Celtics Fade In Fourth Down In Charlotte

These road games on the second night of a back-to-back are becoming troublesome to the Celtics, who lost to the Charlotte Bobcats 94-89 last night down in North Carolina.

On the plus side, are you jacked and pumped for Truck Day? I thought so.

Celtics lack finish in back-to-backs - Chris Forsberg has the Celtics dropping to 2-7 on the road in the second game of back-to-backs. Mark Murphy has more on the Celtics low energy in these games.

History in the making: From Chris Ford to Ray Allen - Paul Flannery talks to Allen’s first NBA coach.

Allen’s Quest For Perfection Never Ends - Jeff Jacobs talks to Allen’s college coach, Jim Calhoun and several other connections from his UConn days.

The thinking is ‘forward’ - Julian Benbow’s notebook looks at the possibility that the Celtics might consider a roster move. The Herald notebook from Mark Murphy has Doc Rivers defending Kevin Garnett. A. Sherrod Blakely reports that Kendrick Perkins has rejected a contract offer from the Celtics.

Marc Savard has Bruins’ backing - Joe McDonald has the Bruins supportive of their teammate, who will miss the remainder of the season. More on Savard from: Mick Colageo | DJ Bean | Fluto Shinzawa | Danny Picard

Now, Chiarelli should reach for a Star - Kevin Paul Dupont says that the Bruins GM should make a play for Brad Richards.

Questions facing the Red Sox: Starting 9 - Michael Silverman has nine concerns about the Red Sox as spring training approaches.

Papelbon: Others can do the thinking - Gordon Edes has the Sox closer saying the the team doesn’t pay him to think. Thank god for that.

As season approaches, J.D. Drew is bracing for the unknown - Rob Bradford checks in with the outfielder, who says his hamstrings are already sore.

Loss packed with meaning - Greg A Bedard has the Packers pointing to their loss to the Patriots as the turning point of their season. This is the second year in a row that a Super Bowl champ has pointed to a game with the Patriots as the turning point of their season.

Dan Shaughnessy champions Andrew Ferrence’s critical comments of his teammate, and turns them into an excuse to bash Pedro Martinez. At least he’s consistent.

Celtics Topping Bruins In Winter Ratings Battles

This week, Sports Business Journal has a look at the local TV ratings for the NHL and NBA teams  at the midpoint of their respective seasons.

SBJ is normally a subscription site, but today only the site is free for all.

Locally, the numbers are interesting, and impressive. Both the Celtics (CSSNE) and Bruins (NESN) are in the top five of their leagues for ratings numbers – actually, both teams are fifth in their leagues.

In his article on the NBA ratings (Rise and fall of LeBron’s teams) John Ourand has the Celtics picking up a 4.81 average rating on CSNNE, reaching and average of 118,00 households (which is actually third in the NBA).

The teams ahead of the Celtics in terms of ratings are the Spurs (10.1), Jazz (6), Heat (5.4) and Lakers (4.9).

Looking at the NHL ratings (NHL viewership trends tied to hockey tradition, Northern exposure),  Ourand reports that the Bruins have a 2.77 average rating on NESN, trailing the Penguins (9.05), Sabres (6.51), Red Wings (4.03) and Blue (3.29). Boston averages 68,000 households, which is fourth in the NHL. The Bruins ratings on NESN are up 36% over last year, which is the second largest increase in the NHL, behind the Blues, which are up 41% over last year.

Another article of local interest from SBJ: Massachusetts sets pace in team lottery games

Rondo, Celtics Have Super Sunday

Even though things worked out in the best possible way for Patriots fans last night – the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl, keeping Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers from their third Super Bowl since the Patriots last won one, it still wasn’t a fun night, knowing that New England had beaten both of these teams in the regular season.

It was a better afternoon at the Garden, where the Celtics dispatched Eastern Conference rival Orlando 91-80. Rajon Rondo led the way for the Celtics with 26 points.

Injuries not too much to overcome - Greg A Bedard has the Packers getting it done despite a season full of injuries.

Blow-by-blow from the bleachers - Jonathan Comey files a report from his experience at the Super Bowl in the stands.

Ten Things We Learned Last Night: Aaron Rodgers revealed as his own man - Chris Price has a few items to take away from the Super Bowl.

Unanimous MVP small solace for Tom Brady - Ian Rapoport has the Patriots QB still upset over the loss to the Jets.

Rondo Returns To Attacking Ways - Chris Forsberg has Doc Rivers pleased with Rondo’s agressiveness yesterday. More on Rondo’s performance:  Steve Bulpett | Frank Dell’Apa | Jessica Camerato | Paul Flannery

Celtics able to get under Magic’s skin  – Peter May has Quentin Richardson and the Magic whining about the Celtics.

Their focus was clearly at high level - Gary Washburn has the Celtics exposing the Magic as not-quite-ready for prime time.

Marquis Daniels out 1-2 months - Mark Murphy’s notebook has Daniels suffering a bruised spinal cord in a scary moment yesterday. The Globe notebook from Julian Benbow has more on the injury.

Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference not fazed by criticism - Mike Loftus has the Bruins defenseman standing by his comments abotu teammate Daniel Paille. Joe Haggerty says that Ference was right to say what he did.

Bruins to shut down Savard for remainder of season - Joe Haggerty has the news that the Bruins center will miss the remainder of the season.

With the Super Bowl in the rearview mirror, and Spring Training coming up fast, it’s time for the Beanpot, which again will be broadcast on NESN.

The first game tonight pits Harvard against Northeastern at 5:00 PM followed by Boston University battling Boston College at 8:00 PM from the TD Garden. NESN’s coverage of the Beanpot championship game on Monday, February 14th will begin with Prelude to A Championship, a live, half-hour pre-game show starting at 7:30 PM.

 Don Orsillo and Andy Brickley will call all three games with Kathryn Tappen and Bob Beers teaming up to host Prelude to a Championship and intermission coverage from NESN’s Garden studio.  Naoko Funayama will serve as the rink-side reporter contributing pre-game, intermission and post-game interviews.

Bruins Fight Off Stars For 6-3 Win

The Bruins jumped on the Dallas Stars right from the opening faceoff, with Gregory “Soupy” Campbell decking old his old nemesis Steve Ott and then two other fights starting after that. In the first four seconds of the game, there were three fights.

They did eventually end up playing hockey after that beginning to the night, and the Bruins posted a 6-3 win over the Pacific Division-leading stars.

Bang-up job done by Bruins over Stars - Fluto Shinzawa chronicles the fights and the hockey game that followed them. DJ Bean has the Bruins starting their toughest stretch of the season strongly.

Bruins stand up during fight night at the Garden - Joe Haggerty says that the Bruins play their best hockey when someone takes a poke at them. Stephen Harris adds that this Bruins team seems to create momentum off of fights.

Bruins, Stars stir up old memories - Mick Colageo has this one stirring up memories of a Bruins/Stars game from 30 years ago.

Bergeron back in starring role - Michael Vega has Patrice Bergeron continuing his hot play with a pair of goals in the first period.

Daniel Paille likely heading to Rule 48 suspension - Steve Conroy’s notebook has one Bruins likely to hear from the league office today. The Globe notebook by Fluto Shinzawa has more on the Paille hit. The CSNNE notes from Joe Haggerty have Marc Savard set to undergo tests in Boston today.

Celtics connect four stars - Mark Murphy has the Celtics “Big Four” being named All-Star reserves, and Doc Rivers’ plan to play them all together in the game. Murphy’s  notebook has Delonte West getting closer to a return.

The Rondo Paradox - Interesting column on RealGM.

Developing opportunity for Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia - Alex Speier has a look at the Red Sox work with the young catcher in the offseason as they prepare him to be the starter in 2011.

With David Ortiz, much left to be desired - Scott Lauber says that the DH’s struggles against lefties might be a concern for Terry Francona.

The two sides of the Sox - Jim Donaldson looks at the Red Sox as both half-empty and half-full.

10 Questions — No. 9: How key is Dice-K? - Gordon Edes looks at the importance of Daisuke Matsuzaka as the fifth starter.

Zoned in on each other - Greg A Bedard with a worthy feature on the matchup between defensive minds – and former roommates – Dom Capers and Dick LeBeau.

Goodell has only himself to blame for feeling ‘deceived’ - Kirk Minihane says that if the Commissioner really felt so deceived, he should’ve done something before now.

Fox has its team ready for climactic Sunday - If you didn’t hate Joe Buck with the intensity of 10,000 white-hot burning suns prior to now, after reading Chad Finn’s media colum today you surely will.

Fox crew will miss Super lure of Pats - Bill Doyle has more from Buck and Troy Aikman.

Guess who:

Logan Mankins is my favorite Patriot. He’s the first guy to stand up to the Krafts since Mike Vrabel.

Need more?

Goodell to SI’s Peter King on Belichick’s Spygate non-response: “He went out and stonewalled the press. I feel like I was deceived.’’ Welcome to our world, Roger.

Got it now? (The answer is in the comments section – if you really can’t figure it out.)

Vermeil Says Talk Of SpyGate Tarnishing Belichick “Not Legitimate”

As Felger and Massarotti continue their week of “All SpyGate, All The Time” I found their interview with former Eagles and Rams coach Dick Vermeil this afternoon pretty interesting. Especially this part:

Massarotti: …There was a story written in sports illustrated by Peter King, on Roger Goodell, and Goodel talked about the Spygate issue, with some of that stuff, and how certain requests, or demands that he made upon the Patriots he felt weren’t fulfilled. That part of it aside, the Spygate thing still sticks in the craw of people in New England and it hovers, in some capacity, – legitmate, or not - in regard to Belichick’s legacy?

Vermeil: Not Legitimate. I tell you, we live in America – we’re a nation that has learned to allow people to make mistakes, correct them, and move on. I mean, the greatest example right now is Michael Vick. OK? Why should that be restricted to just a player, or should that be restricted to a guy who runs a bank and made a mistake, you know? And I don’t think that’s a great reflection of Belichick, I just don’t. To me, move on.

Felger: Well, Dick Vermeil, you’re saying it was at least a mistake. I think there are a lot of people who would say, what did he do wrong, everyone was doing it?

Vermeil: Well, I don’t know if everyone was doing it, but everyone might’ve had a method of trying to do it. Maybe he did it better than everyone else. OK? And I’ll tell you this: In all honesty, I’ve coached as a head coach 15 years and an assistant four years, I know some things that have been done in the National Football League and I could document them, if I wanted to, that are far worse than that ever came close to being.

They also talked to Jamie Dukes of the NFL Network and put the Spygate “legacy” question to him. His response?

That’s silly. That’s just so silly. Because guess what? SpyGate didn’t play any games. The cameraman didn’t come down and get on the field and slap the tackle in the face. Guess what? You had to play the football game. And the truth of the matter is, you got the game footage to show what the people are doing in games. That’s just a canard for people…think about it… everybody, that’s how you guys got your job, and I’m a sports talk radio guy too, point being is, we get our jobs so we can stir it up and this is a format for fans, because every fan wants to feel good about his team, or bad about his team if things aren’t going real well. So all the fans from other teams and players from other teams, Marshall Faulk being one of them, who won’t let it go, Marshall won’t let it go, but it helps Marshall feel better about the fact that they didn’t get the job done.

National Obsession With Belichick, Patriots Continues

Even when the Patriots are not playing in the Super Bowl, the nation (well, the media at least) is still obsessed with them. Yesterday was a double-dose of Patriots with the whole country talking about Peter King’s Sports Illustrated fawning and ingratiating column on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. (The Man Of The Hour)

Of the ten page column, in which there are plenty of topics worthy of further discussion, focus has fallen on two paragraphs on page eight:

Goodell didn’t make friends in New England in 2007 when he fined Patriots coach Bill Belichick $500,000 and the team $250,000 and docked the Pats a first-round draft pick for secretly videotaping an opposing team’s coaching signals. Owner Robert Kraft thought the penalty too severe. Goodell told Kraft that, as part of the disciplinary action, Belichick would have to make a verbal apology in front of the press that week. Instead the coach issued a printed statement and refused to answer any questions on the topic. “I was given assurances that [Belichick] would tell his side of the story,” Goodell says. “He went out and stonewalled the press. I feel like I was deceived.”

Belichick responds, “I did not make any assurances about thoroughly discussing the subject publicly. I said I would address it following the league’s review. I then did that in a way I thought was appropriate. I don’t think that was deceptive.”

This relaunched discussion of the Spygate scandal, especially on local sports radio stations. Then just a few hours later, word came out that Bill Belichick wins coach of year for the 2010 season.

As for the other links from this morning, they’re pretty thin outside of the usual Super Bowl-focused stuff. Here’s six:

Inside the Patriots: In Bill, Patriot Nation can still trust - Jonathan Comey says that the coach is still at the top of his game.

Should sportswriters be allowed to gamble on sports? - Sean Kerrigan in the Phoenix talks to Globe sports editor Joe Sullivan among other on the topic.

Celtics had a productive trip, with just one stumble - Julian Benbow has the Celtics returning home after a 3-1 West coast swing.

Lavarnway welcome, along with 19 others - Peter Abraham’s Red Sox notebook looks at spring training invitations handed out by the Red Sox.

10 Questions — No. 8: Sox closer in Sept? - Gordon Edes examines whether Jonathan Papelbon will still be the Red Sox closer at the end of 2011.

Nathan Horton heard from - Rich Thompson has the Bruins winger finally getting back in the scoring sheet.

Avoiding Super Bowl Media Crush No Easy Feat

Much of the time, I tend to take a very Boston-centric view to the sports world. While I certainly keep up with the sports world outside of New England, there much out there that I could take or leave. The Super Bowl media hype for a game not involving the Patriots is one of those. Especially when much of the media focus seems intent on trying to compare Ben Roethlisberger to Tom Brady or trying to determine the real “team of the decade” – even though we’re firmly in a new decade by this point.

When Sunday comes, I’ll be watching the game, but until then, I’m not too interested in the coverage leading up to it. I can’t avoid it, but that doesn’t mean I’m enthralled by it.

Patriots should think outside the system - Mike Reiss does tie a Super Bowl angle to the Patriots, looking at pass rushers LaMarr Woodley and Clay Matthews, both of whom were available to the Patriots in the draft, and wonders if it is time for Bill Belichick to adjust his thinking on the position.

Twitter’s got the NFL by the tail - Tom E Curran has an interesting look at the problems that Twitter is causing for the NFL, as the league can’t control the things being tweeted by its players.

Management was so impressed with Tony “Miserable” Massarotti’s straw-man-laden Boston.com column yesterday – “Don’t Count The Lakers Out Yet” that they repackaged it and put in the Globe sports section today – “Too early to plan Celtics parade.” I’m wondering exactly who these people are who are counting the Lakers out and already planning the Celtics parade route for June.

Some, like Chris Forsberg, are writing that the Celtics the best, and getting better - but no one is saying that they are unbeatable and are a lock to win the NBA title. Gerry Callahan writes today that the Celtics are Leaving it all on floor - but he also acknowledges the possibility that the Celtics could “run out of gas and come up short of a championship.”

It’s just like Massarotti to take a very convincing and satisfying victory and do his best to discount it and make fans miserable.

Did Kevin Garnett Turn Down A Ball Boy With A Bin Laden Reference? - Deadspin.com follows up on the disappearing Tweets of J. A. Adande and Marc J Spears about KG’s treatment of a Lakers ball boy. They report:

Twitter being what it is is also what led both writers to take down the messages within minutes of being posted. We’re told that the sheer number of people retweeting the messages — thousands of them — were overwhelming the writers, making Twitter unusable. The easiest thing to do was to simply delete the Tweet and move on, the news already having been put out there.

So there you go. No misquotes, no warnings from Big Brother Stern. Just the limits of mobile technology.

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound just right to me.  Adande in particular doesn’t tweet enough for this to impact his ability to use Twitter. Deleting the original message has a limited impact. If people are using a third-party twitter client – which many people do – the message is still going to appear. Most of those clients also have the ability to turn off viewing of retweets, an option that the writers could’ve used to keep on working. There was no limit of mobile technology in play here. Limited knowledge by the user, perhaps, not the technology.

Celtics aiming to keep focus - Julian Benbow has the Celtics looking to avoid a letdown in Sacramento.

Red Sox brass discuss Pedroia, Yanks, TV ratings - Sean McAdam reviews the Red Sox “town meeting” held last night. Michael Vega  and Alex Speier also cover the event.

Sox just want Beckett to be Beckett - Scott Lauber says that management doesn’t want Beckett to try to do too much.

Bruins find a keeper in Steve Kampfer  – Joe Haggerty examines the circumstances which led to the defenseman landing in Boston.

Bruins may shut down Marc Savard - Joe McDonald has Peter Chiarelli acknowledging that shutting down the center might be the best decision.