Kobe Too Much for Celtics

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The Los Angeles Lakers extracted a little bit of revenge on their long time cross country rival, avenging a loss a few weeks again out West by defeating the Celtics last night 105-97 at TD Banknorth Garden. Kobe Bryant had 43 points to pace the Lakers to the win, as they led throughout. Shira Springer notes that a first quarter ankle sprain slowed down Paul Pierce, and likely the Celtics chances at getting the win last night. Steve Bulpett observes that once again the Celtics dug themselves a hole that they could not climb out of. Shalise Manza Young says that there was just too much Kobe Bryant for the Celtics to handle last night. Bill Doyle looks at another blow to the Celtics fading playoff hopes. Mike Bresnahan of the LA Times says that Kobe made every shot count last night as he got his revenge on the Celtics. Ross Siler of the LA Daily News has more on Kobe carrying the Lakers to victory.

Peter May looks at Bryant and coach Phil Jackson, who remain supremely confident in their own abilities and what they could do in the first round of the playoffs. May also appears to have compared notes with Bresnahan above as they used the same opening and made reference to “V for Vendetta”. Rich Thompson looks at Kobe getting the better of his matchup with Paul Pierce last night. Scott Souza says that Pierce is more concerned with wins and losses rather than any showdown with Kobe, and is looking to help the younger guys on the team build their confidence.

Bulpett’s notebook looks at the continued fine play of Tony Allen, who had 18 points last night and appears to be finding his groove. Springer’s notebook says that Doc Rivers doesn’t expect to miss any more games this week because of the death of his father-in-law, hoping to work funeral arrangements around the team schedule. Doyle’s notebook looks at the creation of the “Red Auerbach Award” which will be given to the player who best exemplifies the spirit of what it means to be a Celtic. Young’s notebook says that the Celtics/Lakers rivalry isn’t just a thing of the 60’s and 80’s, it’s alive and well to this day. Bresnahan’s notebook has Phil Jackson talking about the officials.

The Red Sox made a move yesterday, trading Bronson Arroyo to the Cincinnati Reds for outfielder Wily Mo Pena. Tony Massarotti had mentioned it as a possibility yesterday and it came about, good scoop by him. His article today proclaims the deal a perfect fit for both sides. Chris Snow looks at the deal, and what Pena will bring to the Red Sox. Sean McAdam says that this was a deal about supply and demand for the two sides. David Heuschkel says Epstein and Arroyo’s agent both said yesterday that the Red Sox never told the pitcher that they wouldn’t trade him, but it was a hard parting regardless for the two sides. David Borges has Arroyo’s thoughts on the deal, which left him shocked. He explains what the Red Sox told him when he signed his contract. Alex Speier says the deal was made because Arroyo was redundant, and that this could be a master stroke for the Sox.

Gordon Edes says that this is the type of move that will make the Yankees nervous, especially since Pena was originally their property. He cautions patience however, as Pena still has a ways to go to become a complete player. Bill Ballou says the deal is a bit of a risk since you can never have enough starting pitching. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) torches the Red Sox for the “grave injustice” they committed towards Arroyo and says the club committed to the entire baseball world what is close to the “unpardonable sin”. A little hyperbole, Gerry? Art Martone says that Pena is a project, and dips into the Baseball Prospectus world for some comparisons. Dom Amore has Johnny Damon criticizing Red Sox management for trading Arroyo and their lack of loyalty. He again brings up his own contract negotiations.

Snow’s notebook has David Ortiz saying that too much time was wasted at the WBC, and now needs to play catch-up to get ready for the opener. Massarotti’s notebook looks at the pitching needs of the Reds, which led them to deal for Arroyo. Borges’ notebook says that Pena is an investment in the future for the Red Sox.

Dan Shaughnessy reports on Japan’s 10-6 win over Cuba in the finals of the World Baseball Classic. Steve Buckley (subscription only) says the games were a success internationally.

Ron Borges and Alan Greenberg report on NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue announcing that he is retiring from his post in July.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell, Stephen Harris and Dan Hickling report on the Bruins losing 5-2 to the Rangers last night. Burrell’s notebook and Harris’ notebook each look at a difficult homecoming for Brian Leetch.

NESN has Bruins/Thrashers at 7:00. ESPN has NIT action at 7:00 and 9:00. TNT has Rockets/Mavs at 8:00 and Suns/Jazz at 10:30.

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