GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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February 23, 2012

Crunch Time

Blow it up

With five straight losses it looks like a certainty that the days of this Celtics team as contenders is over. In the NBA, the only option is to blow it up completely and start over.

In basketball, far more then any other sport, you need a bona fide super star to have a shot at a title, and while Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were certainly there at one point winning one title and nearly bringing home a second, they just don't play at that level any more.

This season the Celtics are fighting for a playoff spot and makes you wonder what's a better scenario? Getting a seven or eight seed and getting bounced in the first round? Or missing the playoffs completely in ninth or tenth place and having a one percent chance of winning the lottery? Both are far from desirable options.

But all hope is not lost for the Celtics future. Garnett, Allen and the ever useless Jermaine O'Neil's contracts come off the books after this season giving the Celtics a ton of cap room. It could also give them some trade chips at the deadline to make some moves for the future.

Selling the Sox short?

It is more than reasonable to be pessimistic about the 2012 Red Sox given the collapse in 2011 and the fact that the nucleus of the team remains intact. The Red Sox deserved all the flack they took this offseason and continue to take presently as spring training opens.

But could it be possible that the Sox are being sold short? Don't get me wrong, there is a very real chance that this team could finish sixth in the American League and third in the AL for the third straight season. But lets not forget this was the best team in baseball for a good portion of the regular season last year and they have more then enough talent to be in the playoff hunt for the entire regular season.

Playoffs or not the Sox will not be buried early, they will still be in the mix on the last day of the season.

-Compiled by Nick Curcuru

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