Week Log: The Tide Is Rising Again

Maybe the Bruins’ wimpy effort last Thursday against the Penguins was the low-water mark in Boaston’s underachieving winter. Since then, the B’s have beaten out the competition for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the C’s have continued on their own renaissance, and hope is rising like the crocuses in my backyard. Well start with the best of the good news.

Celtics

The C’s made it four straight at home with last night’s win over the Denver Nuggets. That’s six of their last eight since hitting their own low-water mark in a 20-point home loss to the Grizzlies on March 10.

Evans Clinchy has the C’s looking more composed now than when they last faced Denver a month ago, and they let the Nuggets know it last night. Gino’s Jungle sees some good things on the court that weren’t there a month and a half ago.

Celtics Stuff Live cites some unexpected play from Tony Allen as a key contributor in last night’s win. The Three-Pointer has Boston’s bench stepping up big as of late. Hardwood Houdini says it may be five months late, but the bench we expected in October has finally arrived in March.

It’s going to take a few more wins against playoff contenders to move any discussion of the C’s legitimacy from Sports Talk Blog‘s heart to their head. With the next six games at home, SportsCenter 5 Overtime says this will be a good test of the C’s ability to hold home court in the playoffs. However, Celtics Blog has Rajon Rondo thinking it’s too late to instill fear in the hearts of visitors coming into TD Garden this spring. ESPN Boston Celtics Blog has Rondo snapping out of his funk and making a triple-double look easy last night.

Remember last year when the Bulls beat Boston on St. Patty’s Day dressed essentially in Celtics uniforms? So does North Station Sports, who warns us that this growing trend of jersey theft can lead fans to accidentally rooting for the wrong teams.

Red Sox

Big Shots starts us off with a pictoral blend of spring and spring training, but down in Fort Myers spring is not in full bloom for everyone. Fenway Fruitgirl is perplexed by Boston’s poor Grapefruit League showing and could use a few wins to please her brain and shut up ESPN. Toeing The Rubber pooh-poohed the whole underwhelming Spring Training affair . . . until Josh Beckett was lights out on the mound yesterday.

The Bottom Line wonders how the Sox can extend both Beckett and Victor Martinez now that the latter has become the top potential free agent catcher in next year’s market. Boston Sports Then And Now brings us the dilemma posed by Joe Mauer’s extension in Minnesota. The Mighty Quinn Media Machine is glad Mauer is staying put.

Mike Lowell is another guy that appears to be staying put, as Clubhouse Insider has his lack of mobility on stage for every scout to see. Full Count brings us Clay Buchholz being plagued by his old nemesis, the baserunner, in a disappointing spring thus far. Keep Your Sox On has Buchholz aging a little in his singing debut. On Subway Squawkers, Lisa claims a hatred of Sweet Caroline even as you know she was singing the chorus while logging her venomous thoughts. So good, so good! Masshole Sports tells Johnny Damon to pick a side already in the Good vs. Evil Empire war being waged within his head.

Fire Brand Of The American League learns the hard way that if you want to cheer in the press box, your pass better be made of cardboard. Sox ownership is fading fast in the estimation of Bingo Bar Blog, which finds the Krafts and Wyc Grousbeck more appealing. Funny, they didn’t mention Jeremy Jacobs. And with the regular season quickly approaching, Surviving Grady says nobody wins with a clean-shaven Kevin Youkilis in the lineup but that appears to be the voters’ choice for Youk’s Opening Night do.

NCAAM

Thoughts From Press Row promises us some excitement tonight and tomorrow in Sweet Sixteen matchups. Jade McCarthy is willing to sacrifice her bracket in the spirit of true March madness.

Down in Kingston, cows aplenty woke up on their backs this morning as fans celebrated URI’s comeback victory at Virginia Tech last night. Rhody is going to the NIT Final Four, and Ram’s Journal says they’ll be right at home in Madison Square Garden. UConn Men’s Basketball bemoans a lost opportunity to travel to Rhode Island as the Huskies dropped 10 of their final 14 games, the last coming Monday in their NIT quarterfinal at Virginia Tech.

Patriots

One thing you won’t see coming out of this year’s NCAA tournament is the Pats’ next corner as Tom E. Curran has Bill Belichick less than wowed by basketball’s foot speed. Extra Points is just as confused as the rest of us while Belichick, in classic Dickensian style, discusses the importance of participation in his offseason training program. The Rap Sheet has Ron Brace working it this offseason, as he looks to fill the void left by Jarvis Green.

The Crowe’s Nest doesn’t think the new rules fully solve the overtime problem, so they shouldn’t solve it at all. On New England Patriots Blog, Mike Reiss has seven NE-related observations from the NFL owners meetings, including the Pats’ award of four compensatory draft picks come April. Pro Football Talk thinks Belichick would do well to extend former compensatory pick Tom Brady before Peyton Manning gets a new contract in Indy.

Bruins

Even after outright wins against both the Rangers and Thrashers this week that have lifted the B’s playoff hopes, the punch in the guts taken by fans last Thursday has tempered enthusiasm. For instance, Jerry Thornton says last week’s no-heart effort against the Penguins smelled of dead woodchuck under the porch, making B’s fans have to decide how long we’ll put up with the smells until someone goes down there to clean it up. ESPN Boston Bruins says the B’s defense is in flux and the Andrew Ference extension leaves them little wiggle room for maneuvering. Rink Rap was surprised by the extension, given Ference’s history of injuries and questionable NHLPA politicking.

If you thought getting a national health bill through Congress was complicated, Kathryn Tappen takes you through the maze in getting some no-brainer legislation enacted in the NHL. Bruins Blog reports the NHLPA hurdle was cleared this morning, making headhunting a punishable offense starting tonight.

Tea Party Throwdown much prefers Tuukka Rask’s calming presence between the pipes to the heart-attack style of Tim Thomas.

Odds & Sods

. . . an unstructured wandering through the Boston sports world

With Boston College getting a top seed in the NCAA Men’s Hockey tournament, BC Interruption asks whether the Eagles are better served with success in hockey or in basketball. JSilver’s UConn Blog gives us the skinny on UConn’s Pro Day. If you watched much Huskies football last fall, you know their lineup was filled with some interesting skills positions.

The Inside Track hears of a new NESN program in development that explores the top MLB cities Sox fans travel to. Joe Posnanski looks back on an eternally long four months in the life of Tiger Woods.

And finally, The Joy Of Sox is livid that 60-something Mick Jagger has gone into the studio to enhance tracks for the Stones’ remastered Exile On Main Street. Kind of like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson going back into the ESPN Classics studio to enhance some missing footage from the 1984 NBA Finals.

Sorry for the late delivery, but I had some computer issues this afternoon. Have a great spring weekend, and we’ll see you next week. In the meantime, I’m on Twitter and Facebook these days.

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