Wakeup Call: At last, we hear from "Lennay"!

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Wakeup Call: At last, we hear from "Lennay"!

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Friday, January 25:

BASEBALL
Everybody's pretty excited about Justin Upton joining his brother B.J. in Atlanta. (AP)

Good thing the Orioles didn't trade Adam Jones for Jair Jurrjens last winter, as was rumored. By waiting a year, they got him for nothing. Of course, what they're getting is a matter for debate. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

Remember Zack Stewart, whom the Red Sox acquired in the Kevin Youkilis trade and who pitched for them with varying degress of ineffectiveness? Traded to Pittsburgh in November, he's now back with the White Sox. (AP)

I've heard of weird injuries before, but rupturing your spleen when you fall while shoveling snow? Well, that will certainly dry up the free-agent market for Carl Pavano, don't you think? (Hardball Talk)

Pat White failed at baseball with the Royals, and failed at football with the Dolphins. So, naturally, the Marlins want him. (Hardball Talk)

You can go home again: Yorvit Torrealba's returning to the Rockies. (Hardball Talk)

Nyjer Morgan, meanwhile, is traveling far from home as he heads to Japan. (CSN Washington)

The good folks of St. Louis pay their respects -- and respect it is -- to Stan Musial. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
So which is it? Should we be impressed with UCLA or worried about Arizona after the Bruins' upset of the Wildcats? (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

What with Duke certain to tumble out of the top spot in the rankings after its one-sided loss to Miami, Michigan started staking its claim for No. 1 with a workmanlike victory over Purdue. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
She speaks! Manti Te'o plays three voicemails he says were left for him by "Lennay Kekua" -- the girlfriend who died who never existed -- during his TV interview with Katie Couric, in which "Lennay" tells Te'o that she loves him. And if the voice actually belongs to Ronaiah Tuisasosopo, the alleged mastermind of this mess, he imitates women pretty well. (AP)

Meanwhile, Tuisasosopo supposedly confessed his guilt in the hoax to Diane O'Meara, the woman whose picture was stolen off Facebook and used as "Lennay's" portrait. (AP)

Rare that a head coach with a 10-40 record after four seasons gets to walk away by choice. But DeWayne Walker's doing just that, leaving New Mexico State to become an assistant on the Jacksonville Jaguars. (AP)

The exodus off Jimbo Fisher's Florida State staff continues, as offensive coordinator James Coley heads to Miami to take the same job. (AP)

Dennard Robinson's liking this wide-receiver stuff. (AP)

GOLF
Your first-round leaders at Torrey Pines: K.J. Choi and Brandt Snedeker. (AP)

Tiger's not in bad position after one round. (golfchannel.com)

Your second-round leaders in Doha, Qatar: Martin Kaymer, Sergio Garcia, Ricardo Santos and Marcus Fraser. (AP)

HOCKEY
Wayne Gretzky says this talk of his becoming president of the Maple Leafs is "news to me". (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

The Flyers finally win their first, and a big one it is: A 2-1 victory over the arch-rival Rangers. (CSN Philly)

One man's ceiling is another man's floor: Mike Knuble's back in the NHL with the Flyers because Scott Harnell's out 4-6 weeks. (CSN Philly)

"Embarrassing" and "pathetic" are two of the words the Capitals are using to describe themselves this morning, as they sit as the only Eastern Conference team without a point after a somnolent 4-1 home loss to the Canadiens. (CSN Washington)

Bet they're saying the same thing in Los Angeles, where the Kings continue to stumble around with a Stanley Cup hangover. (AP)

But the Blackhawks? They just keep on rolling. (CSN Chicago)

As do the Sharks. (CSN Bay Area)

And the Senators. (AP)

The Stars bring All-Star center Jamie Benn, a restricted free agent, back into the fold with a five-year, 26.25 million contract. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL
You could probably win the All-Star Game with the players who were snubbed. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

And you could probably win it with thiis year's reserves, too. (Pro Basketball Talk)

The Clippers' cry: Come back, Chris Paul! (AP)

Since the present is so bad, let's look to the Lakers' future. (Pro Basketball Talk)

Ricky Rubio's not so warm and cuddly now that his playing time's been cut as he struggles to return from knee surgery. (AP)

It's official: The Hornets become the Pelicans, starting next year. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
All Ma and Pa Harbaugh know about the Super Bowl is that they're going to experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat on the same day. (CSN Chicago)

It's the Super Bowl, after all, so Ray Lewis says he isn't thinking about the fact that he's about to play his last game. (CSN Baltimore)

It won't be Ed Reed's last game . . . though it might be his last as a Raven. (CSN Baltimore)

Brandon Jacobs and the 49ers didn't part on the best of terms, but he says he's rooting for them against Baltimore. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Steve Spagnuolo, who concocted the defensive plan that helped the Giants upset the Patriots in the 2007 Super Bowl, is out of work again. (AP)

Worried about the potential for cold, snow and generally nasty conditions at next year's Super Bowl in New Jersey? Hah! Bring it on, says Roger Goodell. (AP)

Congratulations, John Idzik. And good luck. You'll need it. (AP)

Unlike many -- most? all? -- of his peers, Andrew Luck's all business at the Pro Bowl. (AP)

TENNIS
Sloane Stephens' strong showing in the Australian Open will lift her up in the player rankings. (AP)

We have our first Australian Open champions: Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci in women's doubles. (AP)

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Wizards shoot ridiculous 65 percent from field

Halftime stars, studs and duds: Wizards shoot ridiculous 65 percent from field

After Boston’s last game against Portland – a loss – Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said he was encouraged by some of the things his team did defensively.

It’s safe to say Stevens won’t be singing that tone if the Celtics continue along the path they’re on defensively right now as the Washington Wizards went into the half with a 66-59 lead.

Washington, donning all-black clothes when they arrived at the Verizon Center, were very much looking as though they were digging a basketball grave for the Boston Celtics who allowed the Wizards to shoot a ridiculous 65 percent from the field in the first half and 61.5 percent (8-for-13) from 3-point range.

The Wizards scored the first four points of the game and spent all of the first half playing with a lead.

But the Celtics showed some fight late in the second quarter, going on a 14-6 run to cut Washington’s lead to 55-52 with 3:39 to play in the quarter.

Boston would later have a chance to tie the game, but Marcus Smart’s 3-pointer was off the mark.

And the Wizards, as they had done all game, made the Celtics pay as Bradley Beal drained a jumper that made it a two-possession game.

Here’s a look at the Stars, Studs and Duds from the first half.

 

STARS

Bradley Beal

It was his idea to go with the all-Black look, and he backed up his talk with a strong first half of play. He has a team-high 14 points at the half along with five assists.

Isaiah Thomas

Thomas delivered yet another all-star caliber scoring performance in the first half for Boston. He led all scorers with 17 points on 5-for-9 shooting along with a game-high eight assists.  

John Wall

After scoring just nine points when these two met on Jan. 11, Wall has 13 points at the half on 6-for-9 shooting to go with five rebounds and three assists.

 

STUDS

Al Horford

It was an extremely efficient game offensively in the first half for Horford. He had 13 points on 5-for-6 shooting with three assists.

Markieff Morris

He’s one of four double-digit scorers in the first half for the Wizards. In addition to his 10 points, he also has five rebounds and three assists.

 

DUDS

Celtics defense

At this end of the floor, the Celtics were absolutely atrocious in the first half. The Wizards shot a ridiculously high 65 percent from the field, and were just as lethal (8-for-13, 61.5 percent) from 3-point land. They have no shot at competing let alone winning tonight’s game, if they don’t turn things around and do so soon!

Beyond the numbers: 'Game is slowing down' for Isaiah Thomas

Beyond the numbers: 'Game is slowing down' for Isaiah Thomas

Just about every part of Isaiah Thomas’ game offensively has seen tremendous growth this season.

But what has really separated him from earlier versions of himself, has been his 3-point shooting.

He comes into tonight’s game against the Washington Wizards shooting a career best 38.4 percent from 3-point range.

When asked about how he has elevated his game this season, the answer isn’t that simple.

“I don’t know” he told reporters prior to tonight’s game. “The game is slowing down for me. My teammates put me in position, my coach does … and I’m just knocking down shots.”

Because of his shot-making, Thomas has made it difficult for defenses to give him a steady diet of any style of play in trying to limit him.

And because they have to change things up with regularity, that has created more scoring opportunities.

“Sometimes they forget what they want to do (defensively) and leave me open for a three,” Thomas said. “Those are the the types of shots I need to knock down and I’m being aggressive.

He added, “I need to get to the free throw line, trying to make plays for my teammates. It’s one of those things where I’m in a really good zone now; a really good rhythm.”

A good rhythm?

According to NBA statistics guru Dick Lipe, Thomas is the first Celtic ever to make at least four 3-pointers in five straight games. Taking it a step further, he has made at least three 3-pointers in seven straight games which equaled Antoine Walker’s streak in 2001.

Thomas has also attempted 11 three-pointers in five straight games which is a franchise record. There have only been three longer streaks in NBA history - Golden State’s Stephen Curry (7 straight games, 2016); Washington’s Gilbert Arenas (7 straight games, 2005) and Dallas’ George McCloud (6 straight games, 2006).

He’s also averaging 3.1 made 3’s per game which would be a franchise record that’s currently held by Antoine Walker who averaged 2.7 during the 2001-2002 season.

And all those 3’s have added up to Thomas scoring at least 27 points in seven straight games, something that hasn’t been done by a Celtic since Larry Bird had eight such games in March 1988 as well as the 1987-1988 season.