Pierce scores 40 to lead Celtics over Cavs 103-91


Pierce scores 40 to lead Celtics over Cavs 103-91

BOSTON (AP) Paul Pierce scored 25 of his season-high 40 points in the second half, carrying the Boston Celtics to a 103-91 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.

Pierce made 10 of 11 shots from the floor after halftime, hitting his first eight - including his initial three 3-point attempts. He finished 13 of 16 from the field.

Rajon Rondo added 20 points and eight assists for the Celtics, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Jason Terry had 15 points and Kevin Garnett 12.

Kyrie Irving paced Cleveland with 22 points.

Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao, the league's leading rebounder, missed the game with a bruised right knee after he was hurt in Tuesday's home loss to Toronto. Tyler Zeller got his first career start and had 20 points for Cleveland.

The Cavaliers lost their fifth straight and fell to 2-14 on the road.

Boston pushed the lead to 80-60 late in the third quarter, but the Cavaliers went on a 20-2 run spanning the end of the third and start of the fourth, closing to 82-80 on Zeller's three-point play 3 minutes into the final quarter.

Rondo's long jumper then started a game-breaking 14-4 run. Pierce, who nailed two jumpers and two free throws in the spurt, finally missed his first shot of the second half - a 3-point attempt from the top with 6:15 to play - after going 8 for 8 from the floor.

Pierce's fadeaway in the lane made it 96-84 with 3:59 remaining.

The Celtics held an eight-point lead at the half and used an offensive outburst by Pierce to open their 20-point advantage. The team captain scored Boston's initial five points, nailing a 3-pointer to make it 59-51 early in the quarter. After the teams traded baskets, Pierce scored all of the points in a 12-2 run over the ensuing 3:37, capping it with consecutive 3s from nearly the same spot on the left wing 63 seconds apart to make it 75-57.

Following two free throws by Cleveland's Tristan Thompson, Jason Terry nailed a 3 from the right corner, pushing Boston ahead 78-59 with 4:18 left in the quarter. Terry's jumper made it 80-60 with 3:33 left. Pierce, who was replaced with just under 4 minutes left in the quarter and left to a loud ovation, went 7 for 7 from the floor in the quarter.

After Pierce and Garnett went to the bench, Cleveland scored 12 of the final 14 points in the third, pulling to 82-72 heading into the fourth. Irving scored the final seven points of the quarter.

Boston led 27-25 after one and used an 8-0 run midway in the second en route to its 54-46 edge at halftime. Pierce nailed a 3 and hit two free throws in the run.

In the first half, the Celtics made 10 more free throws in 15 extra chances.

NOTES: Zeller was without a face mask for the first time since breaking his cheekbone in early November. ... Boston coach Doc Rivers changed his starting lineup and inserted G Terry and F Jason Collins. Rivers said he wanted to get Terry in the starting lineup because ``he needs to be on the floor with a point guard that can get him the ball.'' Terry had just two shots in Boston's loss at Chicago on Tuesday night, but hit a 3 on his first attempt early in the game. Rivers wanted Collins in there to limit Garnett from playing center the entire time he was on the floor. ... The Celtics held a moment of silence before the National Anthem and showed all the names on the Jumbotron to remember the victims at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. ... The Celtics didn't get home from Tuesday night's game in Chicago until about 2 P.M. due to mechanical problems with their plane. ... Cleveland's only two road wins came in November, against the Los Angeles Clippers and Atlanta.

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We have ourselves a goalie rotation in Washington


We have ourselves a goalie rotation in Washington

It’s happened. The Caps no longer seem to have a No. 1 goalie anymore, they have a No. 1 and 1a.

That’s right, we have a goalie rotation in Washington.

“There's no sense riding one,” Barry Trotz said after practice on Monday. “[Braden Holtby] is coming back and looking better every game and [Philipp Grubauer] played pretty well for a long stretch so why not have both of them going?”

Grubauer got the start Sunday in Philadelphia and Holtby is slated to get the start Tuesday against the Dallas Stars. After that we will have to wait and see.


Trotz has no layout for which goalie he wants to start and when in the remaining ten games. He is not thinking about each goalie splitting five games or which one he wants to use more.

Nope. Trotz has just one thing on his mind. It is all about who starts the next game, that’s it.

“I think you just go with a guy that's hot at the time and your team feels comfortable with and go from there,” Trotz said.

So where does this leave the goaltending situation when it comes to the playoffs? A goalie rotation is all well and good in the regular season, but he has to have one starter for the postseason, right?

Not necessarily.


When Trotz was asked if he philosophically believed in having one starter for the playoffs, Trotz initially said he would not answer, but then said, “Why don't you ask Mike Sullivan what he thinks.”

Sullivan, of course, is the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins who has led his team to a Stanley Cup in each of the past two seasons despite turning to both goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray in both seasons.

While Pittsburgh’s goalie rotation was largely based on injury, however, it still provides an example of how using both goalies can work in the playoffs and that seems to be the path the Caps are headed on at the moment.

Said Trotz, “You just have to go with your gut who you think is going to get the job done.”

UMBC's NCAA Tournament hopes end vs. Kansas State, but its Cinderella run was unforgettable


UMBC's NCAA Tournament hopes end vs. Kansas State, but its Cinderella run was unforgettable

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — UMBC's improbable run through the NCAA Tournament was brief. The statement the Retrievers made and their place in history is forever.

For one weekend in March, the tiny commuter school from Baltimore known for its academics and championship-winning chess team captured the hearts of the college basketball world and beyond. UMBC became the first No. 16 seed to knock off a No. 1 in March Madness, a victory over Virginia that made the Retrievers the ultimate Cinderella.

The fairytale came to an end Sunday night in a 50-43 loss to No. 9 Kansas State -- heartbreaking because it was a game UMBC could have won, but still satisfying because the Retrievers touched so many people by accomplishing what many thought was impossible.

"We put our name on the map. We gave hope to teams that come to the tournament with lower seeds," said senior guard K.J. Maura. "I think we gave hope to guys that are not even that tall like me. People that feel like they are underdogs in their life, I think we gave hope to everything they want to do in life."


Stephen Curry noticed the team and sent UMBC the sneakers the team wore against Kansas State. The Golden State Warriors had his Curry 5s, which are in limited release, and other swag sent to the team. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams declared the Retrievers "Surgeon General approved" and posted a photo of himself on Facebook wearing a sweatshirt from his alma mater.

NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers tweeted to UMBC guard Joe Sherburne, who claims to be Rodgers' biggest fan. And for a team addicted to the video game "Fortnite," their dreams were made when Ninja, a popular gamer who recently played against rapper Drake and JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Pittsburgh Steelers, FaceTimed with the team early Sunday.

"They play with passion, they play with heart, they play together," coach Ryan Odom said. "We do things together for one another, and obviously when you have a big win like that (over Virginia) and it's so shocking, you know, people love to see that. They love to see the upset.

"And our guys handled it with grace and understood the circumstances. They weren't pounding their chests or anything. They expected to be here and expected to compete."

When UMBC returned to the locker room following its ouster, Odom had written just one word on the whiteboard. The Retrievers needed a buzzer-beating 3 against Vermont to win their conference title and make the NCAA Tournament, but they showed up believing they could beat Virginia, and the same about Kansas State.


So Odom simply penned "Proud" on the board for his players.

"Just very proud of these kids and what they've been able to do as the representatives that they are for our university," Odom said. "Just captured our country and beyond, to be honest, from a sporting perspective and it's really, really neat to see."

Sherburne said Odom relayed stories from friends who had texted or called from outside the country to rave about UMBC. Near tears after an 0-for-9 shooting night, Sherburne found consolation in the joy UMBC brought to so many.

"From when we beat Vermont until the last two hours were the greatest time of my life," Sherburne said. "What we did, everyone in here, it's the greatest time of our lives."

Odom arrived at UMBC two years ago and inherited a team accustomed to losing. He told them he was going to get them to .500 that first year; they thought he was joking. But slowly the culture changed and the Retrievers did everything Odom told them they could accomplish.

And then some.

"When I got here, first we were a four-win team that year, and then the next year we went on to win seven games," said graduate student Jairus Lyles. "Then Coach Odom and his staff came in, we won 21 games and this year we had a tremendous season."

Odom doesn't know how far the UMBC program can grow. Those four letters are now synonymous with the biggest upset in college basketball history, but it's a long way from becoming a basketball school.

"UMBC is a unique place -- lot of high achieving kids on campus," Odom said. "We want guys that want to be great from a basketball perspective and want to play after college. But, at the same time, we want folks that are highly motivated academically that want to do great things past basketball. Because the air goes out of the ball at some point for everybody."