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The Latest Sports News

Fans were expecting a big game from returner Kevin Garnett, but instead were treated to a 20-point performance by Brandon Bass. 

 

Doc Rivers got to finally take a look at what he hopes will be the Celtics' starting line-up come playoff-time and Shavlik Randolph and Chris Wilcox provided a nice spark off the bench with a combined 21 points and 12 rebounds on 8-9 FG.

Jared Weiss and Evans Clinch welcome Mass Live's Jay King to break down tonight's action.

 

Once the pomp and circumstance of the Red Sox’ home opener is completed on Monday afternoon, there is a game to be played between the local nine and the defending AL Wild Card Champion Baltimore Orioles. The matinee is the first of a three-game set that will set the tone for what is likely to be a competitive season series between the two division rivals.

After series wins in New York and Toronto that were punctuated by a 13-0 throbbing of the Blue Jays on Sunday, the (4-2) Sox head back to Fenway to begin a six-game homestand that will kick off a stretch in which seventeen of the team’s next twenty games will be played at Fenway Park. While playing in front of the Fenway faithful is always advantageous for Red Sox teams, this year’s crew includes nine newcomers who will find the comfort zone of playing at home especially beneficial.

The Orioles have gotten off to a bit of a rocky start in 2013, and head into Fenway with a (3-3) record after dropping two at home to the hapless Minnesota Twins. Led by strong starts by Adam Jones (.538/0 HR/7 RBI) and the red-hot Chris Davis (.455/4 HR/17 RBI), the Orioles are expected to score plenty this season, but their starting pitching will likely be a recurring problem throughout the season. With no clear ace in the rotation, it will surprise many if Baltimore can repeat its surprising 2012 season and get back to the playoffs.

In the first game of the set, RHP Clay Buchholz, who was excellent in his first start against the Yankees, will face LHP Wei-Yin Chen, who took a no-decision in his first outing in Tampa Bay. After an unusual off-day on Tuesday, the teams will be back at it on Wednesday night, as Ryan Dempster makes his Red Sox home debut against RHP Jake Arrieta, who also took a no-decision in his first appearance. The series wraps up on Thursday night, as lefty Felix Doubront will take the mound against young righty Chris Tillman, who struggled mightily in his first outing of the season.

Storylines to Watch:

Red Sox starters going deeper in games: In their first starts, both Dempster and Doubront did not make it out of the sixth inning, which caused the strong Red Sox bullpen to eat many innings on the first road trip. The team hopes that both starters will be able to go deeper in games as the season progresses.

Stephen Drew coming back from injury: Red Sox’s shortstop Stephen Drew will likely be ready to make his Sox debut on either Wednesday or Thursday, which would likely mean hot-hitting shortstop Jose Iglesias would be sent down to Pawtucket. Iglesias, who leads the team in batting average at a .529 clip, has been the biggest surprise out of the gate for the Red Sox, but will likely be sent down regardless of his performance.

Early struggles ending: Three Red Sox starters are below the Mendoza line as the team heads back to Fenway, with catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia hitting at .188, first baseman Mike Napoli at .179, and rookie Jackie Bradley Jr. at .143. Because Saltalamacchia and Napoli have historically hit better at Fenway, expect them to break out of their early season slumps this week. As for Bradley, he will continue to see major league pitching for the first time and learn from his early-season mistakes in an effort to be offensively productive on this homestand.

Mauro Gomez DFA situation: First baseman Mauro Gomez, who was designated for assignment last Sunday, will know his fate by Wednesday at the latest. The long-time minor leaguer will be claimed off waivers or traded to another team, released, or outrighted to AAA Pawtucket. With the Miami Marlins in dire need of a first baseman, Gomez could be a fit there. The most likely case is that Gomez passes through waivers and is outrighted by the Red Sox early this week.

How serious is the Lackey injury? After an MRI on his injured right arm, John Lackey will know more about his near future as the week progresses. While the team downplayed the injury and attributed it to the biceps area, fears are still present that the surgically-repaired elbow may be affected, in which case a more serious treatment program would be put in place. Lackey would be slated to pitch Friday against Tampa Bay, but the off-day allows the Sox to skip his spot in the rotation and go with a four-man crew if he only needs a week to rest. Spot starter options include minor league lefty Chris Hernandez, knuckleballer Steven Wright, or Alfredo Aceves, who has been the weakest member of the team’s bullpen to this point. According to John Tomase of the Boston Herald, promoting Aceves to the rotation is the most likely scenario.

Red Sox Interested in Aaron Harang: Another potential Lackey replacement is right-handed starter Aaron Harang, who began the season with the Dodgers but was traded to the Rockies on Saturday. The Rockies immediately designated Harang for assignment, and are looking to trade him within the next ten days. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the Red Sox are interested in trading for the veteran, along with the Astros and Twins. While the Sox may just be doing due diligence, the preliminary interest in Harang may indicate that the team is continually looking for pitching depth in fear of a severe injury to Lackey.

 

 

Monday, 08 April 2013 02:46

Exclusive Interview with Jason Garcia

Written by

 

Jason Garcia

Bats: Right, Throws: Right

Height: 6' 0", Weight: 185 lb.

Born: November 21, 1992 in Land O Lakes, Florida, US (Age 20)

High School: Land O'Lakes HS (Land O'Lakes, FL)

Drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 17th round of the 2010 MLB June Amateur Draft from Land O'Lakes HS (Land O'Lakes, FL).

Minor League Service Time (01/2013): 1 year

 

1) How did you make the decision to go to the pros rather than play college baseball?

Getting drafted was always a goal of mine.  When it happened I knew right away, yes this is what I want.

 

2) In 2012 you seemed to struggle a bit, how do you plan to rebound?

Yes, I struggled a bit but if you were to ask me what's my best year I would say last years. I've learned a lot and it was the first time I think I've felt with struggling. I'm excited about this year. I feel last year made me stronger, smarter and more prepared for what a full season has to come.

 

3) What was it like in high-school to get scouted by major league teams and how did you deal with the pressure?

It was honestly a great feeling. I went from getting barely any notice my junior year to multiple scouts every game. It definitely was a confidence booster. Ask any guy who had scouts at their games and they will say the same. It felt good to be doing things that make you noticeable by MLB scouts.

 

4) What was your favorite team and player growing up?

Growing up it was the NY Mets. My uncle had season tickets and took me to a lot of games. My favorite player was tough. It was between Mike piazza and Pedro Martinez, which was awesome to get the chance to meet him this spring.

 

5) What does your arsenal of pitches consist of?

I throw a 4-seam, 2-seam, circle change and a slider.

 

6) What has been your favorite minor league moment so far?

My favorite minor league moment would definitely have to be getting my first win in pro ball.

 

7) Lastly what other sports did you play growing up?

 Growing up I played hockey and football. Football was my main sport. Around 11 I decided I wanted to play travel ball which forced me to take a season off from football and from than on baseball was my love.

 

It’s been a pleasure having the chance to interview you. Hopefully we’ll see you with Red Sox soon.

Stay here at CLNSRadio.com or follow me on Twitter @RobBestWiller,

 

Celtics 107, Wizards 96

Boston Globe Boston Herald WEEI CSNNE ESPN Boston Yahoo (AP)

Boston Globe With Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce back, now is the time for the Celtics to hit playoff stride - Gary Washburn looks into what the team must do in the next 10 days to prepare for the playoffs.

Boston Herald  Kevin Garnett makes everything better - Steve Bulpett discusses Garnett's instrumental value. Jason Collins warmly welcomed back to Garden - Tom Layman notes the kind reception given to the C's former center.

WEEI Paul Pierce on Kevin Garnett: 'We're not going anywhere without Kevin's presence' - Mike Petraglia shares what the Captain had to say about his fellow Hall of Fame teammate.

NESN  Brandon Bass May Be Biggest Beneficiary of Return of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce to Celtics - Ben Watanabe explains.

CSNNE Bass thinks less to contribute more - Jessica Camerato suggests a simple explanation for Brandon Bass' early season struggles, which appear to be over. Bradley does work on Wall - A. Sherrod Blakely is very impressed with the defense Avery Bradley played on Wizards star guard John Wall.

ESPN Boston  Kevin Garnett makes all the difference - Chris Forberg agrees on the indispensability of KG. Postgame: Crawford quiet vs. old friends - Jordan Crawford had just 6 points against his former club.

Celtics Hub Celtics Wizards Grades - Garnett, Bass, and the Head Coach all receive high marks.

Celtics Blog Celtics bigs stepping up big lately - Bass, Wilcox, and Randolph have all been contributing.

 

Follow Mark on twitter @LucidSportsFan

Monday, 08 April 2013 02:43

Locker Room Video: Garnett's Back!

Written by

 

The Celtics beat the Washington Wizards in a game that featured the return of Paul Pierce (who sat the last game due to an ankle injury) and Kevin Garnett, who hadn’t played since March 8. However, it was Brandon Bass that stole the show, scoring 20 points and grabbing six rebounds.

Kevin Garnett said it felt good to be back, but was all-praise to Bass, Wilcox and Randolph (who finished the game with a combined 21 points and 12 rebounds on 8-9 shooting).

 

Brandon Bass talked about his big night, said it is a lot easier to play with Garnett and reassured the media he has no problem playing power forward or center.

 

 

Doc Rivers was thankful to see Brendon Bass stepping up and even more thankful to see Garnett back on the floor.

 

 

Paul Pierce, who received the Red Auerbach trophy prior to the game, was also glad to see Garnett in uniform again.

 

 

Chris Wilcox contributed with 13 points (a season-high) and five rebounds, and was yet another Celtic to rejoice at Garnett’s presence.

 

 

Avery Bradley went a different direction and talked about the bench’s influence on the Celtics. Tonight, they contributed with 42 points.

 

 

Bradley, Green, Pierce, Bass and Garnett. That was the Celtics' starting line-up vs. the Wizards, the first time Doc and the fans got to see what we hope is the starting line-up for the playoffs. It worked tonight, as they beat the Wizards 107-96.

 

Despite Garnett and Pierce's comeback, though, the Celtics counted on good performances by Chris Wilcox,Shavlik Randolph and especially Brandon Bass, who finished the game with 20 points and 6 rebounds. 

Jared Weiss of CLNS Radio recaps the game in Three at the Buzzer. 

BOSTON – In Kevin Garnett's long awaited return to the court, the Celtics hold a slender lead over the Wizards at 56-52. Brandon Bass has eight points and five rebounds (two offensive), but Pierce is ice cold at 2-for-9 from the field.

Garnett scorwed a pair of baskets and grabbed two rebounds, looking a little off with his shot. However, Garnett moved well and landed from rebounds comfortably. His passing made an immediate impact on the game and the difference in the Celtics' ball movement with him on the floor was immediately apparent.

John Wall, not surprisingly, was the star of the first half, scoring 10 points along with 6 assists. Wall carved up the Celtics defense with ease and nailed three jumpers from the elbow.

Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster spread the floor well, each going 2-for-4 from deep.

 

Stay tuned for more updates from the CLNS Locker Room crew.

 

BOSTON -- What storyline do you want to talk about? The return of Kevin Garnett? Garnett played 25 minutes and scored 12 points while grabbing six rebounds. How about Paul Pierce getting back in the lineup? The Boston Celtics captain's presence was calming but he didn't shoot particularly well, going 5-13 from the field. Jordan Crawford -- even if he needed reminding -- played the Washington Wizards for the first time since the mid-season trade that brought him to Boston. The revenge factor was only good for six points.

Truth be told, no one story really stood out for the Celtics on Sunday night. At the end of the day, however, another win is in the books and that’s the only thing that matters right now.

It was fitting that Boston’s unsung hero and most under-appreciated starter, Brandon Bass, led the team in scoring on the night. Bass had an efficient night from the floor, hitting nine of 12 shots (and both free throws) for 20 points and was second on the team with six rebounds. Tommy Heinsohn summed up his night after he dunked with 5:00 left in the third quarter. “In your face!” exclaimed the passionate CSNNE color commentator.

All ten Celtics who played scored -- by the end of the first half no less -- and Boston’s offense rolled over the Wizards, 107-96 as the home team improved to 40-37 on the season.

The Celtics beat Washington (29-48) in all three meetings this season.

Avery Bradley’s suffocating defense held John Wall in check. Coming off a 37-point performance against the Pacers at the Verizon Center in D.C. Wall (team-high16 points, 10 assists) was unable to get into a shooting rhythm against Bradley who aggressively shadowed the star point guard 94 feet.

The Celtics exploded for 31 points in the third quarter to open up a two-touchdown lead (with the extra points) after leading by just four at the half, 56-52. Their lead ballooned to 17 points at one point after Pierce stepped into a three-pointer to give Boston a 77-60 lead.

It’s been awhile since the Celtics were completely healthy and I for one, almost forgot how well they can play as a unit. The Wizards might not be a playoff team in the standings, but since Wall came back, they’ve been playing like one. A 24-20 record over the course of an 82-game season would translate into a 44-win season and would’ve place them in the the 6-seed this season.

Washington is a top-five team defensively going by John Hollinger’s defensive efficiency ratings. The Celtics offense shot 55.8% from the field. Because of that proficiency, Boston wasn’t truly threatened in the fourth quarter when Washington closed the gap to just 10 with just under four minutes left after a Martell Webster three-ball.

Pierce and Garnett did have to re-enter the game to close it out after that. Pierce nailed a  clutch shot from distance at the 2:38 mark and Bass’ jumper with 1:58 to put Boston up 103-88 iced the game for good.

KG still has a little ways to go before he has his legs back under him after missing the last eight game due to an ankle injury. Fortunately, there are five more games to go and the Celtics are all but assured the 7-seed in the Eastern Conference...and will likely face the New York Knicks -- only the hottest team in the NBA right now, winners of 12 straight -- in the first round.

Note via @CLNSRadio: Paul Pierce has passed Charles Oakley for sole possession of 25th all time in #NBA history in minutes with 40,281.

 

____________________________

Tune into the Celtics Post Game Show

Immediately following the Washington Wizards @ Boston Celtics

Call in: 347-215-7771 | Listen Live | Join the CelticsBlog Chat | Stream from your mobile device  

 

Sunday, 07 April 2013 21:14

Johnson Dominates Martinsville

Written by

Jimmie Johnson set a new track record when he won the pole for the STP Gas Booster 500 on Friday.  On Sunday, he showed that his car was also fast during race conditions.  Johnson led 347 laps on his way to winning his eighth race at Martinsville.

Jimmie Johnson won the pole, and he led the field to the green flag at Martinsville.  Marcos Ambrose was able to hang with Johnson on the outside for the lead, and Ambrose led lap one.  But Johnson was able to get around Ambrose for the lead on lap two.  Johnson led until the first caution came out on lap 16.  Under the caution, some of the cars in the back of the pack pitted while the leaders stayed out.

The race restarted on lap 22, and Johnson was able to get ahead of Ambrose for the lead, and Brian Vickers was able to get ahead of Ambrose for second.  Johnson began to lap the end of the field, including Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who was running 32nd.  On lap 70, Scott Speed stopped on the frontstretch to bring out the second caution.  The field came down pit road, and Johnson was able to win the race off pit road, beating Kyle Busch and Jamie McMurray.  

Johnson led the field back to the green flag on lap 77, and he was able to get down in front of Busch heading into Turn 1.  On lap 89, Busch was able to get around Johnson for the lead.  After following Busch for awhile, Johnson was able to work his way back into the lead on lap 104.  

The caution came out on lap 174 for the grille from Stenhouse's car lying on the track.  Johnson brought the field down pit road, and he was able to beat Busch off pit road.  

The race restarted on lap 179, and Johnson was able to get ahead of Busch for the lead.  The caution came out on lap 180 for a big stack-up on the track that led to Clint Bowyer spinning on the frontstretch.  Numerous cars received damage, including Bowyer, Vickers, Ambrose, Joey Logano, Stenhouse, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr., Jeff Burton, McMurray, Travis Kvapil, and Mark Martin. 

Bowyer's car sits in the middle of the frontstretch after getting spun (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

The race restarted on lap 198, and Johnson was once again able to get ahead of Busch for the lead.  On lap 224, Matt Kenseth gave Johnson a little bump going into Turn 1 to take the lead.  Johnson nudged Kenseth as he took the lead.

On lap 240, David Reutimann spun in Turn 4.  The leaders came down pit road, and Kenseth led Busch and Johnson off pit road. 

The race restarted on lap 248, and Kenseth was able to get ahead of Busch for the lead.  Mark Martin only took two tires under the caution, and he quickly fell back as soon as the green flag dropped.  After restarting third, he quickly fell down to 16th.  On lap 253, Carl Edwards cut down a left-rear tire, and he spun in Turn 4.  

Martin was one of the drivers who pitted under the caution so he could change tires.  When the team dropped the jack, Martin's left-front tire fell off the car, and the team couldn't get the tire back on before they lost a lap.  Martin was filling in for Denny Hamlin this weekend, so he was with a new team for this race. 

Kenseth was able to get ahead of Busch for the lead on the lap 259 restart.  Coming through Turn 4 on lap 262, Kurt Busch cut down a left-front tire, and he didn't realize that it was flat until he drove around on it for a couple laps.  While that was going on, Kyle Busch was able to get around Kenseth for the lead. 

On lap 279, Martin Truex Jr. got oil on his tires, and he spun through Turns 3 and 4.  The leaders made pit stops, and Busch led Kenseth and Johnson off pit road.  

The race restarted on lap 286, and Busch was able to get ahead of Kenseth for the lead.  Heading into Turn 3, Brad Keselowski shoved Kenseth, causing Kenseth to lock up his brakes trying to slow down.  The caution came out on lap 292, when Kurt Busch was spun by David Gilliland in Turn 4. 

Kyle Busch beat Kenseth on the restart on lap 297.  Kenseth was able to work his way around Busch for the lead, and Johnson followed to take second place.  With 150 laps to go, Kurt Busch began to slow on the track, and he was almost run over by numerous cars on the track.  He took his car to the garage with a fuel-pickup issue.

The caution came out on lap 360 for Ryan Newman, who cut down a flat tire.  Newman stopped on the backstretch to bring out the caution, so NASCAR decided to hold him three lap on pit road.  The leaders came down pit road, and Johnson beat Kenseth off pit road. 

The race restarted on lap 368, and Johnson was able to beat Kenseth down into Turn 1.  On lap 424, Newman cut down another right-front tire and smacked the outside wall.  This time, however, he was able to get down to the pits without bringing out the caution.  

On lap 448, Vickers cut down a left-rear tire, and he spun coming out of Turn 2.  Johnson brought the field down pit road, and he beat Gordon and Clint Bowyer off pit road.  

The race restarted on lap 458, and Johnson was able to beat Gordon off Turn 2 to take the lead.  On lap 465, Bowyer was able to work his way around Gordon for second place.  At the same time, Earnhardt was spun by Danica Patrick in Turn 3 to bring out the caution.  Patrick was hit by Vickers going into the corner, which got Patrick loose.

Johnson led the field back to the green flag on lap 472.  Bowyer was able to get behind Johnson in second while Gordon and Kyle Busch fought for third. On lap 485, the caution came out when Kurt Busch hit the outside wall and his car caught on fire.  The race was put under a red flag so that the track could be cleaned up quickly.

The race restarted on lap 492, and Johnson was able to beat Bowyer off Turn 2 to take the lead.  Bowyer tried everything he could to get to Johnson, but he couldn't get close enough to make a move, and Johnson was able to win his eighth Martinsville race.  After the checkered flag, Kevin Harvick spun Vickers heading into Turn 1.

Here are the unnoficial results, courtesy NASCAR.com:

1. Jimmie Johnson

2. Clint Bowyer

3. Jeff Gordon

4. Kasey Kahne

5. Kyle Busch

6. Brad Keselowski

7. Jamie McMurray

8. Marcos Ambrose

9. Greg Biffle

10. Mark Martin

11. Brian Vickers

12. Danica Patrick

13. Kevin Harvick

14. Matt Kenseth

15. Carl Edwards

16. Casey Mears

17. Tony Stewart

18. Jeff Burton

19. Paul Menard

20. Aric Almirola

21. Bobby Labonte

22. Regan Smith

23. Joey Logano

24. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

25. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

26. Juan Pablo Montoya

27. J.J. Yeley

28. David Gilliland

29. Dave Blaney

30. David Ragan

31. Ryan Newman

32. Ken Schrader

33. Landon Cassill

34. Joe Nemechek

35. Josh Wise

36. David Stremme

37. Kurt Busch

38. David Reutimann

39. Travis Kvapil

40. Martin Truex Jr.

41. Scott Speed

42. Scott Riggs

43. Michael McDowell

Johnson won his eighth career Martinsville race, which puts him in third place on the all-time Martinsville wins list, behind Darrell Waltrip and Richard Petty.  Johnson never ran lower than fourth place, and showed that he is still very dominant at Martinsville in the Gen 6 car.  Next week, the Sprint Cup Series will race under the lights on Saturday night.  The NRA 500 can be seen at 7:30 p.m., only on FOX.

 

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If you missed the latest episode of the Celtics Beat with Daniel Baker and Adam "Stats Adam" Lowenstein, we've got you covered!

The guys take a look at Sunday's Wizards@Celtics game and make their predictions.

They are joined by Dave Zirin, host of Edge of Sports on SiriusXM and most recently the author of Game Over: How Politics has Turned the Sports World Upside Down. Zirin says John Wall needs to improve his three-point shot to become a max-player...and so does Rajon Rondo. "The worst thing that can happen to an injured superstar is to find out that he is expendable."

Daniel and Adam take a look at the scorching-hot New York Knicks. Daniel thinks Carmelo Anthony deserves MVP votes, Adam sees Jordan Crawford winning a playoff game for the Celtics. Are they crazy?!

Find them on Twitter: @Daniel_Baker9 and @StatsAdam and please give our show a follow @Celtics_Beat as well.

Media

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Sunday, 07 April 2013 22:04

Celtics Video: Doc on Garnett & Pierce's Return

Written by

BOSTON – Kevin Garnett makes his long-awaited return to the floor Sunday evening along with Paul Pierce as the Celtics face a revamped Wizards team that has reinvented itself upon the return of John Wall.

Garnett will return to the starting lineup without any official restrictions. “I’ll watch Kevin,” Doc Rivers said. “I mean, I doubt if he plays his normal 30 minutes. So I’ll watch him but there’s no limitation by any of the doctors or anything.”

Both Pierce and Garnett have been out with ankle injuries, but the soreness is gone for the most part and they are ready to return to the starting lineup. “They said they felt good today so that’s a good sign because we worked hard yesterday and neither one felt like he was sore or anything like that,” Rivers said.

While Pierce has only missed a couple games, Garnett has been out for the past two weeks. The first issue when returning from a lower body injury is getting back to peak conditioning. “He looked good. He looked normal,” Doc said. “Really, it’s just his wind was absent. Other than that, basketball wise, he looked great.”

Avery Bradley bruised his left collarbone in Friday night’s loss to the Cavaliers, but he will start Sunday night. It will be a seemingly rare occurrence in the Garden for the Celtics, as they will suit up all of their active players for the first time in weeks.

“It will be nice to look at the bench and see more guys down there,” Doc joked. “But I expect us, you know, to be well rested because of it. Different guys playing now. So it’s nice because you have time to try to get some kind of rhythm back.”

The Celtics get a visit from their old teammate Jason Collins, who was traded for Jordan Crawford on deadline day in February. Considering the Celtics’ struggles with their interior defense over the past month, it comes as no surprise that Doc misses him.

“He literally is one of the best guys, I’ve said it before, but he is one of the best guys I’ve ever had in the locker room. Player or coach,” Doc said.

“It’s funny, I didn’t know him very well until we got him. I literally didn’t. I used to call him, the two twins, I just called them the same name: Jason. Both of them. I didn’t know which one was which. He’s just good. He’s a good guy and what he says is the truth.

Collins’ role was reduced, for the most part, to manning the pivot and pick setting on offense. But he had a notable impact on the locker room that left a void upon his departure. “He’s just honest,” Doc said. “He’s honest with the coaching staff, but he’s honest with payers. A player will complain about something and he’ll tell him the truth when guys don’t want to hear the truth.”

 

Washington Wizards (29-47, 7-30 Away) @ Boston Celtics (39-37, 26-12 Home)

TD Garden, 6:00 PM EST

Officials: Jason Phillips, Scott Twardoski, Leon Wood

Line: Boston -4.5, Over/Under = 199.5

Get Tickets to Tonight’s Game at the TD Garden

 

The Boston Celtics host the Washington Wizards on this Sunday night at 6:00 PM EST. The Celtics enter the game on the heels of a Friday night loss at the hands of Cleveland. The Wizards enter the game after beating Indiana last night. The two teams have met twice this season, with both games ending in favor of the Celtics. Both Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce will be active for tonight's game.

 
PROBABLE STARTERS

 

Washington Wizards

PG: John Wall

SG: Garrett Temple

SF: Martell Webster

PF: Nene

C: Emeka Okafor

 

Boston Celtics

PG: Avery Bradley

SG: Paul Pierce

SF: Jeff Green

PF: Brandon Bass

PF: Kevin Garnett

 
INJURIES

Bradley Beal, OUT (Ankle)

LeAndro Barbosa, OUT (Knee)

 

Rajon Rondo, OUT (Knee)

Jared Sullinger, OUT (Back)

 
WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Kevin Garnett will be returning to line up for the first time since suffering an ankle injury on March 22.

Paul Pierce will also be back in action after missing Friday's contest with an injured ankle.

This will be the first time Jordan Crawford will play against his former team, the Washington Wizards. He was traded in exchange for LeAndro Barbosa and Jason Collins at the trade deadline.

John Wall has played incredibly recently, averaging 27.0 points per game over the last two weeks.

 

NOTES

The Wizards and Celtics have not met since teams have not met since November 7th.

Boston Celtics: Pace: 91.7 (16th), Off Rtg: 102.6 (25th), Def Rtg: 102.9 (7th)

Washington Wizards: Pace: 92.0 (15th), Off Rtg: 100.1 (30th), Def Rtg: 102.3 (4th)

 
PREDICTION

The Celtics should have an easy time winning tonight's contest as both Garnett and Pierce will be back in the line up. The Wizards have struggled on the road all season, and there have no reason that will change tonight.

Boston Celtics 101, Washington Wizards 94

____________________________

Tune into the Celtics Post Game Show

Immediately following the Cleveland Cavaliers @ Boston Celtics

Call in: 347-215-7771 | Listen Live | Join the CelticsBlog Chat | Stream from your mobile device

Sunday, 07 April 2013 21:01

Report: Rob Gronkowski will "likely" have surgery

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Photo courtesy of Matt Stone/Boston Herald

 

FOXBOROUGH, Mass.--  According to a report from ESPNBoston.com, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski will go under the knife once again. Two sources close to ESPNBoston’s Mike Reiss told him that it is “very likely” that the tight end will have surgery on his left forearm, this time to remove a plate inserted in his arm. The plate acted as a preventive in order to ensure the eradication of an infection located there.

If another surgery is deemed necessary, the recovery period would be “about 10 weeks” according to the report. This could affect Gronkowski’s ability to play at the start of the 2013 campaign. This injury first became noticeable, when according to the report, Gronkowski’s “arm was swollen and he noticed some discharge. “ He then called the Patriots, who arranged for him to come back to Boston in order to resolve the problem.

New England’s spokesperson Stacey Andrews said on Sunday that “the team doesn’t expect to comment.”

This injury occurred when the Patriots played host to the Indianapolis Colts on November 18.  Since then, the 23 year old has undergone various treatments, including a six-week cycle of antibiotics that he is almost done with, according to a report written Sunday from the Boston Herald. However, since doctors are not sure whether the treatments have been effective or not, they will need to take out the forearm plate to check.

He caught 55 passes for 790 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. His best game came when the Patriots traveled overseas to London to face the St. Louis Rams. In that contest, he caught eight passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns. Now, the beginning of his season is in jeopardy as he tries to get back to becoming a dominant tight end in the National Football League. 

 

Take in the dynamic duo of Daniel Baker and Adam "Stats Adam" Lowenstein on today's Celtics Beat from 5-6pm. It's an early start as the guys will preview the Wizards@Celtics game and decide how worried Celtics fans should be with the Kevin Garnett injury.   Daniel and Adam welcome Dave Zirin, host of Edge of Sports, and most recently the author of Game Over; How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down, to the show at 5:15 to talk about his hometown Wizards. Will John Wall get a max-extension this summer? Does he deserve one? Zirin will take a look at the entire NBA with the guys as well.   With the playoffs on the horizon, Daniel and Adam look into their crystal balls to preview the potential match-ups for the Celtics.   So tune in an hour early from 5-6pm and LISTEN LIVE HERE!
Sunday, 07 April 2013 19:10

Boston Bruins: A Week in Review

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Well, it has been another crazy few weeks in what has become a very crazy shortened season for the black and gold. A lack of consistency in all areas has created this up and down roller coaster that has even the most die-hard fans confused and uncertain about where this team stands.

The whirlwind that has been the last two weeks is really just a microcosm of the team after their relatively hot start. We all knew points would be at a premium with the shortened season, but the boys seem to have this lack of focus and effort which is even more concerning than the lack of points they have been tallying.

We can start by looking at Wednesday March 27th, a night full of frustration. The Habs were in town, first place was on the line, oh, and trade talks were heating up. It was a heated affair and a definite playoff atmosphere. The Bruins again dug themselves a 2-0 hole, but they battled back, netting 4 straight in the second. They would enter the third up two goals, and you would think that killer instinct would take over. Montreal would cut into the lead, but Boston would again add some insurance and take a 5-3 lead. Long story short, Montreal tied the game up with less than 10 seconds remaining, and would take the 2 points in a marathon shootout. Hard to believe, but the news would only get worse.

Jarome Iginla was scratched up in Calgary, and when Boston countered by scratching Bartkowski in Providence, the rumors started swirling that the deal was complete. Iggy was going to be wearing black and gold and Chiarelli had just delivered another great deadline deal, in theory pulling the B’s even with the Penguins and their pickups of Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray. Reports came out, Aaron Ward confirmed them, and Bruins fans went to sleep still hating the Habs, but wicked excited about Iginla.

Then we woke up Thursday morning to a giant punch in the gut. Confusion and frustration were the two words I could best use to describe myself. Iginla had chosen then Penguins and the chance to play with Sidney Crosby over the 8 spoked B. Reports after the trade had fallen through indicated that the Bruins were in fact told they had won the sweepstakes.

The Bruins would get their last two-day break of the season before traveling to Philadelphia in what was sure to be a physical matchup between two old time hockey clubs. Fans watched the headlines to see how the front office was going to try to piece together some much-needed offensive acquisitions. They picked up Kaspars Daugavans off waivers, but he surely was not going to be the answer.

A rested up, energized team took the ice on Saturday March 30th to play the Broad Street Bullies. Wow is about all I could say about that game. Both clubs should have been embarrassed with the product they put on the ice. Coined a “snooze fest” by the media, the game lacked any emotion or excitement. You could somewhat understand that from Philly, who was sitting dead last in their division and all but mathematically out of a playoff spot. Boston, however, should have been looking to make statement. They once again got behind early, and their lack of offensive production proved costly as they left another two points on the table.

They would play the next night in Buffalo, against a team that has become one of their most exciting and biggest rivals over the last few seasons. Surely now we would get to see the Big Bad Bruins come out with emotion! Well, not exactly. They did not get behind, which was positive, but once again, they looked disinterested. Not that I need to see a fight or extracurricular to say the team is engaged, but let’s be honest, that is how the B’s show their engagement. There was nothing of the sort. There was little offensive flow, and the team looked to be going through the motions, or playing not to lose. That being said, the first line came through in the 3rd and the Bruins were able to take two points out of a divisional game. Biggest news on the night, Anton Khudobin had a nice new mask on. Sum up the game for you?

Tuesday April 2nd, the biggest splash of the year from the folks on Causeway Street. Now, was it a great day or an awful day? I will leave that up to you to decide. (Mostly because I have not decided myself) The Bruins traded for the living legend Jaromir Jagr from the Dallas Stars and would give up Lane Mcdermid, Cody Payne, and a conditional 2nd round pick. Did they give up too much? If Jagr is a 2 month rental, I say yes. Unless of course he helps bring home the hardware this summer. But the bad news was coming.

He would not be joining the B’s on the ice that night in Boston for another divisional tilt with the Senators. The Bruins would again get behind early, this time only by a single goal though. Two straight first period tallies would put the Bruins ahead going into the intermission. Ottawa would tie it up before Nathan Horton would eventually pot the game winner. It was great to take the two points, but it came with a very big price tag. Arguably the B’s best player, and the league’s best defensive forward, Patrice Bergeron left the game and was later diagnosed with a moderate concussion. Given Bergy’s concussion history, this is extremely scary news. All reports have been that he is in good spirits and feeling no real effects yet, but if there’s anything we know about concussion’s, it’s that they are unpredictable and status can change at the drop of a hat. Let’s all hope for a speedy recovery.

The Bruins would make a minor league exchange, trading Maxime Suave to the Blackhawks farm team for a more robust player in Rob Flick.

Jaromir Jagr would don the black and gold for the first time on Thursday night against old pal Martin Brodeur and the New Jersey devils. In typical Boston versus New Jersey fashion, it was tight checking and clogged, both teams willingly playing stellar defense as opposed to high flying offense. Jagr would find his name penciled on a line with young guns Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin. Jagr would score the lone goal of the night when Marchand slipped a pass across the crease and it went off Jagr’s skate and in. Jagr improved to 6-0 in debut games, scoring 6 goals and also having 6 assists, helping keep Brodeur’s all-time wins at 666 (thank you Jack Edwards).

Last night was the all-important last matchup of the regular season with the Habs. The game again lacked emotion and grit, and all three goals were deflections. It was just one of those games where the bounces did not go Boston’s way. If you would have asked the goalies after the game, both would have probably agreed the game should have been 0-0. I think it is safe to say that the Bruins are in need of a wake-up call.

The talk was that this team was tired last year, still too hung over from carrying the cup around. Things would be different this year. The team was focused, ready, and mad that they were no longer considered the club at the top of the NHL mountain.

This team went 13-2-2 in January and February, and looked like the well-oiled machine that Peter Chiarelli and Co. advertised. A lackluster March has proven costly, so to speak. The Bruins went 9-6-2 and gave away too many points. This team has made errors that are not supposed to be in their make-up, and certainly were not made in 2011 when Lord Stanley made his way back home. They have fallen behind early in games and were forced to play catch up, which is losing hockey. When they were able to battle back or gain the lead, they let too many third period leads evaporate. The question being asked now is are they playing down to their competition, or is this team in its current state just not that good?

Now let me reel myself and anyone who may be wanting hit the panic button back in. Even with these struggles, we are talking about a team that is currently 3 points out of the division lead with a game in hand and 11 remaining. It is a team sitting in 4th place in the Eastern Conference, and based on points, 5th in the NHL. This is a tight defensive team that going into the day had given up the least goals in the league. We all know how important team defense and goal tending are come playoff time. I am hoping for Bergeron to come back healthy. Chris Kelly could possibly be back on the ice Monday night against Carolina and Adam McQuaid has been on the ice for the last week.

These last eleven games are going to be extremely telling in what we can expect when the playoffs begin. Seeding is going to be very important this year I believe. There are certain teams that the Bruins have had some issues with that would be a very scary matchup. Regardless, this team needs to show some metal and make a deep push. Another quick exit may force managements hand to move what is now considered a core piece.

Until next time, Let’s Go Black and Gold!!!

On Saturday afternoon, bloggers, fans, and members of the Boston sports media piled into The Harp (located near the TD Garden) for 4-hours worth of sports talk and networking. Boston Sports Blogapalooza is an annual event held in Boston that allows sports enthusiasts to get together and have a great time.

Attending the event itself was free, but donations were encouraged and attendees received one raffle ticket for each dollar donated. Proceeds from the event will go to the Miracle League of Massachusetts in honor of Rich Shertenlieb of 98.5 The Sports Hub and his wife Mary.           

At the end of the event, with over 100 people in attendance, founder Joe Gill announced that over $1500 was raised for the Miracle League of MA. 

Joe Gill spoke with CLNS Radio's Jared Weiss live from the event on Saturday. You can find out more about the event and what it's all about in the video below.     

Sunday, 07 April 2013 16:35

Patriots Draft Preview

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The last time we saw the New England Patriots on the field, it was during a disappointing 28-13 loss in the AFC Championship game to the Baltimore Ravens. The Patriots struggled in the second half, allowing 21 points to the Ravens and not scoring any points themselves. This game was a showcase of some of the major flaws that the Patriots have on offense and defense.

The Patriots have made some moves in free agency however, trying to patch some of their positional holes. Safety Adrian Wilson (Cardinals) and Wide Receiver Danny Amendola (Rams) were the two big names the Patriots signed early on, while also adding Wide Receiver Donald Jones (Bills), Running Back and Kick Return specialist Leon Washington (Seahawks), and Wide Receiver Michael Jenkins (Vikings).

But with signings also come departures, and the major ones the Patriots faced have been Wide Receiver Wes Welker (Broncos), Safety Patrick Chung (Eagles), Running Back Danny Woodhead (Chargers), and Wide Receiver Brandon Lloyd (Released).

It seems like Bill Belichick and the rest of the Patriot front office intend to use the draft as a way to add some talent, but it doesn’t look like they will have a lot to work with. To date, the Patriots currently have 5 selections in the upcoming draft, and if no other picks are acquired, it would be the lowest amount of draft picks the Patriots have ever had in a single draft.

Now we all know that Bill Belichick loves to move around in the draft, which makes it impossible for anyone to predict who or where the Patriots will select. So for the purpose of this draft preview, we will assume the Patriots will keep all of their picks, and select players at each pick.

1st Round, (29th Overall) CB, Johnathan Banks, Mississippi State

The Patriots brought in Cornerback Aqib Talib from Tampa Bay last season to sure up their secondary, and he looked great when he was on the field. However, his off the field and injury problems have become a concern. Banks would bring much needed talent and depth to a secondary that struggled for most of the season. Banks is well known for his quick footwork, and ball hawking skills, two traits the Patriots have been coveting since Asante Samuel left for Philadelphia after the 2007 season. With experience at Safety as well, Banks brings the versatility that Belichick loves in a player.  With Alfonzo Dennard (legal problems), and Ras-I Dowling (injuries) question marks at cornerback, it seems like Johnathan Banks would make the most sense.

* Other Potential Picks: Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington and DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson.

 

2nd round, (59th Overall) WR, Justin Hunter, Tennessee

The Patriots signed Brandon Lloyd during free agency last year in hopes of finding the down field threat they lost when they traded Randy Moss during the 2010 season. The Patriots will now have another chance at grabbing a receiver who can “take the top off the defense.” At 6-foot-4, and with an arm length at 33 ¼ feet, Hunter is a tall and long receiver who has a spectacular catching interval. Not only did Hunter have outstanding statistics last season (73 receptions, 1,083 yards, and nine touchdowns) but he also is great at making plays after the catch, something the Patriots will need with the departure of Wes Welker. Hunter would be a great compliment to tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, and would bring much needed depth at the receiver position with the departures of Lloyd and Welker, and the uncertain return of Julian Edelman. At 59th overall, Hunter would be a great addition.

* Other Potential Picks: Kyle Long, OT, Oregon and Sio Moore, OLB, Connecticut.

 

3rd Round (91st Overall) CB, Tyrann Mathieu, LSU

Tyrann Mathieu has been linked to the Patriots by almost every draft analyst, ever since his comments to NFL Network in which he said the Patriots questioned him extensively on his continued use of marijuana. Mathieu was considered a high first round pick after his breakout sophomore season at LSU, but drug problems led to his dismissal from the team, and now he is looked at as a second or third round pick. If Mathieu is available at 91, I would be very surprised if the Patriots passed on him. Mathieu brings something to the Patriots that they need desperately, and that is the ability to cause turnovers. Mathieu was known in college for forcing turnovers, and led the SEC with eight fumble recoveries in his two years on the field. His lack of size (5-foot-9) is one of his biggest question marks, but a late third round pick would be a low risk for a potential high reward.

* Other Potential Picks: Bacarri Rambo, S, Georgia and John Simon, DE, Ohio State.

 

7th Round (226th Overall) DE, Tourek Williams, Florida International University

The Patriots make their first selection since the 3rd round, and grab a player not well known in the country. Bill Belichick has shown he will draft players not known to most people (see Tavon Wilson last season). Williams recorded 6.5 sacks in 12 games last season, with 14.5 tackles for loss. The Patriots already have a defensive lineman they drafted last year in Jake Bequette, and I see Williams bringing some competition into training camp. The Patriots defensive front struggled when rookie Chandler Jones went down with injury, so it is safe to assume the Patriots will want to bolster their defensive line with as many players as they can.

* Other Potential Picks: David King, DE, Oklahoma and Sam Brenner, OG, Utah.

 

7th Round (235th Overall) QB, Jordan Rodgers, Vanderbilt

Everyone knows that Tom Brady is not going to be around forever, and I would say he only has a few seasons left playing at a high level. The Patriots have made it clear that they are fine keeping backup QB Ryan Mallett, but they have also made it known that for the right price he is available. I don’t believe the Patriots have much faith in Mallett as the successor to Tom Brady, which leads to the selection of Jordan Rodgers. The younger brother of Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, Jordan had a very good senior year completing 60% percent of his passes, and throwing for over 2,500 yards. His low interception total, 5, is something coach Belichick will look at strongly, and ultimately lead to his selection. Rodgers also showed dramatic improvement from an awful junior year which showcases his ability to improve.

* Other Potential Picks: Keelan Johnson, S, Arizona State and Matt Stankiwitch, C, Penn State.

 

Obviously, these predictions are based off of the idea that the Patriots make no trades during the draft. I would not be surprised in the least if the Patriots trade that 1st round selection for more picks later in this draft, or for picks in the 2014 draft. With only three weeks until the draft begins, the Patriots will be busy scouting and visiting with potential picks.

 

 John Lackey leaves yesterday's game with a strained right biceps

  In his first start since he had his elbow surgically repaired a year and a half ago, Boston Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey left yesterday's early season contest against the Toronto Blue Jays with what is being called a biceps strain. 

  Lackey had worked extremely hard to get back on the mound this season including getting into better shape physically, dropping over 40 lbs in the off-season. This was due to be a bounce-back season for Lackey, as he has never lived up to his inflated five year, $82.5 million contract. 

 In the fifth inning, Lackey threw a pitch to Jose Reyes that ended up in the dirt and his right arm awkwardly flailed around to the left side of his back and he immediately hopped around in pain while his arm hung at his side. Red Sox manager John Farrell came rushing out of the dugout with trainer Rick Jameyson. 

 Lackey did speak to the media after the game saying that the injury "scared the crap out of him". His worst fear is having to go through the recovery process that he has endured in the last 18 months. 

 Lackey was pitching well in his first outing, having thrown 76 pitches in his 4 1/3 innings. Fifty of those pitches were for strikes and his velocity was very good at 94 MPH. He gave up two runs on five hits and struck out eight while his only walk was the one that Jose Reyes earned on Lackey's final pitch. 

 Lackey's injury was assessed in the training room in Toronto and it was determined that he did not have a rupture although he did return to Boston to have an MRI to be sure. 

 More on Lackey's injury as it becomes available on CLNSRadio.com as well as on Twitter @CLNSRedSox.

 

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The Celtics continue their home-stand as they face the Washington Wizards tonight at TD Garden...

The Celtics Post Game Show is now live. Your hosts are Sean Bakke, Nick Gelso and Daniel Baker.

As always, the guys will be taking your calls and hanging out in the CelticsBlog chat-room throughout the 120 minute broadcast.

Following the Celtics Post Game Podcast, the Garden Report will go live. Jared Weiss, Jimmy Toscano and Evans Clinchey will bring you the only Celtics post game show filmed on the parquet. 

Boston Globe Kevin Garnett returns to Celtics practice - Kevin Garnett participated in his first full-contact practice since missing eight games due to an inflamed ankle.

ESPN Boston KG returns to practice for C's - Kevin Garnett participated in his first full-contact practice since missing eight games due to an inflamed ankle. Practice: Bradley (collarbone) sits out - Avery Bradley missed practice yesterday because of a bruised collarbone. Bradley is not expected to miss any games because of the injury. W2W4: Celtics vs. Wizards (Game 77 of 82) - Chris Forsberg previews tonight's game against the Washington Wizards. Green on KG: 'I learn everything from him' - KG provides the perfect mentor for Jeff Green in his pursuit to perfect his game.

Boston Herald It's mind over matter for Kevin Garnett - Kevin Garnett describes his ideal condition, coming off of an injury and heading into the playoffs. In Jeff Green's corner - Georgetown University Hoyas coach John Thompson III expresses his fondness for Jeff Green, who has recently flourished in Boston. Celtics lurk as Heat playoff opener - For now, the Milwaukee Bucks are slated to meet the Miami Heat in the first round; however, it is possible for the C's to fall to the eighth seed and have to face Miami instead.

NESN Celtics-Wizards Live: John Wall Heads to Boston Looking to See Just How Much Wiz Have Improved - A preview for the Celtics' game against the Washington Wizards, plus live updates once the game starts.