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06/06/2012 - 12:23am
Pietrus: Shaq texted me to 'keep believing'

Mickael Pietrus hit a pair of crucial 3-pointers in the fourth quarter Tuesday night as the Celtics held off the Heat, 94-90, in Game 5 at American Airlines Arena in Miami. Pietrus hit 5-of-8 shots from the floor and finished with 13 points off the bench as the Celtics moved to the brink of the NBA finals for the third time in five seasons by taking a 3-2 series lead over the heavily favored Heat.

Pietrus said he received a special source of inspiration on Monday via text message from former Celtics center and current TNT NBA analyst Shaquille O'Neal.

"I got a text from Shaq, he was telling me keep believing and keep playing, so that's what I did," Pietrus said.

Pietrus hit a huge 3-pointer to cap a wild flurry midway through the fourth as the Celtics and Heat were battling for control of the game. With the Heat on a 9-0 run to go up 78-72, Brandon Bass had his dunk blocked by Dwyane Wade, but the loose ball went out to Rajon Rondo...

06/05/2012 - 11:23pm
Clutch: Pierce, KG lead C's to Game 5 win

Paul Pierce drilled a huge 3-pointer with 52.9 seconds remaining and Kevin Garnett poured in 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Celtics to a 94-90 win over the Heat in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night at American Airlines Arena in Miami. Pierce, who was just 5-for-18 before his clutch shot, finished with 19 points for the Celtics, who won their third straight in the series and now are on the brink of the NBA finals for the third time in five years. They can advance there with a win on their home court Thursday night in Game 6. 

LeBron James had 30 points and Dwyane Wade added 27 for the Heat, who are now on the verge of elimination. 

James led an early onslaught as the Heat built their lead to as many as 11 in the first quarter, 24-13. James and Wade each had seven points while Chris Bosh returned from an eight-game absence due to an abdominal strain and scored five off the bench. 

The Heat...

06/05/2012 - 10:45pm
Aceves can't hold off Orioles in 10th

An inning after Jarrod Saltalamacchia tied the game with a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth, Red Sox closer Alfredo Aceves gave the lead right back to the Orioles, allowing an RBI single to Ronny Paulino in the 10th. The end result was an 8-6, extra-inning win for Baltimore over the Sox in the teams' series-opener at Fenway Park Tuesday.

An Endy Chavez RBI single with one out in the 10th, scoring Paulino, would give the Orioles an insurance run and cap the scoring.

Saltalamacchia's homer was his 12th of the season. It scored David Ortiz while snapping Orioles' closer Jim Johnson's save streak at 25 straight. The game-tying hit narrowly cleared the left field wall, with a landing spot close enough to the ledge that it forced an umpire review.

Prior to the Saltalamacchia homer -- which came on a 96 mph fastball after seven pitches from Johnson -- it appeared as though Red Sox starter Jon Lester and the bullpen were going to be victims of an...

06/05/2012 - 8:56pm
McClure: Bard trying to do too many things

Prior to the Red Sox' game against the Orioles Tuesday night, Sox pitching coach Bob McClure surmised that Daniel Bard needed to simplify things when trying to fix his mechanics at Triple-A Pawtucket.

"I think if you asked him he would say he was trying to do too many things," McClure said. "That would be my impression that he would say. I would think so. I would think he would say, 'I just need to get back to the simple form, to basics.' He knows that, and that's why I don't think [his stay in Triple-A] last very long."

McClure did suggest that Bard -- who was demoted after posting a 5.24 ERA in 10 starts -- still has a future as a member of the Red Sox' starting rotation.

"I think he can start," the pitching coach said. "I might be one of the few that thinks that he can, but I really do. Number one, like I said, he needs to keep it simpler. He's a power pitcher with two-plus pitches and perhaps a third...

06/05/2012 - 8:08pm
Matsuzaka allows one run in 40-pitch outing

Daisuke Matsuzaka lasted just 1 1/3 innings in his most recent rehab start with Triple-A Pawtucket, Tuesday night, giving up one run on three hits while striking out two and walking a pair. The outing against the Indianapolis Indians saw Matsuzaka throw 40 pitches, 22 of which were strikes.

Prior to the Red Sox' game against the Orioles, Sox manager Bobby Valentine said the plan was for Matsuzaka to go three innings. There was some thought that the pitcher's next appearance would be in the place of Daniel Bard, who was sent to Triple-A Pawtucket Tuesday. Valentine, however, wouldn't commit to the Saturday start for Matsuzaka.

"He has felt great," Valentine said. "We’ll see how that goes in this three-inning stint tonight."

In his last two outings, Matsuzaka allowed just one run and three hits over a combined 10 1/3 innings, striking out six and walking one. In seven total rehab appearances coming into Tuesday, the...

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