Patriots

Fast breaks: Rondo on pace to start All Star game

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Fast breaks: Rondo on pace to start All Star game

HOUSTON Here a few fast breaks to come out of the Boston Celtics' 101-89 loss at Houston on Friday night.

EARLY RETURNS GOOD FOR RONDO
First round of all-star ballots are out and Boston's Rajon Rondo has the second-highest vote total among Eastern Conference guards with 382,613 votes. If he maintains that position or moves up, he will earn his first all-star start and fourth all-star appearance.

KNOW THE ENEMY
Doc Rivers didn't need much of a scouting report on Rockets starting forward and former Florida Gator star Chandler Parsons. Rivers, whose daughter Callie attended the University of Florida, said he has known Parsons since he was in grade school.

ASIK A CELTIC?
Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said the C's looked into acquiring Houston center Omer Asik this past summer. "And then they (Asik's representatives) said what they wanted," Rivers recalled. "That ended all inquiries." Asik, who had nine points, 10 rebounds along with some strong play defensively against the Celtics' Kevin Garnett on Friday, eventually signed a three-year, 25 million contract with the Rockets.

SLAM DUNKS
In the first half, the public address system played Fun's "We Are Young." It's a fitting song when you consider the Rockets are the NBA's youngest team. Houston players all wear a black band on their jerseys in memory of Sasha McHale, the daughter of head coach and former Celtic Kevin McHale, who recently passed away. the last time Rondo had seven or more turnovers in a regular season game was last season against the Charlotte Bobcats on April 15 when he had eight turnovers (and 16 assists) in a 94-82 Celtics win.

Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

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Pastrnak on B's loss: "We kind of stopped playing"

BOSTON – At the end of the day, it was simply a game where the Bruins allowed themselves to get outworked in the third period and overtime. 

The B’s held a three-goal lead in the second period and still enjoyed a two-goal lead in the third period, but eventually dropped a frustrating, futile 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres at TD Garden on Saturday night. It was clear to most speaking after the game that the Bruins eased up on the gas pedal once they’d scored their fourth goal of the game in the second period, and simply watched as the Sabres stomped all over them in the game’s second half. 

“I think we might have been a little bit too scared to play [in the third period], you know? We tried to just flip the pucks away, and didn’t make any plays trying to get it in the zone. Instead we should have just kept going like we did in the first two periods,” said David Pastrnak, who scored a pair of goals early in the loss to allow the Bruins to build up the three-goal lead. “Obviously we’re disappointed. We got one point. I think we didn’t play our game in the third period. We kind of stopped playing and they were all over us, and you know, it’s on us. We were the ones that gave them their point, but the first two periods were good. It’s just another learning session.”

To Pastrnak’s point, the Bruins were outshot by a 15-6 margin in the final 20 minutes of regulation and 21-6 overall in the third period and overtime prior to Ryan O’Reilly’s game-winner during 3-on-3 play. It was at this point the Bruins certainly missed stalwart stay-at-home defensemen Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller in the D-zone, and fell short of qualified penalty killers while trying to burn off a Brandon Carlo interference call at the end of the third period. 

All of that caught up to them once the Bruins loosened their grip on the Sabres, but certainly the feeling is that the loss should’ve been avoidable even if some of the circumstances made it difficult for the Black and Gold. It also should have been avoidable against a Sabres hockey club that was dreadful last season, and is again one of the doormats in the Atlantic Division in the early going thus far. 

“Those are the games you can’t lose. We obviously didn’t do the job there in the third and close it out, but we’re going to have to regroup and work on our game and be better for the next one,” said Brad Marchand. “We didn’t play the game we needed to play. We relaxed a bit and we started losing a few battles in the wrong areas, and you know, they just played better than we did.”

It’s mystifying that any team would need a crash-and-born loss like Saturday night in order to learn any lessons moving forward, and it certainly might have been a different story for the Bruins if they weren’t missing a few big defensive pieces. But that’s not how it went down for the Black and Gold as they sagged under rising pressure from the Sabres, and simply stopped working when the chips were on the table late in Saturday night’s game.