Morning Skate: Friday, Nov. 30


Morning Skate: Friday, Nov. 30

Michael Grange with an excellent column wondering aloud if Donald Fehr is doing exactly what his hero Marvin Miller would do in these CBA negotiations.

Former Bruins forward Tommy Fitzgerald is fitting in nicely as a member of the front office in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.

Damien Cox offers his assessment after four years of Brian Burke running the Maple Leafs show up in Toronto.

An interesting report from Alan Maki about the significant underreporting of concussions that is rampant around the world of hockey.

What a paint job! Call Slimer and Ray Venkman for the Ghostbusters goalie masks complete with a Stay Puft Marshmallow man.

Only time will end the current NHL lockout as everybody rushes to the next step or strategic move from each side. The only question now is how much time this is all going to take.

Mike Smith speaks with Craig Custance and gives some interesting takes on the lockout: the most outspoken being that a removal of player contract rights will essentially turn them into puppets. And not the cutesy Pinocchio kind either.

Good work by colleague Danny Picard speaking with NHLPA player rep Kevin Westgarth for a good 30 minutes of lockout talk on his Im Just Sayin radio show.

For something completely different: Presidential Election It boy and former Baseball Prospectus genius Nate Silver sits in with Bill Simmons for a chat on the BS Report.

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 “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.”