Celts Blaze Their Way Back

After trailing by 17 points at one point in the first half, the Celtics finally got their act together last night, and stormed back for a 112-102 win over the Portland Trailblazers last night. Paul Pierce had 30 points to lead the way for the Celtics.

On Oscar night, Steve Bulpett has the Celtics starring in their own version of “Atonement” up in Portland. Peter May says that the Celtics big guys and their defense finally showed up for a game on this West coast road trip. Check the coverage and reaction from Portland on the game in the OregonLive Blazers Blog.

Michael Wilbon in the Washington Post this morning says that despite their recent struggles, the Celtics are still ahead of the curve in the East. in Portland, Geoffrey C. Arnold has a look at how native son (From Eugene, OR) Danny Ainge finally got the Celtics turned around. Bill Doyle looks at the second round proving successful for the Celtics. Tim Weisberg says that the recent losses are reason for concern, but not worry.

May’s notebook has a look at some names that the Celtics might be considering this week as they attempt to bulk up their bench for the stretch run. Bulpett’s notebook has Pierce and Ray Allen shooting a combined 19-22 last night, bouncing back nicely after their 5-25 showing in Phoenix.

Red Sox

Theo Epstein got his manager locked up for at least the next three years yesterday, as Terry Francona and the Red Sox agreed on a contract extension that will keep the manager here through the 2011 season, with a couple of option years after that. Amalie Benjamin and Gordon Edes report on the new deal for the skipper, which places him in the upper echelon of the managerial salary scale. Rob Bradford says that in these negotiations, Francona had the leverage, and it paid off handsomely for him. Sean McAdam says that Francona and the Red Sox are a perfect fit for each other, and has reaction from several players on the new deal for their boss. Joe Haggerty says that Francona can now put his focus back on baseball. Jeff Goldberg has Epstein offering high praise for his skipper with the extension now done. Rob Duca says that it was only a matter of time before this extension got done.

Michael Silverman examines the different routes that top prospects Clay Buchholz and Joba Chamberlain have taken in their development by the organizations to which they belong. Michael Levenson examines the difficulty of obtaining Red Sox spring training tickets, which are the highest priced in the majors. Silverman has several of the Red Sox pitchers, including Josh Beckett, getting their first batting practice of spring training yesterday and looking pretty impressive. Bradford has a brief report on the Red Sox agreeing to terms on a minor league make-good deal with Bartolo Colon.

Bradford’s notebook has a look at Jon Lester, who is projected as the Red Sox #3 starter, with no limitations placed on his workload this spring. Edes’ notebook has the Red Sox not making the announcement on Colon until he can pass a physical. McAdam’s notebook has more on the contingent deal for Colon, who would give the Red Sox some insurance if Curt Schilling can’t come back. Goldberg’s notebook also reports on the minor deal for Colon. Duca’s notebook has player reaction to Francona’s extension.

Bruins

Fluto Shinzawa says that the Bruins might do well to take a chemistry lesson from the Anaheim Ducks of last season. Stephen Harris has Peter Chiarelli working the phones furiously prior to tomorrow’s NHL trading deadline. Mick Colageo says that the Bruins need to determine whether Phil Kessel is a trading chip or a building block. Shinzawa has Patrice Bergeron taking a 10-minute skate yesterday, while Harris also reports on Bergeron’s return to the ice.

Patriots

Karen Guregian has former Patriot Ted Johnson insisting that his quote about getting a sheet of the opponent’s audibles an hour before each game was taken out of context and that to attach it to the spygate scandal would be irresponsible. He says he never saw evidence of illegal videotaping during his time here. Mike Reiss and Christopher L. Gasper report that the Jets Jonathan Vilma has permission from the Jets to seek a trade to any team in the NFL…except of course, the Patriots.

John Tomase examines Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan and the possibility that he could be the first pick in the NFL draft this season. He looks over what scouts like about him, and what reservations they have.

Shalise Manza Young has the Patriots looking to bolster their defense this offseason. Rich Garven has number of Patriots notes, leading off with the fact that even Bill Polian wants spygate to go away. Douglas Flynn says that the Patriots offensive backfield is one area where the team shouldn’t have to do much shopping this offseason.

Guregian’s notebook has BC safety Jamie Silva as a big fan of the Patriots Rodney Harrison.