Wakeup Call: Teo fesses up . . . kind of

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Wakeup Call: Teo fesses up . . . kind of

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Thursday, January 24:

BASEBALL
Sammy Sosa thinks he and Mark McGwire belong in the Hall of Fame. He also thinks the Cubs should retire his number. He also thinks he may someday run for president of the Dominican Republic. Your choice as to which of those is most delusional. (AP)

Will Pete Rose be part of the hoopla when the 2015 All-Star Game is held in Cincinnati? Bud Selig won't say. (NBC's Hardball Talk)

The Braves are attempting to become the Upton capital of the world. (CSN Washington)

The Cubs are close to a two-year agreement with Scott Hairston. (CSN Chicago)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
Duke reached all kinds of milestones in its 90-63 loss at Miami: Third-worst loss ever for a No. 1 team, biggest loss by a Duke team since 1984 . . . (AP)

Don't worry, Blue Devils, it could be worse. You could be NIT-bound, which may be Kentucky's fate. (NBC's College Basketball Talk)

This is quite the run for Philadelphia teams: One night after Villanova upset Louisville, La Salle toppled No. 9 Butler. (CSN Phllly)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Now Manti Te'o says, well, yes, he lied about the phony dead girlfriend. But only after he found out she was phony. (CSN Chicago)

The NCAA found problems during its investigation of Miami. Trouble is, the problems were with its own investigators. (AP)

HOCKEY
The hits just keep on coming for the struggling Flyers: Scott Hartnell is out indefinitely because of a foot injury. (CSN Philly)

Also out indefintely: The Maple Leafs' Joffrey Lupul, who has a broken arm. (AP)

And out for the season: The Avs' Steve Downie, who torn his ACL -- the Associated Press didn't say in which knee -- against the Kings on Tuesday night. (AP)

The Leafs spoil the Penguins' home opener. (AP)

After being discarded by the Canadiens -- and vilified by the Montreal fan base -- Scott Gomez lands on his feet in San Jose. (AP)

The Oilers are building a new home in Edmonton, with some help from the city. (AP)

PRO BASKETBALL
What was it Sparky Lyle said about the 1978 Red Sox? "I don't feel sorry for them, but I pity them"? That's how I'm starting to feel about the Lakers. (AP)

The Heat hadn't played for nearly a week, and it showed for a while. But they were able to come back from a 15-point deficit and beat the Raptors in overtime. (AP)

The Spurs didn't let the absences of Tim Duncan (sore left knee) and coach Gregg Popovich (illness) prevent them from rolling to their 15th straight home win. (AP)

This may end better than we all feared: Royce White says he's close to returning to the Rockets. (CSN Houston)

PRO FOOTBALL
Just when you think the Jets have reached the limits of organizational weirdness, word comes that Woody Johnson is working to trade Darrelle Revis . . . at a time when Revis' value couldn't possibly be lower, and before the team's new GM has started work. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

Tony Sparano is no doubt happy to be away from that circus. Trouble is, he may have landed in a bigger one. (AP)

Speaking of weirdness: Colin Kaepernick has applied to trademark the term "Kaepernicking". First of all, what in the world is "Kaepernicking"; second of all, doesn't he have more important things to focus on these days? (CSN Bay Area)

The 49ers win the first battle of the Super Bowl: They'll arrive in New Orleans before the Ravens. (AP)

Frank Gore could have saved 500 by pulling up his socks and kicking somebody. (AP)

Tim Brown now says he didn't say what everybody heard him say about Bill Callahan sabotaging Super Bowl XXXVII. (Pro Football Talk)

Brandon Weeden's reign as the Browns' starting quarterback may not last very long now that Cleveland has a new coach and new offensive coordinator. (AP)

Sensing -- correctly -- that their free trips to Hawaii are in jeopardy, the players vow to take the Pro Bowl seriously this time. (AP)

TENNIS
So, at the Australian Open, we have Roger Federer in the men's semis . . . (AP)

. . . defending champ Novak Djokovic in the men's finals . . . (AP via nbcsports.com)

. . .and defending champ Victoria Azarenka and Li Na in the women's final. (AP)

Sloane Stephens may be eliminated, but her victory over Serena Williams gave tennis its first "buzz" moment of the year. (tennis.com via nbcsports.com)

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

BOSTON -- Prior to this year, the Celtics hadn't been to the Eastern Conference finals since 2012. That trip served as a curtain call of sorts for the last great C's dynasty.
 
But this one, which ended with Cleveland's emphatic 135-102 Game 5 victory Thursday at TD Garden, is very different.
 
Rather than closing another chapter in the Celtics' longstanding legacy of greatness, it could serve as the beginning of a new narrative in the franchise's steady growth.
 
"For us to be in the Eastern Conference finals after the first year of this team really being together, adding additions like Al Horford and Gerald Green . . . I can go down the list of guys that we needed to learn to play with, and for us to talk about where we wanted to be and actually make it, it's a big-time accomplishment," said Avery Bradley.
 
Boston has been among the younger teams in the NBA, with the 31-year-old Green being the oldest player on the roster.
 
But what the Celtics lacked in experience, they made up for with great effort.
 
"The great thing about this is the experience," Bradley said. "We were able to go to the Eastern Conference finals, learned a lot about being in this position, and I feel like it's going to help us for next year."
 
But as we all know, the Celtics will look to strengthen themsevles this offseason, which means there's a very good chance they'll have a different look when they gather again in the fall.
 
How different is anyone's guess.
 
"It's difficult every year whenever you don't have guys back," said coach Brad Stevens. "I think you share a bond (over the course of a season)."
 
Stevens and this group have been together for eight months. Eight months of struggles, successes, frustrating defeats and euphoric victories that brought them to the conference finals, which is where their season came to an end.
 
But as disappointed as the players and coaches are inow, there's definite excitement about this franchise in the very near future.
 
Boston has the No. 1 overall pick in next month's draft, with all indications -- for now -- pointing to Washington's Markelle Fultz as their choice.
 
And their top first-round pick from a year ago, Jaylen Brown, seemed to steadily improve as the season progressed. It was one of the few times in his life where minutes weren't just handed to him, which he admits was a learning experience unlike anything he had ever had, yet he adjusted and played better as the year went along.

"I've had ups, I've had downs, I've had opportunities, I've had mistakes," said Brown. "So I've been learning and growing and improving all year and I'm going to continue growing and improving and prove people wrong, prove doubters wrong."
 
Having the season end the way it did has indeed left a bad taste in the mouths of many Celtics.
 
"I can use it as fuel," Brown said, adding: "I want to get back to the same place I'm at now."
 
Bradley, who was on the 2012 team that lost to the Miami Heat in the conference finals, knows the Celtics are going to do whatever they feel is necessary to give them the best chance at competing for a title.
 
"It's out of our control as players," Bradley said. "We had a great year together. If guys are here, if guys aren't, we all wish the best for each other.

"But I do feel this is a special group. We all gave our heart every single night, played as hard as we could. I respect all my teammates, and I really appreciated playing with all the guys I had a chance to play with this year; a special group."