Celtics, Bruins Both Win

We’re just about to wrap up the 2006 BSMW Fall Fund Drive. We’re looking to finish strong the last two days of the drive and get as close to the goal as we can. Once again, and I can’t say this enough, I appreciate all that has been given thus far.

Today’s Daily Prize is a copy of the 2007 Football Prospectus when it is released sometime next year. The winner of yesterday’s prize is Sean Wandrei.

We’re getting closer to the Grand Prize drawing for the Sling Media Slingbox, which allows you to watch your own TV from any Windows based device with an internet connection – from anywhere in the world.

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I apologize again for the difficulties with the Charlie Pierce chat yesterday, but we’re working to make it to you. Perhaps I’ll be able to take a number of the questions submitted, put them together and run them as a feature here.

Celtics Win

The Celtics put things together in the second half last night and cruised to a 114-88 win over the Indiana Pacers at TD Banknorth Garden last night. Paul Pierce led the way with 32 points, while Wally Szczerbiak added 20 for Boston.

Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers have been preaching patience and optimism around this team, and Shira Springer says that this victory, “particularly the third quarter, made Rivers and Ainge seem more like they know what they are talking about.” Steve Bulpett notes that because of what happened in Cleveland on Saturday night, the Celtics were very conscious of not letting their lead slip away down the stretch. Shalise Manza Young looks at the Celtics cruising on the basis of a very strong third quarter effort by the Green. Bill Doyle says this type of game is what Danny Ainge must’ve had in mind when he was putting together this Celtics team.

Peter May says that this win was a much-needed shot of confidence for the Celtics, and that “For one game, anyway, this was how Danny and Doc envisioned things.” Mark Murphy has Larry Bird having his own struggles with building his Pacers squad to meet expectations. Lenny Megliola says that the Pacers were the perfect opponent for the Celtics last night – they were a disinterested one. Mike Fine notes that the Celtics biggest problem thus far has been inconsistent play.

You can get the out-of-town view from the Indianapolis Star.

Bulpett’s notebook has Paul Pierce still believing that the Celtics can be a playoff team. Springer’s notebook has Al Jefferson hoping to come back quicker than expected from his appendix surgery. Young’s notebook has more on Jefferson. his weight loss and hopes for a fast return. Scott Souza’s notebook has Jefferson just feeling happy to be alive. Doyle’s notebook also focuses on Jefferson.

Bruins

The Bruins also won last night…on a shootout! The team has struggled in that format ever since the league introduced it, but last night Patrice Bergeron was able to net the winner, while Tim Thomas held the Capitals off, allowing the Bruins to escape Washington with a 3-2 win. Stephen Harris and Fluto Shinzawa have the game stories. Shinzawa’s notebook has coach Dave Lewis shuffling and changing lineups on the fly last night, including giving newly acquired Stanislav Chistov some ice time. Harris’ notebook has goaltenders coach Bob Essensa stating that many of Hannu Toivonen’s problems this year have been in his head.

Patriots

Vinny Testaverde is the focus of most articles this morning, a little strange for a player that the Patriots sincerely hope never plays a down for them. Mike Reiss has Testaverde saying that his love for football and desire for a championship led him to Foxboro. John Tomase says a Super Bowl is what Vinny is looking for, and he also recaps some of Testaverde’s history with Bill Belichick. Joe McDonald has more on the Patriots hoping Testaverde never sees the field. Alan Greenberg has Bill Belichick being very clear on what Vinny’s role is to be. Rich Garven and Michael Parente each write that Testaverde is here merely for insurance. Christopher Price has more on Testeverde joining the Pats. Chris Ryan asks “Why Vinny?”

Albert Breer says that the hard hits took their toll on Tom Brady last week. Karen Guregian says that watching Brady get pounded last week looked far too much like the Drew Bledsoe days. Reiss reports that Sunday’s game against the Jets in the rain turned the tide in terms of redoing the field surface this season. Guregian also looks at the Krafts waving the white flag when it comes to growing grass in Gillette. Eric McHugh offers up a report card from the Jets game. Jeff Howe has the Patriots prepping for Brett Favre.

Reiss’ notebook has Tom Brady and Bill Belichick speaking in glowing terms about Brett Favre, especially his durability. Tomase’s notebook has Favre saying he’s got no regrets about coming back this season. In McDonald’s notebook, he talks to Rocco Baldelli about what it is like to play on FieldTurf. Parente’s notebook has the FieldTurf crew working around the clock. Garven’s notebook has the Patriots players without a whole lot to say about the change in playing surfaces.

Red Sox Still Mad for Matsuzaka

Sean McAdam says that the Red Sox are now on the clock with Daisuke Matsuzaka’s contract and he lists out 10 questions and answers about the process. Michael Silverman has the Red Sox getting ready to start negotiations with Scott Boras on Matsuzaka’s contract, a deal that some believe could go as high as $16 million annually. Gordon Edes says that Hideo Nomo remains the standard that Japanese pitchers must be measured by. A good recap of the career of the onetime Red Sox pitcher.

Rob Bradford calls this process the “latest bizarre twist in Red Sox lore.”Tony Massarotti has Lou Merloni giving his observations on Matsuzaka during his one season playing in Japan. Steve Buckley tackles the really important stuff…is Matsuzaka tough enough to play in Boston and deal with the media crush?

Jim Fennell talks to NH native Greg LaRocca, who has played baseball for the last three seasons in Japan to get a scouting report on Matsuzaka. Silverman has more background on Matsuzaka’s life and career. Jesse Noyes reports that the Japanese media have already arrived in Boston. Donovan Slack says that Boston’s Asian community is already buzzing about Matsuzaka.

What I thought was going to a column by Dan Shaughnessy about Daisuke Matsuzaka, turned instead to be a rehash of the painful 2006 season and how Theo botched things up by looking to the future and Larry Lucchino was right all along that the Red Sox should be trying to win now. Shaughnessy says the pursuit of Matsuzaka means that Theo and Larry are on the same page now. Bill Reynolds looks at the new reality of baseball.

Nick Cafardo checks in from the GM meetings, where it appears that the money will be flowing to free agent players once again this offseason. He says that the Red Sox appear o be the “clear front-runners for shortstop Julio Lugo.” Despite concerns about Lugo’s defense, he says that some feel that Lugo has range similar to Alex Gonzalez, though “Gonzalez is smoother and less prone to miscues.” Silverman’s notebook has more updates from the GM meetings.

Bill Doyle looks at the Red Sox changing radio stations in Worcester. Silverman reports on ticket prices going up once again, but for “premium” seats only.

NESN has Bruins/Maple Leafs at 7:00. TNT has Bulls/Rockets at 8:15 and Kings/Warriors at 10:30.