Paul Pierce continued his superhuman streak last night as he had a triple-double (31 pts, 12 rebounds, 10 assists) to lead the Celtics to a 104-101 comeback victory over the Philadelphia 76ers last night at TD Banknorth Garden. The Celtics trailed by 7 points with 2:19 remaining, but Pierce led them back to through to the win. Steve Bulpett notes that Celtics games aren’t over these days until Pierce has his say in the matter. Shira Springer says that Pierce is spoiling his teammates and fan base into thinking there’s nothing he can’t do or overcome these days. Shalise Manza Young looks at Pierce and youngster Ryan Gomes (29 pts, 11 rebounds) leading the Celtics’ furious last minute charge over the Sixers. Lenny Megliola has Pierce saying that this Celtics team is still growing, and they still have their eye on the postseason, where they are now only 3 1/2 games out of the final spot. Bill Doyle also reports on the win for the Celtics. In Philly, Phil Jasner looks at the Sixers suffering another disheartening collapse down the stretch of a game. Joe Juliano says this one was downright demoralizing for the Sixers.
Peter May says that Pierce is at his absolute peak right now as a player, and if the Celtics could just get him some more help from his friends, the Celtics can be a really good team. May notes their playoff chances, just two days after saying that the team should shut it down and tank for better lottery position. Bulpett has Pierce predicting a bright future for his teammates and team. Jasner’s notebook says that Pierce’s recent incredible streak is a sign of newfound maturity. Juliano’s notebook has Pierce trying to set a strong example for his younger teammates.
One of those younger teammates who has positively blossomed since becoming a starter is rookie forward Ryan Gomes. The Providence College product continues to open eyes and make Doc Rivers look more and more foolish for not having played him all season. Rivers’ comment then was that they knew what they had in Gomes. I suggest that they didn’t know they had THIS. Jackie MacMullan has a look at the engaging rookie, who she says struggled earlier in the season in limited playing time because he was playing out of position at small forward. Since becoming a starter at power forward, the 6-7 Gomes is averaging 15.7 pts and 8.7 rebounds per game. Springer’s notebook has the Celtics making sure that Delonte West wouldn’t try to play by taking away his uniform. Bulpett’s notebook has West expecting to play against the Bucks tomorrow night. Young’s notebook says that that timetable might be a bit overly optimistic.
Ron Borges reports on the NFL owners approving a new six year extension to the CBA, bring labor peace once again to Pro Football. Tom E Curran also looks at the new labor deal, what the major issues were, and how they were resolved. Borges and Jerome Solomon report that Willie McGinest was cut by the Patriots last night due to the large roster bonus due him. While they hope to re-sign him, the reports says that they will face stiff competition in the free agent market from the Cleveland Browns, San Diego Chargers and Dallas Cowboys. John Tomase wonders if the Patriots might have interest in former Jets center Kevin Mawae, who he says has a good relationship with Scott Pioli. Mike Reiss reports on the Patriots coming to terms with safety Artrell Hawkins, bringing him back for another season with the team. Tomase’s notebook also looks at Hawkins being brought back and updates the status of Tyrone Poole and Chad Brown.
Tony Massarotti falls on the side of the debate that says that Barry Bonds was a Hall of Famer player before he started using steroids. Steve Buckley (subscription only) says that Bonds should be kept out of the Hall because he is a cheater. Chris Snow talks to Red Sox first baseman J.T. Snow, who spent nine years as a teammate of Barry Bonds in San Francisco. Snow says he never saw Bonds use steroids, admits that the Giants’ slugger’s body changed significantly during that time, but labels the current maelstrom over Bonds as a “witch hunt”. Nick Cafardo says that Bud Selig will read the new book on Bonds when it comes out (couldn’t he get an advance copy?) and then decide if anything is to be done. Rob Bradford says that there are ethical solutions to the means that Bonds used to achieve what he did. Bill Reynolds says that no one should be surprise by what is in the new book. Dom Amore and David Heuschkel have David Wells speaking out on Bonds, urging him to just come clean.
Dan Shaughnessy has some fun with the fact the Terry Francona and Grady Little were roommates for a time in the minor leagues back in 1992. Michael Silverman has Mike Lowell hoping that a new number (25) means a fresh start for him here in Boston. Sean McAdam looks at Gape Kapler, who might be a ways away from playing, but is right where he wants to be in terms of being with the Red Sox and his teammates. Silverman looks at Josh Bard getting his chance to catch Tim Wakefield tomorrow.
Bill Ballou says that Jon Lester could have an impact on the Red Sox sooner, rather than later. McAdam says that interest in Tony Graffanino is starting to surface from other clubs. Alex Speier looks at David Wells thus far this spring, and notes that it is just Boomer being Boomer. Joe Haggerty says that as with most clubs, it starts with pitching for the Red Sox and their hopes for success.
Shaughnessy’s notebook has the Red Sox and Marlins renewing acquaintances after their big offseason trade. Silverman’s notebook has more on the Francona/Little roommate situation. Ballou’s notebook looks at the difference of opinion regarding Barry Bonds by Dustan Mohr and David Wells.
Cafardo looks at Adam Stern and Canada stunning the U.S. 8-6 in WBC play yesterday. Steve Buckley says that Stern was part of one of the greatest upsets in sports yesterday, conjuring memories of the 1980 US Hockey team. Buckley also looks at Jason Varitek, who had a grand slam as the US tried to come back in the game after falling behind 8-0. Massarotti looks at Lenny DiNardo struggling in his start for Italy.
The Globe makes note that they were named one of the top 10 Sunday sports sections once again by the APSE. What they only mention in passing was that for the first time in a long time, the Globe did not crack the top ten of daily sports sections. They received just an honorable mention. Here’s the breakdown of the winners.
NESN has Bruins/Canadiens at 7:00. TNT has Nuggets/Sixers at 8:00 and Spurs/Suns at 10:30. ESPN and ESPN2 have college basketball tournament action pretty much all afternoon and evening.