Bruins working on fine-tuning the second period

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Bruins working on fine-tuning the second period

The second period is beginning to look like this seasons bugaboo for a Bruins team without a lot of question marks.

The Bruins were outshot by a 13-6 margin and fell behind the Senators in Tuesday nights second period at TD Garden, but once again their lackluster second period was trumped by a superior effort in the final 20 minutes of the game in a 4-3 victory over Ottawa.

Over the course of the season the second period is the only time the Bruins have been outshot by their opponents by a 518-495 margin though theyve still outscored opponents in the second period by a 51-34 margin. Either way Claude Julien feels that the Bruins have fixed some of their lackluster starts to games that plagued them earlier in the season, and they are the most dominant NHL team in the final 20 minutes over the last two seasons.
But, Boston, theres a problem with the second period. When things arent going well, that seems to be the time when their play wanders away from the systemic game plan the coaches have put in place.

Every year, there seems to be a challenge in certain periods. I thought we were doing a pretty good job earlier on in the second period, but lately thats our game. When our game falters a little bit, we kind of come out with an okay first but then struggle through the second, said Julien. Desperation sets in for the third period, and thats what were trying to do here. Last year was always a 60-minute effort going into the playoffs because the regular season was a challenge in regards to that, and right now it is a bit of a challenge to put a full 60 together.

So put the middle 20 minutes among the check list of things that the Bruins have to work on while eking out games since Christmas, and battling to find the consistency that seemed automatic during the months of November and December. It might start with channeling the same kind of desperation the Bs have in the final 20 minutes with the game on the line. More often than not the Bruins are winning games when theyre not necessarily at their best, and thats the mark of a pretty good hockey team.

Its been necessity, recently. You know, were a good team. We know that. We might not always do it for the whole three periods, which is what we want to do, said Tim Thomas. We did it for a good portion there in November and December. If we havent had a real good period in a game yet then well probably have it in the third, right when we need it.

The second and third periods are probably the perfect example of where both the Bs and Senators franchises are at the moment. Boston is the champion with the confidence theyre going to pull it out in the end while Ottawa still has some questions to answer as a young, contending team that couldnt quite hang with the Bs once the dial got turned up in the third.

Tatum easing into new challenge with Celtics

Tatum easing into new challenge with Celtics

BOSTON -- While the newest Boston Celtics were scattered about while at a community service event, 19-year-old Jayson Tatum was sitting in a really comfortable-looking chair, resting. 

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind unlike any he had ever experienced, beginning with the pre-draft process, to workouts, to the draft itself and all the appearances and media engagements that have followed. 

“It’s a lot,” Tatum, grinning, told CSNNE.com. “But I’m taking it one day at a time.”

That steady-as-she-goes approach served him well during his lone season at Duke. 

Keeping an even-keeled approach will bode well for him as he gears up for his first taste of NBA basketball beginning with summer league practice this week in preparation for next week’s summer league action which begins in Salt Lake City. 

Boston’s summer league opener will be July 3 against Philadelphia and the top overall pick Markelle Fultz, at the University of Utah’s Jon M. Huntsman Center.

Tatum, who has not played in a five-on-five game since Duke’s loss to South Carolina in the NCAA tournament, is admittedly excited to get back on the floor this week. 

“I can’t wait,” he said. 

Celtics Nation feels the same way about Tatum, selected with the third overall pick in last week’s NBA draft. 

Although it’s only a preseason game, there will be expectations and with that, possibly some added pressure for Tatum to show he was such a coveted player by the Celtics. 

“That’s why Duke helped me a lot,” he told CSNNE.com. “Duke, the best program in college basketball, we were always on the national spotlight good or bad, whether we were winning or losing. That will help me a lot preparing for the Boston Celtics.”

And like Duke, Tatum will have to fight his way on to the court although he readily admits the challenge is much greater in the NBA. 

“Isaiah Thomas, Jaylen Brown, Jae Crowder . . . we didn’t have those guys at Duke,” Tatum said. “It’s gonna be tough; just try my best and get in where I fit in.”

Tatum said he will at times lean on his more experienced teammates, one of which was a former teammate of his – sort of – in Jaylen Brown. 

“I’ve known Jaylen for a while,” Tatum said. “We played with and against each other in high school at AAU camps. 

Tatum added, “at the AAU camps, sometimes we were on the same team and sometimes we were not.”

While much has been made about how the two are similar, Tatum sees both having strengths that complement, rather than compete, with each other. 

“He’s further along than Jaylen was skill-wise and he’s not as far along as Jaylen physically,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations. “Again, he’s 19 years old. I don’t want to put any expectations … I want to give him time to grow. We’ll see. He’ll definitely have a role, get a chance to play. And how well he performs is up to him.”

Tatum’s assessment of his game and Brown’s goes as follows:

“He’s a lot stronger, bigger than me,” Tatum, who is 6-foot-8, 204 pounds, acknowledged. “He’s much more athletic. Offensively, I think that’s what I excel in, being smooth and my ability to score. I can just learn from him, the things that he went through last year.”

One of the things he has already picked up on, is that Brown is a pretty smart – and at times clever – dude. 

Not long after Tatum picked jersey number 11, Brown, who wears number 7, took to social media and came up with a 7-11 theme that has already lead to some pretty snazzy t-shirt designs. 

“I thought it was funny,” Tatum said. “It’s catchy; I like it.”

And the Celtics really like Tatum’s game which has been compared at times to former Celtic great Paul Pierce. 

“I hate to make those comparisons when kids are 19 and let his game evolve into whatever it is,” Ainge said. “The similarity is they have good footwork. They both have really good ways to create space for shots. But the similarity … they’re both very good defensive rebounders. Those are two things that stand out to me with Jayson that are Paul characteristics.”

Tatum knows he’s a long way from being in the same company as Celtic royalty such as Pierce. 

Before then he must first earn minutes on the floor which will not be an easy task. 

But Tatum’s demeanor, much like his game, has seemingly always been a bit more mature than most of his fellow basketball brethren. 

Tatum credits his parents, Justin Tatum and Brandy Cole.

“They raised me to be different, be more mature and stand out above the crowd and be my own person and be comfortable in my skin,” Tatum said. “That’s how I’ve always been.”

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: How does the Chris Paul trade affect the Celtics?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: How does the Chris Paul trade affect the Celtics?

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0:41 - Tom Curran, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith discuss the Rockets acquiring Chris Paul and how that trade can actually have an affect on the Celtics plans.

5:06 - Ian Thomsen joins BST to talk about if the Celtics are the front runners for Paul George, what would be too much to give up to the Pacers, and why it’s important to sign Hayward before trading for George.

11:21 - Evan Drellich joins from Fenway Park to discuss Rick Porcello getting his 10th loss of the season and if the struggling offense might be a season-long problem. 

14:58 - Tom Curran and Kayce Smith give their thoughts on Nate Burleson saying that Julian Edelman is the most under-appreciated receiver in the last 10 years.