The Celtics picked up their fifth win in a row last night, holding off the Atlanta Hawks by the score of 98-88 at T.D. Banknorth Garden.

Mark Murphy has Ray Allen and Paul Pierce combining for 37 second-half points last night, and Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins controlling the boards (16 and 12 respectively) in the win. Marc J. Spears has the Celtics handling the Hawks and already getting pumped up for the Pistons, who come in on Wednesday. Bill Doyle says that Garnett is just about all the way back, and it showed with his performance in the win last night. Jeff Howe also has a look at the win for the Green.

Peter May says that Garnett should still be the favorite for league MVP, even if LeBron and Kobe have seemed to have passed him in recent weeks. He says what KG has done in transforming the Celtics should make the decision easy. Steve Bulpett says that Garnett is finally back to his dominant self, and his play on the court reflects that. Tim Weisberg says that the acquisition of Sam Cassell should actually give confidence to the Celtics’ young point guard. Bulpett also has Rajon Rondo talking about what it is going to be like to play with Cassell. Howe says that a Cassell deal is close, and should happen tonight after 6:00pm.

The Globe notebook has Cassell getting ready to join the Celtics tonight after he clears waivers. Murphy’s notebook examines Perkins’ passing, which led to 6 assists for the Celtics center last night. Doyle’s notebook has more on the development of Perkins.

Red Sox

Gordon Edes says that the Red Sox Japanese players are still the focus of a lot of attention from the overseas media. Sean McAdam has Jonathan Papelbon talking money and contracts. Jeff Horrigan has Tim Wakefield aiming for 200 innings this season. Joe Haggerty has Wakefield still rolling along after all these years. Alex Speier has the prospects that the Twins got from the Mets (as well as the ones that the Red Sox offered) in exchange for Johan Santana on display in Fort Myers.

Michael Silverman has Clay Buchholz struggling in his first outing of the spring yesterday. Jeff Goldberg has Buchholz trying to learn from Tim Wakefield as a mentor. The New Hampshire Union Leader also has Buchholz turning to Wakefield for advice. (The top of the story has one writer, the bottom another, I think Alex Speier wrote it, but I can’t say for sure.)

Nick Cafardo has Hank Steinbrenner talking some more…but also saying that the Red Sox and Yankees owners are all good friends, and might even get into business together outside of baseball. Michael Silverman has more from Hank. Mike Underwood has fan reaction to Hank. Silverman has Steinbrenner shooting down Henry’s offer of a membership in Red Sox Nation.

Amalie Benjamin’s notebook has Clay Buchholz and Craig Hansen getting roughed up by the Twins in yesterday’s action. Horrigan’s notebook has more on Hansen once again struggling with his command. Goldberg’s notebook has more on the struggles of Hansen. McAdam’s notebook has Buchholz determined to earn his keep with the Sox.

Patriots/Bruins

Karen Guregian ponders why Randy Moss isn’t getting contract offers from other clubs – could it be that other teams know he’s just going to end up back with the Patriots? She also examines the report from Adam Schefter on NFL Network that Moss was close to re-signing with the Patriots. Christopher L. Gasper and Guregian each report on Randall Gay signing a big deal with the Saints yesterday to return to his home state. David Heuschkel also reports on Gay’s new deal.

Check all the coverage on the red-hot Boston Bruins over at BruinsLinks.com.

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