Rondo, Celtics find success in limiting Lin

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Rondo, Celtics find success in limiting Lin

BOSTON Once again Jeremy Lin was the center of attention, something the 6-foot-3 guard for the New York Knicks is getting used to.

But as he's quickly discovering, it's not just the fans keeping close tabs on him - so are opponents.

Limiting his effectiveness was certainly part of the Boston Celtics' game plan.

For the most part it worked, as the Celtics escaped with a 115-11 overtime win.

And Lin, the Harvard educated playmaker that has taken the NBA - the world, for that matter - by storm, had 14 points on 6-for-16 shooting from the field.

Not bad numbers, but certainly not as good as the numbers he has been posting since his breakout performance against New Jersey on Feb. 4 - the day after six not-so-memorable minutes in a 91-89 loss to the C's.

Rajon Rondo, who had his fourth triple-double of the season with 18 points, 17 rebounds and 20 assists, said defending Lin was part of their game plan against New York.

"He got into early foul trouble and that's what my intentions were early; just to try to go at him and be aggressive and try to get him out of the game," Rondo said.

Said Lin: "Two quick fouls and that's going to hurt rhythm and momentum, but that's not really an excuse in the second half. I had plenty of time to get comfortable."

But the Celtics defense wasn't having any of that, forcing 22 turnovers - six of which were committed by Lin.

"We just wanted to put pressure on him," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "Take him off his right hand, which I thought we allowed him to get to his right late in the game."

And while there were certainly a number of fans that booed him consistently, Lin had a solid group of fans in attendance as well.

"I'm thankful to all the fans that came out," Lin said. "I definitely heard them and definitely felt the energy; very thankful for that."

Fans aren't the only ones motivated to see him up close and personal.

New Jersey's Deron Williams made no secret about how it bothered him that many fans either by social media or by way of yelling it during games, were on his back about the Knicks' win over New Jersey on Feb. 4 that would become Lin's launching pad to stardom.

In that game, Lin had a then-career high 25 points and seven assists off the bench in the Knicks' 99-92 win. In that game, Williams wasn't too shabby either, finishing with 21 points and 11 assists.

"I don't really watch too many games, but I do see Twitter," Williams told reporters after New Jersey's 100-92 win over New York on Feb. 20. "And every three lines was, 'Jeremy Lin destroys Deron Williams' in the first game. So I definitely took offense to that."

In the Feb. 20 rematch, he had 38 points which included a run of 12 straight points in the third quarter.

Although Rondo has a tendency to downplay such one-on-one battles, at least one of his teammates recognized he was more locked in than usual, for the Knicks game.

"The thing about Lin is, I think everybody at the point guard position is going to be excited to play the kid, and 'Do' (Rondo) was nothing short of that," said Kevin Garnett. "I could tell; I've been around him when he's motivated and when he's more than motivated. Tonight was one of those nights."

Lin will see Rondo and the Celtics at least one more time (April 17 in New York) this season. And while opponents have ratcheted up their play from one game to the next one against Lin, he hopes to do the same moving forward.

"Obviously Boston is a very good defensive team and hopefully as I play them a couple more times, I'll get more comfortable," Lin said.

Sounds like Moncada will join Red Sox on Thursday

Sounds like Moncada will join Red Sox on Thursday

BOSTON - Without saying so directly, John Farrell broadly hinted that the Red Sox appear ready to call up Yoan Moncada as rosters expand from the current 25-man limit Thursday.

Farrell first noted that the Red Sox "need better production'' at third base, where both Travis Shaw and Aaron Hill have struggled mightily at the position.

Moncada, a natural second baseman, was shifted to third base earlier this month at Double A Portland. Moncada has a slash line of .285/.388/.547 with 11 homers and 27 RBI in 44 games.

Asked specifically about the chances of a call-up for Moncada, Farrell said: "We've talked about Yoan. And not just as a pinch-runner. It's an exciting young player, an extremely talented guy. There's all positive reviews and evaluations of him.

"When that major league experience is going to initiate, time will tell that. But in terms of playing the position of third base [in the big leagues], that conversation has been had.''

Previously, the Red Sox had resisted bringing Moncada to the big leagues, worried that he wouldn't be in the lineup often enough to continue his development. The Sox didn't want him to miss out on additional experience in the minors by playing only part-time in the majors.

But now that the minor league seasons are about to end -- Portland finishes Labor Day -- there's nothing in the minors for Moncada to miss.

"This is a different scenario than if it were July or early August,'' said Farrell. "The minor league season ends [soon], so is there benefit to him just being here? The answer to that is yes. Do you weigh playing 'X' number of games per week versus what he could be doing at Portland or Pawtucket? Well, that goes away [with the minor league regular seasons end].

"So, again, by all accounts, there's nothing but positives that could come out of experience here -- if that were to happen.''

 Moncada's promotion would be similar to the one experience by Xander Bogaerts in 2013, who was brought up in the final week of August 2013 and remained with the club all the way through the end of the team's World Series run that fall, taking playing time from struggling third baseman Will Middlebrooks.

 "For those who have been around this team for a number of years,'' said Farrell, "teams that have had success have always had an injection of young players late in the season that have helped carry the team through the postseason. I think Yoan would be in a similar category to when Pedey [Dustin Pedroia], when Jake [Jacoby Ellsbury] came into the picture. And Andrew (Benintendi) is already here, so I wouldn't separate [Moncada] out from that at all.

"In fact, he's a direct comparison [to those cases].’’

Farrell agreed that the arrival of a young, highly-touted player can inject some energy into a team in the throes of a pennant race.

"Absolutely, there is,'' said Farrell. "You've got a newness element. You've got, likely, above-average speed. You've got athleticism. You've got the unknown across the field on how does a given [opposing] team attack a given guy.

"In the cases we've talked about, it has been beneficial to us for the young player to come up. They find a way to contribute in a meaningful role. 

Without saying that [Moncada's promotion] is a definite, there's a lot [of positives]going for it.''

Farrell also acknowledged that the Sox have already held internal discussions about how Moncada would be utilized, given that the switch-hitter has been far more productive from the left side of the plate.

"We've talked about what's strong side, how do you look to best ease him in, so to speak,'' said Farrell. "We thought that with Benintendi, how do we best ease him in. Well, he blew the doors off of that one [with his early success]. So, if it happens, and if begins here soon, you'll all be aware.''

Farrell said the reports of Moncada's transition to third base have been encouraging despite three errors in his first nine games there.

"He's shown good range, an above-average arm,'' said Farrell. "Where there will be ongoing work and continued development, just as there was at second base, is the ball hit straight at him. That's just pure technique and fundamental positioning with hands and feet.

"But as far as range to his glove side, moving to third base, that seemingly has not been that big of a challenge for him.''

Wednesday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Wright, Sox try to salvage 3-3 homestand

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Wednesday's Red Sox-Rays lineups: Wright, Sox try to salvage 3-3 homestand

The Red Sox try to end their short homestand at 3-3 and take two of three from the last-place Tampa Bay Rays in the series finale this afternoon at Fenway Park.

Steven Wright (13-6, 3.18 ERA), who allowed five first-inning runs to the Kansas Royals in his last start - his first since coming off the disabled list - is on the mound for the Red Sox. Left-hander Drew Smyly (6-11, 4.80) starts for the Rays.

The Red Sox begin a nine-game road trip to Oakland, San Diego and Toronto on Friday night. 

The lineups:

RAYS

Logan Forsythe 2B

Kevin Kiermaier 2B

Evan Longoria 3B

Brad Miller DH

Nick Franklin RF

Logan Morrison 1B

Tim Beckham SS

Corey Dickerson LF

Bobby Wilson C

Drew Smyly LHP

 

RED SOX

Dustin Pedroia 2B

Xander Bogaerts SS

David Ortiz DH

Mookie Betts RF

Hanley Ramirez 1B

Sandy Leon C

Chris Young LF

Aaron Hill 3B

Jackie Bradley Jr. CF

 

Garoppolo on Kaepernick, anthem: 'To each his own, I guess'

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Garoppolo on Kaepernick, anthem: 'To each his own, I guess'

Jimmy Garoppolo joined WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show on Wednesday as the Patriots readied themselves to travel to New Jersey for their preseason finale against the Giants. During the interview, Garoppolo was asked for his thoughts on 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who opted not to stand for the national anthem during a recent preseason game in order to express his political beliefs.

"It’s a touchy subject, but to each his own, I guess," Garoppolo said. "It’s not my idea of doing the right thing. But it’s his personal opinion, I guess. You’ve just got to let him stand by that. But I think we have a great thing going on in this country. Everything about America, it’s a great thing. We’re all very blessed to be here. And it’s good to realize that."

NFL teams have been required to be on the field for the anthem since 2009. Garoppolo said that he uses those moments as a time to soak in the chance he's been given to play football at the highest level.

"I can’t tell you what exactly is going through my mind, because it’s right before the game, you’ve got a lot of emotions rolling and everything," he said. "But it’s kind of one of those moments you get to sit back and really appreciate where you are and the opportunity that you have. The NFL is a tough gig to get into and a tough gig to stay in. I feel blessed to be in it. It’s a great opportunity. It’s one of those moments you get to just sit back and realize where you’re at -- then go kick some ass after that."