Blazing Suns

The Celtics showed some heart and grit last night in Phoenix, but were too undermanned to pull off the upset as they fell to the Suns, 103-94. Delonte West went for a career high 30 points in the loss, but perhaps the most interesting development for the Celtics and their fans was seeing rookie Gerald Green on the court for 23 minutes. The High School product scored 13 points, pulled down 9 rebounds, and while he did miss a few defensive assignments, he didn’t hurt the team too badly on that end of the court. Steve Bulpett has a look at the Celtics getting an “A” effort from the kids. While the kids were impressive, Shira Springer notes that the night belonged to Shawn Marion, who put in a career high 44 points for the Suns. Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic also has a report on the game.

FSN’s play-by-play man Mike Gorman took a few minutes to answer some questions on the FSN website. Bulpett reports on Paul Pierce getting invited to try out for the US Men’s Basketball team this summer. Springer’s notebook has more on the invitation for Pierce. Bulpett’s notebook examines whether Danny Ainge might have anything cooking for this afternoon’s trading deadline.

Chris Snow has a look at Terry Francona, who is determined to manage his health better this season and not be worn down at the end of the year as he was last season. Jeff Horrigan says Mike Lowell is looking to bounce back after a humbling season in Florida last year. Steven Krasner says that the Red Sox are going to take things slow with Cla Meredith, after rushing him to the big leagues last season. David Borges has a piece on first baseman J.T. Snow, who plans to wear number 84 this season to honor his late father.

David Heuschkel looks at Mark Loretta and Snow, who are both making the transition from the West coast to the East. Michael Felger has more on Loretta. Dom Amore looks at Johnny Damon settling in at Yankees camp. Former Herald columnist Howard Bryant reports on Damon for the Washington Post. Rob Bradford reports on Manny getting permission to report on March 1.

Dan Shaughnessy attempts to talk to Jim Rice about why he isn’t in the baseball Hall of Fame as of yet. Snow compiled a list of who is new and who is gone on the Red Sox roster since last season ended. The Globe notebook reports that no one is clear yet as to Manny’s intentions regarding the World Baseball Classic. It also reports that Bill Lajoie has resigned his position with the team. Horrigan’s notebook has David Ortiz saying that Manny won’t walk away from $20 million. Borges’ notebook has a look at Willie Harris, who hopes to stick with the Red Sox big club as an all-around ultilityman. Krasner’s notebook has more on Loretta.

Tom E Curran says that the Patriots are unlikely to tag Adam Vinatieri as their franchise player today, which would mean that the kicker would go to unrestricted free agency starting next Friday. Mike Reiss references a report from the Baltimore Sun which has Jamal Lewis listing the Patriots as one of four teams he would be interested in joining. Michael Felger has a look at the Patriots practice of looking for both intelligence and athleticism in players they scout at the combines. Curran’s notebook looks at the NFL labor situation making things uncertain for this offseason.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at the Bruins starting to regather in preparation for the stretch run.

Check out the New York Sports News page for news on the Jets dismantling their team, the Yankees in spring training and the Knicks getting Steve Francis. The Bay Area Sports Pages have plenty of coverage of Barry Bonds reporting to Giants camp.

You can check the Olympic happenings on the pages of the Boston Herald Olympic pages and the Boston Globe Olympic pages.

TNT has Pacers/Pistons at 8:00 and Kings/Lakers at 10:30. ESPN has South Carolina/Georgia at 7:00 and Cincinnati/Villanova at 9:00. ESPN2 has Wisconsin/Northwestern at 9:00. FSN has BU/Vermont at 7:00 and Stanford/Washington at 10:30.

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Celts Jazz Things Up

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.

Boston Herald Front Page

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.

Mike Reiss and Lenny Megliola each have brief notes reporting on Tom Brady having his hernia surgery.

Michael Vega and Jim Furlong report on Boston College falling to Virgina 72-58 last night on the road.

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.

You can check the Olympic happenings on the pages of the Boston Herald Olympic pages and the Boston Globe Olympic pages.

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.

Curt Gowdy – 1919-2006

Boston Sports lost a legend yesterday when former Red Sox announcer Curt Gowdy passed away yesterday after a long battle with leukemia at the age of 86.

Gowdy was more than just the voice of the Red Sox, he became the best known sports broadcaster in the business during the 1960’s. There are many obituaries and tributes to Gowdy this morning, and I feel this topic deserves its own post.

I was certainly aware of Gowdy while growing up, but his voice was permanently ingrained into my mind after I worked at a sports retailer in a local mall (Merle Harmon’s Fan Fair) after getting out of high school. While there, we played the video “Forever Fenway – 75 Years of Red Sox Baseball” in a loop on the video system in the store. Gowdy narrated that video, and though I might hear the entire thing eight times during the course of a day, I never tired of hearing Gowdy recount the history of the Red Sox. I can still recall many of the phrases from that video, describing Ted Williams, 1950 rookie of the year Walt Dropo, and the death of Harry Agganis.

In nearly all of the stories that follow, you’ll find that one theme seems to permeate all of them. Curt Gowdy was a class act and gentleman. He’ll be missed.

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Mark Feeney has the obituary of Gowdy in the Boston Globe, where he recaps the amazing career of the Wyoming born Gowdy. The Boston Herald mixes in the AP obituary with some of their own information, and also has Steve Buckley remembering Gowdy being honored at The Tradition, the Sports Museum of New England

SporTView – Daytona 500 Weekend

We’re in probably the least eventful sports viewing weekend of the winter. (Though I haven’t looked, but next weekend could be worse.) I should probably rephrase that. There are several big “events” happening over the next few days, but the overall schedule is fairly sparse. Your viewing choices for the next few days essentially boil down to the Winter Olympics, College basketball and the Daytona 500. The NBA has their All Star game on Sunday night, and a couple of All Star Weekend events, but that’s all.

The Turin Winter Olympics continue this weekend, and Men’s Hockey will be among the events that are featured on the broadcasts the next few days. On the NBC Olympics Page, you can get an overview of events, and by clicking on the TV Listings tab, you can enter your zip code, choose your cable provider and get the listings for your area. I find the simple Olympics TV Listings on MSNBC easier to navigate and find what is on at a certain time. If you’re looking for what events from Turin are going to be shown in HD, as well as any sports events in HD, I highly recommend the HD Sports Guide webpage. It’s a great resource for any sports fan with an High Definition TV.

TNT has the NBA All Star game coverage for the weekend, with events each evening. The network even has provided a 25 page PDF All Star viewer’s guide that can be downloaded from their website.

The 48th annual Daytona 500 will be broadcast on NBC at 1:30 Sunday afternoon. Jeff Burton has the pole for the race, which will be shown in high definition for NBC’s final showing of the event before it moves exclusively to FOX next year under the terms of NASCAR’s new television contract. For more information on the Daytona 500, you can check out Nascar.com, ESPN’s Nascar Page, CNN/SI’s Racing Page, or the DIS Page.

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Picked Up Bits From the Week

WEEI announced this week that they will soon be broadcasting in the Western part of Massachusetts on newly acquired FM signal 105.5, which is currently WBEC. Dale Arnold announced the news Thursday morning, noting that he expects the Springfield station to convert to WEEI programming sometime in the next couple months.

Plenty of Roger Clemens talk this week on the radio and TV airwaves. It made for good talk show fodder during an otherwise slow sports talk week. My only question about Clemens’ possible return is whether the Herald will resurrect the sidebar feature The World According to Roger should #21 return to the hub.

Steve Burton Claims He Knows of Hockey Players Betting on Hockey

Last Sunday night on Sports Final, Steve Burton, after prompting from Bob Lobel, claimed to have knowledge of hockey players betting on hockey games. He didn’t elaborate further on the topic, but affirmed that he was certain of this information. It did not get followed up on, and while it was mentioned on the Dale & Holley show on Monday, it still wasn’t made too big an issue of. On Wednesday Glenn Ordway asked Burton to explain what happened, and Burton explained as follows:

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Shootout at the TD Corral

There will not be regular links tomorrow morning, as I am going to be out of town starting tonight, and not getting back until Tuesday morning. There will be a SporTView column tomorrow, with a look at the weekend’s events on television, Steve Burton’s claims about knowing about hockey players betting on hockey and a mini-interview with Borges. David Borges. That column should be up at 8:00 tomorrow morning.

Despite a career high 50 points from Paul Pierce, the Celtics still couldn’t pull things out in the end, and fell before LeBron James and Cleveland Cavaliers, 113-109 in a Double Overtime affair at the TD Banknorth Garden. James had 43 points of his own, making this a shootout for the ages. Shira Springer notes that despite the heroics of Pierce, this was the type of loss that has typified the season for the Celtics. Close, but just not enough in the end. Steve Bulpett says that this was still a night to savor for the undermanned and undersized Celtics. Shalise Manza Young also looks at the Celtics bowing before King James, despite the first 50 point game by a Celtic since Larry Bird. You can check out the coverage from Cleveland on the pages of the Plain Dealer.

Jackie MacMullan has a look at LeBron, who is still a work in progress, as was seen on the defensive end last night, where Pierce pretty much had his way with the youngster. She notes that if this is not the finished product of James, then just imagine what the finished product will look like. Lenny Megliola says that the things that LeBron has to work on make for a short list. Mark Murphy examines last night’s duel between the two All Star forwards, with Pierce pulling everything he had in his bag of tricks in the losing effort. Murphy also looks at how LeBron has carried the load for the Cavs with the injuries to his would-be running mate, Larry Hughes. There has been a lot of talk recently about what direction the Celtics are heading in. Bill Reynolds wrote the piece critical of Ainge the other day, and Mike Fine gives Ainge a chance to defend himself and give his side of story as to what he is building here in Boston.

The notebooks are all about Wally. Springer’s notebook looks at how Szczerbiak was able to get on the court and play through his discomfort last night. Young’s notebook says that the spirit was willing for Wally, but the flesh was weak and his shot was off. Bulpett’s notebook has Szczerbiak looking forward to the All Star break to rest his knee and get his family settled in Boston. Fine’s notebook has more on the forward’s transition to Boston while coping with the knee.

Michael Silverman looks at how the Red Sox and John Henry are dealing with being one of the few teams that have to concern themselves with revenue sharing and luxury tax issues. Henry says that he is not in baseball to make money, but is galled by the current arrangements which he feels are unfair. Silverman also looks at how Henry is involved with the club on a daily basis, and how he has been involved in the push to improve the TV broadcasts, making sure they are shown in true 1080i high definition. Chris Snow has a look at Kevin Youkilis, who is ready to start the season with the big club and stay with it, unlike previous seasons which saw him as a member of the Pawtucket shuttle. Mike Fine says you’re going to need a scorecard to keep up with all the changes on the Red Sox roster this winter. He’s got a position-by-position look at the roster as it stands now, and what possible positional battles remain.

You can get your Olympic coverage from the Globe Olympic Section, the Herald Olympic Section, as well as in the New York Sports Pages and Bay Area Sports Pages.

NESN has Miami/Boston College at 7:00. TNT has Sixers/Bulls at 7:30 and Rockets/Suns at 10:00. ESPN2 has Tennessee/Georgia at 8:00 and San Diego State/UNLV at 10:00. ESPN has Marquette/Georgetown at 9:00. FSN has Arizona/Cal at 10:30.

Calm Before the Storm

Mike Reiss has an exhaustive mailbag to kick off the Patriots offseason. He looks ahead to free agency, including listing out some players that he thinks that the Patriots might be interested in. According to Reiss, the plan is to make the mailbag a monthly feature during the offseason, a nice development for Patriots fans. Albert Breer reports on Mass native Mike Sherman accepting an assistant coach position with the Houston Texans.

Gordon Edes takes an interesting look at the Red Sox this morning, with a number of topics explored. Does Curt Schilling have a chance of pitching 200 innings and winning 20 games? How do Coco Crisp and Josh Beckett compare to Johnny Damon and Roger Clemens at similar ages? How is the infield defense? The bullpen? Tony Massarotti says that with all the chaos in the Red Sox front office this offseason, we’re really going to have no idea who to blame if things fall apart. Joe McDonald has a look at Dustin Pedroia, who worked extra hard in the offseason to give himself the best shot possible at cracking the major league lineup this year. Chris Snow’s notebook looks at Mike Timlin getting the call to work out of the bullpen for the US in the World Baseball Classic. Michael Silverman’s notebook looks at the Lowell Spinners’ campaign to get sports teams across the country with the name Yankees to change their names.

Steve Bulpett reports on Wally Szczerbiak’s sore knee, which could keep him out of tonight’s game with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Shira Springer has more on the balky knee of Szczerbiak. Scott Souza looks at the Celtics again getting great shooting, and hoping that it translates into more wins. Bulpett’s notebook has Danny Ainge saying that he doesn’t anticipate any more trades before the trading deadline. He also speaks a little bit about why Marcus Banks and Ricky Davis were traded.

Kevin Paul Dupont looks at Wayne Gretzky sticking to his story about not being involved in the NHL gambling scandal, despite being constantly asked about it. Mike Loftus has a look at Bruins coach Mike Sullivan settling into his role as US assistant coach.

You can get your Olympic coverage from the Globe Olympic Section, the Herald Olympic Section, as well as in the New York Sports Pages and Bay Area Sports Pages.

Chad Finn weighs in on Roger Clemens, and promises more soon. Bill Simmons rates the NBA from worst to first.

FSN has Celtics/Cavs at 7:30. ESPN has Georgia Tech/North Carolina at 7:00 and Wizards/Mavs at 9:00. ESPN2 has Cincinnati/Syracuse at 7:30 and Oklahoma/Colorado at 9:30. NESN has Maine/Vermont at 7:00.

BU Reigns Again

Fluto Shinzawa and John Connolly report on Boston University winning their 27th Beanpot title with a 3-2 win over Boston College last night. Sophomore Peter MacArthur scored the winning goal for BU with 7:18 left in the third period, just a minute after BC had tied the game at 2. Tony Massarotti says that the outcome may have been predictable, but the Beanpot is still purely Boston, an event that cannot be missed. Jim McCabe looks at a woman with a unique tie to both BU and BC last night.

Rich Thompson reports that MacArthur called the goal before it happened. Frank Dell’Apa looks at BC’s Brian Boyle, who was key in the crucial sequence of the game last night. Bob Monahan has a piece on BU goalie John Curry. Shinzawa’s notebook has Boston University looking ahead to bigger things the rest of the season. Connolly’s notebook has BC coach Jerry York praising the BU squad as the best of the last five years.

Dan Ventura reports on the Boston College basketball team avoiding a trap and doing just enough to defeat lowly Stony Brook, 59-47 last night at Conte Forum. Mark Blaudschun says that this rescheduled game could’ve ended up disastrous, but BC managed to get the job done in the end. Lenny Megliola reports on the Eagles overcoming a sluggish start to defeat the now 4-19 Seawolves.

Gordon Edes talks with Trot Nixon about all the changes to the Red Sox roster this offseason. Nixon is sad to see some of his friends gone, but at the same time believes that the club filled its holes very nicely. Tony Massarotti chats with Terry Francona, who battled a number of health issues last season, but comes into his third year with the team with a renewed optimism and hope. He discusses Manny and David Wells, as well as Keith Foulke and Jonathan Papelbon. He also hopes to remain here beyond this season. Right now, he is in the last year of his contract, though the club has an option for next season. David Borges has a look at the 2006 class of the Red Sox Hall of Fame, which includes TV analyst Jerry Remy as well as Vern Stephens, Ellis Kinder, George Scott, Joe Morgan, Dick Williams and Dick Bresciani. Michael Silverman reports that David Wells will report for Spring Training and not be a disturbance, though he still hopes to be traded to the West coast. Barry Scanlon says that bringing Roger Clemens to Boston would be a bad move for the Red Sox, because all the perks they would have to allow him would cause problems with team chemistry.

Bill Reynolds takes apart Danny Ainge in his column today, saying that Ainge is simply a guy who loves to make trades and moves and is doing nothing to make the Celtics a better team. Instead, he is making them steadily worse, and headed nowhere. Rob Bradford thinks that perhaps the only way for the Celtics to get that number two star to put behind Paul Pierce and ahead of Wally Szczerbiak is to keep losing and get into the upper half of the draft lottery. The only problem is that from all accounts this is shaping up to be a weak draft. Steve Bulpett however, says that the Celtics are focused on making a run for the postseason, and find that learning to trust one another is their biggest challenge.

Mike Fine has a look at Ryan Gomes, who is making the most of the opportunity that he has received since the trade of Ricky Davis and Justin Reed – players who were ahead of him on the depth chart and taking minutes. In fact, the deal was made in part to free up minutes for Gomes as well, and he has responded. Shira Springer has more on Gomes, who has shown himself to be exceedingly thoughtful and well-spoken as well as a good example of what can happen when you make the most of practice time. Jim Fenton notes that the Celtics are starting to put their pieces together and form a unit that no longer looks totally confused on offense, as they did immediately following the trade with Minnesota. Fine’s notebook and Fenton’s notebook each look at Delonte West having a change of plans for All Star Weekend.

Mike Loftus says that the Olympic break came at the right time for the Bruins. Win Bates has more on the Bruins welcoming the timing of this down period of activity. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has Kevin Stevens angry at how the scope of the NHL Gambling ring is being portrayed. He says that it is only five or six players involved, but if you listen to the reports you would think there were hundreds involved. Kevin Paul Dupont says that Wayne Gretzky hasn’t been able to avoid the spotlight and questions about the scandal over in Turin. Karen Guregian has more on Gretzky being under fire in Turin.

Joe Sullivan of the Union Leader says goodbye after 33 years of writing for the newspaper.

Ron Borges and Robert Lee report on Peter Manfredo Jr. defeating Scott Pemberton in a super middleweight fight at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence.

You can get your Olympic coverage from the Globe Olympic Section, the Herald Olympic Section, as well as in the New York Sports Pages and Bay Area Sports Pages. Jim Fennell looks at Katia Pashkevich of the Russian woman’s hockey team, who also plays football for the Manchester Freedom in the Independent Women’s Football League. Jamie Hagerman of the US women’s hockey team has a diary in the Lawrence Eagle Tribune.

ESPN has Alabama/South Carolina at 7:00 and Michigan St/Iowa at 9:00. ESPN2 has St. Joseph’s/ Temple at 7:30. CN8 has Princeton/Penn at 8:00.