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Celtics could’ve put the series away last night, but couldn’t score a single point towards the end of the game and in the entire OT. How frustrating was that to watch? Every single play was the high post to Pierce, who was smothered by Ron Artest. Finally on one offensive possession, the C’s called time out, and I said, finally…they’re going to diagram a play, get Tony Delk (8-10) coming off a pick or something….the plan they came up with was to put Antoine on the high post. He did get fouled, but missed both. It was a perfect example of my frustration with Jim O’Brien…he’s done a great job with these guys, they play tough defense for him, they go all out for him, but offense is almost an afterthought. He’s got Pierce and Walker, so he just figures they can get him a hoop whenever he needs one. Who can figure this series? I can’t think of a single analyst or reporter who picked the Celtics to win the series, except Bill Simmons. Going into last nights game, I can’t think of a single media person who said the Pacers had a prayer. This game was of course right in Dan Shaughnessy’s wheelhouse and he is overjoyed that the Celtics lost, he’s sharpening his knives already as twice in the column he says the Celtics “better” win Thursday night. One item needs correction, however, he claims that: “Boston goes down as the first team in NBA history to throw a shutout in extra innings.” Wrong. It’s not even the first time this century it’s happened in a Pacers game. They threw a OT shutout at the Grizzlies in 2000. It’s also happened in the playoffs, albeit not since the 1950’s, but it has happened, according to ESPN and a a few astute readers here. Steve Bulpett compares losing the game last night to Bill Buckner letting the ball go through his legs. Shira Springer’s game story looks at the ugly O-for-overtime. Mark Murphy look at an exhausted Paul Pierce after the game last night. With only one day to rest, will the depth of Indiana be a factor? Peter May looks at the failure of the Celtics to score the last two minutes of regulation or overtime. No mention that perhaps the coach could’ve mixed things up on offense. Sarah Meinecke focuses on the efforts of Ron Artest, who not only smothered Pierce, but was also the leading scorer in the game. Hank Lowenkron looks at one of the heroes for the Pacers, old, out of shape, hobbling Tim Hardaway. Murphy also looks at the contributions the Celtics get…mostly off the court…from graybeards Grant Long, Mark Bryant and Bimbo Coles. Out in Indy, Bob Kravitz says the Pacers finally showed some heart. Sekou Smith looks at Pierce’s struggles down the stretch. Smith also looks at the Celtics failing to score in OT. Springer’s notebook has the Commish weighing in on the state of the league. Bulpett’s notebook looks at Olympic snubs for Pierce and Walker.
Paul Kenyon says that with each passing game, it’s apparent that these are not your grandfather’s Red Sox. They can do the little things required to win games. A nice look by Kenyon. Gordon Edes notes that despite all the bullpen struggles, these Sox are not only afloat, they’re cruising. Jeff Horrigan also praises the Sox small ball approach to the game last night, noting that the Sox didn’t appear all that impressed with the Royals. Speaking of the little things it takes to win, there appears no better example on the Sox then Bill Mueller, who did several things to contribute to the victory last night. Michael Vega has a look, as do Michael Silverman, David Heuschkel as well as Lenny Megliola. Mike Shalin notes that Tim Wakefield matched Bill Lee on the Sox all time win list last night, moving into a tie for 11th place on the Sox all time list. Christopher Price says that while Wakefield may not make great copy, he’s invaluable to the Sox in numerous ways. Jackie MacMullan looks at the return of Alan Embree last night. Silverman also looks at NH native Allard Baird, GM of the Royals who is enjoying his club’s fast start. Kevin Gray of the Union Leader also looks at the Rochester raised Baird. Shalin contributes a piece on Royals closer Mike MacDougal, having come back after a skull fracture in 2001. Sean McAdam has a piece on the Sox ongoing efforts to bring in more revenue. Edes’ notebook looks at the injury to Chad Fox, which could keep him out for a month…not a case of the “Hellenic flu”. In Horrigan’s notebook, Theo shoots down the rumored trade of Hillenbrand which was all over 1510 yesterday morning. I didn’t bother to mention it because the source was a Peter Gammons Diamond Notes column. The ProJo notebook has more on Fox and Mueller. Heuschkel’s notebook says there are fresh arms headed to the Sox bullpen in the form of Embree and possibly Robert Person soon. I was going to give the print media a nice round of applause for not even mentioning the media/Sox feud, but Steve Buckley in his pay column does enough backslapping and gladhanding for everyone. He says last night went smooth and everyone is just trying to get along. How quaint.
Jim Donaldson jokes that if history repeats itself, the Patriots will win the Super Bowl after the 2004 season and Kliff Kingsbury will be the MVP. He takes a further look at the Patriots draft picks and likes what he sees. Michael Parente has a look at second round cornerback Eugene Wilson, hoping to imitate Ty Law. A good look at Wilson there. Michael Felger looks at the Patriots practice of attempting to develop young quarterbacks. Bill Burt, while saying we need to wait until 2005 to judge this draft, gives us his early impressions.
Bud Collins remembers Clif Keane. Dan Shaughnessy takes a look at the new Celtics owners, and considers what fans want out of the owners of their sports teams.
In a special Media Blitz email, John Molori is reporting:
A source has told Media Blitz that NESN programming and operations chief Rick Abbott has decided to leave the network after just six months on the job. The source, a veteran Boston sports personality, says that Abbott announced his departure to his staff on Tuesday.
He goes on to note that “It has been speculated by some that his fresh approach and new ideas did not jive with those of the Red Sox”