The Toronto Raptors came into the Garden last night and put up some truly eye-popping numbers. 19-19 from the free throw line, 15-21 (71%) from three-point range, 40-69 (58%) on two pointers, 32 assists as a team and four players with twenty or more points.

Still, the Celtics had the lead with under a minute to go, and had a chance to tie with 10 seconds left. Eddie House missed a long jumper, and Ray Allen was unable to convert a putback on the offensive rebound. The result was a 114-112 Celtics loss, their 7th of the season.

Marc J. Spears notes that the officials were throwing their hands up to signal a three-point field goal so often last night you’d think they were trying to start the wave. Steve Bulpett says that last night was all about the lack of defense for the Celtics, who allowed the Raptors open looks all night long. Bill Doyle notes that the points allowed was a season high for the Celtics, who took turns accepting blame after the game.

Peter May feels that Ray Allen has a pretty good shot at being named an All Star reserve, along with Paul Pierce. Mark Murphy has Allen predicting that he was going to be losing sleep over missing the final shot last night. Lenny Megliola says that the Raptors went wild on “dare” shots last night. Mike Fine has the Celtics realizing that they are targets each night now. Jeff Clark looks at the Timberwolves, who come into town tomorrow night, and should look very familiar – they the team that has played here and frustrated fans for the last few years.

Spears notebook has Kevin Garnett saying that it would be an honor to be the NBA’s top vote-getter for the All Star team, but he and his team also have much higher goals. Bulpett’s notebook has the Celtics happy to take Super Bowl Sunday off, and in fact, it is by design that they don’t have a game that day. Doyle’s notebook has Garnett as a lock for the Eastern All Stars.


Over in the Metro, I’m pretty sure all this talk about “blueprints” and “teams of destiny” is pretty stupid.

Dan Shaughnessy talks to Bill Parcells about his two protégés coaching in this Super Bowl, head coaches Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin, and what he remembers from having them both on his coaching staff with the Giants. John Tomase has more on Belichick and Coughlin coming out of the Parcells coaching tree, getting comments from Mark Bavaro, who had Coughlin as his position coach with the Giants. Jeff Jacobs says that Patriots/Giants certainly doesn’t have the rancor of Red Sox/Yankees. Ian M. Clark offers up nine things that the Patriots will need to do to beat the Giants.

Karen Guregian has Hall of Famer John Hannah talking about the Patriots offensive line, a unit he is very impressed with. Mike Reiss has Doug Flutie and Steve Sidwell both very impressed with the Patriots ability to make in-game adjustments. Shalise Manza Young has a look at Kevin Faulk as an unsung hero for the Patriots offense. Tomase has a look at Jabar Gaffney, who had made several big contributions in his second year with the Patriots. Christopher Price notes that the Patriots are loaded with Super Bowl experience.

Tomase has Joe Theismann saying that he doesn’t expect Tom Brady’s injured right ankle to present any problems for the Patriots QB in the Super Bowl. David Heuschkel talks to the chief of foot and ankle surgery at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center about Brady’s ankle. Reiss’ notebook has Ron Jaworski trying to pinpoint exactly when Brady’s ankle injury occurred. Jim Donaldson says that you should have no worries about Brady possibly missing the Super Bowl.

Douglas Flynn observes that this is the toughest week of the year for football fans, and offers a number of Patriots musings to pass the time. Michael Vega examines the spread and how Las Vegas views the Patriots in this game. Jeff Horrigan has Benjamin Watson unveiling his One More foundation in Quincy. He is also raffling off a Super Bowl package, including two tickets to the game. David Brown has the Giants as a known entity to the Patriots as they try again to make history.

Guregian has the Giants Osi Umenyiora accusing Matt Light of playing dirty. Young has more on Umenyiora calling out Light.

Buddy Thomas tells us how he deals with Patriots fans who get up in his grill. He has one word for you: Asterisk.

Chad Finn offers up 10 Boston sports related thoughts for this week.

Steve Buckley and Bill Burt both tout Boston as superior to New York in all things sports. Speaking of which Mike Celizic of MSNBC took the opposite stance, that Boston can’t possibly compare to New York in any way, which resulted in his column being taken apart piece by piece by Fire Joe Morgan (strong language)

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Join us for the Sox return to the US, as they open the main part of the regular season in Oakland, including the A’s home opener (You’re almost guaranteed to see Josh Beckett pitch one of those games) on the BSMW Travel Club trip to the games.