Celtics Can’t Finish

The Celtics trailed by one point with about 24 second left in the game, they got a rebound and headed up the court. What happened in the remaining seconds of the game is just as unbelievable now as when it happened. They took some time off the clock and got the ball to Paul Pierce. He was swarmed at the foul line and could not do anything with the ball. The Celtics never got a shot off. Eventually the officials called a jump ball with 6/10ths of a second remaining, essentially ending the ballgame, and the Celtics saw their five game winning streak come to an end, 96-95 (live blog) at the hands of the Golden State Warriors.

Peter May says that the ending “defies logic” – an apt description for the final seconds of the contest. Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics are going to have a hard time explain this one to themselves. Bill Doyle looks at the Warriors bottling up Pierce in the closing seconds to preserve the win for themselves.

Mark Murphy has a look at Al Jefferson’s night, as the young big man recorded another double-double (13 points, 11 rebounds) but struggled mightily for much of the night, resulting in a couple of benchings by coach Doc Rivers. Frank Dell’Apa has Jefferson disappointed in his play, but vowing to bounce back and continue to get better. Mike Fine has the Celtics happy to get Ryan Gomes back in time for last night’s game.

Never a big Paul Pierce fan, Bill Reynolds says he is one now, noting that we’re seeing an all-time great Celtic in his prime right now. Buddy Thomas isn’t a fan of the NBA, period. Michael Muldoon says a deal for Allen Iverson makes sense for Denver, not so much for the Celtics.

Dell’Apa looks at Warriors coach and former Celtic Don Nelson as someone who really saw the possibilities for foreign players in the league, as early as the 1980’s and helped start the movement to bring them into the league when he signed Sarunas Marciulionis in 1990. You can check the stories from the West coast on the Bay Area Sports Pages.

Bulpett’s notebook has Pierce saying that adding Allen Iverson would’ve be nice for the Celtics, but he likes the direction the team is headed in anyway. May’s notebook has Pierce saying that Denver will be a great destination for Iverson. Doyle’s notebook has Brian Scalabrine out of last night’s game with the flu, but Ryan Gomes returning, and new hope that Wally Szczerbiak can return at some point during the upcoming road trip.

Patriots

Karen Guregian says that all signs are pointing towards a Rodney Harrison return to the field on Sunday. We hear a lot of talk about the two-minute offense, but Shalise Manza Young takes a look at the two-minute defense for the Patriots, an area where they have been very good this season. Christopher Price also looks at the two minute defense for the Patriots. Michael Parente has the Patriots preparing for another “rock fight” with the Jaguars. Eric McHugh revisits last year’s playoff game with the Jaguars and notes that whether or not Benjamin Watson plays this Sunday could be a big factor in the game. Chris Ryan notes that the Patriots backups have done a fine job stepping in this season.

Mike Reiss has the Patriots players looking past the Pro Bowl selections and setting their sights on bigger goals, starting with a playoff berth with a win on Sunday. Alan Greenberg has Tom Brady aiming for the Super Bow, not the Pro Bowl. Albert Breer has the Patriots dusting off the respect card as motivation. Ian Clark writes that the snubs were the theme of the day at Gillette yesterday. Jennifer Toland has Richard Seymour feeling blessed and humbled at his fifth Pro Bowl selection. Christopher Price has more from Seymour on the selection, as does Mark Farinella.

Dan Duggan looks at former Marshfield High star Ryan Gibbons, who is on the practice squad for the Jaguars. Get the Jaguars view on Jacksonville.com.

Guregian’s notebook looks at the punting competition in camp, as two practice squad kickers vie for the right to replace Ken Walter. Reiss’ notebook reports on Harrison being upgraded to questionable on the injury report. Young’s notebook has the Patriots moving past the Pro Bowl snubs. Toland’s notebook has more on Harrison’s chances of playing this Sunday. Parente’s notebook has more from Seymour on his Pro Bowl selection. Farinella’s notebook has Asante Samuel stiffed and miffed at his Pro Bowl snub.

Red Sox

Bill Doyle’s Tuning In has new Red Sox radio guy Dave O’Brien speaking about his new role with the team he grew up watching.

Jeff Horrigan has the Red Sox still optimistic that the J.D. Drew deal will be worked out. Jon Couture says that the constant roster shuffling is just part of baseball today.

Bruins/Misc

Stephen Harris has Bruins coach Dave Lewis and several players speaking about the difference between Eastern and Western hockey. Fluto Shinzawa looks at the Bruins developing two scoring lines. Harris’ notebook has P.J. Axelsson taking a step forward.

Michael Vega and Rich Thompson report on Jeff Jagodzinski officially taking over as Boston College head football coach. Lenny Megliola has the new coach hoping for a long run at BC.

Steve Buckley has Jagodzinski enthusiastic about his new job and promising to make things “electric” on Saturdays. Jackie MacMullan has the new coach fired up to get here.

NESN has Bruins/Canucks at 7:00. NFLN has Packers/Vikings at 8:00. ESPN2 has Gonzaga/Duke at 9:00.

12.20.06 Afternoon

I’ll be attempting another Celtics live blog tonight over at the FSN Celtics Central website.

WBZ-TV is going to be the only place you can watch start-to-finish live coverage of the 2007 Boston Marathon. WBZ-TV President and GM Ed Piette says “’BZ has a long and distinguished tradition of carrying this event in its entirety. When WCVB pulled out of the race, changing the dynamics of the coverage model, we very much wanted to figure out a way that WBZ could still bring the Marathon to viewers.”

WCVB pulled out of coverage due to production costs, (Something that was traditionally split among the stations) so WBZ worked with the BAA to come up with a coverage plan that would allow them cover the entire marathon, making them the only station with wire to wire coverage. This will mark their 27th year of providing full coverage. The 2007 Marathon will begin with the first wave of runners at 10:00 AM on Monday, April 16th.

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Rocky expert Bill Simmons has his review of the new Rocky Balboa movie. He’s not too high on it.

This week’s edition of The Media Circus looks at the disturbing reality that NBC actually did air the Michael Bolton Tribute on Ice this past weekend. They also recap “Crap that actually came from somebody’s mouth” from the weekend and have a couple of other items as well.

Via Deadspin, here is a post on UmpBump.com that has a little bit about Tomoyo Matsuzaka, wife of Daisuke.

Jim Williams looks at NASCAR and DirecTV taking race viewing to a whole new level in 2007.

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Boston Radio Watch on Entercom’s plans for Red Sox baseball and specifically WEEI:

WEEI will still retain a large presence with about 30-40 game package of Wednesday games and weekday afternoon broadcasts as well as Jimmy Fund Radiothon(Aug.17) game. WEEI will still have all the Sox access programming with team’s players and management. The reason for WEEI airing its Game of The Week on Wednesdays as opposed on any another day? Wednesday happens to be the last day in Arbitron’s weekly ratings survey which runs Thursday thru Wednesday. It’s all about recalling what you heard during the week before mailing back your diary on Thursday morning. And previous night’s game on WEEI may stick out better in people’s minds, especially if Dice-K threw a gem….

That crafty Jason Wolfe…

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Monday Night Football on ESPN is averaging a 10.0 rating and 9,224,000 homes (12,402,000 P2+) for 16 games in 15 weeks. These represent increases of 41%, 43% and 42%, respectively, compared to the first 15 weeks of last year’s ESPN Sunday Night Football (7.1 rating, 6.444 million homes, 8.733 million viewers).

Meanwhile, FOX continues to garner big numbers for their NFL games, as season-to-date, FOX Sports’ National Game is averaging a 14.2/27 in Households, standing as not only the highest-rated NFL window on television, but also the highest-rated program of any kind, in any daypart. Through eight Doubleheader Sundays, FOX’s National Game even out-rates the No. 1 show in prime time, Grey’s Anatomy, by + 2% (vs. 13.9). The National Game on FOX is also up +10% over last year’s 8-game average (12.9/24) and holds sizable advantages over the season averages of both CBS’s National Game (+11% vs. 12.8), and NBC’s Sunday Night Football (+27%, vs. 11.2).

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The frosty relations between the New England Patriots and the Boston Herald continued today as Richard Seymour dismissed a Michael Felger attempt at a question without even letting Felger get more than a few words out before asking for the next question.

The hostility likely stems from the back page of this morning’s Herald which proclaims that Ty Warren was a “more deserving” candidate for the Pro Bowl than Seymour:

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While Felger didn’t write the headline on the back page of the paper, his own article on the Pro Bowl selections made it clear that agreed with the spirit of the headline. Writing about the history of headscratching Pro Bowl selections, Felger writes:

The latest miss occurred yesterday, when Patriots defensive end Richard Seymour was selected to his fifth Pro Bowl in just his sixth year in the league.

Then a sentence or two later, Felger chimes in:

But the truth is that, for a variety of reasons, Seymour hasn’t even been the best defensive lineman on his own team this season. And again, we stress the this season part of the equation.

Now, what Felger writes may not be that much out of line. Ty Warren, by all accounts is having the best season of his life, and deserved to go to the Pro Bowl this season. I don’t think Seymour would disagree with that notion either. What likely bothers Seymour is the implication that he doesn’t deserve to go, or that the paper seems to feel the need to knock him down to lift Warren up.

However, this is just the latest in a series of little incidents between the Herald and the Patriots. There seems to be at least a couple of reasons for the tension, and Dale & Holley on WEEI today discussed this a little bit. There is of course the endless, over-the-top gossip column coverage, mostly of the head coach, but there has also been a more negative, aggressive, “edgy” approach being taken by the writers covering the team. This approach has resulted in confrontations with Corey Dillon and now Seymour, and as claimed by Dale & Holley, in Belichick seemingly becoming even more tight-lipped with the Herald reporters.

It used to be the Globe with Ron Borges and Nick Cafardo that was the bane of the Patriots existence. Now with Mike Reiss on the beat, and Borges contributing maybe one or two columns a week on the team, the roles seem to have been clearly reversed between the two papers.

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Here is the top 15 from Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal 50 Most Influential People of 2006

  1. George Bodenheimer; President, ESPN/ABC Sports
  2. David Stern; Commissioner, NBA
  3. Bud Selig; Commissioner, MLB
  4. Dick Ebersol; Chairman, NBC Universal Sports and Olympics
  5. Roger Goodell; Commissioner, NFL
  6. David Hill; President, DirecTV Entertainment Group / Chairman, Fox Sports
  7. Tony Ponturo; VP of Global Media & Sports Marketing, Anheuser-Busch
  8. Brian France; President, NASCAR
  9. Phil Knight; Chairman, Nike
  10. Sean McManus; President, CBS Sports & CBS News
  11. Gary Bettman; Commissioner, NHL
  12. Tim Finchem; Commissioner, PGA Tour
  13. Gene Upshaw; Executive director, NFL Players Association
  14. Robert Kraft; Chairman and owner, New England Patriots
  15. Steve Bornstein; Exec VP of media, NFL / President and CEO, NFL Network

Robert Kraft was #12 last year.

More Hits For Pats

Mike Reiss has a look at the Jaguars, who notes that they have played some of their best football against top teams and their worst football against lower teams. Michael Parente has a look at the Jaguars, noting that they are practically unbeatable at home. Eric McHugh says that based on the two teams most recent game, these are clubs heading in opposite directions.

Michael Felger’s Patriots Insider has a look at why Vinny Testaverde is here and what role he has with the Patriots and the quarterbacks specifically.

Shalise Manza Young reports on Richard Seymour being the only Patriot selected to the Pro Bowl. Albert Breer has a look at the Patriots who were snubbed in the voting. Felger says that Ty Warren, not Seymour, should’ve been selected to the Pro Bowl yesterday. Alan Greenberg reports on punter Ken Walter being placed on Injured Reserve yesterday with a foot injury. Reiss also reports on Walter going to IR, ending his season.

Check coverage of the Jaguars on Jacksonville.com.

Reiss’ notebook has more on the Pro Bowl voting. Felger’s notebook has Ted Johnson saying he would’ve come back this year if asked, but no one called. Young’s notebook has more on Walter being placed on IR.

Bruins

It was Zdeno Chara’s homecoming to Ottawa last night, and the big defenseman’s new teammates responded with a 7-2 win over the Senators. Marco Sturm had a hat trick and Patrice Bergeron tallied five assists for the Bruins. Steve Conroy and Fluto Shinzawa have coverage of the rout. Dan Hickling also has a game story for the ProJo.

Conroy’s notebook has Wayne Primeau taking offense to a high hit from Ottawa’s Brian McGrattan. Shinzawa’s notebook looks at the Bruins shutting out the Senators on the power play. Hickling’s notebook looks at the reception for Chara last night.

Celtics

Jackie MacMullan talks to Red Auerbach’s doctor and friend, Murray Lieberman about his relationship and memories of the Celtics legend, and how much he misses his friend.

Mark Murphy looks at the Celtics playing through pain and learning to win at the same time. Mike on the BSMW Full Court Press has a look a the five key figures during the recent winning streak.

Peter May looks at Allen Iverson’s trade to the Nuggets, where he will (eventually) team with Carmelo Anthony. Murphy has Danny Ainge’s reaction to the trade, who says it was a longshot at best that the Sixers would’ve traded him here.

Murphy’s notebook has Paul Pierce and Daniel Graham matching up at practice yesterday in a variety of contests. May’s notebook looks at the keys to Al Jefferson’s improved play, which includes just being healthy.

Red Sox/Misc

Gordon Edes looks at one of the biggest challenges that Daisuke Matsuzaka will face here in America, the increased schedule and pitching in a five-man rotation. Jeff Horrigan has an update on the J.D. Drew contract snag. Joe Haggerty looks at what Wily Mo Pena’s role might be with the Sox next year.

Michael Vega and Lenny Megliola look at new BC coach Jeff Jagodzinski drawing a favorable response among those with ties to the program. Megliola and Rich Thompson garner some fan and alumni reaction to the move.

Mark Farinella offers a peek at his holiday gift list.

FSN has Celtics/Warrior at 7:30. ESPN has Cavs/Nets at 8:00 and Mavs/Sonics at 10:30.