Kendrick Perkins made a surprise return to the active roster last night, and took part in the Celtics 112-95 beatdown of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have now lost 28 of 29 games.

A new force was at work – Bob Ryan has a look at the return of Perkins, and what he means to the Celtics. More on Perkins:  Mark Murphy | Chris Forsberg | Jessica Camerato (with 1-on-1 sitdown interview video)| Paul Flannery | Evans Clinchy

Celtics maintain focus against lesser opponent – Rich Levine has the Celtics handling a situation that has given them some problems this season.

Glad to mix it up a bit – Frank Dell’Apa looks at a strong night from the bench.

Captain exits early to treat ankle – Dan Duggan’s notebook has Paul Pierce leaving a bit early to get some treatment on his tweaked ankle. The Celtics Journal by Kevin McNamara has more on Perkins’ return. The Globe notebook by Gary Washburn has more on the Celtics not taking the Cavs lightly. The notebook from Jim Fenton has the Cavs losing their 18th straight game.

Bill Belichick Could Engineer Donte Stallworth Reunion With Patriots and 19 Other NFL Thoughts – Jeff Howe with 20 observations on the NFL.

State of the Patriots is strong, indeed – Jim Donaldson says “The State of Patriot Nation, it appears, is better than the State of the Union.”

Jerod Mayo turns to Ravens’ Ray Lewis – Karen Guregian has the Patriots All Pro looking to get some tips from the Ravens future Hall of Famer.

Super Bowl matchup worth watching – Jonathan Comey tells us that this Super Bowl is worth watching even without the Patriots.

Quick hits from the Senior Bowl – Greg A Bedard has some good observations from the Senior Bowl. There is also Part II. For the Herald, Ian R. Rapoport has also been all over the Senior Bowl practices.

Improved, but Bruins need to get better – Stephen Harris says that while the Bruins have shown improvement as of late, they still have a ways to go.

10 Questions — No. 2: Lingering injuries? – Gordon Edes wonders if the Red Sox will be healthy in 2011.