THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Celtics  at Clippers, 10:30 p.m. (TNT; WEEI-FM)
NBA: Mavericks at Thunder, 8 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball : New Mexico at Cincinnati, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College football: Military Bowl, San Jose State vs. Bowling Green, 3 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Belk Bowl, Cincinnati vs. Duke, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Holiday Bowl, Baylor vs. UCLA, 9:45 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
AROUND THE WEB:
‘¦ Tim Tebow  finally spoke up and defended himself  against accusations he asked out of the team’s wildcat package for Sunday’s loss to the Chargers, although his explanation is open to interpretation.
“You work your whole life to build a reputation,” Tebow said Wednesday. “Then people try to bring you down when they don’t understand even what happened. It’s disappointing. You just want to express your side of the story.”
Tebow admitted telling Rex Ryan  that he was frustrated at not being named starter and with “running up the middle” consistently on the wildcat, and he acknowledged the “possibility” that Ryan misinterpreted him to mean he wanted out. But he insisted that he didn’t want to come off as being selfish.
“I never said, ‘Hey, I don’t want to do anything. I won’t do anything,’ ” Tebow said. “That wasn’t the talk at all. He knows that. And everybody on this team knows that I would never not do something if I was asked. That’s what’s disappointing. ‘¦ People saying, ‘Oh, you quit.’ That was not it at all. It was just me asking to get an opportunity to play the position I love, which is quarterback. It wasn’t me asking out of anything.”
Added Tebow: “When people talk about how you play football and how much, that’s one thing. That really doesn’t bother me. I think the only thing that’s been disappointing these last few days and frustrating is people saying, ‘Oh you quit on your team or you’re not a good teammate.’ ”
‘¦ The Bears apparently don’t mind giving the Lions some bulletin-board material heading into Sunday’s regular-season finale.
The last time these teams met — a 13-7 Bears victory on Oct. 22 — Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh  was criticized (but not penalized nor fined) for driving Bears quarterback Jay Cutler ‘s head into the turf on a sack.
Bears DT Henry Melton said Wednesday he’s expecting more of the same  this weekend from the Lions.
“They’re dirty,” Melton said. “They’ve always been a dirty team since I’ve been here. I don’t like them. We’ve just got to hold our composure and play the game we know. They just try to do all this extra stuff: talking, little cheap shots. If you look at the tape, they’ve always thrown cheap shots. We had a brawl I think last year. So it is what it is. I’m ready.”
Meanwhile, Bears safety Major Wright said Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford  can be rattled if he’s pressured . Wright did acknowledge that Stafford is “a good quarterback” who can “pick you apart” if given time. But, added Wright: “You put a little pressure on him, you close the pocket on him, and he hesitates. He doesn’t make that perfect throw. ‘¦ He can make any throw on that field, so you have to be aware of putting pressure on him because you put a little pressure on him, he kind of folds.”
‘¦ Canadiens defenseman Josh Gorges — keeping busy as the NHL  lockout continues — took to Twitter to organize an outdoor hockey game with fans  at a neighborhood rink in Montreal on Wednesday afternoon.
“I haven’t played outdoors in a long time, but I figured we’ve got some time and I’ve got nothing else to do,” Gorges told reporters during a break from the game. “I was just looking to skate outdoors and I threw it out there on Twitter and so many people were asking where I’d go play, so I thought why not set a time and place and we’ll all come and play.”
Tweeted Gorges afterward : Thanks to everyone who showed up for the game today had alot of fun!! What do you think should we organize another game??
ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Dec. 27, 1956, which Celtics player had his consecutive free throw streak ended at 55 — an NBA record that stood for 19 years?
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “As this deal with Pittsburgh looked like it was going to be closer to being done, we wanted to let Andrew know what our goal this offseason was, and we reaffirmed that with him. That was to improve the team in any way we could. We didn’t specifically go into the offseason looking for a closer, but when this deal presented itself we thought it would do just that, it would improve our team..” — Red Sox  manager John Farrell , on the acquisition  of Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan and its affect on Andrew Bailey 
‘NET RESULTS: Knicks guard J.R. Smith hits an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat the Suns.
Rajon Rondo  and the Celtics can use this clip as further evidence that Dwyane Wade  is a dirty player. After being fouled in Wednesday’s game, the Heat star kicks Bobcats guard Ramon Sessions in a sensitive area.
Meanwhile, in Denver, Lakers center Dwight Howard  is ejected for a flagrant foul on Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried.
In a Swiss League hockey game, Patrick Kane (Blackhawks) fakes out goalie Cory Schneider  (Canucks) with some impressive stick handling on a shootout.
TRIVIA ANSWER: Bill Sharman
SOOTHING SOUNDS: Tracey Nelson was born on this day in 1944.