White Sox

Veteran offense allows Celtics to hang on late


Veteran offense allows Celtics to hang on late

Doc Rivers said before Monday nights tilt with the Bulls that he hoped his Celtics team could play a solid, 48-minute game.

Rivers didnt get his wish, as the Celtics nearly lost a 13-point fourth quarter, but their veteran leadership and ability to regroup late wouldnt let them falter down the stretch in their 101-95 win in Chicago.

The Celtics had moved through three quarters without any hiccups, scoring 82 points against a Bulls defense that hadnt allowed 100 points in 15 straight games. But following a Kevin Garnett jumper at the 10:08 mark of the fourth quarter, the Celtics went more than five minutes without scoring. They missed nine shots and allowed a 10-0 Bulls run that pulled Chicago pull within three with five minutes to play.

But Rivers group righted the ship down the stretch, connecting on five of their last eight shots to end the game. Jason Terry, who had six of his 13 points in the final quarter, ended the Celtics scoreless streak with a jumper and said Monday night was a position many of the players in the Boston locker room dont mind being in.

We're a veteran ball club and we thrive in situations where it's a tight ball game, he said. We've all been in that situation plenty of times. We know what we have to do to close games out. On one end it's get stops defensively, and offensively make or miss the shot that we want and we were able to do that.

Fourth quarter is my time of the game, and I'm just happy to be out there with players that feel the same way, Terry added. So it gives us multiple options.

The Celtics entered the fourth quarter with momentum, following a Jared Sullinger 3-pointer to beat the buzzer at the end of the third. It gave Boston an 82-70 lead, and Paul Pierce said he thought the Celtics could have pulled away with a good start to the quarter.

I thought a few times, when we were up 12, 14 points we had a chance to push the game to 20 but we didn't, Pierce said. That just shows you that they're a resilient team, well-coached, and they have players that are more than capable.

The Celtics didn't pull away, following the stagnant offensive stretch, but Kevin Garnett, who scored six in the fourth quarter, was happy with how the Celtics moved the ball late against to get the offense back in rhythm. Boston assisted on each of their final five baskets.

I thought we did a good job of moving the ball tonight, Garnett said. Against a great defense you have to do that, and I thought we shared the wealth tonight.

Rajon Rondo had four assists in the quarter, including three in the final two minutes to keep his streak of games with 10 assists or more alive at 31, and efforts from a clutch Terry late and even Chris Wilcox, who added two crucial free throws in the final minutes, drew praise from head coach Doc Rivers.

Overall I just told them I thought it was a good team win, Rivers said. I thought every single guy did something, from Jared's 3 to Chris Wilcox's 3-point play and Jason Terry comes off the bench when they're making a run.

It was just a lot of great efforts tonight.

White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball


White Sox Talk Podcast: Class A manager Justin Jirschele, youngest manager in professional baseball

27-year-old Justin Jirschele made quite an impression in his first season as manager of the White Sox Class-A affiliate in Kannapolis. He helped lead the Intimidators to the South Atlantic League championship, and was named White Sox Minor League Coach of the Year. Jirschele came on the podcast to speak with Chuck Garfien about how he went from playing minor league baseball with the White Sox to coaching in their system. He talks about how growing up with a dad who was coaching minor league baseball helped mold him as a manager who is wise beyond his years. Jirschele also gives a report on some of the top White Sox prospects he managed last season such as Jake Burger, Alec Hansen, Dane Dunning and Miker Adolfo.

Zach LaVine cleared for contact practice

Zach LaVine cleared for contact practice

The Zach LaVine comeback is one step closer as the shooting guard was cleared for contact practice after checking with his doctors in California. 

LaVine will go through a step by step process over the next few weeks and the Bulls will gauge his progress to see when the best time for his return will be. 

But, given the nine-month process from his ACL injury he suffered in February, he's right on track and there doesn't appear to be any setbacks. 

"There’s no real timeframe, I guess," Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said at practice Monday. "It’s really going to be on how he feels. We’ll try to do a little more every day with him. We did a little bit, got him some light contact today just to get the process started.

"He’ll be able to play a little two-on-two with not a lot of practice time these next 10 days. But we’ll throw him out there and continue to try to get him feeling better. There’s going to be a mental hurdle that he’s going to have to clear as well. I know he’s excited. His teammates are excited and the coaches are obviously excited as well."

LaVine's recovery has gone as planned since his arrival in Chicago from the Jimmy Butler trade on draft night. Targeting a mid-December return seems realistic but of course, the Bulls will take every precaution to make sure he's healthy for the long term, both for LaVine and the franchise, as he's a restricted free agent this summer--and they have no plans on letting him walk. 

LaVine told NBC Sports Chicago recently that he wants to get on the floor immediately but the Bulls know they'll have to protect him from himself in the meantime. 

"He’s going to have to string together a lot of really good days, and he knows that," Hoiberg said. "He understands that. The important thing is he’s right on track from where it was said after the injury. He’s been doing a great job with his rehab. He’s on time. He’s doing everything that’s asked of him. His strength numbers are where they’re supposed to be. I’m confident he’s going to keep making progress. But we’ll absolutely monitor it daily and hopefully it’ll just continue to get better."

The Bulls aren't sure if they'll send LaVine to the G-League but it's certain they have plans on not only how to use him when he steps on the floor but also a regimen they've stuck to, to ensure there are no real setbacks. 

Hoiberg has been salivating over having a true scorer at that position since trading for him, and LaVine has been eager since his arrival to prove to the Bulls and fans that he is a franchise player. 

Prudence in the moment of progression, though, appears to be the approach taken by both sides.