The Celtics started last night strong, but lost their way in the second half when Rasheed Wallace got into foul trouble, and the Celtics had no one to match up with Dirk Nowitzki (37 points). The result was a 99-90 loss at the Garden for the Celtics, their third straight home loss.

Scott Souza says that the Celtics have no excuses for what happened last night. Frank Dell’Apa says that the Celtics’ wounds were self-inflicted in this one. Mark Murphy says that as the Celtics are the best road team in the NBA, they must really hate their home life. Robert Lee says that the Celtics just had no answers for Nowitzki. Bill Doyle says that Kevin Garnett can’t return fast enough for the Celtics. Jim Fenton has the Celtics dropping their seventh game in their last eleven, and remaining in a rut. Chris Forsberg says that defense was the problem for the Celtics last night.

Bob Ryan says that the Celtics will turn things around, but right now, their troubles are a lot more than just the absence of Kevin Garnett. Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics aren’t taking enough pride in their home court. Jeff Howe says that health is the Celtics biggest priority right now. Paul Flannery has the Celtics still searching for an identity. Jessica Isner has a second-half implosion doing in the Celtics. Rich Levine says that the defense took the night off for the Celtics last night.

Jessica Camerato has Ray Allen reflecting on the meaning of MLK day.

Julian Benbow has Nowitzki really getting hot after Wallace left the game with foul trouble. Bulpett chats with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who isn’t getting fined as much these days, but still making his point about the level of officiating in the NBA. Benbow also has a look at ex-Northeastern star Jose Juan Barea getting his game under control for the Mavericks.

Dell’Apa’s notebook has the Celtics feeling they’ve let opponents get too comfortable at the Garden. Murphy’s notebook has the Celtics knowing that KG isn’t going to solve all their woes. Lee’s Celtics journal has the return of Wallace providing a lift to the Celtics frontcourt. Souza’s notebook has more on the Celtics home woes. Doyle’s notebook has Doc Rivers praising Nowitzki. Fenton’s notebook has more on Wallace’s first game back. Forsberg’s notebook has Paul Pierce saying that his knee his fine.


The Bruins were also bad yesterday, falling apart in a 5-1 loss to the Senators. Kevin Paul Dupont says that the Bruins “barely competed” in their afternoon matinée with Ottawa. Steve Conroy has the Bruins crashing on their return from the West coast. Mike Loftus has the Bruins unable to summon any energy yesterday. Rich Garven has the Bruins submitting a lackluster and mistake-filled effort. James Murphy says that this game shows how much the Bruins are hurting. Joe Haggerty has the Bruins just running out of gas yesterday.

Steve Buckley gives the Bruins a pass on this one, given their recent brutal travel schedule. Matt Kalman says that this loss cannot be blamed on injuries of scheduling. Danny Picard has Tim Thomas hearing the boos yesterday. Rich Thompson has Patrice Bergeron returning to the lineup, but being limited in what he could do. Thompson has Daniel Alfredsson scoring the hat trick on the Bruins.

Dupont’s notebook has more on Bergeron’s limited return. Conroy’s notebook has the Senators scoring a goal after Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman collided with a referee. Garven’s notebook has more on this play.  Loftus’ notebook has more on Bergeron.

Patriots/Red Sox

Karen Guregian says that these AFC playoffs show how badly the Patriots defense is in need of a makeover. Mike Reiss thinks Leigh Bodden would be a good piece to keep, but the cornerback is a free agent this offseason. Tom E. Curran speculates that Josh McDaniels might try to steal Matt Patricia from the Patriots. He also looks at the Patriots running backs.

Bill Burt and Steve Krause think that the Jets could have Patriots fans torn this weekend. Albert R. Breer says that the Jets aren’t boasting, since they’ve backed everything up.

John Tomase and Mike Fine say that the Red Sox and Jonathan Papelbon appear headed to arbitration. Adam Hirshfield says that no power could be no problem for these Red Sox.