Morning links are brought to you this Thursday by guest blogger Bob Ekstrom. Reach him at email@example.com.
True, Larry Bird is not walking through that door, nor for that matter is Kevin McHale. But that doesn’t mean the two can’t contribute to the first 60-win season Boston has seen since their playing days. Last night, it was McHale’s discarded inventory providing the ammunition and Bird’s mailed-in Pacers the fodder as Kevin Garnett and the Celtics beat Indiana, 92-77, at TD Banknorth Garden for their 60th win.
As Marc J. Spears points out, this is the first 60-win season for each of the New Big Three. Steve Bulpett has the C’s taking the win in perspective leading up to the postseason. Robert Lee says that, like last night, defense accounts for much of this team’s success. Bill Doyle says it’s all about the top seed after last night’s win. Lenny Megliola has Doc Rivers saying 60 means nada as he keeps the focus on the playoffs. Steve Buckley sees anticipation for the end of another regular season just like in each of the last five, but this year’s reason doesn’t involve ping-pong balls.
Jeff Howe has Bird missing out on his old team’s special night. Mark Murphy has Pacers coach Jim O’Brien remembering the 2002 Celtics breaking a playoff drought similar to the one that’s about to fold, while in his Celtics Beat, he reflects on how long its been since the Green won 60. Jim Fenton has O’Brien saying he coached against the NBA’s MVP last night. Julian Benbow has some Celtics hoping for a little R&R before the postseason. Bulpetts’s Celtics Notebook says rest is assured.
Doyle’s Celtics Notes looks at Sam Cassell and P.J. Brown hoping to make bigger impacts come playoff time. Spears’ Celtics Notebook has more from KG and James Posey, the intended victims of Benny the Bull’s T-shirt sniping rampage Tuesday. Their accounts validate similar claims made by Hillary after her last trip to Chicago.
So far, so good as far as the Boston Red Sox’s 2008 World Tour goes. Yesterday, they made it a combined three-out-of-four against the A’s with a 5-0 win out in Oakland. Jeff Horrigan has Jon Lester picking up where Daisuke Matsuzaka left off, holding the A’s to three hits over 6 2/3 innings. Tony Massarotti has some silent bats waking up yesterday out west. He also says it’s the little things now that spell big dividends in September.
The Bruins inched closer to clinching a playoff spot last night, owing to the gratuity of the NHL, which awarded the B’s a point after their 3-2 shootout loss in New Jersey. Stephen Harris has the B’s outplaying the Devils despite the final outcome. Kevin Paul Dupont says this loss simply prolongs the suspense, but one man’s suspense is another’s agony.
Harris’s Bruins Notebook sings the praise of video replay in getting the Bruins their point last night, as an apparent Devils goal was overturned. Dupont’s Bruins Notebook has Andrew Alberts back in last night’s lineup.
Odds & Sods
Not everyone in Greater Boston is drinking from the Red Sox’s championship fount. Just ask Medfords’s Wally Carew, who’s still lamenting the flight of the Boston Braves. Don’t worry, Wally: only three more days until Glavine’s next start.
In case you’ve been missing it, check out Alex Speier’s six-part series on Red Sox player development. Today is Part Five.
What’s rarer than seeing J.D. Drew in right? How about Pedey on the rubber. After 3 1/3 innings on Tuesay, Pedro Martinez left the park, much like two of his pitches. Now, New York Daily News’ Adam Rubin tells us for how long, but you better be sitting down. Anybody still think Theo is too particular in how he spends Warner’s and Henry’s money?
That will do it for now, but check back after lunch. Boston’s sports landscape changes as fast as its weather.