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Celtics hope to keep Minnesota's Love off the glass

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Celtics hope to keep Minnesota's Love off the glass

WALTHAM Kevin Love spent a good bit of time after his rookie year working on his three-point shot.

For a burly power forward with questionable leaping ability and even more questionable athleticism, this wasn't exactly seen as the best use of his time.

But the more he worked on it, the better he became -- similar to what has transpired in all facets of his play which includes becoming a dominate force around the basket.

"Kevin Love is one of the best rebounders of our era," said C's coach Doc Rivers. "I know that's saying something early on in his career, but he really is."

While working for NBC Sports during the Summer Olympics in London, Rivers had a chance to see Love play regularly for Team USA.

"Two of those games early in the Olympics were kind of close in the first half, the U.S. would have been down by 20 but Kevin Love kept getting rebounds and you stare at it and watch it, it's an art."

You can add Paul Pierce to list of those impressed with Love's game, well aware that Love and Minnesota's strength -- rebounding -- is arguably the greatest flaw within the C's roster.

"Our main objective is to try and slow him down," Pierce said. "He's shown he can dominate the game with his offensive rebounding, and defensive rebounding. That's definitely an emphasis."

Celtics center Jason Collins played with Love in Minnesota during Love's rookie season.

"He's an extremely hard worker, great second jump," Collins told CSNNE.com. "Really anticipates where a rebound is going to come off and positions himself to be there to get the rebound."

Although a freakish knuckle injury has sidelined him for most of the season thus far, he has returned to action and picked up where he left off last season to rank among the NBA's top rebounders.

Love comes into tonight's game against the Philadelaphia 76ers averaging 21.7 points and 15.3 rebounds in six games this season.

But along with scoring and rebounding, Love's ability to shoot threes makes him an even more difficult player to cover.

While he has struggled thus far in shooting threes (19.4 percent), there's no mistaking he's a threat from long range the minute he steps on to the court which poses problems for most teams defensively.

Because of his size, he can score on most bigs in the post. When you throw in his three-point shooting prowess, he becomes a matchup nightmare.

"Kevin Love is such a different kind of player," Pierce said. "He's a power forward but he can step out and shoot the three, but he's an interior player when it comes to rebounding and doing all the dirty work."

And to see him knock it down now, Collins says, speaks volumes about his work ethic.

"He was practicing it, but it wasn't good as it is now," Collins said. "He was definitely practicing it and continuing to shoot it even when some of the coaches at the time might not have been comfortable with a four-man shooting 3s. But it shows that if you put the hard work in, put the time in, people will come around. He's really developed that part of his game."

And while his emergence last season may have caught some off guard, he's not sneaking up on anyone now.

"The guys know, they get the scouting report," said Celtics assistant Armond Hill. "They know what he's doing and how good he is as far as rebounding. KG (Kevin Garnett) and everyone else is aware."

Miller, Krejci game-time decisions tonight; O'Gara called up

Miller, Krejci game-time decisions tonight; O'Gara called up

BRIGHTON, Mass – It wouldn’t be a Bruins game this season if there weren’t some health question marks entering a game night, so the B’s will once again have a few players up in the air for the lineup tonight against the Buffalo Sabres.

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David Krejci (back) and Kevan Miller (upper body) were both on the ice prior to morning skate and Krejci participated in the optional practice, along with Patrice Bergeron and a handful of others on Saturday morning at Warrior Ice Arena. Krejci and Miller were termed game-time decisions based on the way things went this morning and Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy could have more lineup juggling in front of him based on those players.

Krejci said he was taking things “day-by-day”, but didn’t think it was going to be a long-term injury even if he misses the game.

“We’ll kind of take it day-by-day and we’ll see. I feel better than two days ago, so I guess we’ll be taking it day-by-day,” said Krejci. “I got hit in the last game and that forced me to leave the game. It’s a brand new injury and it just happened the other day. So that’s what it is.

“I don’t think it’s an injury that would be long term. It’s just one of these things that happens [during the games]. I wouldn’t lie to you if it was something that was a week or two weeks. We’ll just see how I feel later tonight. Injuries happen to every team. Hopefully, this is it for us here early in the season, and down the stretch, we’ll be healthy pushing for the playoffs.”

First the definite situations for the Black and Gold: Bergeron will play for the second game in a row and Paul Postma will be in the lineup, with Adam McQuaid shelved for the next couple of months with a broken leg. Beyond that, the Bruins could swing Miller from the left side to the right side if he plays, Charlie McAvoy could be added to the penalty kill and David Backes could end up playing some center if Matt Beleskey draws back into the lineup.

“We’ll probably move people around. [David] Backes, [Tim] Schaller has played some center over the years and obviously [Patrice] Bergeron looks like he’s going to play,” said Cassidy. “I think we’ll be okay. We sat out a forward the [Thursday vs. the Canucks], so we’ll move people around.

“Kevan will be a game-time decision, so we had a discussion about that and we’ll look into that as well. [Krejci] got hit in the lower back the other night, tried to finish and it’s one of those ones where at puck drop we’ll know.”

Robbie O’Gara popped on the Bruins roster on their team website early on Saturday afternoon, so the Yale alum will get the call if Miller can’t answer the bell on Saturday night. Another piece of good news: Noel Acciari skated with the injured players ahead of the morning skate and appears to be progressing slowly from his broken finger.  

Anything, it seems, is possible for these banged-up B’s as another body drops with each passing game or practice. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings vs. the Sabres based on an optional morning skate:

Marchand-Bergeron-Bjork

DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak

Schaller-Nash-Backes

Beleskey-Kuraly-Agostino

 
Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

O’Gara/Miller-Postma

 
Khudobin