Celtics learning from grind-it-out games

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Celtics learning from grind-it-out games

BOSTON Sunday's overtime win at Orlando would not have come about if not for the collective efforts of just about every Celtic who got a chance to play.

It was a pretty typical night for the Celtics, one filled with drama brought on by the opponent . . . as well as themselves.

Boston's started strong, especially on the glass, only to be surpassed when Orlando erased a 12-point Celtics lead in the third quarter. Boston then rallied in the fourth and went into full blown takeover-mode in the overtime period in pulling out a 116-110 victory over the Magic.

Maybe just as important, it was yet another gut-check game for the Celtics (8-6) that required them to push themselves harder than usual in order to get the win.

Of Boston's eight wins this season, six have been by six points or less.

"We've been grinding a lot of games out," said Boston's Brandon Bass who had 13 points and a team-high 12 rebounds. "Now it's time for us to blow some teams out. But I'm happy with the win."

It's all part of this self-discovery mission the Celtics are on, one that they hopes will bring about a greater understanding not just of how to play well together, but also how to find different ways to win.

"We let them back in the game so we had to find a way to win," said Boston's Paul Pierce. "That was what it was all about . . . finding a way to win. We had to grind it out. That's what we did."

Once the game went into overtime, it was clear that Boston's level of intensity and focus on details had skyrocketed. The Celtics closed out the overtime period by limiting the Magic to just 1-for-8 shooting.

Kevin Garnett doesn't believe there's a need for close, grind-it-out games. However, he does recognize their value in terms of helping foster more team unity and cohesiveness.

"It does build character," said Garnett who added, "and you do as a team, young and old, you do get better and you do learn something from it. Anything you can learn from, it's a positive."

Eduardo Rodriguez strong, Red Sox down Mariners for 5th straight win

Eduardo Rodriguez strong, Red Sox down Mariners for 5th straight win

BOSTON (AP)  Eduardo Rodriguez pitched six scoreless innings and the Boston Red Sox took advantage of a sloppy performance by the Seattle Mariners to earn their season-high fifth straight win, 3-0 on Friday night.

It was the third consecutive win for Rodriguez (4-1), who went six innings, gave up just five hits and struck out four while throwing a season-high 112 pitches. Craig Kimbrel earned his 13th save.

Rodriguez has pitched at least six innings in his last seven starts, going 4-0 in that span.

The only run support Rodriguez needed came in the second inning, when Hanley Ramirez scored on Josh Rutledge's RBI groundout. Boston added two more runs in the sixth, scoring on a wild pitch and passed ball.

Yovani Gallardo (2-5) took the loss. He lasted 5 1/3 innings, gave up seven hits and was responsible for all three of Boston's runs. Seattle has won just one of its last seven.

Meanwhile, Boston gave Rodriguez got lots of help from his defense. Jackie Bradley Jr. had a pair of nice plays, getting an outfield assist in the second and running down another ball on the warning track in the sixth.

In addition to the pitching miscues, the Mariners had all kinds of issues in the wet conditions, committing two fielding errors.

The Red Sox left 11 runners on base, leaving the door open for the Mariners to get back in the game. But Seattle couldn't capitalize, going 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position. The Mariners also left seven runners stranded.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: LHP James Paxton (strained left forearm) was slated to make a rehab start Friday night in Double-A Arkansas. He has been on the 10-day disabled list since May 5. He could be activated for a start at the end of the month against Colorado.

Red Sox: Infielder Marco Hernandez will be out the remainder of the season after undergoing stabilization surgery on his left shoulder on Friday. Hernandez was placed on the disabled list May 4 with a left shoulder misalignment. The 24-year-old hit .276 with two RBI in 21 games. ... A night after he left the game with left knee pain, 2B Dustin Pedroia was held out Friday for what manager John Farrell said was "precautionary reasons" because of the wet playing surface.

UP NEXT

Mariners: RHP Rob Whalen (0-2, 4.09 ERA in Triple-A Tacoma) will be making his major league start since last season with Atlanta. He will be 12th different starting pitcher the Mariners have used this season.

Red Sox: LHP Brian Johnson (1-0, 7.20 ERA) will be making his second major league start this year and third of his career.

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