Celtics are too old? More like too good.


Celtics are too old? More like too good.

From Comcast SportsNet
MIAMI (AP) -- A week ago, the Boston Celtics were too old. Three games later, they're one win away from the NBA finals. And Miami -- the team that was constructed with hopes of supplanting Boston as the power in the Eastern Conference -- is suddenly in big trouble. Kevin Garnett finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds, Paul Pierce scored 19 -- including a huge 3-pointer over LeBron James' outstretched arm with 52.9 seconds left -- and the Celtics beat the Heat 94-90 on Tuesday night, taking a 3-2 lead in the East finals that now shift to Boston for Game 6 on Thursday night. "We've done nothing," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "We're playing a heck of a basketball team. So just because we're going to Boston, I told them, we have to play. They're not going to give it to us. We have to go get it." James finished with 30 points and 13 rebounds for Miami, though he went 8 minutes without scoring in the final quarter. Dwyane Wade scored 27 for the Heat, who got no more than nine from anyone else. "We wouldn't want to be in this situation but we never get too high or too low in a series," James said. "We had an opportunity to come home and take a lead, but we didn't. So we have to go up to Boston and win a game." Pierce's 3 put Boston up 90-86. Miami got within two points twice, and argued that it should have had a steal with 8.8 seconds left. Instead, a foul was called on Udonis Haslem, Garnett made two free throws, and the Celtics knew they had just stolen one on Miami's home floor. Now all they need is one home win of their own to clinch a trip to either Oklahoma City or San Antonio for Game 1 of the NBA finals. The title series starts June 12. "Right now," Celtics guard Ray Allen said, "the next game is Game 7." The Celtics were down by 13 points in the second quarter, then down nine in the third, and answered both times -- prevailing on a night where they shot just 41 percent, and got outrebounded 49-39. "We stayed with it," Garnett said. "We had a rough first quarter, first half. We got our stops and made our run ourselves. And when we had to, we had stops." Allen and Mickael Pietrus scored 13 apiece for the Celtics, who got 10 from Brandon Bass. Pietrus hit two huge 3-pointers in the fourth quarter for Boston, which remained perfect with this core when facing maybe the most pivotal situation a best-of-seven can offer -- a Game 5 with a series tied 2-2. Pierce, Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen are now 9-0 in that scenario. "We came in with the right focus," Pierce said. "That was key for us." So Game 5s are magical for Boston. Sometimes, they are for James as well. And sometimes -- this one included -- they're not. James' most memorable moments have come in Game 5s, like the epic 48 points where he just carried Cleveland on every possession down the stretch at Detroit in 2007, and the 120-88 loss to the Celtics in 2010, his last home game with the Cavaliers. This one offered more theater, of course. James hit a 3-pointer to give Miami a two-point lead with 8:10 left, closed out on Pierce to force an airball on the next possession, and eventually Miami pushed the margin out to 78-72 on a layup by Wade with 6:17 to play. On that play, James looked gassed, gasping for air as he stood near the baseline. Those might have been the last gasps the Miami home crowd sees this season. Boston closed on a 22-12 run. "Every time we got them down, they made runs," James said. "They made us stagnant offensively, got stops and got back in the game." Boston tied the game twice early in the third quarter, before Miami peeled off nine straight points to go up 59-50. Four players scored for the Heat during that quick burst, highlighted by Shane Battier's corner 3-pointer and a lazy turnover from Rondo, who threw the ball into the backcourt without being pressured by any Miami defender. But just as they did in the first half when Miami looked poised to pull away, the Celtics rallied -- and then some. A 15-1 run gave the Celtics a truckload of momentum and 65-60 lead going into the fourth, capped by Keyon Dooling connecting on a 3-pointer from near the Miami bench with 2 seconds left. There were four lead changes in the fourth quarter, and the game was tied for the final time when Wade made an acrobatic layup with 1:39 to play. Miami never led again. "We played hard," Battier said. "We just didn't play intelligent." Miami didn't lead by more than eight points at any time in the three previous games of the series. The Heat changed that quickly, and maybe it was fitting that Chris Bosh got them their first double-digit advantage since Game 1. Bosh came off the bench for his first minutes since straining a lower abdominal muscle in Game 1 of Miami's second-round series against Indiana. His three-point play with 1:17 left in the opening quarter -- punctuated with a stare-down for some cheering fans -- capped a 24-13 Miami run to open the game. James made a 3-pointer with 9:39 left in the half, and the Heat went up 31-18. The Celtics did what Miami did to them in Games 3 and 4 at Boston. They started chipping away. Miami missed 15 of its final 17 shots of the first half, with four turnovers thrown in there as well, and the Celtics took advantage. After James' 3-pointer, Boston outscored Miami 22-11 to close the second quarter -- Garnett got six of his eight first-half points in the final 3:09 -- and the once-sizable Heat lead was down to 42-40 by intermission. "We just told our guys, Hang in there, just hang in there, don't overreact,'" Rivers said. "The longer we're in the game, the better we'll play." That was the way Game 5 went. And the series has gone the same way. NOTES: Dorell Wright, a member of the 2006 Heat championship team and now with Golden State, was in attendance. A denim-vested Amare Stoudemire of the New York Knicks -- Miami's first-round playoff foe -- was seated courtside, and former Celtic Glen Davis was near the Boston bench. ... Wade scored seven points in the first 4:22 of the game. He didn't score again in the first half, and after scoring 26 points by halftime of the series-clincher against Indiana, he has 29 points in five first halves against Boston in this series. ... Pierce said before the game that he does not expect to need offseason surgery to repair the sprained MCL in his left knee. "No complaints," Pierce said.

Jake Arrieta brings his A-game as Cubs even up World Series

Jake Arrieta brings his A-game as Cubs even up World Series

CLEVELAND — The Cubs are a team that can make it hard to focus with so many big-money players running around, so much young talent bubbling up, all of Joe Maddon’s antics and ultimately so many different ways to beat their opponent.

That’s how Jake Arrieta going for a no-hitter in the World Series sort of became an afterthought on Wednesday night at Progressive Field. After getting shut out in Game 1, the Cubs lineup kept extending innings, making these Cleveland Indians pitchers work. Kyle Schwarber’s at-bats are becoming must-see TV more than six months after shredding his left knee. Honestly, Arrieta hasn’t been giving off that same best-pitcher-on-the-planet aura.

But this is exactly what a Cy Young Award winner is supposed to do, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning, shutting down the Indians in a 5-1 win and tying up this Fall Classic before Wrigley Field stages its first World Series game in 71 years on Friday night.

Arrieta had a 1-0 lead before he threw his first pitch in Game 2, working around back-to-back walks to Francisco Lindor and Mike Napoli in the first inning and breathing a sigh of relief when Jose Ramirez drove a flyball out to the warning track in center field. Instead of those command issues signaling trouble, Arrieta got locked back in, retiring eight batters in a row from there, and 13 of the next 14, the Indians managing only two hits in the sixth inning.

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]

If the Indians are planning to start Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber two more times on short rest in this best-of-seven matchup — and unleash lefty reliever Andrew Miller at the most crucial moments — then the Cubs will need Arrieta to pitch like an ace.

Mission accomplished, even though Arrieta didn’t put a third no-hitter on his resume. Jason Kipnis — the Glenbrook North High School graduate who grew up a Cubs fan — ended Arrieta’s no-hit bid with one out in the sixth inning. Kipnis hit a ball into right-center field and hustled for a double, sliding headfirst into second base and eventually scoring on an Arrieta wild pitch.

Maddon gave Arrieta one more batter and pulled him after 98 pitches. If there were times last year where it felt like Arrieta had to be a one-man team, the Cubs now have an unrelenting lineup, the best defense in the game and a multidimensional bullpen, more than enough to win their first World Series since 1908.

Cubs roll over Indians to even up World Series

Cubs roll over Indians to even up World Series

CLEVELAND - The Cubs called their shot again.

The week after showing no sense of panic after being shut out by the Los Angeles Dodgers in back-to-back NLCS games, the Cubs once again exuded a calm confidence after running into the brick wall of the Cleveland Indians pitching to start the World Series.

From Joe Maddon to Anthony Rizzo to David Ross, the Cubs felt they had some nice at-bats against the Indians' best pitchers - Corey Kluber, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen - but just couldn't score and predicted runs would be coming.

They were right, getting men on base early and often to win their first World Series game since 1945, a 5-1 victory over the Indians in front of 38,172 fans at Progressive Field Wednesday night.

The Cubs continued the trend of winning when scoring first as Rizzo drove home Kris Bryant with an RBI double in the top of the first inning.

From there, the Cubs added a solo tally in the third on Kyle Schwarber's RBI single and then broke out for three in the fifth on a Ben Zobrist triple, another Schwarber single and then an Addison Russell bases-loaded walk.

[SHOP: Buy a "Try Not to Suck" shirt with proceeds benefiting Joe Maddon's Respect 90 Foundation & other Cubs Charities]

The Cubs could've had more, leaving 13 on base in the first seven innings against starter Trevor Bauer and the Indians bullpen. The Cubs didn't go down in order until the top of the eighth. 

It was still all the offense Jake Arrieta needed as the reigning National League Cy Young winner took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Jason Kipnis doubled with one out.

Kipnis was the only Indians run of the game, scoring on a wild pitch two batters later.

Arrieta struck out six in 5.2 innings, surrendering only two hits, three walks and the solo tally.

The outing lowered Arrieta's 2016 postseason ERA to 3.78 and gave him his first victory this October.

Game 2 was moved up an hour because of impending rain and the move by Major League Baseball paid off as the Cubs and Indians didn't have to worry about any suspended game drama.

The two teams travel to Chicago for Games 3, 4 and 5 at Wrigley Field over the weekend.

Kyle Hendricks and Josh Tomlin will go in Game 3 Friday evening with the World Series now tied.