Bruins

Green Christmas: Celtics rip Nets in Brooklyn, 93-76

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Green Christmas: Celtics rip Nets in Brooklyn, 93-76

BROOKLYN, N.Y. The Boston Celtics got the win, and NBA charities got a little Christmas Bonus.

All left the Barclays Center feeling pretty good except for the Brooklyn Nets who suffered a 93-76 loss to the Celtics.

Rajon Rondo led all scorers with 19 points, five rebounds and five assists.

Jared Sullinger and Jeff Green had solid games off the bench for Boston with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Brooklyn was led by Brook Lopez and Gerald Wallace who each had 15 points.

With the victory, the Celtics (14-13) are now tied for second in the Atlantic Division with the Nets (14-13), losers in four of their last five games.

Not surprisingly, the game got a bit chippy and the result was a handful of players were a bit more giving this holiday season than they probably would like to be.

Four players - Boston's Kevin Garnett and Courtney Lee, along with Brooklyn's Wallace and Andray Blatche - were called for technical fouls which drop 2,000 a pop into the coffers of the NBA's various charities.

If you're Boston, putting together a win like they did on Christmas Day was priceless.

Boston made their share of mistakes all night, but the effort level and focus defensively was relatively consistent most of the game.

It was the kind of performance that the Celtics have not been able to deliver with any level of consistency this year which is why they remain a team that's hovering around .500 this season.

After a strong first half, the Celtics pushed their lead to as many as 21 points only to see it chopped down to single digits.

To the Celtics credit, they showed the kind of resiliency in the third quarter that hasn't been on display much of this season.

Boston clamped down defensively and pushed its lead back to double digits, taking a 73-58 advantage into the fourth quarter.

The Celtics spent most of the first quarter playing catch-up before a 3-pointer by Rondo - seriously - cut the Nets lead going into the second quarter to 24-22.

After a brief exchange early in the second, the Celtics took control by doing three things: Rebounding, defending and getting out in transition.

Once Boston went with that Big Three, it was all Green raining down on the Nets.

And while the Celtics have a number of proven, battle-tested veterans who can lead the charge, it was Sullinger carrying the C's in the first half.

Sullinger, who saw his first benching of sorts in a game earlier this season against the Nets (he played just 8 minutes against Brooklyn on Nov. 15), refused to allow a repeat on Tuesday.

In the first half alone, Sullinger had 10 points and six rebounds along with two assists and a blocked shot as the Celtics led by as many as 15 points before settling on a 56-42 halftime lead.

Contributions on the Celtics roster were coming from unfamiliar places, indeed.

Rajon Rondo, the league's leader in assists, had three at the half while Paul Pierce led all players with six.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn had the look of a team that was dazed and confused, trying their best to shift the Celtics momentum but only making matters worst with a slew of forced and unforced turnovers - 10 to be exact - in the first half that led to 15 points for the C's.

Rask out tonight as he recovers from practice collision

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Rask out tonight as he recovers from practice collision

BRIGHTON, Mass – The string of injuries for the Bruins continues as Tuukka Rask (upper body) is out for tonight’s game against the Vancouver Canucks at TD Garden after getting trucked by Anders Bjork in practice Wednesday.

Rask was wobbly-legged while being helped off the ice after the violent collision and the 21-year-old Bjork looked like he’d also needed a couple of stitches on his chin after bloodying his practice jersey.

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The big concern is Rask still being evaluated by Bruins medical personnel for a possible concussion. It will be Anton Khudobin stepping in place for him against the Canucks with Providence Bruins netminder Zane McIntyre serving as his backup.

“Tuukka is out tonight. He’s going to get reevaluated today and we’ll have a better idea tomorrow,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Anton will start [against the Canucks].”

Clearly, Khudobin didn’t like seeing his goaltending partner get drilled in a spirited practice, but the 32-year-old is clearly feeling confident after a strong camp and a winning season debut last week against the Arizona Coyotes.

“You don’t want to see that, but at the same time we’ve got to keep moving forward and hopefully he’s going to get better soon,” said Khudobin, who stopped 29-of-31 shots in the win over Arizona last weekend. “I feel good. Camp was good and everything is fine, and I’ve started better than last year. My role is just day-to-day. Today is a game day and hopefully, you get a good result, and then tomorrow is another new day.”

Otherwise, it looks like the Bruins will at least be getting some of their healthy bodies back with David Backes in the lineup and Patrice Bergeron a game-time decision against the Canucks. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairings based on Wednesday’s practice:

Marchand-Bergeron-Bjork
DeBrusk-Krejci-Pastrnak
Schaller-Kuraly-Backes
Beleskey-Nash-Agostino
 
Chara-McAvoy
Miller-Carlo
Krug-McQuaid

Khudobin 

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Are Red Sox playing a waiting game before naming their new manager?

Are Red Sox playing a waiting game before naming their new manager?

BOSTON — As soon as the American League Championship Series ends, the Red Sox could make a move for their manager.

Industry sources continue to expect Astros bench coach Alex Cora will be the Sox’ pick. No offer had been officially made as of midday Wednesday, one source close to the situation said. But the belief is such an offer waits out of respect to the Astros-Yankees ALCS that can end no later than Saturday if the series goes a full seven games. 

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“Not a doubt it is him,” the source said.

Sunday and Monday would both be off days ahead of the Tuesday night start of the World Series. That leads to the potential for at least a Red Sox announcement of Cora, if not a press conference, before the Fall Classic begins. (If the Astros advance to the World Series, it may be harder to have Cora in Boston for any length of time.)

All those who know Cora praise his ability to connect with players. The former Red Sox infielder is good friends with Dustin Pedroia. Cora’s previous knowledge of the Boston market works in his favor, as well, as does his mettle handling the media. Some question his readiness as a first-time manager, considering he would be taking over a team with great win-now expectations and complicated clubhouse dynamics.

Nothing takes the place of experience and there is such a thing as being too close to players. Ultimately, if the Sox do land Cora, 41, they would be adding the hottest up-and-coming managerial prospect who’s available on the market. The everybody-wants-him reputation could give Cora added cachet with players and certainly becomes a public-relations win for those fans following the search.

The Sox interviewed Ron Gardenhire on Wednesday. Gardenhire was the third candidate the Sox talked to and could well be the last. Cora met with the Sox on Sunday, followed by Brad Ausmus on Monday.