The season opener didn’t work out quite according to script for the Celtics, as they dropped the first game of the year, 91-87 to the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets. The Celtics trailed throughout this one, and though they made a pair of runs in the second half to close the gap, they just couldn’t get over the hump. Paul Pierce had 29 point and 19 rebounds for the Celtics, but also missed eight free throws, which had the crowd frustrated. Wally Szczerbiak had 21 points, but was 5-14 from the floor. Al Jefferson chipped in with 13 points.
Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics reverted to old ways in the opener, such as relying too much on Pierce to bail them out and carry them to the win. Shira Springer notes that despite renewed optimism to start the season, the Celtics came out sluggish and out of sync in the first quarter, causing them to fall behind right out of the gate. Scott Souza observes that not even the Truth could save the Celtics on opening night. Robert Lee has more on the Celtics starting the season out on the wrong note. Paul Doyle looks at the Celtics coming up short in the end. Bill Doyle says that Pierce is becoming the new Shaq with his struggles at the free throw line. Tim Weisberg has the Celtics paying tribute to Red with everything but a win last night.
Bob Ryan says that this team is going need time to develop and patience from the fans, even if that quality has already run out in a lot of Celtics fans. Mark Murphy also notes that the young Celtics still found themselves relying on Pierce way too much instead of stepping up and asserting themselves in the end of the game. Lenny Megliola says that too much of last night’s game looked like last years games. Tony Massarotti says that it is time for the kids to stand up and be counted down the stretch run of ball games.
Bob Duffy has Theo Ratliff trying to work his way through a sore back and get back on the court where he can help the Celtics. The big man will miss at least five games as he gets ready for action. Souza has Rajon Rondo looking like a rookie for much of his NBA debut. Duffy has Paul Pierce reflecting after an emotional night at the Garden. Mike Fine says that this Celtics team has a lot of talent, but is still going to find themselves overmatched on many nights. Jim Fenton says that the Celtics are out to prove themselves this season.
The BSMW Full Court Press weighs in with a roundtable look at the NBA on opening week.
Peter May looks at the Celtics tributes to Red Auerbach before and during the game last night. Steve Buckley has a look at the ceremonies at City Hall Plaza in the afternoon and gets reaction from fans on Red’s life and impact in Boston. Bill Reynolds says that Red didn’t need to see what the league has become in recent years, now especially since the Celtics dancing girls will debut Friday night. Paul Doyle looks at Celtics legends from all eras coming out to honor Red. Matt Tice also has a look at the afternoon festivities. Souza has more on the day long tributes, which would’ve ended much nicer had the Celtics gotten the win last night. Bill Doyle also looks at the tributes, and how Bob Cousy honored his former coach and is now the senior member of the Celtics family.
Bulpett’s notebook says that Doc Rivers’ attempt to be mysterious with his starting lineup didn’t provide the results he was looking for. Springer’s notebook has NBA commissioner David Stern predicting a new golden age for the league coming up. Lee’s notebook has more on the tributes to Auerbach.
Christopher L Gasper and John Tomase have Adam Vinatieri talking about his return to Foxboro to face his old team. Much has been made and will be made about the kickers comments about not getting a phone call from his former coach and owner in New England. Joe McDonald says that because of Vinatieri and many other reasons, this is not just another NFL game on Sunday night. Mike Lowe says that for the first time ever, Patriots fans might not be looking forward to seeing Vinatieri trot out onto the field in the fourth quarter. Rich Garven looks at the perceived bad blood between Vinatieri and the Patriots. Tom King has Vinatieri getting antsy to get back out on the Gillette field. Michael Parente says that AV won’t need any advice on how to kick in Gillette. Alan Greenberg has Bill Belichick with not a whole lot to say about the Indy kicker. Chris Kennedy also looks at the return of Mr. Clutch to Foxboro. David Brown says Vinatieri doesn’t quite know how he will be received on Sunday night by the fans. Mark Farinella and Jeff Howe have more from the Patriots all time leading scorer.
Michael Felger‘s Patriots Insider this week looks at how the Patriots are in much better shape to take on the Colts this season. Last year they were devastated by injury and trying to find their way back together. They lacked the personnel to matchup with the Colts on the field. This season could be a different matter. Albert Breer says that the loss last season to the Colts took some of the mental edge away that the Patriots held over Indianapolis. Mike Reiss looks at the mutual admiration society that is Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Eric McHugh says that these Colts/Patriots matchups boil down to the quarterbacks.
Farinella asserts that the relationship between the Boston media and Bill Belichick has hit an all time low this week.
Ian Clark examines the Patriots defense, which has flown under the radar for much of the season and has quietly once again become one of the top units in the game.
Tomase’s notebook looks at the gamesmanship between the Colts and Patriots even extending to the injury reports. Reiss’ notebook says that the Colts now hold the edge in late game kicking. McDonald’s notebook has Vinatieri comparing the Colts and Patriots. Gasper’s notebook has the Colts dismissing the Gillette field as an issue. Parente’s notebook has Billy Yates fitting right in on the Patriots offensive line.
Mike at the BSMW Power Play looks at a system of “sabremetrics that he’s developed for hockey.
Stephen Harris looks at the Bruins taking another shot at the high scoring Buffalo Sabres tonight. Douglas Flynn says that the B’s are willing to admit a healthy respect for the Sabres…up to a point. Bud Barth says the Sabres will provide a measuring stick as to how much the Bruins have improved in the last 12 days. Fluto Shinzawa has Andrew Alberts returning to the ice tonight for Boston.
NESN has Bruins/Sabres at 7:00. ESPN has West Virgina/Louisville at 7:30. TNT has Spurs/Mavs at 8:00 and Nuggets/Clippers at 10:30.