Wakeup Call: Is Dempster falling into the Red Sox' lap?

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Wakeup Call: Is Dempster falling into the Red Sox' lap?

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Thursday, December 6.

BASEBALL
Ryan Dempster to the Red Sox might be becoming more plausible, as, one by one, other suitors -- the Royals, the Cubs -- are dropping by the wayside. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

The door appears to be closing for Cody Ross in Boston, and it doesn't look like it will open for him in San Francisco, either. (CSN Bay Area)

And it doesn't look like Brian Wilson wants to walk through a door that the Giants say they've left open for him. (CSN Bay Area)

Will the Winter Meetings end with a bang? If the four-team blockbuster involving the Rangers, Diamondbacks, Mariners and Indians gets completed, they will. (Hardball Talk)

Michael Bourn would seem to be a natural fit for the Phillies, but apparently they're not interested. (CSN Philly)

Michael Young, however . . . now that's a different story. (Hardball Talk)

Nick Swisher doesn't appear to be in the Orioles' future, but they say that's their choice, not his. (CSN Baltimore)

Will there be a Lance BerkmanAstros reunion? (CSN Houston)

In moves that were made, it's Eric Chavez to the Diamondbacks, Jeff Keppinger to the White Sox and Joe Blanton to the Angels. (AP)

And old friend Jason Bay to the Mariners. (AP)

Derek Jeter, recovering from his broken ankle, insists he'll be ready for Opening Day. But not Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner, who cut a tendon in his right thumb during a hunting accident and won't be able to throw for about three months. (AP)

More and more writers -- i.e., Hall of Fame voters -- are softening when it comes keeping PED users out of the Hall. But not the Hall of Famers themselves: They want the cheaters barred. (AP)

It's not bad enough Scott Boras dictates where players go; now he wants to do the same thing with teams. (CSN Bay Area)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Rutgers isn't leaving the Big East quietly. (AP)

So after last night, the question is: Just how good is Florida? (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

A Utah State player who collapsed at practice is improving. (AP)

The Notre Dame women still didn't beat Baylor, but coach Muffet McGraw is happy that her team is getting closer. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Louisville's Charlie Strong says thanks, but no thanks, to Tennessee. (NBC's College Football Talk)

Not only won't Bret Bielema coach Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, but he's already referring to the Badgers as "they". (AP)

Louisiana Tech's Sonny Dykes is replacing Jeff Tedford at Cal. (AP)

When he gets there, Keenan Allen will be gone. (AP)

Not so fast with that Butch Jones-to-Colorado talk . . . though it sure sounds like it's going to happen. (AP)

Manti Te'o of Notre Dame may have beaten out Alabama's Barrett Jones, Georgia's Jarvis Jones and South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney for the Lombardi Award as college football's best lineman or linebacker, but he says he's still "a big fan of their highlights". (AP)

HOCKEY
You've got to figure negotiations are moving along when discussions are described as "very candid". (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

And they'll continue today. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL
Shades of Red Barber and Ned Martin: When Houston's upset of L.A. was complete Tuesday night, the Rockets' radio play-by-play guy announced it to the world by screaming: "The Lakers have just pooped their big-boy pants!!!" (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Their big-boy pants back on, the Lakers rebounded Wednesday by beating the soon-to-be Pelicans on a night when Kobe Bryant became the youngest player in history to reach the 30,000-point plateau. (AP)

No word yet on when Kevin McHale will return to the Rockets, though he's following the team from afar. (CSN Houston)

No 'Melo? No problem: J.R. Smith drains the game-winner at the buzzer as the Knicks win again. (AP)

If this is how Al Jefferson plays with back spasms -- 31 points, 15 rebounds -- where do we go to get back spasms? (AP)

Allen Iverson ought to practice handling money. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

Latest from the flopping front: Gerald Wallace is fined and Chauncey Billups is warned. (Pro Basketball Talk)

PRO FOOTBALL
Yeah, yeah. The Falcons are 11-1, the Panthers are 3-9. Even so, Carolina's Greg Hardy says he just knows his team is better than Atlanta. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Don't invite Joe Thomas and Peyton Hillis to the same dinner party. (AP)

Mark Sanchez' banishment didn't last long. (AP)

Take it from TB12, RGIII; you don't want this guy hitting you. (CSN Baltimore)

But will he have Terrell Suggs hitting him? Looks like that'll be a game-time decision. (AP)

A source insists that the Cardinals' Darnell Dockett spit in the face of teammate Kerry Rhodes during an on-field argument Sunday. Well, none of the principles will admit the spitting occured, but Dockett has publicly apologized to Rhodes . . . for something. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Arizona's eight-game losing streak has prompted coach Ken Whisenhunt to give the starting quarterback job back to John Skelton. (AP)

Plenty of mystery surrounding Percy Harvin's placement on I.R. (AP)

Ryan Grant returned to a standing ovation from the Packers. (AP)

Brandon Browner's giving up his appeal and will serve his four-game suspension for PED use. (AP)

The NFL is ordering mandatory counseling for Scott Pioli, Romeo Crennel and Gary Gibbs, who witnessed Jovan Belcher's suicide last Saturday morning. (Pro Football Talk)

WATCH: Celtics vs. Raptors

WATCH: Celtics vs. Raptors

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics play the Raptors in Toronto. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

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- Talk about the game via social media on CSN's Pulse, presented by Ford

Celtics-Raptors preview: Ibaka is 'capable of changing the game'

Celtics-Raptors preview: Ibaka is 'capable of changing the game'

TORONTO – The decision to stand pat at the trade deadline for the Boston Celtics was made in part because they felt that as their roster is constructed, they can hold their own with anybody.

We’re going to find out just how true that is tonight as they face a revamped Toronto Raptors team that added a couple of notable players via trade, chief among them being Serge Ibaka from Orlando.

“That was a really good trade for them,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas. “Bringing in a guy like Serge Ibaka; a defender, a four-man that can switch out on guards. A guy that can space the floor, shoot the 3.  So that was a good addition. I’m excited to see how that’s gonna work other than tomorrow.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens was also impressed with the Ibaka trade.

“That’s an improvement; there’s no question about it,” Stevens said. “Now you can play a number of different ways. He’s a really good player; he’s very agile. He’s a very good shooter. You can play him or (Patrick) Patterson at the four (power forward) the entire game now. You can play them together as a small-ball four and five (center). It gives them a lot of options on offense and defense.”

While praise for Ibaka is nothing new, you have to remember there were reasons as to why the Magic decided to give up on him so quickly, something even more hard to understand considering the assets they gave up (Victor Olidipo and a 2016 first-round pick used to select Domantas Sabonis, among others) to acquire him.

The Magic decided that they would not be in the running to re-sign Ibaka when he hits the free agent market this summer; this coming after the Thunder traded him primarily because they did not plan on giving him the near-max contract he’ll be seeking. So rather than play out this season and lose him for nothing, the Magic decided to trade him while they still could get something (Terrence Ross) in return.

While in Orlando, Ibaka averaged a career-high 15.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots per game. For his career (all prior to this season spent in Oklahoma City), he’s averaging 11.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.

But he never seemed to provide the kind of impactful, difference-making play that Orlando was seeking.

And while the Celtics speak highly of Ibaka, he hasn’t been much of a problem for the Celtics this season.

In two games against Boston, Ibaka has averaged 6.0 points and 4.0 rebounds.

Jae Crowder believes the struggles Ibaka has endured against the Celtics, are not a clear reflection of what he’s capable of doing as a player.

“For sure it makes them better,” said Crowder in describing the Raptors with Ibaka. “He’s a guy that can stretch the floor and rebound at a high rate. We know what he brings to the table.”

And those struggles we saw of him with the Magic?

“I think it was him more so than us,” Crowder said. “I give him credit because he wasn’t playing with the energy and passion he usually brings. I’ve been able to line up against him a quite a few times.  He didn’t have that passion like he did when he was in O-K-C (Oklahoma City). Maybe he’ll have it now. I know exactly what he’s capable of doing; he’s capable of changing the game with his play.”