Bruins

Celtics crash the boards in win over Magic

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Celtics crash the boards in win over Magic

BOSTON Rebounding was once again a hot topic of postgame discussion for the Celtics.

But instead of the usual lamenting about how the C's were getting beat up on the boards, the talk Sunday night was instead all about how Boston pushed, poked and punished the Orlando Magic. The end result was a surprisingly comfortable rebounding margin (plus-9) that catapulted the C's to a 116-110 overtime win against the Magic.

Boston was particularly effective on the offensive boards by grabbing 17 which was instrumental in the C's generating a season-high 21 second-chance points.

The Celtics big men like Brandon Bass have been hearing all season about how bad Boston is when it comes to rebounding. And with good reason: Boston came into Sunday's game as the worst rebounding team in the NBA.

Even though that won't change following Sunday's performance, it did serve as a blueprint of sorts for what the C's have to do in order to be better on the glass moving forward.

"We have to be more assertive as a group to be more aggressive as far as rebounding," said Brandon Bass who grabbed a team-high 12 rebounds for the Celtics. "I was just trying to do my part."

As good as Bass was rebounding the ball, he was by no means the lone player helping Boston deliver their most lopsided rebounding margin this season. In addition to Bass, Boston also got six boards -- all on the offensive end of the floor -- from Jared Sullinger off the bench.

Point guard Rajon Rondo barely missed his first triple-double of the season as he tallied 15 points, 16 assists and nine rebounds.

The biggest difference was that, for a change, Boston made a conscious decision to attack the offensive glass early and often.

"It was just a team effort as far as continuously crashing the glass, the offensive boards and defensively," Rondo said. "We all crashed the boards."

While the crashing of the boards certainly stood out, the ability of Rondo and Boston's other guards to limit dribble penetration was just as important to the dominate board play.

"Doc made an emphasis on just rebounding the ball as a team collectively," Rondo said. "Try to keep guards out of the paint which allow the bigs to stay on big's bodies and rebound the basketball."

Not only did it prevent the Magic from having multiple opportunities to score, but it also resulted in the Celtics getting a season-high 105 shots.

"We were running a lot more; we got up a lot more shots," Rondo added. "I don't know if we got up that many since I got here, even including overtime. We pushed the pace. It was a good win."

Nash wants to be the "big power forward" that the Bruins are looking for

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Nash wants to be the "big power forward" that the Bruins are looking for

BUFFALO – Rick Nash has been a longtime good buddy of Jumbo Joe Thornton, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that was one of the first texts that the new Bruins power forward received this morning upon learning he’d been traded to Boston.

“He’d always said it was a great place to play,” said Nash. “I actually got a text from him this morning, so that’s pretty cool.”

The 33-year-old Nash will learn firsthand what it’s like to play for the Boston Bruins after getting dealt to the Black and Gold on Sunday morning from the Rangers in exchange for a bundle of assets amounting to a 2018 first round pick, NCAA defenseman prospect Ryan Lindgren, Ryan Spooner, Matt Beleskey and a 2019 seventh round pick. Nash is in the lineup for the Bruins against the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday afternoon at the First Niagara Center, and he’ll be playing exactly where the Bruins envisioned on David Krejci’s right wing.

The deal will give the Bruins the size, heaviness and power that they’ve been looking to add on their wing this season, and gives Krejci the exact kind of player that he’s had success with in the past a la Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton and Jarome Iginla.

“The team has had such a great year that you don’t want to come in here and ruffle any feathers. You just want to fit in and help out wherever you can,” said Nash. “It was a strange last few weeks in New York, but I’ve moved on and I’m excited for this opportunity. I’m really excited to be here. I wanted to go to a place that wanted me, and that had a great chance to win. I think Boston fits both of those perfectly.

“I just want to bring my style of hockey, and be a big power forward that can hopefully bring some offense, be responsible defensively and be a complete player. It’ll be fun to see what happens. They’re such a good team and they have so many good players that you just want to see where you fit in.

The hope for the Bruins, obviously, is that the chance at a Stanley Cup can light a fire under the 33-year-old Nash, who has posted 18 goals and 28 points in 60 games for the Rangers this season after failing to crack 40 points in each of the last two seasons. Clearly the big-bodied Nash is on the back nine of an All-Star NHL career, but the Bruins see a 6-foot-4, 215-pound dynamic winger that can still score, hit and play the power game around the net that’s needed when things get nasty in the postseason.

“He’s very dynamic. He’s hard to stop and contain one-on-one. He’s got good speed and can protect the puck well, and get so the net with good hands around the net,” said Bruce Cassidy. “It’s all those things are far as attacking the scoring area. He’s a good penalty killer and responsible defensive player. He’s a good fit and he’s going to right in with [David] Krejci on the right wing with Jake DeBrusk on the left.

“We’re not huge in that area. In our top-9 it will give us a different look and I think it will help us a lot. No disrespect to Ryan Spooner, who went into it with a different skill set. We didn’t expect him to grow five inches earlier this year, so this certainly helps us in those closer, harder games. We’ll see where it leads us.”

In his last three playoff runs with the Rangers, Nash has 10 goals and 23 points in 39 games, which is much better playoff production than the impact winger had earlier in his NHL career. And that is what the Bruins spent all of those assets for on Sunday morning with a chance for Nash to bring something to the B’s as they have big plans for this spring.  

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Red Sox, J.D. Martinez have press conference scheduled for Monday

Red Sox, J.D. Martinez have press conference scheduled for Monday

FORT MYERS, Fla. — A week after agreeing to terms and months after the free-agent pursuit began, the Red Sox are set to introduce their slugger, J.D. Martinez. A press conference has been planned for Monday, multiple sources told NBC Sports Boston on Sunday.

Martinez and the Red Sox had to work out contract language because of a medical matter that came up in the standard pre-signing review. There was never a sense the deal was in trouble of falling apart, although the wait created more than a few anxious fans. Medical experts became involved.

Jon Heyman has confirmed that the contract details are expected to remain the same, $110 million for five years.

Jared Carrabis of Barstool Sports (and previously, NBC Sports Boston’s the Baseball Show) first reported Sunday the team was prepared to have a presser.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE