I guess its time to

I guess its time to be looking to the future for the Celtics, and the future is Danny Ainge. Frank Haner chimes in with a mini guest column:

In the past, I have been a fairly frequent writer on the Celtics. And I follow the Celtics every move. I think concerns for Ainge in control of the Celtics are off base. I hope I can convince you he is the right man.

I think Ainge is a free thinker with confidence in his opinions. I think he is strong minded, and will not be swayed by other people. And he knows basketball. He is the not the type to think everything is very good because the Celtics made it to the second round. He knows some of our players, while being very good, have to play smarter. And he knows the roster needs to be shaken up. I liked Jackie’s article today on Ainge, which highlighted some of this stuff.

The are several things about the current Celtics that bug me. And it is basic basketball.

(1) How come when they throw the ball in after an opponent’s made basket, it seems disorganized more often than not? Pierce and Walker, despite having the ball in their hand, never seem to want to throw it in quickly to the guard. (Are they too good for this?) A player always seems to have to run back to throw the ball in. They lose 2-4 seconds all the time, which, obviously, gives their opponent time to get back into their set defense. I was watching the Spurs the other night. Duncan grabs the ball after a made basket, and throws it in quickly.

(2) Getting into their offense always seems to take too long, probably, in no small part, by how they throw the ball into play. They always seems to waste 6-8 seconds before they have things set up. Players are jogging up the court, as if trying to catch a breather. Again, you never see Duncan of the Spurs do this. He throws the ball in, then runs up the court.

(3) Walker and Pierce far too often wear sulky, cry-baby looks on their face. The refs are treating me unfairly, they seem to think. They always give the calls to the other team, they wine. And a lot of times, they complain when they should be running back on defense. Now, of course, in the modern NBA, All-Star players do this more. But Walker and Pierce do this way too often, and it sets the tone for the team.

All three of these things are the responsibility of the coach to address. And they are indicative of laziness and lack of focus, two characteristics the Celtics do not really seem to be about in every other aspect of their game. But O’Brien tolerates it. Now, I like him as a coach, but he has coddled them for too long. Rickie baby has been gone for awhile. O’Brien worked to gain the respect of the players; now he should assert himself some more and not tolerate this.

These are the type of things Ainge will not tolerate. And we will make the coach address them.

I can see Ainge being able to confine Walker to be the type of player he was in the Pacers’ series every game. I can see Walker being a player next year with stats like 18 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 1.5 steals, 45% FG. I can see Ainge convincing Walker he needs to give up more of his offense in order for another player on the team to be a 15-16 point scorer. And I think it will be easier for Walker to learn this from Ainge than O’Brien.

Ainge will also be respectful of the Celtic’s history and pride in a way that is not a marketing ploy. It will be real.

Ainge, while be out-spoken and strong-willed, is also a humble, moral, deeply religious man. I think those are great characteristics of a head of a NBA team.

I also like Ainge being a younger man. I think he would like to stay with the Celtics for years and years. (I don’t think Bird would have been the right choice, despite how cool that would have been. I could never see him staying in that spot for more than 3-6 years.) That is a good thing. How many coaches and management changes have occurred over the past ten years? Too many. I want someone with long-term vision, someone who will stay around to see the changes through. I think he is that man, and I highly support him. I think you should too.

Frank Haner

Another article of note comes from Salt Lake City Dick Harmon looks at the ‘mounting web of local ties, some through BYU, which are now tying up the scene in Boston.’ Thanks to Jan for sending that article along.


If I say a few

If I say a few media members need to be smacked, will I have to suspend myself for 30 days?

First up is Jon Heyman from NY Newsday. He can’t let the Bob Ryan quotes go. Heyman calls the quote “one of the dumbest things ever said on the airwaves and goes on to say:

The reason Ryan spent so much time getting worked up over Kidd isn't about Ryan's sanity, intelligence or nature. It's about his town, Boston, which can't get over that it's not New York, that New York has better sports teams and that the Yankees have 26 titles since the Red Sox last won. It's about the fact that their sportswriters eat, breathe, sleep, live and die with their teams. Me, I get my four solid hours sleep no matter who wins (though I'll admit I'm rooting for New York-bred Funny Cide, who like me is cpelling-challenged).

To me, this is a case of geographical jealousy. Ryan has New York envy. More precisely, he has the New Jersey strain. That doesn't mean he wishes Boston had swampland as far as the eye can see, bad drivers (they already have those), and a stubborn odor. He just wants New York-area teams to stop smacking his teams around.

What a pompous moron. Get over yourself, already. Also in the article, Heyman refers to Joumana as “stunningly beautiful” and the Kidd’s son T.J. as a “cutie-pie”. God, could this guy to any more to ingratiate himself to the Kidds and Nets? (oh, by the way Jon, Ryan is from New Jersey…)

If you want to contact Heyman, a reader has provided jonhheyman@aol.com as an adress where he can be reached.

Smack number two for the day goes to Boston’s own Peter May. In an article for ESPN.com he takes plenty of shots at the town in which he earns his living.

Completing the media moron hat trick is Peter Finney of the New Orleans Times Picayune, who is also writing on the topic of Bob Ryan. Finney says:

Boston fans berated Kidd with "wife-beater" taunts, referring to a two-year-old charge (later dropped) of wife abuse.

Someone please inform Finney that the charges were not dropped against Kidd. He made a plea arrangement so that he didn’t go on trial.

On another note, a reader wrote in to note that in his opinion, yesterday’s Mark Blaudschun article about the Big East/ACC shakeup was the most clueless one of all the pieces he had read on the topic. For those of you interested, he suggested these links:

There is just no way Penn State would consider leaving the Big 11. It just won’t happen. If you want possible scenarios, for the future Big East, here are two versions: With Miami, BC and Syracuse still in the league. and Without

Also consider this rundown from a Virginia Tech grad. Part one, Part two, and the other shoe.

Looks like Danny Ainge is

Looks like Danny Ainge is going to be the guy running the Celtics, barring any surprises. Ainge has never run a team before, but has a connection to the new owners. Ainge knows the game, the players, and was a coach in the league as recently as a few years ago. He might do a terrific job. I’ve got to question however, the fact that this is all happening in the middle of a playoff series. Don’t teams usually wait until the season has concluded before they shake up the front office? Couldn’t this end up being just a bit of a distraction to the players and coaching staff? Oh well. TNT has removed Ainge from the game tonight and even removed him from their listing of broadcasters on their webpage. Shira Springer and Steve Bulpett report on the Ainge situation. Bulpett’s piece has more information, as he reports that there were harsh words on the flight home from NJ from the club when told of the situation, also he reports that the Celtics denied permission for the Hawks to speak to Wallace and Papile about openings in their organization. (WHY?) Jackie MacMullan gets Kevin McHale’s take on how Ainge would do in Boston. Not surprisingly, McHale is a huge booster of Ainge. The other story today is how the crowd will behave tonight. The media seems to be on its high horse today and almost talking down to the fans and telling them not embarrass the city. Jim Donaldson writes a column today that should anger any Boston fan. He uses all the worst-case incidents of Boston fans and lumps them together to create a case that all the fans in New England are a bunch of drunk morons. Thanks for painting with a broad brush, Jim. In a pay column for the Herald, Steve Buckley begs the fans of Boston, to take the high road…like Joumana Kidd. Bulpett has Wyc Grousbeck hoping for a “raucous but respectful” crowd tonight. Carolyn Thornton looks at Scott, expecting a harsh reception tonight. Springer looks at the Celtics hoping to draw from the crowd tonight. Elliott Denman says the Nets suffer no ill-effects from last year’s game three meltdown. Lenny Megliola says this Nets/Celtics series is not just about the actual games. Jerry Trecker says the Celtics need a lot more than just the home court edge tonight. Understandably, there will be a lot of pressure on Antoine tonight. Kevin McNamara examines the load on employee #8. Mark Murphy looks at a couple of trends the Celtics need to snap in order to get back into the series. Gerry Callahan hits back at Bryon Scott in his pay column today, opening with:

Byron Scott spent most of his mediocre playing career with the Los Angeles Lakers, clinging wisely to the golden shirttails of Magic and Kareem, so naturally he is an authority on the state of race relations in the city of Boston.

After all, most years, Byron spent one night in this city.

Yep, that Byron sure must know all the troublespots in Boston, and as Callahan points out, must have been busy those few nights he was actually here. After noting the flap caused by a throwaway comment by Bob Ryan, Callahan continues:

Byron Scott, meanwhile, gets seven paragraphs in the New York Post, zero in the New York Times. All he did was brand an entire city with the most vile, base and despicable label imaginable, a label that many Bostonians have worked long and hard to shed. And he did it without backing it up with a single fact or even a sketchy anecdote. And while he has spent almost no time here, Scott was living and playing in Los Angeles when Rodney King got clubbed by the cops on video in '91.

When Callahan sticks to sports issues, he’s the best at defending Boston and attacking outsiders.

Jeff Horrigan looks at Johnny Damon, who despite his early season struggles in batting average, is ahead of his numbers from last year in other areas and continues to help the Sox win. Bob Hohler has an article on Doug Mirabelli, who still wishes he could’ve grabbed past opportunities to be a full time player, but is content with his increased role here. David Heuschkel writes about Todd Walker, making his return to the Metrodome three years after having been in Tom Kelly’s doghouse there. Michael Silverman has a look at hot prospect Freddy Sanchez, tearing it up at Pawtucket. Sean McAdam looks at this Red Sox club’s ability to score runs. Brian Fleming has a short piece on the same topic for the Metro. In a report on the Sox Minor league system, Silverman reports that Hanley Ramirez has been demoted as punishment for an unnamed violation of team policy. Hohler’s notebook dismisses Derek Lowe’s offseason cancer surgery as a possible reason for his struggles. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Person’s status, and another minor league bullpen addition.

These games are just painful

These games are just painful to watch. This isn’t meant to sound like Bill Simmons, I’m serious, but why is it that the team you root for seems to play better during the stretches you’re not watching it? Last night when the Celtics went down by 16, I went into the kitchen and loaded the dishwasher. Just couldn’t watch for awhile, although my mind was still on the game while in the kitchen. Finally, when I come back to the game, the Celtics have cut the lead to two. NJ hasn’t scored a point something like five plus minutes into the fourth quarter. As soon as I start watching, the Nets start scoring and pull away. This just seems to happen all the time. I know it just isn’t me that does that, either. Anyway…could help be on the way for the Celtics? Jackie MacMullan and Steve Bulpett report that the Celtic owners have made an offer to Danny Ainge to come in and run the basketball operations. Couple things on that…did they even attempt to contact Bird? If not, why not? The MacMullan article mentions that they’ve talked to Kevin McHale and Dave Cowens, but that Ainge was their first choice. No mention of Bird. Second, it was interesting last night on the TNT broadcast that Ainge was actually asked what he would do to change the team if he was running the club. He laughed, really made no attempt to answer seriously, and just said he would get Jason Kidd and Kobe Bryant. According to MacMullan these discussions have gone on more than once, I wonder if Ainge’s broadcast partners were aware that he was in talks with the Celtics, and that prompted the question. I try not to pay too close attention to the TNT broadcasts anyway, because they just seem to be one giant Jason Kidd love-in, which sickens me.

As for the game…Steve Bulpett and Shira Springer report on the loss, which puts the Celtics in a 0-2 hole. Once again the Nets made a run at the end of the first half, like they did Monday night and did in last year’s playoffs to take a halftime lead. Carolyn Thornton and Jerry Trecker round out the game coverage. Once again, Paul Pierce was brilliant, recording a triple-double. Mark Murphy and Mark Blaudschun look at Pierce’s performances, and note that he could use some help. Walker haters unite…the Big O’s binky, (and mine too, if the truth be told) is just having an awful series. Peter May says his performance is just killing the Celtics. Dan Ventura writes that Walker wouldn’t fit in with the Red Sox, because he can put the blame on himself when he isn’t playing well. Lenny Megliola looks at Walker facing the music. Yesterday, Rob Bradford offered a somewhat different look at Walker, looking at the positives, while noting what the perception of Walker is in other press boxes:

"He's the stupidest player in the league," blurted out one New York scribe in the press room. The same writer went on to try and link Walker's typical post-game cool down session (head down, ice bags on knees, shoulders slumped) with the co-captain's perceived end-of-the-world attitude.

The printed press here lately has been pretty good to Antoine, probably because as noted in those articles, he’s always there to talk to them and face the music, unlike some other stars in town. Radio, TV and talk show callers are harsher on Antoine. Lately, the Eagle-Tribune has decided it needs to be more outrageous to compete with the larger papers. We had Hector Longo’s ridiculous article a few weeks, there have been some other eyebrow raisers here and there, and then there is Michael Muldoon’s piece on Walker from yesterday. Sarcastic, biting, it’s a clear Dan Shaughnessy-wannabe article. Byron Scott continues to take shots at the city of Boston. Peter May records Scott’s diatribe on the fans of Boston being abusive and that the city is still a tough place for African-Americans. Mark Murphy looks at Scott’s comments and gets Celtic opinions on how some of them have been treated as African-Americans in Boston. Jackie MacMullan notes that this Celtics team is one that is not going to just roll over and quit. Elliot Denman looks at the Nets holding serve on their homecourt. Ron Borges looks at the nastiness of the series for MSNBC. Michael Gee’s pay column looks at how the measuring sticks that the Celtics usually use, like 45% shooting or 20 assists, and how they’ve reached these plateaus and are still losing. Springer’s notebook looks at Kidd dealing with the media after the game, Bulpett’s notebook looks at JR Bremer getting named to the All Rookie second team. Thornton gets mentioned in those Bulpett notes, and in her own notebook, she also leads with Bremer.

Sox made another 5 run comeback yesterday, and this time were able to hold the lead. Bob Hohler looks at a couple of underachievers (so far, anyway) in Damon and Giambi leading the Sox to victory. Jeff Horrigan looks at daddy Giambi coming to get both his boys out of trouble the last few days. Sean McAdam writes that these Sox are proving that no lead is safe…in either direction. David Heuschkel focuses on Johnny Damon as the star of the game. George Kimball has a short pay column on Bill Mueller making a big contribution to the Sox so far. Sean McAdam looks at the Sox adding Bruce Chen to the bullpen mix. The notebooks mostly focus on Chen as well, Hohler’s notebook looks at the pickup, Horrigan’s notebook mentions Chen’s “boundless potential”, but has an NL scout pretty down on him. Heuschkel rounds out the trinity of Chen notebooks. In McAdam’s notebook, he looks at Damon being treated as a pariah in KC.

The Bob Ryan saga continues on. Elisabeth J. Beardsley, under the headline, “Romney takes rips at Ryan” reports on the Governor’s comments on the situation. Not exactly “rips” as the headline would lead you to believe. Bill Griffith weighs in on the situation, noting the reaction on WEEI and elsewhere, and saying that the Globe has always been worried about it’s reporters being on the airwaves, talking off the cuff, but being promoted as “Globe writers”.

Nick Cafardo has a short bit on the Patriots signing a rookie safety out of Williams College.

Mark Blaudschun looks at the confusing situation of what is going to happen with the Big East and ACC conferences.

Luke Meredith, in his Unsilent Majority column, weighs in on Walpole Wally, the UMass mess and has some harsh words for NH losing the Old Man. Jim Donaldson rails about Channel 12 in Providence cutting out on CSI: Miami early because:

Seems that Monday night's installment of CSI: Miami dealt with the investigation of a deadly fire in a nightclub set off -- intentionally, in this case -- by pyrotechnics.

He wonders is the station would also cut out early on Red Sox games when the bullpen comes in because it would be uncomfortable to viewers.

The Sox managed to finally

The Sox managed to finally end the Royals home winning streak, preventing them from matching the all time record for consecutive home wins to start the season. Bob Hohler looks at the combination of Fossum and Mirabelli who were probably the biggest factors in the game. Jeff Horrigan says that Fossum sent a bigger message to the Royals with this performance than he did with his message pitch the last time he faced them. Sean McAdam notes that Fossum didn’t even feel he had his best stuff last night and was able to pitch well. David Heuschkel focuses on Mirabelli as the star of the game, with his teammates teasing that he’s going to be sore from running the bases so much more than he’s used to last night. George Kimball also focuses on Mirabelli’s performance and has a decent line about preserving the honor of the 1912 Tigers to open the article. Kimball also submits a pay column today in which he looks at Derek Lowe’s struggles and how it does appear that Lowe is pretty messed up right now. Kimball notes:

We're less disturbed here by what has happened on the mound than by Lowe's explanation for it. At various times in what he probably considered an introspective moment, he alluded to ``a repeating pattern'' in his career, in which his 2000 and 2002 All-Star seasons were followed by more ordinary ones.

Kimball thinks Lowe might be more in need of a couch then a coach these days, but also notes that he’s only 3-2, whereas his record last year at this point was 4-1. So record-wise anyway, he’s not all that far off. Out in KC, Jeffrey Flanagan looks at the boos that Johnny Damon is hearing during each at bat. (That’s a column? Look at it and you’ll suddenly feel grateful for the Michael Gees of the world.) Bob Dutton’s game story is similarly bare-boned. Gordon Edes has the weekly NESN cross-promotional teaser with excerpts from a 1-1 interview with David Eckstein. Back here, the notebooks are a split decision. Hohler’s notebook looks at the versatile Damian Jackson, Horrigan’s notebook also leads with Jackson, but ends with news of Jose Offerman signing with the Bridgeport Bluefish. The other two notebooks lead with Wakefield being used in the closer role again. McAdam’s notebook says sometimes between starts Wakefield can be used in that role, othertimes not. Heuschkel’s notebook also looks at Wakefield.

The pressure is still on the Nets for one more game, until the series shifts back here. What can the Celtics do better than they did on Monday night? Steve Bulpett says the Celtics would like to be more physical and stop the fast break of the Nets. Jerry Trecker says the Celtics get an A for effort, but need another letter more, namely a W. Jackie MacMullan, who will have to anchor the Globe’s basketball coverage during the playoffs in the absence of Ryan, says that Pierce keeps taking the hits, and the hits will keep coming. Mark Murphy looks at Antoine, keeping himself positive and confident. Lenny Megliola notes that the Celtics are still peeved over the game one loss and could, as usual, use another scoring option. Shira Springer says the Celtics have a plan, the tough part is going to be making it work. Carolyn Thornton has Jim O’Brien reflecting on the fact that the Celtics, in his words, “played a bad basketball game” Monday night. There is much room for improvement. Rich Thompson chats with JR Bremer about limiting Jason Kidd. Mark Blaudschun writes about Byron Scott remembering when the Celtics tried to court him as a free agent, and he would have no part of it. This was in an article somewhere yesterday, and Blaudschun has taken and expanded it. Megliola has a second article of the day, look at Antoine seeking redemption for his game one performance. Murphy’s second article of the day looks at the need to get Pierce some scoring help in the series. Michael Gee’s pay column says Pierce needs to turn into Michael Jordan for the Celtics to win the series. Springer’s notebook looks at Pierce being named All-NBA third team. Bulpett’s notebook also looks at the honor given to Pierce. Blaudschun’s notebook has the Nets looking at ways they can improve. Thornton’s notebook looks at Antoine, never questioning himself for an instant.

The Bob Ryan suspension is and will likely remain a huge topic for the rest of the playoffs and is a national story as well. I’ve had my say on the matter, which is in the post below this one. Here is the official Globe statement. Liz Robbins of the Globe’s parent, the NY Times looks at the issue. Interestingly I agree a lot with what Gerry Callahan has to say on the matter, in his pay column today. He also notes that Ryan’s suspension was greater than Jason’s. He goes after the Globe:

The Boston Globe and Byron Scott, on the other hand, were not so forgiving. Yesterday Ryan's primary employer dragged its most acclaimed employee home from New Jersey and suspended him without pay for a month. When confronted by the forces of political correctness, the Globe generally fights like the Iraqi air force. The only surprise was that Thomas Oliphant didn't promise to write a favorable column about Joumana Kidd as part of the deal.

I don’t think Kidd was actually suspended though…didn’t he just miss those games of his own accord, while dealing with the legal aspects of the case? If you recall, his first game back, ironically, was right here in Boston. Callahan goes after Byron Scott, who suggested Ryan should be fired:

So let's get this straight, Byron. The man who said he would like to smack Joumana should be fired, but the man who actually smacked her - the man who punched her in the face, made her bleed, spit food on her and chased her into the bathroom where she called 911 - is your main man? You love him, right coach? You don't just defend his right to keep his job - you will beg him to stay on your team and pay him $20 million a year to hang around.

Right on. Now some might just say this is an example of the media defending their own. Normally I might agree. You just know if a player or person employed by a franchise here in Boston had made those remarks the media would be calling for his emasculation. Are they taking it easy on Ryan because he’s one of them? They are, but I also think they’re right to be on his side in this case. The PC police have gone way overboard, and the Globe has reacted to them, instead of defending their own. Jim Baker isn’t taking it easy on Ryan, his glee is almost palpable here. Baker also indicates that the Nets are using this as a rallying cry, (Fred Kreber has more.)which if true, exposes them as the worst sort of hypocrites. The most shameful thing about this situation could be that Jason Kidd could be turned into some sort of victim or sympathetic character in this whole charade.

As always, take advantage of the National Sports Links page, where you can browse the NY & NJ sports sections for more on this and the Celtics/Nets series.

Michael Felger looks at the Patriots getting weary of injury prone wide receivers.

Bob Ryan has been suspended

Bob Ryan has been suspended without pay by the Globe for one month and also barred from appearing on Radio and TV during that time. Here is a little more on the story.

As this is a website devoted to the sports media scene here in Boston, this is obviously a huge story. Some have commented to me on my silence on this story, and a lot of other issues recently. Well, I’ll just say I’m going through my own personal hell at this time, and I consider it a major accomplishment just to get the links up each morning.

I will take a few moments however, and discuss this issue. Was Ryan thoughtless and wrong, not to mention stupid to make the comments he did? Absolutely. Should he have retracted or restated when given a chance by Lobel? For sure. Should he have been suspended for a month? It seems a bit much. I mean after all, Jason Kidd actually smacked Joumana and didn’t get suspended for it. Ryan fell prey to the need that these media types have to say something outrageous all the time. It’s unfortunate that the Globe readers have to suffer because of the suspension as well. This is Ryan’s time. NBA Playoffs, Celtics still alive…Ryan is the best in the area on the topic. I personally have been more offended by some of the things Dan Shaughnessy has said over the years than I was by Ryan’s comment which was obvious hyperbole. Because abuse of women is such a hot-button topic, (with good reason) any comments such as the ones made by Ryan are going to be scrutinized to the hilt, and the PC police are going jump all over them. If Ryan’s comments are worth 30 days, what is a “piece of junk” comment worth? 10 days? How about calling an athlete a huge “sack of you-know-what”? Does that merit 15 days? As for Byron Scott saying Ryan should be fired. He’s a hypocrite. If Jason hit Joumana tonight, Scott would do all that he could to make sure Jason played in the game tomorrow night. As it is, he has the guy on his team. If he’s so hyper-sensitive to the topic of hitting women, then Kidd should have never been on his team.

It’s interesting some of the other items about this. Bob Lobel is no dummy. He knew what he had there as soon as Ryan uttered the words. Instead of laughing them off, saying Ryan didn’t mean them literally, he played it up. Now, as a result, Sports Final is getting talked about all over the country. With their at times high and mighty attitude today, we’ll also see if the Big Show can handle now being the “Guardians of class” as Nat would put it, next time one of their guys crosses the line, or even giggles at something a caller puts out there that is against the PC crowd, will that person be fired/suspended?

This topic touched off another entire media war today on the airwaves. More sniping between WEEI and WWZN occurred during the afternoon shows. The topic of media people knocking media people was all over the place. Short-timer Sean McDonough called WEEI a “tower of hypocrisy”. Glenn Ordway made comments about Sean having the summer to play golf. Allusions were made to McDonough’s car accident from last year, Sean took some shots at Steve Buckley, saying that

It didn’t take too long

It didn’t take too long for me to get back that old feeling of how much I despise the Nets. Pierce was brilliant for stretches, but once again Antoine was pretty much swallowed up by Kenyon Martin, who with Kidd are the Nets I can’t stand the most. Probably chief among my reasons for disliking them is the ease with which they seem to carve up the Celtics. It wasn’t all bad, however. Bob Ryan tells us that last night the Celtics showed they can play with New Jersey and aren’t scared of them. Steve Bulpett says the Celtics were able to make a statement last night. Shira Springer looks at the Celtics lamenting missing out on a win by just a few little things here and there. Lenny Megliola says the Nets catch all the breaks…fast breaks that is. Carolyn Thornton focuses on what the Celtics didn’t do last night in her game story. Jerry Trecker points to a switch to a zone as the reason for the Nets being able to stifle Pierce in the fourth quarter. Jackie MacMullan points at Antoine as the reason for this loss. Once again, he was taken out of the game by Martin. A lot of Antoine’s game is being able to get into the opponents’ head Martin might be the only guy in the league who can get into Walker’s head and mess with him. Defiant as always, Antoine denies that the Nets are poison to him in a Mark Murphy article. Howard Bryant notes that while Kidd’s numbers last night don’t blow you away, he was the one who stuck the dagger into the Celtics in the second half. Peter May focuses on the missed Tony Delk three, pointing to it as a microcosm for the entire game. Rich Thompson and Mark Blaudschun look at how the Nets were able to clamp down on Paul Pierce when it mattered by switching to a zone. Megliola chips in again, also about the zone, and how Pierce and Walker had no answer for it. Michael Gee says the Nets will always be second to the Knicks in the hearts of New York fans. Gee also has a pay column in which he says the Celtics accomplishing all the things they had on their “to do” checklist and with the effort they expended, to still come up short makes the loss all that much tougher. Peter May examines how the Nets are better this year, despite logging fewer wins during the season. Howard Bryant looks at Dikembe Mutombo gathering rust on the Nets bench. In his second article of the day, Bob Ryan is enjoying the NBA playoffs. Bill Reynolds catches up with former Celtics and current world traveler, Chris Herren. Chad Finn wonders if Paul Pierce’s #34 is symbolic in some way. Springer’s notebook looks at the Celtics being unable to contain the Nets on the boards. Bulpett’s notebook looks at Eric Williams hoping for to throw a few roadblocks at Kidd and the Nets. Thornton’s notebook has more on Williams and also looks at faces in the crowd.

For more on the Nets/Celtics series from the other perspective, go to the National Links page and go through the New York and New Jersey papers linked along the left side on that page.

A roller coaster night for Nomar last night, which ended on a decidedly down note. Early on, he continued his struggles at the plate, then hit a two run homer to tie the game at five, then lets a roller to him get by and costs the Sox the game, the Royals are now 11-0 at home this year. Bob Hohler recaps the game, noting Lowe’s early struggles, the rousing Sox comeback and the bullpen and Nomar giving it back. Lowe’s struggles are of concern in Jeff Horrigan’s story. An NL scout says he’s not the same pitcher he was last year, and Lowe admits to putting pressure on himself, something that has been his undoing in the past. Sean McAdam says last night’s blown save deserves a special place in this year’s collection. David Heuschkel says that Nomar’s error was a Royal mistake, but he took responsibility for it. George Kimball notes that Nomar is on pace to have more errors than homers for the second straight year. Kimball also has a premium column in which he notes that Bill James is one of the few who agree with Bud Selig’s decision to award World Series home field advantage to the league that wins the All Star game. Horrigan looks at a well-rested Casey Fossum getting ready to go tonight. Jon Wallach is feeling penned in by the Sox relievers, and looks for assistance in the minors. The notebooks all pretty much deal with Trot Nixon’s eye injury. Hohler, McAdam and Heuschkel. Horrigan’s notebook leads with the news that Person will be missing for a while longer.

Michael Felger reports on the Patriots signing up troubled running back Derek Watson yesterday. Felger notes that the Patriots feel players deserve a second chance. While that is the gist of what Belichick said on Friday, there is a lot more to it. This allows me to introduce some quotes from over the weekend, which show how sometimes getting a quote wrong can change the whole meaning of what a person is trying to say. For this example, we’ll use our old standby, Nick Cafardo. On Saturday, Nick quotes Bill Belichick thusly on the subject of Watson:

Belichick likes running back Derek Watson, who was kicked off Lou Holtz's South Carolina team. ''We all believe in second chances. Our philosophy is we believe that pro athletes are no different than the rest of us. We've all made mistakes. It's the proper thing to give them a second chance,'' said Belichick ...

From the wording of that quote, it looks likes Belichick would bring in OJ Simpson if he thought he could win the starting running back spot. Everyone deserves a second chance. But is that what Belichick actually said? The next day, on Sunday, Cafardo changes the coach’s words:

Watson, who has a troubled past, did not meet with reporters. ''Our philosophy organizationally is that we believe in a professional athlete carrying himself and acting like a professional athlete,'' said Belichick. ''We've all made mistakes, made a lot of them. Sometimes we feel like it's proper to give a guy a second chance, so to speak, or not close the door on somebody just because they made a mistake, depending on what the circumstances and their situation was.''

That sounds a little different, doesn’t it? It’s not so cut and dry, that everyone gets a second chance, no matter what. Each situation is different, and sometimes a second chance is warranted. But if you had only read the Saturday quote, you’d have a much different impression of Belichick and the Patriots philosophy on troubled players. If you want to see (and hear) that the Sunday version is the correct one, you can listen that Friday press conference and read the transcript at Patriots.com.

It makes you think, doesn’t it? We often take for granted that when we see items in “quotes” that it is really what the person said. In this instance, the entire meaning of what Belichick actually said could be taken a totally different way, simply because the reporter did not get the quote correct. How many other times has this happened? All the time, I’m sure. It’s difficult to write down exactly what is being said as it is being said. However, the Patriots provide transcripts and audio versions of these conferences so there are no misunderstandings, and apparently, it still isn’t enough.

Bill Griffith reports that the agent for Sean McDonough is in negotiations to get him out of his WWZN contract early. He simply enjoys doing TV better. Jim Baker also has that news, but leads his column by discussing Bob Ryan’s comments Sunday night about wanting to “smack” Joumana Kidd for her “exhibitionism”. (Yes, that is an actual word.) Ryan is still not backing down, and word has gotten to Joumana about what Ryan said. Baker writes that she “told the New York Post, “I feel sorry for (Ryan) but I have nothing to say bad about him or Boston. I’m not mad at him. I’m sorry I offend him.” Griffith steers clear of the Ryan mess in his second column today, instead looking at FSNE winning the New England Emmy for outstanding play-by-play.

Dan Shaughnessy wants to know

Dan Shaughnessy wants to know why all the fans are so negative about the Red Sox. I’m at a lost for incredulous and angry adjectives to describe my feelings right now… Karen Guregian knocks the fans for booing the team.

Michael Silverman says the Sox need to learn how to leave town on a high note. They lose again while heading out onto the road. Bob Hohler looks at the usual suspects in the Sox loss. Steven Krasner says everything started out so well for the Sox yesterday. Paul Doyle looks at how yesterday turned into two games for the price of one. Tony Massarotti looks at how it went wrong for Wakefield yesterday. Paul Harber also looks at how the game shifted so dramatically. Sean McAdam says the problem with the bullpen is not closing out games, its in the middle innings. Massarotti also looks at how the mismatch in the bullpens led the Twins to winning two out of three this weekend. Alex Speier also notes how the Red Sox and Twins are a study in contrasts. In a couple of Hench’s Hardballs, the Boston Dirtdogs site looks at the Red Sox poor defense and at Nomar’s struggles at the plate, where, in big situations he has become Garciapopup. In a Herald Premium column Cosmo Macero Jr looks at whether the Sox have gone too far in pricing tickets and having people like Larry Lucchino promote them on every appearance he makes. Hohler’s notebook looks at Manny torrid batting average…and lack of home runs. Silverman’s notebook has a similar theme. Krasner’s notebook leads with Mirabelli’s success at throwing out would-be base stealers. Doyle’s notebook looks at Robert Person’s outing in Pawtucket.

Game one, Celtics/Nets tonight from New Jersey. Do the Celtics have a prayer in this series? While everyone seems a bit less inclined to simply dismiss the green, I haven’t seen anyone pick them, either. Most seem to think it will be a success if the Celtics can take the series to six games. Shira Springer writes about the little details the Celtics will need to take care of to be successful. Rich Thompson agrees that it is all in the details. Jerry Trecker looks at a confident Nets team heading into the series. Byron Scott says the Celtics have no answers for Kidd, Martin and Jefferson. Carolyn Thornton says containing those three is exactly what the Celtics need to do in this series. Mark Murphy says Jason Kidd is a better player than he was a year ago. Christopher Price says the Celtics hope being a year older and wiser can help them out in this series. Peter May has a look at Kenyon Martin…does he intimidate Antoine? Steve Bulpett asserts that Antoine is the key to this series, and not just for what will show up in the stats, either. Tim Weisberg sets the stage for the series. Jeff Goodman has a feature on Paul Pierce for the Washington Post. It’s a look at how Pierce’s life is full of examples of how he has overcome those who doubted him. Barbara Barker says Pierce is still battling a selfish reputation. Down in NJ, Steve Adamek has Byron Scott practically licking his lips in anticipation of beating the Celtics again. Jay Greenberg says that the Celtics need to beat the Nets or else perhaps end the Pierce & Walker era. Brad Parks says Pierce must be stopped. Springer’s notebook says there may be a Kedrick Brown sighting in this series. Free Kedrick! Thompson’s notebook looks at Tony Battie as the last line of defense for the Celtics. Murphy’s notebook looks at Scott comparing the Celtics to the Bucks.

Kevin Mannix wraps up the rookie mini-camp for the Patriots. Nick Cafardo looks at cornerback Eugene Wilson and his background and experience at minicamp. Michael Felger looks at how Romeo Crennel plans to use all this new talent at his disposal.

John Molori provides some notes and quotes from around the media world. In the Herald, Joe Fitzgerald has a short bit on WWZN boss Mike Kellogg. The gist of the column was how Kellogg, a recovering alcoholic has turned his life around. Some shots were recently taken at him on a radio station, saying he was a drunk and ex-con. Kellogg says that is true, but he hasn’t had a drink since 1988 and turned his life around at that point, getting into the radio business by selling ads at WRKO.

One more time…if you’ve already

One more time…if you’ve already done this, thanks, but if not, could you please take a minute and fill out the demographic survey on this page it would help me very much in future endeavors for this site. Click on “take the poll” (or “cast your vote”) Please only take the survey once. You’re not required to give out anything personal like email, name, phone, address or anything else. It’s a very simple demographic poll.

As was asked on the board last night, who is more disappointed that the Celtics beat the Pacers handily last night: Ron Artest, Isiah Thomas, or Dan Shaughnessy? Acting like yesterday’s column was never written, Dan writes about the white hot shooting streak that pushed the Celtics to victory last night. Something he and many of the Celtic legends in attendance had never seen before. The frontrunners closed out the Pacers just fine, thank you. Wasn’t it great to hear the Big O trash CHB yesterday? Shot Dan’s whole column to pieces. It’s ridiculous to label Pierce & Walker “frontrunners” when over the last two seasons they’ve had some of the most remarkable playoff comebacks ever. Several times coming back from double digit deficits to win. Steve Bulpett wraps up the game and looks ahead to the rematch with New Jersey. Shira Springer says the “Green Monster” was fired up, got hot shooting early and defensive stops. Carolyn Thornton notes the Celtics still upset over Tuesday night, were determined not to let this one get away. Lenny Megliola says that Celtics had to win last night, and came out smokin’. Christopher Price has the quick edition of the game. Jerry Trecker says the Celtics simple game plan was all it took to beat the Pacers. Peter May looks at the hot shooting by the Celtics, particularly by Delk and McCarty in this series and hones in on that for any hopes the C’s have for getting past New Jersey. Mark Murphy says that this Celtics team is unrecognizable from the squad that got drilled by 30 in Indy back in March. Bill Reynolds says this looks an awful lot like a repeat of last year. The “by committee” moniker looks like it might stick in Boston sports, as it is popping up everywhere. Rich Thompson looks at the Celtics “point guard by committee” of Delk and Bremer, as does Marvin Pave. Those two team up again to submit a couple of articles about John Havlicek talking about Paul Pierce. In addition to the hot shooting, Mark Blaudschun reminds us of the first half Tony Battie had, in which he had four blocked shots, and set the tone for the game. Gus Martins has Paul Pierce looking ahead to New Jersey. Michael Vega has Reggie Miller accepting full blame for the Pacers loss in this series. Vega also has a look at Erick Strickland, tired of moving around, he’s open to a possible return to the Celtics. Out in Indy, Bob Kravitz looks at the Pacers fall from aspiring Bad Boys to…just bad. Sekou Smith reports that Isiah and his players all think he should be brought back for next year. Mark Montieth says that Jermaine O’Neal says he’ll only be back if Isiah is…Springer’s notebook looks ahead to the Nets and has Paul Pierce channeling Bill Russell. He arrived “wearing an authentic warmup jacket from the 1956-57 season with the No. 6 on the back.” Pretty cool. Bulpett’s notebook says the Celtics dragging their feet with a new contract for McCarty is costing them more every day. Thornton’s notebook looks at the Pacers failure to stop the “Pierce explosion”.

Red Sox continue the streak of weird victories. Another one run win, but as emailer Bob from NH, who also sent this to the Eddie Andelman show yesterday points out:

As far as being 7-1 (now 8-1) in one run games, well that just shows how the media can manipulate stats. In previous years (like last year) when they had a horrible record in one run games, the media constantly stuck that in people's faces as to why they missed the playoffs. This year, with a great record in that statistic, the media is using it as a joke.

That’s been true mostly, as the one run games can be attributed to the bullpen giving up 4 run leads and making the games closer than they should be. Last night was also the seventh time the Sox have won a game in their final at-bat this year. Sean McAdam, pretty the most fair and objective of the media group, looks at those stats as positives. Jeff Horrigan writes about the Sox overcoming the early ejection of their starter to post the win. Gordon Edes has more on the late heroics. Steven Krasner says the charmed life continues for the 2003 Red Sox. David Heuschkel also points to the improved record in tight games as a plus for this team. Todd Walker was one of the heroes of the night was is rewarded with stories on him by Paul Harber and Mike Shalin. Elsewhere, Steve Conroy looks at the curiously quick hook that Casey Fossum got from the ump last night. Alex Speier reports on the job his replacement, Steve Woodard was able to do. Tony Massarotti knocks the Red Sox because Shea Hillenbrand’s name keeps popping up in trade rumors. Jim Donaldson writes about Robert Person prepping for the closer role. Silverman’s notebook looks at Hillenbrand sitting out last night from a sore elbow courtesy of the Royals pitching staff. The elbow was also the lead in Krasner’s notebook. Keeping to the elbow theme, Edes’ notebook looks a Sox pitching prospect Manny Declarmen facing Tommy John surgery. In Heuschkel’s notebook, Theo says that reports of the demise of CBC are greatly exaggerated. Out in KC, Bob Dutton reports that the Royals are ticked off at the umps and feel they’ve gotten the short end of calls that are costing them games.

Ty Warren met the Boston media for the first time yesterday, Michael Parente, Nick Cafardo and Alan Greenberg report on the press conference. Mike Reiss reports on WR Germaine Crowell visiting the Patriots recently.