Insane morning. Links are a little rushed. I apologize for the delay.

Tough defense was what got the Celtics far last year, and it’s what got them off to a good start in their road trip last night. Kedrick Brown, though scoreless, played terrific defense on Jamal Mashburn and may have finally cracked the rotation. Switching back and forth from the ESPN and FSNE telecasts, you get quite a contrast. Bill Walton was quite harsh on the Celtics, while at the same reminiscing about his time in green. ESPN also showed clips from Larry Bird’s 60 point game in New Orleans against the Hawks. Walton also noted the last time a teams two leading scorers averaged under 40 points a game was the Syracuse Nationals with Dolph Schayes and Johnny Kerr….grizzled vets when Tommy Heinsohn came into the league. Mike Gorman noted that the arena in New Orleans was the worst in the league percentage-wise for three point shooters. He added it might because of its dome-like structure and depth perception can be a problem from certain angles. Reminds me of how Bird use to struggle shooting wise in the Pontiac Silverdome. A big win for the Celtics. But as it’s a road game, we get limited stories. Steve Bulpett reports from the Big Easy on the game. Frank Dell’Apa reports on the game for the Globe. The notebooks are similar. Bulpett’s notebook deal with O’Brien trying to reduce the minutes Pierce and Walker have to play, while “dude you’re getting a” Dell’Apa’s notebook hones in on Antoine’s minutes and shot selection. Both notebooks have bits on Kedrick Brown as well. A couple days after the fact, Tim Weisberg writes that in watching Michael Jordan’s performance on Monday night his “objectivity was kicked to the curb and the cheerleader in my heart, who still wanted a Green victory, nevertheless still pumped his fist right along with Jordan each time he nailed a jumper or pulled down a rebound.” He goes on to capture the night well. Also yesterday, Gary Fitz jumped on the “Celtics need to fire the front office” bandwagon that is slowly gaining speed. How long till it reaches the Boston Media?

Theo sounds as frustrated as the fans at not being able to complete a deal for Bartolo Colon. Bob Hohler reports on the seeming stalemate in the talks. Tony Massarotti mentions the Marlins as a possible destination for Colon. David Heuschkel also reports on the stalled Montreal talks. Massarotti also catches up with Shea Hillenbrand to get his thoughts on his name being featured prominently in trade talks. Hillenbrand sounds very level headed about the whole thing. Heuschkel has a second article, a talk with John Burkett, who is working on an offseason conditioning program similar to the one Pedro and Lowe did last winter and is encouraged by the early results. I’ve often mentioned the book “Shut Out – a story of race and baseball in Boston” in this space. Alex Speier has a review of the book, with added comments from Theo Epstein and John Henry. The Metro article kindly omits the parts of the book that deal with the role of the Boston Globe and of Will McDonough in particular. The book also has a fascinating account of the tension between McDonough and Peter Gammons. Sean McAdam writes on ESPN.com about the Red Sox closer-by-committee.

Watching the injury to Willis McGahee reminded Jackie MacMullan of the gruesome injury to Joe Theisman. Alan Greenberg would like everyone to please stop the Patriots/Jets comparisons. Michael Gee says that kid Vick can play a little. Eric Fisher has a look at the Eagles/Falcons matchup. Nick Cafardo also looks at McNabb/Vick. Michael Smith looks at Tennessee linebacker Keith Bulluck.

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