and led, 58-56 at the half.

Friday, Dec. 2: Toews vs. Matthews

Friday, Dec. 2: Toews vs. Matthews

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading, while everybody in New England is in mourning over the latest Gronk booboo. 

*A pretty neat sharpshooting video with Jonathan Toews and that young whippersnapper Auston Matthews squaring off against each other. 

*Craig Custance looks a little deeper into the situation with the Florida Panthers and how things are stabilizing after the rough firing of Gerard Gallant last week. 

*Now. let’s get to the real important stuff: the San Jose Sharks website has put together their Movember rankings for the player’s mustaches. 

*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bruce Garrioch says that the plans for an outdoor game in Ottawa are again back on the NHL’s agenda. 

*Erik Erlendsson has put together a “Lightning Insider” website where you can find all the latest news about the Tampa Bay franchise. Check it out. 

*As guys such as Anton Khudobin prove when they’re thrust into the starting spot, backup goalies matter in today’s NHL. 

*For something completely different: a mash-up of Kylo Ren and “Girls” from the mad mind of Adam Driver is exactly just that. 

 

Chara ‘feels better’ as he closes in on return, but won’t play in Buffalo

Chara ‘feels better’ as he closes in on return, but won’t play in Buffalo

BRIGHTON, Mass. – Zdeno Chara said he is “feeling better” after going through a full practice with the Bruins, but the captain won’t be making the one game road trip to Buffalo for Saturday afternoon’s matinee game vs. the Sabres. 

Chara was going through line rushes and battle drills with the rest of his teammates while practicing for the second day in a row, but made it clear that his lower body injury hasn’t been cleared for game action yet. 

“It’s day-to-day. It feels better…yeah. But it’s still day-to-day,” said a rather laconic Chara when it came to questions about his injury. “It would feel much better [to play] than it feels [not playing].”

Claude Julien said his 39-year-old defenseman has moved into true “day-to-day” status as he nears a return after missing what will be his sixth game in a row on Saturday afternoon, but that he isn’t quite ready to go just yet.

“[Chara] and [Noel] Acciari won’t be on the trip,” said Julien. “I think [Chara] is getting pretty close. When you see him at practice things are going pretty well for him. I think that the term day-to-day is fitting for him right now. A lot of times when we say day-to-day we don’t know whether it’s going to be two days, three days or even a week. But in his case I would say that day-to-day is really day-to-day now with him.” 

One thing the Bruins can be heartened by is that they’ve managed to survive without Chara: the B’s have gone 2-2-1 and allowed just nine goals in the five games since their No. 1 defenseman went down. They have been able to continue collecting points in sometimes ugly, workmanlike fashion. 

That gives the Bruins the luxury of not rushing their D-man along before he’s ready and gives some of their other defensemen added confidence that they can effectively do the job with or without their 6-foot-9 stopper.