Wakeup Call: This is why celebrities sit in luxury boxes

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Wakeup Call: This is why celebrities sit in luxury boxes

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Wednesday, December 5.

BASEBALL
Now this is friendship: Robin Yount shot Dale Sveum -- with pellets, in the right ear and back -- on a recent quail hunt in Arizona, and the Cubs manager laughed it off. (AP)

It didn't take long for the Cliff Lee-for-Justin Upton trade rumor to get blown up. By both sides. (CSN Philly)

That's quite the rotation in D.C. now that Dan Haren is aboard. (CSN Washington)

The marriage of A.J. Pierzynski and the White Sox might be saved, after all. (CSN Chicago)

And why not? Marco Scutaro and the Giants saved theirs. (CSN Bay Area)

The Orioles are looking to find someone to play first base, and Michael Morse might fit the bill. (CSN Washington)

Or maybe it'll be Mark Reynolds, just like last year. (CSN Baltimore)

There'll be no Yunel EscobarJohn Farrell reunion -- which was the rumor for a while Tuesday -- as the ex-Blue Jays shortstop is headed to Tampa Bay. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
John Thompson III may not be very happy with Georgetown's offense, but when you allow only 41 points, well, you don't need much offense. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Bret Bielema is taking his talents to Arkansas. (AP)

And they're none-too-happy about it in Wisconsin . . . to the point that they may not let Bielema coach the Badgers in the Rose Bowl. (NBC's College Football Talk)

Elsewhere on the coaching carousel, it's Gus Malzahn taking over at Auburn. (AP)

And Darrell Hazell heading to Purdue, reportedly. (AP)

Meanwhile at Cincinnati, Butch Jones is said to be "weighing his options", though one of those options -- Purdue -- apparently has disappeared. (AP)

GOLF
No surprises here: Rory McIlroy is voted PGA Tour Player of the Year. (AP)

So can Tiger Woods challenge him for that title in 2013? After a year of progress, the jury is still out. (AP)

Nice job earning your Tour card, Si Woo Kim. Too bad you're not old enough to use it. (AP)

HOCKEY
"Cautious optimism" is the catchword of the day in the NHL labor talks. (CSN Philly)

In fact, NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr thinks Tuesday's marathon negotiating session might have been "the best day we've had," though he was quick to add that's not saying much. (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
The Wizards went all Rodney Harrison -- "NOBODY thought we could do it!" -- before the game, and whaddya know? It worked! (CSN Washington)

It happens, shrug the Heat. (AP)

The Rockets' Hack-a-Dwight strategy worked to perfection as they rallied from 13 points down with 10 minutes left to beat the Lakers. (CSN Houston)

And afterwards, both Howard and Mike D'Antoni were a little defensive. (AP)

That's six straight, and counting, for the Thunder. (AP)

The New Orleans Pelicans makes a lot more sense when you realize that was the name of the city's minor-league baseball team . . . though you have to be at least 60 to have ever seen the baseball Pelicans play. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

PRO FOOTBALL
See, this is why celebrities sit in luxury boxes. (NBC's Off The Bench)

Jon Gruden-back-to-the-Raiders would be a nice story if it made any sense . . . which it doesn't. (CSN Bay Area)

Thanks for everything, Charlie, but Ben Roethlisberger might be back this Sunday. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Just as Ben returns, Ike Taylor goes down. (AP)

Chuck Pagano's chemotherapy is over and he may return to the Colts in Week 17. (Pro Football Talk)

The Redskins' other Griffin -- cornerback Cedric -- is hit with a four-game PED suspension. (AP)

That Braylon Edwards thing didn't work out too well, did it, Seahawks? (AP)

Losing Brian Urlacher is not what the Bears need as they head down the stretch, but . . . (AP)

More details are emerging about the Jovan Belcher murdersuicide. Among them: While at the University of Maine, Belcher had several incidents involving domestic violence; he and Kassandra Perkins, whom he shot and killed, had a "strained" relationship and were separated for a time before reconciling around Thanksgiving; and Belcher may have been involved with another woman, whom he told police he was attempting to contact early Saturday morning. (AP)

Celtics are living by the 3-pointer at a historic level

Celtics are living by the 3-pointer at a historic level

BOSTON – It has been well-established that the Celtics are a three-point shooting, bombs away kind of team and nothing seems like it’ll deter them from continuing along that path.
 
But as we prepare for the second half of the season, beginning tonight against the New York Knicks, we come to realize Boston’s launching of 3-pointers isn’t just unusually high.
 
This group of Celtics rank among the league's all-time leaders in 3-point attempts by the halfway mark of the season.

And when you look at the company they’re keeping when it comes to 3-point shooting, it speaks to how important it has become in this NBA to have as many long-range shooting threats on the floor as possible if you're trying to win at a high level.
 
Boston’s 494 3-point attempts thus far this season ranks fourth all-time by the halfway point of a season. But this season, that’s just good enough to be third behind Houston and Golden State with 617 and 505 three-point attempts, respectively.
 
The other team in the top four all-time is last season's Golden State squad, which took 519 three-pointers by the midway point of the season.
 
And all those 3’s by the Celtics have included an NBA-record six straight games in which they made at least 15 3-pointers.
 
That has allowed the Celtics to score at least 100 points in 15 consecutive games, the franchise’s longest such streak since they reached the 100-point plateau in 19 straight games in 1991.
 
Of course Isaiah Thomas’ 3-point shooting stands out, particularly when you see how dominant he has been this season in the fourth quarter with a league-best 10.1 points per game.
 
But his offense, while potent, is aided heavily by the shot-making snipers coach Brad Stevens surrounds him with on a nightly basis.
 
That’s why you didn’t see Stevens or president of basketball operations Danny Ainge freak out earlier this season when the Celtics were struggling.
 
Kelly Olynyk, who shot better than 40 percent on 3’s a year ago, was still on the mend after offseason shoulder surgery.
 
Jae Crowder, whose 3-point shooting has steadily improved throughout his career, had some minor injuries that set him back and maybe more important, didn’t allow him to get into the kind of shooting rhythm we see now which has allowed him to shoot a team-best 42.6 percent on 3’s.
 
Al Horford, Thomas, Amir Johnson … they all missed some time due to injuries this season, which has impacted the team’s chemistry and timing.
 
But the past couple of weeks have seen the Celtics healthier than they’ve been most of this season, and it has allowed them to play with the kind of space they want which has allowed Thomas and his cohorts to take lots of lightly contested to open 3’s most of this season.
 
“We’ve got pretty good shooters on this team where you’ve got to pick your poison,” Thomas said. “We’re shooting at a high level, and I got to say, you just have to pick your poison who you want to stop and my job is just to make the right play each and every time down.”
 

Mitchell (knee) 'feeling well' as he prepares for AFC title game

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Mitchell (knee) 'feeling well' as he prepares for AFC title game

FOXBORO -- Malcolm Mitchell indicated before Wednesday's practice that he's feeling pretty good despite missing last weekend's Divisional Round matchup with the Texans due to a knee injury. 

"I'm feeling well," he said. "Just taking it day by day. Preparing. I just go from there."

Mitchell suffered the injury in a Week 16 win over the Jets at Gillette Stadium. He missed the regular-season finale and has been limited in practice in recent weeks. 

Mitchell was present for Wednesday's fully-padded practice outdoors, and he said it was crucial for him to prepare as though he will play even if he's unsure as to whether or not he'll be called upon. 

"That's the most important thing," he said. "Be ready for any opportunities that could come about."

He added: "As a competitor, no one wants to miss a game. What's important is the team going out theere and competing whether I was out there or not."

Should Mitchell be at all limited moving forward, the Patriots would likely continue to lean upon Julian Edelman and Chris Hogan as their top options. Both Danny Amendola and Michael Floyd were in uniform for last weekend's playoff matchup with Houston as well. 

Hogan suffered a thigh injury that knocked him from the Texans game, but he said on Tuesday that he was progressing well, and he was also on the field for Wednesday's practice. 

Mitchell said there is a sense of confidence in the receivers room that because of their depth, they'll be good to go as a group even if one or two members of the unit are at less than 100 percent. 

"We know there's some things we can't control," he said, "but our coach does a good job of getting everybody ready."