Rask out 4-6 weeks with strain, Bruins sign Marty Turco

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Rask out 4-6 weeks with strain, Bruins sign Marty Turco

TORONTO The Bruins have made their moves with the goaltending situation after Tuukka Rask went down with injury last weekend.

First the Bruins announced that Rask will miss 4-6 weeks with a strained groinstrained abdomen suffered in the second period of Saturdays loss to the Islanders, and that puts into question his availability for the rest of the postseason.

But Rask avoided any potential knee injuries and wont need surgery for his legmidsection woes to heal properly.

Then the Bruins knocked down their second domino: they signed veteran netminder Marty Turco to a one-year contract for the remainder of this season. The 36-year-old Turco last played in the NHL for the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2010-11 season, and played 10 games for EC Red Bull Salzburg of the Austrian Hockey League earlierthis season mixed in with some television analysis for the NHL Network and TSN in Canada.

Turco will have to clear through waivers a la Evgeni Nabokov last season who was scooped up by the New York Islanders when the Detroit Red Wings were desperate to sign him -- and would join the Bruins on Wednesday if the rest of the NHL takes a pass on the veteran goaltender Boston desperately needs to land.

The big question will be what kind of game shape Turco is in when he arrives in Boston hoping to give Thomas ample rest with 18 games remaining in the regular season for the Bs. The pairing of the 36-year-old Turco and the soon-to-be 38-year-old Thomas also gives the Bruins one of the oldest goaltending tandems in franchise history.

The veteran netminder will not be eligible for the Stanley Cup playoff roster since he was signed following the NHL All-Star break. Turco won a Stanley Cup title with the Dallas Stars and is 273-65-43 in 538 career games for Dallas and Chicago with a .910 save percentage and a 2.35 goals against average. Turco put up an 11-11-3 record with a 3.02 GAA and an .897 save percentage in his final NHL season with the Blackhawks.

Its anticipated that Rask could be back by the end of the regular season to serve as Tim Thomas backup once the playoffs start, but its also expected that Thomas will be making every start for the Black and Gold in the postseason.

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Wizards shoot ridiculous 65 percent from field

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Wizards shoot ridiculous 65 percent from field

After Boston’s last game against Portland – a loss – Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said he was encouraged by some of the things his team did defensively.

It’s safe to say Stevens won’t be singing that tone if the Celtics continue along the path they’re on defensively right now as the Washington Wizards went into the half with a 66-59 lead.

Washington, donning all-black clothes when they arrived at the Verizon Center, were very much looking as though they were digging a basketball grave for the Boston Celtics who allowed the Wizards to shoot a ridiculous 65 percent from the field in the first half and 61.5 percent (8-for-13) from 3-point range.

The Wizards scored the first four points of the game and spent all of the first half playing with a lead.

But the Celtics showed some fight late in the second quarter, going on a 14-6 run to cut Washington’s lead to 55-52 with 3:39 to play in the quarter.

Boston would later have a chance to tie the game, but Marcus Smart’s 3-pointer was off the mark.

And the Wizards, as they had done all game, made the Celtics pay as Bradley Beal drained a jumper that made it a two-possession game.

Here’s a look at the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half.

 

STARS

Bradley Beal

It was his idea to go with the all-Black look, and he backed up his talk with a strong first half of play. He has a team-high 14 points at the half along with five assists.

Isaiah Thomas

Thomas delivered yet another all-star caliber scoring performance in the first half for Boston. He led all scorers with 17 points on 5-for-9 shooting along with a game-high eight assists.  

John Wall

After scoring just nine points when these two met on Jan. 11, Wall has 13 points at the half on 6-for-9 shooting to go with five rebounds and three assists.

 

STUDS

Al Horford

It was an extremely efficient game offensively in the first half for Horford. He had 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting with three assists.

Markieff Morris

He’s one of four double-digit scorers in the first half for the Wizards. In addition to his 10 points, he also has five rebounds and three assists.

 

DUDS

Celtics defense

At this end of the floor, the Celtics were absolutely atrocious in the first half. The Wizards shot a ridiculously high 65 percent from the field, and were just as lethal (8-for-13, 61.5 percent) from 3-point land. They have no shot at competing let alone winning tonight’s game, if they don’t turn things around and do so soon!

Beyond the numbers: 'Game is slowing down' for Isaiah Thomas

Beyond the numbers: 'Game is slowing down' for Isaiah Thomas

Just about every part of Isaiah Thomas’ game offensively has seen tremendous growth this season.

But what has really separated him from earlier versions of himself, has been his 3-point shooting.

He comes into tonight’s game against the Washington Wizards shooting a career best 38.4 percent from 3-point range.

When asked about how he has elevated his game this season, the answer isn’t that simple.

“I don’t know” he told reporters prior to tonight’s game. “The game is slowing down for me. My teammates put me in position, my coach does … and I’m just knocking down shots.”

Because of his shot-making, Thomas has made it difficult for defenses to give him a steady diet of any style of play in trying to limit him.

And because they have to change things up with regularity, that has created more scoring opportunities.

“Sometimes they forget what they want to do (defensively) and leave me open for a three,” Thomas said. “Those are the the types of shots I need to knock down and I’m being aggressive.

He added, “I need to get to the free throw line, trying to make plays for my teammates. It’s one of those things where I’m in a really good zone now; a really good rhythm.”

A good rhythm?

According to NBA statistics guru Dick Lipe, Thomas is the first Celtic ever to make at least four 3-pointers in five straight games. Taking it a step further, he has made at least three 3-pointers in seven straight games which equaled Antoine Walker’s streak in 2001.

Thomas has also attempted 11 three-pointers in five straight games which is a franchise record. There have only been three longer streaks in NBA history - Golden State’s Stephen Curry (7 straight games, 2016); Washington’s Gilbert Arenas (7 straight games, 2005) and Dallas’ George McCloud (6 straight games, 2006).

He’s also averaging 3.1 made 3’s per game which would be a franchise record that’s currently held by Antoine Walker who averaged 2.7 during the 2001-2002 season.

And all those 3’s have added up to Thomas scoring at least 27 points in seven straight games, something that hasn’t been done by a Celtic since Larry Bird had eight such games in March 1988 as well as the 1987-1988 season.