The post-Antoine era began last

The post-Antoine era began last night at the Fleetcenter. As some thought, it was a rout. But the Celtics were the ones on the winning side of the scoreboard. Steve Bulpett was one of those who believed the Green might be in for a long night. Instead, he notes, the Celtics looked the best they have all preseason. Raef LaFrentz made his debut for the Celtics yesterday, and Shira Springer looks at his game and what he brings to the team. Carolyn Thornton also has a look at the Celtics’ newest big man. Christopher Price also has a look at the Celtic debut of LaFrentz. Lenny Megliola examines the new look Celtics, mostly through the eyes of Eric Williams, who himself may not be around a whole lot longer. Mark Murphy takes a look at last night’s pasting of the Timberwolves. Peter May says that Ainge likely isn’t done trading, and Tony Battie is rumored to be a guy who they’re shopping around the league. Rob Bradford takes a look at Jiri Welsch and wonders if the 6-7 guard was meant to end up here in Boston all along. Michael Muldoon also has a look at Welsch, who is only the second Czech to play in the NBA. Bulpett talks with Kevin McHale about the moves being made by his former Celtics teammate, and the TWolves executive thinks the trade makes a lot of sense for the Celtics. Thornton’s notebook says that Paul Pierce is more than capable of stepping into an even more expanded leadership role. Murphy’s notebook looks at the first game in green for LaFrentz.

Mike Reiss takes a look at the contributions of first round pick Ty Warren. He also compares Warren’s stats to those of the other defensive lineman taken in the first round and he’s right up there with any of them. Alan Greenberg looks at the Patriots huge improvement in playing against the run. One of the reasons cited is the revamped secondary. Michael Felger looks at the success the Patriots are having in throwing the long ball. Glen Farley has an interesting piece on the bond between Adam Vinatieri and handicapped kicking coach Doug Blevins. (Article is likely replaced by noon.) Michael Smith has a look at the “madman” style of play from Rodney Harrison. Tom Curran and Michael Parente each ponder who is going to be the Browns quarterback on Sunday to face the Patriots. Christopher Price says that the Patriots will be prepared for either quarterback. Erin Walsh reports on the arrest of Kenyatta Jones on Monday night. Mac Daniel & Michael S. Rosenwald have a more extensive account of the incident. Parente’s notebook also reports on Jones. Felger’s notebook says that the Jones incident might’ve resulted from “horseplay” and also that when reporters went to Jones’ condo, they were greeted by J.R. Redmond. He also reports an injury to Roman Phifer that might be worse than just day-to-day. Smith’s notebook looks at a BC reunion on Sunday at Gillette.

Sean McAdam has a source telling him that Grady Little will not be back as the Red Sox manager. Gordon Edes talks with Grady, who says he isn’t sure he wants to come back and manage this team. No shock there. This is the best for all involved. Grady knows that. He doesn’t get fired, and the Red Sox can hire someone else. Bill Reynolds says all season Grady was the fall guy, and he’ll take the fall now, especially from this ownership group that “is supersensitive to fan sentiment”. John Tomase reports on another Padres assistant being added to the Red Sox scouting staff.

Steve Conroy looks at the cautiously optimistic Bruins as they return from their West coast swing. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell gives us five reasons that the Bruins find themselves atop the Northeast division. Stephen Harris looks at the leadership of Joe Thornton.

Feel free to avert your eyes from these last two linked columns. Stan Grossfeld, who has done a bang-up job composing feature articles at the Globe, submits one today on Bill Buckner. Sure, he may be at peace, but why not let Red Sox fans be in peace as well? We don’t really want to read another story on the guy, no matter how well written. The last column is just here for sheer morbid car-wreck gawking value. Yup, Buddy Thomas strikes again. He’s got this new, original idea, this thought that maybe there is a curse surrounding the Red Sox, and that it involves Babe Ruth. It’s a little sad, but I think Buddy might’ve actually tried to put some work in on this one.


The analysis of the Antoine

The analysis of the Antoine Walker trade continues. Steve Bulpett compares Antoine to Roger Clemens, and thinks he will be revitalized by a change of venue. Peter May says to judge this trade from the Celtics point of view requires a long term vision. Tim Weisberg says the trade leaves a big hole with the loss of Walker, but other holes are filled by it. Mark Murphy looks at an expanded role for Vin Baker, possibly even a starting spot. Michael Muldoon looks at the trade and says Ainge got as much as he could for Walker, who divided allegiances like no other player in town. Shira Springer looks at the delay in getting Raef LaFrentz onto the practice court. Carolyn Thornton also looks at the debut delayed for LaFrentz. Murphy writes about Red Auerbach signing off on the deal. Mike Fine looks back at Walker and Ainge has more moves up his sleeve. (That link will likely be to another article by noon, as the Patriot Ledger recycles links each day.) Bulpett also looks at Jiri Welsch, who choose to wear # 44, and got some advice from Ainge on wearing that number. Bulpett looks at Ainge dealing with the negative reaction to the trade locally and around the league. Murphy’s notebook looks at Jim O’Brien getting a little testy at practice yesterday. Springer’s notebook also looks at Welsch wearing the number 44.

Michael Felger in his Patriots Insider looks at the Patriots youth movement, the job Bill Parcells has done with Dallas and Terry Glenn, and at the officials in the Patriots/Dolphins game on Sunday, who seemed rather confused at times. Dan Pires looks at how Richard Seymour has become a favorite of coach Bill Belichick. Nick Cafardo looks at the two Bills, Parcells and Belichick, and how they’re finally enjoying success apart from each other. A nice, positive article, but I don’t know if we can “finally say” they are good without each other too. The season is still pretty early on both sides. When both Belichick (Browns) and Parcells (Patriots) led their teams to a playoff matchup in 1994, could it be said then that both enjoyed success without each other? How you define success? One good season? A playoff berth? Super Bowl title? In any event, it’s a positive article about Belichick from Cafardo. There isn’t even a single mention of Tom Donahoe, either. John Altavilla has a look at the job done by Parcells in Dallas. Michael Parente has a look at Richard Seymour, who is still enjoying beating the Dolphins in Miami. Glen Farley welcomes back fans who have been wrapped in the Sox. (Another article that is likely gone by noon) Christopher Price looks at Boston as a target of the AFL.

The Bruins West coast swing came to and end last night with a 4-1 win over a stacked Avalanche team. Steve Conroy and Nancy Marrapese-Burrell look at the huge win. Conroy’s notebook looks at Joe Thornton’s three assist night. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook looks at the contributions of Ian Moran on defense.

I’ve pledged no World Series Articles for this space, but I have point out a just inane article by Sean McAdam. He’s trying to point out the irony that Carl Pavano is starting for the Marlins tonight in the World Series. The insinuation is clear that is the Red Sox might’ve been better off just hanging onto Pavano, with him they just might be in the World Series, since Pedro hasn’t been able to deliver them there. Never mind that Pavano was an injury-plagued disappointment in Montreal, or that he was 12-13 with a 4.30 E.R.A for the Marlins this year. McAdam further tries to stretch his irony by saying:

Finally, last year, he was dealt with two others to Florida. In exchange, the Expos received Cliff Floyd, who weeks later, would be sent on to Boston for the second half of last season. Still another player included in the deal to Montreal was infielder Wilton Guerrero, who, in another lifetime, was traded by Duquette from Montreal to Los Angeles for Martinez. Just one more Six Degrees of Baseball Separation moment.

Sorry, Sean. Guerrero was never traded for Pedro. That was Delino Deshields. Guerrero was part of a separate Dodgers/Expos trade, one involving among others, Carlos Perez and Mark Grudzielanek.

In his Boston Uncommon pay column, Howard Bryant first gives us a history lesson, pointing out managers who have been fired after winning 97 & 99 games. (Charlie Dressen of the Dodgers and Yogi Berra of the Yankees, respectively) The point is, there is precedent for a manger to be fired after winning a lot of games, no matter what beat writers will tell you. Bryant also weighs in on the Dennis & Callahan flap, with some harsh words for the station and his Herald colleague, Gerry Callahan. He recalls a Callahan article from Sunday in which Gerry said that one bad decision, “a gaffe of epic proportions, an unforgivable error in judgment: by Grady Little will be something that Little wear like a tattoo on his forehead forever. Bryant says:

Whatever tattoo Callahan now wears is much worse than that of Little, whose error was having too much faith in a Hall of Fame pitcher. Callahan's warrior mark is a living reminder of the attitudes that have made Boston such a difficult, divisive place to live, and people should remember this when deciding to listen or appear on their show.

He ends that section of his column by thanking Dennis and Callahan for revealing where they stand.

Mike Giardi introduces a new term into his vocabulary: “Gradied”.

FSNE has Celtics/Timberwolves preseason action at 7:00.

The news came down early

The news came down early yesterday morning and it was similar to hearing that the Patriots had released Lawyer Milloy. “The Celtics traded Antoine Walker?” Shock was the initial first reaction. In some ways the moves were similar. Both were captains and acknowledged leaders of their teams. Both are known for their tireless work in the community. Both were cast aside because the team didn’t think they were worth the money that they wanted and were making. The only difference is the Celtics were able to get at least a little something in exchange for Walker. The early returns have Patriots coach Bill Belichick looking good with his move to jettison Milloy. Lets hope Danny Ainge looks good in the future as well. It’s no secret that I was fond of Antoine. I like his competitiveness, his versatility, the leadership he brought to a young team. I like that he never wilted in Boston. He was a guy who could take the heat of playing here and went through some tough times. Now he’s off to Dallas. Bob Ryan seems happy that Ainge was able to find a taker for Antoine, a player that he just could never quite warm up to. Steve Bulpett says Antoine’s days here were numbered as soon as Ainge took over the operations of the team. Shira Springer has quotes from Antoine and Ainge on the deal, Walker wasn’t too surprised, and seems almost relieved, while Ainge notes that Antoine had too big a grasp on the franchise for a player of his skills. Jackie MacMullan looks at what the Celtics got in the deal, noting the strengths of LaFrentz’s game and saying that Jiri Welsch could be the key to the deal and a real player in time. Gerry Callahan in a pay column somehow uses the trade of Walker in an analogy to show that Grady Little should be fired. He says Ainge had the guts to remove his star for the good of the team, and if Grady had done that, the Sox would still be playing. Peter May says that this move shows that Ainge and the Celtics mean business. Lenny Megliola feels that as the least, the Celtics will be more interesting this season. He has some pretty warm words for Walker in the article. Jerry Trecker looks at the trade for the Courant. Carolyn Thornton looks at the trade for the ProJo. Craig N. Liadis notes that Antoine’s last game as a Celtics was played in Manchester and was typical Antoine…”Run-ins with refs. Dismal shooting. Decent, yet unspectacular production.” Bulpett says that Antoine did not fit into the master plan developed by Ainge. Michael Gee isn’t sold on the trade, noting that:

O'Brien's best hope is that the trade is a wash. The GM who made the trade admitted it could be "a step back.'' The Celts' slogan about aiming for championship No. 17 sounds even sillier than it did when Walker was still co-captain.

Ainge is a smart man. The only possible explanation for making this particular deal for Walker is if Ainge concluded he had no chance to sign Antoine to a long-term contract extension, and decided to cut his losses.

Bill Reynolds says the deal really shouldn’t be much of a surprise, considering Ainge’s clear feelings on Antoine’s style of play. Mark Murphy looks at Raef LaFrentz, who will be reunited with college teammate Paul Pierce. Mark Cuban says LaFrentz could immediately become the second best center in the East. Thornton looks at the players involved in the trade. Springer looks at what the deal means for Paul Pierce and the rest of the Celtics. Jim Baker gets reaction from Tommy Heinsohn and Mike Gorman on the deal, but of whom were surprised, but understand why the deal was made. Scott Souza gets quotes on the deal from a number of people around the Celtics. Jon Wallach likes the trade. Zach Rocha is worshipping Danny Ainge for simply getting Antoine out of town. Bulpett looks at how Paul Pierce will be affected by not having his running mate on the floor with him.

(many of the following articles require a free registration) In Dallas, Eddie Sefko looks at the potent offensive force that is now the Mavericks with the addition of Walker. Kevin Sherrington says the Mavs absolutely fleeced the Celtics in this deal. Art Garcia says the Mavs couldn’t pass this up. Sefko also looks at the Trades impact on all involved. David Aldridge of ESPN calls this a steal for the Mavs as well. Chris Broussard of the NY Times feels this deal is “severely lopsided in Dallas’s favor” until we see how Welsch develops. Hoopsword says Christmas came early for the Mavericks this year.

Bill Reynolds remembers Ernie Calverley, Rhode Island’s first basketball superstar, and a former Celtic.

Kevin Mannix hands out his Patriots report card. He starts it off by praising Tom Brady for living for big moments. Ron Borges has praise for the Patriots, noting that this team is likely going to get better. Kevin McNamara says the defensive scheme of hawking to the ball has fit this personnel very well. Alan Greenberg looks at the team still riding high after the win Sunday. Christopher Price looks at a happy Monday for the team. Mike Reiss looks at the impressive job done by the entire coaching staff thus far. Michael Smith looks at how the Patriots continue to defy the odds in this crazy season. Tom Curran takes Charlie Weis to task for questionable playcalling on Sunday. Smith’s notebook has Belichick not commenting on the coin toss controversy. Rich Thompson’s notebook looks at how the Patriots have meetings to figure out how to get turnovers from the other team. McNamara’s notebook looks at Richard Seymour enjoying the win over Miami. Reiss’ notebook has an injury update on Ty Law.

Tony Massarotti says the Red Sox should make a run at Andy Pettitte in the offseason. Michael Holley and Jeff Horrigan say that Joe Torre is backing Grady Little. Of course he is. If you were Joe Torre, wouldn’t you want Little managing against you again next year?

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Steve Conroy examine the Bruins West coast road trip.

Bill Griffith looks at the return of Dennis and Callahan.

Steve Young said it well

Steve Young said it well on ESPN’s Sunday NFL countdown when he said being a Boston sports fan is a baffling experience. The Red Sox, loaded with talent, can’t get it done for 85 years or whatever, and manage to lose in incredible ways. He can’t understand how the Patriots keep winning games with all the guys out that they have. He says he looks at the films, but still can’t figure it out. He wonders if there could’ve been some way for the Patriots to lend the Red Sox some good karma. I’ll tell you how the Patriots have done it, Steve. Depth. Much of which was acquired during the 2003 draft – a draft that you recall was praised nationally, but panned locally. The Jets were praised for how they “outmaneuvered” the Patriots and landed the stud of the draft in Dewayne Robertson. (For a review of what people were saying about the Patriots draft, click here.) At the time, Eddie Andelman was also on record as calling the Pats draft a “dud”, “absurd” and “in the bottom 20% of the league”. He said that the Jets have “pulled away from the Patriots”. Way to go. Yes, it’s still early and there is a lot of football left to play, as Bill Belichick himself will tell you. The early returns, have been encouraging however, as has the play of six of the rookies who have made contributions to the success of the team.

Michael Felger and Michael Smith look at the Patriots ending their curse in Miami. Tom Curran says there only seems to be one four letter word that offends this team: Can’t. Alan Greenberg and Michael Parente say this one was worth the wait. Kevin Mannix says that the Patriots pulled this one out in spite of the coaching. Ron Borges takes a detailed look at the final play of the game, the 82 yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Troy Brown, over the Dolphins two safeties. George Kimball also looks at the play. Jim Donaldson contradicts himself a few times while saying this team is playing like 2001. Michael Holley looks at how both intense planning (running the 46 defense to try to stop the run) and seize-the-moment opportunism led to victory for the Patriots. Ian M. Clark looks at the Patriots sitting in first, despite all that has gone against them thus far this year. Robert Sens and Parente look at how the Patriots managed to hold Ricky Williams under 100 yards rushing yesterday. Bob Emanuel Jr looks at a rough second half for Dolphins kicker Olindo Mare. Michael Synder looks at the blocked field goal by Richard Seymour, a guy who just seems to make big play after big play. Donaldson looks the day by Tom Brady, who is now 6-0 for his career in overtime games – a mark that Donaldson notes is the best in NFL history. Terry Bradshaw was 5-0 in OT in his career. Greenberg looks at Troy Brown on that final play of the game. Synder has a look at the afternoon by Tyrone Poole, which included the interception which got the ball back to the Patriots for the Brady-to-Brown game winning heroics. Kimball has a pay column on Brady’s OT career and his play in that frame yesterday. The Globe provides a page of Sidelights to the game. Curran has a look at a Dolphin out for revenge the next time these teams hook up. Donaldson says the Marlins gave Seymour and the Patriots a boost yesterday. Smith’s notebook looks at the very strange coin flip, and later on, gives some rationale to why the team released Larry Centers. Curran’s notebook looks at the play of the revamped secondary. Parente’s notebook looks at the misses by Mare.

Fear not, there will be no coverage of the World Series in this space. Add Bill Burt to the growing list of media people who are trying to save Grady. Burt says the season ending loss on Thursday night was entirely the fault of Pedro Martinez, and not Grady. Burt joins Sean McAdam and Tony Massarotti, who were the first to proclaim their allegiance to the embattled Red Sox manager. In the last few days, Gordon Edes (With an entire article of “what ifs” yesterday), Michael Holley, Dan Shaughnessy (He said on ESPN that he hopes Grady is here forever.) and now Burt. What are these people thinking? Well, they’re thinking Grady is a nice man, and they don’t want to see a nice man fired. That’s the bottom line. They’ll try to spin it and say that Grady shouldn’t be judged on just one game, as Alex Speier does today, but no one is doing that. Speier says with fans like those around here, who needs curses? Nice. Tony Massarotti looks at John Henry, who has moved on, both from the loss Thursday night and from his ownership of the Marlins. Dan Shaughnessy says the Sox won’t make any announcements about Grady until after the World Series. Gordon Edes also catches up with Henry who is grateful for the support of the fans. He also talks with Chad Fox, who is glad to be away from the negativity of Boston. Instead of targeting the media, Fox says the fans expect too much.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Steve Conroy have coverage of the Bruins 4-3 win over Anaheim last night. Marrapese-Burrell’s notebook looks at a pair of white knuckle games on the West coast thus far, Conroy’s notebook looks at Nick Boynton getting bailed out of a potentially costly penalty last night.

Steve Bulpett and Shira Springer look at the Celtics trying to put together a rotation. I was at the game in Manchester Saturday night, Vin Baker looked pretty strong out there, a highlight was a thunderous dunk off of a spin move, something we didn’t see all of last year. The venue was very good, and a highlight was of course Larry Bird putting in an appearance and watching his Pacers play. Bird received standing ovations and chants whenever he moved around. It’s only the preseason but Jim O’Brien is already driving me mad. It was a preseason game, and he still couldn’t find any minutes for Kendrick Perkins and Brandon Hunter. In fact, O’Brien didn’t make his first in-game substitution until there was just over three minutes left in the game. The starters played the entire first and third quarters, the second team played all of the second quarter and most of the fourth. Only ten players saw action. I’ll get over it, but I really wanted to see Perkins play. Christopher Price has a look at Tony Delk, trying to impart his well traveled wisdom on the Celtics young point guards.

ABC has Chiefs/Raiders at 9:00.

The preseason continued on for

The preseason continued on for the Celtics last night in Manchester, NH. The green pulled out a 84-80 win over the Indiana Pacers, or at least a team wearing Pacers uniforms. Among the Pacers who did not dress was former Celtic Kenny Anderson, who is the feature of a Steve Bulpett article in the Herald today. Anderson has moved on in his career, but remains disappointed that he was traded, and believes that the Celtics have still not replaced what he brought to the team while he was here. Craig N. Liadis looks at a reunion of Larry Bird and Danny Ainge in Manchester last night. Shira Springer has a look at Tony Battie, who has become almost overlooked in the this preseason, but remains a vital cog in the team’s hopes. Out in Indiana, Sekou Smith has a look at last night’s game which only featured a couple of the Pacer regulars actually getting into the game. One guy who looked good last night was Vin Baker, who had a particularly good looking dunk off of a spin move in the second half. Baker is the subject of an exclusive one-on-one interview for Inside Hoops this weekend. Bulpett’s notebook has a look at John Niednagel, who Danny Ainge has brought onto the Celtics staff. Niednagel is an expert in being able to being able to determine and project a player’s capacity to perform, based on what he refers to as “Brain type”.