Celtics bounce back, hold off Pacers

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Celtics bounce back, hold off Pacers

INDIANAPOLIS We've seen from time to time the Boston Celtics come in and save the day.

Saturday night was one of those times as the C's second unit gave the Celtics a nice cushion to play with in the first half, and the starters like Paul Pierce took care of business in the second half in Boston's 86-72 victory.

With the win, Boston (31-24) snapped a two-game losing skid and will go into Sunday's game against Philadelphia in first place in the Atlantic.

For Indiana (34-22), the loss snapped a four-game winning streak.

Boston went into the half Saturday night leading by double digits, similar to what they did against Chicago on Thursday night. But the second half brought about a Celtics slump against the Bulls, and ultimately a loss.

You can bet that was a message drilled into the Celtics players at the half.

To their credit, Boston showed no signs of letting up in the third quarter as Indiana missed five of its first six shots from the field.

Still, the C's couldn't quite pull away like they would have wanted to, courtesy of some poor shooting of their own.

Not surprisingly, the Pacers managed to get Boston's lead down to single digits.

But to the C's credit, they did just enough to still maintain a comfortable lead, 59-51, going into the fourth.

Just as Paul Pierce carried the C's in the third when the Pacers tried to mount a comeback, it was Rajon Rondo doing yet another masterful job of managing the game and getting all his teammates great looks at the basket. And then there was Kevin Garnett getting it done in the fourth as well, despite being in foul trouble.

His play down the stretch was a nice compliment to the strong performance in the first half by his backup, Greg Stiemsma.

A number of Boston backups played well in the first half, but Stiemsma's play was instrumental in the C's setting a defensive tone that propelled them to a comfortable lead for most of the night.

And as the half ended, he was on pace for his first career triple-double with 10 points, five rebounds and five blocked shots. He didn't score another point in the second half, but he did finish with a career-high nine rebounds.

Stiemsma wasn't the only backup burying the Pacers in the first half.

Sasha Pavlovic, who has teeter-tottered in and out of the C's rotation all season, was on his game from the start.

He had eight points in the first half which included a buzzer-beating jumper to end the first quarter.

And then there's the new guy to the second unit, Ray Allen.

Coming off the bench for the second straight game - and sixth time in his career - Allen shook off some early shooting woes to tally 10 points on 4-for-11 shooting.

While Boston's bench did its share of scoring in the first half, it was their defense that really set the tone, as Indiana fell behind by as many as 17 points in large part because they missed their first 11 shots from the field in the second.

However, Indiana rallied with a 7-0 spurt that cut Boston's lead to 10 with 2:35 to play in the half. From there, the two went back and fourth with the half ending with the C's up by 10 points.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: What's going on between Patriots, Butler?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: What's going on between Patriots, Butler?

0:41 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith discuss what’s going on between the Patriots and Malcolm Butler after Bill Belichick praised Jonathan Jones and Eric Rowe but didn’t have much to say on Butler.

5:39 - John Farrell thinks David Price out of the bullpen can be similar to Andrew Miller with the Indians last year in the playoffs. Our panel on BST break it down.

10:35 - Curran, Holley, Smith, and Phil Perry talk about the NFL ratings being down and why that continues to be.

15:15 - Evan Drellich joins BST after the Red Sox win to explain why Drew Pomeranz could be even more threatening, how good the bullpen actually is, and the offense not driving in runs.

Krug, Forbacka Karlsson suffer upper body injuries vs. Red Wings

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Krug, Forbacka Karlsson suffer upper body injuries vs. Red Wings

BOSTON – The Bruins ended Tuesday night’s preseason home date with another feel-good victory over the Red Wings, but it may have come at a cost.

Both Torey Krug and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson were injured in the second period of the B’s 4-2 win over the Red Wings at TD Garden, and didn’t return to the game. Krug was hit in the face with a puck in the defensive zone during the second period, and quickly exited the ice with Bruins trainer Don DelNegro after the impact of the puck hitting his face initially took his feet out from under him.  

“[Krug] clearly didn’t finish the game, and took a shot up in the facial area,” said Bruce Cassidy of Krug, who had a couple of shots on net in 9:10 of ice time while largely playing with Charlie McAvoy in an offensive-minded pairing. “We’ll probably have an update tomorrow.”

Forbacka Karlsson took a hard tumble into the end boards in the game’s middle period, and never returned after serving up the primary assist on Danton Heinen’s goal earlier in that very same period. JFK tried to return to Tuesday night’s win over the Red Wings, according to Cassidy, but was kept out of the game with an upper body injury that has his status as questionable moving forward.

“He went into the boards late in the second. He’s day-to-day, upper body. I think wanted to – he did come back and try [to return to the game],” said Cassidy of JFK, who put up an assist and a plus-1 rating in 8:37 of ice time before leaving the game. “I don’t think it’s serious, but I can’t speculate. We’ll get another update tomorrow. It didn’t look good, but I don’t think it’s as bad as it looked. We’ll know more [about JFK] tomorrow.”

It certainly sounds like both Krug and JFK could miss a day or two of practice moving forward after the injury wear-and-tear of preseason action, but the hope is that the Black and Gold won’t be missing a couple of key performers for anything more than that.  

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