Celtics Take Control

In their first matchup since game 7 of the first round of last year’s playoffs, the Celtics defeated the Pacers, 85-71 at TD Banknorth Garden. Shira Springer reports on the game, as the Celtics pulled away from the Ron Artest-less Pacers in the fourth quarter. Still, according to Steve Bulpett, Coach Doc Rivers was not happy with the play of his team, as he feels they needed to play better against a flat Indiana team. Lenny Megliola writes that this game was almost entirely devoid of flow. Shalise Manza Young says it may have been an ugly win, but it was a win regardless.

Much focus was of course placed on a player who didn’t even play in the game last night, that being Ron Artest. Peter May and Mark Murphy look at the disgust that his Pacers teammates have for Artest right now, with Jermaine O’Neal being the most vocal in wishing the forward good riddance. Buddy Thomas thinks he knows how any Indiana/Boston trade talks involving Artest must’ve gone. Jackie MacMullan looks at Paul Pierce putting the nightmare of last year’s playoff series with the Pacers in the past. His immediate reaction after the series was to request a trade, but as time went on, he realized Boston was the place for him. In an article that will no doubt please the Get Buckets Brigade, the Globe has a piece by Mindy Pollack-Fusi this morning which looks at Ricky Davis, his home, and his family life, noting that the forward hopes to remain in Boston for some time to come. Murphy has a piece on Mark Blount, and how he was playing so well last night that Davis wanted to do whatever it took to keep him on the floor last night.

Bulpett’s notebook looks at Marcus Banks being held back from last night’s game, and has Stephen Jackson saying good things about Kendrick Perkins. Young’s notebook also looks at the delayed return for Banks. Springer’s notebook examines the friendship that Paul Pierce and Jermaine O’Neal developed over the summer out in Los Angeles. At the end of the notebook, she had a quote from Ron Artest saying that Pierce is the toughest player to guard in the NBA, tougher than McGrady, Kobe or LeBron.

Yesterday’s Patriots buzz centered around the health of QB Tom Brady. Listed as questionable on the injury report with shin and shoulder injuries, the two time Super Bowl MVP walked without a limp in the locker room and was on the field for the start of practice. Karen Guregian notes how ever, that he didn’t walk very far in the locker room, was dressed in street clothes for his Wednesday press conference. She also notes the Doug Flutie was nowhere to be found during the media locker room access. Alan Greenberg says Brady was in the trainer’s room prior to the press conference, which isn’t a long trip from his locker. Brady refused to give out any details on his injury at the behest of Bill Belichick, but Jerome Solomon notes, Jon Gruden opened his press conference yesterday giving out “some detailed information about the status of his injured players.” What was this “detailed information” you ask?

JG: Let me just go through the injury list for you. Anthony McFarland is probably going to be out of this game. He's doubtful at this time with a hamstring. Obviously that's a big loss to our team. Marquis Cooper, a backup linebacker, is questionable with a chest injury. We've got Matt Bryant - our kicker - probable with a hamstring, and Juran Bolden - a nickel corner - also probable with a lower leg bruise. I'll answer any questions I can.

That was from Gruden’s phone call with the New England media. He surely must’ve been more descriptive in talking to his home scribes, no?