Bruins caught "off guard" by Pouliot's absence

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Bruins caught "off guard" by Pouliot's absence

If there is one thing Claude Julien doesnt want this time of year its uncertainty in performance or availability.

He doesnt like being caught off-guard.

There have been issues with Benoit Pouliot in both departments this season, and another incident cropped up just prior to Saturday afternoons 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals. After taking the pregame warm-up Pouliot indicated to the Bruins coaching staff that he wouldnt be able to answer the bell for the game due to a lower body injury suffered earlier this week against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Pouliot was able to play through it on Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres and stayed off the ice Friday when practice was made optional. But the Bruins were caught by surprise at Pouliots inability to play and hadnt called any players up from the AHL Providence Bruins just in case if the worst case scenario presented itself.

Its the lower-body injury. After warm-ups he just said he couldnt go, said Julien. So it caught us a little bit off guard, obviously, and so we dressed with seven Ds.

So instead the Bruins were forced to play defenseman Mike Mottau at forward for the first time in his NHL alongside Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell, and Julien bumped Lane MacDermid up to third line duty. Mottau admitted he was uncomfortable and it certainly wasnt the ideal solution, but the Bruins were able to make due amid difficult circumstances.

Mottau was very, very adequate as a replacement tonight to go out there and do a job when he was called upon, said Julien. Kudos to him for doing a job in a position that hes not used to playing all the time.

Mottau ended up with 6:52 of ice time on eight shifts and registered three hits in a simple crash-and-bang role on the fourth line.

With Pouliots status uncertain for Sunday afternoons matinee against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Bruins recalled rookie forward Max Sauve for the three-game road trip through Pittsburgh and Florida. Sauve met the team prior to their team flight to Pittsburgh and will be available to play against the Penguins in what would be his NHL debut.

Crowder and Booker exchange Instagram barbs following 70-point game

Crowder and Booker exchange Instagram barbs following 70-point game

Jae Crowder is not known for being shy on social media.

He was at it again on Friday night, commenting on an Instagram post of the Phoenix Suns celebrating Devin Booker's 70-point game at the TD Garden.

“NEVER SEEN SO MANY GUYS HAPPY AFTER AN ‘L’’” Crowder said in the Instagram comment.

Booker responded, telling the Celtics veteran, “you can’t guard me.”

Booker became just the sixth player in NBA history to score 70 or more points in a game,  the most scored ever at the TD Garden.

Stars, studs and duds: Booker 'in one of those zones' in 70-point game

Stars, studs and duds: Booker 'in one of those zones' in 70-point game

BOSTON – Al Horford knew Devin Booker was having a big game, but it wasn’t until the third quarter was over and he looked up saw Booker already had 42 points.

“When I looked up and saw (his points total) … it’s just impressive.”

Booker would finish with a franchise-record 70 points against the Celtics, a ridiculously unheard of tally that still wasn’t enough as Boston came away with a 130-120 win.

The 6-foot-6 guard became just the sixth player in NBA history to score 70 or more points in a game.

While Celtics players were quick to praise Booker for his historic performance, there were a few Celtics who were clearly bothered by Suns coach Earl Watson having his team commit fouls late in the game in order to get the ball back so Booker could have more shots at the franchise record.

“It was weird what they were doing,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas. “I’ve never seen anything like that. It is what it is. I don’t think anybody has ever seen that; continuing to call time-outs, continuing to foul when we are up 15, but I mean it was obvious what they were trying to do. They were trying to get him the most points possible. Hat off to him (Booker). He played a hell of a game.”

That said, it wasn’t like the Celtics were willing to give him all those points.

“No matter who we tried on him, what we tried on him, he was in one of those zones in a rhythm,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “He was in that rhythm early in the game, and we didn’t do a very good job of breaking that rhythm.”

Putting Booker’s performance in words let alone perspective, was not easy – not even for Booker.

“It’s a zone that’s kind of hard to explain,” he said. “I’ve been in those zones before but never to this extent. It’s hard to explain … when you’re in the gym alone. You’re taking shots and making them consecutively. That’s what it starts feeling like for me. Felt comfortable, at my home gym draining.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Friday night’s game.

 

STARS

Devin Booker

It was a historic night for the second-year guard, setting a Suns franchise record with 70 points on 21-for-40 shooting. The 70 points were also the most scored at the TD Garden, with Booker becoming only the sixth player in NBA history to score 70 or more points in a game.

Isaiah Thomas

Very efficient game for Thomas who is steadily getting his groove back after missing a couple games with a knee injury. He led the Celtics with 34 points on 10-for-20 shooting along with dishing out seven assists.

 

STUDS

Al Horford

The Celtics got another strong game from Horford who had 15 points and 10 rebounds for his seventh double-double this season. He also dished out six assists.

Gerald Green

The Celtics hit a bit of a scoring slump in the first half, but there was Green to the rescue. He finished with 15 points off the bench, all of which came in the first half.

Alex Len

One of the players besides Booker to make somewhat of an impact for Phoenix, Len finished with 11 points on 4-for-5 shooting with six rebounds and two blocked shots.

Jae Crowder

He had 13 points and 10 rebounds, giving him his eighth double-double this season, while shooting 4-for-8 from the field.

 

DUDS

Celtics defense

Missing Avery Bradley was obviously a factor in Devin Booker’s big night for Phoenix. Boston reverted back to play way too casual defensively and Booker made them pay all night long. The Celtics have to correct this before it costs to something more than pride; but potentially being what winds up getting them eliminated from the playoffs.