Was that a bit of the future that we saw on display last night at TD Banknorth Garden? The Celtics defeated Kevin Garnett and the Timberwolves 103-96 behind 25 points from Paul Pierce. However, Pierce was ably assisted by the young big men duo of Kendrick Perkins and Al Jefferson, who played in crunch time together for really the first time and contributed 17 and 18 points respectively. Shira Springer, Steve Bulpett and Shalise Manza Young have the stories of the game. Lenny Megliola notes that a mixture of old and new led the Celtics to the solid victory last night.

Jackie MacMullan says that Michael Olowokandi would not be a good fit with this Celtics team, which needs time to grow and develop. Tony Massarotti says that Olowokandi was the center of attention last night with all the trade rumors swirling involving he and Mark Blount. Tim Weisberg says that Blount isn’t likely to be here for long, even if nothing happens with Minnesota. Mike Fine also looks at the trade rumors, which will continue to circulate in the coming weeks, or until something is done.

Massarotti has Pierce and Garnett speaking about the Celtics young players and what it is going to take from them to get them to the next level. Bulpett has Pierce still holding out hopes of a playoff berth for the Celtics. Weisberg reports that the Celtics have a new member of their ownership group, in New Bedford native Joe Lacob. Bulpett’s notebook says that the trade rumors are quiet for now, while Springer’s notebook has both Blount and Olowokandi speaking about the possibility of being traded.

Michael Felger hands out his season ending report card for the Patriots. Alan Greenberg looks at the AFC East choosing to copy the Belichick model for the most part. Nick Cafardo looks at the trend in the NFL this year to go with new names as head coaches rather than recycling the same old candidates. Eric McHugh looks at the Patriots naming Dean Pees as Defensive Coordinator. He also has the always-ready-to-talk Pete Kendall talking about his new coach, Eric Mangini.

Karen Guregian has a look at Vince Wilfork stepping up his game along with the rest of the Patriots over the second half of the season. He also gives his thoughts on Dean Pees being promoted. Buddy Thomas says that his Colts may have been beaten, but that Tom Brady choked. Jerome Solomon looks at Ben Roethlisberger, who is now a playoff veteran in his second season.

Fluto Shinzawa reports on Andrew Raycroft not making the trip with the Bruins because of his swollen knee. There have also been trade rumors surrounding the Bruins goalie as well. Joe McDonald examines the play of Tim Thomas while filling in for the top two injured goaltenders for the Bruins. Stephen Harris reports on the Bruins going into Philadelphia, where their real struggles began earlier this season on November 8th. Harris’ notebook has more on Raycroft missing tonight’s game.

Chris Snow and Michael Silverman report on Bronson Arroyo nearing a three year contract with the Red Sox…against the advice of his agent. Alan Siegel looks at Brooklyn Dodgers great Don Newcombe speaking to Londonderry students about the civil rights movement. John Habib reports on former Red Sox draftee Jay Yennaco being named pitching coach for the Nashua Pride.

David Scott reports on rumors that have Duke Castiglione being approached about coming to Boston as part of ESPN Radio and even as a possible replacement for Bob Lobel at CBS4. John Molori’s Media Blitz looks at new book about the often overlooked 1972 US Olympic Hockey team, which won a Silver medal.

NESN has Bruins/Flyers at 7:00. TNT has Pistons/Knicks at 8:00 and Lakers/Kings at 10:30.