Hawks soar past Celtics, 97-92

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Hawks soar past Celtics, 97-92

ATLANTA Avery Bradley will be the first to admit that part of his success as a starter for the Boston Celtics has been the talented threesome of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo, that he gets to play with every night in the starting lineup.

But for one night, Bradley was on his own or so we thought.

He may not have been playing with the Celtics usual cast of starters, but the C's proved once again that they're deep enough to compete with the top teams in the East - regardless of who they have available.

Despite being without most of their starters and their top two scorers off the bench, Boston put quite a scare into the Atlanta Hawks before ultimately losing, 97-92.

Trailing 92-88 with less than a minute to play, a turnover by Marquis Daniels ultimately led to a put-back basket by Josh Smith that all but ended any hopes of a Celtics comeback.

Bradley finished with a career-high 28 points, his third game of 20 or more points in Boston's last four.

Atlanta was led by their six-time all-star Joe Johnson, who came up with a slew of big shots for the Hawks who moved one step closer to clinching home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs with the Celtics most likely being their first-round opponent.

Johnson led all scorers with 30 points.

Despite the lack of bodies, it certainly didn't take away from the Celtics' fight as they found themselves within one possession early in the fourth quarter.

Boston had multiple chances to take the lead, too.

First there was Daniels missing a wide open 3-pointer when the C's were down 74-73.

A lob pass to Ryan Hollins was ruled basket interference with the Celtics trailing 77-76 at the time.

Boston got three more shots at taking the lead within a two-minute period of time, coming up short in each instance.

The Hawks eventually made them pay as Willie Green drilled a 3-pointer to put Atlanta ahead, 82-78, with 5:44 to play.

It was that kind of night for the Celtics, who gave Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett the night off.

In addition, Boston was also without Allen, Rondo and Mickael Pietrus who were all back in Boston nursing injuries.

With so much offensive firepower out of the lineup, someone had to pick up the slack in comes Bradley.

Despite averaging 7.1 points per game this season, Bradley has been a nice offensive flow of late, Big Four or no Big Four.

In the Celtics' last four games prior to Friday night, Bradley averaged 20 points per game while shooting 62.7 percent from the field.

At the half on Friday, Bradley had 17 points on 8-for-13 shooting, well on his way to surpassing his career-high which is 23 points against both Orlando on Wednesday and earlier on March 25 against Washington.

Despite being without a slew of core players, the Celtics clawed their way to within a point, 72-71, late in the third quarter following a 3-pointer by E'Twaun Moore.

A jumper by Josh Smith gave the Hawks a 74-71 lead going into the fourth quarter, a position the C's were more than happy to be in.

Scott's taste of big-league life with Red Sox has him hungering for more

Scott's taste of big-league life with Red Sox has him hungering for more

CHESNUT HILL -- The Red Sox Rookie Development Program is designed to help young players prepare for what playing at the major-league level is like,. That can be valuable for a prospect like Rafael Devers, who hasn’t even made it to Double-A.

But of the eight-man cast at the workout this year, there’s one guy who actually has major-league experience.

Robby Scott joined the Red Sox as a September call-up last season and turned some heads, holding opponents scoreless over six innings of work.

Now the lefty is back working with younger guys to prepare himself for spring training -- something he’s itching to get started.

“It’s one thing that we always talk about,” the left-handed reliever told CSNNE.com “It’s a tough road to get there, but it’s an even tougher and harder road to stay there. And having that taste in September last year was incredible to be a part of it.”

That taste Scott had last fall has only made the desire to rejoin Boston greater.

“Yeah, because now you know what it’s like,” Scott said CSNNE.com. “You see it and you’re there and you’re a part of it. And it’s like, ‘Man, I wanna be there.’ You’re a little bit more hungry.”

And his hunger to pitch with the Red Sox only becomes greater at an event like this where he’s the only one with MLB time.

“They ask on a consistent basis,” Scott started, “ ‘What’s it like?’ ‘What was it like getting there the first day?’ ‘How did the guys react?’ ‘What was it like dealing with the media?’

“That’s what this program is here for, just to kind of gives these guys a little taste of what it is like and get familiar with the circumstances.

While the experience and constant discussion invites players to try to do more in the offseason or change their routine, the 27-year-old has stayed the course, trusting what’s gotten him there.

“The offseason training stays the same, nothing really changes on that side of things,” Scott said. “Nothing changes. Go about my business the way I have the last six, seven years.”

Thursday, Jan. 19: Torts doesn't think LeBron could play hockey

Thursday, Jan. 19: Torts doesn't think LeBron could play hockey

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while wondering if the Bruins are ever going to poop, or get off the pot.
 
*John Tortorella wants everybody to know that he thinks there isn’t a chance that Lebron James could play hockey.
 
*In the interest of self-promotion, here’s my radio hit with Toucher and Rich this morning about whether or not Claude Julien should be fired after back-to-back bad losses against the Islanders and Red Wings.
 
*How did Shane Doan arrive at an unhappy place with the Arizona Coyotes where he now is open to moving elsewhere ahead of the trade deadline?
 
*Henrik Lundqvist’s season is entering a crisis level based on what he’s done, and the diminished performance level he’s showing as a more mature goaltender.
 
*A nice piece with a Canadian hockey hero, Hayley Wickenheiser, who recounts some of the legendary moments of her career through a series of pictures.
 
*I totally respect the work that Travis Yost does, but stating the Bruins should stick with Claude Julien because their shooting percentage is bound to turn around isn’t good enough grounds to keep a floundering situation intact, in my opinion. You need to check where the shots are coming from and how many of those shot attempts are completely missing the net to get a better grasp on some of the reasons behind Boston’s dreadful 10-year low shooting percentage. That would also explain some of the reason why Julien needs to be replaced coaching a team that’s largely content on perimeter shots to do it for them while also only sporadically showing the effort required from a middle class talent type of team.

*The Lightning are struggling at Joe Namath levels right now without Steve Stamkos in their lineup, and they need that to change.
 
*For something completely different: congrats to the Boston boys in New Edition for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.