Mitch's Sports: Celtics Tie Team Blocked Shots Record In Win Over Nets; Leafs Get Muzzin From Kings
The Brooklyn Nets had been on a six game winning streak, but ran into a Boston Celtics team that had won five of its last six, the only loss a close one against the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors over the weekend.
The Nets also had some injury depletion to deal with and that short-handed bench combined with a rejuvenated Celtics squad over the last month or so resulted in a 112-104 home win for Boston, with a franchise tying record achieved along the way.
The Celtics had a lot of players scoring in double figures last night, led by Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart's 21 points apiece. Big man Aron Baynes contributed 16, Marcus Morris just a point shy of that total, and Al Horford poured in 14 as did Terry Rozier. All this firepower came with Kyrie Irving getting the night off to rest some nagging injuries.
But it wasn't just offense that led to the Celtics's sixth victory in their last seven games. The team also recorded sixteen blocked shots, tying a franchise record set back in the Larry Bird era of 1983, when they swatted away as many attempts by the Chicago Bulls. The win also avenges an earlier loss to the Nets from a couple of weeks ago, and the Celtics are still trying to claw their way back into the top of four in the eastern conference, just one game behind the Philadelphia 76ers in that effort.
The Warriors, by the way, are on an eleven game winning streak after routing one of those teams ahead of the Celtics in the eastern conference, the Indiana Pacers, blowing them out by thirty-two points last night, so given that Boston only fell to Golden State by four points on Saturday, there are plenty of reasons for the Celtics to be feeling better about their overall play getting closer to the playoffs.
The National Hockey League resumed play last night following the mid-season all-star break with two games. The Philadelphia Flyers had a poor first half to the season despite the debut of their freakishly awesome new mascot Gritty, but they did get off on the right skate last night with a 3-1 win over the very good Winnipeg Jets, who will skate against the Bruins in Boston tonight.
The Bruins will likely have Jaroslav Halak in net tonight to give even more time to Tuukka Rask to recover from a concussion he suffered in Boston's last game before the break against the NY Rangers.
The New Jersey Devils also were in action, hoping for a better second half to their season, and they also had success with a 6-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
And the Toronto Maple Leafs have served notice that they are all in for doing whatever they can this season to win the Stanley Cup this year. The only knock on the Leafs this season is that despite all their offensive weapons, they are suspect on the blue line, so to help shore up the defense they traded for veteran defenseman Jake Muzzin of the LA kings yesterday, sending two prospects, forward Carl Grundstrom and defenseman Sean Durzi to the Kings.
They also surrendered a 2019 first-round draft pick to Los Angeles, which seems at first glance a high price to pay, but the hockey mad fans of Toronto haven't seen a Stanley Cup lifted in Ontario since 1967, and the team is determined to end that drought this year. Signing the rock steady Muzzin, who has a Stanley Cup ring to his credit with L.A., is a smart move toward that end.
In boy's high school hockey, the South Burlington Wolves took the CSB Cup Monday with a 5-2 win over Champlain Valley. Rees Baker and Isaac Toupin each scored a pair of goals to power the South Burlington offense.