Frank Dell’Apa has the Celtics surviving a strong surge from the New Jersey Nets last night, as Boston picked up its 59th win of the season. Rajon Rondo scored a career high 31 points in the win. Steve Bulpett has Eddie House and the rest of the reserves as the key to this victory. Kevin McNamara has the reserves coming to the rescue for the Celtics. Bill Doyle has Rondo perhaps trying to prove the point that he, and not Devin Harris should have been the Eastern Conference reserve point guard on the All Star team.
Marc J. Spears has the Celtics deciding that they really want the #2 seed in the East. Dan Duggan has the Celtics point guard rotation of Rondo, Eddie House and Stephon Marbury putting on a show last night. McNamara says that the injured Celtics are in a fight against the clock to return before the playoffs. Paul Flannery has Doc Rivers pushing all the right buttons in the locker room. Jeff Howe has five things to look for as the Celtics wind down their schedule. Dan Guttenplan checks in with Tommy Heinsohn on this current Celtics team. Mike Petraglia has Marbury saying that Rondo reminds him of Pearl Washington.
Dell’Apa’s notebook looks at a strong night from the bench for the Celtics. Bulpett’s notebook has Danny Ainge bracing for the possible departure of assistant coach/defensive guru Tom Thibodeau after the season. McNamara’s Journal has Tony Allen getting prepared for his return by some tough practices with Paul Pierce. Doyle’s notebook says that Kevin Garnett, Leon Powe and Brian Scalabrine will travel to Cleveland with the team this weekend, but will not play. Jim Fenton’s notebook has more on the injured players.
John Tomase has Scott Kazmir and the Rays getting the better of Jon Lester and the Red Sox on a chilly night at Fenway Park. Adam Kilgore looks at a role reversal for Kazmir and Lester last night. Dom Amore has the Rays handing the Red Sox their first loss of the season. Lenny Megliola has Lester’s 11 game winning streak at Fenway coming to an end. Paul Kenyon has the Ray romping past Lester and the Sox. Ron Chimelis has the Rays getting to Lester. Chaz Scoggins has lefty Kazmir enjoying his night at Fenway. Bill Ballou has round one of the Cy Young battle going to Kazmir.
Steve Buckley tries to make the case that this loss, and Lester’s performance, were not as bad as they might appear at first glance. Nick Cafardo says that last night brought back sobering reality that the Rays are going to be in the race the entire season. (Seriously? Does he think Sox fans all forgot this after opening day?) Bill Burt says that Jason Bay is the Red Sox secret weapon. Maureen Mullen has Lester unable to execute his pitches last night. Alex Speier ticks off five things we learned from last night’s game. (Are they really going to do this for every game? By the end of the regular season we’ll have learned 810 things!)
Daniel Barbarisi has Rocco Baldelli chipping in with a hit and a nice catch in his first start for the Red Sox. Jon Couture has more on Baldelli seeing his first action at Fenway as a member of the Red Sox. Buckley has former Sox skipper Don Zimmer glad to come to Boston for the opening series. Barbarisi has Takashi Saito getting his Red Sox career off to an inauspicious start after giving up a home run to Even Longoria. Rob Bradford says that despite the loss, Lester is still an ace.
Barbarisi has the Red Sox trying a different offensive approach this season. Chimelis has David Ortiz giving his stamp of approval to the new offense. Kevin Thomas has Junichi Tazawa getting set for his first start with the AA Portland Sea Dogs.
Tomase’s notebook has the Red Sox players unhappy with the quality of the home plate umpire’s strike calls last night. Kilgore’s notebook has Baldelli OK after his first start at Fenway as a member of the Red Sox. Glen Farley’s notebook has Mark Kotsay, John Smoltz and Julio Lugo heading to Florida soon for more rehab. Barbarisi’s notebook has more on the trio heading South. Chimelis’ notebook has more on Baldelli’s first start. Ballou’s notebook contributes a number of sundry items.
The Herald, (well, the Inside Track, so take it with a grain of salt) says that Fenway Park will host the NHL winter classic next season.
Mike Loftus says that the Canadiens just aren’t as scary as they were a season ago. Steve Conroy has the Bruins looking forward to their matchup with Montreal tonight. Kevin Paul Dupont has Chuck Kobasew missing practice yesterday.
Scott Benson on Patriots Daily has a look at the first day defensive backs. Christopher L. Gasper has the Patriots looking to shore up their secondary. Mike Reiss has the Patriots meeting with two UNC receivers. Shalise Manza Young profiles Auburn defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks.
Jim Donaldson continues his single-minded determination to craft the worst sports column ever written.
The Masters tee off today. New Globe golf writer Michael Whitmer (replacing Jim McCabe) makes his Masters Picks. Karen Guregian has the crowds at the Masters getting much quieter. Whitmer has Padraig Harrington quietly looking to win his third straight Major. Guregian has Sergio Garcia a little short on confidence right now.