The Celtics are set to tip off the 2006-2007 season tonight at TD Banknorth Garden, in a night sure to be filled with emotion as the late Red Auerbach is honored.

Mark Murphy talks to Danny Ainge about the rebuilding of the Celtics, and where he thinks the process is at right now as a new season is set to begin. Shira Springer looks at third year players that need to make a giant leap forward for the Celtics to improve this season. Tim Weisberg notes that the Celtics need to make their youth a positive this season. Kevin McNamara also looks at the Celtics hoping their young players can make big strides forward this season.

Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics are going to aim to be better fourth quarter finishers this season, and that will dictate how much better of a team they are. Michael Muldoon leads off his NBA preview with a chat with an Andover native who worked for Auerbach in the 1980’s. Scott Souza has a look at second year man Gerald Green, who still has high expectations surrounding him, but has a ways to go in his steady development before be becomes a regular contributor. Weisberg examines whether Sebastian Telfair is ready to make the leap in his third NBA season and be a real leader at the point for the Celtics.

The Herald offers thumbnails of the Celtics Roster. The Globe makes their Staff Picks of the Celtics season, with the range being from 43 wins (Bob Ryan) to 32 wins (Peter May).

Jackie MacMullan has a look at Miami’s Dwyane Wade in the Globe’s NBA Preview section. Peter May reports on LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, each who made a giant leap forward in their third season…something the Celtics are hoping their third year players can do.

Murphy’s notebook has Doc Rivers keeping his opening night starting lineup shrouded in mystery. May’s notebook has a look at the Celtics opponent tonight, the New Orleans – Oklahoma City Hornets.

Bob Ryan reports and reflects on those saying farewell to Red Auerbach at his burial yesterday. Bulpett has an Appreciation for Red Auerbach, where he notes that the long time C’s boss lived life on his own terms. Steve Buckley has a couple more former Celtics showing up to honor Red. Victor Matheson looks at money changed Red’s NBA.

Michael Felger has his Patriots report card, which is all “A’s” with the exception of two “B’s” – one to the offensive line and one to special teams. Ian Clark sneaks a “C” into his report card when he grades the special teams. Rich Garven looks at the Patriots starting to garner some respect around the league as one of the elite teams this year. Michael Parente looks at the Patriots game plan working to perfection against the Vikings.

Ron Borges says that this Sunday’s game with the Colts is about home field advantage for these two teams – a midterm exam if there ever were one in football. Albert Breer says that with all that is riding on this game, Sunday night might be the most important regular season game in the league this year. John Tomase has a look at the Patriots turning their attention to the Colts. Chris Kennedy says that the Patriots and Colts will both coming into the game with QB’s coming off monster games. Mike Reiss examines how far the Patriots have come since the beginning of the season, engaging in a little then-and-now.

Reiss also analyzes the Patriots defensive plan for the Vikings, and what is likely to change this week against the Colts. Shalise Manza Young says that the Patriots surprised even themselves on Monday night. Alan Greenberg looks at how Tom Brady picked apart the Vikings with the help of his receivers. Hector Longo says that the Patriots defense ranks right up there with the Bears, Broncos and Ravens at the top of the league. Tom King says the Patriots won’t be able to sneak up on anyone for the rest of the season. Mark Farinella says hey…this Brady guy is pretty good. He’s also ready to officially board the Patriots bandwagon.

Jon Couture says that these Bill Belichick’s Patriots are the closest we’ll ever see to Red Auerbach’s dynastic Celtics.

On the Patriots Game Day page, Bill Barnwell has Part II of his look at pass-catching running backs.

Breer has a quick look at Richard Seymour talking to middle school students about the importance of eating well.

Tomase’s notebook has a look at the Patriots receivers coming alive in the win over the Vikings. Interesting that both Tomase and Felger (in his report card) ask the very same question…what does Bill Belichick have against Brad Childress…in questioning some of the fourth quarter decisions by the Patriots coach. I’m not saying they’re trying to stir stuff up…they’d never do that. Reiss’ notebook has a look at the friendly rivalry the has developed between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

Ron Borges is the subject of a Boston Magazine feature this month written by John Gonzalez. In the article, Borges embraces the wrath that is aimed towards him, and Gonzalez approves, noting that sports would be much less interesting without the likes of Borges. There are some mind-numbing quotes in the feature, and while Gonzalez clearly admires Borges, the Globe football writer doesn’t come across as a sympathetic hero. Globe sports editor Joe Sullivan, known for making hyperbolic statements about his writers, proclaims that “No one in Boston knows more about the NFL than Ron Borges,” – a statement that is clearly the work of a supportive boss. Gonzalez fawns over Borges’ simple explanation of why incompletions are not always the fault of the quarterback…were they talking about Drew Bledsoe at the time, by any chance? Borges is quoted in the article: “You know, my dad used to have a saying,” he says. “Empty tin cans always make the most noise.” – I wonder if Ron realizes his dad was talking about him…

Steven Krasner has a look at the Red Sox needs in the offseason, and how Theo Epstein is likely already working the phones to improve his club. Gordon Edes has Baseball America ranking the Red Sox 2006 draft as the best in Major League Baseball. Kevin Gray has NH’s Chris Carpenter pinching himself that he is a World Series Champion.

FSN has Celtics/Hornets at 7:30. ESPN has Wizards/Cavs at 8:00 and Clippers/Suns at 10:30.

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