Bruins

Another loss for the struggling Lakers

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Another loss for the struggling Lakers

From Comcast SportsNetSALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Before their game Wednesday, Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown remarked how easily Kobe Bryant had been scoring and in so many different ways.Against Utah, with four or five players taking turns guarding Bryant, nothing came easy as the Jazz pulled off a 95-86 victory to drop the Lakers to 1-4."It's tough for anyone to stop him one-on-one," Jazz guard Randy Foye said. "I have to give a lot of credit to my teammates. Me, Gordon (Hayward), Marvin (Williams), Mo (Williams), Alec (Burks). All of us. It worked well, but I'm lucky the game finished when it did because any longer and he was starting to get it going."Bryant led all scorers with 29 points, 16 in the fourth quarter. But he shot just 7 of 17 overall after entering the game shooting nearly 60 percent. He also was 0 of 4 from 3-point range, and was only 3 of 10 after three quarters.While the Jazz were limiting the Lakers to 34 percent shooting, Al Jefferson and free-agent acquisition Foye provided a 1-2 punch.Jefferson scored 18 points and Foye added 17 off the bench on five 3-pointers, including three straight in the fourth quarter."Oh man, I was feeling it," said Foye, who finished 5 of 9 from beyond the arc and made all of Utah's 3s. "I was just trying to go out there and be aggressive. I've got to give a lot of credit to my teammates. My teammates found me at the right spots and I just knocked down shots."Foye said the Lakers shouldn't have been surprised that he was a dangerous 3-point shooter."They know me," he said. "Last year I played for the Clippers and had big games against them. They knew. But it was either Big Al with the layup or I get a 3."The Jazz led by as many as 16 points early, but the Lakers were within five with 8:27 left before Foye hit three straight 3-pointers to give Utah a 79-68 lead with 6:40 remaining.Jefferson scored on back-to-back baskets for Utah as the Jazz boosted their lead to 13.Bryant's 16-point fourth helped Los Angeles get within five, but his dunk with 12.5 seconds left was too little, too late."We're all frustrated," Brown said. "I'm very frustrated too for the simple fact that I just don't think we played the game like we talked about going in. We wanted to be the ones to hit first ... but we didn't."Utah, which beat Dallas in the opener only to lose three straight on the road, started fast and finished strong.Utah held a 44-36 advantage in points in the paint and a 15-7 edge on the fast break.The Jazz also forced 19 Lakers turnovers, including six by Bryant and five by Dwight Howard."A lot of it just comes from reading each other, getting in sync with each other," said Bryant, who was playing his 79th career game against the Jazz but only fifth with new teammate Howard.Howard (19 points, nine rebounds) said the Lakers' intensity was low.Everyone acknowledged Utah is a different team at home.The Jazz led by seven early as Mo Williams and Hayward started fast. Hayward left Bryant on the floor after stealing the ball from him at one end and dunking at the other for a 9-2 Utah lead.The Lakers pulled within 19-17 on Pau Gasol's jam off a pass from Bryant. But Utah closed on a 6-0 run to take a 25-17 lead, with a pair of baskets from Derrick Favors and a 17-foot jumper from big man Enes Kanter.Utah's reserves kept things rolling in the second quarter, with Favors and Kanter dominating inside at both ends. Kanter shut down Howard on back-to-back possessions, and had a dunk and three-point play. Foye's 3-pointer pushed Utah's lead to 35-21 with 9:11 left in the half and his free throws put the Jazz up 43-27.Mo Williams kept the pressure on offensively with 14 points in the first half on 7-of-10 shooting, taking advantage of Steve Nash's continued absence. He finished with 16 points on 8 of 13 shooting.Hayward was just 2 of 11 overall, but had a pair of steals and three blocks, none bigger than his swat of Metta World Peace shortly before the break.Utah finished with seven blocked shots, including two by Burks, who showed he wasn't afraid to play Bryant tight.Bryant took only one shot in the first quarter and was 1 of 4 at halftime. At one point, Los Angeles was shooting just 25 percent.In the third, Bryant had a chance to cut Utah's lead to two but was blocked by Favors, leaving Bryant screaming for the foul. He didn't get it, but Marvin Williams converted a three-point play at the other end six seconds later to push Utah's lead back to 63-56.Kanter's slam gave Utah a 65-57 lead going into the fourth."It's definitely sweet," said Mo Williams, who added seven assists. "But it was all about us fighting. We needed to get this one."Notes: The Jazz went 3 12 minutes without scoring in the third as they shot just 26 percent in the quarter. Utah held a 44-36 advantage in points in the paint and a 15-7 edge on the fast break. ... The Lakers finished with a huge advantage at the free throw line, but made just 32 of 46. ... Jordan Hill grabbed a season-high 12 rebounds for the Lakers.

'I definitely wasn't mad at our team,' Rask says of Vegas postgame comments

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'I definitely wasn't mad at our team,' Rask says of Vegas postgame comments

BRIGHTON, Mass – Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was acting a bit out of character after the Sunday night loss to the Vegas Golden Knights when he said he wouldn’t be commenting on team performance outside of his own goaltending. 

Clearly, it was a tense atmosphere in the Bruins dressing room following an extremely bad road performance and it would seem very likely there’s probably been some friction in the past between Rask and positional players over his postgame candor.

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That was the backdrop for Rask keeping it laconic, and saying on Sunday night: “I just try to go out there and give us a chance to win every night. That’s what I’m focused on. I’m not going to comment anymore on team play that much. We can just talk about goaltending. That’s just the way it is. Sorry.”

It would seem that some fans and Bruins observers took that to mean Rask was pissed off at his Bruins teammates after a few breakdowns defensively, and a total non-performance at the offensive end of the ice.

Taking all that into account, Rask clarified his comments a bit after practice Tuesday at Warrior Ice Arena and said it’s all about focusing on his own performance rather than taking issues with any of his teammates.

“You lose games and you’re not happy with your performance. Somebody just told me that I guess it got spun the wrong way that it was me mad at my teammates or something. That’s definitely not the case,” said Rask, whom at 1-3-0 with a 3.30 goals-against average and .880 save percentage this season, is clearly in need of some improvement as well.

“You lose games and you definitely hold yourself accountable and you want to talk about your performance and what you need to do to get better," Rask said. "So, that’s where I was coming from. I definitely wasn’t mad at our team. I was more mad at myself, so that’s that.

“You always try to give a fair assessment about the game, but I think the biggest thing that I need to worry about, and what everybody else needs to worry about, is how they get better themselves. You start from that, so that’s where I was coming from.”

The prospect of getting Patrice Bergeron and David Backes back healthy would go a long way toward improving the Bruins play on the ice and stabilizing things defensively for Rask and the rest of the Black and Gold. That’s really what’s needed at this point to improve a situation where the B’s are 23rd in the NHL, averaging 3.6 goals allowed per game, and real, rather than figurative, fingers might start getting pointed all around if it doesn’t start looking better in short order.  

Morning Skate: Shawn Thornton brightening hospitalized kids' days

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Morning Skate: Shawn Thornton brightening hospitalized kids' days

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while back in the good, ol' Eastern Time Zone.
 
*Really nice piece from Shawn Thornton in the Players' Tribune about the inspiration provided by his “Nanny” and how he’s come to truly love the community service and hospital visits while involved with professional hockey. He’s always been one of those athletes that just stops by children’s hospitals for a visit without needing the attention for it, and that is a credit to his great generosity and empathy for those brave kids.

 *You want a Stanley Cup made out of bottle caps? Well, the world will certainly provide a Stanley Cup made out of bottle caps.

*Defenseman Connor Murphy hasn’t been the player that the Chicago Blackhawks expected him to be since arriving in the Windy City.
 
*The Colorado Avalanche are adding a fancy stats and video man to their management group as they seek to keep improving the NHL product.
 
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Eddie Olczyk is returning to the NBC broadcast booth as his health will allow as he continues to battle cancer. Good to see you back, Edzo!

 *Erik Karlsson is finally set to debut for the Ottawa Senators after offseason foot surgery, and it will be a case of the strong getting stronger for a Sens team off to a pretty decent start.

 *For something completely different: Just in time for Halloween, Jennifer Tilly releases all of the behind-the-scenes secrets of working with Chucky.