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Horton responds to Julien's criticism with two goals

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Horton responds to Julien's criticism with two goals

TAMPA Nathan Horton thinks that maybe sometimes the expectations for him get a little out of control.

After all, the right wing is tied with Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand for the second-highest number of goals on the Bruins, and he feels like hes always skating hard and hustling. But that didnt stop Hortons coach from calling him out after an invisible performance against the Florida Panthers, and imploring that the Bruins need more out of him.

Perhaps Claude Julien has a future in motivational speaking along the lines of Matt Foley because Horton responded to the pointed remarks with a pair of goals in Bostons 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Both scores came from Horton attacking the area around the net. The first was simple tenacity going toward the net following his own shot, and the second was a sniper shot from the high slot area after tracking down an Andrew Ference shot blocked by defenders.

The winger said after the game he wasnt inspired by his coachs challenge, and instead it was about supporting his teammates in a time of need. With Rich Peverley and Brad Marchand out of commission the Bs needed some ascension to Hortons game, and they got it. His team-high six shots on net showed a commitment to creating much more offense than the three total shots attempted in the previous three games.

The two goals were red light proof of that, but dont ever confuse Horton with Wayne Gretzky.

Julien is the coach and he can say whatever he wants. I dont want to comment on that, said Horton. Im here for my teammates and obviously I want to be good for them. I think thats all that matters. I just want to keep working hard and things are going to come.

I definitely need to get shots on net more. Im not Wayne Gretzky. Sometimes people think I am. I want to do the best I can and Im out there trying. Whether its back-checking or just working hard I just always want to be myself. I do need to get my shots off and get more than one or two . . . thats something I need to work on.

While Hortons coach was happy with his forwards offensive exploits, the line of Horton along with David Krejci and Milan Lucic have given up five goals to the opposition over the last two games. Thats a losing balance their line needs to rectify.

Work around the net is his strength. Hes one of those guys that when he takes it to the net hes a big strong guy, he stays on the puck and hes going to score some goals, said Julien. He gave us some good offense, but its unfortunate in a way because their line gave up three tonight. Theyve been on for five goals in the last two games and were certainly looking for more out of that line.

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Patriots take duo from Georgia on day one of draft

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NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Patriots take duo from Georgia on day one of draft

1:21 - With the Patriots selecting two former Georgia Bulldogs in Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel in the first round of the NFL Draft, insiders Tom Curran, Phil Perry and Michael Giardi discuss how the players can contribute in New England this coming season. Also, Patriots Director of Player Development Nick Caserio gives his take on the picks immediately following the draft.

9:25 - Tommy Heinsohn and Chris Mannix join Kyle Draper to break down the Celtics' 97-86 loss to the Bucks as the two teams prepare for a Game 7 showdown in Boston on Saturday.

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NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Celtics glad for their familiar surroundings in Game 7

Celtics glad for their familiar surroundings in Game 7

MILWAUKEE – Like most of his teammates, Marcus Smart was disappointed in the Celtics' Game 6 performance that resulted in a 97-86 loss to the Bucks.

Still, if there’s a silver lining, it’s that Boston will have one shot at moving on to the next round and it’ll come at the TD Garden.

“Everybody knows it’s hard to win in the playoffs on the road,” Smart told NBC Sports Boston. “That’s why home-court advantage is so vital to every team. They [Bucks] played well. We made a couple mistakes here and there down the stretch. The made us pay for it.”

And the Celtics will be looking to return the favor on Saturday night in the winner-take-all Game 7.

“We gotta come back to Boston. We’ll have our crowd behind us, and it’s one more game,” Smart said.

While it’s certainly one of those things that should benefit the Celtics, coach Brad Stevens readily admits he wishes his team wasn’t in this predicament.t

“We didn’t want to be in that position at the end of the day,” Stevens said. “We’re frustrated with the way we played at times, but we give the Bucks credit. They earned the right to beat us in all three games here. They played with great togetherness and great energy.

Stevens added, “The result is our guys get to experience a Game 7, which again, we didn’t want. Game 7, TD Garden is what you play for. It should be what you’re excited about, what you work all summer and what you work for all year. It’s a blast.”

This is Marcus Morris’ first season with the Celtics, but he has some familiarity with Game 7s in Boston after having heard about it from his twin brother Markieff, whose Washington Wizards pushed Boston to a seven-game series last season that the Celtics managed to survive.

Like Smart, Morris would have loved to have ended the series tonight.

And the team’s confidence remains high with a simple approach to Game 7.

“The approach is by any means necessary, get the win,” Morris said. “We get to go home and play in front of our fans,” Morris said. “A game seven in Boston, I heard is really crazy so I’m excited.”

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE