Celtics

Iglesias shows another defensive flash of brilliance

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Iglesias shows another defensive flash of brilliance

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It was only one play late in an exhibition game, but Monday afternoon, shortstop Jose Iglesias showed why the Red Sox have such high hopes for him.

With Minnesota's Sean Burroughs on first after walk in the top of the seventh inning, infielder Michael Holliman hit a grounder up the middle.

Iglesias glided over behind the second base bag and never flinched when the ball took a bad hop on the infield dirt. Iglesias simply adjusted his glove a few inches higher, snared the ball in the pocket, then, with his momentum carrying him away from the second base bag, flipped to Pedro Ciriaco for the forceout.

It was a remarkably instinctive play that hinted at Iglesisas' defensive brilliance.

"I'm just reacting to the ball," he said. "It was a bad (hop) and I caught it."

"That was special," said Andrew Bailey, who was pitching at the time. "He can play some defense, that's for sure. The ball took a funny hop on him. He was able to stay with it and get the out. So that was great. Definitely saved the first and third or maybe more than that. And that's a big league
play right there."

Of course, his play in the field isn't in question. But the Red Sox still have to be convinced that he can hit enough to warrant being in the major leagues.

He went 0-for-3 Monday and is hitting .231 in Grapefruit League play this spring.

"I feel very good at the plate," he said. "I've made a couple of adjustments, little things. I feel more disciplined and I'm driving the ball way better. I learned from last year."

Iglesias is unsure what the Red Sox plan to do with him at the start of the season.

"I don't know what my chances are of making the team," he said. "I only care about coming here and getting better every single day. Whatever happens at the end of the spring, I can't control that. I don't know what's going to happen. Whatever happens at the end of the spring, I have to do. They're going to do what's best for my career, for my development."

Asked if he was ready to play at the big league level, Iglesias said: "I'm working hard. I do my best. I don't know -- I haven't played here yet. But I feel very good."

The game marked Iglesias' return to game action after missing about a week with a strained groin.

"The groin feels good," said Iglesias. "I really felt good. My groin feels better and I'm ready to play."

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics back in win column

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Celtics back in win column

0:41 - The Celtics returned to their winning ways with a 118-103 victory over the Orlando Magic. Tom Giles, Phil Perry and Rob “Hardy” Poole break down the win.

6:58 - Tom Giles and Hardy discuss the Bruins’ four-game winning streak and how the success of Anton Khudobin has helped keep the team afloat.

11:39 - Is the Patriots' Week 12 matchup with the Dolphins a trap game? Tom Giles, Phil Perry and Hardy discuss where Miami ranks among NFL teams and how the Patriots should approach the game.

17:07 - With Black Friday upon us, the Boston Sports Tonight crew discusses what big-ticket item they would choose to buy for any Boston sports team. 

 

Morris out, Brown questionable for Pacers game Saturday

Morris out, Brown questionable for Pacers game Saturday

BOSTON – Boston made strengthening their depth at the wing position a priority during the offseason.

Well, that depth will be put to the test with the possibility of at least one and maybe two of their top wing players being out for Saturday’s game at Indiana.

Shortly after Boston’s 118-103 win over Orlando on Friday night, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens announced that Marcus Morris (left knee) would not travel with the team for Saturday’s game against the Pacers.

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Also, Jaylen Brown will be attending the funeral of his best friend (Trevin Steede) in Georgia on Saturday and isn’t sure if he’ll be back with the team in time for Saturday’s game.

“My intention is to make it back. If I can, I’ll definitely be playing,” Brown said. “But we’ll see.”

The absence of Brown would be a huge blow for the Celtics.

Boston only returned four players from last season’s team, none of whom have improved their overall game as much as Brown did during the offseason.

He came into the season focused on being a lock-down defender.

But Gordon Hayward’s left ankle injury was a game-changer for all the Celtics, including Brown.

Not only would Brown be charged with being an elite defender, but Boston now needed the second-year wing player to become more of a scoring threat.

And to Brown’s credit, he has risen to the challenge.

In 20 games (all starts) this season, Brown has averaged 15.9 points per game which is second on the team to Kyrie Irving (22.9). In addition, Brown’s defense has been among the keys to Boston’s 17-3 start which is the best record in the NBA thus far this season.

His defensive rating of 95.0 is fifth among players to appear in at least 10 games this season, and tops among all second-year players. And of the four players ahead of him, two – Aron Baynes and Marcus Smart – are teammates.

But just like the Celtics gave Isaiah Thomas all the time he needed in dealing with the death of his sister right before the playoffs last season, a similar approach has been taken with Brown which he is admittedly appreciative of the organization for doing.

“Brad (Stevens) has been great in this process,” Brown said. “Just somebody to talk to, allowing me to deal with it in the best way our family and their family feels we can deal with it. He’s been great; we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully I can make it to Indiana; if not, I just have to re-group with my family and I’ll see you guys next game (against Detroit on Monday).”

While there's a chance that Brown will play against Indiana, the same can not be said for Morris who is definitely out.

Morris, who missed the first eight games of the season with left knee soreness, has been on a minutes restriction all season in addition to not being allowed to play in back-to-back games.

Following Friday’s game, Morris said the knee feels good but he understands the need to be cautious.

“It’s frustrating,” said Morris who acknowledged the decision was made by the coaching and medical staff. “I’m a competitor, so I want to be out there.”

He added, “Like I said, at this point I pretty much don’t have control over it when I’m playing. It’s a long season. I just want to be ready for June.”

With Morris out and Brown potentially out as well, the Celtics will be extremely thin and inexperienced at the wing position. Look for Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes to be in the starting lineup if Brown is out along with Morris.

Also, Stevens will likely use Terry Rozier and first-year forward Semi Ojeleye more in addition to increased spot-duty for another rookie, Abdel Nader. On Friday, Rozier had a career-high 23 points while Ojeleye and Nader had seven and three points, respectively.

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