Peter May wonders why Michael Jordan is so set on hanging it up at the end of the year. He can still be a difference-maker in the ballgame, as he was last night. Lenny Megliola writes that we still get glimpses of the old Jordan in this version. He notes the respect that MJ garners from guys like Pierce and how he’s having fun just being out there on the court. Mark Murphy observes Jordan’s court savvy, and his “quiet yearning for how the league once was.” Murphy also refers to the old Chicago Stadium as “perhaps the greatest basketball building of them all”. Is that not blasphemy to write around Boston? Wasn’t the Boston Garden the greatest basketball arena? Christopher Price writes that MJ’s visits around the league “tinged with a hint of melancholy” these days and notes his contributions to this Wizards team. As for the game itself, Shira Springer notes Washington’s 41-16 free throw advantage and the frustration it caused among the Celtics. Steve Bulpett calls the Celtics “the world’s wobbliest 19-14 team”, noting that the Celtics essentially gave this one away. A seven point lead with six minutes to go wasn’t enough. The Celtics now head out on a monstrous four game road trip, (New Orleans, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston) from which they could very likely return with a 19-18 record. Carolyn Thornton’s game story reveals it was just a matter of Washington making the big shots and taking advantage of the Celtics shooting so many threes. Almost all the articles today have the quote from Jordan where he says “We got them shooting three’s, they start shooting three’s (and) all we’ve got to do is rebound the ball and run.” Is it that easy to beat the Celtics? Michael Vega chronicles Paul Pierce’s frustrating night including run-ins with Jerry Stackhouse, with whom he shares an agent. Gus Martins submits a pair of articles on Celtics big men. The first one is on Tony Battie and his effort despite his sore knee, which continues to bother him and requires almost constant attention. Martins’ second article is on newcomer Mikki Moore, who gave a half a million dollars back to the Pistons, to seek a fresh start elsewhere. Moore and his personal zoo are also the subject of Springer’s notebook. Bulpett’s notebook deals with a tired, frustrated Paul Pierce and that Cedric Maxwell isn’t a fan of Mikki Moore. He wants Grant Long. (and so do I)

Conflicting reports on the Patriots’ Marc Edwards. Nick Cafardo says that the Patriots are working on a new deal for the fullback, while Michael Felger reports that neither he nor his agent have heard anything from the Patriots on a new contract. The Cafardo article focuses on a few minor free agent signings made by the Patriots, and he mentions the name of Sam Gash as a possible replacement should Edwards depart. Does Gash have any tread left on the tires? Felger’s is more of a look at Edwards and what his future is. Cafardo’s mailbag generally looks to offseason moves. Jim Donaldson chronicles a game of trash talking dumb and dumber between the Giants and 49ers. Ron Borges tells us the Giants game should’ve never come down to a muffed snap. The Giants just gave the game away, so don’t blame the snapper or the officials. Jeff Jacobs also says the Giants didn’t deserve another chance. When did the NFL become figure skating and get judged by style points? The rules say the Giants had another play coming. None of this “they were choking so they throw the rulebook out the window” crap. Bill Reynolds touches on the NFL as the national pastime and on Tom Brady’s toughness.

If you missed it yesterday, the Boston Dirt Dogs site has complete transcripts from both the Larry Lucchino and Will McDonough appearances on WEEI yesterday. Bob Hohler reports on Theo Epstein’s continued efforts to trade with Montreal. Michael Silverman has a more concise wrapup of things.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at the struggling Marty Lapoint. Stephen Harris says Glen Murray doesn’t mind the line shakeup in recent days. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook looks at the big winger the Bruins acquired from the Rangers yesterday. Harris’ notebook leads off with Mike O’Connell’s lockeroom pep talk.

Bill Griffith looks at all the Bill Parcells coverage, catches up with Scott Zolak and has a few other media notes to share. Jim Baker focuses on the weekend NFL numbers.

NESN has Bruins/Maple Leafs at 7:30. ESPN has College hoops with Minnesota/Illinois at 7:00 and Florida/Mississippi State at 9:00. ESPN2 has Connecticut/Oklahoma at 8:00