Celtics win wild one in OT, 97-92 over Rockets

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Celtics win wild one in OT, 97-92 over Rockets

BOSTON Courtesy of a last-second gaffe in regulation, the Boston Celtics needed a few extra minutes to finally put away the pesky Houston Rockets, 97-92, in overtime.

The Celtics (20-17) seemingly had the game put away with an 84-82 lead with less than 20 seconds to play in the fourth quarter.

Houston's Luis Scola's shot was off the mark, Paul Pierce grabbed the rebound and tossed it down court to Rajon Rondo who had nothing between him and the rim but air.

And then . . . he missed the lay-up.

Houston made the most of its late- game reprieve, as Goran Dragic tied the game with a long jumper with three seconds to play.

Boston had a chance to win it in regulation, but Ray Allen's off-balance jumper rimmed in and out as time expired.

In the overtime period, the Celtics led by as many as five points but committed more end-of-the-game mistakes that gave the Rockets life.

Kevin Garnett, who had 13 points and 13 rebounds, missed a pair of free throws in the final minute.

And after Houston's Kyle Lowry missed a running shot in the lane, Paul Pierce was called for an eight-second violation courtesy of some tight defense by Courtney Lee.

But another missed shot by the Rockets resulted in another rebound for the Celtics.

Moments later, the ball found its way into the hands of Ray Allen who put the game away with a pair of free throws with 18 seconds remaining.

The two went back and fourth in the first half, but Boston began to pull away in the third and led, 57-47, after Paul Pierce made a pair of free throws with 7:58 to play in the quarter. However, Houston responded with a 21-6 run to close out the quarter.

HOT SHOT: Paul Pierce goes off for a game-high 30 points which included seven of Boston's 13 points in overtime. For Pierce, it was the second straight game he has scored at least 30 points. Pierce made no secret about wanting to take over down the stretch. "I was, especially in the fourth quarter, trying to give us some life with the crowd and everything," he said.

IN-N-OUT: Kyle Lowry shared team-high scoring honors with 18 points, but he shot 4-for-17 in doing so. In addition to the poor shooting, he also turned the ball over six times.

SUPER SUB: Boston rookie Greg Stiemsma is not in the regular rotation, but that hasn't stopped him from being ready when called upon. With Brandon Bass re-aggravating an ankle injury from Sunday against the New York Knicks, coupled with Chris Wilcox being in foul trouble, Stiemsma was on the floor for 13 minutes and produced in a big way with eight points on 4-for-6 shooting from the field.

TURNING POINT: Leading 95-92 with 30.3 seconds to play in overtime, the Houston Rockets were looking to tie the game after Paul Pierce turned the ball over on an eight-second violation. Kyle Lowry pass was stolen by Pierce with 24.9 seconds to play. The ball wound up in the hands of Ray Allen soon afterward. Allen made a pair of free throws with 18 seconds to play that would be the game's final points scored.
BY THE NUMBERS: 79: That would be the number of minutes played by Kevin Garnett in Boston's last two games, way more than the C's would like to see him play this season.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "We're starting to play good basketball and we're starting to win basketball games when we don't play good basketball, and that may be more important." - Celtics coach Doc Rivers.

Tom Brady will play Friday night vs. Panthers

Tom Brady will play Friday night vs. Panthers

CHARLOTTE - Tom Brady didn't merely fly to Carolina because he likes having his ears pop. 

The Patriots quarterback will indeed play Friday night against the Carolina Panthers. Given Bill Belichick's stated objective of making Jimmy Garoppolo's preparation for the season's first four games a priority, it was uncertain whether Brady would be on the field even though he traveled. But with Brady a late scratch last Thursday against the Bears after gouging his thumb just before kickoff, his chances for game reps before his exile were waning. 

Brady made it very clear this week that he doesn't just want the game reps for tuning up and getting knocked around but because he believes it's his job and responsibility to be out there leading the team, regardless of where he'll be the first four weeks of the year. With him feeling that strongly about playing being important for his preparation and for his standing within the team, it makes sense for Belichick to give him reps. 

It's not known whether Brady or Garoppolo will start or how many series either quarterback will play Friday night. 

Red Sox’ quotes, notes and stars from 2-1 loss to Rays

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Red Sox’ quotes, notes and stars from 2-1 loss to Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Notes, quotes and stars from the Red Sox' 2-1 loss to the Rays:

QUOTES:

* "There's not much I can do about it now. It's kind of a waiting game and hopefully, the tests come back clean.'' -Andrew Benintendi, on the uncertainty surrounding his knee injury.

* "Sometimes, I like that, sometimes I don't because I'd kind of take a couple of quick outs in place of those to get a couple of more innings out there.'' -Drew Pomeranz on his career high 11 strikeouts.

* "That's probably the spot that looms the largest. Jackie's become more aggressive early in the count, but at the same time, that aggressiveness can work against you.'' -Farrell on Jackie Bradley Jr. swinging at the first pitch following a walk with the bases loaded.

NOTES:

* Drew Pomeranz recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts

 * Since moving to the leadoff spot, Dustin Pedroia has a slash line of .397/.418/.460 in 16 games.

* Pomeranz has yielded two runs or fewer in five consecutive starts.

* On the just-completed road trip, the Red Sox led in all but one game.

* Thursday's loss was the fourth this season in which the Sox allowed two runs or fewer.

 * The past 18 Red Sox losses have come by a combined 37 runs.

* Until Thursday, the Red Sox had won 20 of their past 31 day games.

* The bottom third of the makeshift Red Sox lineup combined to go 2-for-12.

* The Sox missed out on a chance to have an eight-win road trip, which would have been their first since 2011.

STARS:

1) Jake Odorizzi

The Rays started, facing a depleted Red Sox lineup, limited the Sox to a single run over seven innings, allowing just five hits and getting out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam by allowing just one run.

2) Mikie Mahtook

Mahtook was 0-for-34 when facing Drew Pomeranz in the seventh inning, but that didn't stop him from doubling home Steven Souza Jr with what proved to be the winning run.

3) Dustin Pedroia

The Sox couldn't generate much of anything at all offensively, but don't blame Pedroia. The leadoff hitter had three hits and a walk and was on base four times for the Sox.

Benintendi's MRI inconclusive; will undergo more tests Friday in Boston

Benintendi's MRI inconclusive; will undergo more tests Friday in Boston

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Andrew Benintendi saga will continue for at least one more day, as an MRI taken here Thursday morning was, in the words of John Farrell, "inconclusive" and the rookie left fielder will undergo more tests Friday in Boston.

"Our doctors want to get him back to a full exam with (team orthopedist) Dr. [Peter] Asnis," Farrell said after the 2-1 loss to the Rays, which concluded the team's 11-game road trip. "Hopefully, when I speak to you all [Friday] afternoon (at Fenway Park, prior to the team's game against Royals), there will be a little more information on this."

Farrell said Friday's tests "will include some other imaging".

The Sox placed Benintendi on the 15-day disabled list after he injured his left night while running the bases Wednesday night. 

"We're going to do some more tests tomorrow and take it day-by-day," he said. "There's not much I can do about it now. It's kind of a waiting game and hopefully the tests come back clean.''
 
Benintendi found one sliver of hope:
 
"The more I walk on it, the better it feels. I'm going to stay as positive as I can.''