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05/26/2012 - 11:31pm
Pierce on Rondo: 'We needed every drop'

No one was more grateful for the effort of Rajon Rondo late in the fourth quarter Saturday night than Paul Pierce. The Celtics captain fouled out with 4:16 remaining and the Celtics leading by just three, 71-68. 

Rondo took over the game and scored 11 of Boston's next 12 points to lead the Celtics to an 85-75 win over the Sixers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. 

"I said, 'Great work, we needed it.' We needed every drop that he gave us tonight," Pierce said afterward. "It was great work."

Pierce fouled out after scoring 15 points in nearly 37 minutes. Rondo took responsibility for Pierce's disqualification on fouls. 

"I felt I was part of the reason he fouled out," Rondo said. "I had two bad turnovers. I felt somewhat responsible for it. My night wasn't going well all night. I just figured stay with it, stay positive and something will happen."

Rondo finished...

05/26/2012 - 9:41pm
Seventh heaven: C's nip Sixers in Game 7

Rajon Rondo had 11 of his 18 points in a crucial fourth quarter stretch while Kevin Garnett scored 18 points and hauled down 13 rebounds in 37 minutes as the Celtics held off the Sixers, 85-75, in a grinding and tense Game 7 Saturday night at TD Garden. Paul Pierce fouled out on a charge with 4:16 left in the fourth and finished with 15 for the Celtics, who open the Eastern Conference finals Monday night in Miami against the Heat. 

The Celtics raced out to a 10-2 lead in the opening three minutes as the Garden crowd was in a frenzy. The Sixers opened the game missing nine of their first 10 shots. But the Sixers took advantage of early foul trouble on the Celtics and used the foul line to get back into the game. They made all seven free throws as they fought back to tie the game, 20-20, after one. The two teams were a combined 13-of-14 from line. 

As has been the case often in this series, the two teams put on an ugly display of offense in...

05/26/2012 - 9:18pm
Saltalamacchia's walk-off lifts Red Sox

Jarrod Saltalamacchia launched a two-run homer into the Red Sox bullpen with one out in the ninth inning, giving the Red Sox a 3-2 win over the Rays Saturday night at Fenway Park.

The homer scored Daniel Nava, who had led off the ninth with a walk against Rays closer Fernando Rodney. Nava was moved over to second courtesy a bunt from pinch-hitter Nick Punto, paving the way for Saltalamacchia's homer. It was the catcher's first career walk-off homer, and first walk-off win for the Red Sox.

With the win the Red Sox improved to 23-23.

Avoiding the loss was Sox starter Josh Beckett, who lowered his ERA to 4.15 by allowing two runs over seven innings, striking out five and not walking a batter. The Rays managed both of their runs off Beckett in the sixth inning, with Ben Zobrist tying the game with a sacrifice fly, scoring B.J. Upton, and then Luke Scott singling in Matt Joyce with the go-ahead score.

Joyce was allowed to find himself in...

05/26/2012 - 8:22pm
Matsuzaka throws five scoreless innings

Making his first appearance since re-starting his rehab assignment due to a strained right trapezius muscle, Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched five scoreless innings for Triple-A Pawtucket in its game against Toledo Saturday night at McCoy Stadium.

Matsuzaka allowed just one hit while striking out two and walking one in his 56-pitch outing (throwing 38 strikes). 

The righty had initially been on a rehab assignment while coming back from Tommy John surgery, but was forced to re-start his 30-day clock after being diagnosed with the trap muscle prior to making his scheduled start last Saturday. In his most recent rehab outing, coming on May 17, Matsuzaka lasted 6 2/3 innings, giving up five runs to Durham.

For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.


05/26/2012 - 6:30pm
Dooling returns, Stiemsma has shot for foot

After missing practice on Friday with flu-like symptoms, Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Dooling attended Saturday morning's shootaround and has been cleared to play in Game 7 against the Sixers. 

Dooling figures to see a lot of time in the game as the Celtics are already without Avery Bradley, who is out after season ending shoulder surgery on Friday. Meanwhile, Greg Stiemsma had a second cortisone shot in his left foot and is dealing with plantar fascitis. He is expected to be available off the bench. It is the second shot Stiemsma has had in his foot since the end of the season. 

Stiemsma told Rivers in the second half of Game 6 that he could not go back into the game because the pain was so intense. Stiemsma had the shot following Game 6 and Rivers reported at Friday's practice that his backup center was "feeling better" and was hopeful he would be available for Game 7. 

For complete coverage of Game 7 from the...

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