Archives for December 7, 2017
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
BOSTON – The Arizona Coyotes sport the worst record in the Western Conference while receiving little help from the schedule makers, having played 30 games overall and 18 away from home — both league highs. The road doesn’t get any easier for Arizona, which continues a four-game trek against a huge nemesis with a visit to the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.
The Coyotes didn’t post a regulation victory until their 21st game but are showing improvement, earning points in seven of their last 10 games (5-3-2) after kicking off the road trip with a 3-2 overtime loss at Vegas. One of the early-season losses for Arizona was a 6-2 drubbing by Boston — the 11th consecutive defeat in the series for the Coyotes, who haven’t beaten the Bruins since October 2010. Boston has been on a roll, winning six of seven games before dropping a 5-3 decision at red-hot Nashville on Monday. Its domination against Arizona aside, Boston has a chance to make a move up the Atlantic Division standings, playing eight of its next 10 games at home.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN Arizona, NESN (Boston)
ABOUT THE COYOTES (7-18-5): Coach Rick Tocchet credited goaltender Scott Wedgewood with earning a point in the loss at Vegas after he turned aside a career-high 42 shots in making his sixth consecutive start. Wedgewood has been forced to carry the load since an injury to starter netminder Antti Raanta, who was medically cleared to return and will accompany the team to Boston. Tocchet said Raanta would be evaluated to determine his availability for Thursday, but defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson will miss his fourth game in a row.
ABOUT THE BRUINS (12-9-4): While forward Ryan Spooner (lower body) missed practice Wednesday, rookie Jake DeBrusk was on the ice and appears poised to return to the lineup after sitting out the past three games due to an upper-body injury. DeBrusk collected two goals and five points in four games prior to the injury and also tallied in Boston’s rout of Arizona in October. “You never want to get injured, and especially not when pucks are going in and you’re producing,” DeBrusk said. “When I get back I just want to try and do the same thing.”
1. Bruins F David Pastrnak has four goals in the past five games and is riding a six-game point streak.
2. Arizona has allowed only two power-play goals in the past 11 games.
3. Bruins captain Zdeno Chara had a three-point performance versus Arizona in October but has four points in 21 games since.
Where: Mexico City Arena, Mexico City
MEXICO CITY – The NBA moves south of the border when the Oklahoma City Thunder take on the Brooklyn Nets in Mexico City on Thursday. The Thunder are winners of three in a row while the Nets began their trek south with a convincing road win at Atlanta on Monday.
Brooklyn, which will stay in Mexico City and serve as the host in a game against the Miami Heat on Saturday, traded wins and losses over its last six games and fell at home to the Hawks last Saturday before turning things around on both ends of the floor in a 110-90 triumph in the back half of the home-and-home set. “I think we’re going to grow as a basketball team and grow as an organization from a trip like this,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson told reporters of going to Mexico. “You’re together a lot more and there’s a lot of stuff to do, whether it’s (visiting) pyramids or team dinners that are at an authentic Mexican restaurant. To me, that’s what it’s all about.” The Thunder spent the first two months of the season trying to come together as a team and seemed to put all the pieces together while overcoming a 17-point, second-half deficit in a 100-94 victory over the Utah Jazz on Tuesday. “It was just executing, taking our time and getting stops,” Oklahoma City star Russell Westbrook told reporters. “It all starts with our defense.”
TV: 10 p.m. ET, FS Oklahoma, YES (Brooklyn)
ABOUT THE THUNDER (11-12): Westbrook is trying to integrate Paul George and Carmelo Anthony into the Oklahoma City system but still finds opportunities to show why he is the reigning NBA MVP. Westbrook exploded for 34 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds in his league-leading seventh triple-double on Tuesday and came within one rebound of a triple-double in each of the previous two contests. “Russ had a win-at-all-costs attitude at every point in the game,” George told the team’s website after Tuesday’s victory. “He kept us fighting. He kept us in the game. It was his mentality. It just felt that we weren’t going to lose that game.”
ABOUT THE NETS (9-14): Brooklyn is finding different contributors on offense on a nightly basis and got a season-high 17 points off the bench from shooting guard Caris LeVert on Monday. “I was just trying to be aggressive, just trying to make plays,” LeVert told reporters, according to Newsday. “…I’m learning every game, a lot of film. Obviously, coach has confidence in me. He puts the ball in my hands a lot, so I’m just out there trying to make plays.” LeVert is leading a second unit that also includes rookie center Jarrett Allen, who is 12-of-16 from the floor in the last three games.
1. Thunder C Steven Adams is 28-of-34 from the field over the last three games.
2. Nets PG D’Angelo Russell (knee surgery) is traveling with the team but is not expected to play.
3. Westbrook averaged 27.5 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds in a pair of wins over Brooklyn last season.
Julio Jones (11)