The Red Sox used to have an annual tradition in which they would get slaughtered on Patriots Day. The Celtics are establishing their own tradition…once a year they lose badly an extremely ugly game to the Miami Heat at home. Peter May and Steve Bulpett report on the ten point loss to the Heat. Paul Pierce had another tough night and as Tommy Heinsohn observed, just looks really tired. Jim Greenidge and Gus Martins look at Pierce’s struggles. As predicted, by not getting the Charlotte franchise, Larry Bird’s name became a hot topic locally here. The new owners did their best to throw a wet blanket on any potential return to the hub by Bird. Frank Dell’Apa and Mark Murphy report on Wyc Grousbeck and crew being very happy with how things are being run at the moment. Lenny Megliola takes in the atmosphere of the game last night. Before the game last night, Pat Riley called Antoine Walker the best point forward in the history of the NBA. Gus Martins doesn’t concur with that assessment, but doesn’t offer any names to counter the claim, either. Tommy Heinsohn brought up the name of Maurice Stokes as someone who was better at that role than Antoine. If you’re not familiar with that name, it’d do you some good to do a little research, it’s one of the tragic stories in all of sports history. The history of the NBA might’ve been totally different had Stokes been able to play with Oscar Robertson, Jerry Lucas, etc. Bulpett’s notebook looks at a local son who got away this summer, Heat guard Travis Best.
Jackie MacMullan questions the Patriots sense of urgency. If they’re the defending champs, she reasons, then they should know what it takes to win the big ones. Of course the two guys she goes to for answers on the team’s performance, Steve Martin and Christian Fauria weren’t even here last year, and have never really played for a real winner. Of all the big-paper guys that are covering the Patriots, I think Michael Felger might be the most balanced. Today, instead of falling in with the popular negativity around the team, he looks at Tom Brady’s confidence and how that puts the team in good stead. It’s not an incredibly insightful article or anything, but it stands out as different because it’s not negative. In contrast to other guys in town who are all doom and gloom, Felger, who can be as nasty as any of them, is consistently more levelheaded. When they’re bad, he says so, and doesn’t hold back. But he also doesn’t always try to spin everything into the worst possible light and take cheap shots at the coaching staff. Last night on the Celtics postgame on FSNE, Felger came on, and was had to fend off Greg “82 dollar haircut” Dickerson, who accused him of making excuses for the Patriots and basically being an apologist for the team. Felger just replied that last year set the expectations for this team impossibly high, so anything they do this year is probably going to be a disappointment, and that we shouldn’t be comparing the two. Felger might not be the most popular guy among his colleagues, and when he talks baseball on WEEI, he never fails to drive me nuts, but on football he’s the best of the Globe/Herald guys. I’m not sure, but that might be termed damning with faint praise. Nick Cafardo hopes no one was listening last week on WWZN when the crowd at Gillette was discussed and if the stadium is a home field advantage. He uses that for his article today. He even quotes callers for it. How lazy is that? Tom Curran writes that both the Jets and Patriots are suffering a bit of an identity crisis. The lightbulb goes on over Karen Guregian‘s head, and she realizes the Patriots need to be able to stop the run in the final two games. Oh yeah, Alan Greenberg says they might want to run the ball themselves, too. George Kimball compares Chad Pennington and Tom Brady. Jim Donaldson sounds like Herm Edwards and tells us the J-E-T-S are not going to quit. Steve DeOssie questions the Patriots mental health. To use the current sports radio buzzword, are they “psychologically damaged”? Cafardo’s notebook looks at Pennington, J.R. Redmond and the injuries. Felger’s notebook has Herm Edwards flashing “44-7” to his players whenever possible, and has Belichick getting a nice dig in at some of the media members. Curran’s notebook also looks at Redmond and some leftover stuff from the Titans game.
A couple weeks ago, leading up to the second Buffalo game, “while listening to Phil Simms drone on about how good Buffalo was” Geoffrey Crawshaw snapped … and created this website. The purpose is to rate local and national media members on their bias for and against the Patriots. No surprise that Ron Borges leads the “against” crowd and Pete Sheppard is the leader of the “for” group. You can add your vote. Makes you wish the Globe hadn’t pulled it’s writers from the Big Show. Imagine seeing Pete Sheppard and Ron Borges go head to head on the Patriots? This needs to happen.
The Bruins also continue to struggle. How soon before some wiseguy media guy says we’ve returned to “loserville”? Steve Conroy and Kevin Paul Dupont provide game stories. In the notebooks, both the Globe and Herald look at Samsonov facing surgery on his wrist and what possible moves that could trigger.
Gordon Edes reports on the Red Sox losing out on Jeff Kent, but now getting word that they’ll likely be free to start negotiating with Cuban ace Jose Contreras very soon. Michael Silverman has a similar article, but leads with Cliff Floyd having until tonight to accept arbitration from the Red Sox. Edes also reports on the signing of Damian Jackson yesterday.
NESN has Bruins/Capitals at 8:00. (ESPN Regionally) TNT has Lakers/Nets at 7:30 and Kings/Spurs at 10:00.FSNE has NE Tailgate at 7:00 and ESPN has the Pro Bowl selection show at 7:00.