With Rondo still down, Bradley filling in nicely

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With Rondo still down, Bradley filling in nicely

WASHINGTON Rajon Rondo loves the fact that the Boston Celtics were able to hold on for a 100-94 win in Washington.

He just wishes he could have been part of it.

Rondo, out with a right wrist injury for the second straight game, said it is feeling better. Whether that's good enough to play on Monday against the Orlando Magic, remains to be seen.

Rondo said he's "day-to-day," adding that the injury is healing. The plan right now, Rondo said, is for him to play against the Magic. But that won't happen until he gets the green light from the C's medical staff.

No Rondo means more minutes for Avery Bradley, who made his second career start - both filling in for Rondo. Bradley's line from Sunday's win - three points on 1-for-8 shooting with almost as many assists (7) as turnovers (6) - was not all that impressive.

Rivers had a different take on Bradley's play.

"He played terrific for us," Rivers said.

While "terrific" might be a bit of a stretch, Bradley was on the floor in the game's closing moments, and even made a big play.

Leading 97-94 with 22.8 seconds to play, Bradley made the first of two free throws that made it a two-possession game.

"It's good for him (Bradley) to get this type of experience," Celtics Paul Pierce told Comcast SportsNet moments after the win. "Doc (Rivers) has really been on him. He hasn't had a lot of experience, and a lot of crucial moments in game. This is a good experience for him to get out there, so when he gets back in these type of situations, he's ready."

Bradley sees his expanded role with Rondo out as an opportunity to continue his growth as an NBA player.

"I just think with each game, I'll keep improving and improving," Bradley told CSNNE.com. "The coaches sitting down with me, they just want to help.

He added, "I'm going to play within the game, try to get our team in sets and really just learn. Every chance I get, I want to make the most of it. This is an opportunity for me, and I'm ready."

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

BOSTON – The Bruins simply weren’t ready to play on Thursday night when the puck was dropped against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

They fell down quickly by a 2-0 score, had a couple of completely inept power plays in the first period that sucked all the game’s momentum away from them and received some subpar goaltending from Anton Khudobin on the way to a 4-2 loss to the lowly Avs. About the only B’s person above reproach in this one was David Pastrnak after scoring a pair of goals in the second period to get Boston back into the game, but it all fell short in a very frustrating, lackadaisical loss to a Western Conference team that isn’t very good. 

Needless to say B’s coach Claude Julien wasn’t too happy after a loss where the Bruins might have had more success with a smarter approach to holding the puck. 

“There were a lot of problematic things [in the loss]. No doubt that the power play could have helped us in the first period, and failed to do that. They’ve got to be better,” said Julien. “We needed some saves tonight, and we didn’t get them. [Anton Khudobin] has got to be better. 

“A lot of things here that we can be better at, and take responsibility [for]. But at the same time, you got to move on here.  It’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, we would have had a chance.”

Clearly it was about a lacking group effort when dissecting the loss, and the minus-3 for David Krejci on Thursday night marked back-to-back negative performances from the playmaking Czech center in big spots. The goaltending was shoddy with Anton Khudobin allowing four goals on 22 shots for Colorado, and unable to make plays on a couple of Colorado shots from outside the painted area that built up the Avs lead in the first place. 

But it was also very much about the inability of the Bruins to generate consistent offense outside of David Pastrnak’s offensive burst in the second period, and the complete breakdown of the Boston power play in the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins struggled to enter the zone in their first PP possession of the game, and then allowed a Nathan MacKinnon shorthanded goal after Torey Krug futilely dove at the blue line to try and keep the puck in the offensive zone. 

The Krug misplay at the offensive blue line gave MacKinnon a clear path the net, and he buried a wrist shot past Khudobin to get the one-sided loss rolling. Beyond the costly mistakes that ended up in the back of the net, the Bruins looked sloppy and slow-reacting in their breakouts and more than willing to settle for outside perimeter shots.

That doesn’t exactly make for a winning combo even when it comes against a flawed, underachieving team like Colorado, and especially when it comes less than 24 hours after a hard-fought road game in Washington DC. 

“I think we were still sleeping there early in the game and they were able to capitalize on their opportunities. We couldn’t claw our way back,” said Brad Marchand, who picked up an assist on David Pastrnak’s second goal of the night on a perfect dish for the one-timer. “I think it was definitely a mental [block]. You’re able to battle through that physical fatigue. It was more the mental mistakes and not being prepared right off the hop of the start of the game. Again, that’s kind of where we lost it.”

The sleepwalking Bruins lost Thursday night’s valuable two points as soon as the opening puck was dropped against the Avalanche, of course, and the Bruins never got out of lollygag mode at a time when intensity should have been automatic. 

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Chiefs hold off Raiders 21-13 to take control of AFC West

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THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Chiefs hold off Raiders 21-13 to take control of AFC West

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Tyreek Hill had touchdowns receiving and on a punt return, Kansas City's defense made life miserable for Oakland quarterback Derek Carr, and the Chiefs beat the Raiders 21-13 on a frigid Thursday night to take control of the AFC West.

Charcandrick West also had a touchdown run for the Chiefs (10-3). They moved into a first-place tie with Oakland (10-3) but holds the tiebreaker with two wins over their longtime divisional rival.

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