Trailing by as many at 28 points in the second half, the Celtics charged back to as close as three points, but just couldn’t get over that hump, and dropped game one of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at the Garden last night, 96-90.

Frank Dell’Apa has a first half lag dooming the Celtics last night. Mark Murphy has the Celtics putting together a  long, arduous and ultimately empty comeback. Bill Burt pins the loss on Rajon Rondo’s struggles late in the comeback. Robert Lee says that the fourth quarter rally couldn’t quite wipe out the mistakes made earlier in the game. Jim Fenton notes that there were no silver linings or moral victories to come out of last night. Bill Doyle says that the Celtics heart can’t be questioned, but they can’t keep falling behind like this.

Marc J. Spears says that the fatigue from the game six loss to Chicago was on display last night. Paul Flannery learns that there are no moral victories in the playoffs.  Ron Borges says the comeback wasn’t really one, because the Celtics didn’t really come back – they still lost. Steve Bulpett says that consistent effort right from the the start – not starting when you’re down 28, is what the Celtics need. Lenny Megliola says that it was just too little, too late for the Celtics.

Mark Blaudschun has the Celtics getting some encouraging play from their bench. Borges has Brian Scalabrine recognizing that his job is to defend Rashard Lewis. Jeff Howe says that the play of Kendrick Perkins could decide the series.

A skeptical Kirk Minihane goes through the numbers and is somewhat surprised to discover that Paul Pierce is virtually a lock for the Hall of Fame.

Michael Vega has Rajon Rondo not being able to quite get up to speed last night. Dan Ventura has Rondo pointing out the Celtics inability to push the ball and get to the line as a huge factor in the loss. Alan Siegel has more on the struggles of Rondo. Ben Larsen has the Celtics sluggish start resulting in opportunity for the Magic.

Jessica Camerato has the Magic torn between throwing up three-pointers and getting the ball inside to Howard. Spears has the Magic hoping that Courtney Lee will be able to play in game three. Julian Benbow has the Magic recognizing the need they have to work on their closing act. Ventura has Jameer Nelson wishing he could be on the court. Lee explores the friendship between Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis dating back to their days in Seattle.

Dell’Apa’s notebook has Stephon Marbury contributing a quick eight points in the first half, and then sitting out the second half. Murphy’s notebook has Dwight Howard praising the defense of Kendrick Perkins. Doyle’s notebook has the friendship of Allen and Lewis being put on hold for the series.

Red Sox

The Red Sox got their tenure at the new Yankee Stadium off to a good start, with a 6-4 win over the Yankees.

Amalie Benjamin has the Red Sox impressed with the new stadium, and putting together a strong win on the field. Bill Ballou has the Sox holding on for the win. Dom Amore has Mike Lowell and Jason Bay offsetting a pair of Mark Teixeira home runs with two of their own. Michael Silverman has the Sox feeling right at home in their first game at the new stadium.

Dan Shaughnessy has the Red Sox getting settled in their new digs in the visitors clubhouse. Daniel Barbarisi has the Red Sox remembering the old stadium while enjoying the new one. Steve Buckley has New Yorkers with a love-hate relationship with the new stadium.  Alex Speier says that we learned that there is still room for drama at the new Stadium.

Sean McAdam says that the Red Sox shortstop situation is still messy. Buckley has Jon Lester striking out 10 in his first appearance at the new stadium. McAdam says that so far, Jason Bay owns New York. Which probably means he’ll be playing there next season when the Red Sox don’t get a deal done with him.

Ballou has David Ortiz remaining upbeat. He also has Terry Francona standing by his slumping slugger. Dan Lamothe is encouraged by some positive signs from Papi last night.

Nick Cafardo has a look at how the Yankees are dealing with A-Rod.

Benjamin’s notebook has Terry Francona suggesting the Julio Lugo might’ve been rushed back a little bit and might not quite be at full strength just yet. Ballou’s notebook says that the Stadium is a nice blend of the old and new. Barbarisi’s notebook has Papi with some strong words about A-Rod’s alleged pitch-tipping. Silverman’s notebook has more on Francona’s support of Ortiz.

Bruins

Check out BruinsLinks.com for all the coverage of the Bruins as they look to bounce back tomorrow night in game three.

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