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Monday’s Morning Mashup: Missing Ohio State football player found dead 12.01.14 at 8:09 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NFL: Dolphins at Jets, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Marist at Boston College, 7 p.m. (WEEI-AM)
College basketball: Nebraska at Florida State, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Rutgers at Clemson, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: South Carolina at Marshall, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College basketball: Texas Southern at Baylor, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

Kosta Karageorge

Kosta Karageorge

— The Ohio State football player who went missing on Wednesday was found dead Sunday near the campus with what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Ohio police said.

According to The Columbus Dispatch, Kosta Karageorge’s body was discovered in a dumpster not far from the two-story house in which he had been living. He had told his roommates he was going for a walk early Wednesday, and he had texted his mother that he was having issues dealing with concussions he had suffered. He apologized “if I am an embarrassment, but these concussions have my head all [expletive] up.”

A three-year wrestler at the school, Karageorge walked on to the football team this year. He played in one game.

Karageorge was scheduled to be honored along with the team’s other seniors before Saturday’s final home game, a 42-28 victory over rival Michigan.

“It’s hard to move on through the week knowing we don’t know where he is,” defensive tackle Adolphus Washington said Saturday. “He’s one of our brothers and it’s just hard.”

— Nets forward Kevin Garnett appeared to attempt to bite the finger of nemesis Joakim Noah during Sunday’s game in Brooklyn, although both players had a laugh about it afterward.

The incident happened during the fourth quarter of the Bulls’ 102-84 victory, when Noah was on defense and put his hand near Garnett’s face. Garnett, who earlier in the game got a technical foul for throwing an elbow at Noah, snapped at Noah’s fingers. The former Celtic did not appear to be joking around at the time, although he downplayed it afterward.

“I know how to bite somebody,” Garnett said (via the New York Daily News). “Obviously I was messing around in that moment. I wasn’t serious. I’m not worried about that. If I wanted to bite him, I would. Shout out to Mike Tyson.”

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Read More: Joakim Noah, kevin garnett, Kostas Karageorges,
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Clippers reportedly pursue Paul Pierce 07.03.14 at 7:50 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Cardinals at Giants, 3:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Yankees at Twins, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)
College baseball: Home run derby, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 8 a.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Paul Pierce might be on the move again. The former Celtics star, who was traded to the Nets last offseason, reportedly has been talking to Clippers coach Doc Rivers about a reunion in Los Angeles.

According to ESPN.com, Pierce, a free agent, likely would move via a sign-and-trade, even though Los Angeles has available its midlevel exception of $5.3 million.

It’s speculated that a trade could involve the Clippers parting with Jared Dudley, Matt Barnes and 2013 first-round pick Reggie Bullock.

MASHUP POLL: Should the Celtics attempt to sign Paul Pierce?

  • No, not worth the investment and/or not a good fit with this young team (55%, 227 Votes)
  • Yes, bring him back and let him finish his career as a Celtic (45%, 188 Votes)

Total Voters: 411

Loading ... Loading ...

However, the Clippers are one of the teams courting premier free agents LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, so they’re hesitant to make any major moves until they know their status regarding those two stars.

The Nets this week parted ways with coach Jason Kidd, who helped convince Pierce and Kevin Garnett to accept the trade to Brooklyn last year. Lionel Hollins was hired as his replacement Wednesday. Garnett has not yet announced if he will return for the final year of his deal (worth $12 million).

The Celtics reportedly had interest in sending Pierce and/or Garnett to the Clippers last year, but the NBA prohibited any such move because of Rivers’ involvement.

There also have been rumors that Pierce would consider a return to the Celtics.

— The Rockets made their push for Carmelo Anthony on Wednesday, including putting up billboards in and around Toyota Center with Anthony pictured in a Rockets No. 7 uniform.

However, the team already has a No. 7: Jeremy Lin, who stole the spotlight from Anthony when he became a phenom with the Knicks midway through the 2011-12 season. It’s been speculated that Houston would have to trade Lin — who has a nearly $8 million cap hit — in order to fit Anthony’s contract.

In typical Lin fashion, the former Harvard star relied on his faith to pull him through this latest controversy, tweeting: Luke 6:29 – If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.

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Read More: Carmelo Anthony, doc rivers, Jeremy Lin, Jimmy Graham
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Paul Pierce calls Nets ‘soft’ after late collapse vs. Raptors 04.23.14 at 8:01 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Yankees at Red Sox, 7 p.m. (NESN, ESPN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Diamondbacks at Cubs, 2 p.m. (WGN, MLB Network)
NHL playoffs: Penguins at Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. (NBCSN)
NHL playoffs: Ducks at Stars, 8 p.m. (CNBC)
NHL playoffs: Blues at Blackhawks, 9:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
NBA playoffs: Bobcats at Heat, 7 p.m. (TNT)
NBA playoffs: Mavericks at Spurs, 8 p.m. (NBATV)
NBA playoffs: Trail Blazers at Rockets, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Bayern Munich at Real Madrid, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: CONCACAF Champions, Cruz Azul at Toluca, 8 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

— It’s not quite Larry Bird calling out his Celtics teammates in the 1984 NBA finals against the Lakers, but Paul Pierce appears to be doing his best to light a fire under his Nets, calling Brooklyn a “soft team” after Tuesday’s Game 2 loss to the Raptors in Toronto.

The Nets squandered a 69-64 lead early in the fourth quarter and allowed the Raptors to score 36 fourth-quarter points on 12-of-16 shooting and tie the series with a 100-95 decision. Brooklyn was out rebounded 52-30 in the game.

Pierce, who scored nine straight points in the final three minutes of Game 1 as the Nets grabbed a 94-87 victory, missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer from the corner with 24 seconds remaining Tuesday. He made just 2-of-11 shots and scored seven points.

But after the game the former Celtic was more concerned about his team’s lack of defensive teamwork and aggressiveness in the paint.

“We gave them everything they wanted — 50 points in the paint, and [19] offensive rebounds,” Pierce said. “We were a soft team tonight.”

Teammate Kevin Garnett said he expects the Brooklyn fans to be rowdy for Friday’s Game 3, especially after Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri yelled “[Expletive] Brooklyn]” to a group of Toronto fans outside the arena prior to Game 1 (for which Ujiri was fined $25,000 by the league).

Said Garnett: “It’s going to be a rowdy environment, like it should be. I don’t know if you can say ‘F’ Brooklyn and then come into Brooklyn, so we’re about to see what it’s like.”

— Wild forward Matt Cooke has a hearing Wednesday in New York with the NHL‘s department of player safety to explain himself for his knee-on-knee hit Monday that injured Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie.

Cooke, well known for his bad behavior during his days with the Penguins, has stayed out of trouble the past three seasons after multiple suspensions, but this latest incident appears likely to cost him. The Avs say Barrie, who left the game immediately after the hit, suffered a sprained MCL and will be out 4-6 weeks.

“Does he really need to do those nasty, dirty hits?” said Avalanche forward Max Talbot, who played with Cooke in Pittsburgh. “He’s been in that mode since Game 1. He has been chippy with his stick, going in, slashing guys and, you know, being dirty.”

— Longtime NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager said he is “honored” by the outpouring of support he has received since he started chemotherapy as part of his battle with leukemia. On Sunday, TNT broadcasters and analysts paid tribute to Sager by wearing flashy suits (Sager’s trademark), and famously curt Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said in an interview with Sager’s son that he wanted Sager back and would be nice to him.

“It was just fabulous, an uplifting, tremendous thing for me,” Sager told Sports Illustrated. “Pop saying he wanted me back and then promising to be nice? I was like, ‘Oh, my God, that’s unbelievable, what an honor.’ But then I started thinking about it: If I come back and Pop starts being nice to me, it just wouldn’t be right. I want him to go Serbian [a reference to Popovich’s heritage] on me.”

Sager said he is watching the NBA playoffs on TV and “it is therapeutic.”

“Getting my first chemo was very emotional,” Sager said. “I’m thinking, What is this going to be like, how will it feel, what effects will it have on my body — a total unknown. I have never been sick a day in my life. All of sudden they are administering the first chemo and [ESPN/ABC play-by-play announcer] Mike Breen gets on the air and says, ‘Hey, we just want to say we miss Craig Sager.’ That happened right as the first chemo came. I was like, Wow, I feel better now from the love and support of the airwaves!”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On April 23, 1969, Ted Williams returned to Fenway Park as the manager of which team?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It hasn’t been easy, let’s not kid ourselves. We’ve been fortunate enough in the last two games to get leads. We’re not going to talk about a comfortable situation because until you win that fourth game, it never is.” – Bruins coach Claude Julien, after the Bruins’ 3-0 victory Tuesday gave them a 2-1 series lead over the Red Wings

STAT OF THE DAY: 35 – Strikeouts this season for Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka — who fanned seven Red Sox in New York’s 9-3 win Tuesday — the most through a pitcher’s first four starts in team history

‘NET RESULTS (mobile users, check the website to see the videos): Angels slugger Albert Pujols hits his 500th home run in Tuesday’s game against the Nationals.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Washington Senators (who moved to Texas after the 1971 season to become the Rangers)

SOOTHING SOUNDS: The late Dale Houston, half of the group Dale & Grace, was born on this day in 1940.

Read More: Craig Sager, kevin garnett, matt cooke, Paul Pierce
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Frustrated Kevin Garnett admits age might be catching up to him 01.02.14 at 7:56 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Predators at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
Hockey: World Juniors, United States vs. Russia, 6 a.m. (NHL Network)
Hockey: World Juniors, Finland vs. Czech Republic, 8:30 a.m. (NHL Network)
Hockey: World Juniors, Canada vs. Switzerland, 11 a.m. (NHL Network)
Hockey: World Juniors, Sweden vs. Slovakia, 1:30 p.m. (NHL Network)
NBA: Celtics at Bulls, 8 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Nets at Thunder, 8 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Wisconsin at Northwestern, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Michigan at Minnesota, 7 p.m. (BTN)
College basketball: Washington at Arizona State, 8 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Saint Mary’s at Gonzaga, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: California at Stanford, 9 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Oregon State at Colorado, 10 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: Sugar Bowl, Oklahoma vs. Alabama, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Kevin Garnett has mostly stayed quiet during the Nets‘ disappointing season, but on Wednesday the former Celtic opened up to reporters about his frustration, indicating that he is unsure of his role on offense and that his age might be catching up to him.

Garnett scored two points Tuesday in a blowout loss to the Spurs that dropped the Nets to 10-21. The 37-year-old is averaging 6.5 points on 36 percent shooting — by far the worst averages of his 19-year career.

“The most frustrating thing about me is I could see if I wasn’t and I wasn’t in here working or taking [expletive] days off,” he said. “I put time into my craft for it to come out, but then that’s rhythm on offense. And I don’t have that right now.”

First-year coach Jason Kidd has limited Garnett to a career-low 21.5 minutes per game “to get him through the season,” but it doesn’t appear to be helping in the here and now.

“Honestly, I have no rhythm. I’€™m trying to establish some confidence and figure this whole, ‘Where I fit into the offense’ thing,” Garnett said. “Right now I’€™m just not even a priority. I’€™m trying to be more of a defensive-minded guy. … So I probably need to be a lot more aggressive. Right now my mental [focus] is more defensive right now than offense.”

Added Garnett: “Nobody likes to lose. I’€™m not a loser. But I show up every day and I try to be a professional and give everything I have. You put Father Time on top of that. It doesn’€™t help anything else. And knick knacks and injuries and stuff like that and guys going out. It’€™s just a frustrating time.

“But you know what? I’€™ve been through some harder times than this. I have a lot confidence that I’€™ll come out of this, and we’€™ll come out of this with some decency.”

— At PennLive.com, writer David Jones casts some light on Bill O’Brien‘s frustration with Penn State and why the coach appears set to leave the school to take over the Texans after two years in Happy Valley.

Said O’Brien in a recent conversation with the reporter about how Joe Paterno loyalists might view the departure of longtime assistant coach Ron Vanderlinden: “I don’t really give a [expletive] what the ‘Paterno people’ think about what I do with this program. I’ve done everything I can to show respect to coach Paterno. Everything in my power. So I could really care less about what the Paterno faction of people, or whatever you call them, think about what I do with the program. I’m tired of it.

“For any ‘Paterno person’ to have any objection to what I’m doing it makes me want to put my fist through this windshield right now.”

— An Associated Press photographer died early Wednesday morning, hours after he collapsed on the field while taking photographs following the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Tuesday night in Atlanta.

Dave Martin, 59, was taking photos of Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin following the Aggies’ 52-48 victory over Duke when he apparently suffered a heart attack. He was administered CPR on the field before being taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

“Dave Martin was an excellent photojournalist, a consummate and dedicated professional and a wonderful person,” AP vice president and director of photography Santiago Lyon said. “Wherever his work took him he made many friends and will be deeply missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Jan. 2, 1994, which Patriots player recorded his 100th and final career sack when he tackled Dolphins quarterback Scott Mitchell during New England’s 33-27 overtime victory?

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Read More: Bill O'Brien, Dave Martin, Jason Kidd, kevin garnett
Top Boston Sports Stories of 2013, No. 6: Celtics trade Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Doc Rivers 12.27.13 at 9:23 am ET
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Over the final days of the year, WEEI.com will count down the top 13 stories of 2013 in Boston sports. This is No. 16: Celtics trade Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Doc Rivers. To see the previous entries, click here.

The move seemed incomprehensible at first.

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in Brooklyn Nets jerseys? Impossible.

Sure, Pierce and Garnett’€™s best days clearly are behind them, but these men had led Boston to two NBA Finals and the organization’€™s first title since 1986.

But on June 27, Celtics€™ president of basketball operations Danny Ainge completed a trade that marked a changing of the guard. Boston traded Pierce, an revered 15-year Celtic who persevered through incredibly ugly times in Boston, and Garnett, the man perhaps most responsible for the franchise’s drastic turnaround, and began the inevitable rebuilding process for the Celtics.

The Nets also received Jason Terry, who disappointed in one season for the Celtics. His year in Boston will be remembered more for the posterizing dunk LeBron James laid on him than his contributions to the team.

“We would like to thank Paul, Kevin and Jason for everything that they have done for this franchise,”€ Ainge said. “€œWe would not have won Banner 17 without Paul and Kevin, and they will go down amongst the all-time great players to have ever worn a Celtics uniform.”

The Celtics garnered three first-round picks (2014, ‘€˜16, ‘€˜18) along with Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, Kris Joseph, MarShon Brooks and Keith Bogans for the trio.

“We are excited to welcome Gerald, Kris, Keith, MarShon and Kris to the Celtics family. They bring a wealth of talent, experience, depth, and flexibility to our team,” Ainge said.

With Terry, Pierce and Garnett scheduled to make a combined $33.4 million in the 2013-14 season, and considering that the most appealing return Boston received was the three first-round picks, the move was widely viewed as a salary dump and the beginning of the Celtics’€™ rebuilding process.

The band began to break up earlier in the summer when Boston shipped coach Doc Rivers to the Clippers.

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Read More: Boston Sports Stories of the Year 2013, Danny Ainge, Gerald Wallace, Jason Terry
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett show frustration with Nets’ lack of heart at 8:13 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Senators at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Wizards at Timberwolves, 8 p.m. (NBATV)
College basketball: Northern Kentucky at North Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Lafayette at Seton Hall, 8 p.m. (FS1)
College football: Military Bowl, Marshall vs. Maryland, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: Texas Bowl, Syracuse vs. Minnesota, 6 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
College football: Fight Hunger Bowl, BYU vs. Washington, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-FM)
Speedskating: U.S. Olympic trials, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— The hope in Brooklyn was that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett would provide veteran leadership and toughness to lift the Nets into the realm of the NBA elite. That plan has gone awry, and the two ex-Celtics are showing their frustration with the team’s lack of heart.

“You can say what you want about individuals or certain people being mentally tough, but it has to be everybody,” Pierce said. “I can’€™t speak for everybody all the time. If this was an individual sport, I could speak for myself. But you know, some people respond to adversity different, no matter who is around or who says anything to them.”

Following Wednesday’s 95-78 loss to the Bulls — which came two days after coach Jason Kidd called out his team for “getting very close to accepting losing” following a blowout loss to the Pacers — Kidd reportedly lit into his team in the locker room, with Garnett adding some choice words as well.

Kidd benched players during Wednesday’s game for lazy defense, but it wasn’t enough to turn things around.

“We’ve got to keep fighting, keep grinding, and as a staff and players we need to keep moving forward, and right now we are not,” Kidd said.

Said guard Deron Williams: “I’m even surprised with this season, how it’s played out. It’s like a nightmare. The way the injuries have been and the things we talk about every day; the lack of energy, the lack of effort. I didn’t see that as being a problem when we put this team together.”

The Nets will be hard-pressed to start turning things around soon, as they face seven teams with winning records over their next 10 games, including the Pacers, Spurs and Thunder on the road, and the Warriors and Heat at home. Even in the woeful Atlantic Division, the Nets face a challenge to climb back to relevancy.

“Well, our record shows we’re not a good team right now,” Pierce said. “When you’re 9-19, you have a lot of work to do. Our goal is still to improve, but when you’re 9-19, your record speaks for itself.”

LeBron James was named The Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year on Thursday after leading the Heat to their second straight NBA title while winning his fourth MVP award. Tennis star Serena Williams was named the Female Athlete of the Year a day earlier.

James received 31 of 96 votes to out-poll Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (20) and race-car driver Jimmy Johnson (7). He’s the third NBA payer to be so honored, joining Michael Jordan and Larry Bird.

“I don’t think I’ve changed much this year,” James said. “I’ve just improved and continued to improve on being more than just a basketball player. I’ve matured as a leader, as a father, as a husband, as a friend.”

Added James: “I’m chasing something and it’s bigger than me as a basketball player. I believe my calling is much higher than being a basketball player. I can inspire people. Youth is huge to me. If I can get kids to look at me as a role model, as a leader, a superhero … those things mean so much, and that’s what I think I was built for. I was put here for this lovely game of basketball, but I don’t think this is the biggest role that I’m going to have.”

— The NBA on Thursday baked up Clippers star Blake Griffin‘s assertion that he should not have been ejected from Wednesday’s 105-103 loss to the Warriors. Griffin was involved in separate confrontations with Draymond Green (who was fined $15,000 for failing to leave the court in a timely manner after he was ejected for elbowing Griffin) and Andrew Bogut, and while both Warriors players were given flagrant fouls, Griffin was assessed a technical each time for fighting back, and that caused his ejection.

“After a league review of the Clippers-Warriors game, we have come to the conclusion that Blake Griffin should not have been ejected from the game,” NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn said. “A common foul should have been called on Griffin for initially attempting to dislodge the Warriors’ Andrew Bogut and a technical foul should have been assessed to Bogut for grabbing Griffin by the shirt and wrestling with him.”

Griffin voiced his dissatisfaction after the game, implying that the Warriors knew what they were doing.

“If you look at it, I didn’t do anything and I got thrown out of the game. It all boils down to [the referees] fell for it,” Griffin said Wednesday night. “To me, it’s cowardly basketball. I don’t know their intentions, but it worked. … If I knew the answer I’d probably be in a different position. Tonight I got two technicals for nothing.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Dec. 27, 1956, which Celtics player had his consecutive free throw streak ended at 55 — an NBA record that stood for 19 years?

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Read More: Blake Griffin, Jason Kidd, kevin garnett, LeBron James
Top Boston Sports Stories of 2013, No. 11: Rajon Rondo suffers season-ending ACL injury 12.22.13 at 9:04 am ET
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Over the final days of the year, WEEI.com will count down the top 13 stories of 2013 in Boston sports. This is No.11: Rajon Rondo suffers season-ending ACL injury. To see the previous entries, click here.

When the Celtics fell to the Hawks, 123-111, in double-overtime on Jan. 25, 2013, it represented a heartbreaking loss for a team desperate for a victory. The loss dropped the C’s three games below .500 for the second time in the 2012-13 season, and it marked their sixth straight defeat, their longest losing streak since they lost 18 in a row during their horrendous 2007 campaign.

Unbeknownst to the C’s, they’€™d also lost arguably their best player, a loss that would set off a massive rebuilding process in Boston, and the eventual removal of their championship-winning coach. Rajon Rondo, a Celtic since 2007 and the starting point guard of the 2008 team that won the Larry O’€™Brien Trophy, suffered a torn ACL during the game, an injury that would force him to miss the rest of the 2012-13 season and at least the first two months of the 2013-14 campaign.

The severity of Rondo’€™s injury was revealed both to Boston’€™s players and a national audience in the middle of the team’€™s second straight double-overtime game, a 100-98 win over the Heat on Jan. 27.

“It was shocking, frustrating,” Rondo said. “I wanted to play against the Heat that day, Sunday, and I thought I was playing. But maybe 30 minutes on the clock I did my ritual, my routine, I got in the shower and something was telling me this just didn’t feel right.”

Before his injury, Rondo averaged career highs in points (13.7), rebounds (5.6) and minutes (37.4) and dished out 11.1 assists per game, which would have placed him second in the NBA in that stat.

“Obviously the Rondo news is tough,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said after the Miami game. “I knew before the game, but I didn’t tell anyone. Obviously it was pretty emotional.”

Forward Kevin Garnett, one of Rondo’€™s closest friends on the team, expressed his disappointment as well.

“It was a big blow to everybody in here, me included,” Garnett said. “Man, that hurt. It’s tough. We had a tough game, came in, and he told the whole team in the locker room. It’s tough, tough on everybody.

“[Rondo is] becoming the heart and soul of this team. He’s coming into his own. Had some bumps in the road, but we’re just trying to be supportive for him.”

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Read More: Boston Sports Stories of the Year 2013, Danny Ainge, doc rivers, kevin garnett
Friday’s Morning Mashup: Nets’ Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce welcome Doc Rivers to Brooklyn, beat Clippers 12.13.13 at 7:58 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Knicks at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Lakers at Thunder, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Rockets at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Iowa at Iowa State, 9:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College football: FCS quarterfinals, Towson at Eastern Illinois
College hockey: Colorado College at Wisconsin, 7:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
College soccer: NCAA semifinals, Notre Dame vs. New Mexico, 5 p.m. (ESPNU)
College soccer: NCAA semifinals, Virginia vs. Maryland, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘€¢ Former Celtics coach Doc Rivers‘ reunion tour continued Thursday night, and this time it ended in a loss, as the Nets turned away the Clippers in Brooklyn, 102-93.

Perhaps the biggest surprise came when Kevin Garnett deviated from his normally intense pregame routine to hug Rivers and the Clippers assistant coaches who also moved over from Boston.

“I’ll always have a special place for Doc,” Garnett said.

Said Rivers: “I was shocked that Kevin came over before the game because he has a routine. I turned to [assistant Tyronn Lue] and said, ‘Well, Kevin’s going to struggle now. He just broke his routine.’ But no, we talk all the time. It was nice. They were really happy about last night is basically what they both said.”

Garnett scored just two points but helped keep Blake Griffin in check. Paul Pierce, in his second game back from a hand injury, had 10 points.

Garnett and Pierce went 2-0 in this week’s reunion games, after beating the Celtics on Tuesday night. They’re hoping they can carry over the success and get the Nets rolling after a disappointing 8-14 start.

“We hope so,” Pierce said. “I think our experience, our competitiveness, our leadership, hopefully can rub off on everybody. We’re starting to see signs of that, and that’s what we’re here for.”

‘€¢ New Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano met the media in Seattle on Thursday, and he explained why he decided to leave the Yankees.

“I didn’t feel respect,” Cano said of his former team. “I didn’t get respect from them and I didn’t see any effort.”

Cano said the Mariners‘ willingness to go to 10 years while the Yankees offered seven was the deciding factor.

“I was looking for a contract where I would just be able to play and focus on the game and wouldn’t wonder when I’m 37, 38 would I have a job one day. Would I be able to play?” Cano said. “The one thing in Seattle is I get the chance. Am I going to keep working hard? Yes. Even harder? Yes. I’m going to do my best and play the same way I was playing in New York and go out there and do my business and win games.”

Cano’s celebrity representative, Jay-Z, watched the press conference from the side of room and declined interview requests.

“Today isn’t about me,” the music mogul said. “It’s about him.”

‘€¢ At least three people were stabbed in the parking lot outside Sports Authority Field at Mile High following the Broncos‘ loss to the Chargers on Thursday night, according to reports out of Denver.

“It was obviously a very chaotic scene, and investigators have their work cut out for them,” Denver Police spokesman Steve Warneke said.

Three men were transported to area hospitals and were “conscious and talking.” Police said they believe there is a fourth victim who left the scene.

This is the latest in a string of violent incidents outside NFL stadiums this year. Earlier this month, when the Broncos were playing in Kansas City, a man who was found in another fan’s car died after an altercation.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Dec. 13, 1991, during the Celtics’ 117-97 victory over the visiting SuperSonics, center Robert Parish became the fifth player in NBA history to appear in 1,200 games, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elvin Hayes and which two former Celtics?

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Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Doc Rivers says Paul Pierce needs more minutes to contribute to Nets 12.11.13 at 8:16 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Clippers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Bulls at Knicks, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Mavericks at Warriors, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: North Dakota State at Notre Dame, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Flyers at Blackhawks, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Arsenal at Napoli, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘€¢ Paul Pierce returned from a hand injury to help the Nets beat the Celtics on Tuesday night, a rare positive moment in a trying season for the veteran.

Doc Rivers, who leads his Clippers into Boston for a Wednesday night game before traveling to Brooklyn to meet Pierce, Kevin Garnett and the Nets a day later, isn’t convinced this is a sign that Pierce’s career is nearing the end.

Rivers appeared to question how rookie Nets coach Jason Kidd was using Pierce, who came off the bench Tuesday night.

“[Pierce] can score anywhere,” Rivers told Bleacher Report columnist Howard Beck. “I think he was more uncomfortable with the short minutes that they were [playing him], like they did with Kevin. And that’€™s not Paul. Paul doesn’€™t work under those type of minutes — at least, in my opinion he doesn’€™t. He’€™s a guy that needs a rhythm to play. In Kevin’€™s case, on a 20-minute restriction, of course his numbers are going to be down. So I think at some point, he probably is going to have to play more minutes to improve, so he can get a better rhythm himself.”

While early returns indicate the Celtics made the right decision to cut ties with Garnett and Pierce, Rivers doesn’t expect the Nets to continue to flounder.

“I think that’s just ridiculous,” Rivers said. “How does anybody have the right to know that? They haven’t had their team one single game this year. So I don’t know how you would know that. It’s a long season.”

Rivers said he delivered that message himself to one of the former Celtics.

“One of the things I was telling one of those guys — which, I won’€™t say — is, ‘So what’€™s the big deal? You’€™re not playing well right now. You don’€™t get a trophy right now. You don’€™t get to play for the trophy right now. Just keep going.’ ”

‘€¢ One of the Rutgers basketball players who was subject to abuse at the hands of former coach Mike Rice has filed a lawsuit against Rice, former assistant coach James Martelli and three school officials, including former president Robert Barchi.

Derrick Randall, who played at Rutgers from 2011 until last spring, claims he suffers from learning disabilities and he experienced emotional trauma because of the mistreatment.

“Defendants, directly and/or through their agents, willfully, recklessly, negligently and with deliberate indifference, placed Derrick in a hostile environment in which he was regularly and continuously subjected to physical, mental, verbal and emotional abuse of the most outrageous nature,” the suit states.

Two of the school officials named in the suit, board of governors member Mark Hershhorn and CFO for intercollegiate athletics Janine Purcaro, still are employed by the school.

‘€¢ As part of the David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic, there are a number of fundraising auction items. One of them is a New York City lunch with Alex Rodriguez. It initially did not draw any interest — no bids for the first two days — but one individual stepped up to make an offer, and he made it clear that he intended to make it a meal A-Rod wouldn’t soon forget.

Joe Schiff, a Yankees fan from Brooklyn, made the first bid and said he hoped to grill the player about his alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs.

“I thought it would be pretty cool to sit down with one of the most controversial people in the world,” Schiff told NJ.com. “What I’m thinking about asking A-Rod is: Are you guilty?

“I want to make it as awkward as possible for him. ‘€¦ He’s ripping off the Yankees for $28 million a year. I think it’s wrong.”

Schiff, a 29-year-old software salesman, said he also wanted to ask Rodriguez about his dating life, such as why the player does things like solicit girls phone numbers from the stands during a 2012 playoff game.

“You’re a pretty smart guy, but I don’t know how you make all the wrong choices in life,” Schiff said. “Why can’t you just settle down.”

Alas, Schiff may have hurt his chances with the publicity. A handful of other bidders jumped in since Schiff made his intentions known, and the bidding was up to $3,700 as of Wednesday morning — more than Schiff said he would be willing to spend.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Dec. 11, 1954, which Bruins goalie recorded his 27th and final career shutout with a 3-0 victory over the Canadiens?

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Friday’s Morning Mashup: Kevin Garnett preaches patience after Nets routed by last-place Knicks 12.06.13 at 8:09 am ET
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Welcome to Friday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

FRIDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Nuggets at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. (CSNNE, ESPN)
College basketball: Arizona State at DePaul, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Fairfield at Quinnipiac, 8:30 p.m. (NESN)
College basketball: South Carolina at Oklahoma State, 9:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Kentucky at Baylor, 10 p.m. (ESPN)
College football: MAC championship, Bowling Green vs. Northern Illinois, 8 p.m. (ESPN2)
College hockey: New Hampshire at Boston College, 7 p.m. (WEEI-AM)
College hockey: North Dakota at Western Michigan, 7:30 p.m. (CBSSN)
College hockey: UMass at Notre Dame, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: World Cup draw, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN2)
Soccer: Women’s NCAA semifinal, Virginia Tech vs. Florida State, 5 p.m. (ESPNU)
Soccer: Women’s NCAA semifinal, Virginia vs. UCLA, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)

AROUND THE WEB:

‘€¢ The Knicks won the battle for New York — also a matchup between the Atlantic Division’s bottom-feeders — on Thursday night, rolling to a 113-83 victory in Brooklyn in a game that showcased how bad the Nets are playing right now.

Kevin Garnett, who was the glue on defense for the Celtics the past few seasons, explained that there is some confusion among Nets players, especially after defense-minded assistant coach Lawrence Frank was demoted earlier in the week.

“Chemistry isn’t just snap, wave a magic wand and voila,” said Garnett, who was involved in a dust-up with Andrea Bargnani in the fourth quarter that led to the Knicks forward’s ejection. “We have a new system ‘€¦ changing the team on the fly.”

Jason Kidd admitted that the first month of his coaching tenure has not been memorable.

“The losses can sometimes take the fun away,” he said after his team fell to 5-14, only percentage points ahead of the 4-13 Knicks for last place in the Atlantic.

Meanwhile, Knicks star Carmelo Anthony denied a report that he’s already decided to flee New York when he becomes a free agent next offseason.

“I don’€™t think [any]body goes somewhere expecting to lose, but we’€™re going through it and I’€™m dealing with it,” Anthony said before Thursday’s game. “As far as me leaving and thinking about that, I’€™d be selfish to think about that at this point with us losing and going through the situation that we’€™re going through. I’€™d be selfish on my part, to my teammates and to the organization to even have that thought even coming across my mind.

“So, no, I’€™m not even thinking about that at this point.”

‘€¢ The Bulls have ruled Derrick Rose out for the season after he tore the medial meniscus in his right knee last month, but the star guard isn’t ready to give up on the season.

“If I’m healthy and the situation is right, I will be back playing,” Rose said Thursday about the possibility of returning for the playoffs. “If I’m healthy and my meniscus is fully healed, of course I’ll be out there playing. But if it’s something totally different and the outcome is not how I would want it to be, there’s no need.”

Rose also did not take kindly to a suggestion that the team move on from building around him, given that he just suffered his second major injury in three years.

“What can I say to that?” Rose responded, adding after a long pause: “You could be a fool if you want to. Dead serious. I know I’m going to be all right.”

‘€¢ Dolphins offensive lineman Jonathan Martin had a second meeting with NFL special investigator Ted Wells on Thursday to discuss his alleged harsh treatment by teammates, according to an Associated Press report.

Wells is expected to have another meeting with some Dolphins players before filing his report.

Martin, who first was interviewed on Nov. 15 after leaving the team on Oct. 28, continues to stay with family in California while undergoing counseling for emotional issues. He was put on the reserve/non-football illness list by the Dolphins last week, ending his season.

Richie Incognito, who emerged as the main focus of the bullying accusations, remains suspended from the team.

Despite the turmoil that threatens to cost coach Joe Philbin his job, the Dolphins are 6-6 and challenging for a playoff berth headed into Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh.

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA (answer below): On Dec. 6, 1976, the Red Sox traded a young Cecil Cooper to the Brewers to return which two former Sox players to Boston?

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