McClure: Dice-K looks 'good'

698420.jpg

McClure: Dice-K looks 'good'

FORT MYERS, Fla. Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka threw a bullpen session Saturday afternoon for Sox pitching coach Bob McClure as he continues his recovery from Tommy John surgery in June. He threw 40 pitches in a two simulated innings.

Good, McClure said of Matsuzakas outing. It was 40 pitches, threw 20 and then we have him sit down in the middle of an inning and do 20 more. But as far as what Im seeing from a health standpoint, its hard to tell he was ever even hurt by the way hes throwing a baseball. That doesnt mean hes ready. Just staying its free and easy its coming out of his hand really good, and its clean. Looks sharp. Hes on schedule.

What that means for when Matsuzaka could be back in a game McClure couldnt say.

I couldnt even venture into that right now, he said. Because you dont want to rush because of that surgery. So he may look better than he would if we moved him up to pitch. Because when you watch him right now it almost looks like he could pitch in a game. But thats not the right thing to do. You just dont want to go backwards. Hes worked too hard. Hes put a lot of time into this going forward. So we dont want to make any steps going backwards.

Matsuzaka will likely throw a few more bullpen sessions before progressing to batting practice.

I would say maybe a couple more of these bullpen sessions then maybe going into BP, McClure said. And then hell probably throw three or four batting practice sessions. Maybe the last one or last two where he throws a certain amount of pitches, sits down, comes back out, warms up and then does it again.

And then after he does that three or four times. It all depends on how many days he has in between Its all going to depend on how hes feeling and what the doctors say.

Celtics miss an opportunity in first half with LeBron in foul trouble

Celtics miss an opportunity in first half with LeBron in foul trouble

CLEVELAND – There are 240 minutes of play in an NBA game, but Boston’s 112-99 Game 4 loss to Cleveland came down to seven (six minutes and 46 seconds to be precise).

That would be the amount of time left in the second quarter that LeBron James spent on the bench with four personal fouls (a first for him in the first half of an NBA playoff game ever) and Boston ahead by 10 points.

Boston could not have asked for a better scenario than that, especially considering how well they had played up to that point in the game and again, knowing that James wasn’t about to set foot back on the court until the third quarter.

But here’s the problem.

Boston’s 10-point lead when James left with four fouls.

Halftime rolled around and Boston’s lead was still at just 10 points.

Celtics players agreed that not finding a way to increase their lead with James out was among the more pivotal stretches of play in Game 4.

“They did a really good job of not letting it (the 10-point lead) get out of control while he was on the bench,” Boston’s Marcus Smart told CSNNE.com. “Every time we scored, they came back and scored.  They answered back with everything we answered.”

While many will point to that stretch as a time when the Celtics failed to make the necessary adjustments to increase their chances of winning, it wasn’t as if the Cavs are a one-man team.

“They still have two All-Stars out on the court,” said Boston’s head coach Brad Stevens, referring to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. “With the best player in the world they go to unreal, but they’re still a pretty darned good team when those guys are out there.”

Irving had a playoff career-high 42 points which included him scoring 12 of Cleveland’s 14 points in the final 6:46 of the second with James on the bench.

“He’s one of the best point guards in the NBA, and you know, you can tell he puts in a lot of work in his game, a lot of respect from myself, my teammates,” said Avery Bradley. “We have to do a better job at defending him as a unit, trying to make everything hard on him. He definitely got a great rhythm going tonight, and I felt like we had a chance to make it harder on him.”

James still finished with a strong stat line for the night – 34 points, six assists, five rebounds and a blocked shot.

As good as he was on the court, the Celtics have to be kicking themselves for not doing more with the time James on the bench in the second quarter which in hindsight, was among the bigger factors in them now returning home facing elimination as opposed to being tied at two games apiece in this series.

“What are you going to do?” said Cleveland’s Kevin Love. “You have to continue to fight through it. At halftime, we were down 10. We made some adjustments on the defensive end and we just fought; we needed to. They got everything out of us tonight in that second half, but we played more inspired basketball as well.”