We’re coming down the home stretch of the BSMW Fall Fund Drive, and had a pretty decent day yesterday. We’re still well behind pace to meet the goal, but I’m extremely grateful for all the support shown thus far. Three days to go, if you haven’t had to chance to participate yet and get your name in the drawing for the prizes, why not make today your day to show your support for the site.

For much of the game in Auburn Hills Michigan last night, the Celtics showed that they can indeed play with the elite of the league on the road. However it fell apart for Boston in the fourth quarter as the unbeaten Pistons put it together and ran past the Celtics 115-100. Shira Springer and Steve Bulpett have the game stories. Check the stories from Detroit in the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. Bulpett looks at the big minutes being put in by the Celtics stars early on in the season. Springer’s notebook has the Pistons taking their early season success in stride. Bulpett’s notebook has Chauncey Billups speaking about Delonte West and that he can be a very good player in the NBA.

Michael Felger’s Patriots Insider examines one area of the defense that has been missing and causing issues for everything else on that side of the ball…the lack of a pass rush. Nick Cafardo examines the rash of injuries that have decimated the Patriots this season, probing for possible explanations. He gets the plug in there for media friendly former strength coach Johnny Parker as well. Tom E Curran, Chris Kennedy and Alan Greenberg report on two more Patriots being added to the IR list and thus being lost for the season in Randall Gay and Dan Koppen. Felger also reports on the disabled pair of Patriots. Chris Kennedy has a note that the Patriots game will likely not be carried on FOX 61 out of Hartford on Sunday, as the Giants/Eagles game will air instead.

While the Patriots have endured their share of tough luck this season, it’s nothing compared to what the Saints, this weekend’s opponent have been through. Michael Parente looks at a nightmare season thus far for the Saints. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) says that it is time for fans to alter their expectations of this Patriots team. He says we need to get used to the idea that they will not be in Detroit playing for the Super Bowl. He says they can still make us proud however, by going out and winning the division and playing tough for the rest of the season. Lenny Megliola however, is still holding out hope for a Bill vs. Bill, Brady vs. Bledsoe, Patriots vs. Cowboys Super Bowl matchup. Christopher Price has more on the loss of Dan Koppen. Kennedy’s notebook has more on Heath Evans, who carried the load for the Patriots on Sunday. Parente’s notebook has more on the Patriots mounting injury report. Cafardo’s notebook has Duane Starks speaking about those who have trashed him this season, noting that they haven’t had all the facts. Nick is clearly happy that he’s got a Patriot willing to talk to him about these things, though he muddles this one up. Nick says: “Because of the Patriots’ policy on not disclosing the extent of injuries, Starks had to take the criticism while not being able to reveal how hurt he was.” With that shot at the people in charge, Nick basically says that the Patriots hung Starks out to dry. However, the record says otherwise. Looking through Bill Belichick’s press conferences, you find he was about the only one defending Starks, even saying last month that “I think Duane has done a pretty good job”. It’s been outsiders that have made Starks the scapegoat. It almost seems that in Nick’s world, there should be always be an explanation given for poor play…was it injuries, or mistakes on the field? That sort of individual thinking doesn’t fit with how the Patriots have conducted business.

Yesterday Rob Bradford broke the news (and got himself a WEEI appearance) of the top candidate for the Red Sox GM position, Dayton Moore, telling the club that he was removing himself as a candidate. Gordon Edes & Chris Snow have more on Moore removing himself from the running and also give us an update on manager Terry Francona having his knee replacement delayed for 10 days. Tony Massarotti pulls no punches in examining why and how the Red Sox have totally bungled this offseason, and because of their own doing, it appears that no one wants to come and work for them. I enjoyed this incarnation of Evil Tony. Michael Silverman also reports on Dayton Moore pulling out of the running for the GM job. Massarotti also reports on Theo Epstein turning down the Dodgers offer. David Borges examines why Manny Ramirez didn’t get more widespread consideration for the MVP award, despite his fourth place finish.

Lots of baseball talk on WEEI yesterday, and not even that much of the newsworthy items above. Concern was expressed about the starting rotation…in November! Bill Burt said (twice at least) that Matt Clement could go 5-15 next season. I don’t get it. If you’re going to talk baseball, talk about the GM search, talk about potential free agents. Better yet, talk about the teams that are actually playing. If you’re looking for a reason as to why WEEI is slamming the constant Red Sox talk down our throats look no further than the fact that the broadcast rights are coming up for renewal. The station is showing the Red Sox it can keep up constant talk about the team, and put it above all the other teams, even in the offseason, making itself the most attractive suitor for the club to put its games on for the future. People are calling up the station on certain shows wishing to talk about the Patriots, and are being told that they are only talking baseball. And they try to slam the Globe for uneven coverage of the teams…

Bob Hohler reports on baseball passing a new, tougher steroid policy which will go into effect starting next season. Michael Silverman and Dom Amore also have a look at the new deal. Amphetamines were among the substances targeted in the agreement, Chris Snow has a look at that angle. Bob Ryan acknowledges the huge role played by Senator Jim Bunning, himself a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Jeff Jacobs says chalk up a victory for the commissioner on this one.

Karen Guregian talks with Jumbo Joe Thornton about the struggles of the Bruins, his role as captain and his desire to succeed in Boston. Guregian also has Harry Sinden expressing concern over the team’s poor start this season. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has coach Mike Sullivan putting his team through some extra conditioning in hopes of halting their trend of fading in games and giving up leads. Mick Colageo says that these Bruins simply aren’t built to win, and won’t be until they get some better defensemen. Guregian’s notebook has more on Sullivan putting his club through the paces at practice.

The New York Sports News and Bay Area Sports pages have a lot of MLB and NFL stories from those areas.

FSN has Celtics/Sonics at 7:30. ESPN has Knicks/Lakers at 10:00. OLN has Penguins/Flyers at 7:00.