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Mitch's Sports: Celtics And Sixers Put On A Show For Fans In London

Not sure if it was intentional, but the NBA decided to showcase its game to folks in England last night with two teams representing cities that are enduring symbols of the American revolution: the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, and they provided plenty of fireworks in an entertaining comeback win for Boston.

Tipping off at 3 o'clock eastern standard time in the 02 Arena while Big Ben struck eight in the evening in London, Philly jumped out to a 22 point lead before the Celtics hunkered down on defense and began to chip away at the lead. Kyrie Irving had a lot to do with that, pouring in 20 points, while Jaylen Brown added 21 and Marcus Morris scored 19 to go with eight rebounds, and Morris was also involved in a scuffle that nearly escalated into an all-out brawl when Morris was knocked to the floor on a hard screen by rookie Ben Simmons. Morris took exception and came up shoving Simmons while both benches cleared and a lot words were spoken, none of them kind, but the game did resume without further incident and the Celtics were able to pull away for a 114-103 win.

The Celtics have now won seven in a row and own the best record in the eastern conference while the Sixers are fighting to get into the playoff picture as the number eight seed and are just outside the bubble right now. If they did get in at number eight they would play the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs so this game may have served as a preview to those festivities.

The cold snap here in the U.S. has abated for now but there's still no thaw in the free agent baseball hot stove season, with big name players still waiting for deals that have yet to materialize. The NY Yankees, who made the one big splash in the pool, a cannonball really, with the trade that brings in last year's home run leader and National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton, made a mild ripple yesterday buy re-signing outfielder Aaron Hicks and reliever Tommy Kahlnle to one-year deals, avoiding salary arbitration as a result.

Meanwhile, the biggest bat yet to be signed has indicated he'll sit out spring training unless he gets a deal worthy of his talents. J.D. Martinez has Scott Boras as an agent, and he's made it publicly known that he's seeking a long term deal in the range of $200 Million or so for his client, and if you think that kind of money paid to a person for smacking a ball with a stick and catching it when called upon to do is obscene, you won't get an argument from me, despite my real and enduring love for the game of baseball.

Finally, the NFL playoffs resume tomorrow with the Philadelphia eagles hosting the Atlanta Falcons, and the New England Patriots welcoming the Tennessee Titans to Foxboro. Both these games should be locks for both host teams, but if there is an upset looming I would probably go with the Falcons getting by the Eagles, if only because quarterback Carson Wentz, who was having an MVP year for Philly, will not be doing the signal calling following a season-ending injury. But back-up Nick Foles has played well in his stead and the only question remaining is whether he can translate that success to a winner take all playoff game. The Eagles defense is excellent and that will help him out immensely and in the end it'll probably be the Iggles moving on, but I'm sure long suffering Philly fans will be watching this game with a little less confidence than they would had Wentz not been removed from the equation.

As for the Patriots, the biggest challenge for them may be proving that a recent ESPN article alleging that there are cracks showing in the foundation of trust and the working relationship between quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick are false. Brady, Belichick and team owner Bob Kraft have all refuted the central thesis of the article, but the only way they can really put the piece in the rear view mirror is to go out and take care of step one, which is beating Tennessee and soundly on Saturday night. There really are no excuses for the Patriots in this one, and unlike last year, they'll have a healthy Rob Gronkowski on the field for Brady to target along with some other impressive receivers. The Pats should cover the spread, which at last check was 13 and a half points.




A graduate of NYU with a Master's Degree in journalism, Mitch has more than 20 years experience in radio news. He got his start as news director at NYU's college station, and moved on to a news director (and part-time DJ position) for commercial radio station WMVY on Martha's Vineyard. But public radio was where Mitch wanted to be and he eventually moved on to Boston where he worked for six years in a number of different capacities at member station a Senior Producer, Editor, and fill-in co-host of the nationally distributed Here and Now. Mitch has been a guest host of the national NPR sports program "Only A Game". He's also worked as an editor and producer for international news coverage with Monitor Radio in Boston.
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