An up and down night at the FleetCenter ended on a down note as the Celtics came from 14 points down in the first half to take an 18 point second half lead, only to have the Sixers storm back and win the game, 98-95. Shira Springer explains that Sixer just never gave up in this one. Steve Bulpett compares the Celtics loss to John Kerry’s electoral defeat. Carolyn Thornton observes that the defeat was simply the inability to contain Allen Iverson and shut the door on Philadelphia. Mike Anthony looks at a roller coaster night at the Fleet. Tim Weisberg says that even with the loss, the Celtics might be in the process of winning back the fans.

Jackie MacMullan observes that there many bright spots last night for the Celtics, and a win would’ve been an added bonus. She hopes that being able to close out games down the stretch is something this time will learn with time. Lenny Megliola takes in a busy night of activity at the Fleet. Bill Reynolds feels the Celtics biggest achievement this season might be to crawl back onto the radar screen of New England sports fans. Michael Gee notes that this Celtics squad is clearly a work in progress, grandiose dreams notwithstanding. Peter May and Mark Murphy look at the night for Jim O’Brien, who received the game ball from Allen Iverson following the game.

Springer’s rather extensive notebook leads off with a look at Paul Pierce’s monster game. Bulpett’s notebook looks at how Gary Payton’s foul trouble really crippled the Celtics offensive attack. Thornton’s notebook looks at the presence of members of the Red Sox at the game last night.

Injuries continue to be the big story in Foxboro. Nick Cafardo and Michael Felger look at the Patriots injuries at cornerback, Felger notes that the team was more forthcoming with information regarding these injuries and that immediately raised a red flag with him, wondering if this is yet another Bill Belichick smokescreen or motivational tool. Tom E Curran and Alan Greenberg note that this Sunday’s matchup is going to be a challenging one for the shorthanded Patriots, with Greenberg going so far as to say it could be a “formula for disaster” for New England. Mike Reiss, however points out that the Rams defense is so weak that it could be the Patriots who turn out to be the “greatest show on turf” for this Sunday. Michael Parente and Christopher Price also look at the injuries to the secondary.

Cafardo’s notebook says that Tom Brady needs to be prepared to open up the offense and go down the field on Sunday. Felger’s notebook has Mike Martz vowing not to be fooled by the Patriots injury reports. Curran’s notebook has Belichick saying that backup players can’t come in and try to do too much. Reiss’ notebook has more on the injuries, and also looks at the Rams’ dominance in recent history coming off of a bye week. Parente’s notebook looks at Rams rookie Steven Jackson.

Bob Hohler talks with Derek Lowe, who was among the Sox at the FleetCenter last night. Lowe says he has yet to hear from the Red Sox regarding a new contract, and feels that he will be elsewhere next season, despite being honored by the city of Quincy yesterday. Michael Silverman’s Red Sox notebook says that Pedro Martinez’s agent has received plenty of interest from clubs around in the league in the client. It also reports on Gabe Kapler’s interest in staying in Boston, and Kevin Millar answering his critics. Bill Griffith also has a brief note on the latter.

TNT has Cavs/Heat at 8:00 and Timberwolves/Nuggets at 10:30. ESPN has Louisville/Memphis college football at 7:30.

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