Celtics Swamped By Atlanta Once Again

Doc Rivers and the Celtics have some work to do.

Atlanta evened up the first round series at two games apiece with their 97-92 win over Boston last night. Joe Johnson was absolutely unstoppable in the fourth quarter last night, scoring 20 of his 35 points in the period to bring the Hawks back from a 10 point deficit to stun the Celtics. CSN analyst Donny Marshall made a salient point last night when he noted that sometimes the first round is the toughest. It made me think of those first round battles with the old Washington Bullets back in the 1980’s.

Marc J. Spears assesses the grim situation and notes that Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins might end up getting suspended for game five tomorrow night because of their roles in a second quarter skirmish. Mark Murphy has the unthinkable on the mind of the Celtics following the game. Bill Doyle has the Celtics with reason to be concerned after last night’s loss. Jessica Camerato says that the Hawks have gotten into the heads of the Celtics. Kevin McNamara looks at Joe Johnson stealing the show from the more celebrated Celtics last night.

On the BSMW Full Court Press, Shirley Coshatt looks at the Celtics stumbling once again in Atlanta.

Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics need to get back to playing their style of basketball. Peter May looks at how the Celtics may now have their confidence shaken, while the young Hawks are soaring. Bill Burt says that the Celtics have not faced such dire straits since the ping pong balls all went the wrong way last May. May checks in with commissioner David Stern, who weighs in on the Saturday night antics between the two clubs, as well as a number of other league items. Bulpett has more on Pierce and the hand gesture for which he was fined last night. Ben Larsen tries to figure out what people think Pierce’s hand gesture meant in gang language. McNamara has more on the supposedly gang-related sign.

Ray Glier looks at the monster game from Joe Johnson. Sarah Meinecke also looks at Johnson simply taking over in the fourth quarter. Larson would like to know why Tony Allen hasn’t gotten a shot at defending Johnson yet. Meinecke also reports on Rajon Rondo coming in fourth in the NBA’s Most Improved Player voting.

Spears’ notebook has Paul Pierce being fined $25,000 for a “menacing” hand gesture on Saturday night. Murphy’s notebook has the clubs acting up again last night, right in front of the commissioner this time. Doyle’s notebook has more on the fine for Pierce. McNamara’s notebook has the momentum of this series swinging Atlanta’s way right now.

Patriots

A couple of pieces from Chris Warner on Patriots Daily, there’s one with thumbnails of the undrafted free agents signed by the Patriots yesterday, and another is a reaction to the draft after some had a hard time figuring out the Patriots plans.

Shalise Manza Young talks to the high school coach of first round pick Jerod Mayo, and has him raving about the linebacker’s character. Mike Reiss talks to a former coach of second round pick Terrence Wheatley, who similarly raves about the player. John Tomase looks at whether the rookie corners drafted by the Patriots can have an immediate impact. Glen Farley looks at late round selections Matt Slater and Bo Ruud, who may both benefit from NFL bloodlines.

Eric McHugh goes around the AFC to see which teams have improved themselves the most and thus could be a threat to the Patriots in ’08. Young has former BC safety Jamie Silva signing with the Colts. McHugh checks in with Quincy High coach Jim Connor, whose brother Dan was drafted by the Panthers in the third round.

Red Sox

Gordon Edes looks at Manny Ramirez’s quest for his 500th career home run. Rob Bradford looks at how off-season workouts have really benefited Ramirez. Garry Brown has the Sox keeping things together during this losing streak. Lenny Megliola insists that better days are ahead for these Red Sox. Jeff Goldberg has the Sox enjoying a rare day off yesterday.

Rob Bradford examines how Jonathan Papelbon is able to get so many batters to swing and miss at his pitches. Alex Speier provides a minor league report of the Red Sox system, including a look at pitcher Nick Hagadone, who is likely facing Tommy John surgery. Michael Silverman has Dustin Pedroia starting out his sophomore season in the big leagues just like his first season finished up. Joe McDonald has Carl Crawford saying that the Red Sox should give Jacoby Ellsbury the green light on the basepaths.

Silverman’s notebook says that thus far, the 2008 pitching staff is doing a poor imitation of the 2007 edition. The Globe notebook has Jon Lester hoping to get his act together for his start tonight, and also has a look at Brandon Moss, who should be headed back to Pawtucket to make room for the return of Mike Lowell.