Celtics

B's rout punctuates season-long dominance of Leafs

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B's rout punctuates season-long dominance of Leafs

BOSTON -- The Bruins' dominance of the Leafs this season reached epic proportions on their sixth and final meeting.
The Bruins poured in four goals to get things started in the first period and just kept right on sprinting to an 8-0 blowout TKO Monday night.

The Bruins put together a perfect 6-0-0 record against Toronto, outscoring them by a ridiculous 36-10 margin. And on Monday they beat the Leafs literally as well as figuratively, with Gregory Campbell and an uppercut-throwing Milan Lucic winning fights during the victory.
Boston's players have too much class to actually call the Maple Leafs out for a lack of heart, but admitted that Toronto has caught them at the absolute wrong time.

"It seems like everything has kind of gone right since we've played them," said Lucic. "Looking at all the games that we've played them so far this year, they've all been pretty big games . . . especially in our eyes. So we've been a pretty good team when it comes to rising to the occasion. The occasions have been big in all the meetings this year.
"Fortunately for us we've been able to bring out 'A' game every time against them."

What probably confounds the Leafs even more is the tale of Tyler Seguin and Phil Kessel from this season. Kessel had a single goal in six games against the Bruins this years and was a minus-11. Seguin, on the other hand, picked up a pair of points Monday night and finished off the season series against the Leafs with 7 goals and 4 assists.

Lucic (12 points), Seguin, David Krejci and Zdeno Chara all ended up with double-digit point totals against the Leafs this year. If you can't stop Boston's biggest and baddest players, then you've got little shot at success.

Meanwhile the 13 shots on net allowed by Boston's defense Monday was the lowest amount in nearly 10 years.

"I don't know. I have never seen anything like that," said shell-shocked Leafs goalie James Reimer, who was pulled after allowing the first four goals. "There have obviously been teams that you have seen in the past that are good . . . and match up well. But I'm not sure why one team has an advantage."

Here's why: One team won the Stanley Cup last year and has gone 23-5-5 over the last five plus years in their head-to-head matchups. The other is the Maple Leafs.

It's pretty simple, and the lesson was laid plain once more Monday night.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics back in win column

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics back in win column

0:41 - The Celtics returned to their winning ways with a 118-103 victory over the Orlando Magic. Tom Giles, Phil Perry and Rob “Hardy” Poole break down the win.

6:58 - Tom Giles and Hardy discuss the Bruins’ four-game winning streak and how the success of Anton Khudobin has helped keep the team afloat.

11:39 - Is the Patriots' Week 12 matchup with the Dolphins a trap game? Tom Giles, Phil Perry and Hardy discuss where Miami ranks among NFL teams and how the Patriots should approach the game.

17:07 - With Black Friday upon us, the Boston Sports Tonight crew discusses what big-ticket item they would choose to buy for any Boston sports team. 

 

Morris out, Brown questionable for Pacers game Saturday

Morris out, Brown questionable for Pacers game Saturday

BOSTON – Boston made strengthening their depth at the wing position a priority during the offseason.

Well, that depth will be put to the test with the possibility of at least one and maybe two of their top wing players being out for Saturday’s game at Indiana.

Shortly after Boston’s 118-103 win over Orlando on Friday night, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens announced that Marcus Morris (left knee) would not travel with the team for Saturday’s game against the Pacers.

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Also, Jaylen Brown will be attending the funeral of his best friend (Trevin Steede) in Georgia on Saturday and isn’t sure if he’ll be back with the team in time for Saturday’s game.

“My intention is to make it back. If I can, I’ll definitely be playing,” Brown said. “But we’ll see.”

The absence of Brown would be a huge blow for the Celtics.

Boston only returned four players from last season’s team, none of whom have improved their overall game as much as Brown did during the offseason.

He came into the season focused on being a lock-down defender.

But Gordon Hayward’s left ankle injury was a game-changer for all the Celtics, including Brown.

Not only would Brown be charged with being an elite defender, but Boston now needed the second-year wing player to become more of a scoring threat.

And to Brown’s credit, he has risen to the challenge.

In 20 games (all starts) this season, Brown has averaged 15.9 points per game which is second on the team to Kyrie Irving (22.9). In addition, Brown’s defense has been among the keys to Boston’s 17-3 start which is the best record in the NBA thus far this season.

His defensive rating of 95.0 is fifth among players to appear in at least 10 games this season, and tops among all second-year players. And of the four players ahead of him, two – Aron Baynes and Marcus Smart – are teammates.

But just like the Celtics gave Isaiah Thomas all the time he needed in dealing with the death of his sister right before the playoffs last season, a similar approach has been taken with Brown which he is admittedly appreciative of the organization for doing.

“Brad (Stevens) has been great in this process,” Brown said. “Just somebody to talk to, allowing me to deal with it in the best way our family and their family feels we can deal with it. He’s been great; we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully I can make it to Indiana; if not, I just have to re-group with my family and I’ll see you guys next game (against Detroit on Monday).”

While there's a chance that Brown will play against Indiana, the same can not be said for Morris who is definitely out.

Morris, who missed the first eight games of the season with left knee soreness, has been on a minutes restriction all season in addition to not being allowed to play in back-to-back games.

Following Friday’s game, Morris said the knee feels good but he understands the need to be cautious.

“It’s frustrating,” said Morris who acknowledged the decision was made by the coaching and medical staff. “I’m a competitor, so I want to be out there.”

He added, “Like I said, at this point I pretty much don’t have control over it when I’m playing. It’s a long season. I just want to be ready for June.”

With Morris out and Brown potentially out as well, the Celtics will be extremely thin and inexperienced at the wing position. Look for Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes to be in the starting lineup if Brown is out along with Morris.

Also, Stevens will likely use Terry Rozier and first-year forward Semi Ojeleye more in addition to increased spot-duty for another rookie, Abdel Nader. On Friday, Rozier had a career-high 23 points while Ojeleye and Nader had seven and three points, respectively.

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