Weak in the heart of Texas

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Weak in the heart of Texas

SAN ANTONIO The Boston Celtics will leave the state of Texas with momentum, but not the kind they were hoping for.

Whatever gains the Celtics thought they had made in the past couple of weeks have seemingly been wiped out following Saturday's 103-88 loss to the Spurs.

San Antonio, which snapped a two-game losing skid of their own with Saturday's victory, were led by Tony Parker's game-high 22 points along with eight assists. The Spurs (19-6) also got a strong game from Gary Neal who chipped in 20 points.

Boston was led by Paul Pierce and Jason Terry who each had 18 points.

The Celtics (12-11) spent most of the first half playing from behind, as the game looked eerily similar to their loss the previous night at Houston.

The C's weren't necessarily playing poor basketball, but it was clearly not good enough to assert any kind of control over a team as talented as the Spurs.

Terry came off the bench for the second straight game and once again seemed to be one of the few sparks for Boston.

Still, the Celtics found themselves once again struggling to make that one shot or get that defensive stop that would shift the game's momentum securely into their corner.

And while San Antonio had a number of players getting it done in the first half, Parker was delivering yet another solid night.

Parker, who came into the game as the Spurs leading scorer at 19.1 points per game, continues to provide San Antonio with anything and everything they need in order to be successful.

When a Paul Pierce dunk tied the game at 38, Parker connected with Matt Bonner for a 3-pointer to put the Spurs back on top by three points.

A 3-pointer by Terry cut San Antonio's lead to 48-46 late in the second, but a floater by Neal - Parker on the assist - made it a two-possession game once again.

And when a Pierce 3-pointer made it a one-point game with 36.9 seconds to play in the first half, Parker beat Rondo off the dribble for what would be the final lay-up of the half which ended with the Spurs ahead 52-49 and Parker tallying 10 points and five assists without a single turnover.

His Celtics counterpart, Rajon Rondo, had as many points (4) as turnovers in the first half to go along with six assists. He would finish with six points (on 3-for-7 shooting) and nine assists with seven turnovers (the same as last night).

Even more telling about Rondo's struggles in the first half was the fact that the C's were minus-7 with him on the floor in the first half with only one other Celtic (Brandon Bass who was minus-9) having a worst plus-minus ratio at the half. Rondo would finish with a plus-minus ratio of minus-17.

Red Sox rally for 8-7 spring training victory over Twins

Red Sox rally for 8-7 spring training victory over Twins

Brian Bogusevic's RBI single in the eighth inning gave the Red Sox a come-from-behind, 8-7, spring training victory over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla.

Bogusevic, 32, an outfielder signed to a minor league deal this winter, played in Japan last season and hasn't been in the major leagues since 2015 with the Phillies.

Reliever Tyler Thornburg, acquired in the offseason trade that sent Travis Shaw to the Milwaukee Brewers, had a rough outing in his Red Sox debut. He allowed five runs (four earned), four hits and a walk in 2/3 of an inning as the Red Sox fell behind 7-3 by the fourth inning.

Left-hander Roenis Elias started for Boston and allowed a first-inning home run to Byungho Park. He struck out three in two innings.

Mookie Betts went 2-for-3 with a double and first base prospect Sam Travis, hitting .500 this spring, tied it at 7 with an RBI double in the sixth.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said earlier Saturday that Eduardo Rodriguez is scheduled to make his first start on Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays in Fort Myers and Chris Sale will make his first start March 6 against the Houston Astros in West Palm Beach. Rodriguez injured his knee in winter ball in Venezuela and threw his first batting practice session on Saturday.

The Red Sox next travel to Port Charlotte to play the Rays Sunday at 1:05 p.m. 


 

Young getting on floor more for Celtics, including key fourth-quarter stints

Young getting on floor more for Celtics, including key fourth-quarter stints

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – For most of his life, basketball has come easy to James Young.
 
So, the idea that in training camp he wasn’t just fighting to get playing time but also to stay in the NBA, was a jarring eye-opener.
 
To Young’s credit, he rose to the challenge and beat out R.J. Hunter for the Celtics' final roster spot.
 
And while Young’s playing time has been sporadic, he has done a much better job of maximizing his opportunities.
 
So, as the Celtics roll into Detroit to face the Pistons, Young finds himself playing his best basketball as a pro, good enough to make coach Brad Stevens not hesitate to put him in the game in the fourth quarter of a close matchup.
 
“It’s exciting to come back home,” Young, who grew up in nearby Rochester Hills, Mich., told CSNNE.com. “A lot of my family will be there. I’m not thinking about me. I’m just trying to do what I can to help the team.”
 
And lately, he’s getting an opportunity to do just that beyond being someone who helps in practice.
 
We saw that in the 107-97 loss at Toronto on Friday. Young came off the bench to play four minutes, 36 seconds in the fourth quarter with only two other Celtics reserves, Marcus Smart (8:39) and Jonas Jerebko (5:10) seeing more action down the stretch.
 
“It means a lot,” Young said. “He’s starting to trust me a little bit more. That’s a good thing. I’m just trying to do little things; rebound, get defensive stops and score when I get a chance.”
 
The fact that his scoring is just starting to take shape helps shed some light on why he has been buried so deep on the Celtics bench.
 
For his first couple seasons, Young seemed a hesitant shooter physically overwhelmed by opponents too strong for him to defend as well as too physical for him to limit their effectiveness.
 
But this season, he has done a better job at holding his own as a defender while making himself an available scoring option who can play off his teammates.
 
Young is averaging just 2.9 points per game this season, but he’s shooting a career-high 48.9 percent from the field and 41.7 percent on 3’s, which is also a career-high.
 
Getting on the floor more often has in many ways provided yet another boost of confidence to Young.
 
“I’m getting used to the flow of the game playing more consistently,” Young said. “I know what to do. It’s slowing up a little more and it’s getting easier.”