April 21, 2018
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Red Sox have made right moves so far

Bangor Daily News

Bird-Magic film failed to inspire Celtics

A year ago, the consensus among Red Sox fans and observers was that Boston had a surplus of starting pitching as they opened their spring training camp.

Most agreed the Sox would and should trade one of their starters for blue chip prospects, a middle infielder, and/or another bat.

Boston held onto its starters and added credence to the theory that sometimes the best moves are the ones not made. Injuries befell starters such as Tim Wakefield and Daisuke Matsuzaka, forcing the Sox to cash in on the extra arms insurance they wouldn’t have had if they’d traded one or two of them away.

Once again, the buzzwords around Boston’s camp are “extra, surplus, spare and reserve.” This year, however, the Sox surplus doesn’t rest just with pitching. Boston has a marketable glove and bat without a regular position in third baseman Mike Lowell PLUS extra arms PLUS young, desirable talent.

Still, don’t expect the Sox to lead off with a trade, given the lesson of last season, but there’s another big reason Boston shouldn’t play its depth cards too early and it starts with “Adrian” and ends with “Gonzalez.”

Even now, Major League Baseball pundits are all but guaranteeing the San Diego Padres will trade their All-Star, Gold Glove first baseman before the trade deadline. The Sox have been, and are still believed to be at the front of the line of suitors for the young slugger. Even their offseason moves have Gonzalez written all over them — signing third baseman Adrian Beltre for just one season and holding onto their top prospects despite repeated offers from other teams.

More and more, it appears Boston’s strategy of retooling its defense, shoring up an already formidable pitching staff, and going the short-term route, frugal route on free agent signings (other than John Lackey) is a great one, for now and the future. Not only is it smart (emphasizing defense and pitching), it’s financially sensible while still increasing Boston’s financial flexibility and roster versatility.

The Sox pretty much have their rotation and/or lineup set on and off the field for the coming months. Now all they have to do is string some hits together and score some big runs.

Andrew Neff

Rivers needs different strategy to lead Celtics

Apparently the “Hoosiers” motivational tactic doesn’t work with the Boston Celtics.

After the team’s 108-88 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night, coach Doc Rivers opted to give the team Friday off from practice and instead showed them the HBO movie “Magic and Bird: A Courtship of Rivals.”

The movie, scheduled to be debuted on the cable network nationally on Saturday, March 6, highlights the history of the basketball rivalry between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird from the 1979 NCAA final featuring Magic and Michigan State against Bird and Indiana State to their clashes throughout the 1980s that produced five NBA championships for Magic and the L.A. Lakers and three world titles for Bird and the Celtics.

The biopic seems like a must-watch for any Celtics fan as opposed to today’s Celtics, who clearly are more from the mystery genre.

Rather than derive any motivation from watching the movie, the Celtics went out the next day and put on their most embarrassing loss of the season in a 104-96 loss to the New Jersey Nets – the 6-52 New Jersey Nets.

This loss- at home, no less, where the team is now just 16-11 – puts Boston in elite company along with the other teams that have fallen to New Jersey this season: Charlotte twice), Chicago, the L.A. Clippers and the New York Knicks.

And it leaves a fan base wondering just what is going on. Clearly Paul Pierce’s absence due to injury was a factor against both the Cavaliers and Nets, but that by itself doesn’t explain the team’s inconsistency.

Age, team chemistry, injuries and the notion that the players aren’t listening to coach Doc Rivers anymore all are being cited as root causes for the Celtics less-than-championship-caliber effort in recent weeks.

Methinks it’s a little of E: all of the above. Perhaps a major move before the trade deadline would have shaken up the apparent lethargy throughout the organization, too, but Nate Robinson from the Knicks doesn’t rise to major-move status.

Celtics fans can only hope that the loss to the Nets represents a true bottoming out, and that the team can truly turn it back on as playoff time nears, as also has been widely suggested.

If not, at least there’s “Magic and Bird” to watch.

Ernie Clark

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