Celtics Maul Bobcats

A night after beating the Cavaliers on the road, the Celtics returned to TD Garden for their home opener last night. Was there any chance of a letdown with the Charlotte Bobcats in town?

I think the score of the 92-59 Celtics win speaks for itself.

Julian Benbow has the Celtics lockdown “D” completely stifling the Bobcats. Mark Murphy has the Celtics starting the home schedule by holding Charlotte to a franchise-low in points.  Couper Moorhead says that the Celtics appear to be defending everything except a title this season. Scott Souza agrees that the Celtics defense was the biggest story of this game. Bill Doyle has the Celtics showing they can get by just fine without the Big Baby. David Willis has the Celtics making the Bobcats look like an overmatched JV team. Jim Fenton has the Celtics using stingy defense to start out 2-0. Robert Lee says that the Celtics have their swagger back.

Bob Ryan says that the Celtics aren’t that good, Charlotte simply didn’t show up last night. Steve Buckley says that Rasheed Wallace doesn’t just look good in the Celtics uniform, he looks right in it, and is is a perfect fit for this team. Bill Burt agrees that Wallace is a perfect fit for the Celtics. Lenny Megliola has the Celtics getting the expected result last night against the Bobcats. Tim Weisberg says that this wasn’t like last year’s home opener, but this is a different team than last year.

Steve Bulpett says that Glen Davis has a responsibility now to learn from his mistake, and put his career and like on the proper course going forward. Gary Washburn says that the Celtics versatility was on full display last night. Paul Flannery has a look at three things we learned from last night’s game. Chris Forsberg says that the defense certainly didn’t rest on the second night of a back-to-back.

Frank Dell’Apa has a look at Kendrick Perkins, who had four blocked shots, and was a force in the paint. Dan Duggan has Perkins flexing his muscle in the win. Jeff Goodman though, is glad that Perkins was on the bench during crunch time in Cleveland the night before.

Duggan looks at how Charlotte coach Larry Brown urged the Celtics to sign Wallace in the offseason. Mike Fine has the Celtics and their fans eagerly adopting Wallace as their own. Forsberg says that Wallace’s Garden debut went well in every way.

Marc D’Amico looks at the keys to the game.

Benbow’s notebook has the Celtics including Glen Davis in introductions, even though he was absent and suspended. Murphy’s notebook has Doc River with a quick hook for Kevin Garnett last night after KG hit the deck in the third quarter. Doyle’s notebook has Sheldon Williams getting his chance with Davis suspended. Fenton’s notebook has Wallace getting a warm welcome. Lee’s Celtics Journal has Williams getting a bigger chance with Davis out.

Patriots

Over on Patriots Daily, Jeremy Gottlieb is going Around the League, and says that he doesn’t mind at all that there is a clear line between the best teams and worst teams in the NFL.

Mike Reiss has a look at how the Patriots have managed to rebuild their defense on-the-fly and still remain a winner.

Adam Kilgore, now on the Patriots beat, has a look at rookie receiver Brandon Tate, who wants to make a big impact now that he is recovered from the knee injury suffered last year in college. Ian R. Rapoport has a look at Tully Banta-Cain, who has been a pleasant surprise since coming back to the Patriots this season, and who wants to stay right here with the team.

Brian MacPherson has Brandon Meriweather’s play last week and all season, drawing attention from around the NFL. Andy Vogt has Meriweather as a star on the rise in the Patriots defense. Shalise Manza Young has a look around the AFC East, where the Patriots are back where they’re used to being – on top. Glen Farley has the Patriots on top of the AFC East despite a spotty rushing attack.

Jonathan Comey has the Patriots fourth in his NFL Power Rankings. Rapoport says that we could be seeing more of Mark LeVoir in coming weeks as well. Reiss looks at the benefits of Dean Pees calling plays from the press box.

Rapoport’s notebook has Brandon Meriweather brushing off his AFC Defensive Player of the Week award, and even praise from his former mentor Rodney Harrison. Monique Walker’s notebook has Meriweather trying to keep things in perspective. Young’s Patriots Journal has Meriweather staying humble. Farley’s notebook has more on Meriweather, who believes his best is still to come.

Where is Ron Borges to scoff and remind us again that Meriweather is closer to Donna Reed than Ed Reed?

Bruins/Misc

Mike Loftus has the Bruins looking to find their groove. Rich Thompson says that the Bruins know exactly what to expect from the Devils. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell says that that is true of Martin Brodeur as well.

Peter Abraham has Cuban pitching prospect Aroldis Chapman visiting the Red Sox yesterday.

Michael Silverman has Pedro Martinez holding court before his World Series start tonight.

Celtics Opener a Success

The Cleveland Cavaliers came out of the gate smokin’ last night, hitting six of their first seven shots, and running out to a 13-2 lead. A few minutes later, the Cavs led by 14 at 19-5 and 21-7, but the Celtics rebuilt bench led a comeback, and the Celtics took the lead in the second quarter and never looked back in a  95-89 opening night win over LeBron and company.

Frank Dell’Apa calls last night’s win a “a decisive victory and confirmation of the team’s improvement.” Mark Murphy has the Celtics ending an eight-game losing streak in Cleveland with the win. Mike Petraglia looks at what we can take away from this opening night win.

Bob Ryan says that even though this was just opening night, it was a very satisfying win for the Celtics. Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics bench was the difference in this one. Chris Sheridan says that the Celtics were the better team in this one.

Gary Washburn has Keven Garnett standing tall in his return, even when flattened by Shaquille O’Neal. Chris Forsberg has KG passing his first regular season test.

Bulpett reports that the Celtics have suspended Glen Davis ‘indefinitely’. After the details of how he injured himself came out yesterday, Ryan says that it is time for Baby to grow up. Washburn reports that Davis will be shelved 8 weeks after surgery on his broken thumb. Robert Lee says that Davis must learn from this incident. Jim Fenton has more on the suspension of Davis. Paul Flannery looks at the big drama from Big Baby.

Murphy says that the Celtics have increased their offer to Rajon Rondo.

The Globe notebook says that there is still hope Rajon Rondo could get an extension before the weekend. Murphy’s notebook has KG feeling good after the game.  

Patriots

Brendon Rosenau takes a moment to remember the 1993 Patriots over on Patriots Daily.

Kerry Byrne takes the Patriots pulse here at the bye week. Monique Walker notes that the schedule gets a whole lot tougher after the bye for the Patriots. Shalise Manza Young says that the Patriots will need to continue to play hard-nose, team football to power through this stretch.

Glen Farley says that despite Tom Brady’s knee being better, he still needs a crutch sometimes – and that crutch is Wes Welker. Ian R. Rapoport has Bill Belichick on WEEI’s Big Show defending the play of Laurence Maroney.

Christopher Price and Mike Reiss have their weekly mailbags.

Misc

Brian MacPherson wonders if new Padres GM Jed Hoyer might trade Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox. Amalie Benjamin has Brad Mills being named manager of the Astros. Sean McAdam has Terry Francona happy for Mills.

Bill Burt talks to Don Zimmer about the World Series. Amalie Benjamin has the Yankees insisting that George Steinbrenner is still a big part of them. Bill Reynolds says that A-Rod and the Yankees have vanquished their postseason ghosts.

Michael Silverman and The Globe notebook have Pedro Martinez and the Yankees meeting once again. Steve Buckley looks at why Boston fans have more to root for in this series than simply for the Yankees to lose.

Kevin Paul Dupont has coach Claude Julien pleased with the play of backup goaltender Tuukka Rask. Rich Thompson has Marco Sturm adjusting to changes in stride. Mike Loftus has the Bruins line changes paying immediate dividends.

Was Jonny Miller a bigger “Curse” Pusher than Shaughnessy?

If you didn’t read Bob Hohler’s column this morning – Really big news – I highly recommend that you do so.

The article looks at some of the media pressure that the Red Sox had to overcome en route to winning the 2004 World Series. It seems that much of that “media pressure” came from an unlikely source: WBZ’s Jonny Miller.

WBZ’s Jonny Miller greeted every new player in the Fens by asking him to declare whether the team’s chronic misfortune was born of some ghostly voodoo risen from Babe Ruth’s grave. His tape recorder whirring, Miller followed up by posing the same question every spring training to every player on the Sox roster: “Do you believe in the curse of the Bambino?’

Miller doesn’t refer to the curse any longer, as he is quoted in the article as ““They took away one of my lines,’’ Miller said of the ’04 Sox. “I can’t ask about the curse anymore.’’

The article notes that Jonathan Papelbon this season called Miller “the most negative person around.”

This seems to fit with some of the lines of questioning Miller has pursued, as chronicled by Hohler.

And when the Sox went on a 10-game winning streak to seize a four-game lead in the wild-card race in early September, it was Miller who stirred the ghosts.

“In the history of the wild card, no team has blown a four-game lead starting Sept. 1,’’ he informed Damon. “Are you confident you won’t be the first?’’

There are plenty of other examples in the article.

Hohler also notes that Miller is a prankster, though some of his stunts have been better than others:

Miller became as memorable in 2004 for his pluck as his perseverance. In February, five months after WEEI’s John Dennis and Gerry Callahan compared a gorilla that escaped from the Franklin Park Zoo to a minority Metco student, Miller welcomed them to spring training by presenting them white pillowcases as if they were Klansmen.

And later:

In September of ’04, with Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon filming “Fever Pitch’’ in Fenway’s box seats, Barrymore’s history of teen drug problems inspired Miller to raise a placard that asked, “When Will Drew Be Back In Rehab?’’

All in all, this was a nice “behind the scenes” look by Hohler at the type of coverage and questions that were around the Red Sox prior to the 2004 World Series Title.