Erskine presence could be message-sender to Lucic

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Erskine presence could be message-sender to Lucic

ARLINGTON, VA The Washington Capitals could be stiffening up for Game 4 after getting pushed around by the Bruins in their own building on Monday night. Capitals coach Dale Hunter put bruising defenseman John Erskine on a defenseman pair with Dennis Wideman at practice on Wednesday afternoon at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, and mentioned a desire to protect his players on the ice.

After the whistles and before the puck was dropped they were going after us. Lucic was going after Backstroms head, but weve got to play through it and protect the players on the ice, said Hunter in an interesting choice of words. Right now, you know, weve matched them up. Erskine is healthy again and hes a big, strong guy in front of the net. He takes the body and hes an honest player.

Erskine has dropped the gloves with Milan Lucic in their past, and is one of the few players that was able to go toe-to-toe with No. 17 when the fists started flying. The Caps tough guy actually dropped Lucic to the ice during their first NHL fight when the Bs power forward was a 19-year-old rookie, but Lucic avenged that with his own hockey fight win two years later.

So those that have become squeamish about the dropped gloves and blood that have always been a part of playoff hockey might want to switch off the game when Lucic and Erskine share the ice together tonight.

It doesnt take a crystal ball or ESP to see a playoff scenario where Erskine comes calling looking for Lucic on Thursday night, but thats not a very good talent trade for the Bruins.

Meanwhile Jason Chimera, who stands as the only player in this series thats knocked an opponent out of commission for the playoffs with his regular season charging hit from behind on Adam McQuaid, spoke of the fine line between playoff-style intensity and proving theyre not a wussy team.

The Washington grinder regretted his stupid penalty when he speared Brad Marchand between the legs, and admitted that the Caps need to be smarter than that against the Bruins.

We cant take stupid penalties. Mine was a stupid penalty. You cant do that. No matter how much Marchand is diving and stuff like that, is embellishing a bit, said Chimera. You cant do stuff like that because its going to be called. You got to play hard within the whistles.

Were not a wussy team. We dont have to prove were tough to anybody. Were a skilled team. We dont need to prove were tough to anybody. Weve got guys who can fight, but you dont need to prove toughness in playoffs. Its going to be just winning some hockey games.

Theres been plenty of talk about toughness, diving and emotion heading into Thursday nights Game 4 at Verizon Center, and it sounds like the pot might be bubbling over given some of the signs heading into a pivotal playoff game between the Bruins and Capitals.

Report: Celtics not one of the teams trying to acquire Cousins

Report: Celtics not one of the teams trying to acquire Cousins

The Sacramento Kings are "fully engaged" in DeMarcus Cousins trade discussions, but it appears the Boston Celtics are not in the running for the All-Star center.

According to Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, the Celtics are not one of the teams talking to the Kings about Cousins.

More to come. . . 

 

Davis' 52 points breaks Chamberlain's All-Star record, West beats East, 192-182

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Davis' 52 points breaks Chamberlain's All-Star record, West beats East, 192-182

NEW ORLEANS – The stars were everywhere, on and off the court during the 66th annual NBA All-Star game.

There were lots of hugs, handshakes and goody-good vibes shared by all.

And then … the fourth quarter arrived.

It’s the only time of the game when the All-Star game actually looks like a game and not an open gym full of the best players on the planet.

And as we’ve seen this season, no one is better in the fourth quarter than Boston’s Isaiah Thomas.

True to form, Thomas saw a playing time in the fourth quarter.

But his scoring prowess wasn’t enough with the Western Conference emerging with a 192-182 win.  It is the sixth time in the last seven All-Star games that the West has come away with the victory.

Thomas had 20 points on 7-for-15 shooting and 4-for-10 from 3-point range.

That’s not a bad performance, but there were others who were a lot more prolific shooting the ball.

Kevin Durant, playing in his first All-Star game as a member of the Golden State Warriors, had a triple-double of 21 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, MVP each of the previous two All-Star games, finished with 41 points – one shy of tying the most points scored in an All-Star game.

Despite Westbrook’s monster game, the record wound up being shattered by New Orleans’ Anthony Davis who had 52 points which broke Wilt Chamberlain’s All-Star game record of 42 points set in 1962.

Shooting 26 for 39 from the field, Davis also grabbed 10 rebounds.

One of the more interesting stretches came in the first half between Thomas and Westbrook.

Westbrook grabbed an offensive rebound, saw that he was being guarded by Thomas and snarled at him moments before banking in a 3-pointer.

Thomas wasn’t about to be showed up by his fellow All-Star.

On the ensuing possession, he came right back and hit a long range 3-pointer in Russell’s mug. Westbrook came back with a 3-pointer that was off the mark followed by a Thomas miss.

That sequence was about as close as we came to seeming some semblance of defense played by either team, with lay-ups, and wide open dunks reigning supreme all night.

The much-talked about “reunion” between Durant and Westbrook was very civil, one that included the two connecting on a give-and-go in the first half that ended with a Westbrook basket.

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo gave the crowd better dunks in the All-Star game than the actual slam dunk contest, finishing with 30 points on 14-of-17 with 12 dunks.