Mike Fine offers his first half report card for the Red Sox. Steven Krasner also has a look at the first half of the season, complete with superlatives, surprises and disappointments.

Alex Speier credits Josh Beckett’s maturity for making him into the ace he has become this season. John Powers also has an extensive look at Beckett and his development this season. Jon Couture has a look at Mike Lowell, who might’ve been viewed as a “throw in” in the Beckett trade, but who has become a valued and productive member of the Red Sox. Jeff Goldberg notes how Beckett and Lowell have celebrated all their biggest moments in the big leagues together.

Terry Nau says that despite the sweep in Detroit, this is not the time to panic for the Red Sox. Karen Guregian has a Q&A session with Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon. Gordon Edes has Papelbon and his mates determined to win this game and secure home field for the AL in the World Series. Joe Haggerty notes that pitching has gotten the Red Sox to where they are in the standings right now.

Michael Silverman has Manny Ramirez happy to be a part of this All Star game – perhaps because he though he wouldn’t make this one. Dan Shaughnessy admits that going into the season he thought of Hideki Okajima as just a wingman for Daisuke Matsuzaka, the Pumpkin to Dice-K’s Seabiscuit. Steve Buckley has Okajima in San Francisco as the unlikeliest of All-Stars. Silverman has David Ortiz attempting to save his legs by not participating in the home run derby. Sarah Green looks at the symptoms of Red Sox melancholy.

Steve Buckley says Barry Bonds uses the fans who voted for him in the All Star balloting as his shield. Jim Donaldson says that our values don’t hold any meaning when it comes to star athletes like Bonds. Buckley also has AL manager Jim Leyland saying that his team will pitch to Bonds.

Celtics
Steve Bulpett has a quick account of the Celtics falling to the Spurs in summer league action in Las Vegas yesterday. Shira Springer notes that things are tight for Allan Ray’s chances to make the Celtics roster, and the team has until August 1st to decide whether to pick up his option for next season. Scott Souza has Rajon Rondo using the summer league to work on his outside shot.

Bulpett’s notebook has the Celtics agreeing to a contract with undrafted 6-9 forward Brandon Wallace. Springer’s has more on the partially-guaranteed deal for the former South Carolina center. Souza’s notebook has more on the signing and the action yesterday.

Misc
Christopher L. Gasper says that Chad Brown could be back with the Patriots to provide some depth at linebacker this season.

Stephen Harris and Fluto Shinzawa report on Bruins prospects participating in a 6 day developmental camp. Douglas Flynn reports on a pair of WHL rivals who now find themselves as teammates in the Bruins camp.

Lenny Megliola says that the pathetic state that the Bruins find themselves in these days is self-imposed.

Frank Dell’Apa has the Revolution hoping that their toughness pays off in the US Open Cup.

Bud Collins puts a wrap on Wimbledon.

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