Pats/Colts Headline Busy Weekend

There’s another huge prime time football game on the schedule for the Patriots this weekend, and the BSMW Patriots Game Day Roundtable has assembled once again to give their thoughts on the game, what we might expect, our biggest misses thus far, and of course bouquets to our media heroes.

I’ve made some changes to the Patriots News Mashup page, trying to make it a little more like some of the other dashboard style sites that a lot of technology page use. When you mouse over a headline, you get a little snippet of the article. I also created one as a Celtics News Mashup.

For your other Celtics links, head on over to the FSN Nothing But Net blog, where I’ve put together the links from today’s coverage.

David Scott checks in with his weekly installment of Scott’s Shots. This week’s topics include another look at the Borges article in Boston Magazine, comments on the Red Auerbach tributes on opening night, a MySpace page to support Jon Lester, and ESPN ombudsman George Solomon.

Check back later for a weekend preview and national media columns.

Celtics Stung in Opener

The season opener didn’t work out quite according to script for the Celtics, as they dropped the first game of the year, 91-87 to the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets. The Celtics trailed throughout this one, and though they made a pair of runs in the second half to close the gap, they just couldn’t get over the hump. Paul Pierce had 29 point and 19 rebounds for the Celtics, but also missed eight free throws, which had the crowd frustrated. Wally Szczerbiak had 21 points, but was 5-14 from the floor. Al Jefferson chipped in with 13 points.

Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics reverted to old ways in the opener, such as relying too much on Pierce to bail them out and carry them to the win. Shira Springer notes that despite renewed optimism to start the season, the Celtics came out sluggish and out of sync in the first quarter, causing them to fall behind right out of the gate. Scott Souza observes that not even the Truth could save the Celtics on opening night. Robert Lee has more on the Celtics starting the season out on the wrong note. Paul Doyle looks at the Celtics coming up short in the end. Bill Doyle says that Pierce is becoming the new Shaq with his struggles at the free throw line. Tim Weisberg has the Celtics paying tribute to Red with everything but a win last night.

Bob Ryan says that this team is going need time to develop and patience from the fans, even if that quality has already run out in a lot of Celtics fans. Mark Murphy also notes that the young Celtics still found themselves relying on Pierce way too much instead of stepping up and asserting themselves in the end of the game. Lenny Megliola says that too much of last night’s game looked like last years games. Tony Massarotti says that it is time for the kids to stand up and be counted down the stretch run of ball games.

Bob Duffy has Theo Ratliff trying to work his way through a sore back and get back on the court where he can help the Celtics. The big man will miss at least five games as he gets ready for action. Souza has Rajon Rondo looking like a rookie for much of his NBA debut. Duffy has Paul Pierce reflecting after an emotional night at the Garden. Mike Fine says that this Celtics team has a lot of talent, but is still going to find themselves overmatched on many nights. Jim Fenton says that the Celtics are out to prove themselves this season.

The BSMW Full Court Press weighs in with a roundtable look at the NBA on opening week.

Peter May looks at the Celtics tributes to Red Auerbach before and during the game last night. Steve Buckley has a look at the ceremonies at City Hall Plaza in the afternoon and gets reaction from fans on Red’s life and impact in Boston. Bill Reynolds says that Red didn’t need to see what the league has become in recent years, now especially since the Celtics dancing girls will debut Friday night. Paul Doyle looks at Celtics legends from all eras coming out to honor Red. Matt Tice also has a look at the afternoon festivities. Souza has more on the day long tributes, which would’ve ended much nicer had the Celtics gotten the win last night. Bill Doyle also looks at the tributes, and how Bob Cousy honored his former coach and is now the senior member of the Celtics family.

Bulpett’s notebook says that Doc Rivers’ attempt to be mysterious with his starting lineup didn’t provide the results he was looking for. Springer’s notebook has NBA commissioner David Stern predicting a new golden age for the league coming up. Lee’s notebook has more on the tributes to Auerbach.

Patriots/Colts

Christopher L Gasper and John Tomase have Adam Vinatieri talking about his return to Foxboro to face his old team. Much has been made and will be made about the kickers comments about not getting a phone call from his former coach and owner in New England. Joe McDonald says that because of Vinatieri and many other reasons, this is not just another NFL game on Sunday night. Mike Lowe says that for the first time ever, Patriots fans might not be looking forward to seeing Vinatieri trot out onto the field in the fourth quarter. Rich Garven looks at the perceived bad blood between Vinatieri and the Patriots. Tom King has Vinatieri getting antsy to get back out on the Gillette field. Michael Parente says that AV won’t need any advice on how to kick in Gillette. Alan Greenberg has Bill Belichick with not a whole lot to say about the Indy kicker. Chris Kennedy also looks at the return of Mr. Clutch to Foxboro. David Brown says Vinatieri doesn’t quite know how he will be received on Sunday night by the fans. Mark Farinella and Jeff Howe have more from the Patriots all time leading scorer.

Michael Felger‘s Patriots Insider this week looks at how the Patriots are in much better shape to take on the Colts this season. Last year they were devastated by injury and trying to find their way back together. They lacked the personnel to matchup with the Colts on the field. This season could be a different matter. Albert Breer says that the loss last season to the Colts took some of the mental edge away that the Patriots held over Indianapolis. Mike Reiss looks at the mutual admiration society that is Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Eric McHugh says that these Colts/Patriots matchups boil down to the quarterbacks.

Farinella asserts that the relationship between the Boston media and Bill Belichick has hit an all time low this week.

Ian Clark examines the Patriots defense, which has flown under the radar for much of the season and has quietly once again become one of the top units in the game.

Get the coverage from Indy in the pages of the Indianapolis Star. The Star’s Colts Message board is also a fun destination. Colts fan Buddy Thomas says his team is a fraud.

Tomase’s notebook looks at the gamesmanship between the Colts and Patriots even extending to the injury reports. Reiss’ notebook says that the Colts now hold the edge in late game kicking. McDonald’s notebook has Vinatieri comparing the Colts and Patriots. Gasper’s notebook has the Colts dismissing the Gillette field as an issue. Parente’s notebook has Billy Yates fitting right in on the Patriots offensive line.

Bruins/Red Sox

Mike at the BSMW Power Play looks at a system of “sabremetrics that he’s developed for hockey.

Stephen Harris looks at the Bruins taking another shot at the high scoring Buffalo Sabres tonight. Douglas Flynn says that the B’s are willing to admit a healthy respect for the Sabres…up to a point. Bud Barth says the Sabres will provide a measuring stick as to how much the Bruins have improved in the last 12 days. Fluto Shinzawa has Andrew Alberts returning to the ice tonight for Boston.

The Globe has a look at some of the top free agent pitchers. Yes, they include Roger Clemens on the list. Mike Fine has the Red Sox hitting the offseason in full stride.

NESN has Bruins/Sabres at 7:00. ESPN has West Virgina/Louisville at 7:30. TNT has Spurs/Mavs at 8:00 and Nuggets/Clippers at 10:30.

C’s Ready to Honor Red, Tip Off Season

The Celtics are set to tip off the 2006-2007 season tonight at TD Banknorth Garden, in a night sure to be filled with emotion as the late Red Auerbach is honored.

Mark Murphy talks to Danny Ainge about the rebuilding of the Celtics, and where he thinks the process is at right now as a new season is set to begin. Shira Springer looks at third year players that need to make a giant leap forward for the Celtics to improve this season. Tim Weisberg notes that the Celtics need to make their youth a positive this season. Kevin McNamara also looks at the Celtics hoping their young players can make big strides forward this season.

Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics are going to aim to be better fourth quarter finishers this season, and that will dictate how much better of a team they are. Michael Muldoon leads off his NBA preview with a chat with an Andover native who worked for Auerbach in the 1980′s. Scott Souza has a look at second year man Gerald Green, who still has high expectations surrounding him, but has a ways to go in his steady development before be becomes a regular contributor. Weisberg examines whether Sebastian Telfair is ready to make the leap in his third NBA season and be a real leader at the point for the Celtics.

The Herald offers thumbnails of the Celtics Roster. The Globe makes their Staff Picks of the Celtics season, with the range being from 43 wins (Bob Ryan) to 32 wins (Peter May).

Jackie MacMullan has a look at Miami’s Dwyane Wade in the Globe’s NBA Preview section. Peter May reports on LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, each who made a giant leap forward in their third season…something the Celtics are hoping their third year players can do.

Murphy’s notebook has Doc Rivers keeping his opening night starting lineup shrouded in mystery. May’s notebook has a look at the Celtics opponent tonight, the New Orleans – Oklahoma City Hornets.

Bob Ryan reports and reflects on those saying farewell to Red Auerbach at his burial yesterday. Bulpett has an Appreciation for Red Auerbach, where he notes that the long time C’s boss lived life on his own terms. Steve Buckley has a couple more former Celtics showing up to honor Red. Victor Matheson looks at money changed Red’s NBA.

Michael Felger has his Patriots report card, which is all “A’s” with the exception of two “B’s” – one to the offensive line and one to special teams. Ian Clark sneaks a “C” into his report card when he grades the special teams. Rich Garven looks at the Patriots starting to garner some respect around the league as one of the elite teams this year. Michael Parente looks at the Patriots game plan working to perfection against the Vikings.

Ron Borges says that this Sunday’s game with the Colts is about home field advantage for these two teams – a midterm exam if there ever were one in football. Albert Breer says that with all that is riding on this game, Sunday night might be the most important regular season game in the league this year. John Tomase has a look at the Patriots turning their attention to the Colts. Chris Kennedy says that the Patriots and Colts will both coming into the game with QB’s coming off monster games. Mike Reiss examines how far the Patriots have come since the beginning of the season, engaging in a little then-and-now.

Reiss also analyzes the Patriots defensive plan for the Vikings, and what is likely to change this week against the Colts. Shalise Manza Young says that the Patriots surprised even themselves on Monday night. Alan Greenberg looks at how Tom Brady picked apart the Vikings with the help of his receivers. Hector Longo says that the Patriots defense ranks right up there with the Bears, Broncos and Ravens at the top of the league. Tom King says the Patriots won’t be able to sneak up on anyone for the rest of the season. Mark Farinella says hey…this Brady guy is pretty good. He’s also ready to officially board the Patriots bandwagon.

Jon Couture says that these Bill Belichick’s Patriots are the closest we’ll ever see to Red Auerbach’s dynastic Celtics.

On the Patriots Game Day page, Bill Barnwell has Part II of his look at pass-catching running backs.

Breer has a quick look at Richard Seymour talking to middle school students about the importance of eating well.

Tomase’s notebook has a look at the Patriots receivers coming alive in the win over the Vikings. Interesting that both Tomase and Felger (in his report card) ask the very same question…what does Bill Belichick have against Brad Childress…in questioning some of the fourth quarter decisions by the Patriots coach. I’m not saying they’re trying to stir stuff up…they’d never do that. Reiss’ notebook has a look at the friendly rivalry the has developed between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

Ron Borges is the subject of a Boston Magazine feature this month written by John Gonzalez. In the article, Borges embraces the wrath that is aimed towards him, and Gonzalez approves, noting that sports would be much less interesting without the likes of Borges. There are some mind-numbing quotes in the feature, and while Gonzalez clearly admires Borges, the Globe football writer doesn’t come across as a sympathetic hero. Globe sports editor Joe Sullivan, known for making hyperbolic statements about his writers, proclaims that “No one in Boston knows more about the NFL than Ron Borges,” – a statement that is clearly the work of a supportive boss. Gonzalez fawns over Borges’ simple explanation of why incompletions are not always the fault of the quarterback…were they talking about Drew Bledsoe at the time, by any chance? Borges is quoted in the article: “You know, my dad used to have a saying,” he says. “Empty tin cans always make the most noise.” – I wonder if Ron realizes his dad was talking about him…

Steven Krasner has a look at the Red Sox needs in the offseason, and how Theo Epstein is likely already working the phones to improve his club. Gordon Edes has Baseball America ranking the Red Sox 2006 draft as the best in Major League Baseball. Kevin Gray has NH’s Chris Carpenter pinching himself that he is a World Series Champion.

FSN has Celtics/Hornets at 7:30. ESPN has Wizards/Cavs at 8:00 and Clippers/Suns at 10:30.