Sox will leave winter meetings with pitching options

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Sox will leave winter meetings with pitching options

DALLAS -- It seems highly unlikely that the Red Sox will leave Dallas Thursday with a notable pitching acquisition. Any trades or free agent signings will take place later, based on conversations that began here.

But if nothing else, the Red Sox are coming to recognize that they have some internal options with the pitchers already in the organization, giving them flexibility as they consider outside alternatives.

No fewer than four Red Sox pitchers -- Daniel Bard, Felix Doubront, Alfredo Aceves and Andrew Miller -- could contribute either out of the bullpen or as part of the rotation.

That's a lot of moving pieces and a lot of choices made available to new manager Bobby Valentine.

"It really helps," said GM Ben Cherington of the staff's versatility. "I think that's part of the reason those guys prepare for spring training as starters, to give them every chance to do it and to give us the flexibility this off-season and in spring training to make decisions and kind of read and react to what's going to help the team best."

As it is, every potential trade or signing forces the Red Sox to evaluate how it would impact others. If they're weighing a closer, they must ask: would this pitcher be better in this role than, say, Bard? Likewise, when considering a starter, they have to evaluate whether the pitcher in question represents an upgrade over their internal candidates.

"There are multiple variables," said Cherington. "You're lining up what the acquisition cost is for a hundred different alternatives, all different flavors and then what that would do to your current mix and how to align that.

"It's an assortment of issues that we're balancing, but it's really beneficial to have guys like Bard, Aceves, Miller, Doubront that can do both. It gives us options."

Highlights: Devin Booker puts up 70 points but Celtics get the win

Highlights: Devin Booker puts up 70 points but Celtics get the win

Highlights from the TD Garden as Devin Booker had a historic performance where he scored 70 points, but it wasn't enough to get the win over the Celtics.

Thomas on Suns: 'We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery'

Thomas on Suns: 'We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery'

BOSTON – Stacking wins on top of wins is the mindset of the Boston Celtics right now, so the players who did speak to the media following Friday’s 130-120 win over Phoenix drove that point home emphatically.

But inside the locker room, it was unusually quiet, the kind of silence you expect following a loss.

Considering how the Celtics’ defense was absolutely thrashed by Devin Booker’s franchise record 70 points, there’s no question at a minimum the Celtics’ pride overall was stung.

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And when Suns coach Earl Watson began calling time-outs and having his team commit fouls at the end of the game, there’s no question it rubbed a few Celtics the wrong way.

“I don’t think anybody has ever seen that; continuing to call time-outs, continuing to foul when we are up 15. But I mean, it was obvious what they were trying to do. They were trying to get him (Booker) the most points possible. Hat off to to him (Booker). He played a hell of a game.”

Following the game, Watson defended his late-game decision making.

“Calling time-outs at the end kept the game close,” he said. “It’s basketball; I’m not coming to any arena to be liked. If people don’t like us while we build … so what? Do something about it.”

The Suns (22-51) never came any closer than 10 points, which was the final score margin.

Al Horford acknowledged that there was some aggravation following the game.

“You can be frustrated when somebody is doing that to you,” he said. “It’s not to one guy, it’s to the team so I think we’re probably more aggravated at ourselves, at least personally I feel that way. I probably could have done a little better, maybe done some different things to prevent it. We got to give him credit, 70 points, I don’t care it’s 70, he got 70. It’s impressive.”

But there will be some inside the Celtics locker room and among their fan base, who were bothered by the Suns’ late-game actions which seemed more focused on Booker getting numbers than anything else.

When asked about being disrespected by the Suns’ late-game strategy, Thomas wanted no part of that conversation.

“It is what it is,” Thomas said. “We won the game. We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery.”

 Boom!