Boston Sport Daily - 1/25/2013

by Hal Bent,

Welcome back to the Boston Sport Daily (daily in theory, at least!) feature, as I swing through the going-ons in the Boston sports scene with quick-hit opinions, analysis, and commentary. Checking in on all things Boston sports in a Manti Te’o-free zone with absolutely no fake dead girlfriends.

The New York Knicks came to town and just pulled out a three-point win over the Celtics on Thursday night as the Celtics again played well enough to hang in until the end, and just bad enough to lose.  The bench again betrayed Boston, as the Knicks were able to pull away at the end of the third quarter and hang on.  Celtics Guard Rajon Rondo had a hollow triple-double as he again padded his assists with unnecessary passes.  Celtics forward Paul Pierce again looked slow, old, and out of sync.  Pierce has no explosion and really has lost the quickness that allowed him to create his own shot.  As a catch-and-shoot forward, he is fine, but driving the lane he plows into opposing players desperately trying to draw a foul.

Celtics guard Courtney Lee continues to seem lost on the court.  Whatever he did in years past that made him look so good is non-existent when he dons the green and white.  He was a -17 in 15 minutes of court-time Thursday night.  That means New York outscored Boston by 17 points in the time Lee was on the court.  If there was a key to Celtics losing a tough game where they put out good effort, that was it.  The season is half over and Lee just seems lost on defense and hesitant on offense.  With everyone waiting for him to acclimate himself to the team, the season is half gone.  The time has come for general manager Danny Ainge to cut bait with Lee while there is still a team willing to trade for him.

On Thursday night, the Boston Bruins lost their first game of the young NHL season to a fellow-powerhouse squad, the New York Rangers in overtime 4 to 3.  The Bruins tied the game twice and got to overtime before the Rangers were able to deliver the knockout blow. Despite giving up four goals, goalie Tuukka Rask had an outstanding night in goal yet again, making saves like he was Tim Thomas and keeping the Bruins in position to come back and steal a point.

The best sign so far this short season featured the Bruins power-play, long a weakness under coach Claude Julien.  Against the Rangers, rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton lined up at the point in Ray Bourque’s old spot and let one rip that was tipped in by Brad Marchand.  A little more Dougie (there’s the phrase to use in the Bruins marketing department) on the power play should lead to more scoring opportunities and less of these 1 for 5 for the game like last night.  C’mon, more Dougie and forward Tyler Seguin on the ice on the power play!

So the pretty-boy Patriots act a little “aggressive” and the NFL offices over-react.  First the kicker gets fined $15,000 for a horse-collar tackle and now the quarterback gets fined $10,000 for sliding into Baltimore safety Ed Reed like he was Ty Cobb, spikes up as he protects himself.  C’mon, NFL.  It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.  Brady gets hit plenty of times without getting a flag, so what’s to stop a cheap shot when the game is out of reach like that?  I say too bad he did not connect to Reed’s groin like a Looney Toon or 3 Stooges short.  That would have been some great football follies replay.

* * *

Some great tennis down under in Australia.  Andy Murray beat Roger Federer in a great semifinal match.  Add in Serena Williams falling to teenager Sloane Stephens as well, and after a slow start, the tennis season has been fantastic. Murray versus the Djoker, Novak Djokovic in the men’s final, and Belorusian Victoria Azarenka across the net from Chinese native Li Na. Two great match-ups not to be missed.

Bruins vs Islanders tonight. Have a great night and weekend. Thanks as always for reading, I appreciate your support!