Haggerty: Seguin breaks through at just the right time

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Haggerty: Seguin breaks through at just the right time

WASHINGTON Tyler Seguin normally has the smirking confidence of a youngster who's used to achieving whatever he sets his mind to.

He was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 NHL draft, he won the Stanley Cup as a rookie, he developed into an All-Star forward in his second year, and he finished his sophomore season leading the Bruins in goals scored and points.

But even the gifted 20-year-old struggles at times, and that was never more true than during the Bruins' first-round series against the Washington Capitals.

Heading into Sunday's Game 6, Seguin was riding a 16-game playoff goal-scoring drought. He was shying away from the battle areas on the ice, and hadnt registered a single point in the first five games of the series against Washington.

But that all ended Sunday.
In the third period, he stripped a Capitals player of the puck near the blue line and zinged a shot off Braden Holtby.The play created a rebound that bounced to Andrew Ference, and -- after Ference fired the puck into the open side of the net -- Seguin had his first playoff point of the year.
And then he scored his first playoff goal of the year -- and sent the teams back to Boston for Game 7 -- when, afterDavid Krejci stole the puck from Nicklas Backstrom three minutes into the OT session and got it over to Milan Lucic, Seguin took a pass from Lucic and streaked all alone toward the net.He waited until Holtby committed himself and left his skates, then swept the puck around him and deposited it into the net for the game-winner.

It was a moment of sweetness that made up for two weeks of offensive struggle while his team couldnt rub two goals together in the tightest of first-round playoff series games.

I think in this series weve had a lot of chances and opportunities and I havent been bearing down and finishing them off, said Seguin. Its just really nice to get that feeling of finally getting one.
Seguin admits he sometimes gets a little frustrated when shots arent falling for him, but thats when he'll have a heart-to-heart talk with his road roommate for the last two years, GregoryCampbell.
Well, Im not a motivational speaker, said Campbell. Ive been roommates with him two years now and Ive developed a relationship where I could tell that he was extremely disappointed during the week. Hes a star player. Hes going to be the face of the franchise sooner rather than later. He cares a lot and the growing pains have been there for the last two seasons.

He put together a lot of points for us, but everybody expects so much out of him. Hes had a giant bear on his shoulders out there in the playoffs.

Seguin didnt enjoy a game for the ages from beginning to end, but he started heating things up in the third period. The defensive play that set up Ference's goal was especially pleasing to coach Claude Julien.

Its a good point and we talked about that in the dressing room after the game. He made a great defensive play before we scored that go-ahead goal in the third, said Julien. Hes been a player thats grown, matured, and is understanding more and more of how important it is to play a good two-way game in the playoffs.

It was a moment of sweetness that made up for two weeks of offensive struggle while his team couldnt rub two goals together in the tightest of first-round playoff series games.

The Bs wunderkind wont always be the youngest guy out on the ice at all times, but is slowly earning the respect of even the crustiest hockey players with his determination to learn the game the right way and his ability to excel under pressure.

Tim Thomas called it Seguins coming out party as an NHL superstar after his Game 6 performance, and it is clearly another one of the great early chapters of a book thats going to be written with the Bruins for a very long time.

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

BOSTON – This continues to be a historic season for Isaiah Thomas as more records fell in Wednesday’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee, and the company he’s keeping becomes even more exclusive. 

Thomas had a game-high 32 points on Wednesday which included five made 3’s on nine attempts. That gave him 223 for the season which is a new franchise single-season record for made 3-pointers. The previous record was 222 set by Antoine Walker during the 2001-2002 season.

And his 32 points scored gives him 2,012 this season. 

Only six players in franchise history (Paul Pierce was the last to do it during the 2005-2006 season) have scored 2,000 or more points in a single season. 

Oh, there’s more. 

With Wednesday being the 66th time this season he has had 20 or more points, Thomas has now tied Pierce (2005-2006) and Larry Bird (1985-1986; 1987-1988) for sixth on the Celtics’ single-season franchise list. 

“I didn’t even know that,” a visibly disappointed Thomas said following Wednesday’s loss. “It doesn’t feel that good right now. But when I look back on it, probably in the offseason, I’ll appreciate it a little more. But I’m just staying in the moment and try and play as best I can to lead this team to as many wins as possible.”

Other season milestones Thomas is in the mix for include the following:

  • The 5-foot-9 guard is one of three players this season to have 50 or more games of 25-plus points, joined by Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (57) and Houston’s James Harden (54).
  • Thomas has made at least one 3-pointer in a franchise-record 50 straight games (Dec. 3 – March 29). That’s also the longest current streak in the NBA. 
  • With 66 games of 20 or more points this season, Thomas is second in the NBA to Westbrook (67).

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

BOSTON – One of the more bizarre plays in Boston’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee came in the second quarter, requiring some explanation from the officials afterwards. 

With 3:55 to play in the second quarter, the officials had originally called a foul on Marcus Smart which he verbally protested that eventually led to him being whistled for a technical foul. 

After the officials reviewed the play, they changed the call to a personal foul against Khris Middleton but no change to the called technical foul against Smart who objected to a call that, upon review, they agreed was the wrong call to make. 

Official Sean Corbin, through pool reporter Ken Powtak of the Associated Press, acknowledged that the original call was a loose ball foul against Smart. 

“The (officiating) crew got together, we met prior to video and we decided that we needed to look at video because both players were on the floor bleeding so we went to the video for a hostile act,” Corbin told Powtak. “In the review we noticed that Khris Middleton initially made contact to Marcus Smart’s face. That’s how the original contact to the play occurred.”

Fortunately for the Celtics, Middleton missed his technical free throw while Smart split a pair of free throws which cut Milwaukee’s lead to 49-40.

Still, that’s no consolation for Smart who was whistled for a technical foul on a play that the official acknowledged was the wrong call to make. 

In the fourth quarter, Smart was at the center of yet another controversial call that was also reviewed by the officials. The verdict wasn't nearly as good for Smart who was whistled for a flagrant foul after getting his feet tangled up with Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo who was called for a non-shooting foul in the play with 4:46 to play. 

Antetokounmpo made one of two free throws and on the Bucks' ensuing possession, he was called for traveling.

Smart was unavailable to talk after the game in part because the aforementioned incident left an abrasion to his mouth and, because of the technical foul, a little lighter in the wallet as well.