Green, Sullinger lead Celtics to 87-79 win over Suns

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Green, Sullinger lead Celtics to 87-79 win over Suns

BOSTON With the goal being to extend their winning streak to a season-long four in a row, there are few teams in the NBA that would have made for more obliging guests than the Phoenix Suns.
In addition to losing nine of their last 10 games overall, Phoenix had lost 10 in a row coming into Wednesday's matchup.
The Celtics controlled the action for most of the night, but a weak third quarter showing made it a closer game than it should have been.
Still, the C's are in no position to be picky when it comes to winning, which they did by the count of 87-79.
Wednesday's win extended the Celtics (18-17) winning streak to a season-long four in a row.
For the second straight game, Boston got a huge lift from its bench with contributions coming from just about every player who stepped on the floor.
Jason Terry (13 points) and Jeff Green (14 points) did a lot of the scoring. Jared Sullinger (12 points, career-high 16 rebounds) continued to do a lot of the dirty work around the glass.
And Courtney Lee continues to come into his own as a defensive spark off the bench, tallying six points, two assists and a slew of strong plays defensively.
It appeared that the Celtics were well on their way to an easy victory, fueled by a 20-8 run to close out the second quarter that gave the C's a 53-41 lead at the half.
But the C's went through one of their usual offensive lulls.
However, their defense couldn't bail them out this time.
The Celtics' offensive woes opened the door for the Suns to go on a 17-2 run that put them ahead, 58-55.
Boston didn't spend much time playing from behind -- one minute, 46 seconds to be exact -- as Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce scored back-to-back baskets, respectively, to put the C's back on top.
Phoenix had made a game that wasn't all that close, a relatively tight affair (67-64) going into the fourth quarter.
But the C's went with a hybrid second unit that worked well for them in the second quarter -- Terry, Lee, Green, Sullinger and Kevin Garnett who is a starter.
That group, just like they had did earlier in the game, provided a much-needed lift at both ends of the floor as the Celtics blitzed the Suns with a 13-4 run to start the fourth and never looked back.

Talking points: Patrice Bergeron is best player on ice in Bruins' win

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Talking points: Patrice Bergeron is best player on ice in Bruins' win

Here are the talking points from the Boston Bruins' 6-3 win over the Dallas Stars where Patrice Bergeron scored two goals.

Red Sox can't rally against Rays after Chris Archer's start

Red Sox can't rally against Rays after Chris Archer's start

The appearance of Tampa Bay Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough almost got the Boston Red Sox back in their spring training exhibition game. The Sox managed to score all three of their runs against the 25-year-old in their 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida on Sunday.

But the Rays, who scored runs in five different innings, managed to widen their lead in the eighth inning by beating up on Sox lefty Luis Isla, a 24-year-old who spent last season with Portland and Pawtucket. In the eighth, Rays' Joe McCarthy homered and Luke Maile managed an RBI single, which cappped off the scoring in the contest. Sox starter Hector Velazquez allowed three hits and an earned run in his two innnings. The 28-year-old, who spent 2016 in the Mexican League, still managed to amass four strikeouts.

"I was a little nervous at the start, being in the United States for the first time and playing for a big league club for the first time," Velazquez told RedSox.com through an interpreter. "But once I got the first out, all the nerves went away, and I was able to bear down."

Despite allowing two homers, Boston pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.

With the exception of the Sox' inning against Yarbrough, Boston's veterans and prospects struggled mighltily against the Rays pitching staff. Chris Archer started for Tampa, and set the tone in the first two innings, where he threw two strikeouts, one walk and allowed one hit and no runs. Andrew Benintendi (0-for-3), Sam Travis (0-for-2) and Bryce Brentz (0-for-3) went hitless on the day. Travis, however, reached base on balls.

"I felt good. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish," Archer said, via the Red Sox' team website. "Just out there having fun, it was really fun to be out there in the spectrum with the umpire, the fans, the batter. It was fun."

Marco Hernandez's triple got the Sox' eighth-inning off to a strong start, and singles from Matt Dominguez, Deven Marrero, Rusney Castillo and Cole Sturgeon followed. The Sox' eighth inning scoring ended after Castillo got thrown out by left fielder McCarthy at third. Six Red Sox finished with one-hit outings, including Brock Holt and Blake Swihart.

The Sox will next host the St. Louis Cardinals in Fort Myers on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET.