Things weren’t looking so great for the Celtics last night during the first half in Utah. They trailed by 14 points, and already were without Al Jefferson, Kendrick Perkins, and also Wally Szczerbiak, who went down in the opening minutes of the game with a knee injury. In addition, Paul Pierce was saddled with a couple early fouls and had to sit out the closing minutes of the half. Delonte West took the cue to step up and scored 10 straight points for the Celtics to help them close to within four points at the half. Then Pierce took over in the second half, and the Celtics actually cruised to an easy 103-83 win over the Jazz.
Shira Springer spends much of her game article focused on the injury to Szczerbiak, for while the Celtics were able to overcome it last night, if he is out for any extended period of time, things could go from bad to worse for the Celtics very quickly. Steve Bulpett looks at Delonte West stepping up with Szczerbiak down and Pierce in foul trouble, and then also examines the remarkable third quarter display put on by the Celtics. Doug Alden of the AP also has an account of the game, as does the Salt Lake Tribune.
Michael Muldoon has a nice feature on Celtics center Kendrick Perkins, who has overcome a difficult background to develop himself into a legit NBA player. “Perk” can shut his mouth and outwork people, which Muldoon notes are two qualities that any coach would love. Bulpett looks ahead to tonight’s matchup in Phoenix, as the Celtics have the misfortune of playing the second game of a road back to back against Steve Nash and company. Springer’s notebook looks at Paul Pierce battling through a sore elbow, and has updates on the status of Al Jefferson and Kendrick Perkins, neither of whom appear to be very close to returning. Bulpett’s notebook says it seems unlikely that the Celtics will make any more major moves prior to the trade deadline.
Well, the media is overjoyed. They have something to debate over, pontificate about and beat into the ground. The Red Sox announced yesterday that Manny Ramirez had received permission to not report to camp until March 1st. Chris Snow looks at the Red Sox giving Manny an extra week to report. Jeff Horrigan says that Manny informed the club that once he reports to Fort Myers, he intends to stay there, indicating that he does not plan to play in the World Baseball Classic. Steven Krasner and David Heuschkel also look at the situation. David Borges has more on the news that Manny will be reporting to Red Sox camp, but just a week late.
Gordon Edes says Ramirez could ruffle some more feathers if he decides not to participate in the WBC. Jon Couture says that Manny’s delay in reporting to Spring Training is really no big deal. Steve Buckley (subscription only) continues his streak of tearing into Red Sox players. Monday it was Foulke, yesterday Wells, and today Manny is in his sights. He believes that this stunt is just a preview of coming attractions for Ramirez and the Red Sox this season. Dan Shaughnessy says that this is just more business as usual for the Red Sox. He also shows off his new skill as a mind reader. Horrigan has Manny’s teammates saying that they’re ok with the slugger’s tardiness, and Krasner has more reaction from the Red Sox players on Manny. Horrigan has Orlando Cabrera saying that Manny still wants out of Boston and to go west to play on the Angels.
I have to say that I think the front page of the Herald today is ridiculous. While I realize that the paper is indeed a tabloid, for the most part they take their Red Sox coverage seriously. The back page and sports stories report that things are ok with the Red Sox on this issue, but apparently the view that this is the end of the world will sell more papers. So it goes to the front page of the paper, over real life news stories. I’ve taken the Globe to task for making the Red Sox front page stories in the past for innocuous things, but this cover trumps most of those.
Rob Bradford takes a look at a determined Mike Lowell, who is out to prove his detractors wrong and get back to the form he’s displayed in the past. Kevin Henkin says that fans aren’t too concerned with what Keith Foulke says, all that matters to them is if he will be back to form on the mound. Snow’s notebook looks at Gabe Kapler reporting to camp. He’s not quite ready to go yet, but is happy to be back with Boston. Horrigan’s notebook has more on Kapler and a few other items. Krasner’s notebook has more on Mike Lowell hoping to bounce back, Heuschkel’s notebook has more on Kapler and Curt Schilling, and Borges’ notebook reports on Lowell and Kapler as well.
John Molori’s Media Blitz has a look at Bill Gobin’s Get America Fit, the Olympic coverage and ratings, and the passing of Curt Gowdy.
On the New York Sports Page, I’ve been able to add the headlines for the New York Post now as well. So you can go to that page and get the sports headlines from all four major New York dailies in one spot. Stories today include Olympic coverage, Yankees and Mets spring training news and Knicks trade talk.
FSN has Celtics/Suns at 9:00. ESPN has Duke/Georgia Tech at 7:00 and Bulls/Bucks at 9:00. ESPN2 has Texas/Kansas St at 8:00 and UTEP/Memphis at 10:00.