Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, April 9, 2012 at 10:24 AM
Let's just say that Boston's pro basketball team had a much, much better holiday weekend than did the city's pro baseball squad.
The old reliable Boston Celtics pounded out back-to-back double-digit wins - first with a rollicking 86-72 triumph over the host and 1 ½-point favorite Indiana Pacers and note that was a big-time winner for Jim Hurley's Network clients and than with Sunday's 103-79 cruise-job victory against the 3 ½-point road underdog Philadelphia 76ers.
As far as those beloved Red Sox, well, last Thursday's Opening Day ninth-inning loss in Detroit proved to be a sign of what was to come as Bobby Valentine's crew lost 10-0 to the Tigers on Saturday and the coup d'grace was Easter Sunday's wild 13-12 loss in 11 innings at Comerica Park.
Think that one ruined a few holiday dinners in/around New England?
The bottom line to this tale of two teams is that the Celtics (32-24 while entering Tuesday night's tilt in Miami) are hitting their collective stride while winning seven of their last 10 games overall and did you happen to notice that the "C's" exited the weekend on top of the Atlantic Division by three full games over both New York and Philadelphia and it's been awhile since we've all seen at least a little gap between first place and the rest if this division in 2011-12.
The Celtics - who right now sit there with the fourth seed in the East and thus the home-court advantage in a potential series against Atlanta - really thrived in this latest back-to-back scenario (not exactly a team strength for most of this current campaign) as Sunday's home heroes included point guard Rajon Rondo and his 15 assists and a team defense that held the 76ers to an ugly 38.2 percent accuracy rate from the floor (see 29-of-76 made FGs). For what it's worth, the Celtics pooh-poohed any idea that savvy head coach Doc Rivers fired 'em up following his scathing locker-room rant that followed last Thursday's 93-86 meltdown loss in Chicago and afterwards there was Philly head coach Dou Collins calling the Celtics "a handful" for any team that runs up against 'em in the upcoming NBA Playoffs.
If the arrow was indeed pointed up for the born-again Celtics, than the same couldn't be said of the Red Sox who don't really have a closer in this post-Jonathan Papelbon Era and actually don't have much of a bullpen at all. In Sunday's extra-innings setback, the Bosox bullpen allowed 6 runs and 7 hits in 2 2/3 innings following a nifty four-inning scoreless relief stint by Vicente Padilla and let's just say the name Mark Melancon (already 0-2 on the year) isn't exactly a favorite in Beantown with his 36.00 ERA.
Hey, at least the Red Sox have some company in the land of 0-and-3 Major-League Baseball teams as the New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves all have skidded badly at the starting gate but Boston's baseball woes need to be spelled out here 'cause the bullpen's in taters, the one-two punch of CF Jacoby Ellsbury and 2B Dustin Pedroia are hitting .154 and .231, respectively and Valentine and Company is just now coming upon the club's fourth and fifth starters and that hardly has anyone in Boston threads feeling real confident today.
Keep in mind that the over/under wins total for the Bosox this year is 90 - and that now appears a much tougher goal than it did a few days ago, right?
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will continue to rock this 2012 Major-League Baseball season and remember there's still lots more NBA Winners too this spring and so sign up today and be sure to check in with us either right here online or else at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 for all the daily/nightly winners.
THE NFL DRAFT
THE TOP TIGHT ENDS
Our official NFL Draft coverage here at Jim Sez begins today as we bring you our position-by-position analyses - we start if off with the top Tight Ends. Note that we will have our Jim Sez NFL Mock Draft Preview on Wednesday, April 25th. The NFL Draft will be held in New York City on April 26-27-28:
COBY FLEENER, STANFORD - This 6-foot-6, 250-pounder was QB Andrew Luck's favorite red-zone target last year as he nabbed 10 scoring strikes while averaging a hefty 19.6 yards per catch. It's believed that Fleener - who last year caught 32 balls worth 648 yards (a 20.2 yards-per-grab average) - might just have enough speed to line up at times at wide receiver and he could be snatched up sometime before the 25th overall pick with the Cleveland Browns at #22 and the Denver Broncos at #25 said to be interested. Note that Fleener has extremely "soft hands" and is considered an excellent route runner and a decent blocker with the ability to seal off enemy defenders making him underrated as a run blocker.
DWAYNE ALLEN, CLEMSON - This 6-foot-3, 255-pound target bypassed his senior season to go pro following last year's 50-catch campaign for the ACC champs. Allen - who also caught eight TDs in 2011 - has all the necessary attributes for a successful NFL tight end and some folks have favorably compared him to Alge Crumpler. No doubt that Allen could be part of this new wave in the NFL of super-athletic tight ends who makes big plays after catching the ball and so there's been some talk that he could climb into Round One although most draft prognostications have him going somewhere in the early-to-mid stages of the second round - and let's just say Allen would love to wind up on the New York Jets as he recently struck up a neat friendship with Jets head coach Rex Ryan.
LADARIUS GREEN, UL-LAFAYETTE - Could be a quick riser on NFL Draft boards as most draftniks believe he will go somewhere before the end of Round III. There could be something brewing here because Green could fill out that 6-foot-6 frame better (he's currently listed at only 238 pounds) and his pro day workouts went well and keep in mind he averaged 18 yards a catch two seasons back and last year reeled in 51 balls for 606 yards with 8 touchdowns. Odds are he will be plucked sometime before the end of the second round and both Dallas and Green Bay could be interested parties.
MICHAEL EGNEW, MISSOURI - This first-team all-Big 12 selection has been bounced down in the draft boards but could be a nice find in the early stages of Round III. Note that Egnew - who stands 6-foot-5, 252 pounds - caught 147 passes in his 26 career starters for the Tigers and isn't afraid to take a hit but his blocking skills are considered sub-standard for the position and there is some thought that he simply isn't big/strong enough to take a pounding from enemy safeties. Might wind up falling to the fifth tight end drafted should Georgia's Orson Charles get a thumbs up from some NFL team after an off-the-field DUI incident last month.
NOTE: Get more NFL Draft coverage along with the NBA in the next edition of Jim Sez.