The Celtics get off to

The Celtics get off to a 2-0 start on the west coast, but the coverage of the first day of spring training garners perhaps five times as much ink, so that’s where we’ll start. The Red Sox GM is featured in a couple of articles marking the beginning of his first season. Bob Hohler profiles Theo Epstein setting up camp in a cheap apartment down there, no luxury suite for this ownership group. Johnny Pesky, who as Hohler notes has seen every GM since 1942, has some particularly kind words for Epstein. Tony Massarotti looks at the odd couple duo of Epstein and Grady Little, wondering if they can overcome the lack of experience between them. Steve Buckley gets smart and figures out that Roger Clemens might just get his 300th win at Fenway. I read this somewhere else weeks ago. I’m thinking Buckley wasn’t clever enough to come up with all of this on his own. Jeff Horrigan looks at the happy-to-be-here Casey Fossum. Gordon Edes takes the first look at the crowded first base situation, but focuses in on Jeremy Giambi, likely because he’s the only one there right now. Steve Britt claims to be able to tell you all you need to know about the Sox heading into Spring Training. He considers seven areas of discussion. Tony Mazz also catches up with Alan Embree, who weighs in on the bullpen strategy and talks about his friendship with Randy Myers, who was part of a similar situation with the “Nasty Boys” in Cincinnati. Alex Speier looks at Dan Duquette’s first spring without heading to Florida in some time. We knew Pedro’s contract would be a hot topic, and these guys waste no time in making it an issue. Michael Gee says the Sox are taking a gamble in not extending Pedro, but ends by saying Martinez has no leverage. Pedro is also the lead in Hohler’s notebook, which also looks at some early arrivals. Horrigan’s notebook looks at Theo’s arrival and a minor league injury.

Dennis and Callahan were talking Celtics this morning, but predictably it was alot of Baker talk, and they wanted to know who was guarding Rasheed Wallace (30 points) a more relevant question might be who was guarding Paul Pierce and his sore groin, after getting loose with a 360 dunk in pregame warmups, Pierce went for 20 in the first quarter and helped the Celtics to a big early lead. He ended up with 36 on the night, and though the Celtics lost the lead, they roared back in the final minutes to steal the win. Steve Bulpett recounts the game and Jim O’Brien “went Tommy Heinsohn on the refs” and earned himself an ejection. Shira Springer also reports on the game. The west coast time difference and the need to file stories quickly causes the end results to suffer. Both aforementioned stories are rather brief and shy on details. Not really a criticism here, just a fact of tight deadlines. Bob Ryan laments the death of the American-born true center in the NBA today. He pines for the good ol’ days of Sam Lacey. Bulpett’s notebook looks at Tony Battie’s illness, and that Chris Wallace is reluctant to part with the two first round draft picks they have in any deal at the trading deadline. That’s good, because you know they’ve done such a sterling job with past draft picks…Springer’s notebook looks at Pierce overcoming his strained groin to have a big night.

The Red Sox aren’t the only Boston team enjoying the Florida weather. The Bruins are also down there, and Steve Conroy reports that yesterday, the inmates ran the asylum. The notebook in the Globe also looks at the coachless practice. Conroy’s notebook is an injury update.

Gerry Callahan applauds Annika Sorenstam for pushing herself and playing with the men on their turf. Jim Donaldson though, doesn’t see the point. He says its nothing more than a show. Jim McCabe says Sorenstam has no agenda. File under “Dog bites man”: George Kimball says that Bill Walsh was pulling all the strings in the 49ers coaching search. Michael Vega gives us some nice restrictor-plate talk, while looking at Robby Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jeff Jacobs looks at the upcoming wedding of SI writer Steve Rushin and WNBA star Rebecca Lobo.

After hearing the media crucify Manny Ramirez for the entire season last year, and then having all these same guys take it easy on Vin Baker, I decided to take at look at why. The result can be found in The Week That Was. Y’all pumped and jacked for the Daytona 500? I shouldn’t tease too much, as my Dad will be watching. The only sports he ever allowed to be on TV when he was in the house when I was growing up was auto racing. Bill Griffith has a peek at the coverage and has Bob Lobel filling the shoes of Will McDonough on a local show. Jim Baker leads with the Red Sox coverage that will being to saturate the airwaves starting tonight.

NESN has Bruins/Panthers at 7:30. ESPN has Magic/Sixers at 8:00 and Spurs/Lakers at 10:30.