The more things change...

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The more things change...

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

Went to my first Celtics game last night since January 10.

The core crew was there -- Ray Ray, P-Twice, KG, Ray-jhonRah-jhon Rondo -- but, aside from Glen Davis (WHO SHOULD NEVER TAKE THAT SHOT AGAIN), the supporting cast looked a lot different.

When the Rockets visited Boston two months ago the box score included Nate Robinson, Jermaine O'Neal, Luke Harangody, Marquis Daniels, Von Wafer, Semih Erden (DNP) and Shaquille O'Neal.

None of those guys played for the Green Team last night, in thanks to trades or old age.

Wednesday's Celtics loss included Jeff Green (Georgetown Hoya -- I am not over it), Delonte West (He get his donuts yet?), Troy Murphy, Avery Bradley (DNP vs. Houston) and Sasha Pavlovic. I've had time to get used to all the transactions, but to realize the difference in my two game nights was jarring.

Maybe that's why I was so relieved that other things about the Celtics experience hadn't changed.

A GUY BEHIND ME SCREAMS STUFF ALL GAME
It's always some middle-aged dude who gets to escape the fam for one night a year to hang out with his other don't-get-out-much buddies: Goatee, glasses, button down shirt. You know.

Broski would have done Tommy Heinsohn proud with his ripping on the refs last night. "Hey! HEY. TRY CALLING ONE ON NUMBER 50 FOR A CHANGE. YOU'RE TERRIBLE. WHAT GAME YOU WATCHING?"

He also raised his voice at Tony Allen and Leon Powe whenever the former Celtics touched the ball, hollering 'TRAITOOOOOOOR!" Funny, considering that Powe wanted to come back and TA said "I'm a Celtic. Unfortunately, I'm wearing a Grizzlies uniform now," after the game. Minor details that Screaming Goatee Guy can't be bothered with. He had like, four beers! Oh, man, the wife's gonna be pissed, but he doesn't care-- nuh-uh! Tonight he's his own man. His own, loud man.

A KID THINKS HE WON'T SURVIVE THE MBTA
I was underground at North Station waiting in the crowd to go through the gate when I overheard a dad comforting his young son.

"You're not going to die!" The dad reassured his eight-year old.

"I'm going to get SMOOSHED!" The kid wailed, overlooking the mob of drunk basketball fans with dinner plate-sized eyes.

He didn't get smooshed as far as I know. But I didn't actually see them get on the train because a gate malfunction caused me to get held back for a solid 10 minutes and miss a few trains; BS, but typical.

So the kid is actually pretty perceptive. Even at eight, he was able to recognize that the T is the Electric Passenger Railway of Evil. It may not smoosh actual people that often, but it crushes souls on the daily.
TANGER IS STILL CHEERING FOR THE GREEN TEAM

Ayy! Gar-Bear made it on the jumbotron! And that's a nice Paul Pierce jersey no matter what Felger says.

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics surge at end of second quarter

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Celtics surge at end of second quarter

BOSTON –  For the second time in as many games, the Boston Celtics were hosting a team eager to get off a losing skid.

But a strong surge near the end of the second quarter gave the Celtics a 65-56 halftime lead over Portland which came into the night having lost four straight.

Boston opened with a 12-4 run capped off by a 3-pointer by Jae Crowder – his second within the game’s first couple minutes.

But the Blazers were being carried by C.J. McCollum, half of the most explosive backcourt in the NBA. His 12 first-quarter points were crucial to keeping the Blazers within 28-26 at the end of the quarter.

McCollum continued to out-perform everyone else on the floor, even Isaiah Thomas who had a quieter than usual first half.

But the 5-foot-9 Thomas continued to make all the plays needed to put the Celtics back on top courtesy of a 12-3 run that put them ahead 57-49 with 1:55 to play in the half.

From there, Boston was able to maintain control of the game.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half of Saturday’s game.

 

STARS

C.J. McCollum

While there’s still talk about whether Damian Lillard will be an All-Star this year, McCollum has played well enough to where he’s at least worthy of a mention in the All-Star conversation. He certainly carried Portland in the first half with 26 points on 8-for-12 shooting.

Isaiah Thomas

As usual, Thomas drew a considerable amount of attention from the opposing defense. And slowly but surely, he found cracks that he could exploit. At the half, he had 17 points, four assists and three rebounds, one of which was an offensive board that he put-back in for a lay-up.

 

STUDS

Jae Crowder

He put the Celtics on a good path from the outset, knocking down a couple 3’s in the first couple of minutes. He finished the half with 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting which included a trio of 3-pointers.

Meyers Leonard

He was 3-for-4 in the first half which included a pair of powerful dunks over Boston’s Jordan Mickey. At the half he had eight points and two rebounds.

 

DUDS

Damian Lillard

It was a rough half for the two-time All-Star, tallying just three points on 1-for-5 shooting. A big part of his problem? Foul trouble. He played just 10 minutes in the first half due in large part to having three personal fouls.

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Pedro Martinez tells WEEI Ortiz will make comeback this season

Never say never?

While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.

CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season. 

For the full interview with Martinez, click here.

Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired.