Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Maple Leafs

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Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Maple Leafs

TORONTO Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins and Maple Leafs tied at 1-1 after the first 20 minutes of play at the Air Canada Centre.

1)Great period from Jordan Caron following up on a good game against the New York Rangers last weekend. Caron had a strong shift midway through the first period when he found a cutting Johnny Boychuk on the backdoor for a scoring chance turned away by Jonas Gustavsson, and then cut through the middle of the slot for his own shot on the same shift. Caron followed that up by potting a goal on his next shift when he crashed the net looking for a Joe Corvo shot that took a wild bounce off the end boards, and pushed the puck past the Toronto goalie for the game-tying goal after Benoit Pouliot attempt at the rebound. Bruins could use more of that from their former first round pick.

2) Greg Zanon is now a minus-4 with the Bruins and has had some issues right in front of the Boston net after a promising first game. He unwittingly screened Tim Thomas on a Carl Gunnarsson shot that beat him to the glove-hand side for Torontos goal that period. Thomas needs to do a better job of fighting through those screens, and Zanon needs to get on the same page with his goaltender.

3)Bruins outshot the Maple Leafs by a 12-7 margin and had themselves a pretty solid period aside from the Gunnarsson goal. They talked about searching for that consistency prior to this one and now they need two periods as good or better than the first one.

4) Sounds like Mathieu Garon went down with injury for the Tampa Bay Lightning. If youre looking for a team that would put a claim in on 36-year-old Marty Turco and block the Bruins, its Steve Yzerman and the goaltending-starved Bolts still harboring playoff delusions.

5)Great work at the end of the first period with both David Krejci and Tyler Seguin outworking Dion Phaneuf for loose pucks that allowed Seguin to get one last shot off that hit the right post. The Bruins brought their hard hats tonight.

TORONTO Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins leading the Maple Leafs by a 5-3 score after the first 40 minutes of play at the Air Canada Centre.

1)Dennis Seidenberg is quite possibly the nicest guy in the world. But hes also a beast. Colby Armstrong is bloody aware of that now after messing with him in the second period. Seidenberg finally lost it and started pounding on Armstrong before leaving the Leafs agitator dripping blood before the fight was all over. It did lead to a Leafs power play when Adam McQuaid was also called for roughing, but the point stands.

2)Two goals each for Tyler Seguin and Jordan Caron. The Bruins need the energy, pop and enthusiasm from their younger players while battling through this .500 mess that theyre in and both players have showed up in a big way today. Seguins numbers at the Air Canada Centre are getting scary when hes playing in front of his friends and family.

3)Three goals in two games for Jordan Caron and four shots on net in 9:10 of ice time along with a plus-3. Confidence is the key to any hockey player and hes feeling it right now.

4)Six hits for Lane MacDermid in 6:31 of ice time. Hes actually looked very good playing in that fourth line role on the wing. He doesnt bring the speed of Daniel Paille, obviously, but hes throwing his weight around.

5)Benoit Pouliot with two shifts and 1:43 of ice time in the second period. It looked like he has hit the pine as Lane MacDermid, Shawn Thornton and Gregory Campbell all taking turns skating in his place on the third line.

TORONTO Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Bruins burning the Maple Leafs by a 5-4 score after 60 minutes of play at the Air Canada Centre.

1)No Benoit Pouliot on the bench in the third period. Perhaps he was hurt rather than disciplinary action. Didnt see what happened to him if hes indeed injured. Last thing the Bruins need is another injury to a winger.

2) No easy games for the Bruins for the rest of the season. Toronto showing some lift in the first period with a Mikhail Grabovski goal that beat Tim Thomas cleanly after a long stretch pass from Toronto end.

3) Tim Thomas glove hand and angles look pretty far off to the goaltending layman. Perhaps hes already showing signs of fatigue before they even really have to ride him hard this season.

4) Five blocked shots, four hits and four shots on net for Johnny Boychuk in a mans effort against the Maple Leafs. People that complain about his contract extension should watch Tuesdays game tape.

5)Tough game for Milan Lucic. A few too many giveaways, no shots on net and little involvement in the offensive zone. They cant all be gems, but Lucic just didnt have it going against the Leafs

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Wizards shoot ridiculous 65 percent from field

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Wizards shoot ridiculous 65 percent from field

After Boston’s last game against Portland – a loss – Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said he was encouraged by some of the things his team did defensively.

It’s safe to say Stevens won’t be singing that tone if the Celtics continue along the path they’re on defensively right now as the Washington Wizards went into the half with a 66-59 lead.

Washington, donning all-black clothes when they arrived at the Verizon Center, were very much looking as though they were digging a basketball grave for the Boston Celtics who allowed the Wizards to shoot a ridiculous 65 percent from the field in the first half and 61.5 percent (8-for-13) from 3-point range.

The Wizards scored the first four points of the game and spent all of the first half playing with a lead.

But the Celtics showed some fight late in the second quarter, going on a 14-6 run to cut Washington’s lead to 55-52 with 3:39 to play in the quarter.

Boston would later have a chance to tie the game, but Marcus Smart’s 3-pointer was off the mark.

And the Wizards, as they had done all game, made the Celtics pay as Bradley Beal drained a jumper that made it a two-possession game.

Here’s a look at the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half.

 

STARS

Bradley Beal

It was his idea to go with the all-Black look, and he backed up his talk with a strong first half of play. He has a team-high 14 points at the half along with five assists.

Isaiah Thomas

Thomas delivered yet another all-star caliber scoring performance in the first half for Boston. He led all scorers with 17 points on 5-for-9 shooting along with a game-high eight assists.  

John Wall

After scoring just nine points when these two met on Jan. 11, Wall has 13 points at the half on 6-for-9 shooting to go with five rebounds and three assists.

 

STUDS

Al Horford

It was an extremely efficient game offensively in the first half for Horford. He had 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting with three assists.

Markieff Morris

He’s one of four double-digit scorers in the first half for the Wizards. In addition to his 10 points, he also has five rebounds and three assists.

 

DUDS

Celtics defense

At this end of the floor, the Celtics were absolutely atrocious in the first half. The Wizards shot a ridiculously high 65 percent from the field, and were just as lethal (8-for-13, 61.5 percent) from 3-point land. They have no shot at competing let alone winning tonight’s game, if they don’t turn things around and do so soon!

Beyond the numbers: 'Game is slowing down' for Isaiah Thomas

Beyond the numbers: 'Game is slowing down' for Isaiah Thomas

Just about every part of Isaiah Thomas’ game offensively has seen tremendous growth this season.

But what has really separated him from earlier versions of himself, has been his 3-point shooting.

He comes into tonight’s game against the Washington Wizards shooting a career best 38.4 percent from 3-point range.

When asked about how he has elevated his game this season, the answer isn’t that simple.

“I don’t know” he told reporters prior to tonight’s game. “The game is slowing down for me. My teammates put me in position, my coach does … and I’m just knocking down shots.”

Because of his shot-making, Thomas has made it difficult for defenses to give him a steady diet of any style of play in trying to limit him.

And because they have to change things up with regularity, that has created more scoring opportunities.

“Sometimes they forget what they want to do (defensively) and leave me open for a three,” Thomas said. “Those are the the types of shots I need to knock down and I’m being aggressive.

He added, “I need to get to the free throw line, trying to make plays for my teammates. It’s one of those things where I’m in a really good zone now; a really good rhythm.”

A good rhythm?

According to NBA statistics guru Dick Lipe, Thomas is the first Celtic ever to make at least four 3-pointers in five straight games. Taking it a step further, he has made at least three 3-pointers in seven straight games which equaled Antoine Walker’s streak in 2001.

Thomas has also attempted 11 three-pointers in five straight games which is a franchise record. There have only been three longer streaks in NBA history - Golden State’s Stephen Curry (7 straight games, 2016); Washington’s Gilbert Arenas (7 straight games, 2005) and Dallas’ George McCloud (6 straight games, 2006).

He’s also averaging 3.1 made 3’s per game which would be a franchise record that’s currently held by Antoine Walker who averaged 2.7 during the 2001-2002 season.

And all those 3’s have added up to Thomas scoring at least 27 points in seven straight games, something that hasn’t been done by a Celtic since Larry Bird had eight such games in March 1988 as well as the 1987-1988 season.