Haggerty: Bruins have work to do

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Haggerty: Bruins have work to do

BOSTON -- The Bruins might have thought theyd turned the corner after a good effort against the Nashville Predators last weekend, but the shutout loss to the Rangers Tuesday night was a stark reminder there is work to still be done.

New York now has a nine-point lead over Boston in the Eastern Conference standings. It clearly doesnt matter who's the best team in mid-February, but there are things that will need to be tightened up for the Bs to be the best in May or June.

Boston's defense corps, for instance, had a rough night against the Rangers. Some of it is fixable; Zdeno Chara, after all, will be better than the player who took a bad penalty, had a shot bounce off him in front of the Boston net for a goal, and had four giveaways in a careless night handling the puck. But what about Joe Corvo?

Corvo once again foolishly jumped to pinch during a four-on-four situation that hung Dennis Seidenberg out to dry in an odd-man rush that ended with an Artem Anisimov goal early in the third period, giving New York a insurmountable 3-0 lead.

Were a team that thought that if we could get one . . . wed get two, said coach Claude Julien on the B's mindset heading into the third period. But then they came out and scored that third goal. It was a backbreaker."

There are other issues plaguing the Bruins:

Benoit Pouliot has gone AWOL, failing to score a goal in the last 15 games after he appeared to find a home on the third line.

David Krejci is in the midst of a season-worst six-game scoring drought, even as the coaching staff attempted to light a fire under him by dropping him down to the third line.

And, clearly, the Bruins arent the same deep offensive juggernaut with Nathan Horton sidelined because of a concussion. He's been out for eight games and there's no indication when, or if, he'll be able to return this year.

Fully healthy Celtics prepare for Giannis Antetokounmpo

Fully healthy Celtics prepare for Giannis Antetokounmpo

BOSTON – Brad Stevens began his pre-game press conference with a seldom-used proclamation. 

“Everyone’s available,” he said. “Doesn’t happen very often.”

Jonas Jerebko, who did fully participate in the team’s practice on Tuesday due to a sore left knee, was questionable for tonight’s game. His availability can only help the Celtics in tonight’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks, one of the hottest teams in the NBA. 

The Bucks (38-36) have won 12 of their last 15 games which includes a 118-108 win at Charlotte on Tuesday. 

Tony Snell lit up the Hornets for a career-high 26 points. Rookie Malcolm Brogdon had a double-double of 14 points and 10 assists. 

And then there’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, a matchup nightmare who had 20 points and eight rebounds.

“He does some things,” Stevens said. “That’s the best way to say it. He keeps adding to it. Him in transition is like, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody like him.”

Indeed, the Greek Freak has been a vital cog in Milwaukee’s resurgence from a team bound for the lottery (again), to one that could potentially wind up as the fifth seed in the East. 

“As he’s become more skilled,” Stevens said. “He continues to put you in a worst bind. He’s tough; he’s good.”

Celtics guard Avery Bradley said there’s a long laundry list of things Boston must do tonight to emerge victorious. At the top of that has to be finding ways to attack Milwaukee’s length which stands out in a league full of lanky, long-armed players.

“Ball movement, getting the ball to the next side, not letting them load up their defense, shot fakes, drawing fouls … I can go down the list,” Bradley said. “But the most important thing is moving the ball; making them defend side to side, making them have to guard us so they’re not in position to block shots or make shots tough on us.” 

Rick Porcello starts, Drew Pomeranz relieves in Red Sox' 5-3 loss to Twins

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Rick Porcello starts, Drew Pomeranz relieves in Red Sox' 5-3 loss to Twins

Rick Porcello and Drew Pomeranz combined to allow all five of the Red Sox' runs in Boston's 5-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Porcello finished his start by fanning four, allowing four hits and earning two runs over four innings. Pomeranz followed in the next four innings with four strikeouts, five hits allowed and three earned runs. Pomeranz allowed ByungHo Park's eighth-inning, two-run homer, which ended up being the game-winner.

Porcello, however, was optimistic after the loss.

"The buildup was good," Porcello told reporters, via RedSox.com. "Today I felt as good as I've felt all spring. At this point, I'm ready to go. I'm looking forward to the start of the season."

While the Sox offense was able to get three runs off Ervin Santana in his 4 2/3 innings, they struggled against the Twins' next five pitchers. Xander Bogaerts (2 of 3) and Pablo Sandoval (1 of 3) managed homers. Hanley (3 of 3) Ramirez had a double, and Dustin Pedroia (2 of 3) had two singles.

Kyle Kendrick will start Thursday in the Sox' final Spring Training series against the Washington Nationals. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. ET.