Celtics Cruise Into Break

Morning links while trying to figure out how I misremembered that my mother-in-law is visiting this weekend…

The Celtics ended the first half of the season with a couple more injuries and another win, their 41st of the season (against only 9 losses) and head into the All Star break before embarking on the traditional February West coast swing. Brian Scalabrine and Glen Davis left the game with injuries last night, but the Celtics built up a big lead and were able to hold off the New York Knicks by a final score of 111-103 at the Garden last night.

Peter May says that both teams played as though they were already in the All Star break. Steve Bulpett has the Celtics limping into the break after sustaining a couple more injuries last night. Lenny Megliola has the Celtics keeping their winning ways alive despite being short-handed once again. Bill Doyle says that the All Star break couldn’t have come at a better time for the Celtics. Tony Lee has the Celtics taking care of business despite the injuries.

Frank Dell’Apa has Knicks coach Isiah Thomas getting ejected last night, just as his team was starting to rally. Jeff Horrigan has Doc Rivers giving Ray Allen the news of his All Star selection at halftime last night. Jeff Howe has the Celtics bench taking control of the game when they come in. In his media column, Doyle has TNT analyst Doug Collins saying that the Spurs are still the team to beat in the NBA, citing the Celtics lack of experience as a factor.

May’s notebook has Ray Allen getting the call to go to New Orleans as a All Star replacement, filling the spot of Caron Butler. Bulpett’s notebook has Danny Ainge not in a rush to make any trades right now. Doyle’s notebook has more on Allen getting the call to New Orleans.

Clemens on the Hill

Bob Hohler has Roger Clemens failing to clear his name yesterday. Tony Massarotti says that a wiser man would’ve cut his losses long ago. No one, however, has ever accused Roger Clemens of being wise. Michael Silverman says that Clemens’ character took a huge hit yesterday. Bill Reynolds has Clemens fighting for his legacy yesterday. Adam Riglian on the newly launched Patriot Ledger site has fans left to wonder about Clemens. ESPN.com has a piece from Wayne Drehs, who has body language expert Janine Driver telling us what Clemens wasn’t saying verbally. The Metro also has a short piece where an expert analyzes Clemens body language and says he showed fear

Dan Shaughnessy says that no one helped themselves with their performances yesterday, and correctly identifies Representative Dan Burton, Republican of Indiana, as the buffoon of the day. Even Gerry Callahan admits that the Republican side looked like total bozos yesterday, with Burton leading the way. Jeff Jacobs says that only Andy Pettitte did what was right in this case. Kevin Gray feels that a quote from Burton sums up the hearings yesterday: “Gee, whiz, are you kidding me?” Hard to disagree.

Jon Couture notes that sleaze lurked around every corner of the hearings yesterday and notes how Jose Canseco suddenly has become a reliable and trustworthy witness for those making the case against Brian McNamee. Couture observes:

And also like McNamee, Canseco is a disgusting character, neck-deep in drugs when the times were good, then telling his tales once the cash was short. Lest we forget, as his affidavit sits on a Congressional pillar, we’re a month removed from the New York Times reporting he tried to blackmail Magglio Ordonez for cash surrounding a film project.

Nick Cafardo visits Yankees camp to see how the events of yesterday and during the rest of this investigation will impact Andy Pettitte.

Rob Bradford has Josh Beckett not concerned about the future, but focused in on this season and getting better. Jeff Goldberg has Hideki Okajima hoping to be a secret weapon for the Red Sox once again. I know you’re all anxious to see what they’re going to be this year, so I put together your Spring training storylines for the Metro.

Bradford’s notebook looks at how the role of the strength and conditioning coach in major league baseball has evolved.

Bruins

Kevin Paul Dupont has the Bruins playing with desperation and getting an “edgy” 2-1 win over the Penguins last night in Pittsburgh. Steve Conroy says that the performance couldn’t have come at a better time for the Bruins.

Dupont’s notebook and Conroy’s notebook each report on Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward having to leave the game after getting hit in the throat by former Bruin Sergei Gonchar.

Patriots/Misc

Bill Burt has Giants defensive backs coach Peter Giunta, a Salem, Mass., native, revealing the game plan that the New York used to beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Christopher L. Gasper and John Tomase report on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s meeting with Sen. Arlen Specter yesterday, to explain why the tapes taken from the Patriots were destroyed. Tomase also reports on the Patriots raising ticket prices. (Also reported by Mike Reiss in his blog yesterday afternoon.)

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