Setting the stage, Mark Murphy

Setting the stage, Mark Murphy notes the hard feelings between the Sixers and the Celtics. The rivalry appears to be back. Jackie MacMullan has a piece on Larry Brown, who waxes on the topic of the Celtics, the old days, the new players, and why Allen Iverson will not play for the Olympic team. Steve Bulpett reports on the big Celtics win last night. The Sixers and their fans were looking for revenge in this game, and despite a low scoring night from Paul Pierce, the Celtics were able to handle them with relative ease. Shira Springer also leads off by the saying the Sixers took last spring’s gave 5 blowout personal. Carolyn Thornton writes that the key to the win was being able to “contain” (25 points on 24 shots, 1 assist) Allen Iverson. Lenny Megliola acknowledges the big contributions from the supporting players. MacMullan also observes that Vin Baker starting to get comfortable. Iverson is impressed with the Celtics play and reserves, as recorded by Gus Martins. Hopefully Kedrick Brown will keep his promise and get his ankles taped before every game. Yes, it’s a pain, and if you’re not used to it, it can take some adjustment, but it’s necessary. Martins has a look at the quiet second year swingman. Springer’s notebook also records Brown’s vow to tape. Megliola has a notebook that focuses on Baker. Bulpett takes a few notes on Shammond Williams, the Celtics sale and Hubie Brown.

Nick Cafardo looks at Tom Brady gearing up for the abuse from the Raiders fans. Tom Curran has a look at the Raiders, Charles Woodson’s guarantee, and the pressure on Oakland to win now. Alan Greenberg also writes about the Raiders and how their reluctance to let things go. Michael Felger gets some tales of the pleasure of playing before the Oakland faithful. Mike Reiss compiles a bunch of information about the NFL officials. Michael O’Connor says that Antowain Smith looks to again be a big factor in a stretch run. Jim Donaldson writes about NFL parity. Michael Gee writes that most rematches turn out to be anticlimactic. Into the notebooks of the esteemed scribes…Cafardo has Ty Law keeping quiet and encouraging a fellow Michigan alum to do the same. Reiss’ notebook looks at some similarities between the teams. Curran’s notebook looks at the Raiders edge in experience. Felger’s notebook has more on the officials and Joe Andruzzi.

Bob Hohler introduces a darkhorse GM candidate for the Red Sox. 29 year old A’s assistant GM Paul DePodesta. Tony Massarotti fuels the Theo Epstein rumors.

NESN has Bruins/Islanders at 7:00. TNT has Spurs/Sixers at 7:30 and Magic/Clippers at 10:00. ESPN has Louisville/Southern Miss college football at 7:30. ESPN2 has a college hoops doubleheader with Syracuse/Memphis at 7:00 and Oklahoma/Alabama at 9:00. FSNE has NE Tailgate at 7:00. HBO has Inside the NFL at 8:00.