More struggles for the lads of winter. Down in Houston, the Celtics got 22 points and 6 assists from a rookie making his first ever NBA start, they shot 33 three-pointers and made 14…shotting better from three point land than two point land, and lost by nine. The Rockets were hot themselves, something I don’t seem mentioned anywhere, they shot 50% from field on non-three, and they weren’t getting those in the paint. They didn’t seem to miss anything from 15-18 feet. It was all going down. The Rockets also made 20 free throws to the Celtics six. All in all, a god effort by the Celtics, but not nearly enough. Peter May captures it perfectly by describing it as a game of “cat and mouse”. Steve Bulpett provides a rather tepid game story. He does provide a nice look at Yao Ming, however, and mentions his dry wit and sense of humor. I personally wish Ming had made some sort of response to Shaq’s ‘ching-chong-yang-wah-ah-soh.’ taunt. He could’ve said something like, “Tell Shaq that in Chinese that translates to ‘I’m a cross-eyed, fat, arrogant buffoon.’ ” Bill Reynolds says you know what, this Vin Baker deal isn’t working out so good. Lenny Megliola has seen the future, and the future is Yao. He also praises Bremer and on the subject of Kedrick Brown, warns us “don’t get carried away by his highlight reel ball-stuffin’ of Tim Duncan Sunday night” Well, why not? That might’ve been the most impressive block by 6-7 guy on a seven footer since the days of MJ swatting Ewing. Brown was so high, he threw the ball straight down into the ground, not off into the crowd somewhere. May’s notebook says Larry Bird and Steve Belkin may now turn their sights on trying to purchase the Bucks. Bulpett’s notebook leads with JR Bremer, and ends with Bruce Bowen saying the Celtics style of play is the “downfall of basketball”.

Kevin Paul Dupont attempts to reason out why the Bruins gave away John Grahame. Karen Guregian says the Bruins gambled that Grahame could take the number one job, and simply failed. Marvin Pave covers the 2-1 loss last night. Stephen Harris notes in his game story that the Bruins just couldn’t keep the momentum that they had coming off the big win the other night going into this one. Joe Gordon observes that the Bruins were stoned last night by a kid making his first ever NHL start. Steve Conroy says the pressure is squarely on Steve Shields now, but that Andrew Raycroft is waiting in the wings. Harris’ notebook however, asserts that neither one of those guys is likely to be the answer for very long. Douglas Flynn says that Mike O’Connell might be feeling the heat. With the second NHL team in a month filing for bankruptcy, Dupont looks at the monetary struggles of franchises in a number of leagues. Dupont’s notebook gives an update on Joe Thornton.

Steve Buckley continues his quest to bring recognition to the Conigliaro family, (but not to himself…never.) with his account today of a ball that is supposed to be the one that beaned Tony C., and how it has been sitting in a drawer since 1967. The ball has been given to Buck and he is to use it in his unselfish quest to have Tony C’s number 25 retired by the Red Sox.

Bob Hohler says that the Sox likely now prefer Javier Vazquez over Bartolo Colon. Citing Vazquez’s youth and health, Hohler adds that “The Sox would be well positioned to land Vazquez and Colon.” Tony Massarotti says the Sox best hope might just be that the Montreal’s options run dry. He also has a short piece saying that Kevin Millar will most likely not be coming to Boston.

Kevin Mannix hopes the Patriots coaches were watching over the weekend. Steve DeOssie remembers Will McDonough.

Bill Griffith visits with legendary broadcaster Ernie Harwell on a trip to Boston, Jim Baker reviews the weekend of NFL playoff action, and John Molori remembers Will McDonough.

Oh wait, did I forget Shaughnessy’s column today? In fact I did. Because it’s utterly forgettable. After all weekend talking about how much Will McDonough meant to him and influenced his career and was a model for him, Shaughnessy puts out this drivel for his first column post-McDonough?