Celtics win Atlantic Division, Red Sox lose third straight

No Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, or Michael Pietrus. No problem. Paul Pierce and Avery Bradley led the Celtics to a 102-98 win over the Orlando Magic to clinch their fifth straight Atlantic Division title. Pierce scored four of his game-high 29 points in the final 7.6 seconds to clinch the win. Pierce also dished out a career-high 14 assists.

Pierce got most of the postgame attention. Dan Duggan has how Pierce stepped up in Rondo’s absence. Frank Dell’Apa in his Celtics notebook says the rest paid off for the Celtics captain.

Paul Pierce dishes out The Truth- Chris Forsberg has how despite being banged up, Pierce single-handedly led the Celtics to the win.

Appreciating Paul Pierce’s season- Paul Flannery takes a look at the Celtics’ captain’s entire season.

Division title no thrill, but sign of progress- Mark Murphy in his Celtics notebook says winning the title is just step one for this Celtics team.

Emotional Doc salutes Pat Summitt- A. Sherrod Blakely has how Doc got emotional in his postgame press conference when asked a question about Pat Summitt, who stepped down as Tennessee’s women’s basketball coach on Wednesday.

The Red Sox dropped their third straight game, and were swept in a brief two-game series by the Texas Rangers. Josh Beckett delivered his second consecutive quality start, but it was not enough as the Red Sox fell 6-3. Once again, the bullpen struggled as Franklin Morrales gave up three runs in the eighth inning, only recording one out.

Offseason choices bring Red Sox no relief- Michael Silverman has how the Red Sox’ offseason moves for the bullpen are not working out after 12 games.

Besides Aceves as closer, bullpen still work in progress- Tim Britton says Bobby Valentine and the Red Sox are still trying to figure out what they have in the bullpen.

Bullpen woes plague Red Sox- Didler Morais has just how much the bullpen has struggled this week, and there should be concern with the Yankees coming to town.

A tick up, then down for Josh Beckett- Michael Silverman also looks at Josh Beckett’s start. While pitching well once again, he’d like to take back a pitch in the fourth inning.

Red Sox are sorely lacking because of injuries- Nick Cafardo looks at the 4-8 start for the Red Sox and says how injuries have played a major role.

The renovations that did not reshape Fenway Park- Alex Speier looks some renovation ideas at Fenway Park that were discussed, but never actually happened.

The Bruins and Capitals were off on Wednesday and will face off in Game 4 tonight where the Bruins will look to take a commanding 3-1 series lead. Capitals coach Dale Hunter accused the Bruins of head hunting on Tuesday. Yesterday Claude Julien strongly refuted those claims.

Bruins-Capitals have been warned- DJ Bean has that with the suspension of Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom, and what has happened across the league, Brendan Shanahan has made it clear that he will not tolerate anything this postseason.

Bruins need Tyler Seguin to breakout- Ron Borges says that now is the time for the 20-year-old to make his presence known in the playoffs.

Looks like a cakewalk for Patriots- Tony Massarotti takes a look at the 2012 Patriots schedule and says 14-2 or 13-3 is what he is thinking at this point, a week before the NFL Draft.

  • latetodinner

    I wonder if Alex Spier volunteered to write his piece on Fenway Park…or when was it written.  It might have been done a few weeks ago before anything important was happening and put in the drawer to wait for the 100th anniversary.  If it wasn’t and he has actually done that piece in the last week or so, that says volumes to me about where his or WEEI’s head is at regarding covering this team.  The last thing fans want to read about right now is a puff piece on Fenway.  They want to know why this team can’t pitch, timely hit or get along. Nick Cafardo’s injury excuse piece is only going to infuriate fans who do not want to hear how a team with a $180 mill payroll does not have enough depth to be playing better than .333 ball.

    • tl;138

       Go back and ask Mets fans from a few years ago about how a team with a high payroll can’t compete.  You know as well as I (if you’ve been following the team) that most of that $180 mil is on the DL (Dice-K, Lackey, Crawford, Jenks, Bailey and now Elsbury)

      • latetodinner

        I know where the dollars are.  The problem the Sox have from a PR perspective is that the Patriots do not accept injuries as an excuse to lose.  They expect the next guy to step up and do his job.  The tone of Cafardo’s column is that the Sox don’t or aren’t or won’t or can’t (I am not sure which) embrace that philosophy.  I don’t think Red Sox fans want to hear that.  What we want is to know that our scrubs are as good if not better than most teams starters. We are spoiled that way.

        • tl;138

           Baseball and football are two completely different sports, especially when it comes to building depth.

          In baseball, draft picks needs years in the minors before they can offer any kind of help to the major league club.  In football, a draft pick can start and add depth to that team *that year*.

          I don’t blame the Sox for not having quality depth in the minor since they traded away most of their top-level prospects for AGonz and other players.  It will take time for the players they drafted the last couple of years to make it through the minor league system….if they make it through at all.

        • latetodinner

          I am not saying you would complain…I am saying the unwashed masses who look at what the Patriots do and then look at the money spent by the Sox will not accept the “injury” excuse. The expectation is this team will win and win now. What some of us have been pointing out all off season is that the Sox SR. management has taken fandom in this town for granted since they came here because they won early. Because they are not from here, I maintain they do not understand what putting now 4 years of crap on the field will get them in terms of reactions from the fans. To plant stories on the fabled Fenway park on the website of the flagship station, and then in the Globe (which has an ownership stake in the team) have its beat writer pronounce that it is injuries that excuse this team, condescending attitude of Sox management is recognized by and angering the fans. The utter arrogance they display in claiming fans should accept business as usual and the piss poor results, because they are busy managing other parts of their portfolio is going to result in some serious anger this summer. I think the Sox if they keep playing the way they are might see an implosion of TV and radio ratings. Maybe that will be noticed on Yawkee Way, because the constant analysis on the sportstalkers is clearly falling on deaf ears.

        • Atreyujones

           “4 years of crap on the field”

          The Sox won the 3rd most games over the 4 years of 2008-2011 (out of 30 major league teams).  Gee, I wonder why Boston fans are getting the reputation of spoiled, whiny, ignorant brats….

        • latetodinner

          2009 – 2nd place finish…win the wild card…get swept 3-0 by Angels in the first round of the playoffs 2010 – third place finish in the division
          2011 – most epic collapse in MLB history blowing a 10 game lead for the playoffs in the month of September finishing in 3rd place yet again. 2012 – 4-8 to start the season after a chaotic and miserable offseason.
          4 banner years. Perhaps you and Dan Duquette can tell me how this team spent more games in first place than any other. Boston fans are not whiney, ignorant brats…we expect excellence if we are going to pay the highest ticket prices in the game. But hey if you want to blindly follow like a lemming…be my guest.

        • Atreyujones

           If you say the third most wins in the majors over those four years is “crap” you sound whiny, spoiled, and entitled. There is no way around it.

        • Atreyujones

           Have the Patriots been putting “crap” on the field for the last 4 years because they didn’t win a superbowl too?

        • SteveFromYellowstone

          Pats have won their division each of the past 3 years. Sox haven’t, and have come in 3rd place the last 2 years. Pats just came off a Super Bowl appearance. Sox haven’t whiffed anywhere close to that the past few years. And the Sox have huge advantages versus other teams in payroll while the Pats are on an even playing field with everyone else.

        • latetodinner

          If you can’t see the difference in the effort, performance and results between the Pats over the last 4 years and the Red Sox then you really aren’t worth discussing sports with.

        • Atreyujones

          I see the difference just fine.  The pats have been better. I’m just waiting to hear how having the 3rd most wins out of 30 teams is “crap.” If you want to see a crap product from a team with a big payroll, look at the Mets or the Cubs. If you want to whine that the Sox have only won 2 championships in the past 10 years instead of 10, you look like a delusionaly crybaby.

        • latetodinner

          They have not had the 3rd most wins over the last 3 years. It was over 4 years. When I said 4 years I was talking about 2009, 2010, 2011 and this year. I don’t care about the Mets and Cubs…I concede those are poorly run teams. I care about the Sox. They should not be poorly run, the mistakes management continues to make exacerbate the situation and the frustration you are hearing from the fans and media is not that of a delusional crybaby but rather legitimate criticism of a team that has turned a blind eye to the wants and needs of its base and is now completely catering to its “fashionable” fans. I think Tony Mazz summed it up best when confronted by a caller on the baseball reporters a few nights ago. He said paraphrasing: fans do not disparage Sox ownership making money, we are all for it and recognize that without profits the product on the field suffers. However, if management is only about making money and not passionate about the product on the field, this market has and will turn on them.
          My criticism of this team is squarely on management. They don’t care about the game, they have come to only care about about the “event”, and as such they have lost their sense of urgency to win. In Foxboro they have never lost that sense of urgency…as such the team is revered and in Bill we trust…as much as that kills the Globe and others who want to see them fail.

        • Atreyujones

          In reply to your other post: So now 4 years means 3 years?  Way to weasel out of that one.

        • Dan Duquette Bot

          MORE DAYS IN FIRST PLACE. MORE DAYS IN FIRST PLACE. MORE DAYS IN FIRST PLACE.

  • bsmfan

    http://www.boston.com/sports/columnists/wilbur/2012/04/birthday_party.html

    Quotes:
    It starts with the team, which stinks, of course, but it’s more than that.

    Enough bricks.

    Enough Liverpool.

    Enough racing cars.

    Enough Bobby V down our tonsils.

    Enough patting yourself on the back for putting perfume on a pig.

    Enough promoting your farcical, stupid sellout “streak.”

    Enough … LeBron. You really did that, huh?

    Enough of the constant PR spin.

    Enough of turning a venerable, regional cable network that used to
    care about sports outside of 495, into a branded shill for only your
    products.

    Enough. It’s all just enough.

    Endquotes

    Ha. And, apparently nesn.com is even advertising a Lebron Liverpool shoe. Wow, really? Are you serious?

    http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/soccer-dirty-tackle/lebron-james-liverpool-fc-sneakers-celebrate-trophies-haven-152500027.html

    Just… wow.
     

  • HighWireNickEsasky

    New debate technique: Keep arguing until the other guy is forced into posting in one letter columns.  
    For the record i mostly agree with A. Jones here

  • bsmfan

    If you missed Ken Rosenthal’s article on BobbyV

    “This did not just start with the Youkilis incident, either. The Red
    Sox, rival players say, started bristling under Valentine in spring
    training. One opponent says that the team does not seem as unified and
    cohesive as in the past. A rival executive noticed the team’s coaches
    sitting apart from Valentine on the bench, literally keeping their
    distance.

    Valentine’s saving grace, in previous managerial stints, was his
    baseball acumen. But now, even his game management is in question. Twice
    in the past week, he stayed too long with a pitcher — right-handed
    starter Daniel Bard on Monday, left-handed reliever Franklin Morales on Wednesday. Both decisions were scream-at-the-television howlers, prompting first-guessing, not just second-guessing.”

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/bobby-valentine-out-of-touch-with-boston-red-sox-new-york-yankees-mlb-on-fox-preview-041912