Celtics Extend Streak To 14 With Win Over Pesky Sixers

My wife and I welcomed our second son on Tuesday morning – 21 1/2 inches and 8 lbs 3 oz. Mother and son are doing fine.

The Celtics extended their winning streak to 14 games last night with a 84-80 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers at TD Garden.

Defense delivers 14th straight – Scott Souza has the Celtics defense getting this win for the Celtics.

Good, but not good enough for Celtics – Paul Flannery says that there were few positives to take away from this one.

Celtics grind out another win – Peter May says that good teams win games they shouldn’t, as the Celtics did last night.

O’Neal able to step up to the plate – Michael Vega has some encouragement from David Ortiz helping Shaq sink a pair of late free throws last night.

A Different Side of Ray – Alan Segal talks to Ray Allen about his Ray of Hope Foundation.

Winning streak not exactly hearts, flowers – Mark Murphy’s notebook says that this winning streak has actually been a burden to a beleaguered Celtics squad. The Globe notebook from Julian Benbow has the Celtics just trying to get and stay healthy. The Metrowest Daily News notebook from Scott Souza has Doc Rivers riding Nate Robinson hard in practice to make him more of a point guard.The CSNNE notes from Jessica Camerato has more on the Celtics grinding this streak.

The Patriots continue to get ready for the Buffalo Bills, who have played much tougher than their 4-win record would indicate.

Worry Wart – Game Fifteen At Bills – As usual, Chris Warner has some worries.

Imperfect defense steps up at critical junctures – Robert Lee notes that five times this season the opponent has had the ball with a chance to tie or win the game on their final possession, but the Patriots have stopped them all five times.

Vince Wilfork plays on – Ian Rapoport notes that the Patriots nose tackle has been on the field for 80% of the defensive snaps this year, unusual for a nose tackle, and higher than previous years for Wilfork. Steven Krasner looks at how the D-Line, led by Wilfork has been a strength of the team despite a revolving starting lineup.

Warren and Patriots: A perfect fit – Mary Paoletti looks at how Gerard Warren has become the second coming of Roman Phifer for the Patriots.

In preparation for Bills, Patriots using lessons learned against Cleveland – Christopher Price has the Patriots using the Cleveland game as a warning. Mark Farinella examines the same angle.

Odd times for Fred Taylor – Rapoport’s notebook has the veteran running back dealing with watching others play ahead of him. Shalise Manza Young says that the Patriots have ratcheted up the rhetoric in talking about their opponent this week.

Apparently this was the mandated week for three-part series on new Red Sox slugger Adrian Gonzalez.

Michael Silverman had his in the Herald:

Adrian Gonzalez ready to get going

Strong foundation put Adrian Gonzalez on road to stardom

Adrian Gonzalez a rock of faith in all facets

And Gordon Edes has a series on ESPN Boston:

Adrian Gonzalez: Special delivery

Adrian Gonzalez: A man and his word

Making Boston home away from home (Coming later today)

Claude Julien buzz makes tonight must-win – There is a lot of speculation about the Bruins and their head coach. Stephen Harris looks at why tonight is a big game for both.

So the sports media world is really obsessed with what Rex Ryan and his wife do on their own time? While the story was perfect for an outlet like Deadspin, I’m nauseated at how all media outlets are jumping on this “story.” It was even a prominent part of sports flashes on both Boston sports radio stations yesterday. Other than being a potential distraction (caused by the media) what in the world does this have to do with his coaching the New York Jets?

Look, I get it, it’s a pretty sensational story. Some of the feet jokes are funny. (Jets acquire LB Larry Foote for future considerations.)  A part of me enjoys the idea of Ryan having to squirm a bit, and explain things to his team, but for a group that proclaims themselves serious “journalists” and reporters, their obsession with this type of story puts them at the level of paparazzi.

One thing, though, if the “couples ad” proves to be actually from the Ryans, will Commissioner Goodell look into things like he publicly proclaimed he was looking to the Brandon Spikes tapes (from college) earlier in the season?

Patriots Squeak By Packers, Pierce Leads Celtics

With the Green Bay Packers missing their starting quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, many felt that the Patriots should have little trouble with backup QB Matt Flynn and his Green Bay teammates.  The Packers had other thoughts, coming out aggressive with an onside kick to start the game, and kept the energy level high throughout the night. The Patriots got a boost on a 71-yard kickoff return from offensive guard Dan Connolly to set up a touchdown just before halftime.

The Patriots defense was burned much of the night, but made enough plays in the end to hold off the Packers in closing seconds of the game, to pull out a 31-27 victory, improving to 12-2 on the season.

Expect plenty of  “Imagine if Aaron Rodgers had played”  from the likes of Tony Massarotti, (and Michael Felger, as he actually used that line in his CSNNE column today) as if the game was played in a vacuum. Also expect plenty of “blueprint” talk over the next week, as all media members tell you that future opponents, especially in the postseason, will be able to copy what the Packers did, with success.

Get all the Patriots coverage at PatriotsLinks.com. Here are a few of the more noteworthy articles from this morning.

Ten Things We Learned Sunday: Patriots just good enough in win over Packers – After technical difficulties on the WEEI.com site last week, Christopher Price is back this week with what we learned from this one.

Pats are good, not lucky – While many in the media will choose the doom-and-gloom outlook after this one, Andy Vogt chooses to be reassured that the Patriots can beat a top opponent even when they’re not playing their best.

Patriots defense comes through in end – Mike Reiss has the Patriots exhausted defense getting the job done in the closing seconds.

Lesson not lost on Patriots – Karen Guregian has the Patriots knowing that they have a lot of work to do.

Pats have little margin for error – Tom E Curran says that the Patriots can’t afford to make mistakes and penalties.

Rookie ignores the pain – The Globe notebook by Shalise Manza Young and Monique Walker has Devin McCourty playing his usual high number of snaps despite his rib injury. The Herald notebook from Ian R. Rapoport has Tully Banta-Cain atoning for an earlier penalty with a game-ending sack. The Two-minute drill from Hector Longo lists McCourty as one of his “no-shows” even NBC showed a graphic near the end of the game with the impressive stats that McCourty had put up last night.

Paul Pierce had his second consecutive game with double-digit assists and recorded a triple-double as the Celtics won their 13th game in a row, 99-88over Jim O’Brien’s Indiana Pacers. Get all the stories at CelticsLinks.com.

Can’t pin down Truth – Steve Bulpett looks at what makes Pierce so valuable to the Celtics. More on Pierce from A. Sherrod Blakely | Chris Forsberg | Julian Benbow

Paul Pierce gives the game what it needs – Paul Flannery has more on Pierce, as well as Shaq, Nate Robinson and the bench.

Davis’s game is growing on them – Gary Washburn looks at the former Big Baby.

Diesel back, Pierce hot, Celtics streak on – Mark Murphy’s Herald notebook has Shaq returning to the lineup. The Globe notebook from Julian Benbow has conference rival Orlando making major moves in advance of Saturday’s game with the Celtics.

There probably will not be morning links tomorrow, as we’re set to head into the hospital for the birth of my second son. I’ll try and get some things up here and there over the course of the rest of the week.

Missed Storm Means Patriots Ticket Opportunity

Earlier in the week when it appeared that New England might be in line for a Nor’easter on Sunday night into Monday, tickets for Patriots/Packers flooded the secondary market, resulting in great deals.  Now the the forecast for the storm to miss us, it’s a great opportunity to see the hottest team in the NFL.

Click on the image for more deals.