Parker wins PG battle vs. Rondo

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Parker wins PG battle vs. Rondo

SAN ANTONIO There's little argument that Rajon Rondo and Tony Parker are among the NBA's top point guards.

But who's better?

That all depends on what you want in a playmaker, but on Saturday night it wasn't even close.

Parker had the better floor game, more points and most important, his team came away with the win as the C's go 0-for-Texas following a 103-88 loss to San Antonio on Saturday.

The 6-foot-2 all-star point guard led all scorers with 22 points in addition to tallying eight assists while turning the ball over just one time.

"Tony Parker got on a roll," said Rondo who added, "they outplayed us."

San Antonio played a solid all-around game, winning just about every individual matchup on the floor - including the battle at the point between these two all-star playmakers.

"Obviously Tony was unbelievable down the stretch," said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. "But a lot of guys like Gary (Neal), Danny (Green), and Tiago (Splitter) played very solid basketball."

But as Popovich pointed out, it was Parker who down the stretch proved to be the difference-maker for the Spurs who snapped a two-game losing skid with Saturday's win.

Meanwhile, the Celtics (12-11) will not take to the court again until Tuesday at Chicago.

With all that time to practice, it could not come at a better time with the Celtics seemingly in need of as much time to work out their problems on the floor, as possible.

The two losses come after what has been a solid stretch of play that had the C's winning three of their four previous games.

Many problems have surfaced in the last two games, including an unusually high number of turnovers committed by Rondo.

Because he racks up so many assists, it's a given that he will pick up his share of turnovers.

But Saturday's game was his second straight in which he turned the ball over seven times - a trend that the C's need to see come to an end soon.

Rivers isn't sure exactly why Rondo's turnover numbers have been so high lightly, adding that he wouldn't rule out that the 27-year-old might be dealing with some level of fatigue as well.

"We shouldn't be fatigued, really," Rivers said. "Kevin (Garnett)? Yeah, maybe. Paul (Pierce)? Maybe. Other than that, we shouldn't be fatigued."

But as much as the turnovers committed by Rondo hurt the team, even more troubling on Saturday night was the missed shots - one missed shot in particular - that were just as problematic.

With the score tied at 55 in the third quarter and the game's momentum clearly sway in the Green Team's favor, Rondo missed what would have been a go-ahead basket.

San Antonio responded to his miss with 11 straight points that gave the Spurs their first double-digit lead of the game.

Boston continued to battle throughout the rest of the night, but failed to get any closer than five points afterward.

A big part of keeping the Celtics at bay was Parker who consistently managed to break down Boston's trapping defense and either score or set up his teammates for easy baskets.

"He's able to beat the traps. He's so quick getting around a big guy. He takes them on," said Boston's Paul Pierce. "A lot of guards accept the trap and swing it. He takes it on. He's been in those situations many, many times and he understands when to take on the trap and knows when to get rid of the ball; he has a great in-between game. That's what makes him one of the premier point guards in the league."

Talking points: Patrice Bergeron is best player on ice in Bruins' win

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Talking points: Patrice Bergeron is best player on ice in Bruins' win

Here are the talking points from the Boston Bruins' 6-3 win over the Dallas Stars where Patrice Bergeron scored two goals.

Red Sox can't rally against Rays after Chris Archer's start

Red Sox can't rally against Rays after Chris Archer's start

The appearance of Tampa Bay Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough almost got the Boston Red Sox back in their spring training exhibition game. The Sox managed to score all three of their runs against the 25-year-old in their 7-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Florida on Sunday.

But the Rays, who scored runs in five different innings, managed to widen their lead in the eighth inning by beating up on Sox lefty Luis Isla, a 24-year-old who spent last season with Portland and Pawtucket. In the eighth, Rays' Joe McCarthy homered and Luke Maile managed an RBI single, which cappped off the scoring in the contest. Sox starter Hector Velazquez allowed three hits and an earned run in his two innnings. The 28-year-old, who spent 2016 in the Mexican League, still managed to amass four strikeouts.

"I was a little nervous at the start, being in the United States for the first time and playing for a big league club for the first time," Velazquez told RedSox.com through an interpreter. "But once I got the first out, all the nerves went away, and I was able to bear down."

Despite allowing two homers, Boston pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts.

With the exception of the Sox' inning against Yarbrough, Boston's veterans and prospects struggled mighltily against the Rays pitching staff. Chris Archer started for Tampa, and set the tone in the first two innings, where he threw two strikeouts, one walk and allowed one hit and no runs. Andrew Benintendi (0-for-3), Sam Travis (0-for-2) and Bryce Brentz (0-for-3) went hitless on the day. Travis, however, reached base on balls.

"I felt good. I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish," Archer said, via the Red Sox' team website. "Just out there having fun, it was really fun to be out there in the spectrum with the umpire, the fans, the batter. It was fun."

Marco Hernandez's triple got the Sox' eighth-inning off to a strong start, and singles from Matt Dominguez, Deven Marrero, Rusney Castillo and Cole Sturgeon followed. The Sox' eighth inning scoring ended after Castillo got thrown out by left fielder McCarthy at third. Six Red Sox finished with one-hit outings, including Brock Holt and Blake Swihart.

The Sox will next host the St. Louis Cardinals in Fort Myers on Monday at 1:05 p.m. ET.