Sources: Pierce, Allen drawing most trade interest

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Sources: Pierce, Allen drawing most trade interest

BOSTON With the trading deadline two weeks away, multiple league sources indicate that Paul Pierce and Ray Allen -- not Rajon Rondo -- are drawing the most interest from potential trade partners.

And since players signed during the offseason are able to be traded beginning today, the Celtics -- just like every other team -- have even more options to choose from when it comes to making a deal.

As for the two most sought-after Celtics, Allen and Pierce, it's clear why each is indeed in demand.

Allen has a skillset -- the ability to shoot the ball -- that fits in with any team. And with a 10 million expiring contract, there are a number of teams that could benefit from adding the NBA's all-time 3-point shooting king. Among those believed to have some interest in Allen, are the Los Angeles Clippers. With the season-ending injury to Chauncey Billups, the Clippers have a huge void to fill at the shooting guard position.

As for Pierce, he still has two years remaining on his contract after this season (the final year is partially guaranteed), but he's still one of the better one-on-one scorers in the NBA. Adding a player like Pierce, either as a starter or coming off the bench, could provide some much-needed depth to a title contender or a playoff team looking to improve their standing. Some of the teams believed to have interest in Pierce include both of his hometown teams -- the Los Angeles Lakers and the Clippers -- as well as the Houston Rockets.

Complicating matters for all teams in the mood to make a deal, is Dwight Howard's situation in Orlando.

The Magic appear to be focused on trying to surround Howard with the kind of talent he wants to play with, rather than grant his request for a trade.

Until there's greater clarity on his situation, a number of teams are reluctant to make a major move.

One of the rumors that made the rounds recently involved Orlando and Golden State having talks about a deal that would send Monta Ellis to Orlando. But multiple reports out of the Bay Area shot that rumor down.

Ellis is a player who has been linked with the Celtics in the past, but the two sides are not currently in talks about a trade. In addition, a league source said the C's are not actively discussing a trade for Stephen Curry but have expressed some interest.

Other players that the C's have been linked with via trade recently include Minnesota's Michael Beasley and Dallas' Lamar Odom.

In terms of Beasley and Odom, it appears that Jermaine O'Neal would be the Celtics player most likely to be included in such a deal.

The Timberwolves would likely want more than O'Neal for Beasley, but that's not necessarily the case with the Mavs and Odom.

When the Celtics were pursuing a trade for David West, they needed a third team to pull the deal off. That third team was going to be Dallas, which would have received O'Neal if the deal would have happened.

O'Neal, who is out with a wrist injury, played for current Mavs coach Rick Carlisle when the two were with the Indiana Pacers.

But when it comes to acquiring any player via trade, it comes down to one thing: What are teams willing to give up?

So far, not enough to make Danny Ainge pull the trigger.

Irving takes over in third quarter, Cavs beat Celtics in Game 4, 112-99

Irving takes over in third quarter, Cavs beat Celtics in Game 4, 112-99

CLEVELAND – They had them right where they wanted them.

LeBron James was in foul trouble.

Kyrie Irving had not yet heated up, and the lead hovered above double figures but seemed oh-so-close to creeping upwards of 20 points if the Celtics did a better job of making open shots in the first half.

Those missed shots, combined with a Kyrie Irving takeover in the third quarter, would prove to be part of the narrative for Game 4 – missed opportunities - as the Cavs rallied for a 112-99 Game 4 win.

Cleveland now leads the best-of-seven series 3-1, with a chance to eliminate the Celtics in Boston on Thursday and advance to the NBA Finals where a well-rested Golden State team will be awaiting them.

Irving led all scorers with a playoff career-high 42 points, 21 of which came in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Boston’s Avery Bradley had 19 points while Jae Crowder (18 points), Al Horford (16), and Kelly Olynyk (15) also finished with double figures scoring.

"He put the team on his back," said Tristan Thompson, regarding Irving's play. "He still has another gear."

Boston spent all of the fourth quarter playing from behind, failing to get that necessary made shot or defensive turnover or stop that they needed to slow down Cleveland’s growing momentum.

And with Irving making a slew of clutch baskets that put Cleveland in control, it was James’ turn to put the game away.

He did just that, finishing with 34 points which included 15 in the fourth quarter.

But for a good chunk of Tuesday’s Game 4 matchup, it looked as though the Celtics were coming back to Boston for Game 5 with the series tied up.

It was an odd game for sure, with nothing being any stranger than LeBron James being whistled for not one, not two, not three, but four personal fouls … in the first half.

The fourth came when he was whistled for an offensive foul against Terry Rozier with 6:46 to play and Boston ahead by 10 points.

With James on the bench, Cleveland managed to play Boston to a standstill as the half ended with the Celtics still leading by 10 points (57-47).

Cleveland slowly crept back in the game in the third, and eventually went ahead 73-72 following a pair of free throws by James with 3:15 to play in the quarter.

The Cavs were able to lead by as many as five points in the third quarter which ended with Cleveland ahead 87-80 as Irving scored the last 14 points for Cleveland which included a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that would be the final points scored in the quarter.

Cleveland’s strong finish to the third was a striking contrast to how the game began.

Boston got off to its best start in this series after a 3-pointer by Jae Crowder put the Celtics ahead 18-11.

The Celtics went ahead 22-13 after a pair of free throws by Jonas Jerebko and would eventually lead by as many as 16 points.

Meanwhile, James – the man Crowder was defending most of the time early on – had six points in the first quarter on 3-for-7 shooting.

Bogaerts has three hits, three RBIs as Red Sox beat Rangers, 11-6

Bogaerts has three hits, three RBIs as Red Sox beat Rangers, 11-6

BOSTON - Xander Bogaerts had three hits and three RBIs, Dustin Pedroia had a two-run double during a four-run seventh inning and the Boston Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers 11-6 on Tuesday night.

Rick Porcello (3-5) won for just the second time at home despite allowing 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner struck out four and allowed five runs, four earned.

Joey Gallo got his 14th homer for Texas, and Shin-Soo Choo went 2 for 5 with two RBIs.

Texas entered having won 11 of 12. The 11 runs allowed marked a season high.

Andrew Cashner (1-4) pitched five innings, allowing five runs, six hits and four walks. He also threw a pair of wild pitches, one of them allowing Bogaerts to score from third and put Boston up 2-1 after three.