Morning Sports Update

ESPN’s Zach Lowe thinks the Celtics’ defense is ‘maybe the best defense I’ve ever seen’

"There are no weak spots to pick at."

Celtics defense
Derick White blocks a shot attempt by Kyrie Irving during Game 2 of the Celtics-Nets series. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

The Bruins lost to the Penguins on Thursday night, 4-0. Pittsburgh goaltender Casey DeSmith made a career high 52 saves.

Also on Thursday, the Red Sox lost to the Blue Jays 3-2. Tonight, Boston will play the Rays at Tropicana Field starting at 7:10 p.m.

The Celtics and Nets play Game 3 of the first-round Eastern Conference series on Saturday in Brooklyn at 7:30 p.m.

And the Revolution will play D.C. United at Audi Field on Saturday also at 7:30 p.m.

Zach Lowe’s view of the Celtics’ defense: The Celtics currently have a 2-0 series lead on the Nets thanks in large part to impressive defense. Boston was able to limit Kevin Durant to a 4-of-17 night in Game 2 and — despite the Nets’ star totaling 27 points — held him to an 0-10 run from the field in the second half.


It’s not a surprising development, considering Boston’s ability on the defensive end has been garnering attention for months.

But in the view of ESPN senior writer Zach Lowe, Ime Udoka’s team has been playing at a seemingly unprecedented level since the team’s midseason turnaround.

“This is about the Celtics’ defense,” Lowe said during an appearance on “NBA Today” on Thursday. “For the last 45 games — 50 games — the Celtics have been maybe the best defense I’ve ever seen.”

“There are no weak spots to pick at,” Lowe added, “they switch everything, they don’t make mistakes. When you give the Celtics two non-shooters away from the ball, which almost every Nets lineup has — whether it’s Bruce Brown, Nic Claxton, Andre Drummond, some combination of those two — [the Celtics] help, they close space, they recover, they don’t make mistakes. There’s no place to go.”

Trivia: In the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals (a previous Celtics-Nets postseason matchup), the then-New Jersey Nets prevailed in six games. Boston’s Antoine Walker led his team with 14 3-point field goals in the series. Can you name the player who led the Nets in 3-pointers?

(Answer at the bottom).

Hint: He was the second overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft.


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A Tanner Houck highlight from Thursday: Houck allowed two runs in five innings, striking out four.

A calming foul ball catch:

On this day: In 2007, the Red Sox hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs in a 7-6 win over the Yankees.

After the Yankees took an early 3-0 lead on a pair of Jason Giambi base hits, the Red Sox responded emphatically in the bottom of the third.

The inning began inauspiciously for Boston, with Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz flying out. But with two outs, Manny Ramirez crushed a 2-1 fastball “over everything,” triggering the power surge.

J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell followed with towering blasts of their own, with Jason Varitek — batting right-handed — adding the unbelievable fourth on a 1-0 fastball.

“And the Red Sox have gone ahead on four swings of the bat,” exclaimed a stunned ESPN play-by-play commentator Jon Miller. Lowell added a second home run (a three-run shot) in the seventh, and Boston held on for the win.

Daily highlight: Ja Morant went up high to swat Anthony Edwards’s shot in Thursday’s Game 3 of the Grizzlies-Timberwolves series. Memphis rallied from a 26-point deficit for a 104-95 win to take a 2-1 series lead over Minnesota.

Trivia answer: Keith Van Horn


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