Celtics

All in the family: Red Claws draft Jeremiah Rivers

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All in the family: Red Claws draft Jeremiah Rivers

Doc Rivers poked his head into his son's bedroom on Saturday night after arriving home in Florida for a quick visit following the Boston Celtics win over the Washington Wizards.

"He popped in my room and he was like, 'Congratulations, man. Welcome to the Red Claws,' " Jeremiah Rivers said in a telephone interview.

On Friday the Maine Red Claws, the Celtics D-League affiliate, selected Jeremiah in the fifth round of the 2012 NBA Development League Draft.In spite of being Doc's oldest son, there were no guarantees where the 25-year-old guard would land. He drew interest from other teams in similar rounds, but when he was available the at Red Claws pick, the team called his name.

"I think it's cool," said Jeremiah. "We didn't plan for it to be that way . . . I just think it's great that my father's not too far away. They have that fan base and that culture. I'm extremely excited about it."

Jeremiah isready to get back on the court and take the next step in his career after recovering from double ankle surgery.He played in Serbia last season and returned to the United States for the procedures in March and April, eyeing a return in time for Las Vegas Summer League in July. He appeared in four games for the New York Knicks, averaging 3.5 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 0.5 assists, but was more ready to play mentally than he was physically.

"Summer League with the Knicks, I did ok," he said. "Obviously I wasn't playing my best basketball. Unfortunately, my health was a really big concern. I was coming off double surgeries on my left and right ankles and I shouldn't have even been playing in summer league. But it was just a great opportunity because unfortunately last year with the lockout, I wasn't able to play. I was just so eager to to get out there, and I shouldn't have been out there."

Jeremiah returned to Florida to continue rehabbing. He made his health his number one focus and stayed positive with the support of his family, including Doc and his younger brother Austin, a rookie on the New Orleans Hornets.

"My dad was basically like, 'Get healthy. I know it's been frustrating for you,'" Jeremiah said. "I feel like I've been rehabbing for so long. Unfortunately ankles are just very, very difficult, tricky procedure and the rehab and recovery on it takes a lot of time. It's been a very tough recovery. My dad's been saying things like, 'Man, I know you have the talent. You're 6-(foot)-5, you're tall, you can jump, you can run with anybody in the NBA, you have the skills. He said, 'Get healthy and everything else will take care of itself.' "

While his ultimate goal is to earn a spot on an NBA roster, he knows it won't happen by playing selfish basketball.Drawing from the "we, not me" approach his father has engrained in the Celtics, Jeremiah is focused on the Red Claws as a team rather than his individual performance.

"I think if you play to win, everything else will take care of itself individually," he said. "I know a lot of NBDL players are trying to get that call up and play the best that they can play, so for me, I'm not going to go out there and worry about myself. When you play to win, you're going to play your best basketball. I want to bring leadership, create plays for other people, hit the open shot, play defense, do all the things I'm good at and have developed over the year that people haven't seen since I've been away from the game in Europe or hurt. I can bring a lot so I'm excited."

Jeremiah will begin his career with the Red Claws when training camp opens on November 12. On that day, Doc will be coaching against the Bulls in Chicago and Austin will be preparing for a game against the Houston Rockets.

"That's how we want it," Jeremiah laughed. "Honestly, it's really neat. We work hard. I'm so proud of my brother Austin and obviously my dad. It's basically a big support system at my house. Everybody knows the time and hours that everybody puts in for things to work and honestly I'm just blessed. I don't know another way to put it. I'm glad to be able to go out there and do what I love and play basketball again. Hopefully soon enough I'll be playing against Austin in the next level and my dad, which would be an even crazier story. Hopefully it works, and at the end of the day that's all I can ask for."

Khudobin can't save Bruins' goaltending situation

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Khudobin can't save Bruins' goaltending situation

The entire concept of Tuukka Rask getting pushed by one of his backups is based on the backup consistently performing at a high standard, and that wasn’t the case for Anton Khudobin over the weekend.

Just as it isn’t solely the fault of Rask when the Bruins lose, it wasn’t solely the fault of Khudobin that Boston squandered leads of 3-0 and 4-1 in an overtime loss to Buffalo on Saturday night. But Khudobin couldn’t step up and carry the B's when they clearly started losing their edge in the second half of the game, and that inconsistency will certainly make the Bruins pine for a sooner-rather-than-later return of a concussed Rask.

“Erratic,” said coach Bruce Cassidy when asked to describe Khudobin postgame. “He battles. We love that about him. He battled to the end. He certainly made his share of saves. We need to be better in front of him. But there were times that, there were fires that needed to be put out that shouldn’t have been necessary. But that happens sometimes.”

It was certainly too much to expect Khudobin to be perfect, but they just needed him to be good enough to pull them through while they were getting waylaid in the second half of the game. That proved to be a major challenge, given the players the Bruins are missing and the extremely rough night suffered by Torey Krug (minus-3 on Saturday night, and minus-8 for the season). Khudobin finished with 37 stops as a defense corps without Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller wilted in the third period and the overtime, but he couldn’t make the clean saves for whistles when the team really needed them. Case in point was a Rasmus Ristolainen tester in overtime while the Bruins were in the midst of being outshot by a 6-0 margin in the extra session. Khudobin got a glove on it but couldn’t cleanly catch it for a badly needed stoppage in play at a time when Krug, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand had been caught on the ice for over two minutes.

"The start was great, and the game was great until we scored the fourth goal, and I think after that, we thought it was an easy game,” said Khudobin. “[The high volume of shots] wasn’t that much difficult, I like shots, like probably every other goalie, but they were crashing the net. They were going hard. There were a lot of deflections, a lot of rebounds, a lot of scrums in front of the net, which were . . .that’s the dangerous part, not just the shots.”

Khudobin, 31, has taken five of a possible six points in the games he's played this season and is off to a solid start with a 2-0-1 record, a 2.98 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. He looks like he’s going to be a perfectly fine backup, enabling the Bruins to hold Rask to the 55-60 games they’ve forecasted for his peak performance this season.

But Saturday night was a major blow to any hopes that Rask would be pushed competitively by his backup, and that a Khudobin hot streak could spark a slow-starting, and now injured, Rask when he does return.

Instead the Bruins are left to hope they can survive while missing Rask along with a number of other key players, and that the goalie returns sooner than later to a team that can’t survive too many morale-crushing defeats like the choke job against the lowly Sabres.

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