Celtics Battle Warriors

The Celtics bounced back nicely last night after their dreadful loss in Chicago on Saturday night. At TD Banknorth Garden last evening the 14-10 Warriors were in town, and the Celtics rose to the occasion, especially in the fourth quarter, as the defeated Golden State 109-98. Shira Springer notes that an alley-oop from Paul Pierce to Ricky Davis with just under seven minutes left in the game really sparked the Celtics onto the win. Steve Bulpett credits the work on the offensive glass, which netted the Celtics 27 second chance points as a key to the game. Shalise Manza Young adds that the Celtics did everything that Coach Doc Rivers could’ve asked of them last night.

Steve Buckley (subscription only) has a look at big Al Jefferson, who while sometimes displaying the game of a man, is still just a 20 year old kid. Buckley notes Jefferson’s burning desire to be a great player. Peter May says that it all comes down to rebounding, which is about effort. So it would seem that on the nights that the Celtics put forth the effort, they’re successful. So why have they still not won two games in a row yet this season? Lenny Megliola says that the Celtics are in disarray, and the blame starts with the head coach. Bill Reynolds says that it is obvious that the Celtics (and Bruins) just don’t count in the way that they used to anymore. The point guards remain banged up for the Celtics. Buckley looks at Delonte West, who was still a little dizzy after his fall in Chicago on Saturday night. Bulpett reports on Dan Dickau undergoing achilles tendon surgery today.

Springer’s notebook reports that training camp invitee Will Bynum is having a terrific season in the NBDL.She also looks at the health of the Celtics point guards. Bulpett’s notebook has Paul Pierce urging patience, as he realizes it will take time for his young team to learn to play together. Young’s notebook has more on the point guard issues. You can get a look at the game reports from out west on the Bay Area Sports Page.

The Patriots are coming off their biggest win and best performance of the season, and are still looking to improve before hitting the playoffs. John Tomase says that for the final two games it is going to be business as usual, with no plans to rest starters extensively. Jerome Solomon says that this is just another week at the office for the Patriots, despite next Monday’s game having no real impact on the standings. However, even Bill Belichick has to smile at the improvement of the defense. Joe McDonald notes that the Patriots are hitting their stride, but they have not hit their peak just yet. Alan Greenberg writes that Bill Belichick may have finished his shopping already, but he’s still got plenty on his list when it comes to his team. Chris Kennedy has more from Bill Belichick, insisting that this will be a normal week of preparation. Howard Ulman of the AP also says that rest isn’t part of the plan this week.

Jonathan Comey says that it was hard to see this kind of turnaround happening, but it has happened…the Patriots are their old selves. The BSMW Game Day Rear View takes a look back at the Tampa game, and says that we’re in for another interesting January. Gerry Callahan (subscription only) writes about the pressure that will continue to be on Peyton Manning and the Colts, even though a perfect season is no longer on the line for them. He says that the Patriots performance on Saturday coupled with the Colts struggling in a game they were trying to win, has to breathe new hope into New England fans. This was a very good column from Callahan, who shows again that when he writes sports, he’s pretty darn good. Dave Goldberg says we could very well be headed for Pats/Colts III. Eric McHugh notes that while the Patriots may not be looking ahead to the playoffs, the fans and media certainly are. Karen Guregian looks at Tedy Bruschi, who appears to be finally all the way back to vintage Tedy after missing the first part of the season.

Solmon’s notebook looks at Patrick Pass winning the fan Pro Bowl balloting at fullback. Tomase’s notebook has Bill Belichick savoring the play of his team from Saturday. McDonald’s notebook has more on Bruschi’s improvement, which has come as no surprise to his teammates. McHugh’s notebook looks at some goals and milestones a few individual Patriots could reach in the final two games.

Follow the Jets this week as they prepare for the Patriots on the New York Sports Pages.

Kevin Paul Dupont looks at the USA Hockey team being announced, with no Bruins making the squad. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell and Stephen Harris look at coach Mike Sullivan choosing to give his players some more rest rather than cracking the whip on them.

Tony Massarotti says that Tony Graffanino accepting arbitration has sort of put the Red Sox in a bind, as they do not know exactly what they’ll do with him. He also reports that the deal with reliever Rudy Seanez is all but a formality now, and that he should officially be a member of the team this week. David Heuschkel doesn’t seem to think it is a done deal just yet, as he reports on the Braves making an offer as well. The Globe notebook reports that Wade Miller will not be back with the Red Sox next year, and looks at other items of business the team has going currently. I’m ignoring a column from He Who Must Not Be Read simply because it’s not worth my bandwidth to link to it.

The issue of whether Wendi Nix and her employer, channel 7 face a conflict of interest now that her husband Ben Cherington is a Co-GM of the Red Sox is a topic that has generated quite a bit of discussion as of late. John Molori’s Media Blitz explores this topic and talks to Nix about how she feels about the matter.

ESPN has the New Orleans Bowl, with Southern Miss/Arkansas St at 8:00. OLN has Avalanche/Predators at 8:00.