Wilcox shines in C's second straight win


Wilcox shines in C's second straight win

BOSTON Chris Wilcox's locker stall is in a faraway corner, a location that takes longer to get to than any other.

It's a fitting spot for a player who for years has never quite seemed to be an easy one to reach.

But here in Boston, the veteran big man seems to not only have found a place where he's comfortable, but a fit that includes him in a prominent role.

Wilcox turned in yet another gem of a performance for the Celtics in their 102-96 win over Milwaukee.

For the second straight game, Wilcox tallied double-digit rebounds; this time snatching a game-high 13 for the Celtics.

Just to put his rebounding success of late into perspective, having back-to-back games of double-digit rebounds comes after he had not grabbed more than seven in any previous game with the Celtics.

"On this team we have a lot of scorer; everybody can score," said Wilcox, now the first big man off the bench with Brandon Bass starting in place of an injured Jermaine O'Neal (wrist). "What we lack is on the rebounding end, so that's where I try to pick my game up at."

But there are times when Wilcox needs a friendly reminder as to what he has to provide for the Celtics to be successful.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he got on Wilcox at halftime in Wednesday's win over the Bucks for not providing enough energy.

"That's who he is, and that's who he has to be for us," Rivers said. "His skill is energy for us."

Like most of the Celtics, the biggest issue with Wilcox is consistency.

"I told him last night, 'you've got to keep doing it every night. You can't do it one night and not the next. You know, you get my hopes up,'" Rivers said. "And so it was good to see him respond."

Wilcox, a former lottery pick who won a national championship at the Maryland, said his role with the Celtics is different than what it has been elsewhere.

"You got to adapt, every situation is going to be different," Wilcox said. "You got to adjust and do whatever you can to help win games."

Rivers said he doesn't believe Wilcox figuring out what he has to do and what his role is, is an issue.

"His role is pretty much defined," Rivers said. "His role is energy, rebounding, running the floor, setting picks, rolling, finishing. I mean, that's a simple role. But it's a hard role to do everyday, because it takes energy to do it."

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


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.

Click here for the complete story