Bruins comeback not enough, fall to Rangers, 4-3

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Bruins comeback not enough, fall to Rangers, 4-3

NEW YORK The undermanned Bruins gave it everything they had on Broadway, but it still wasnt enough.

The Bruins battled back from an early two-goal deficit and dominated the Blueshirts in the Madison Square Garden in the second period, but ultimately couldnt come away with the two points in a 4-3 defeat.

That leaves the Bruins with losses in three of their last four games and drops them to 0-2-1 against the Rangers in three matchups this season between the top two seeds in the Eastern Conference.

It appeared the Bruins would at least push overtime when David Krejcis 18th goal of the season tied it up with less than 10 minutes to go in the game, but Derek Stepan answered right back with a laser beam over Tim Thomas glove hand for the game-winner.

Things started ugly for the Bruins after a Zdeno Chara turnover in the defensive zone and a puck deflection off Greg Zanon led to goals for Anton Stralman and Carl Hagelin within the first five minutes of the game. Claude Julien called timeout down 2-0 and that seemed to calm a Bs team that answered back with gusto.

Three fights followed, including Milan Lucic hammering Brandon Prust right in front of the Boston bench, and the Bruins potted a pair of goals to tie things up. A hard fore-check by the third line forced a New York turnover that became a Benoit Pouliot goal to give Boston life.

Then in the second period Jordan Caron intercepted a Dan Girardi pass and beat Henrik Lundqvist from the right face-off circle to tie things up amidst the Bs outshooting the Rangers by 12-3 margin. The Rangers answered in the third with Marian Gaboriks score and then New York went into lockdown mode for the games final minutes.

GOLD STAR: Jordan Caron had his best game as an NHL player with two points and major involvement in of Bostons three goals scored on the afternoon. It was heavy fore-check pressure applied by Caron that led to the turnover before Benoit Pouliots goal and then Caron intercepted a Dan Girardi pass himself and turned defense into offense for the teams second goal. He did it all in 11:15 of ice time just a day after Claude Julien openly requested some secondary scoring from his players. Both Caron and Pouliot obliged and the Bruins still found themselves on the losing end.

BLACK EYE: Tim Thomas said he was screened on Derek Stepans game-winner in the third period, but an elite goaltender needs to find a way to stop the puck when his team has just tied up an emotional game in the third period. The Bruins potted four goals on their first 17 shots of the game and thats not a good reflection on the goaltending that Boston received from their reigning Vezina Trophy winner. Henrik Lundqvist wasnt his usual sterling self at the New York end, but he was better than Thomas.

HONORABLE MENTION: Milan Lucic had an active afternoon and had nothing to hang his head about in a proud performance attempting to will his team to win. He assisted on David Krejcis third period goal with a sweet cross-ice pass and pounded Brandon Prust with a series of over-hand bombs right in front of the Boston bench. He also took a couple of heavy hits from Dan Girardi in one elongated shift, but managed to hang in until the whistle blew for a too many men on the ice penalty. Good rebound performance after Lucic was one of the players that stopped skating during Saturdays non-icing call.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins seized the momentum back in a game they truly dominated when David Krejci pounded a game-tying goal past Henrik Lundqvist in the third period, but the Bruins let up and allowed the Rangers to answer with a Derek Stepan goal 39 seconds later. Tim Thomas said he was screened on the play, but it appeared to just be a Stepan howitzer that beat the Bs goaltender to the glove hand. For a team struggling to find any kind of foothold, you cant let up a go-ahead goal right after finding a way to tie it up in the third period.
BY THE NUMBERS: 8-0 the Rangers are undefeated against the Bruins and Flyers in eight tries this season in a show of just good theyve been against the other elite teams in the East.

QUOTE TO NOTE: Yeahyup. Especially if we can play in an arena that has lights. Tim Thomas taking a shot at Madison Square Gardens theatre lighting when asked if hes ready to handle much more playing time with Tuukka Rask out of commission with a left leg injury.

Danny Ainge says Lonzo Ball has declined pre-draft workout with Celtics

Danny Ainge says Lonzo Ball has declined pre-draft workout with Celtics

BOSTON -- Like most NBA executives, Danny Ainge loves to get as much intel on players before picking them as he can.  
 
And with the No. 1 overall pick, Ainge knows he has to do all he can to absolutely get this one right.
 
That’s why any thoughts he had of drafting Lonzo Ball are likely out the window after the talented UCLA guard refused to work out for the Celtics.
 
“We tried to get him in for a workout and he politely said no,” Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations, said on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show.
 
Lonzo Ball’s desire (or his dad Lavar Ball’s desire; hard to say who in the Ball camp wants him in L.A. the most) to play for the Los Angeles Lakers is one of the worst-kept secrets leading up to next month’s NBA draft.
 
And with the Lakers holding the No. 2 pick in the draft, turning down the Celtics only increases the likelihood of  Boston passing on him and instead drafting University of Washington star Markelle Fultz.
 
“It’s not ideal,” Ainge said of Ball's decision to decline working out for Boston. “Listen, we’ve drafted guys that wouldn’t come in for workouts before. It’s not the end of the world. We’ve watched them play a ton. We have a lot of information on them. Sometimes players don’t want to come in, not because they don’t like you, they see our roster. They think they would prefer to go to another team.”
 
The Celtics, like most teams, have been mum publicly as to who they would take in the draft. But all indications at this point in the process are pointing towards them selecting Fultz with the top overall selection.
 
And the fact that Ball, the projected number two pick even before the draft lottery order was established, refuses to work out for Boston will only increase the likelihood that Fultz will be a Celtic and Ball and his camp will get their wish which has always been to don a Los Angeles Lakers jersey.

Celtics-Cavaliers preview: Game 5 is about respect for Boston

Celtics-Cavaliers preview: Game 5 is about respect for Boston

BOSTON – From the outset of this season, the Boston Celtics were swimming upstream when it came to getting respect. 

No matter how many wins they racked up, no matter how many upsets they managed to pull off, they were never going to do enough to satisfy the court of public opinion which wanted one thing and one thing only from the NBA: A third installment of Golden State against Cleveland in the NBA Finals. 

The Warriors did their part by running through the West with 12 wins in as many playoff games. 

Meanwhile, the Celtics will try to not just stave off elimination tonight, but continue to delay what so many believe is an inevitable Golden State-Cleveland Final.

Boston’s Al Horford understands that while the league this season has seen lots of individual success as well as teams that have overachieved, the thirst for Golden State versus Cleveland remains stronger than ever. 

“We understand that’s what everyone has been talking about since the beginning of the season,” Horford said. “For us it’s just to focus … and play the Celtic way. And just come out here and fight and we’ll take it from there.”

The Celtics did that in Game 3 with Avery Bradley delivering one of the more memorable shots in the Brad Stevens era, a game-winning three-pointer that hit the rim four times before falling with 0.1 seconds to play as Boston squeaked out a 111-108 win.

Boston did a lot of good things in Game 4 and seemingly went into the half sensing that maybe just maybe they would even up the series at two games heading back to Boston for tonight’s Game 5 matchup. 

But Kyrie Irving picked up the slack for a foul-plagued LeBron James, lifting the Cavaliers to a 112-99 win which puts them now just a win away from advancing to the NBA Finals. 

Not only have folks both in the media as well as fans who have rooted for this series to be over, even merchandise sellers like Dick Sporting Goods have anticipated this series as already being over.

“It is what it is,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “It’s been like that all year; a lot of guys counting us out. At the same time, we’re trying to put ourselves in position to win each and every game.”

While that has been the goal, it certainly hasn’t worked out that way in this series. 

Despite Games 1 and 2 being at the TD Garden, the Celtics lost both games by a total of 57 points. 

And while they won Game 3 and had the Cavaliers on the ropes in Game 4 before losing, they know their chance to play NBA Finals spoiler is just about up. 

“We know that’s the Finals that everybody wants to talk about, what everybody is looking forward to,” said Boston’s Marcus Smart. “We understand it. But we work just as hard as these guys. We just have to keep going out there and working. We’re not going to give it to them, and stuff like that. We just have to make it tough on them.”