Kyrie Irving, Al Horford Break Down Celtics’ Game-Winning Play Vs. Pacers

BOSTON — Like he has countless times before, Kyrie Irving delivered in the clutch Friday night.
Irving provided the game-winning basket in the Boston Celtics’ 114-112 win over the Indiana Pacers at TD Garden. It was a highly important win for the C’s, who — for the time being — jumped ahead of the Pacers for fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
With 10.2 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Al Horford advanced the ball from the Celtics’ own end and shuffled it to Irving at the 3-point line. The star point guard took over from there, using a hesitation dribble to evade Wesley Matthews before gliding to the basket and laying the ball in with 0.5 seconds to go.
Irving read the Pacers’ defensive gameplan from the get-go, and the Celtics responded accordingly.
“I just saw that they were going to try to deny me with Cory (Joseph) and Wesley, so I told Al just take off, get it up the court, buy us some time,” Irving said. “I saw Myles Turner about to commit to the double team and then I kind of just gave a pass, fake with my eyes and went to the rim.”
Had the Pacers thwarted Irving’s lane to the rim, Horford was ready to get the ball kicked back to him.
“It was great,” Horford said. “It was one of those things where I kind of had to make a decision. I still felt like if I gave him the ball, he was going to have a lot of room to operate and he had the option to throw it back to me or go attack. He kept the defense on their toes. He still faked like he was going to pass it to the corner then laid it up at the very end. Just a very crafty play.”
With the playoffs right around the corner, we could be in store for quite a bit more late-game heroics from Irving.

Watch Xander Bogaerts Hit Red Sox’s First Home Run Of 2019

The Boston Red Sox didn’t hit any home runs in their first game of 2019, but it didn’t take long for them to mash their first in game two.
Xander Bogaerts hit the team’s first homer of the season in the 2nd inning of Friday night’s game against the Seattle Mariners.

Good to see Xander already is on his way to a third Silver Slugger.
— NESN (@NESN) March 30, 2019

A third Silver Slugger could be in the works for Xander!

Celtics Notes: Aron Baynes Rises To Occasion In Victory Over Pacers

BOSTON — Aron Baynes’ importance to the Boston Celtics cannot be understated.
Baynes has been limited to just 46 games this season due to various ailments, but his latest return from injury sparked a new role for the veteran big man. Baynes started his third straight game for the Celtics on Friday night, and his performance against the Indiana Pacers highlighted how critical he’ll be to Boston’s postseason run.
The seventh-year pro logged 13 points and a season-high 13 rebounds in the Celtics’ 114-112 win over the Pacers at TD Garden. Baynes helped set the tone from the get-go, scoring seven points and pulling down three rebounds in the first quarter. He made the most of his season-high 32 minutes, which included keeping Indiana big man Myles Turner in check for the bulk of the contest.
Considering how his season has transpired, Baynes’ showing against the Pacers was encouraging above all else. But in the eyes of head coach Brad Stevens, it was necessary.
“He had to. You know, we needed him to,” Stevens said. “And again, we just haven’t had him and Al (Horford) healthy for very much of the year, so it’s been hard to play them together. Plus, with all our depth on the wing it’s hard to find minutes for everybody when those guys are playing together. But it’s nice to have them back. It’s nice to have them available, and we need to have that as an option moving forward.”
As Stevens touched on, the Celtics’ depth primarily is made up of wing players, which only heightens the significance of Baynes’ availability. The 32-year-old provides an interior presence that will be needed throughout the playoffs, as Boston eventually could be tasked with trying to subdue some the league’s premier rim runners such as Joel Embiid and MVP frontrunner Giannis Antetkounmpo.
Stuffing the stat sheet isn’t exactly a common occurrence for Baynes, but he finds ways to make an impact every night he takes the floor.
Here are some other notes from Friday’s Celtics-Pacers game:
— Kyrie Irving logged a game-high 30 points, including the game-winning basket with 0.5 seconds to go. The star point guard has scored 30 points or more in seven of his last nine games.
— Horford was his usual self, scoring 19 points and seven rebounds. The star big man has been on a tear of late.

Over his last four games, Al Horford has averaged 20.0 points 57.1% FG), 6.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists
— Celtics Stats (@celtics_stats) March 30, 2019

— Jaylen Brown provided a boost off the bench with 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting over 27 minutes.
— The Celtics’ offense was efficient to the tune of a 51 percent shooting clip, marking the second straight game Boston has shot at least 50 percent from the floor.
— The Celtics and Pacers now are deadlocked with identical 45-31 records. Boston currently owns the tiebreaker over Indiana by virtue of a 2-1 advantage in the teams’ regular-season series. The two teams will square off at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on April 5.

Chris Sale Wasn’t Only Red Sox Starter With Light Spring Training Workload

Following Chris Sale’s first loss of the 2019 season, Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora was asked if it was a result of the ace’s light spring training workload. A deeper look shows that the entire Red Sox starting rotation had a light spring training load, not just Sale.
Only two starters, Rick Porcello and Eduardo Rodriquez, threw double-digit Grapefruit League innings. Playing deep into October will do that.
For more on the Red Sox’s starting rotation, check out the “Red Sox Gameday Live” video above, presented by DCU.

Mo Vaughn Not Convinced Red Sox Will Repeat World Series Title In 2019

To win back-to-back World Series titles is a tall order for any team in the MLB. According to former Boston Red Sox first baseman Mo Vaughn, it takes “a tremendous amount of concentration” to pull off the feat.
2018 was a blockbuster year for the Red Sox, winning 108 wins during the regular season before claiming the World Series title in just five games against the Los Angeles Dodgers. With most of last season’s roster still intact, some have wondered if Boston could be headed toward another championship.
But Vaughn, who spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Red Sox, explained why he thinks it is so difficult for teams in the MLB to earn repeat titles on CBS Sports HQ.
“It’s hard to do because you have to concentrate and focus. Everything has to go right, no injuries, no pitching injuries. Eight guys playing consistently all year long, without missing a lot of time,” he said,
The last time a team to earn back-to-back World Series titles was the New York Yankees, winning three straight championships from 1998 to 2000. Vaughn believes there was a reason for that.
“You look at that Yankees team in ’98, they were just so power-packed, it was going to be tough to beat them anyway,” he said.
But with the Red Sox just one game into the season, there is no telling how well the team will do this year.

Alex Cora Reacts To Chris Sale’s First Loss Of 2019

Chris Sale got knocked around in the Boston Red Sox season opener on Thursday night, but manager Alex Cora says that Boston’s ace is healthy and will be ready to go for his next start.
Cora simply noted that his stuff just wasn’t there.
“The fastball was erratic and the changeup was OK. … The most important thing is that he’s healthy.
To hear Cora’s full thoughts on Sale, check out the “Red Sox First Pitch” video above, presented by Men’s Wearhouse.

Watch Celtics’ Kyrie Irving Score Game-Winning Layup In Win Vs. Pacers

The Boston Celtics desperately needed a win Friday night, and thanks to Kyrie Irving, they got it.
Boston on Friday earned a thrilling 114-112 victory at TD Garden over the Indiana Pacers, who they all but certainly will face in the first round of the postseason.
With four seconds left in the fourth quarter and the game tied at 112, Al Horford got the ball to Kyrie Irving at the perimeter. Irving made a move to get past Wesley Matthews, then dashed to the rim. The Pacers defense crashed on him, but the C’s point guard finished a layup with composure to give the Celtics the lead with 0.5 seconds left in regulation.
Take a look.

— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) March 30, 2019

The Pacers (obviously) were unable to execute in response. With the victory, the C’s jump the Pacers for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Getting home court advantage in a series between these two teams will be huge, because neither have been particularly sharp on the road this campaign.

WGC Dell Technologies Match Play Third Round Highlights

The opening 96 one on one matches at the 2019 WGC Dell Technologies Match Play Championship are officially complete. What began with 64 of the world’s top golfers is now down to just 16 contenders. These surviving international superstars will represent their 10 respective countries all vying to be a World Golf Champion. Five out of the 16 top seeded players will advance through the group stage while Kevin Na, overall ranked 57th, represents the underdogs.

Friday’s final round of group stage competition came with it’s fair share of gallery igniting roars, unbelievable upsets and even the always impressive hole in one. In order to be the last man standing the remaining competitors will have to endure at least 72 holes over two matches each on Saturday and Sunday. Before the weekend marathon begins Last Word on Golf has your final group stage standings and some of the top highlights from Friday’s final day of group play.

Key: Group Winner (Record), Eliminated (Record)
Group 1
1. Branden Grace (3-0-0)-Advances to face Sergio Garcia in Round of 16
T3. Hideki Matsuyama (1-1-1)
2. Dustin Johnson (1-2-0)
4. Chez Reavie (0-2-1)
Group 2
1. Justin Rose (2-0-1)-Advances to face Kevin Na in Round of 16
2. Gary Woodland (2-1-0)
3. Emiliano Grillo (1-2-0)
4. Eddie Pepperall (0-2-1)
Group 3
1. HaoTong Li (2-1-0)-Advances to face Kevin Kisner in Round of 16
2. Alex Noren (2-1-0)
3. Tom Lewis (1-1-1)
4. Brooks Koepka (0-2-1)

At the conclusion of the group stage matches Alex Noren and HoaTong Li were tied a top the WGC Dell Match Play’s third group. On the first hole of the sudden death tie breaker Li dialed in his game to advance to Saturday’s round of 16.

Group 4
1. Rory McIlroy (3-0-0)-Advances to face Tiger Woods in Round of 16
2. Justin Harding (2-1-0)
3. Luke List (1-2-0)
4. Matthew Fitzpatrick (0-3-0)

South African standout Justin Harding came up short in his chase of Rory McIlroy in their group but undoubtedly turned heads during his final group stage match against Luke List. Harding not only defeated List 2-Up but he drained his approach shot at the par-4 9th for eagle.

Group 5
1. Lucas Bjerregaard (2-0-1)-Advances to face Henrik Stenson in Round of 16
T2. Matt Wallace (1-1-1), Justin Thomas (1-1-1)
4. Keegan Bradley (0-1-2)
Group 6
1. Marc Lieshman (3-0-0)-Advances to face Louis Oosthuizen in Round of 16
T2. Bryson DeChambeau (1-2-0), Kiradech Aphibarnrat (1-2-0), Russell Knox (1-2-0)
Group 7
1. Francesco Molinari (3-0-0)-Advances to face Paul Casey in Round of 16
2. Satoshi Kodaira (1-1-1)
3. Thorbjorn Olesen (1-2-0)
4. Webb Simpson (0-2-1)

As he did at the 2018 Ryder Cup, Francesco Molinari continued his match play dominance throughout the opening three days fo group play at the WGC Dell Match Play.

Group 8
1. Matt Kuchar (2-0-1)-Advances to face Tyrrell Hatton in Round of 16
2. J.B. Holmes (2-1-0)
3. Jon Rahm (1-1-1)
4. Si Woo Kim (0-3-0)

With their group up for grabs neither Matt Kuchar or Jon Rahm were willing to one another any breaks down the stretch on Friday.

Group 9
1. Tyrrell Hatton (2-0-1)-Advances to face Matt Kuchar in Round of 16
T2. Xander Schauffele (1-1-1), Rafa Cabrera Bello (1-1-1)
4. Lee Westwood (0-2-1)

He may have lost the match, and came in last in his group, but England’s Lee Westwood made the shot of the day with a hole in one at the par-3 11th Friday.

Group 10
1. Paul Casey (2-0-1)-Advances to face Francesco Molinari in Round of 16
2. Charles Howell III (1-1-1)
T3. Cameron Smith (1-2-0), Abraham Ancer (1-2-0)
Group 11
1. Louis Oosthuizen (2-1-0)-Advances to face Marc Leishman in Round of 16
T2. Tommy Fleetwood (1-1-1), Kyle Stanley (1-1-1)
4. Byeong Hun An (1-2-0)
Group 12
T1. Henrik Stenson (3-0-0)-Advances to face Lucas Bjerregaard in Round of 16
2. Jim Furyk (2-1-0)
3. Phil Mickelson (1-2-0)
4. Jason Day (0-3-0)

Despite an early deficit Friday, the 48-year old Jim Furyk refused to go quietly in a battle at the top of the 12th group against Henrik Stenson. The two had quite the battle of one-upsmanship at the par-4 10th but Stenson would end up taking the match down the stretch with a commanding 5&4 victory.

Group 13
1. Tiger Woods (2-1-0)-Advances to face Rory McIlroy in Round of 16
T2. Patrick Cantlay (1-1-1), Brandt Snedeker (1-1-1)
4. Aaron Wise (1-2-0)

On a day that saw a hole in one and a number of must see shots, few came close to igniting the crowd like Tiger Woods’ approach at the par-4 13th. With his second shot from the fairway Woods lofted his approach with it landing perfectly on the green, rolling in the hole for eagle and firing up the rowdy Austin crowd.

Group 14
1. Kevin Kisner (2-1-0)-Advances to face HaoTong Li in Round of 16
2. Ian Poulter (2-1-0)
T3. Tony Finau (1-2-0), Keith Mitchell (1-2-0)
Group 15
1. Kevin Na (2-1-0)-Advances to face Justin Rose in Round of 16
T2. Jordan Spieth (1-1-1), Billy Horschel (1-1-1)
4. Bubba Watson (1-2-0)

In typical Jordan Spieth short game style, the three-time major winner began to battle back against defending champion Bubba Watson with a chip-in for birdie to win the hole at the par-4 8th.

Group 16
1. Sergio Garcia (2-1-0)-Advances to face Branden Grace in Round of 16
T2. Patrick Reed (1-1-1), Shane Lowry (1-1-1)
4. Andrew Putnam (1-2-0)

Main Photo

Embed from Getty Imageswindow.gie=window.gie||function(c){(gie.q=gie.q||[]).push(c)};gie(function(){gie.widgets.load({id:’S9Ia-yHVQRBaJZ8ZBlBgmw’,sig:’R-nyhy8bJmZAyaGoU89oc4sxtPFPzMH3ZwEefdQS_k8=’,w:’594px’,h:’430px’,items:’1139104382′,caption: true ,tld:’com’,is360: false })});The post WGC Dell Technologies Match Play Third Round Highlights appeared first on Last Word on Sports.

Celtics Wrap: Boston Leapfrogs Pacers In East Standings With Thrilling Win

BOSTON — In what almost certainly will be a playoff preview, the Boston Celtics rose to the occasion.
After squandering an early 13-point lead Friday night at TD Garden, the Celtics stayed the course and gutted out a 114-112 win over the Indiana Pacers. Boston moved up to fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings with six games remaining on its regular-season schedule, one of which in Indiana.
Kyrie Irving notched a game-high 30 points and was one of six Celtics to score in double figures. Aron Baynes provided a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds in his third straight start. Bojan Bogdanovic (27 points) was red-hot from wire-to-wire, but his efforts weren’t enough to lift the Pacers to a road win.
With the win, the Celtics improved to 45-31, while the Pacers dropped to 45-31. Boston currently owns the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Marcus Smart
SF: Jayson Tatum
PF: Al Horford
C: Aron Baynes
The Celtics wasted no time putting pressure on the Pacers, opening the game on a 9-1 to force Indiana coach Nate McMillan to call a timeout at the 9:42 mark. It didn’t get a whole lot better for the visitors from there, as Boston maintained the momentum from its hot start and took a 35-25 lead into the second quarter.
Brad Stevens’ decision to start Baynes paid off yet again, as the big man notched seven first-quarter points and pulled down three rebounds. Irving matched Baynes with seven points of his own, while Al Horford provided six and Jaylen Brown turned in five off the bench. The C’s shot 50 percent from the field and assisted on all but four of their 14 first-quarter baskets. Bogdanovic paced Indiana with six points.
Indiana wasn’t going to let this one get out of hand.
The Pacers outscored the Celtics 12-3 over the first three minutes of the second quarter and took their first lead of the game when Cory Joseph laid one in at the 7:59 mark. Boston proceeded to build its lead back up to eight, but Indiana closed the second on a 5-0 run to trim the deficit to 63-60 at the break.
Bogdanovic continued to be a menace for the C’s, leading all scorers with 12 second-quarter points and 18 for the half. T.J. Leaf provided the Pacers with a boost of the bench, scoring eight after being limited to two in the first. Tatum carried the load for the Celtics in the second with nine points, while Brown logged six. Boston didn’t do itself any favors by committing seven second-quarter turnovers after giving the ball away just once in the first.
Neither team could create any sort of separation in the third, as the two sides traded basket after basket in a well-played quarter that concluded with Indiana holding a 91-89 advantage.
It sure looked as though Irving was about to take the game over, as the star point guard scored 10 points in the first two minutes of the third. He cooled off from there, though, scoring just two points for the remainder of the frame. Myles Turner was a handful for the Celtics and matched Irving with 12 third-quarter points. Bogdanovic continued his big night with seven points in the period.
The Celtics and Pacers traded slim leads throughout the fourth quarter, setting up for a thrilling final few minutes. Smart broke a tie with a 3-pointer with 2:29 to go, only to be countered by a Darren Collison trey 27 seconds later. Irving and Thaddeus Young followed suit on the teams’ next possessions, draining baskets separated by just 20 seconds.
After a brief scoreless spell that lasted nearly one minute and 20 seconds as the game wound down, Irving dashed to the basket to put the Celtics ahead with a layup with just 0.5 seconds to go. The Pacers had a chance to win it at the buzzer, but their last-ditch effort didn’t go.

— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) March 30, 2019

Silky smooth.

Kyrie = buckets.
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 29, 2019

The Celtics will play the second leg of their back-to-back Saturday night in Brooklyn against the Nets. Tip-off from Barclays Center is set for 6 p.m. ET.

Bruins Injuries: Defensemen Matt Grzelcyk, Kevan Miller Nearing Returns

There have been almost no games this season in which the Boston Bruins have had every player available, but they appear to finally be on the mend.
Defensemen Kevan Miller (upper body) and Matt Grzelcyk (arm), who typically skate on a defensive pairing together, likely will return at some point this weekend, either against the Florida Panthers on Saturday or Detroit Red Wings on Sunday.

#NHLBruins updates per Bruce Cassidy:
Grzelcyk and Miller will both be game time decisions against Florida. Grzelcyk looks “likely” for tomorrow, Miller more likely to return Sunday.
Tuukka will start tomorrow against Florida, Halak on Sunday in Detroit.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 29, 2019

Miller, who has played in just 36 games this season due to injuries, has been sidelined for the last 15 games. Grzelyck has been out of action for Boston’s last eight contests.
Based on the pairings during Friday’s practice, Grzelcyk will skate with Connor Clifton on the third duo if Miller is unable to go. That would make Steven Kampfer the odd man out on the blue line, and it seems all but certain Clifton will join Kampfer as a scratch once Miller slots back into the lineup.
Once the two defensemen return, it’ll leave just John Moore and Sean Kuraly on the shelf (provided the B’s don’t suffer any more injuries in the meantime). Marcus Johansson and Torey Krug returned to action in Wednesday’s dusting of the New York Rangers.