Celtics Survive Old Friends

The Celtics made it two in a row on the West coast as they slipped by the SuperSonics in Seattle last night, scoring a 104-96 win despite the best efforts of former friends Delonte West (19 points, 8 assists) and Wally Szczerbiak (14 points). Paul Pierce had 37 for Boston, and Kevin Garnett added 23 with 14 rebounds.

Marc J. Spears reports on Ray Allen’s somewhat lackluster (10 points) return to Seattle to face his former team. Mark Murphy has players from both sides out for blood last night.

Spears has a look at Seattle GM Sam Presti, who grew up a big Celtics, Red Sox and Bruins fan here in New England. Murphy has Doc Rivers learning something about Kevin Garnett in Wednesday night’s win over the Kings.

As part of the Herald’s sports year in review, Murphy has a look at Danny Ainge getting the Celtics back to good old days and also has Five Key Celtics Moments In 2007.

Spears’ notebook has West with no hard feelings towards the Celtics for trading him. Murphy’s notebook has more from West on the trade from Boston to Seattle.

Patriots

Over on Patriots Daily, Christopher Price checks in with a special Friday edition of Inside Gillette, looking at the the blocking challenge the Patriots running backs will face tomorrow night.

With the Patriots playing Saturday night rather than Sunday this week, be sure to check Patriots Daily tomorrow morning for the full assortment of game-day links and commentary.

Michael Felger says that the Patriots beat up on a weakened NFL this season, one that suffers from a lack of quality coaches and quarterbacks. He also feels that the Belichick SI cover is in poor taste and inappropriate. Christopher L. Gasper has the Patriots praising their coach and his leadership. Bob Ryan has the coach relaxed and unflappable heading into a potentially historic regular season finale. Jeff Jacobs has more on the coach that much of the nation has already stereotyped.

Karen Guregian has the Patriots defense evolving into one that can be counted on. Shalise Manza Young says that the Giants could end up resting their starters quite a bit tomorrow night. David Heuschkel observes that the Patriots have a number of records besides 16-0 in their sights tomorrow night. Jennifer Toland has the Patriots making strides in their Red Zone defense over the last few games. Mark Farinella has the Patriots enduring “Amateur Day at Gillette Stadium, at least where the media was concerned.” Eric McHugh has the Patriots getting ready to face the bruising Brandon Jacobs.

Gasper’s notebook has Nick Kaczur as one of three Patriots to sit out practice yesterday. Guregian’s notebook has Tedy Bruschi with more praise for his coach. Young’s notebook has more on tomorrow night’s game being available to all. Toland’s notebook has the Patriots hoping to extend an amazing 2007 sports year for Boston fans.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has more on the league’s decision to simulcast tomorrow night’s game.

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