Celtics

Marchand responds to Julien's challenge

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Marchand responds to Julien's challenge

If only it were so easy to get every hockey player going as it was for motivating Brad Marchand.

The pesky Bs right winger was called out by his coach the day before Game 5 after four lackluster playoff performances, and was put on the fourth line at practice far from his customary top six forward spot on Bostons roster.

Claude Julien knew the prideful Marchand would respond to such a tactic, and that's exactly what he did with a two-point performance that included a big rebound goal in a 4-3 loss for the Bruins in Game 5 at TD Garden. The return to the front of the net was a welcome one for Marchand, who is one of the most hard-nosed Bruins when it comes to paying the price around the cage.

His efforts werent enough to seal a victory, but Marchands five shots on net in 16 plus minutes of ice time registered as his best effort of the playoffs.

After the game he credited the quick trip to the fourth line which was over after the first shift of Game 5 with getting him back into his hard-working frame of mind that allowed him to have success in the first place.

I know I have to be better and I try to prepare that way that I have to be better out there and I felt better today, said Marchand, who notched his first goal of the playoffs in the defeat. We seemed to have a little bit more energy at times there. We got down on a couple, we battled back, and I thought we really took it to them after that. We had a pretty solid game, but definitely got to get guys scoring a little bit more.

Marchand was being a good team guy in accentuating the need for more scoring while glossing over a pair of soft Tim Thomas goals in the third period, but improvement in both areas is required if the Bruins want to push things to seven games. Julien gave Marchand an attaboy after the game, and soft-peddled the message rendered when he dropped Marchand and Tyler Seguin to the bottom lines during Fridays practice.

It wasnt just a message: it was kind of getting another look at practice. At the same time, you know your players. I knew that Brad Marchand would certainly respond, said Julien. It was important for him to be put on a line that he deserves to be on and he responded well tonight. I thought he played really hard and played a great game for us.

Julien will have to go back to the drawing board to figure out a workable plan to awaken the offense in Milan Lucic and David Krejci, but it appears the Little Ball of Hate is back on track after a reality check.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Could Gordon Hayward return this season?

0:41 - Kyle Draper, Brain Scalabrine, Tommy Heinsohn, and Mike Gorman break down the Celtics loss to the Cavs and Gordon Hayward’s injury.

4:22 - Tom Curran, Michael Holley, Tom Giles, and Kayce Smith give their reactions to the gruesome injury to Gordon Hayward and how it impacted the game.

9:39 - Dr. Chris Chihlas joins BST to give his medical opinion on Gordon Hayward and if he thinks there is a chance Hayward could return this season. 

13:40 - Chris Mannix and A. Sherrod Blakely discuss what the feeling was like in the arena when Hayward went down but how there is actually a 'cautious optimism' surrounding the injury.

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

Jayson Tatum flashes potential with double-double debut

CLEVELAND – Jayson Tatum has seen plenty of games featuring Cleveland’s LeBron James.

And in the Boston Celtics’ preparation for Tuesday night’s matchup, the 19-year-old rookie had seen plenty of James on film.

But facing him, up close and personal, was something entirely different.

“He’s way bigger than I thought,” Tatum said. “He’s way better than I imagined. That’s the reason why he is who he is.”

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James’ play was among the key factors in Cleveland handing Boston a 102-99 loss on Tuesday night.

But Tatum showed he too has some big-time potential by finishing with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds which included some nifty drives to the basket as well as showing the ability to hold his own on the glass in terms of rebounding the basketball.

The last Celtics rookie to post a double-double on opening night?

That was Larry Bird back in 1980, helping the Celtics to a 114-106 win over the Houston Rockets.

What’s even crazier?

Bird had 14 points and 10 rebounds in that Rockets game, too.

Tatum’s solid performance didn’t seem in the making in the first half when Tatum had missed all five of his shot attempts while tallying just two points.

But as the Celtics mounted their comeback, Tatum’s play was a key to the team’s improved play.

“Just being more relaxed” was how Tatum described his improved play in the second half.

Tatum added, “first half, I think I was nervous and anxious. And then the game slowed down for me. That helped out a lot.”

And the Celtics will need even more from Tatum going forward after Gordon Hayward’s left ankle injury that will keep him sidelined indefinitely.

There was plenty of room for him to improve upon following Tuesday’s game.

But for the most part, head coach Brad Stevens liked what he saw from the rookie.

“Jayson was pretty good,” Stevens said. “He did a pretty good job for a first game. That’s pretty hard to do, to be thrown into this environment, first game and play that well.”

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