Celtics Look to Finish Off Sixers

The Celtics have a chance tonight to close out the Philadelphia 76ers and get themselves at least a couple days of sorely-needed rest. Recent history though, says that when the Celtics have a chance to close out a series early, especially on the road, they don’t always take advantage of it. In all reality, we really don’t know what Celtics team will show up tonight.

A few noteworthy links –

From basketball to brotherhood: Battie always saw it in Pierce – Jessica Camerato talks to Tony Battie, now riding the Sixers bench, about what he saw in Paul Pierce as a rookie in 1999.

Masterful coach at core of Celtics success – Gerry Callahan says that of all the breaks the Celtics have gotten this year, Doc Rivers coming back was the biggest.

KG: “fair-weathered” beats bigoted any day – The Philadelphia Inquirer responds to KG’s postgame comments by playing the “Boston fans are racists” card.

There was outrage on the radio waves yesterday over Kevin Garnett’s “cheap shots” in this series, with Felger and Mazz up in arms over KG tripping Sixers. Hopefully those two clowns saw last night’s Pacers/Heat game for what real cheap shots look like.

The David Ortiz drama continued on, with Mike Felger puffing out his chest and feeling good about getting Ortiz riled up. Nick Cafardo wants to give Ortiz a mulligan for an “out of character” rant.

Ranaudo still playing catch up after spring-training setback – Brian MacPherson has an update on the Sox top pitching prospect, who has had a rough beginning at AA this season.

Eric Kettani pulled strings – Jeff Howe has an interesting story on the former Navy fullback, who has had to to go through an appeal process and prove his legitimacy as an athlete so he can be free to pursue an NFL career with the Patriots. Bill Belichick was among those who called the Navy to vouch for his skills on the field.

Different Approaches on Ortiz

The discussions of David Ortiz and his comments last night about not being recognized as a team leader have brought out some very different perspectives on the longtime Red Sox DH.

If you missed it, Gordon Edes (David Ortiz blasts naysayers) had a column running down Ortiz’s comments, where he calls out the media for how he believes they anoint team leaders:

“Well, let me tell you, I was reading an article [that] talked about the leaders people call ‘leaders’ in this town,” he said. “Basically, it seems like no matter what you do, it’s not good enough.

“And you can only call leaders the guys who are out diving for balls on the field or calling pitches behind the plate?”

To an extent, Ortiz has a point. When the subject of Red Sox team leaders comes up – and it has numerous times over the last eight months or so – the names most commonly brought up have been Jason Varitek and Dustin Pedroia. Even over the years, Ortiz has never really been viewed in that role. He’s been assigned the “chemistry guy” role, where everyone loves him, and he serves as a bridge between the latin players and the American players.

Edes cites Mike Aviles as someone who praised Ortiz as a leader, and John Tomase (David Ortiz leads by example) has Daniel Bard also praising Ortiz, saying:

“He’s a leader, whether he likes it or not,” Bard said. “Everyone listens to him and respects him because of what he’s done. . . . Very few guys like to call team meetings, since it’s not a positive thing. It’s not fun to tell your teammates to pick it up, but sometimes it’s needed. What better guy to do it?”

The Tomase column is completely flattering to Ortiz. Then we come to Kirk Minihane. (Delusional David Ortiz strikes again)

I like Kirk. I think he often makes points that need to be made. Unfortunately, I think more often, he takes a controversial stance just for the challenge of it, and to bring attention to himself.

I think he took things a little to far this time. If you read Edes’ column above, Ortiz had a lot more to say than the follow bit, which is what Minihane choose to focus on and target with laser-like intensity:

To Ortiz, there is a lack of respect for what he has tried to do in his decade here.

“I don’t get no respect,” he said. “Not from the media. Not from the front office. What I do is never the right thing. It’s always hiding, for somebody to find out.”

Minihane blasts Ortiz, saying that he has received nothing but positive press during his time in Boston. (In the plus column for Kirk, this means he hasn’t read any Dan Shaughnessy columns since 2003)

He then goes and makes a few veiled allegations about Ortiz and his late-career resurgence.

The media doesn’t respect him? Really? Again, find me all the critical pieces on Ortiz over the years. The media gave him an absolute free pass on the steroid stuff, closed their eyes and collectively walked away from it. And you know why? They like Ortiz – he’s jokes around with them in the locker room and is always accessible. It’s that simple. And now we are reading stories about Ortiz’s remarkable late-career production that never mention his PED history. I mean, if the media truly didn’t respect Ortiz wouldn’t there be a lot more speculation as to how Ortiz has a 1.019 OPS at age 36?

(Oh, forget it. NESN.com has gone Woodward and Bernstein on me, right when I wasn’t looking. Here’s the headline from this morning: “Mike Aviles, David Ortiz Credit Healthy Diets for Continued Success This Season.” Here’s one highlight — “Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz has taken a cue on adhering to a diet as well. In an attempt to reduce his cholesterol –– and avoid taking medicine –– the 36-year-old trimmed roughly 20 pounds by cutting out alcohol and munching on more vegetables.” Sold. Didn’t we used to read this stuff about guys back in 1998 with no irony?)

The whole bit is very Mike Felger-like, which I assume is what Kirk is aiming for. Maybe it’s just me, but I read this almost as threatening. Listen Ortiz, don’t you turn on the media, or we will unleash a maelström of PED allegations on you so fast your head will spin.

Edes had an updated post this afternoon: What Ortiz was talking about last night where he notes that Ortiz was referring to – shockingly – a summary of a Felger and Mazz show that was posted on the 98.5 website. On that show, the duo – in angry voices, no doubt – demanded to know what took so long to call the meeting which is now being credited with helping to turn things around.

It seems that the real part of Ortiz’s comments that should’ve been focused on, was this line – Basically, it seems like no matter what you do, it’s not good enough.

Ortiz has a gripe there. He called the meeting, and what do the Tony Massarotti’s of the world say? How come he didn’t do it sooner?

Some reporters in town do treat Ortiz with kid gloves. The Tomase piece is a great example. Others play it down the middle, as Edes did. Then you have the Minihanes, Felgers and Massarottis of the world, which unfortunately is where the slant of most sports coverage is right now.

Q&A with Jeff Howe, Boston Herald Patriots beat reporter

Former NESN.com Patriots beat reporter Jeff Howe will begin his new job today as Patriots beat reporter for the Boston Herald. Howe replaces Ian Rapoport who took a position with NFL.com a few months ago. The famous “Rap Sheet” blog that Rapoport was most known for has now been named “The Blitz” where Howe and Herald Patriots reporter Karen Guregian will be posting on multiple times each day.

What has your professional career been like since graduating from UMass in 2006?

My career has been a constant learning experience. I worked at the Boston Metro from 2006-09, and I was also a stringer for the MetroWest Daily News for about six months from 2006-07. One of my favorite jobs ever was covering Hockey East for Inside College Hockey from 2005-10.

Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald

I did a little of everything at the Metro, as former sports editor Chris Price rounded me out with reporting, editing and design work. We launched Metro GameDay in 2007, which was a free publication that was distributed at every Red Sox home game, and I was the editor in charge. GameDay was successful, but Metro stopped publishing it after the World Series parade, so I was assigned to the Celtics beat. I can’t even begin to list all of the things I learned while covering the Celtics from 2007-09, and it was an experience that helped me grow a ton as a writer and reporter.

But I was looking for a fresh start in 2009, and I hooked on with NESN.com as the Patriots beat reporter. I had some limited experience covering the team for the Metro from 2006-08, but the workload really increased in 2009 and every year after that.

What has it been like being on the Patriots beat since 2006?

I’ve only been on the beat since 2009, but I covered about one practice per week from 2006-08. Chris Price showed me the ropes on how to handle myself in a professional environment, and he brought me along at a very appropriate pace, which is important for young reporters. There were also plenty of days when I’d cover practice in the morning and then work the MetroWest desk at night, and I saw Bert Breer routinely working 16-hour days. That work ethic rubbed off on me, and I got a great look at how to conduct business.I could turn this into a yearbook session and thank dozens of people for the ways they’ve helped me develop, but I’ll just say that everyone I’ve worked with — either alongside or in competition — has made me a better person and reporter. I’m always studying the different ways reporters do things, and I try to learn from it all. I officially joined the beat in 2009 with NESN.com. With limited experience at Gillette Stadium, I spent that first season trying to carve my own niche. I’ve always felt it was important to cover the team and the game the way it needs to be covered, and in addition to that, I’ve looked for ways to do it differently. That’s typically been my goal each day of each season.

Looking back, what was your time at NESN.com like?

I’m truly grateful for my time at NESN.com, and I thought we were a perfect match. I joined NESN.com as the site was in a redevelopment stage, so we had time to learn together. Like I said, I was looking for a fresh start, and NESN.com was looking for young writers. They had patience with me as I grew on the beat, but the expectations increased each year, as I was able to do more and NESN.com continued to expand. Really, it was the perfect opportunity for me because we were able to grow together, and that was important.I can’t thank them enough for taking a chance on me, both on NESN.com and NESN Daily. The Daily producers, photographers, production crew and on-air talent invested a lot of time to help me get comfortable on television, and I’ll be forever indebted to them. There’s so much talent with the Daily staff, and they’re great people, too.

What can people expect from your coverage with the Herald?

Expect that I’ll work hard every day to cover the team the way the readers want it to be covered. I put a lot of emphasis on strategy and X’s and O’s, and I also love to tell the players’ personal stories. In addition to that, I’ll always be looking to find new ways to cover the team because it’s important for us to differentiate our coverage. I also have a ton of fun with my job, and I hope that shows in my writing (I’m sure it does on Twitter). I’m really looking forward to starting a new blog with Karen Guregian and the rest of the staff, and you can expect a steady stream of information on a daily basis.

What is the one thing that people who don’t know you already should know?

It’s tough to pick one, so I’ll share a little more of my personal background. I was born and raised in Lowell, Mass., and I graduated from Lowell High, Middlesex Community College and UMass. I originally went to UNH as a business major, but I realized that wasn’t for me, which led to a new start at MCC. You know what’s a great source of motivation? Moving home and attending the community college that you’ve been able to see out of your bedroom window for 18 years. And I wouldn’t trade a single one of those experiences, because that’s how I developed my work ethic, which is important in every walk of life. I’ve also got a great family, and I married my wife in June 2011, so it’s been an awesome year.

Celtics Prep For Game Four In Philly, Sox Also In Philly

The Celtics look to keep things going in Philadelphia tonight as they take on the 76ers in game four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Tonight’s game is on ESPN at 8:00 p.m.

The Red Sox are also in Philly tonight as they get ready to take on former teammate Jonathan Papelbon for the first time. (NESN, 7:10 p.m.) See all of Friday’s Viewing Picks.

A few of the big stories today:

Wideout says no progress in long-term talks – Karen Guregian had the quotes from Wes Welker yesterday that negotiations with the Patriots are not going well. Mike Reiss attempts to insert some context into the story, and says that Welker’s stance isn’t likely to help him at the negotiating table.

Shame on Curt Schilling – (subscription required) – It’s shocking that Dan Shaughnessy would go after Curt Schilling, I know. One nugget that Shaughnessy drops in this “pieces” column that I hadn’t seen before was that Mike Lombardi’s son Mick, works in the Patriots scouting department.

A Series Matter: Red Sox-Phillies and Ben Franklin – I’m not exactly sure how to describe this piece from Brian MacPherson, other than it has a lot of quote from Ben Franklin.

Kevin Garnett: The unselfish superstar – Paul Flannery says that out of necessity, KG has become unselfishly selfish in this postseason. Jessica Camerato also puts KG’s play in perspective.

Celtics’ local TV team better for viewers – (subscription required) Chad Finn’s media column looks at the dropoff in Celtics broadcasts when Mike and Tommy aren’t calling the games. One tiny item – he gets on Dick Stockton for referring to nine-year veteran Marquis Daniels as a “third year player” – I immediately knew that Stockton meant it was Daniels’ third year with the Celtics, but it was a clumsy reference. Still, as a note at SB Nation, (below) I’d much prefer Dick Stockton than anyone over at ESPN.

Media Roundup: Scal Returns, Mike Felger’s Celtics Bashing And Curt Schilling’s Blunders – My SB Nation Boston media column applauds Brian Scalabrine for calling out Mike Felger, and has me dreading the return of Mike Breen to Celtics games.

A Far-Too-Early Patriots Roster Preview (Bias Included)

Now that New England’s rookie mini-camp has wrapped up, it’s high time we put together the roster for 2012.

(Is it really high time? No, not at all. But with all these players in Foxboro, the temptation proved too much.)

Keep reading this post

Celtics rout 76ers, Red Sox fall to Rays

After two one-point games to begin their Eastern Conference semifinal series, the Celtics blew out the 76ers 107-91 Wednesday night in Philadelphia to take a 2-1 series lead. The Celtics used a 22-6 run in the second quarter to run away from the young Sixers team. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo combined to score 74 of the 107 points. Garnett led the team with a game-high 27 points and pulled down 13 rebounds. Pierce poured in 24 points and added 12 rebounds, while Rondo also had a double-double scoring 23 points and dishing out 14 assists.

Celtics send clear-cut message- Chris Forsberg has Wednesday night’s rout being a statement game for the team.

Angry Celtics send a message- Paul Flannery looks at the Celtics’ dominating performance.

Celtics paint pretty picture- Mark Murphy says the Celtics trusted what has worked for them ever since the All-Star break in Wednesday’s 16-point win.

Unrelenting defense flexed its muscle too- Gary Washburn has the Celtics’ defense being just as dominant as the offense in the win.

Rajon Rondo attacks at will- Dan Duggan looks at the Celtics point guard’s performance.

Celts land on the inside- Steve Bulpett has the Celtics big men getting the job done in the win.

Paul Pierce overcomes injury, 76ers- Ron Borges has Pierce overcoming his injury and coming up big when the team needed him most.

It’s clear what team is better, and they know it- Dan Shaughnessy has after Wednesday night’s game there is no question who the better overall team is.

The Red Sox saw their five-game winning streak come to and end with a 2-1 loss to the Rays Wednesday night at Tropicana Field. The team did get another strong outing from their starting pitcher as Clay Buchholz went five innings, scattering five hits, allowing two earned runs and striking out five. He did balk home the Rays first run in the second inning.

Buchholz has roller coaster evening- Sean McAdam looks at the Red Sox starter’s outing, in which although was shaky at times, was a step in the right direction for the Red Sox righty.

Red Sox pay for a misplay- Scott Lauber looks at the play in which Cody Ross misjudged a fly ball where the Rays scored their second and game-winning run.

Not all the right moves- Nick Cafardo has how balks are becoming an issue for the Red Sox pitching staff.

Difficult math in this division- John Tomase looks at the competitive AL East, in which right now there isn’t much difference from the first place team and the last place team.

Also, a big topic of discussion the past few days has been Curt Schilling’s situation in Rhode Island with his video game venture, 38 Studios. The company missed its loan payment of just over $1.1 million to the state on May 1.

The hypocrisy of Curt Schilling- Kirk Minihane looks at the situation and Schilling’s past.

In case you missed this yesterday, here is Rob Bradford’s piece following his interview with former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon. There is some pretty interesting stuff in here including Papelbon going by “Cinco Ocho” now, his dislike for the Red Sox medical staff, when he knew he wouldn’t be returning as a member of the Red Sox and looking back, if he thinks he made the right decision leaving Boston. This was a good get by Bradford, getting to Papelbon before the rest of the Boston media descend on Philadelphia this weekend as the Red Sox and Phillies get together for the beginning of interleague play.

 

Examining How Bill Belchick and Doc Rivers Talk With The Media About Injuries

They are both among the longest-tenured head coaches in their respective leagues. They have both won conference and league championships. They both seemingly manage to get more out of their teams than the roster talent would indicate.

But when it comes to dealing with the media, Bill Belichick and Doc Rivers could not be more different.

Or are they more alike than a surface examination would show?

Doc Rivers was recently named the recipient of the Rudy Tomjanovich Award – a honor given from the Professional Basketball Writers Association to the head coach considered the most accessible to the media.

Bill Belichick is never in danger of being awarded the Horrigan Award from the Professional Football Writers of America, which goes “to the person whose qualities and professional style helped the media best do its job last season.” Guess who won last year? (Professional style? Ha.)

(As an aside, how ridiculous is it that these awards exist in the first place? It seems a little self-important for the media to be honoring people who make their jobs the easiest.)

While their approaches with the media are certainly different, you can’t argue with the results.

Belichick does not give away information on the day-to-day operation of his team, whether it be about injuries, the opponent, or what color jerseys his team is wearing that Sunday. He will almost never criticize a specific player publicly, instead putting the blame on the entire team, including the coaches and himself. Belichick will, from time to time, speak at length about the history of a certain strategy, or about players of the past, or will acknowledge something in the personal life of a media member (as he did by noting Monique Walker’s last day on the beat this season.) His press conferences, especially after a game, can be painful. He doesn’t elaborate on anything, does not want to speak about certain plays or performances until he has a chance to review the film. His weekly radio spots with WEEI are a little more open and cordial, though he still does not give away much.

Rivers talks openly about injuries. (sort of, more on that in a bit.) He’ll be critical of his players publicly. His press conferences are informative, engaging and smooth. His weekly spots on WEEI are appointment radio.

Both are successful, showing that there is more than one way to do things.

Let’s get back to injuries. The Patriots policies on information about injuries can be infuriating when, as a fan, you want to know how hurt a player is, and what the impact, long and short-term is going to be. But after a few days, it becomes “out of sight, out of mind.” The injured players are “day-to-day,” with no timetable set on a return.  The focus is turned onto the players who are playing. In addition to keeping fans and media guessing, it also keeps opponents in the dark, which is the real reason for the policy. Injuries never become an all-consuming drama.

If I have a frustration with the Celtics, and Doc Rivers (and Danny Ainge) it is how they deal with injuries. They talk about them, but in reality, they’re not giving you much more than the Patriots do. The release last week about Paul Pierce’s MCL was a bit of a surprise, it was also obvious that Pierce had a knee injury. (Well, except to foil-hat Felger.) In general, the Celtics will give almost daily updates on injuries without giving you any information.

Let me give two examples: Kevin Garnett in the 2009 playoffs, and Shaquille O’Neal last season. In both cases, you got daily updates which told you absolutely nothing. With KG, every day there was talk about being day-to-day or getting “close” or wanting to play. First there was talk about whether he would be ready for the playoffs, which Ainge and Rivers said he would be. Then as each game went by, KG was said to be “close.

He never stepped on the court for the Celtics in the 2009 playoffs.

Last season, it was Shaq. Following the trade of Kendrick Perkins, Danny Ainge repeated said that the trade was made in part because they expected Shaq (and to a lesser extent, Jermaine O’Neal) to fill the center spot. We got daily and weekly updates on Shaq, and how close he was to returning. Rivers talked about it, but Shaq never really came back, making just a token appearance in the playoffs (2 games, 2 points total) and obviously never being a factor.

If you think about it,  in the end, the practices of Doc Rivers and Bill Belichick when it comes to information about injuries, really have the same endgame. They tell you nothing. They do it to keep people guessing.

Celtics ownership infamously joked/bragged that they were being Belichickian during the KG injury. They knew the severity of Garnett’s injury, but played the “day-to-day” game to keep opponents guessing. In the endgame, perhaps it was Belichick-like, but the method of getting there was about as far from Belichick as you could get.

The difference between the Rivers method and the Belichick method is that Doc Rivers is going to sit in front of reporters and talk about the situation, seemingly being helpful, yet saying nothing, while Belichick is not even going to bother playing that game. But Rivers is lauded and awarded for being “helpful” to the media, while Belichick is mocked, and reporters gripe about not getting any information from him.

I actually prefer the Belichick way of doing things. The KG and Shaq sagas were painful. Every day it seemed like the player was very close to coming back, yet it didn’t happen. Hopes were raised, the frustrations grew as the weeks went by. Had it been Belichick handling it, it wouldn’t have been the same huge topic. Focus would be on the players who were actually playing. If the injured players came back, it would be a pleasant surprise and a bonus, perhaps even a lift to the team.

While Doc Rivers is definitely more media friendly and is certainly always accessible, part of him is more like Bill Belichick than it would seem. Let’s keep this mind next time you hear Rivers praised for his accessibility and willingness to talk about injuries, and the next time a reporter dumps on Belichick for refusing to talk about injuries.

Just Curious…

Did anyone else laugh out loud at these lines from Nick Cafardo on the Kevin Youkilis/Will Middlebrooks situation:

Sunday:

It should be Valentine’s decision as to whether Youkilis gets his job back, and nobody else’s.

Today:

The Drew Bledsoe-Tom Brady analogy is somewhat pertinent in this case. Bill Belichick had just about reached the end of the line with Bledsoe and when Brady took over and performed so well, it was an easy decision.

Those are somewhat different sentiments than Nick had at the time of the Bledsoe/Brady debate.

From November 21st, 2001.

The principals in the Confrontational Conference at Foxborough – that would be heavy-handed head coach Bill Belichick and once-upon-a-time starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe – were asked yesterday in separate interviews how they would characterize Bledsoe’s emotions in the meeting Monday in which the coach told Bledsoe he was going with replacement Tom Brady as his starter the rest of the season.

And a little bit later on in the same column:

Belichick’s pronouncement came at an awkward time, just after Brady had played his second consecutive subpar game, a 24-17 loss to the Rams Sunday night. Brady is 5-3 as a starter but has shown obvious decline in the last four games.

If Brady was performing “subpar” and in “obvious decline” it doesn’t really sound like an “easy decision” like Nick makes it out to be, 10 years later.

Valentine gets free reign in making the decision on Youkilis, but Belichick was “heavy-handed” in making his decision.

Celtics fall in Game 2, Red Sox win fourth straight

In yet another one-point game between the Celtics and 76ers, this time it was the 76ers coming out on top, defeating the Celtics 82-81, evening the series at one Monday night at TD Garden. In what was an ugly game most of the way, the offense picked up during the last five minutes. An offensive foul call on Kevin Garnett for an illegal screen with ten seconds left in regulation and the Celtics trailing by three, ended the Celtics’ hopes of pulling out a win. It was also a major discussion following the game. Games 3 and 4 are Wednesday and Friday in Philadelphia.

Celtics ignore Kevin Garnett til 4th quarter- Steve Bulpett says the Celtics should have gone to their big man more during the game.

Celtics make bad decision- Mark Murphy looks at the offensive foul call on Garnett being one of the many mistakes the Celtics made.

After ugly effort, Celts can only wonder if loss will haunt them- Bill Reynolds has an 11-point third quarter hurt the Celtics in their one-point loss.

For Celtics, one that got away- Paul Flannery looks at Game 2, a game the Celtics certainly had their chances to win in.

Celtics’ experience doesn’t pay- Chris Forsberg has bad execution down the stretch hurting the Celtics and their chances to win.

Paul Pierce, Celtics aren’t right in Game 2- Chad Finn says Paul Pierce’s injury is limiting the Celtics captain and also effecting the team.

Pierce: ‘The knee was fine’- Jessica Camerato has Pierce not making any excuses for Monday’s 7-point performance.

No matter the outcome, Celtics must convince themselves of the process- Gary Dzen looks at the Celtics’ reactions following the game and looks ahead to the remainder of the series.

This time, Celtics couldn’t close it out- Bob Ryan has the only difference between Game 2 and Game 1 was the Celtics not closing it out down the stretch.

Behind a complete game performance from Jon Lester, the Red Sox defeated the Mariners 6-1 Monday night at Fenway Park. With the win the Red Sox have now won four games in a row. Daniel Nava and Kelly Shoppach both homered for the home team. The two teams will play again this afternoon on Tim Wakefield day. Josh Beckett will take to the hill for the Red Sox.

Lester’s gem just what the Red Sox ordered- Maureen Mullen looks at Lester’s impressive performance in Monday’s win.

Jon Lester’s gem continues Red Sox rotation turnaround- Didler Morais has Lester’s outing being the fourth straight good outing from a Red Sox starting pitcher.

Still the one: Jon Lester’s season has a familiar top-of-the-rotation shape- Alex Speier looks at this season compared to Lester’s first four seasons, and  notes his start is very much in line with career norms.

Red Sox in complete control- Michael Silverman has getting good solid pitching has been the key to the teams’ four game winning streak.

Decision day looming- Silverman also looks at the decision the Red Sox face when Kevin Youkilis returns from the disabled list and what to do with Will Middlebrooks.

Should Youkilis be handed his job back?- Nick Cafardo examines the dilemma of what to do with both Youkilis and Middlebrooks.

Lester is on board; is Beckett- Joe McDonald looks ahead to Josh Beckett’s start today and asks if he can continue the trend of good outings by starting pitchers.

Old Rivals Boston, Philadelphia To Meet In Eastern Semis

The Celtics provided a brief respite from the scopious Josh Beckett coverage with their thrilling 93-90 series-clinching win over the Atlanta Hawks at TD Garden. The post game coverage on CSNNE was thorough, but they still could not help themselves by incessantly teasing upcoming Beckett coverage on UNO Sports Tonight by popping Michael Felger up on the screen, hardly unable to contain his joy.

Of course, earlier in the day on his radio show, Felger was proposing at trade of Beckett and Kevin Youkilis to HIS Milwaukee Brewers. He’d love to have Beckett on his team, but just feels he’s all wrong for this team and this city. Right.

Get all the Celtics coverage over at CelticsLinks.com.

The Celtics have moved on to the second round of the playoffs, where they will face their historic rivals, the Philadelphia 76ers, who bumped off the top-seeded Chicago Bulls in their first round series. Game one is Saturday night.

The Patriots are holding rookie camp this weekend, and also finalized their coaching staff yesterday. Check for updates at PatriotsLinks.com.

A couple of media links for a Friday:

Jerry Trupiano’s son tries to get his father Astros job – Chad Finn (subscription now required) has the son of the former Red Sox radio voice lining up support from the likes of Joe Buck and Jim Nantz in an effort to get his dad back in an MLB play-by-play booth.

Media Roundup: Boston Red Sox Are Great … At Being Terrible – My SB Nation Boston column has the team’s struggles proving to be a gold mine for local sports talkers.

If you’re going to read one column on Josh Beckett and accountability, make it this one: On Accountability.