This Is Our December

There’s no better place to break in the new month than right here in New England, and no better way than making BSMW your first stop. I’m Bob, but you can call me Eks. Since this is my debut, let me lead off with a thanks to Bruce and each of you for making me your alarm clock on a busy weekend of Hub sports. With big games on tap every day, this is truly our time of the year.

The Green

If you’re waking to a headache, no, you didn’t drink too much last night. You just watched the fourth quarter of the Celtics’ 95-85 win in Miami, when PGA went MIA. Pierce, Garnett, and Allen shot a frigid 20 of 55 on the night and watched a 28-point lead wither to seven with just under four minutes to play. Steve Bulpett says the C’s may have left the gym a bit too early, much like in their earlier game against the Heat in Boston. Marc J. Spears has the back-to-back games nearly taking their toll despite Thursday night’s cakewalk. Tim Reynolds sees Doc Rivers happy for a win against a determined Heat squad, while the Miami Herald’s Michael Wallace says Boston doesn’t need all that extra help the Heat have been providing this season.

Bulpett’s notebook has Heat coach Pat Riley not at all surprised over the Celtics’ 13-2 start this year. Changing direction a bit, rookie guard Gabe Pruitt relates in Spears’ notebook that he is all too familiar with what the Washington Redskins family is going through.

B.C. Eagles

From the rants of Ted Sarandis to the flush of Meterparel, The Heights’ cries for recognition have largely been drowned by the noise of pro sports in this region. Well today, Boston College will have its 15 minutes when a hush falls over all New England as the Eagles take on the No. 6 Virginia Tech Hokies for the ACC title and an Orange Bowl berth. Eric Avidon has QB Matt Ryan ready to vindicate himself after playing poorly for 56 minutes in his first effort against the Hokies’ defense. Steve Conroy has Eagles’ coach Jeff Jagodzinski relishing his team’s role as underdogs. Mark Long says the Hokies are up for the rematch.

Red Sox

The Santana pendulum may be shifting toward the Bronx yet again. ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the Yankees are willing to throw Philip Hughes into the deal, a move that may just land them the 28-year old lefty. Michael Silverman has Theo Epstein doubtful anything will happen over the weeekend. Paul Jarvey agrees that Santana’s new address won’t be set until the winter meetings begin in Nashville on Monday.

Gordon Edes and Amalie Benjamin say the Twins have been insisting on Hughes all along. And, while Boston might have to up the ante yet again, Joe McDonald won’t be sorry to see at least one Sox player go.

Patriots

Even as T.O. spends his days dropping passes and taking popcorn showers, all the world’s microscope is still focused on Randy Moss’ effort, or alleged lack thereof. Karen Guregian has both Tom Brady and Coach Belichick taking time out of preparations for the Baltimore Ravens this Monday night to defend their beleagered receiver.

Robert Lee has Jaws Jaworski using that ‘B’ word again, expecting the Ravens to copy Philly’s success against the Pats’ secondary. Well, Kyle Boller, we’ve met A.J. Feeley, and you, sir, are no A.J. Feeley. Guregian’s notebook has defensive coordinator Dean Pees admitting to some breakdowns on Sunday night, while avoiding any hint as to how he’ll fill in for the injured Roosevelt Colvin. Lee has fullback Heath Evans grateful for another day in New England.

Odds and Sods

In case you missed it, check out Buckshot Bobby Knight’s cameo in his neighbor’s back yard. You just have to laugh at cameraman-victim James Simpson’s contemptuous pronunciation of ‘cee-lebrity’.

In Miami, the Herald is reporting that police have multiple confessions among the four men arrested in connection with the murder of Redskins’ safety Sean Taylor.

And finally, you put off that Christmas shopping until now, so what’s another day? It’s Super Saturday in high schools across New England, with seven Eastern Massachusetts Super Bowls hosted at Gillette Stadium and Stonehill College, and another six Central / Western Massachusetts championships at Worcester State and Westfield State. Dan Ventura previews the match-ups at Gillette. There’s plenty of good action at a venue near you and remember: the malls will be open all day Sunday.

If you’ve got thoughts or comments, or are just upset that the UMass Minutemen didn’t get any billing, please let me know here.

Payback Tour Continues

It sure seems at times in this early part of the season, that the Celtics are determined to pay back the league for 15 years of mostly being on the wrong side of the scoreboard. Last night on national television, Boston demolished the New York Knicks by the eye popping score of 104 to 59. It wasn’t even THAT close. Nate Robinson hit a three pointer at the buzzer to rescue the Knicks from setting their all-time low for points scored.

Mark Murphy notes that the Celtics were determined not to let up their intensity, no matter what the score was. Marc J. Spears has the Knicks unable to match the Celtics intensity. Scott Souza has the Celtics issuing some retribution to the brash (and now 4-10) Knicks. Bill Doyle says that last night could be the last straw that costs Knicks coach Isiah Thomas his job. Jeff Howe calls the Celtics performance last night “dynamite.”

Steve Bulpett has Glen Davis showing signs once again last night that while his nickname may be “Big Baby,” his game is growing each time he gets on the floor. Jeff Horrigan has the Celtics defense setting the right tone last night. Dan Shaughnessy says that Red Auerbach would love what is happening to the Knicks right now. Horrigan has Eddy Curry of the Knicks shaken up by the death of Sean Taylor this week, as Curry and his wife were attacked by home invaders over the summer this year. The Celtics go into Miami tonight, and though the season is still early, Howe note that the team has had great success thus far this year when playing on back-to-back nights. On another note, David Borges has Andre LaFleur and Jim Calhoun paying tribute to Reggie Lewis with a basketball clinic.

Check the view from New York on the New York Sports Pages. (Hey, that Boston Massacre slogan is kinda catchy.)

Spears’ notebook has Tony Allen missing the game with a right thigh injury. Murphy’s notebook has the Celtics providing and answer to the Knicks talking prior to last night’s meeting between the clubs. Souza’s notebook has the Celtics making their return to TNT last night – where the cool kids in the NBA hang out. Doyle’s notebook has more on the Celtics finally making it back to TNT.

Patriots

Patriots Daily checks in with another look at the current AFC playoff picture.

Michael Felger doesn’t want you to enjoy the Patriots incredible season. He wants you to worry about how the team is going to keep all their players when the season is over. He wonders how deals for Asante Samuel, Randy Moss, Donte’ Stallworth, Vince Wilfork and a top draft pick (from the 49ers) will be possible. Christopher L. Gasper also focuses on the huge payday that Samuel is sure to receive after the season. I’ll give credit to Gasper for working the word “vituperated” into his column – though I don’t recall Samuel really being trashed for his brief holdout this summer.

20 players have scored touchdowns for the Patriots this season. Karen Guregian checks to see who might be #21, which would tie the league record. Troy Brown might be a good choice. Mark Farinella has a look at the veteran trying to see where he’s going to fit in with this team. Christopher Price has Brown excited about contributing to this edition of the Patriots. Glen Farley has more on Brown getting back to work. David Heuschkel also looks at Brown, who has had fun watching this team, but now seeks a piece of the action. Robert Lee has Brown ready to roll.

Guregian has Brian Billick talking about Randy Moss. Billick had coached Moss with the Vikings when the receiver was a rookie. Jennifer Toland says that the Patriots have their work cut out for them against Ray Lewis and the Ravens defense. Dan Pires and Christopher Price have Sean Taylor being remembered. Shalise Manza Young looks at the “bonuses” mentioned in the USA Today article yesterday, which are against league rules.

Guregian’s notebook has the impact of the death of Sean Taylor being felt across the league. Gasper’s notebook has more from Billick on Moss. Toland’s notebook has more on Brown waiting to see how he’ll fit in.

Bruins

Fluto Shinzawa and Stephen Harris have Zdeno Chara and the Bruins getting ahead and hanging on for a 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers last night.

Bill Doyle has Bruins voice Dave Goucher not getting much of a chance to announce goals for the Bruins this season.

Harris’ notebook has Chara playing last night like the great all-around defenseman that the Bruins signed him to be, with two goals and great defense on the Panthers Olli Jokinen. Shinzawa’s notebook has the Bruins being very cautious with Tuukka Rask.

Red Sox

Tony Massarotti has the Red Sox being cautious in their pursuit of Twins lefty Johan Santana, willing to part with almost any of their top prospects, but not willing to give up more than one. Sean McAdam says that while “some positive momentum” has taken place in the talks, a “deal was far from imminent.” Rob Bradford notes that even if a trade gets agreed upon, the team must still work out a new contract with Santana. Amalie Benjamin and Nick Cafardo report that Santana’s agents have not yet begun negotiating with any team. Jeff Goldberg has Clay Buchholz and Jacoby Ellsbury not part of the trade discussions at this point.

Misc

John Powers has Matt Ryan making history at Boston College. Steve Conroy has tight end Ryan Purvis being named an All-ACC first teamer, joining Ryan and safety Jamie Silva.

With Comcast SportsNet building their promised sports news network here in Boston, David Scott throws out some candidates for the network to bring on.

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell has CSN and Channel 38 planning to air high school Super Bowls tomorrow.

Race Talk, Trade Talk

The Sean Taylor murder is an example of a story that Dennis & Callahan love to cover, simply because it puts them at their “edgy” best (or worst). For some reason, these two absolutely go full bore on any story that might have an element of race to it. Given their background on this particular subject, you might think this would be an area they might shy away from. However, the truth is just the opposite.

They know that there is going to be added tension when they’re discussing these topics, and they embrace it. Consciously or not, people might stop and listen just to see if they’re going to “mess up” or say anything inappropriate. They’re not going to make that sort of mistake again, so they’re careful, but they still push these issues and milk the tension as much as they can.

They spent quite a bit of time this morning on this Jason Whitlock‘s column about the “Black KKK” which he says killed Sean Taylor. They criticized Dan Le Batard’s column which says that the media is spending too much time on what Taylor did to get himself killed.

More than once this week, John Dennis has referred to their discussions as trying to “advance the story.” I’m a little confused as to how exactly they’re doing that.

Dale & Holley stayed away from Taylor and talked about a possible Johan Santana trade to the Red Sox, based largely on a piece by Charley Walters which has everyone talking today. Walters claims that the Red Sox are now the favorites in the Santana trade sweepstakes. Jon Heyman on SI.com tries to see how the Santana trade talks shake out at the moment.

Jarrett Bell says that the Patriots make it their practice to discipline themselves. Apparently this is a problem, as Bell says it is a violation of NFL policy. Gregg Rosenthal says that there is little chance that the Patriots will rest their starters as the season winds towards the playoffs. David Pevear says that it was a good thing for the Patriots that Chad Brown was still around.

The Media Circus has ESPN’s Ed Werder slightly misrepresenting Tony Romo’s adoration of Brett Favre. John Clayton has his first and ten for this week’s games.

Charley Rosen says that Rajon Rondo and the team defense (which has been a strength thus far) will be the downfall of the Celtics. David Dupree however, says that Rondo and Kendrick Perkins have been just fine for the Celtics. David Picker says that the Celtics are a great example of how quickly a team can turn things around. Mike Fine has a look at the sad legacy of Isiah Thomas with the Knicks. Bill Burt talks to Bill Curley about why the Kevin Garnett/Stephon Marbury duo didn’t work out in Minnesota. Curley was a teammate of theirs on that squad.

Jalen Rose looks at how the East is shaping up thus far.

Wallace Matthews says that the Yankees need to do anything possible to stop the Red Sox. Things really have come full circle in this decade, haven’t they?

Chaz Scoggins has a look at Jon Goode’s new children’s book Pitching with the Papelbons.

An interesting little follow up from Boston Magazine after their feature linked here earlier this week: Charlie Jacobs Backstory.

Bill Simmons did a marathon 7-hour chat session.

Tonight

A very busy night for sports on TV:

7:30pm, NESN – Bruins @ Panthers
7:30pm, ESPN – Rutgers @ Louisville (football)
8:00pm, TNT – Knicks @ Celtics
8:00pm, NFLN – Packers @ Cowboys
9:00pm, ESPN2 – Oregon @ Kansas St. (basketball)
10:30pm, TNT – Nuggets @ Lakers
11:00pm, CSN – Oklahoma @ USC (basketball)