The aged and depleted Celtics put up quite a fight last night in Miami, giving the front-running Heat and their fans something to sweat about when they cut what had been a 20-point Miami lead to three points with two minutes remaining. However, in the customary fourth-quarter disappearance of LeBron James, rookie Norris Cole stepped up and made big shots which buried the Celtics in the end, giving Miami a 115-107 victory over Boston.
Last night had everything on display which makes people who hate the NBA, hate the NBA. You had the front-running Heat and their fans nearly choking away a game, relying on a rookie to bail them out in the fourth quarter, and then celebrating like they won the title. You’ve got the imminently unlikeable LeBron James and Chris Bosh (I found myself hoping Bosh would bite his own tongue off after sticking out after making a three.) the incredibly hatable Miami Heat PA announcer, and of course, officials like Danny Crawford and Dick Bavetta who can’t let the game just play out on its own, but have to insert themselves into it, and while attempting to “make up” for bad calls, just make things worse.
Time to make choices, not panic - While Bob Neumeier opened SportsNet Central on CSNNE last night asking if it was time to panic, Paul Flannery says that time has not yet arrived.
Celtics can’t let slow starts continue - Chris Forsberg says that eliminating slow starts has to be first on the list of priorities. A. Sherrod Blakely says that atrocious defense isn’t helping either.
Green plans to return stronger - Gary Washburn’s notebook has Jeff Green looking to come back from heart surgery better than ever. The Herald notebook from Mark Murphy has turnovers killing the Celtics.
Eight Patriots were named to the Pro Bowl yesterday, and that includes free agent signees Brian Waters and Andre Carter. It funny to me how we get columns like this – Haynesworth just another personnel whiff - but not much about the successes. Carter and Mark Anderson have 19 sacks between them. How much would that be worth if you paid top dollar for them? (How much are Freeney, Dumervil, Babin, Allen and Pierre-Paul – the other Pro Bowl Ends - making?) Waters was the only starter from opening day left of the offensive line during the second half on Sunday, and helped protect Brady in the comeback win.
Yes, there have been plenty of whiffs in free agency. There have been successes as well. You just don’t hear about them. Mike Reiss does give it a mention in his wrapup of the selections, and is especially happy for Matthew Slater.
Brian Waters has become steady presence for Patriots’ offensive line - Christopher Price says that Waters has been the Patriots best free-agent signing.
Wounded Buffalo limps in - Greg A Bedard looks at the Patriots final regular season opponent.
Bill Belichick’s Style Means Patriots Won’t Let Up Against Buffalo and 19 Other Thoughts - Jeff Howe says that the Patriots will probably play this one straight.
’Twine tied early Patriots together - Ron Borges with a very nice piece on Houston Antwine, who passed away yesterday.
If you’re unfamiliar with Antwine, he was named All-AFL five times, an AFL All Star six times, and is a member of the All-Time AFL team as elected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
He’s also not in the Patriots Hall of Fame. It’s a shame that Antwine wasn’t honored before his passing. Drew Bledsoe could’ve waited 1 (or 10) more year(s).
According to Mark Farinella, the veteran’s committee of the Patriots Hall of Fame wasn’t expected to meet for another four years after putting Jon Morris in the Hall this year. I strongly urge Farinella, Borges and anyone else associated with the election committee of the Patriots Hall of Fame to seriously consider putting Antwine into the Hall immediately.