Back in the Driver’s Seat

(This morning’s links brought your way by guest blogger Bob Ekstrom. Contact him at [email protected])

After a four-game stretch in which they doubled their loss total on the season, the Celtics won their second straight last night at TD Banknorth Garden, 116-89 over Philadelphia. The Green, again led by Ray Allen with 23 points, outscored the 76ers 62-32 in the second half, turning a once 12-point deficit into a runaway.

Mark Murphy starts off the coverage with some inspirational words from Allen, along with a big contribution from the newest dad on the roster. Scott Souza has Leon Powe’s entrance doing wonders to neutralize the boards, where Philly had been dominating the C’s once again. Bill Doyle says Doc Rivers made the right move when he looked way down his bench and called Powe’s number last night. Jeff Howe credits Rivers for letting his squad self-administer the halftime adjustments that got things turned around. Oddly, the Globe’s coverage of last night’s action consists only of this Marc J. Spears entry in their Celtics Blog, but while you’re there, catch up on plans for Rajon Rondo’s return.

In his Celtics Beat, Steve Bulpett says it was only a matter of time before seldom-used Leon Powe made his contribution felt. Murphy’s Celtics Notebook has more on the purification of Ray Allen’s game.

Patriots

Anyone who tuned into yesterday’s love-in on WEEI’s The Big Show or checks out Johnny Diaz’s account of the local television blitz is witness to the 24-7 attention paid to the Patriots’ side of this Sunday’s AFC Championship equation. In a slight course change, this morning’s press has focused a bit on the other side. Jim Donaldson recaps the two underdogs’ chances for victory this Sunday. Jim McCabe says that the Chargers’ strong finish has given head coach Norv Turner a little job security. Jeff Horrigan says LT is now fully healed – maybe not his hyperextended knee, but his psyche after the beating it took a year ago when Pats players danced on his sacred lightning bolt. Karen Guregian has Tomlinson in tomorrow, but refers to a San Diego Union-tribune report of more extensive damage to Philip Rivers’ knee that lists him as doubtful. Either way, Tom King says the Patriots will be prepared for whoever is under center. We even have a Chargers Notebook in the Globe, where McCabe and Amalie Benjamin collaborate to bring you the latest on Rivers’ knee. Smerlas and Sheppard must be rolling in their beds right about now.

Back to the home team. Among the random thoughts Bill Reynolds proffers in his FWIW column is one concerning Randy Moss’s concentration factor on Sunday. Amalie Benjamin has the Patriots fending off a multitude of distractions in preparation for Sunday’s game. Bob Ryan says that, with all their experience, there’s nothing that could faze this squad going into a Big Game. Guregian believes Tom Brady’s focus on the field sets him apart and even has trash-talking Shawne Merriman agreeing Brady is something special. Rich Garven has Ben Watson rediscovered after a season in the lost-and-found. Michael Vega says Lawrence Maroney has summoned up the authority at an opportune time, with forecasts of 30 mph winds threatening to keep things grounded tomorrow. And from behind enemy lines, the Union-Tribune has Rodney Harrison dispensing advice to Rivers on remaining level-headed.

Red Sox

Only 26 days until pitchers and catchers report, and you’re thinking the Sox are a little thin at catcher, right? Well, if the Mirabelli re-signing didn’t do anything for you, try Joe McDonald, who will tell you about a veritable traffic jam of catchers down in Pawtucket. Gordon Edes’ Extra Bases blog offers the latest on Kevin Youkilis and Kyle Snyder filing for free agency, as well as Javier Lopez coming to one-year terms. In his Baseball column, Rob Bradford reminds us how long it’s been since any Red Sox player has gone through arbitration hearings.

Odds & Sods

Talk of pitchers and catchers can only mean one thing: Major League Soccer is only two and a-half months away. Mike Biglin has a nice feature on Michael Videira, the former Milford star who was drafted by the Revolution with the 18th overall pick in yesterday’s SuperDraft. But this doesn’t mean you’ll be seeing him at Gillette Stadium next year.

In case you missed it, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story that picked up steam yesterday says that former Georgia Bulldog great Herschel Walker will reveal he has multiple personality disorder in an upcoming book due out this August.

The Herald’s ever-vigilant Inside Track has the latest on Gisele Bundchen’s lunch.

Here’s hoping your lunch is a bit more filling. Enjoy the game tomorrow and start your post-game coverage right back here on BSMW.

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