Roy Halladay won't be back anytime soon

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Roy Halladay won't be back anytime soon

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW YORK (AP) -- Philadelphia Phillies ace Roy Halladay is expected to miss six to eight weeks because of a strained right shoulder, the latest major setback for the five-time NL East champions. Halladay was put on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, two days after he was hit hard and pulled from a start in St. Louis after just two innings because of shoulder soreness. The two-time Cy Young winner will be shut down for a minimum of three weeks, then work toward rejoining the rotation, Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock said. Proefrock said tests done in Philadelphia indicated Halladay doesn't need surgery to recover and that the injury doesn't affect his rotator cuff. "We hate to have him down, but it's nothing that requires anything other than rest," Proefrock said. Halladay is 4-5 with a 3.98 ERA in 11 starts. He has pitched at least 220 innings in each of the past six seasons, and four times led the league in innings. His 72 1-3 innings this year tied Houston's Wandy Rodriguez for the NL lead. The move with Halladay, which came two years to the day since he pitched a perfect game in Florida, was made retroactive to Monday. Catcher Erik Kratz was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Minutes before the injury was announced as a Grade IGrade II strain of the latissimus dorsi, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he thought Halladay needed a break. Halladay has "thrown a lot of bullets over his career," Manuel said, suggesting the 35-year-old pitcher could step back for a bit and still be dominant. The durable Halladay had not been on the DL because of shoulder trouble since 2004. "He's got to get well," Manuel said. The injury came with the Phillies at 26-24 and tied with Atlanta for last in the division, four games behind Washington. Philadelphia has managed to stay close minus All-Star hitters Ryan Howard (Achilles tendon) and Chase Utley (knee), who haven't played at all this season. Manuel said he harbored hope that his slugging first baseman and smooth-fielding second baseman would be back at some point this year. As for Halladay's absence, "it would hurt us," Manuel said. "How much, I really don't know." The Phillies have relied on their pitching, particularly their rotation, to stick solidly in contention. Vance Worley, who is on the DL and hasn't started since May 11 because of elbow trouble, threw his first bullpen session since the injury before Tuesday's game. Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Joe Blanton and Kyle Kendrick remain in the rotation, and there are a few potential replacements at Triple-A, including former big leaguers Dave Bush and Scott Elarton. Any chance for Philadelphia to sign former Phillies star Roy Oswalt as a possible addition ended when the free agent reached a deal with Texas later Tuesday. "Yeah, we can always use pitching," Manuel said, while adding, "I'm not telling (GM) Ruben Amaro to get another." Halladay initially felt discomfort in his shoulder last Tuesday in a start against Washington but worked through it. He cut back on his throwing regimen before his next outing, but was tagged by Yadier Molina's grand slam in St. Louis. Halladay began the season by throwing eight strong innings in a 1-0 win at Pittsburgh on opening day and seemed fine until blowing a 6-0 lead against Atlanta on May 2. He's 1-3 since then and the Phillies have lost four of his five starts. The eight-time All-Star came to the Phillies in a trade with Toronto before the 2010 season and got a 60 million, three-year contract. Halladay pitched a perfect game against the Marlins in that first season with Philadelphia, and later that year threw a no-hitter against Cincinnati in his first career postseason outing. The Phillies won the 2008 World Series and hoped to capture another crown after adding Halladay. But Philadelphia lost to the eventual champion San Francisco Giants in the 2010 NL championship series, then Halladay lost to Chris Carpenter and St. Louis 1-0 in the deciding Game 5 of the 2011 division series.

Celtics overcome big game from George to beat Pacers, 109-100

Celtics overcome big game from George to beat Pacers, 109-100

BOSTON – Having already clinched a playoff spot prior to Wednesday’s game, no one would have been shocked to see them come out and play fat-and-happy basketball.

Especially against an Indiana Pacers team that’s hungry for a win to bolster their playoff position.

But the Celtics continue to show us that they are a different team than the one that far too often failed to stack strong performances on top of one another.

That was not the case on Wednesday as they pulled away in the second half for an impressive 109-100 win over the Pacers.

Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 25 points and five assists. His backcourt mate Avery Bradley was solid as well, scoring 18 points to go with eight rebounds. Jae Crowder and Al Horford each had 15 points while Kelly Olynyk had another strong showing off the bench with 11 points and eight rebounds along with four assists.

With the win, Boston (46-26) swept the regular season series 3-0. While it’s unlikely they will finish in a tie record-wise with the Pacers, there is the possibility that they could meet in the first round of the playoffs next month.

Knowing they haven’t lost to the Pacers all season could be a huge mental plus for Boston if in fact their first-round foe was Indiana.  

Wednesday’s game was the first between these two with most of their respective rosters at full strength.

And the Celtics at full strength, regardless of the opponent, have been pretty tough to beat.

But the Pacers (36-35) weren’t going to make this easy for Boston, even as they fell behind by as many as 17 points to the Celtics.

Paul George, who led all scorers with 37 points, began to lead the Pacers back into the game with a strong fourth quarter showing.

And when Boston’s defense tried to adjust to George’s jacuzzi-hot scoring, he got others like Jeff Teague involved.

Teague, who had 25 points, made a 3-pointer that cut Boston’s lead to 93-86 with 6:31.

That was enough for Celtics head coach Brad Stevens who called a time-out.

After a pair of Isaiah Thomas misses, the Celtics got a little more cushion following a mid-range jumper by Olynyk.

While Indiana continued to get timely offensive rebounds, the Celtics went into bend-but-don’t-break mode defensively down the stretch.

And while the Pacers certainly were in the game, there was never a moment down the stretch when Boston’s impending victory was in doubt.

Both teams set the tone defensively in the first half which was a relatively low-scoring affair.

That should not come as a surprise considering how well each team has played of late at that end of the floor.

Since the All-Star break, Boston has the third-best defense in the NBA while the Pacers aren’t far behind, coming in at No. 6.

A 3-pointer by Bradley to close out the second quarter gave Boston a 49-42 lead at the half.

Boston’s control of the game remained solid through most of the third, but an 8-3 spurt by the Celtics to close out the third put ahead 88-74 going into the fourth.

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Strong defense standing out

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Strong defense standing out

BOSTON – Boston and Indiana know there’s a chance they could face off next month in the playoffs, with both teams delivering the kind of defensive performance on Wednesday that highlighted two teams playing with a heightened sense of urgency fueled by tough, physical defense.

It was indeed a “Both Teams Played Hard” kind of first half which ended with Boston ahead 49-42.

Avery Bradley drained a 3-pointer that just beat the halftime horn which gave Boston its biggest lead of the half.  

The tone was set by both teams with a low-scoring first quarter in which the defenses for both teams stood out.

It really should not have been that big a surprise considering how well both teams have defended since the all-star break.

Boston has the third-best defense in the NBA since the break, while the Pacers have proven to be no slouch coming in at No. 6.

After falling behind 37-36 in the second, Boston ran off eight straight to lead 44-37 which was their largest lead of the game at this point.

But the Pacers stayed within striking distance in large part because the Celtics’ unusually high number of turnovers.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Wednesday’s game between the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers.

 

STARS

Paul George

A four-time All-Star, George was scoring but the Celtics made him work a lot harder than he would like. He leads all scorers with 14 points, but has done so on 4-for-11 shooting.

Isaiah Thomas

Like George, the opposing team’s defense made for a rough first half. Thomas still managed to lead the Celtics with 10 points.

 

STUDS

Jeff Teague

He really went at Isaiah Thomas to start the game, and for the most part it was working for him. He had 11 points on 4-for-7 shooting in the first half.

Jae Crowder

Solid defense and timely shot-making made for a solid first half for Crowder. He had nine points on 4-for-7 shooting.

Avery Bradley

He did more than deliver a timely shot to end the half for Boston. He had nine points on 4-for-6 shooting in addition to grabbing four rebounds while being one of the main contributors defensively to Paul George not having an efficient night shooting the ball.  

 

DUDS

Celtics turnovers

By far the biggest concern Boston has heading into the second half. The Celtics average 13.2 turnovers per game. They had 14 in the first half, which led to 17 points for the Pacers. Boston’s season-high for turnovers is 24 which they racked up against Philadelphia on Feb. 15.