Despite only scoring nine points,

Despite only scoring nine points, the Rockets ‘ Yao Ming is the focus of almost all articles related to the game last night, a 101-95 OT loss for the Celtics. You’d think with both members of the Rockets dynamic backcourt going over 30 points, and overcoming a 15 point deficit with 7 minutes left would garner more attention that it really is. Steve Bulpett and Shira Springer’s game stories give Yao the lion’s share of attention. Only in passing is the Celtics inability to handle a zone defense mentioned…something we’ll likely see more of as the season goes on, simply because, even as Coach O’Brien has admitted in the past, they don’t spend a lot of time working on offense. Christopher Price has the game story for the Metro, as well as noting that the Rockets ran 35 plays for Yao, but weren’t able to get him the ball because of the Celtics defense. Carolyn Thornton notes the decidedly Asian feel to the Fleetcenter last night. Alan Greenberg moves over from covering the Patriots to take a look at the Yao phenomena. Mark Murphy looks at how Yao is handling the transition to the NBA. Jackie MacMullan wraps up her three part series on Yao and basketball in China with a look at the leagues and developmental system over there. Lenny Megliola looks at how right now Yao’s celebrity is bigger than his game…but probably not for too long. Dan Shaughnessy feels that while Yao was underwhelming on the court, his off court presence is immense. Michael Gee writes that while the Celtics played good defense on Yao, they forgot about Mobley and Francis. Peter May writes about how Vin Baker is likely to start racking up the DNP-CD’s for the rest of the season. Mark Murphy submits a similar article. Bulpett’s notebook looks at Mark Blount’s return to green. Springer’s notebook looks at the media crush on Yao Ming and how he’s gotten pretty used to it.

Bob Hohler takes a look at hot Red Sox prospect Hanley Ramirez, who isn’t any relation to Manny, but Manny has still taken an interest in the youngster. You get a nice glimpse into both players in this piece. Hanley looks to have a very bright future. Tony Massarotti looks at Theo Epstein’s 32 year old assistant GM Josh Byrnes, who is also a rising star in baseball cricles. Tony insists that he uses the term “brat pack” affectionately when referring to the young front office team. Jeff Horrigan garners teammate reaction to Manny’s vow of silence with the media. Earl Synder is the focus of articles by Steven Krasner and David Heuschkel. Two decidedly different articles there. Kranser paints the last year’s highlights….promotion to AAA and then to the big leagues with Cleveland, where he hits his first big league home run, then in the offseason he gets claimed by his favorite team, the Red Sox. Heuschkel looks at the downs of the past year for Synder, losing his mother and grandfather and losing his will to play winter ball and quitting in the middle of the season. Hohler’s notebook reports that Shea Hillenbrand is no longer a hot topic of trade discussions. Horrigan’s notebook looks at the musical Willie Banks.

Kevin Paul Dupont speculates that if Mike O’Connell fires Ftorek, he may insert himself as interim coach. Steve Conroy reports on former Bruin Bill Guerin, who has put his Boston experience behind him. He’s no longer bitter that the Bruins didn’t step up with an offer last summer. $45 Million has a tendency to assuage hurt feelings…

Michael Smith looks at Ted Johnson hoping to get a new contract done in the next few days. .

Jim Baker wasn’t amused by the late night bickering on Sports Final. John Molori reports on Red Sox programming for the upcoming season, rough contract negotiations for Pete Shepperd and WEEI. (His agent says Pete will gladly listen to any 1510 offers) He also talks about forgotten personality Kristen Mastroianni, who hasn’t been seen all that much since leaving NECN. Remember how the WEEI guys used to drool over her? She’s also spoken to 1510.

I didn’t get to hear

I didn’t get to hear it, but “tagboard reporters” provided updates on Shaughnessy’s appearance on Mike Barnicle’s WTKK show. Bob Lobel also appeared on the program. Dan feels he’s been misunderstood, and was talking all about the same stuff despite last night stating that he was disgusted because the show was just “us talking about us”. He said the sports media in Boston takes itself too seriously, make themselves part of the story (hello, Buckley) and claimed that he didn’t know that his tiff with Buckley would be the focus of Sports Final last night. Seems that Shaughnessy wanted to get the last word in after not being able to on Sports Final last night, because of his hasty departure. A poster described Barnicle’s questions to Lobel as “softballs”. Could that be because Barnicle is also a Sports Final/Red Sox this week panelist? Dale & Neumy also touched on the topic at the beginning of the show, for Neumy’s part on the show. Neumy stated that he is sworn to secrecy as to what happened off camera last night. On the Big Show, Glen Ordway claims that that show will have it’s best ratings ever. However, it wasn’t promoted as the WWE type production it turned into. But think about it…WBZ had the Grammys as a lead-in. Even though Sports Xtra usually beats Sports Final in the ratings, Sports Final might win last night, not based so much on the content, but just as much on the lead in. Ordway thinks last night’s events are good for the show. (Obviously its getting a lot of publicity.)They replayed many sound clips from the program. Pete Sheppard went off on Shaughnessy. Ordway says the writers need to suck it up and take their lumps. He defends Buckley by saying the guy just made a mistake in getting some wrong info on the Nomar error thing. They then went on to talk some Celtics. In an Andelman parody, Ordway decided a soul food night for Vince Carter’s arrival in town on Friday would be fun. Eddie did his much-hyped show from the Kowloon this afternoon. Not much to say about it. Bob Halloran was host of the McDonough Group, (Someone please keep track of the number of days Sean hosts his own show during the course of a month.) and was joined by Ryan Risillo and Kevin Paul Dupont. Their first topic was Sports Final as well. Halloran’s contention is that these guys are public figures and the public is interested in hearing what they have to say, especially when they say it about each other. Halloran feels the media can dish it out, but can’t take it themselves and targeted Buckley as one of those.

Mike Fine previews tonight’s Celtics/Rockets matchup. Fine also has his notebook, in which he reports on Antoine shedding his knee brace, and Mark Bryant likely never seeing the court. Bill Simmons reviews the Grammy Awards. John Tomase recalled the MLB debuts of a few Red Sox members, including Pedro Martinez. Chaz (Charles) Scoggins gives his thoughts on Pedro’s contract wishes, and night games on Saturdays. No mention of Nomar/Buckley though. Chad Finn recalls three unsung Boston athletes from the past. Mike Loftus says the Bruins won’t be getting any breaks in the schedule anytime soon.