Celtics

Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Jets

637954.jpg

Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Jets

Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Bruins and Winnipeg Jets tied at a 1-1 score after the first 20 minutes of hockey at TD Garden.

1)Zach Bogosian with his fourth goal of the season for the Winnipeg Jets and his 18th point of the season on a long point shot that was tipped in front of the net. It appears that Bogosian is beginning to round into the form that made him a lottery pick in the first round, and explains some of the interest that the Bruins have had in him over the years. Some scoffed when I mentioned his name as a type of player that could have been in play if a Tuukka Rask deal ever came off, but hes a top pair defenseman and those are difficult to come by.

2)Ten blocked shots for the Jets in the first period including three for Johnny Oduya, and theyre winning the blocked shot battle by a 10-4 margin after the first 20 minutes. Looks like the Winnipeg Jets are bringing the good effort tonight and the Bs are going to have to ratchet up their game.

3)A perfect example of a legal way to protect yourself with Joe Corvo sidestepping a Tanner Glass big hit attempt behind the net in the first period. Corvo stepped out of the way and Glass took no pun intended a face full of glass instead of making contact with the Bs defenseman. Glass went down the runway and appeared to be shaken up afterward, and it proves that players have plenty of ways to protect themselves with an aggressor bearing down on them.

4) David Krejci starts the Bs scoring play with a nifty transitional pass and makes it a nine-game scoring streak after picking up the secondary assist on the Milan Lucic-to-Nathan Horton goal. That line is going to have to produce buckets of offense with Marchand out for the next five games.

5)Thirteen saves for Tuukka Rask, who looks cool as a cucumber between the pipes and has still allowed only two goals since midway through a Dec. 3 win over the Maple Leafs.

Here are five thoughts from the second period with the Bruins trailing the Winnipeg Jets by a 3-2 score after the first 40 minutes of hockey at TD Garden.

1) Eventful second period for Shawn Thornton. He was called for an illegal contact to the head penalty for a hit on Chris Thorburn that actually never even made contact. Replays showed Thorntons shoulderelbow never connected with Thorburn, but he was whistled off anyway. That turned into a 5-on-3 advantage for Winnipeg, and Thornton earned himself a shaky penalty shot call with a breakaway bid coming out of the penalty box. That turned into a successful forehand-to-backhand top shelf shot to tie the game up, and he followed with a fight against former teammate Mark Stuart that ended with a bevy of Thornton right hands. He only needs the assist for the Gordie Howe hat trick.

2) A rough Joe Corvo turnover leads to an Eric Fehr go-ahead goal, and its been an uneven night for the Bruins defenseman.

3) Claude Julien switching around his lines and dropping both Gregory Campbell and Zach Hamill into the third line center spot for shifts during the second period. Hamill was bounced around by Jim Slater early in the game and hasnt been a prominent presence tonight like hes been in past game.

4) David Krejci has won all nine draws in the face-off circle through two periods, and seems to have been a man on a mission since a rough night against Steve Ott in Dallas.

5) Blake Wheeler with a tipped goal in the second period and leads the Jets in scoring with 32 points this season. After a slow start it appears that Wheeler might have just found a home with the Jets after never quite living up to the expectations of being a Bruin in Boston.

Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Bruins taking down the Winnipeg Jets by a 5-3 score after 60 minutes of hockey at TD Garden.

1) David Krejci follows up 9-for-9 in face-offs during the first two periods with a face-off win off the opening drop in the third period to set up a Nathan Horton game-tying goal. Krejci was a huge part of the victory and has really been playing at an elite level for over a month.

2) Bruins continue to put up ridiculous numbers in the third period this season and outscored the Jets by a 3-0 score over the final 20 minutes. Bruins outscoring their opponents by a 60-23 margin this season: that is a Stanley Cup-winning type statistic.

3) Benoit Pouliot with a solid first game in place of Brad Marchand that included a power play goal after second and third effort in front of the net. Game-winning goal and insurance score both set up by Patrice Bergeron.

4) Tyler Seguin gets the game-winning goal and electrified the crowd with a filthy, roofed backhander after cutting through Randy Jones and using his body to shield the puck on the way to the net. The ever-classy Randy Jones shoved Seguin to the ice after the 19-year-scored the goal and fired up the crowd.

5) Nathan Horton with five goals in his last four games and finally looks to be snapping out of the early season funk he had been in. The KrejciLucicHorton line is putting it all together at exactly the right time.

All signs point to LeBron James playing against Celtics Tuesday

160304-lebron.jpg

All signs point to LeBron James playing against Celtics Tuesday

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- A sprained left ankle injury kept LeBron James out of all but one of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason games, and has created a certain element of uncertainty as to whether he’ll play against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night. 
 
While it has yet to be determined for sure if he’ll play, all indications are that the 15-year veteran will be in the starting lineup as the Cavs kick off their quest to remain the team to beat in the East.

“I never hide stuff from you guys. I really don’t know,” Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said when asked if James would play against the Celtics. “Depending on how he feels, but I really don’t know.”
 
However, James looked pretty comfortable shooting the ball after practice with a trio of former Celtics in Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and Jeff Green. 
 
And if you listen to the man who would likely start in James’ place -- J.R. Smith -- there’s nothing to worry about Cavs Nation. 
 
According to Smith, James will play. 
 
“We were talking about it, he’s never missed, since he was 8 years old and he started playing, he’s never missed a first game,” Smith said. “I’m preparing for him to play.”
 
Despite having played more than 41,000 minutes -- only 33 players in NBA history have done so -- James has been one of the game’s more durable players. Last season James he sat out only eight games, and that was the most he has missed in a single season.
 
 "He's gonna go [Tuesday]," Smith said. "He's gonna go, trust me [on] that. I don't care what he's gotta do, he's gonna play."
 

Celtics may spend a good part of the year playing 'Getting To Know You'

Celtics may spend a good part of the year playing 'Getting To Know You'

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- It’s hard to believe the Celtics are just hours away from their first regular-season game after having been together for less than a month. 
 
The quick turnaround isn't all that different than it is for the other 29 teams in the NBA.  But the Celtics, who advanced to the Eastern Conference finals last season, are returning only four players -- and just one starter -- from last year.
 
Training camp was indeed a crash course called Getting to Know My Teammates 101.
 
But listening to the players, and coach Brad Stevens, it’s clear there will be lessons learned all season long.

MORE CELTICS

 
“We have a good feel about how things can look, in the preseason,” said Al Horford. “But it is the preseason. Now it all starts. And right away we face a tough test (in the Cavaliers). But yeah, we’ll start learning even more. We’ve already learned a good amount, but even more when Tuesday rolls around.” 
 
That's when the Celtics kick off the regular season at Cleveland, which will once again be the favorite to advance to the NBA Finals.
 
Not too far behind (right behind them, by most accounts) are the Celts, whose season ended in the Conference finals a year ago in a five-game loss to the Cavs.
 
And the Boston players collectively feel that, despite the short amount of time together, they’ve developed a good sense of chemistry and understanding of how to play effectively with one another. 
 
Having said that, they also understand that there’s still plenty of room to grow. 
 
“I don’t expect it to be perfect by any means at all,” said Gordon Hayward. “We’ll definitely have some ups and downs this season. Like I said, one thing is we’ll be able to compete every night. We’ll be able to play together. Those things should stay the same.”
 
In many respects, the Cavaliers are going through a similar challenge this season.  They've added Derrick Rose, Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder -- and, when he recovers from his hip injury, Isaiah Thomas -- to a core group that’s led by LeBron James. 
 
While the increase in talent is undeniable, it’ll take some time before they too develop the kind of on-the-court cohesiveness that comes with time. 
 
“It’s gonna take time,” Rose said. “It’s going to be a process for everybody to learn their roles, learn everybody’s tendencies, and not think while they’re out there.”
 
And while there’s a heightened level of uncertainty as to how things will play out with the Celtics this season, Stevens embraces the unknown. 
 
“I think we're going to be learning about ourselves through the middle of the season,” Stevens said. “I think you do that with every team, but I think that's especially the case now. But this is, I've said this before, like, the first week, the first 10 days, the first few weeks, we have such great and unique challenges that it's gonna be really good for this team regardless."
 
Stevens added: “Because, to have to go into Cleveland with that level of intensity, with that level of attention, distraction, etc., is great. It's great to experience that in game one. A tremendous learning experience for our group. So, we're preparing to play as well as we can. And we know that they're really, really good. But this is, I'm looking forward to it because I want to find out where we are.”

Hayward added, “It’s a fun first game to start the year. Regardless of what happens, we’ll have some improving to do and things to get better at.”
  
 

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE