Valentine on Fenway: 'It's the baseball Land of Oz'

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Valentine on Fenway: 'It's the baseball Land of Oz'

BOSTON Although he grew up in Connecticut, Bobby Valentine never went to Fenway Park as a kid. But that didnt diminish his appreciation for the ancient ballpark, celebrating its 100th anniversary today.

The park has at least a life, Valentine said. It has a magic to it.Its the baseball Land of Oz. People dream of this place.

I would say that this ballpark has created as many memories for people in this area and around the world as any venue in the world. And today I think there will be a memory created for me and everybody else whos here today. Im looking forward to it.

Im not sure I remember the first time I became aware of it, probably too long ago. But it was always there. I had Little League mates and high school mates who were huge Red Sox fans and always talked about Fenway. My uncle John was a huge red sox fan. It was always in the conversation, I would think. I never got to come here. I only saw one major league game as a kid. But it was in the conversation for sure.

With the Yankees, the descendants of the Highlanders who played that game against the Red Sox in 1912, at Fenway for todays game, affects the ambience. But the scores of Red Sox alumni on hand for the game is what makes it special, Valentine said.

The schedule makers must have known. I dont believe in coincidence, he said. I think it adds to the day of course, or takes away from the day, Im not sure. What adds to the day is so many of the ex-players are here. I saw 50 guys yesterday that I havent seen in umpteen years, and Ill see another 100 or so this afternoon. I think thats amazingly special.

I didnt look at the list. I should just go in and look at the list because there are some guys that knew me but I didnt know them when I knew them, or however you say that. Didnt recognize them. Oh, you are? Holy geez. Yeah. And we played together. They have a little advantage on me because theyve been in the post office lately and seen the most wanted photo of me. So its a little easier for them.

The Sox will wear 1912 replica uniforms, with no names or numbers on the backs.

"Havent put in on yet. I think theyre cool. And Ill see calves of players that Ive never seen before," Valentine said. "The hats are interesting, they take a little getting used to."

Valentine was at Fenway for the free open house on Thursday. The Sox estimated more the 53,000 people attended.

It wasnt billed as come and get Dustins autograph, Valentine said. It was billed as come to the park and its open for you to feel. Thats what I took from it. People were buying souvenirs of the ballpark. Its just different, not getting the autograph or the photograph of the player or the cracked bat. And I stayed around a while. I was amazed. I know theres probably a better word to describe what it was but I dont know what it is.

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Rose looking like his old self

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Rose looking like his old self

BOSTON – The New York Knicks have been in a massive funk of late, something the Boston Celtics had to know which, not surprisingly, would result in them playing with a heightened level of desperation.

That desperation left the Celtics a bit exasperated at the half which ended with a 10-2 run by New York that put them ahead 63-54 at the half.

After falling behind by as many as nine points in the second quarter, the Celtics rallied to within a single point (53-52) following a basket by Isaiah Thomas.

The second quarter was all-New York afterwards.

It was just a one-possession game (Boston led 34-31) for the Celtics going into the second quarter, which was exactly where Boston didn’t want to be against a Knicks team whose bench ranks among the NBA’s highest-scoring second units recently. In their last three games, the Knicks’ bench has averaged 43.0 points per game which according to hoopsstats.com, ranks sixth in the NBA during that span.

At the half, they had 33 points compared to just 12 for Boston’s backups.

Boston fell behind early 9-5, but the Celtics rallied following a time-out with a 15-4 run capped off by a 3-pointer from Isaiah Thomas.

The Celtics’ lead peaked at nine points on separate occasions in the first, but the Knicks closed out the first with a 12-6 spurt that cut Boston’s lead to 34-31 at the end of the first.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half.

 

STARS

Derrick Rose

The former league MVP looked like his old self tonight instead of just old. He led the Knicks with 14 points on 7-for-11 shooting.

Isaiah Thomas

The Knicks had great success inside the paint against all the Celtics minus Thomas who did much of his dirty work offensively on drives to the basket. At the half he had 19 points on 8-for-10 shooting.

 

STUDS

Willy Hernangomez

Boston had problems rebounding the ball, and Hernangomez was the main reason why. At the half he had 10 points and six rebounds, three of which were offensive boards.

Jae Crowder

Dealing with Carmelo Anthony is enough to keep Crowder busy tonight. But he’s doing that at a high level in addition to providing a nice punch offensively with 14 points.

Mindaugas Kuzminskas

You may not know his name, but his game was pretty impressive in the first half. At the half, he had nine points.

 

DUDS

Al Horford

We’ve seen him air-ball a 3-pointer, miss a lay-up and strguggle to get any shots to go down tonight. At the half, he had three points while missing nine of his 10 shot attempts.

Avery Bradley (Achilles) will not play vs. Knicks

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Avery Bradley (Achilles) will not play vs. Knicks

BOSTON – Both New York and Boston will take to the floor tonight minus a starter courtesy of a sore Achilles injury.

For Celtics guard Avery Bradley, tonight will be the fifth time in the last six games that his right Achilles injury will keep him sidelined.

Meanwhile, New York’s Kristaps Porzingis will miss his fourth straight game with a sore left Achilles injury.

The 7-foot-3 Porzingis averages 19.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

Porzingis’ absence tonight was established well before tip-off.

“I’d say I’m 90 percent ready; still not there yet,” Porzingis told reporters prior to the game. “But I’m getting closer … hopefully the next game or after the next game.”

As far as Bradley is concerned, he was a last-minute matter.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens was asked about his roster earlier tonight, and indicated Tyler Zeller (sinus) and James Young (ankle) would be on the inactive list tonight with injuries.

Without Bradley, the Celtics are expected to start Marcus Smart who has filled in as the team’s starter previously when the 6-foot-2 Bradley was unavailable.

 Bradley is the Celtics' second-leading scorer with 17.7 points per game this season, along with a team-high 6.9 rebounds per game and 2.4 assists.