Doc: 'Our execution the whole game was terrible'

559944.jpg

Doc: 'Our execution the whole game was terrible'

BOSTON The assumption is that if you have a veteran team that has played hundreds of games together, they develop an innate understanding of how to play off one another, especially in close games.

But the Boston Celtics are living proof of how no amount of time spent in the past playing with one another can replicate the benefits of having practice time working on how to close out games, which the C's could not do on Thursday in losing 88-87 to the Los Angeles Lakers in overtime.

The C's had a chance to put the game away on two separate occasions, but failed to do so.

Near the end of regulation, the Celtics' Paul Pierce couldn't get a shot off for himself or Ray Allen. Pierce stopped his dribble too soon, which threw off the play's timing. The ball eventually wound up in the hands of Mickael Pietrus, who had to fire a desperation heave that just barely left his hands prior to the final horn of regulation sounding.

And in overtime, Pierce once again had a chance to lift the Celtics to victory. His fade-away jumper rimmed in and out, but the loose ball managed to wind up in the hands of Allen. He quickly got a shot up, only to have it rejected by Pau Gasol.

You have to give the Lakers defense their due. They did a really good job of making life tough as possible for all of Boston's shooters, which isn't all that surprising when you consider their scoring defense is ranked fourth in the NBA, while the C's are No. 1.

But there were too many opportunities, too many chances for Boston to win had they made a play or two down the stretch -- something their fans have grown accustomed to seeing.

"Our execution the whole game was terrible," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "This was an awful game, except for they won. If we had won it, it would've been an awful game that we had won. That's how I felt."

"For the most part," Kevin Garnett added, "I thought when we needed to get stops, we got stops. It came down to overtime. If you're in your building, that's what you want."

While there's no rhyme or reason as to why the Celtics seemed so off their game, Rivers isn't the least bit worried or ready to panic.

"It's called basketball," Rivers said. "Really. It happens. It happens in a playoff game. So I am disappointed, and I'm not happy with it, but it's not like it's been a trend."

Pierce, who led the Celtics with 18 points, said the C's had trouble getting into the kind of sets they wanted to, and having the ball where they wanted it to go.

"We were somewhat helter-skelter," said Allen. "But we still felt we had good control."

"We played too much random pick-and-roll basketball," said Pierce.

And that was among the contributing factors to the team's offensive woes.

"We weren't able to get to the hole," Pierce said. "We tried to get to the foul line. We only shot five free throws."

And all those free throws -- all five of 'em -- came in the first half.

Fortunately -- or unfortunately depending on how you look at it -- the Celtics have no time to lick their wounds after a disappointing loss.

The Celtics are in Toronto for tonight's game against the Raptors.

"That's the good and bad thing about our league right now; you have so much time to get over it," said Rivers, sarcastically.

Wright extends scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings in Red Sox' 10-7 win over Pirates

Wright extends scoreless streak to 9 1/3 innings in Red Sox' 10-7 win over Pirates

The angst surrounding the David Price- and (possibly) Drew Pomeranz-less Red Sox starting rotation may have eased a little -- or a lot -- on Thursday.

Steven Wright extended his string of scoreless spring-training innings to 9 1/3 by blanking the Pirates for 4 1/3 innings in his third spring-traing start, leading the Sox to a 10-7 victory over the Pirates at SkyBlue Park.

Red Sox-Pirates box score

Wright allowed two hits -- the only two hits he's allowed this spring -- with one walk and three strikeouts.

Several of his pitching brethren, notably Heath Hembree and Robbie Ross Jr., didn't fare nearly as well. (See box score above.) But the Sox -- using what may be their regular-season batting order for the first time -- bailed them out with a 16-hit attack, led by Dustin Pedroia (3-for-3, now hitting ,500 for the spring). Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez, Jackie Bradley Jr., and, yes, Pablo Sandoval each added two hits. Sandoval also drove in three runs and is now hitting .362.

Xander Bogaerts went 1-for-4 in his return to the Sox from the World Baseball Classic.

 

A hungry ballplayer: Ex-Sox prospect Moncada once ate 85 Twinkies a week

A hungry ballplayer: Ex-Sox prospect Moncada once ate 85 Twinkies a week

This isn’t your average young and hungry player on the brink of the big leagues.

Yoan Moncada, the ex-Red Sox prospect who was one of the principal pieces in the trade for Chris Sale, ate 85 Twinkies in a week, his agent told ESPN The Magazine

David Hastings, Moncada's agent, clarified to CSNNE that this was a one-time thing when Moncada first arrived in the U.S. Moncada had never had Twinkies before, Hastings said, so he was like "a kid in a candy store."

He's still in great shape. Moncada had a huge spring training with the White Sox after a disappointing major-league debut with Boston in September. 

The 21-year-old third baseman has been optioned out of big-league camp, so he’s slated to start the year in Triple-A. But he hit .317 with a .391 on-base percentage and .683 slugging percentage and 3 home runs in 41 at-bats — some of the best numbers anywhere.

Moncada took a $31.5 million signing bonus from the Red Sox, money that the Sox turned into Sale. Moncada, meanwhile, didn’t exactly invest every cent.

Twinkies weren’t his only indulgence. 

More from the story: 

Moncada had money to spend on drones, video games, toys and clothes. He sometimes spent $1,500 or more during nights out, David says. After he purchased the second $200,000 car, Josefa [Hastings, David’s wife] tried to talk some sense into him.

David Hastings reinforced to CSNNE that the message to Moncada was to invest in things that appreciate in value.