KG could be the 'center' of attention

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KG could be the 'center' of attention

WALTHAM Kevin Garnett is used to being the center of attention.

According to Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, we can look for Garnett this season to be the center period.

Even though the future Hall of Famer has spent the bulk of his career at power forward, Rivers doesn't believe it'll be that big an issue.

"When he was younger, that might have been a problem," Rivers said. "But now it's a pretty good place for him."

The idea of having Garnett play more in the middle is both out of necessity - Jermaine O'Neal is the team's only center with NBA experience, and he may be traded any day now - and the reality of what Garnett, 35, can provide at this stage of his career.

"He's older; he's bigger, stronger," Rivers said. "He can play both positions. He can spread the floor for us at that position. You can play him and (newly acquired) Brandon Bass together. Both of them can shoot the ball; either one of them can guard the five or the four. It makes us pretty versatile."

The idea also speaks to how thin the NBA free agent market is for reasonably-priced centers. Once you get past Tyson Chandler, Nene and Samuel Dalembert, the chances of finding an impact player at the center position are slim.

Rivers added that the idea also takes into account how there are very few physically imposing, dominant centers today which means Garnett wouldn't endure an unusually high amount of wear and tear beyond what he's used to.

The C's will continue to keep an eye out for opportunities to add another center to the roster. But it doesn't appear to be as much of a necessity now, primarily because of the additions of Bass and Chris Wilcox who are both power forwards with the ability to play some at center.

When asked whether the Celtics needed to add another center, Rivers responded, "we do and we don't. If we don't have one, I'm not that upset by it. I'll always take one, so if you can find one for me, please help out. But I think we have enough fours (power forwards) who can play both, and if we have enough fouls, we can get away with it."

Royer's late goal rallies Red Bulls past Revolution, 2-1

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Royer's late goal rallies Red Bulls past Revolution, 2-1

HARRISON, N.J. - Daniel Royer finished a nice sequence in the 74th minute, Luis Robles made a diving save in the closing minutes and the New York Red Bulls rallied to beat the New England Revolution 2-1 on Saturday night.

Felipe sent the ball left to Kemar Lawrence alongside the box and he put a cross to Royer on the back post for an easy finish on his fourth goal.

Robles, who only allowed Lee Nguyen's penalty kick in the ninth minute, preserved the win with his fourth save, diving to his left to block Diego Fagundez's shot from outside the box.

Bradley Wright-Phillips tied it for New York (6-6-2), which was winless in its last four matches, when he pounced on a loose ball and backheeled it into the net. New England goalkeeper Cody Cropper had pounced on a cross by Kemar Lawance, but Cropper could hold on and Wright-Phillips was there to clean up for his sixth goal.

Damien Perrinelle fouled Fagundez in the penalty area after a great pass from Kei Kamara, allowing Nguyen to step up for his sixth goal. New England (4-5-4) had won two straight and lost just one of its previous six. It is 0-5-2 on the road.

Brian Johnson: 'Awesome feeling' after five-hitter vs. Mariners

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Brian Johnson: 'Awesome feeling' after five-hitter vs. Mariners

BOSTON - Brian Johnson had quite a turnaround in his second time on Fenway Park's mound.

Johnson pitched a five-hitter in his first big league appearance at Fenway, and the Boston Red Sox stretched their winning streak to a season-high six games with a 6-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

The 26-year-old left-hander became the first Red Sox pitcher to throw a shutout in his first Fenway start since Pedro Martinez on April 11, 1998. In Johnson's first start in Fenway - his fourth as a professional - he sustained a season-ending facial fracture when he hit by a line drive while pitching for Class A Lowell in 2012.

"The last time I walked off the mound here was 2012 and I made two pitches," Johnson said. "Today I went nine innings. Today was pretty cool."

Johnson left Triple-A for a little over a month last season to get treatment for an anxiety issue.

"Obviously with some stuff that I've been gone through in my career, it's an awesome feeling" he said.

But despite the stellar outing, Johnson was optioned back to Triple-A after the game.

"That's the reality of the game," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We had a chance to congratulate him and yet option him back to Pawtucket, with David Price coming here Monday."

Brought up from the minors for the start, Johnson (2-0) gave up five singles, struck out eight and walked none. His only previous big league starts were at Houston on July 21, 2015, and at Toronto on April 18 this year.

Johnson was helped by a semi-leaping catch by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. at the wall in the sixth, Bradley's diving grab of Nelson Cruz's sinking liner in the ninth and Bradley's game-ending running catch of Kyle Seager's drive.

Xander Bogaerts' RBI single triggered a three-run first inning and Bradley hit a two-run homer in the sixth

Shut out for the second straight day, Seattle has lost seven of eight.

"Their guy threw the ball over the plate. He threw strikes," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "I won't take anything away from what he did, but we're not swinging the bat very well."

Rob Whalen (0-1) gave up five runs and seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in his Mariners' debut, his first big league start since Aug. 23 for Atlanta. He is Seattle's 12th starting pitcher, the most in the major leagues.

Andrew Benintendi and Sandy Leon also had RBI singles in the first, when the Red Sox had two batters hit by pitches, two walks and two runners thrown out on the bases - Dustin Pedroia at third for the first out and Hanley Ramirez at the plate for the last.