Celtics

Wakeup Call: Will Rex jump from the Jets?

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Wakeup Call: Will Rex jump from the Jets?

Here's your wakeup call -- a combination of newsworthy andor interesting tidbits -- for Friday, December 28.

BASEBALL
Yankee fans called him Godzilla, but up here his resemblance to another celebrity led some of us to give him a different nickname. And now we say: So long, Shemp. (AP)

The Red Sox failed in their John Maine reclamation project. Now the Marlins are going to give it a try. (AP)

Carlton Fisk "steps up to the plate," in the words of his attorney -- really, can we put aside the baseball comparisons in a court of law? -- and pleads guilty to DUI. (AP)

COLLEGE BASKETBALL
You can cross off Cincinnati from the list of unbeatens, thanks to New Mexico. (AP)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Your winners on Thursday night: Baylor (over UCLA) in the Holiday Bowl . . . (AP)

. . . San Jose State (over Bowling Green) in the Military Bowl . . . (AP)

. . . and Cincinnati (over Duke) in the Belk Bowl. (AP)

Matt Barkley's USC career ends with a whimper, not a bang, as a nagging shoulder injury will force him to miss the Sun Bowl. (AP)

Alabama center Barrett Jones still hasn't practiced after spraining his foot in the SEC championship game against Georgia, leaving his status for the Tide's all-the-marbles matchup with Notre Dame up in the air. (AP)

Been enjoying Bowl Week? Probably more than the folks at Ohio State, that's for sure. (AP)

HOCKEY
The Capitals' Jason Chimera compares the NHL labor "negotiations" -- if you want to describe whatever it is JacobsBettmanet al are doing as "negotiating" -- to "chasing a chicken around and around and around". Funny, the barnyard creature that leaps to mind is a rat, not a chicken. But that's just me. (CSN Washington)

Remember Rich Costello, who starred at Natick High and went to Providence College before a brief (12-game) career in the NHL in the 1980s? Nah, I didn't think so. Anyway, he and former DucksCoyotesCanadiens forward Jean-Francois Jomphe were arested at a Laguna Beach Jack In The Box for getting into an altercation with a car full of kids in the drive-through line. Surprisingly, "alcohol is believed to have played a factor in the incident". (NBC's Pro Hockey Talk)

PRO BASKETBALL
Wait a minute. Wasn't Avery Johnson the NBA's Eastern Conference Coach of the Month in November? And now he's out? (AP)

Deron Wllliams insists Johnson's blood isn't on his hands. (NBC's Pro Basketball Talk)

The Nets' losing ways continue, as both Phil Jackson and Stan Van Gundy say they're not interested in replacing Johnson. (Pro Basketball Talk)

We were all pretty upset locally when the Thunder and Mavs went into overtime and, because TNT wouldn't switch away, forced us to miss the beginning of the Celtics-Clippers game. Turned out to be a blessing in disguise. (AP)

The good news: Raymond Felton won't need surgery on his broken finger. The bad news: He'll still be out a month. (AP)

Dwyane Wade, meanwhile, will be out a game for an ill-advised kick at Ramon Sessions. (AP)

And Dwight Howard is out 35,000 for his flagrant foul on Kenneth Faried. (AP)

PRO FOOTBALL
Sounds like Rex Ryan is as exasperated with this circus as the rest of us. Only difference is, we get great enjoyment out of it. (NBC's Pro Football Talk)

What circus, you ask? Well . . . (AP)

Greg McElroy's a smart guy -- he scored in the 40s on the Wonderlic -- but the way he tried to hide his concussion from the Jets shows the difficulty the NFL faces in getting players to come forward when they're injured. (Pro Football Talk)

Now we know what's wrong with Justin Smith's elbow, and his status for the playoffs is uncertain. (CSN Bay Area)

Ed Reed ought to just set up a direct-deposit account with the NFL and be done with it. (CSN Baltimore)

The Bears have more to play for Sunday than just Lovie Smith's job status . . . but they might be playing for that, too. (CSN Chicago)

As for Jason Hanson's job status, he's not sure if he wants to come back for a 22nd season. But if he does, it'll be with the Lions -- the only team he's ever played for -- and nobody else. (Pro Football Talk)

But Dick LeBeau is sure he wants to come back for a 55th season. And if he does, he hopes it's with the Steelers. (AP)

Remember last week, when the Packers asked for your help to shovel snow? Now the Bills are calling. (Pro Football Talk)

Richard Sherman fought the law, and the law lost. (AP)

But the law beat Cam Newton, even though it was a much lower-level fight. (AP)

Matt Leinart may get another shot at proving he can play quarterback in the NFL. (AP)

When everything was swirling, the Saints insisted they wouldn't be distracted by Bountygate. Now, they say they were. (AP)

Josh Brent had a blood-alcohol content twice the legal limit at the time of the car crash that killed teammate Jerry Brown. (AP)

SOCCER
Don't you wish American sports teams would do this? (NBC's Off The Bench)

TENNIS
It's all uphill from here in 2013 for Andy Murray. (AP)

WATCH: Celtics vs. Heat

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WATCH: Celtics vs. Heat

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch the Celtics play the Heat in Miami. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview: Will Celtics be drained by emotional comeback win Monday in Dallas?

- Channel Finder: Make sure you know where to watch

[SHOP: Gear up, Celtics fans!]

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Celtics-Heat preview: Will Celts be drained by emotional win in Dallas?

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Celtics-Heat preview: Will Celts be drained by emotional win in Dallas?

The Boston Celtics remain a team whose collective talents are far more valuable than their individual abilities.

But there are going to be nights when someone has to shoulder a larger burden of the team in order to win. More often than not, that “one” will likely be No. 11, Kyrie Irving. 

We saw in Dallas what can happen when Irving feels he has little choice but to put the team on his back and carry them to victory. 

The Celtics were desperate for a spark against the Mavericks and found it in Irving, who scored 47 points in leading the Celtics to a come-from-behind 110-102 overtime win. 

It remains to be seen if the Celtics will require a similar Herculean effort tonight when they take the Miami Heat with a chance to extend their winning streak to 17 straight. 

This team isn’t one to dwell on success in the past, even if the past was just 24 hours ago. But there’s no getting around how what happened on Monday night might impact what we see against the Heat. 

Boston expended a tremendous amount of energy in rallying from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter at Dallas, the kind of effort that may be difficult to replicate against a Miami team that you can count on to play hard from the opening tip to the final horn. 

Irving’s performance was one of the rare instances this season when Boston clearly could not have won without their top scorer having a big game. 

“When we needed it most, he made big shot after big shot,” said Al Horford. “He had such good rhythm, I was thinking, ‘just let him keep it going.’ He just kept being aggressive, taking really good shots. He recognized he needed to be extra aggressive, especially at the end and score the ball for us.”

Scoring could potentially be at a premium against Miami which allows 102.5 points per game which ranks ninth in the league in fewest points allowed. Also, the Heat will test Boston’s perimeter defenders. Miami comes into tonight’s game averaging 11.1 made 3-pointers per game which ranks ninth in the NBA. 

The Heat are led by Goran Dragic who is averaging team highs in scoring (18.3 points) and assists (4.7) this season. 

These two squared off earlier this season in Miami with the Celtics coming away with a 96-90 win as Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum led the way with 24 and 20 points, respectively. In that game, the Heat were without starting center Hassan Whiteside, who will be in the lineup tonight as the Heat try to bounce back after losing three of its last four games.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE