Both Rajon Rondo and the Celtics would rather forget how last night’s game against the Spurs began. Trailing by 17 points at the end of the first quarter, and as much as 22 during the first half, Rondo and the Celtics looked overmatched against the defending champion Spurs. But then a funny thing happened – they did forget about the huge deficit and the start of the game, and starting playing their game. By the third quarter, the Celtics had taken the lead, and while things went back and forth the rest of the way, the Celtics took the lead for good on a huge three-pointer from Sam Cassell (17 points) with 47 seconds left. The end result was a 93-91 Celtics victory, and Rondo, after getting torched by Tony Parker earlier in the game was one of three Celtics to finish with 20 or more points on the night. Kevin Garnett (21) and Paul Pierce (22) were the others.
Marc J. Spears has Cassell adding another clutch shot to his NBA resume, as he helps push the Celtics over the World Champs. Steve Bulpett has a recap of the night for the Celtics, who needed the luck of the Irish on St Patrick’s day to storm back on the Spurs. In San Antonio, they’re wondering what’s wrong with the Spurs.
Bill Reynolds says that the arrival of Garnett accelerated the Celtics transformation back to contenders. Bulpett has the Celtics weighing in on Bruce Bowen, with Doc Rivers counting himself as a fan, while Ray Allen and Paul Pierce hate to play against him, with Allen calling him a dirty player. On the BSMW Full Court Press, Kevin Henkin answers a few “fan” letters that have trickled in.
Bulpett’s notebook has the Celtics looking forward to the challenge of facing the Rockets tonight on national TV. Spears’s notebook has the Celtics going into tonight in a rare position this season – they’re not the ones with the target on their backs.
Rob Bradford has the birth of his child opening up the way for Daisuke Matsuzaka to pitch the opener for the Red Sox in Japan. Nick Cafardo has the Red Sox trying to temper expectations by reminding us that Jacoby Ellsbury has a lot he can improve in his game. Bob Stern has part one of a nine part series leading up to the start of the season for the Red Sox, and in the opener, says that injuries are the one thing that could derail this team. Joe McDonald says that even in spring training, the Red Sox and Yankees play for real.
Jackie MacMullan says that even though he got roughed up yesterday, Bartolo Colon remains one of the most intriguing stories of the spring for the Red Sox. Michael Silverman has more on Colon, who struggled with his command, but did finish the outing pain-free, which has to be counted as a plus. Jeff Goldberg has a look at Colon’s performance against the Yankees yesterday, while Andy Pettitte was solid on the other side for New York.
Bradford has a look at what Josh Beckett will be doing in Florida while his teammates are in Japan. Joe Haggerty has J.D. Drew hoping that an offseason of bowling will keep his back in good shape this season. Bradford and Silverman report that Jon Lester will be taking a later flight to Japan so that he can get another minor league start here on Thursday before getting ready to play game two against the A’s. Bradford has Coco Crisp getting back into action yesterday.
Cafardo’s notebook has more on the Sox naming Matsuzaka as their opening day starter. The Herald notebook has Andy Pettitte sending a message by pitching inside to David Ortiz, and has Johnny Damon still yapping about how much the Red Sox miss him. They missed you so much they won the World Series last year, Johnny. McDonald’s notebook has more on the Sox naming Matsuzaka their opening day starter. Goldberg’s notebook has more on the Sox giving Dice-K and Lester the nod for the two games in Japan.
Mark Blaudschun has a look at North Carolina star Tyler Hansbrough.
Jim McCabe tries to put into perspective exactly what Tiger Woods in accomplishing right now.