The Celtics came into Washington last night owing the Wizards a little payback. In both previous meetings this season, the Wizards won the game after Gilbert Arenas was isolated, drove to the hoop and was fouled. He then made fouls shots which were the different in the game. Last night, with eight seconds on the clock in regulation and the scored tied, Arenas once again had the ball in his hands. He choose this time to pull up for a foul-line jumper which missed. In overtime, Paul Pierce scored seven points, including the game winning bucket as time expired to give the Celtics a hard fought 116-115 victory at the Verizon Center in Washington DC. Pierce ended up with 31 points, keeping his streak of 30+ scoring games alive.
With Delonte Wast out, Orien Greene got the start, and while he made a few mistakes, he also had some huge buckets and some big plays on defense. Ryan Gomes established a new career high with 27 points to go along with 9 rebounds. Wally Szczerbiak had 23 points as well.
Peter May looks at the win for the Celtics, noting that the two teams “traded blows, turnovers, baskets, and quizzical looks at the officials” for the entire night. There were some seriously dubious calls by the officials in this one. At one point late in the game, Gilbert Arenas was fouled out near the three point line, he took another dribble, then a few steps as if he was just waltzing in for a practice layup. They gave him the hoop, enabling the Wizards star to complete a three point play. Steve Bulpett says that because of the undermanned roster that the Celtics came into the game with, this win “strained the bounds of believability”. He adds later that Divine intervention can be the only explanation for their win on a night in which they had 27 turnovers. Ivan Carter has a pretty thorough game story in the Washington Post, at one point he notes that the Wizards were frustrated by their inability to take advantage of Raef LaFrentz in the post – “a 7-footer who is not noted for his physical play.” The Associated Press also has an account of the game.
May’s notebook looks at Delonte West sitting this one out in front of his family and friends because of the strained groin he suffered Sunday in Toronto. Bulpett’s notebook addresses the possibility of the Celtics picking up some short term help at point guard if West doesn’t return quickly. Doc Rivers mentions Mateen Cleeves and Will Bynum as two guys who are “out there” right now.
The playoff prospects for the Boston Bruins took another hit last night as the club was defeated 3-2 in Buffalo by the Sabres. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell notes that the Sabres have been a thorn in the side for the Bruins this season as last night was the fifth time they’ve beaten the Bruins. Steve Conroy says that the playoffs appear to be nothing more than a dream at this point for the Bruins. Dan Hickling reports on another close loss for the B’s. Burrell’s notebook has Sergei Samsonov making a quick recovery from the injury suffered in practice to be able to suit up and play last night. Conroy’s notebook has Nick Boynton frustrated by the Sabres repeatedly taking “dives” in attempting to draw penalties. Hickling’s notebook has more on Samsonov’s quick recovery.
Michael Silverman has Curt Schilling pronouncing that he is not going to hesitate to throw inside to batters this season. Chris Snow has more on Schilling, who got in some practice on the technique by hitting a minor leaguer off the helmet yesterday. Sean McAdam says the high heat may be a sign of things to come from Schilling. David Heuschkel notes that David Wells is back to his old self, now ripping Bud Selig. McAdam also reports on John Flaherty calling it a career yesterday.
With the Orioles in Fort Myers to play the Red Sox, Kevin Millar made the trip with his new teammates, and Bill Ballou has him speaking about his time in Boston. David Borges and Silverman have more from Millar, who says he misses Boston “a ton”. Alex Speier notes that the idiots have been replaced with intellects, a development which he feels is somewhat regrettable. Jon Couture also offers a look at Millar and what he brought to the Red Sox during his time here. Couture will also be blogging from spring training for the Standard-Times in Files From The Fort
Ballou’s notebook has more on Schilling’s determination to pitch inside this season. Heuschkel’s notebook has more on that topic. McAdam’s notebook reports on Millar’s reunion with his old teammates. Couture’s notebook has more on Flaherty calling it quits. Snow’s notebook and Silverman’s notebook each also lead with Flaherty’s retirement. It’s also the topic of Borges’ notebook.
Tony Massarotti looks at David Ortiz extending his act to the international stage with a pair of home runs in the Dominican win over Venezuela in the opening round of the WBC yesterday. Gordon Edes also looks at the game and performance from Big Papi. Nick Cafardo reports on the US taking a 2-0 win over Mexico. Steve Buckley looks at Mike Timlin taking his role on the US team very seriously.
Gordon Edes reviews the information revealed in the Sports Illustrated report and book Game of Shadows that Barry Bonds used up to 10 different performance enhancing substances. Steve Buckley (subscription only) says that Bonds has ruined far more than the WBC with this information being made public. Dan Shaughnessy also weighs in on the book and reports, and hopes that it will cause Bonds to hang them up for good. Paul Doyle also has a look at the information. As the book was done by a pair of San Francisco sports writers, the Bay Area Sports Pages will have a ton more information on the situation. The New York Sports pages are also filled with coverage.
Ron Borges says that the NFL owners are on the clock today, as they have until 8:00 PM to accept or reject the proposal put before them for a new CBA. Borges has been the only newspaper reporter in Boston covering this issue, and has done a good job with it.
Sasha Talcott looks at the TD Banknorth Garden getting a new president, and Lisa Wangsness reports on some sites being looked at as possible homes for a future minor league baseball franchise in Boston.