C’s Mess With Texas

The Celtics finished off an impressive three game sweep in four days of the very tough Texas NBA contingent with a 94-90 win over the Dallas Mavericks. The Big Three led the way in this one, each of them scoring over 20 points, including Ray Allen, who was playing for the first time on this trip after hurting his ankle last Friday night.

Steve Bulpett has Allen coming back just in time to give the Celtics a big lift in big D. Marc J. Spears has more on the Celtics accomplishing a rare feat with the three game sweep of Texas. Check the coverage from Dallas in the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

Scott Souza says that perhaps soon the Celtics might actually be viewed as championship favorites. Tim Weisberg says that the Celtics have enjoyed almost a spiritual success on this trip. Bulpett’s notebook examines how the Celtics keep winning even when they’re suffering through injuries. Spears’ notebook has an NBA official chastising Minnesota owner Glen Taylor for his comments about Kevin Garnett earlier this week.

Red Sox

Michael Silverman offers a detailed account of the trip to Japan which lost the Red Sox an entire day of existence. Sean McAdam also offers a travelogue from Fort Myers to Tokyo.

Rob Bradford has Mike Lowell recounting the story of his first trip to Japan – as a nine year old with the South Florida Little League All-Star team. Joe McDonald has Sean Casey talking about when he first knew he wanted to play for the Red Sox. Tony Massarotti notes that David Ortiz is already a big deal in Japan, as his 514 foot home run in a 2004 trip with other MLB stars is still remembered to this day. Silverman also notes that there won’t be much relaxation on this trip, as the Sox have a busy schedule ahead.

Jackie MacMullan has a piece on Red Sox pitching phenom Clay Buchholz, in which she calls the Red Sox decision to shut him down at the end of September “one of the truly bizarre twists of the 2007 championship season.” Really? Bob Stern says that a trio of homegrown positional starters is a key to the Red Sox success. Mike Fine says that the middle of the Red Sox lineup will need to be devastating again in order for the Sox to be successful. Terry Nau says that the Red Sox need to give Jason Varitek a new contract. Joe Haggerty looks at a new Jon Lester in 2008.

Bill Nowlin writes that games in exotic foreign locales are nothing new for the Red Sox franchise, which has played games in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands before this trip to Japan.

Nick Cafardo’s notebook says that the Red Sox won’t face punishment for delaying the game on Wednesday because of the situation with the coaches payments for the Japan trip. McDonald’s notebook has Jon Lester getting ready for his start in the second game of the regular season with a minor league tuneup yesterday.

Bruins

It’s like old times for the Bruins these days. And not the good old days, either. The B’s have been thoroughly owned by the Montreal Canadiens as of late, and this includes a 4-2 loss at the Garden last night.

Fluto Shinzawa has the Canadiens scoring their 7th straight win over the Bruins this season. Steve Conroy says that these losses to Montreal could derail the B’s playoff hopes. Tony Lee has Montreal continuing their dominance over the Bruins. Bud Barth and Douglas Flynn have the Bruins futility against Montreal reaching an all time low.

Stephen Harris says that once again, the Boston problem comes down to a lack of scoring. Matt Porter reports on Zdeno Chara getting back on the ice after missing the last five games. Mike Loftus has Patrice Bergeron planning on going with the team on their return trip to Montreal tomorrow night.

Conroy’s notebook says that it was a disappointing return to action for Chara. Shinzawa’s notebook has Tim Thomas’ best efforts not enough to stop Alex Kovalev and the Canadiens. Barth’s notebook has more on the return of Chara.

Patriots

The Patriots added to their secondary yesterday by signing free agent cornerback Fernando Bryant to a one-year contract. Christopher L. Gasper says that this signing is a “Filene’s Basement” approach to free agency for the Patriots. Shalise Manza Young says that whether or not Bryant can help on the field remains to be seen, though he’ll surely help in the community. John Tomase has the lawyer for suspended cornerback Pacman Jones saying that his client would be a good fit for the Patriots, and vice-versa.

Check back a little later for Ken Fang’s media links…