No Tanking This Time

The Celtics welcomed the Atlantic Division leading Toronto Raptors into the Garden last night, and came away with a 95-87 win in which five Celtics reached double figures, led by Paul Pierce’s 23 and Al Jefferson’s 22.

Scott Souza notes that after the fiasco that was the Charlotte game last week, there will be no tanking talk on sports radio and television after last night’s game. Bill Doyle has the Celtics playing some uncharacteristic defense last night, putting the clamps on Chris Bosh and holding the Raptors to 40% shooting. Shira Springer has a game story/notebook combo and looks at the Raptors sustaining a loss in the standings and on the court after Jorge Garbajosa went down with an ugly injury. Mark Murphy has the Celtics making a bit of a statement with the win last night, which included a dunk by Rajon Rondo in the face of Bosh.

Mike Petraglia has Paul Pierce still going full tilt, and setting the example for his younger teammates. From yesterday, we’ve got a look at what life would be like for the Celtics with…or without Greg Oden or Kevin Durant on the FSN Nothing but Net blog. Steve Bulpett has Doc Rivers with eyes for only his son at this weekend’s Final Four.

Souza’s Notebook has Leon Powe getting a chance at a larger role down the stretch here of his rookie season. Doyle’s notebook has Doc Rivers planning on going to the Final Four to root on his son, and stay away from Greg Oden. Murphy’s Notebook has Pierce leading the way once more for the Celtics, and another veteran shutting it down for the season.

Red Sox

Michael Silverman has Daisuke Matsuzaka pitching five no-hit, no-run innings, but displeased with his control and refusing to speak with the media afterwards. Dan Shaughnessy has more on Matsuzaka’s struggles with delivery and his decision to not talk to the press afterwards, prompting even more discussion. Jeff Goldberg has more on the performance of Dice-K. Maureen Mullen also looks at the unbalanced performance from the Japanese ace. Tony Massarotti says there is still good to take from Matsuzaka’s performance, most notably the ability to change pitches and still get batters out when one or two pitches aren’t working.

Sean McAdam looks at a poor performance from Craig Hansen, who suffered through some severe wildness yesterday. Massarotti also has a look at the self-destructive performance yesterday by Craig Hansen, who was charged with five runs yesterday, bringing his spring ERA over 15.00. Joe Haggerty has a look at the next generation of Red Sox stars making their way to Fenway Park.

Silverman’s Notebook has Jonathan Papelbon adjusting his arm slot for his delivery, and the results looking very impressive yesterday. Shaughnessy’s notebook has more on Papelbon’s impressive relief inning.

David Scott weighs in on the internet brawl between Shaughnessy and Schilling.

Patriots/NFL

John Tomase has Bill Polian praising the Patriots offseason moves, showing that a Super Bowl title might be able to mellow anyone. Mike Reiss has the NFL owners approving a new revenue sharing system. Albert Breer has the Patriots scheduling Tennessee wide receiver Robert Meachem for a visit to Gillette Stadium next week.

Thomase’s Notebook has Drew Rosenhaus believing that Donte’ Stallworth will be with the Patriots for more than one season. Reiss’ notebook has a follow-up on the story first reported in the Herald yesterday about Laurence Maroney’s shoulder surgery. He says the running back is expected to be fully recovered and ready to go full speed for the 2007 season.

Bruins

Fluto Shinzawa has coach Dave Lewis working his team hard as the season approaches the final weeks. Steve Conroy has more on Lewis cracking the whip at practice after a series of lackluster blowout losses by his club down the stretch.

NCAA

Mark Blaudschun looks at plots thickening the NCAA tournament even as the field is thinned to the Final Four. Lenny Megliola has Florida Assistant A.D. Chip Howard – a Northborough native, enjoying the recent success of the Gators in the basketball realm. David Sandora has a quick look at the John Thompson III/Patrick Ewing Jr Georgetown revival.

Paul Kenyon has a look at Steve DeOssie and Fred Smerlas and their new steakhouse in Rhode Island.