Five from the Kings-Devils

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Five from the Kings-Devils

NEWARK, NJ Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Kings leading the Devils by a 1-0 score after the first 20 minutes of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals at the Prudential Center.

1) A thing of beauty by Drew Doughty in the first period when he weaved through three Devils defenders and buried a shot to the blocker side of Martin Brodeur. Drew comparisons of Bobby Orr, Ray Bourque and Scott Neidermayer on twitter and rightfully so. Hes something special.

2) A lot more nasty for both the Devils and the Kings in Game 2. A much tighter game with better flow as both teams predicted over the last two days. Devils actually managed 10 shots, which nearly matched their total from Game 1.

3) Martin Brodeur looks a little shaky bobbling pucks and not catching anything cleanly. The shot he gave up to Doughty wasnt the greatest stop in the world, and he finished with five saves.

4) Jonathan Quick, on the other hand, continues to look dominant. Ten saves in the first 20 minutes and a couple of solid stops on a shift where Zach Parise turned on the jets and looked determined to get the puck past him. Hes still the odds on favorite for the Conn Smythe Trophy.

5) Awful Eurohousegymnastics routine music played for the New Jersey Devils during warm-ups. Whatever happened to ACDC?

SECOND PERIOD:

1) One shot on net for Ilya Kovalchuk through two periods of play. Two giveaways, two missed shots and one that was blocked. He looks very passive when he gets the puck and every skating stride looks extremely labored. The word is that its some kind of back problem, and if thats the case Devils are in extreme trouble if he doesnt start feeling better.

2) Jonathan Quick is very, very good. The Kings were a little more helter-skelter dealing with New Jerseys forecheck in the second period, but Quick was able to make another nine saves in the middle 20 minutes. According to NHL.com compadre Shawn ORourke Quick has given up one goal in his last 149:32 dating back to the Western Conference Finals. He doesnt look like hes prone to break down any time soon either.

3) Martin Brodeur looked much better in the second period, and made a couple of flashy glove saves that appeared to get him back into the flow of the game. The angry, dismissive glove save on Justin Williams appeared to be the turning point.

4) Four shots on goal for Mike Richards leads. Both teams. The depth on the Los Angeles Kings is something to be reckoned with along their front lines.

5) Kings have done a very good job roughing up Zach Parise in the first two games of this series. One shot in 12:10 of ice time and he was jacked up by Trevor Lewis at the end of the second period. Appeared a little dazed when he finally got up and off the ice.
THIRD PERIOD:

1) The Devils are going to be hard-pressed in this Stanley Cup Final if they dont start getting some production from Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise. Kings are effectively shutting them both down.

2) No shots on net in 21:28 tonight for Dustin Brown. Three hits but hes been largely quiet. Kings could use a lot more out of their tone-setter than theyve received thus far, and his ill-conceived pass to the front of the net at the end of the third almost turned into an Ilya Kovalchuk goal. Kings are very casual throwing the puck in front of the net and will get burned at some point because of that.

3) Devils fourth line has been keeping then in these games. Ryan Carter high tip on a Marek Zidlicky point shot beats Jonathan Quick. Thats the only line that Pete DeBoer didnt mess around with between second and third period, and with good reason.

4) Not a lot separating these two teams when the Kings are on the road, but that makes you think Los Angeles might just blow Jerseys doors off at the Staples Center. Doesnt it?

5) The 25th overtime game of the playoffs, and the second straight in the Finals for the Devils and Kings.

Irving takes over in third quarter, Cavs beat Celtics in Game 4, 112-99

Irving takes over in third quarter, Cavs beat Celtics in Game 4, 112-99

CLEVELAND – They had them right where they wanted them.

LeBron James was in foul trouble.

Kyrie Irving had not yet heated up, and the lead hovered above double figures but seemed oh-so-close to creeping upwards of 20 points if the Celtics did a better job of making open shots in the first half.

Those missed shots, combined with a Kyrie Irving takeover in the third quarter, would prove to be part of the narrative for Game 4 – missed opportunities - as the Cavs rallied for a 112-99 Game 4 win.

Cleveland now leads the best-of-seven series 3-1, with a chance to eliminate the Celtics in Boston on Thursday and advance to the NBA Finals where a well-rested Golden State team will be awaiting them.

Irving led all scorers with a playoff career-high 42 points, 21 of which came in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Boston’s Avery Bradley had 19 points while Jae Crowder (18 points), Al Horford (16), and Kelly Olynyk (15) also finished with double figures scoring.

"He put the team on his back," said Tristan Thompson, regarding Irving's play. "He still has another gear."

Boston spent all of the fourth quarter playing from behind, failing to get that necessary made shot or defensive turnover or stop that they needed to slow down Cleveland’s growing momentum.

And with Irving making a slew of clutch baskets that put Cleveland in control, it was James’ turn to put the game away.

He did just that, finishing with 34 points which included 15 in the fourth quarter.

But for a good chunk of Tuesday’s Game 4 matchup, it looked as though the Celtics were coming back to Boston for Game 5 with the series tied up.

It was an odd game for sure, with nothing being any stranger than LeBron James being whistled for not one, not two, not three, but four personal fouls … in the first half.

The fourth came when he was whistled for an offensive foul against Terry Rozier with 6:46 to play and Boston ahead by 10 points.

With James on the bench, Cleveland managed to play Boston to a standstill as the half ended with the Celtics still leading by 10 points (57-47).

Cleveland slowly crept back in the game in the third, and eventually went ahead 73-72 following a pair of free throws by James with 3:15 to play in the quarter.

The Cavs were able to lead by as many as five points in the third quarter which ended with Cleveland ahead 87-80 as Irving scored the last 14 points for Cleveland which included a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that would be the final points scored in the quarter.

Cleveland’s strong finish to the third was a striking contrast to how the game began.

Boston got off to its best start in this series after a 3-pointer by Jae Crowder put the Celtics ahead 18-11.

The Celtics went ahead 22-13 after a pair of free throws by Jonas Jerebko and would eventually lead by as many as 16 points.

Meanwhile, James – the man Crowder was defending most of the time early on – had six points in the first quarter on 3-for-7 shooting.

Bogaerts has three hits, three RBIs as Red Sox beat Rangers, 11-6

Bogaerts has three hits, three RBIs as Red Sox beat Rangers, 11-6

BOSTON - Xander Bogaerts had three hits and three RBIs, Dustin Pedroia had a two-run double during a four-run seventh inning and the Boston Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers 11-6 on Tuesday night.

Rick Porcello (3-5) won for just the second time at home despite allowing 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner struck out four and allowed five runs, four earned.

Joey Gallo got his 14th homer for Texas, and Shin-Soo Choo went 2 for 5 with two RBIs.

Texas entered having won 11 of 12. The 11 runs allowed marked a season high.

Andrew Cashner (1-4) pitched five innings, allowing five runs, six hits and four walks. He also threw a pair of wild pitches, one of them allowing Bogaerts to score from third and put Boston up 2-1 after three.