Frustration mounts as Celtics lose big in L.A.


Frustration mounts as Celtics lose big in L.A.

LOS ANGELES Just outside the Boston Celtics locker room, not a sound could be heard.

Once inside, silence was still the pervading sound of choice.

After a humbling 106-77 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, the scoreboard said it all.

There is no masking the disappointment that such losses can bring about in a team as prideful as the C's.

Beyond winning games, the Celtics will be challenged in the coming days and weeks in keeping that disappointment from turning into frustration which is never a good thing.

"If you're a competitive player like I am, it's frustrating to lose," said Celtics guard Rajon Rondo. "It's frustrating, but at the same time you have to move forward. It's the NBA. We don't have two weeks to linger on this game. We have to move forward and get ready for Golden State."

"On to the next one" is a once-popular Hip-Hop song by rapper Jay-Z. It's also an appropriate title for where the Celtics' heads have to be right now in what is clearly the darkest day in what has been a season full of overcast-like moments.

More than a third of the way through this season, and the Celtics are a .500 team.

The reasons for their most recent setback vary.

Head coach Doc Rivers believes his players were thinking too much, and not just playing the game.

"I really thought we out-thought the game," Rivers said. "I could hear all the talk about different coverages ... we play the same defense every night for the most part. I just thought we were out-thinking ourselves tonight."

Kevin Garnett felt the C's weren't "firm" enough with their play consistently enough.

"We got away from stuff that we had been doing, that's been working for us," Garnett said. "We weren't firm enough; you have to be firm."

Regardless of the reason, the one lesson the Celtics can take away from Thursday's game is clear.

The Clippers are the better team - much better team - at this point.

And if there were any doubts about that, they should not exist after Thursday's thumping.

"We know at this point in the season, they're a better team than us," said Celtics guard Jason Terry. "That's the way they played. For us, you're not going to get frustrated. You just move forward, and keep grinding."

While that sounds good in theory, it too is a recurring theme with this team as they continue to make little to no progress from one game to the next in terms of winning.

"For us, it's the same old story," Terry said. "Win one and then you lose one. Until we break that cycle, we're not going to take that next step. And we know that. For us, we have to win this next one."

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Bruins will add assistant coach, tap Bradley to run draft board

Bruins will add assistant coach, tap Bradley to run draft board

While the Bruins technically operated, and operated well, short one coach once assistant coach Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien behind the Boston bench, that’s not expected to continue for the upcoming season.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney confirmed this week that the B’s will be retaining the current assistant coach group of Joe Sacco, Jay Pandolfo and Bob Essensa to work under Cassidy as full-time head coach, and that they’ll be looking to add one more person to his staff.

“I think our staff did a very good job jumping in and picking up, because we didn’t add to it at the time [of Cassidy’s promotion] when we subtracted from the group. It will stay as is,” said Sweeney. “We will also be looking to add to it to complement that group. Bruce and I have already spoken briefly about it, but we haven’t identified yet and we’ve already received some people that would have some interest. We’ll pursue that accordingly.”

Sacco handled the defensemen and the penalty kill in the final few months of the season, and Pandolfo worked with the forwards in his very first season as an NHL assistant coach following a stint in player development. Essensa, of course, worked with the goaltenders and as the “eye in the sky” from the press box once Pandolfo moved to the bench following the coaching change. So the natural assumption would be that the Bruins would hire another former defenseman to work with the D-men given the backgrounds of Sacco and Pandolfo as forwards.

“We haven’t gotten too far out in front of it. But, Joe Sacco moved from the front of the bench to the D, and did a terrific job [while playing a] big part of the penalty kill all year. Jay [Pandolfo] came down from the press box, worked with the forwards, which he had worked with all year. But now he’s in the heat of the battle. They were terrific. We were a true staff,” said Cassidy. “Goalie Bob [Essensa] became a little bit more of an eye in the sky for us up there. We had Kim [Brandvold], who was our skating coach, helped a lot with the practices, with the pace we were trying to establish. I can’t thank them enough.

“Going forward, we’re going to meet and decide what’s the best fit for us [as an assistant hire]. Obviously those two have a forward background, I have a defense background, so maybe that’s an area we have to look at, what’s the best complement. But we’d be getting ahead of ourselves if I said today that we’re pinpointing an exact thing. We’ve got to look at it and say, ‘OK, who’s the best fit. What makes us the most successful?’ We’ll go from there with the candidates we get.”

The situation automatically leads one to wonder if P-Bruins head coach Kevin Dean would be a possible candidate as a longtime Cassidy assistant at the AHL level, or if Dean wants to continue on his track as a head coach. If not Dean then perhaps Providence Bruins assistant coach and former Bruins D-man Jay Leach might also be a strong candidate after his first season working with the young P-Bruins at the AHL level.

While it’s clear the Bruins still have some discussions before potentially making a move on hiring an NHL assistant for Cassidy’s staff, they have made a determination about their scouting staff. The B’s never replaced the head of amateur scouting position when Keith Gretzky was hired as an assistant general manager with the Edmonton Oilers, and it will instead be Bruins assistant GM Scott Bradley that will run Boston’s draft board in June.

“Scotty Bradley has stepped back into that role, which he’s very comfortable doing. He holds the title of Assistant General Manager and he’ll oversee the draft. We’re very comfortable with the people he’s worked with in recent years that have been a big, big part of our recent drafts. Our meetings went well,” said Sweeney. “They were just at the U-18s and had other subsequent meetings, so there will be some banter in the upcoming [scouting] meetings, in terms of where we end up finalizing our list. Scotty will oversee that.”

It’s not exactly foreign territory for Bradley, who previously held the head scouting position with the Black and Gold and played an instrumental role in drafting players like Milan Lucic, Phil Kessel, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. But there’s also some question as to how big a role Gretzky played in drafting the massive wave of talented prospects now pushing their way through Boston’s system, and how much his presence will be missed at NHL Draft weekend moving forward.