Emotional night for KG, McHale

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Emotional night for KG, McHale

HOUSTON As the final seconds ticked away in Boston's 101-89 loss to Houston on Friday, Doc Rivers made his way towards Rockets head coach and former Celtic Kevin McHale.

The two embraced.

A similar scene played out moments later between McHale, whose 23-year-old daughter Sasha passed away last month, and Courtney Lee who played for McHale in Houston last season.

In between those two moments, there was McHale embracing Kevin Garnett who came into the league in Minnesota when McHale was part of the Minnesota Timberwolves' brain trust.

The embrace was long, the kind of hug you give an old friend who is hurting and there's nothing you can do to ease the pain other than to let him know you care.

McHale won the game, but he was fighting a losing battle with his emotions as the two old friends continued their embrace, each nodding to the other as words were spoken that only those two men can fully understand and appreciate.

Not surprisingly, McHale was asked about that moment during his post-game press conference.

"KG and I, we go way back," said McHale, who pulled the trigger on the multi-player deal that sent Garnett to Boston in 2007. "There will always be a special place in my heart for Kevin. We spent a ton of time together when he was a young guy. It was very nice."

Seeing McHale for the first time since the passing of McHale's daughter made the day that much rougher for Garnett emotionally.

Like most parents throughout this nation, Garnett was also deeply saddened by the deaths of nearly two dozen school-age children in Newtown, Conn. Friday morning when an armed man opened fire in the school and reportedly killed 27 people - most of them children.

"I'm all over the place. Today has been a crazy day," Garnett said. "I just want to say my condolences go out to the families in Connecticut. Anybody that has kids, niece, any kind of siblings, any kind of someone they love, it's just been a tough day. I just want to get it off my chest and say my condolences to all the parents out there. I seen Kevin (McHale) and had an emotional moment with him. So it's been an emotional roller coaster today."

Rask given maintenance day as Bruins return to practice

Rask given maintenance day as Bruins return to practice

BRIGHTON -- The Bruns got back to work on Friday, but were without their No. 1 goaltender for practice at Warrior Ice Arena ahead of their biggest game of the season Saturday night against the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center 

Tuukka Rask was given a maintenance day after playing three games in four days, and Matt Beleskey was also missing “on family leave." The off-day for Rask could have very well about getting away from the rink mentally as it was physically; he has a 3-6-0 record during the month of March. 

Interim coach Bruce Cassidy said after practice that he wouldn’t be making a decision on his starting goalie in Brooklyn until Saturday, but it would be stunning if Rask didn't play.

“We’ll see how things clear up . . . and see where we’re at,” said Cassidy of any Bruins lineup changes against the Isles. “We’ll know by then. [The starting goalie] will be determined tomorrow. I don’t want to get out in front of it, to be honest with you.”

Here are the line combos and D-pairings based on Friday’s practice, with Cassidy uncertain of any changes he might make between now and Saturday night: 
 
Marchand-Bergeron-Backes
Stafford-Krejci-Backes
Vatrano-Spooner-Hayes
Moore-Nash-Acciari
 
Chara-Carlo
Krug-McQuaid
C. Miller-K. Miller

Sox' lack of homegrown starters an understandable problem for Yanks' Cashman

Sox' lack of homegrown starters an understandable problem for Yanks' Cashman

The dearth of homegrown starting pitching for the Red Sox is talked about almost as much as every Tom Brady post on Instagram.

Red Sox fans may take some solace in knowing their team isn’t the only one dealing with this problem.

In an interview with MLB.com's Mark Feinsand, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman didn’t talk about his team’s pitching problems in context of the Red Sox. But the explanation the longtime Yanks boss offered should sound familiar. 

In the biggest of markets, time to develop properly is scarce.

“Yeah. It's a fact,” Cashman said when asked if criticism of their pitching development was fair. “I think part of the process has been certainly where we draft. Because we've had a lot of success, we've not been allowed to tank and go off the board and therefore get access to some of the high-end stuff that plays out to be impactful. Part of it is we can't get out of our own way because we don't have the patience to let guys finish off their development, because if you possess some unique ability that stands out above everybody else -- whether it was Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, now [Luis] Severino and before that [Bryan] Mitchell and Shane Greene -- we're pulling them up before their development is finished.

“Teams like Tampa Bay, for instance, they're going to wait until they have their four pitches down and their innings limits are all exceeded at the minor-league level; they're very disciplined in that approach as they finish off their starters. For us, if I'm looking at my owner and he says, ‘What's our best team we can take north?’ 

“Well, ‘We could take this guy; he's not necessarily 100 percent finished off, but we can stick him in our 'pen. He can be in the back end of our rotation, because he's better than some of the guys we already have,’ and then you cut corners, so I think that probably plays a role in it.”

Not everything is circumstantial, though -- or a deflection. 

“And sometimes we don't make the right decisions, either, when we're making draft selections and signings and stuff like that,” Cashman continued. “On top of it all, playing in New York is a lot different than playing anywhere else.”

We’ve heard that last part about Boston too, here and there.

Cashman was complimentary of his current Sox counterpart, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, whose team Cashman has compared to the Golden State Warriors.

On his feelings when he first heard the Sox were getting Chris Sale:

“When that trade was consummated, that was the first thing I thought about, which was, 'Wow, look at what they've done,' ” Cashman said. “I know how it's going to play out for them. Listen, Steve Kerr does a great job managing that team -- oh, I mean John Farrell. It's a lot of talent and with talent comes pressure to perform. I think Dave Dombrowski has done everything he possibly can to provide that city with a world championship team. They've got 162 games to show it.”