Rondo Triple-Double Leads Celtics Over Bulls

After stumbling in their last two games, the Celtics responded yesterday with a much-needed win on national television over the Chicago Bulls. Even though the latter was playing without MVP guard Derrick Rose, this was still a big win for the Celtics, who were without a couple of key cogs of their own. The 95-91 win was paced by Rajon Rondo, who put in 32 points, dished off 15 assists and pulled down 10 rebounds.

Rondo a-Rose to clatter – Steve Bulpett looks at Rondo’s performance, and has Chicago’s C.J. Watson, who defended him much of the afternoon saying of the task: “It wasn’t really difficult.” Peter May has Rondo coming up back after a pair of subpar games. Paul Flannery looks at the conundrum that is Rondo. A Sherrod Blakely says that even though Rondo wasn’t speaking after the game, his teammates had plenty to say. Christopher Smith wonders if attitude is all that is holding Rondo back.

Johnson picks up play to help lift Celtics – Jessica Camerato has rookie JaJuan Johnson stepping in with 12 points off the bench yesterday. Frank Dell’Apa has more on the first round pick seeing his most extensive action of the season.

Postgame notes: Wilcox starting to click – Chris Forsberg’s notebook has Chris Wilcox getting the start at center, and benefiting from the fast break pace of Rondo. The Herald notebook from Mark Murphy has more on the contributions of Wilcox and Johnson in the absence of Jermaine O’Neal and Brandon Bass. The Enterprise notebook from Jim Fenton also looks at the pair of forwards. The Globe notebook from Gary Washburn has more on the absence of Rose.

For Bobby V, full blast is the only way to go – Scott Lauber has the Red Sox new manager fired up for the season to start.

How new Red Sox Cody Ross is putting an uneasy offseason in the rear-view mirror – Rob Bradford with a look at the new outfielder.

Fiercest challenges await champs – Stephen Harris says that we’re likely to see a lot of games like Saturday’s coming up for the Bruins.

Wide receiver wish list has Patriots fans aflutter – Tom E Curran looks at the list of veteran receivers available, including Reggie Wayne, Brandon Lloyd and Marques Colston. (Even though Lloyd has stated he wanted to follow Josh McDaniels, his signing with agent Tom Condon likely puts an end to that notion.)

How good can linebacker Rob Ninkovich become? – Nick Underhill wonders if the linebacker still has room to grow.

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Lakers Drop Celtics In OT, DeOssie Defended

Pau Gasol blocked a Ray Allen putback at the buzzer to give the Lakers an 88-87 win over the Celtics at the Garden last night. Get all the coverage at CelticsLinks.com.

It’s no surprise that Glenn Ordway completely circled the wagons yesterday around Steve DeOssie. He’s his friend and business partner.

In the Globe, Chad Finn defends DeOssie’s right to root for the Giants: Root of the matter: DeOssie in the clear

He makes the same points that I did about it being completely fine, natural even, that DeOssie should be loyal to the Giants. He also transcribes DeOssie’s statements from the pep rally and says of them: “Damning? Hardly.” He then adds that they shouldn’t be damaging to how he’s perceived in New England.

I disagree. While the words themselves may be relatively tame, it was the sneering manner in which they were delivered which has people annoyed. He clearly made it out like he simply tolerates us buffoons in New England while yearning to be in New York and around his beloved Giants. That’s the issue. Another issue is objectivity. I’m constantly lectured about how all reporters and analysts claim to be totally objective. They root for no team, especially the local teams. I realize that that statement is a complete farce – many have rooting loyalties, they just hide under the objectivity label to justify criticism.

I don’t think DeOssie should be punished in any way nor lose any of his analyst gigs. I’m just saying his credibility has taken a shot here, and it wasn’t the smartest business decision on his part. I think we’ve talked about this enough.

Media Roundup: Sports Are Fun, Except In Boston Sports Media – In my SB Nation media column, I’m looking at a couple of media members who have noticed the toxic atmosphere around Boston sports.

Our mean-spirited Super Bowl reflex – We’ll throw Howard Bryant’s log on the fire for discussion as well.

Mike Reiss Rants on Negativity, Legacies and Anger

Mike Reiss is as even-keeled a guy as you’ll find in the business. He stepped out of that demeanor in his ESPNBoston chat today, and delivered a welcome rant on a few of the topics that have bothered me, and plenty of others recently:

Dave (Elmira)

Mike, Another All Pro season of reporting. Thanks for the great work. Less of a question than a rant; ” Gronk disrespected himself,” “Brady’s legacy is tarnished.” A bunch of questions and statements without answer. I understand that it’s part of the entertainment value of the game, but what’s this got to do with football? I think I understand BB’s position better: That’s in the past. We are preparing for the next thing.

Mike (12:30 PM)
Dave, thanks for the compliment and now I rant…

Mike (12:31 PM)
The pictures of Gronkowski and Light at the post-Super Bowl party didn’t bother me at all. This is a 22-year-old kid who gave his all to this team this year. People blow off steam in different ways and he’s entitled to do whatever he wants (within the law) as far as I’m concerned. I’m more angered that some low-life would take video of it and distribute it. I find that despicable. …

Mike (12:32 PM)
…As for the legacy talk, my take is simple: Talk to me when their careers are over. We always seem to want to write the ending to stories while they are going on. Why? Why can’t we enjoy the journey and then talk legacy? …

Mike (12:34 PM)
I have been having some internal philosophical debates in my head about what media is these days. What are we trying to accomplish? When I got into this business, I thought we were supposed to tell people what they needed to know. Now I think we’re trending in a dangerous area where we report based on what will get clicks. It bothers me…

Mike (12:36 PM)
… I’m not perfect, but when I see a company soliciting publicity for dropping a boatload of Butterfingers in Boston and thanking Wes Welker for his drop — and then some report on it to give that company exactly what they want (publicity) — it makes me shake my head. What are we doing here?

Mike (12:36 PM)
Rant over.

Erik G (Los Angeles)
Love it when you get feisty, Mike. So while we’re at it, tell us your thoughts on the post game words by Brandon Jacobs…

Mike (12:36 PM)
Pathetic.

A little later, he added:

cp (reno,nv)
flip side what do you make of Brady’s wifes comments?

Mike (12:39 PM)
CP, I think she has to know better than to say that. She was wrong. At the same time, I was more angered that someone would incite her in that manner, but I guess I have to accept that’s where we are in society today. I just want to know what is in that person’s heart. What would possess them to taunt her? Who does these things? Maybe I’ve been living under a rock over the last 10 years, but when did everyone seem to get so angry?

Well said, Mike.

Hats off to you for sounding off on some of these things that seem to have gotten so prevalent and really take away from the enjoyment of sports.

In addition, I’ve really never been a big fan of Rick Reilly, but his column here is dead-on as well: It’s only a game.

NESN’s Spring Training Coverage Announced

Here is NESN’s press release for upcoming spring training coverage.

NESN TO DELIVER 46 CONSECUTIVE DAYS OF SPRING TRAINING COVERAGE FROM RED SOX NEW COMPLEX FENWAY SOUTH AT LEE COUNTY

67 Hours of Live Programming Begins with
Red Sox LIVE from Fort Myers on February 19 at 6:00 PM

February 8, 2012 – NESN, New England’s most watched sports network, will deliver forty-six (46) consecutive days of Boston Red Sox Spring Training coverage that will include sixty-seven (67) hours of live programming leading up to opening day on April 5th.  NESN’s live coverage from JetBlue Park at Fenway South in Lee County will feature:

  • 13 days of Red Sox LIVE from Fort Myers presented by Jordan’s Furniture
  • 5 days of WEEI’s The Dennis and Callahan Morning Show
  • 12 Spring Training games in high definition

In addition, NESN Daily will feature nightly reports and exclusive interviews from Florida and NESN.com will include up-to-the-minute news from new Red Sox beat reporter Didier Morais and exclusive video in a special Spring Training section at NESN.com/springtraining.

“NESN is committed to bringing our fans the most comprehensive coverage of Red Sox baseball in 2012 starting with day one of Spring Training,” said Sean McGrail, NESN’s President and CEO. “JetBlue Park is a beautiful facility, and we can’t wait to give Red Sox fans a look at Fenway South.”

13 Days of Red Sox LIVE from Fort Myers presented by Jordan’s Furniture

NESN’s live Spring Training coverage begins the day pitchers and catchers report on Sunday, February 19 at 6 pm with Red Sox LIVE from Fort Myers presented by Jordan’s Furniture. The evening shows will be shot from inside JetBlue Park near the new ballpark’s Green Monster. NESN studio host Tom Caron will be joined by NESN’s Peter Gammons, Red Sox field reporter Jenny Dell, and Red Sox players, coaches, and executives to deliver 13 consecutive days of live programming from Fenway South.

5 Days of WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan Morning Show

NESN’s live coverage from Fort Myers will also include five days of WEEI’s The Dennis & Callahan Morning Show beginning Thursday, February 23rd. John Dennis and Gerry Callahan will be in the brand new JetBlue Park to deliver exclusive interviews with players and coaches.

12 Spring Training Games, All in HD

NESN’s high definition (HD) coverage of twelve (12) Grapefruit League games will begin Saturday, March 3 at 7 pm when the Red Sox play Boston College in the first-ever televised game from JetBlue Park. Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy will team up for their 12th season together in the NESN broadcast booth to deliver all the action.

NESN’s Red Sox LIVE from Fort Myers Schedule

DATE

PROGRAM

TIME

Sunday, February 19 Red Sox LIVE from Fort Myers

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Monday, February 20 Red Sox LIVE from Fort Myers

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Tuesday, February 21 Red Sox LIVE from Fort Myers

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Wednesday, February 22 Red Sox LIVE from Fort Myers

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Thursday, February 23 Red Sox LIVE from Fort Myers

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Friday, February 24 Red Sox LIVE from Fort Myers

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Saturday, February 25 Red Sox LIVE from Fort Myers

10:00 AM – NOON

Sunday, February 26 Red Sox LIVE from Fort Myers

10:00 AM – NOON

Monday, February 27 Red Sox LIVE from Fort Myers

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Tuesday, February 28 Red Sox LIVE from Fort Myers

6:00 PM – 6:30 PM

Wednesday, February 29 Red Sox LIVE from Fort Myers

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Thursday, March 1 Red Sox LIVE from Fort Myers

6:00 PM – 6:30 PM

Friday, March 2 Red Sox LIVE from Fort Myers

6:00 PM – 7:00 PM

WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Morning Show in Fort Myers

DATE

PROGRAM

TIME

Thursday, February 23 Dennis & Callahan in Fort Myers

6:00 – 9:00 AM

Friday, February 24 Dennis & Callahan in Fort Myers

6:00 – 9:00 AM

Monday, February 27 Dennis & Callahan in Fort Myers

6:00 – 9:00 AM

Tuesday, February 28 Dennis & Callahan in Fort Myers

6:00 – 9:00 AM

Wednesday, February 29 Dennis & Callahan in Fort Myers

6:00 – 9:00 AM

NESN’s 2012 Red Sox Spring Training Game Schedule

DATE

OPPONENT

TIME

Saturday, March 3 Boston College

7:00 PM

Sunday, March 4 Minnesota

1:30 PM

Monday, March 5 at Minnesota (Fort Myers)

7:00 PM

Friday, March 9 Pittsburgh

7:00 PM

Saturday, March 10 Tampa Bay

7:00 PM

Sunday, March 11 at Baltimore (Sarasota)

7:00 PM

Sunday, March 18 at Tampa Bay (Port Charlotte)

1:00 PM

Tuesday, March 20 Toronto

7:00 PM

Thursday, March 22 New York Yankees

7:00 PM

Saturday, March 24 Philadelphia

1:30 PM

Sunday, March 25 at Toronto (Dunedin)

1:00 PM

Sunday, April 1 Minnesota

1:30 PM

Back In the Spotlight, Bruins Trounced By Sabres

The Bruins have had the benefit of flying under the radar here in recent weeks, and it’s probably for the best, as they’ve been scuffling a bit after that impossibly hot streak earlier in the season. Last night things might’ve come to a head though, as the Bruins were beaten by the Buffalo Sabres 6-0.

Bruins take big step back – Steve Conroy has the Bruins falling flat on their faces last night.

Bruins need to start putting up a fight – Joe Haggerty says that the Bruins competitive fires seem to be extinguished.

Tim Thomas is putting attention on himself – DJ Bean has the Bruins goaltender once again putting himself in the spotlight with his political/social commentary.

The Los Angeles Lakers invade the Garden tonight as the two aging squads continue to fight to remain among the NBA elite.

Aging Lakers, C’s set for toe-to-toe tussle – Steve Bulpett thinks that tonight could resemble a prize-fight between two aging champions. Gary Washburn says that these teams are like mirror images right now. Peter May says that the Lakers aren’t even the best team in Los Angeles right now. Scott Souza says that the two clubs are headed in opposite directions at the moment.

Bryant: ‘I hated Larry, but I loved him’ – A. Sherrod Blakely has Kobe talking about Larry Bird, who said on Bill Simmons’ podcast the other day that Kobe is the player he’d most like to play with in today’s NBA.

Kobe Bryant finds much to talk about with C’s, Lakers – Bulpett has more from Kobe on Bird and the Celtics in general.

The entire offense dropped the ball – Greg A Bedard’s analysis has the offense, specifically the line, to blame for this loss.

Pats score in transition – Ian R Rapoport looks at the success the Patriot have had while rebuilding almost their entire roster.

Welker situation is issue No. 1 – Mike Reiss wonders how the team will approach contract talks with their top receiver.

Ten points of emphasis for the Patriots this offseason – Christopher Price prioritizes the offseason for the Patriots.

Getting past agony of defeat an historically tough task for Pats – Karen Guregian says that history dictates that next season will be a very difficult one for New England.

OK, here we go.

Pats fans, leave Steve DeOssie alone – Steve Buckley defends the honor of Steve DeOssie.

This is for youse knuckle-dragging, nose-picking, mismatched-socks-wearin’,couldn’t-win-a-battle-of-wits-with-a-Pepsi-machine fans who are spitting up your Doritos over Steve DeOssie’s over-the-top passion for the New York Giants: You’ve become the laughingstock of sporting America.

Nothing like insulting hyperbole to start off a column.

As usual, Steve Buckley has no clue.

No one is mad or upset that DeOssie feels a loyalty to the New York Giants, given that his greatest professional success came there, and his son currently plays for the franchise. It’s only natural and fitting that DeOssie would feel that loyalty.

What people have an issue with is how he talked at the pep rally, and the manner in which he talked about his colleagues and Patriots fans – as if they were all stupid. He also inferred that life is very difficult for him in Patriots country – even though he has made a nice post-playing-days career here in New England as a radio and TV personality, analyzing the Patriots, and with his restaurant and other ventures with Fred Smerlas which all depend on the loyalty of Patriots fans.

People don’t enjoy it when someone implies to others that they are stupid. People don’t like it when the appearance is that someone has put up a front to appease them for many years when in reality that person loathes them and has no affection or loyalty to them at all, and when given the chance, talks bad about them to others. His explanation of himself on WEEI was clumsy and unapologetic.

That’s what it boils down to.

If Steve Buckley really believes that people are angry at Steve DeOssie because he is simply loyal to the Giants, then he is the one who couldn’t-win-a-battle-of-wits-with-a-Pepsi-machine and deserves to be the laughingstock of America.

Boston Sports Moves On, Pierce Passes Bird On Celtics Scoring List

While New England continues to try and recover from Sunday, the sports world moves on. Last night at the TD Garden, Paul Pierce passed Larry Bird on the Celtics all-time scoring list, and now sits in second place, behind only John Havlicek.

Speaking of Larry Bird, I found Bill Simmons podcast with the Celtics legend to just be tremendous and just the thing I needed to get my mind off the Patriots. There are all sorts of Celtics/Bird stories, nuggets in there, and it leaves you wanting more.

I heard five minutes of sports talk radio yesterday, and in it, I heard Dan Shaughnessy (On with Gresh and Zo – who have actually been tremendous the last few weeks) suggesting that Bob Kraft might try to strong-arm the league into giving him another “tomato can schedule,” (even though the schedule is done by formula and rotation with no input or say from owners) and happily talking about how the Patriots have now lost the most Super Bowls of any team in the NFL. (Tied with the Bills, Broncos and Vikings, actually.)

That was enough for me. As I said above, I think Gresh and Zo were very good in the last few weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, for the most part they stuck to football, stuck to on-the-field strategy and plays and kept out a lot of the nonsense that other shows want to glob onto at the first chance.

The other show that’s been pretty good the last few weeks was The Big Show. Holley and Ordway also put in solid shows, and I can’t even remember hearing Mike Adams much, if at all. Felger and Massarotti, after spending the entire season killing the team (while picking them to win each week) suddenly jumped on the bandwagon at the end of last week. In retrospect, that should’ve been my first clue that the Patriots were doomed.

Of course, the biggest fraud of the last week is Steve DeOssie, who led a Giants pep rally last week, acting like a high school cheerleader, taking shots at his New England media colleagues and the fans of the Patriots and saying how it he had a “hard time” sometimes living in New England – despite being born here, going to college here, playing two years for the Patriots and working here after his career, most of that on the back of the Patriots and their fans. He tried to explain himself (unapologetically) on the Big Show yesterday – DeOssie on Big Show: ‘I love New England’

But really, if he has such a hard time being here why doesn’t he just move to New York, be near his son, and the franchise he clearly loves and get a job analyzing that team? It’d be a win-win for everyone.

No one is asking him to be a cheerleader for the Patriots, but now everytime you hear him on the radio or see him on TV talking about the Patriots, you’re going to have the impression that it is all fraudulent, and just an act he puts on to appease the audience. You’re going to remember his talk about JPP and OSI and how hard it is for poor Steve to be around the area he grew up in. Even if there is no issue with what DeOssie said, it’s wasn’t the smartest business move for a guy who runs a restaurant and relies in other ways on Patriots fans support.

Then there is Eric Wilbur, who went from defending his absurd column on 98.5 to crying Uncle the next morning. If his goal was publicity, he succeeded in spectacular fashion, gaining TV and radio appearances and mentions in national columns. He’s never struck me as that sort, but sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do, I guess.

OK. Just a few links this morning:

Fateful pass a rare type for Welker – Greg A Bedard tries to figure out whether Welker should’ve caught that pass. He excuses him.

‘Bottom liners’ completely miss the point – Tom E Curran disagrees, saying Welker should’ve caught that ball, and says that the blustering “did you win or did you not” bottom-liners who don’t see sports as a game of nuance and context and believe the Patriots failed and blemished themselves Sunday miss the point. *Slow clap*

Pats in good shape for Bourbon St. trip – Karen Guregian says that things are looking pretty good for a trip to New Orleans next February. Ian R. Rapoport isn’t so optimistic.

Paul Pierce thankful to fans, worthy of passing Green royalty – Steve Bulpett has the Celtics Captain thankful to reach the milestone in front of the Garden faithful. Ben Rohrbach has last night’s opposing coach with some perspective on the achievement. Paul Silas played with John Havlicek, after all.

Faith in Celtics franchise key to Pierce’s success – A. Sherrod Blakely looks at the rarity that is Paul Pierce in today’s NBA.

Super Bowl XLVI Sets Boston Ratings Record

The end result wasn’t what Patriots fans were hoping for, but Super Bowl XLVI did give Boston one milestone, a ratings record. According to Nielsen, the local rating for the Big Game between the Patriots and Giants was a 56.7 with an 81 share. That means 56.7% of all Boston homes were watching the game and 81% of homes with a TV had the game on. Boston was the highest rated local market for the game.

This broke the previous high for Super Bowl XXXVI on Fox in 2002 which received a 56.1/78.

Nationally, the game received a 47.0/71 final rating making it the 12th highest rated TV program in history. however, with an average of 111.3 million, it becomes the most watched TV program ever.

New York received a 49.7 rating finishing 18th. Super Bowl host city Indianapolis finished 2nd behind Boston.