The Celtics look to close

The Celtics look to close out the Pacers tonight in Indiana. Jackie MacMullan reports on the assistant coaches getting contract extensions, but there’s much more to this article. She writes about the learning process of the new ownership, the mistakes they’ve made and there were a couple items of interest to me in there. She notes that Steven Pagliuca loves Kedrick Brown and isn’t a big fan of the three point offense, they held a meeting with O’Brien during the team’s six game losing streak, and questioned some of his handling of the team. O’Brien is also quoted as follows:

When I met with them for the first time, I told them we were headed for a potential disaster. We had Vin Baker, who I suspected would struggle with us. We had Tony Battie, who doesn't have the strongest set of legs, and we had a previous owner who would not sign another player.

Good for O’Brien, and nice subtle slap at Chris Wallace as well. Bob Ryan examines five points about this series. A few interesting items in here. He seems to have insight into a return to Boston by Erick Strickland this summer, when discussing the coaching matchup, Ryan says: “All they need do is ask Strickland about the coaching difference, since he used to play here and probably will do so again.” Ryan also loves Ron Artest’s game, and says if the Celtics had Jermaine O’Neal, we “we’d all be talking junk while packing for the Finals.” If Pitino could’ve pulled off that trade for three # 1′s for O’Neal, he’d likely still be here. Steve Bulpett looks at the Pacers as a team of fine crystal…they make a lot of noise when broken. Gerry Callahan has a pay column on Pierce and the Celtics. He says you can count on the Pacers making a miraculous comeback and win the series. Why? Drew Rosenhaus told him so. The rest of his column is similar to Bulpett, in comparing the toughness of the Celtics and the ability of their role players to accept their parts on the team to the selfishness and brashness of the young Pacers. Mark Murphy writes about the Pacers bravely backing Isiah. Peter May looks at free-agent-to-be O’Neal, who will get a maximum contract this summer from someone, likely either Indiana or perhaps San Antonio. Bob Schron looks at what could be some of the keys to finishing off the Pacers. Carolyn Thornton notes that while the game is in Indiana tonight, the ball is clearly in the Celtics court. Jon Wallach notes that the only person in town who might not be happy with the play of the Celtics is Jim O’Brien. Shira Springer look at the Celtics determine to close out the Pacers tonight, and to do so with defense. Hank Lowenkron reports on what the Pacers plan to do to counter the Celtics. Out in Indiana, Bob Kravitz looks at Donnie Walsh’s carefully chosen words regarding Isiah’s future. Sekou Smith of the Indy Star also notes that the Celtics called off practice because of their starters having played so many minutes. Bulpett also reports on the C’s assistants getting their new contracts. Murphy’s notebook looks at the Pacers having to try to emulate the Celtics in some areas. Thornton’s notebook is a commercial for Walter McCarty’s debut CD, to be released within the next couple days, there’s even information on how you can order it. Hurry! Supplies are limited…

Bill Reynolds says this media hostility with the Red Sox is the same old story that has been going on for decades. I’m not sure I agree with this paragraph, but it’s the crux of the article:

It's even more than the fact the media is the conduit to the fans, so when players stiff the media they are, in a very real sense, stiffing the people who care the most about them. Or that all professional sports feed off the endless barrage of free advertising they receive from a rapacious sports media. It's also even more than the fact this all seems so childish, the players thinking they are somehow hurting the media by not speaking, like 12-year-olds taking their ball and going home. Even more so when you consider that Manny, Pedro, and Nomar are the three biggest fan favorites in Fenway Park, all but lionized and adored, with nary a negative thing ever said about them.

Ah, the old “if you don’t speak to the media you’re stiffing the fans” argument. I agree that the media is the conduit of information about the team to the fans, but they don’t speak for or represent the fan. I don’t particularly care if the players aren’t speaking to the media. As long as the reporters give me the news about team, and how that news affects the team, that’s what I’m looking for. Reynolds goes on to say even if the players would just speak in clich