Sports

DAN SHAUGHNESSY

Celtics caught a break with no Isaiah suspension

Isaiah Thomas was lucky to avoid being suspended for Game 4.

Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Isaiah Thomas was lucky to avoid being suspended for Game 4.

Picked-up pieces while anxiously awaiting the next social media rant from tin-foil head and well-known freedom fighter Curt Schilling.

 The Celtics caught a huge break Saturday afternoon when it was learned that Isaiah Thomas would not be suspended for hitting Dennis Schroder upside the head Friday night. The rules are pretty clear. You punch a player in the head, the NBA suspends you for the next game. Evidently (and luckily), the league determined this was not a punch.

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 The Patriots Hall of Fame continues to be a joke until Bill Parcells get in. Fans are either being petty or they haven’t been fans long enough to know the degree to which Parcells changed everything when he came to Foxborough. Parcells saved the Patriots before Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick, and Tom Brady. Last week, the Patriots announced that Kevin Faulk, Raymond Clayborn, and Mike Vrabel are this year’s finalists. All terrific contributors, but none close to the Tuna.

 It was quite a thrill to pick up the Sunday Atlanta Journal-Constitution and find the Celtics-Hawks Game 1 playoff game story featured on page C4 of the sports section. The sports cover story was a great account of the Georgia Bulldogs’ G-Day intrasquad scrimmage, which drew 93,000 fans to Sanford Stadium in Athens. Bulldogs fans are all in on freshman quarterback Jacob Eason, from Lake Stevens, Wash. Young Eason is the most highly touted Georgia QB recruit since Matthew Stafford. Eason’s dad is, in fact, Tony Eason, but he is NOT the Tony Eason who played quarterback for the Patriots and had to be pulled from New England’s first Super Bowl vs. the Bears in New Orleans. The Tony Eason who is Jacob’s dad played football at Notre Dame.

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 While we are on the topic of high school athletes from the state of Washington, let it be known that both Jon Lester and Avery Bradley are graduates of Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma.

 Anyone think Marcus Smart looks like a young Floyd Patterson, former heavyweight champ of the world?

 Sorry I didn’t make it to the 10th annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference last month. Was really looking forward to the one-hour panel on soccer analytics: “Finding New Passing Lanes.’’ And can someone please get me a copy of featured research papers “Accurately predicting shot outcomes in tennis using style and context priors’’ and “Accounting for complementary skill sets when evaluating NBA players values to a specific team’’?

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 The Sports Hub’s Marc Bertrand thinks the word “nimble” is reserved for overweight people. “You never see a thin athlete referred to as ‘nimble,’ ’’ claims the Beetle. “It’s always somebody like Pablo Sandoval.’’ A Google search of “Sandoval” and “nimble’’ turned up 1.8 million matches, many of them authored by me.

 Dr. Jen Welter, a Boston College graduate (2000) and the first female to coach in the NFL, was in town last month for a Boston Renegades event and a “Breaking the Barriers in Athletics” panel at BC. Welter was a linebackers coach with the Arizona Cardinals as a training camp intern under head coach Bruce Arians last summer. “It was a great opportunity,’’ Welter said. “The reception was overwhelmingly positive. To be able to bring new light to the fact that so many women know, love, and played football was a game-changer and I feel so honored.’’ Welter grew up in Florida, played club rugby at BC, then 14 years of women’s professional football. “We had 90 players at Cardinals training camp and I can honestly say that not one of them was disrespectful. They were honored to be part of history,’’ Welter said. While hanging with the Renegades Welter spent time with quarterback Allison Cahill and running back Whitney Zelee. The Renegades are 2-1 and play their next game at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville next Saturday vs. Philadelphia.

 The Red Sox play at Dodger Stadium Aug. 5-7. It’s the last time Vin Scully will broadcast a Red Sox game of any kind. Scully loves to tell the tale of making his bones broadcasting a Boston University-Maryland football game from the rooftop of Fenway Park on a blustery day in 1949. Scully made one of the most famous calls in Sox history, exhorting “behind the bag!’’ after Mookie Wilson’s dribbler bounced through the legs of Bill Buckner.

 Leonardo DiCaprio plays Josh Rutledge when the story of the Sox utility infielder goes to the big screen.

 Wish the Patriots were playing the Rams in Los Angeles this season in one of the great old venues in sports. The Rams last played at the 92,000-seat Coliseum in 1979 and virtually nothing has changed. The Coliseum opened in 1923, same year as old Yankee Stadium. It’s home to USC but hasn’t hosted an NFL game since 1994. It was the site of the first Super Bowl in 1967 and still has the Olympic cauldron lit by Rafer Johnson before the 1984 Summer Games. Eight years ago, the Red Sox played the Dodgers in an exhibition game at the Coliseum, a Frank McCourt/Dr. Charles Steinberg production that drew 115,000 fans, the largest crowd in baseball history. The goofy configuration of the cramped diamond allowed teams to field five-man infields, and when Sox rookie Jacoby Ellsbury was thrown out attempting to steal second base, the tag was applied by Dodger center fielder Andruw Jones. A rare 2-8 in your scorebook.

 Nice of David Price to send out a tweet asking Red Sox Nation to stand by him, but like Curt Schilling, he’d probably be better off having his keyboard privileges revoked while he is a member of the Red Sox. Price told us last year that he could always tell which tweets were coming from New England fans. It had something to do with the tone of the discourse.

 Best non-shutout ever pitched? It’s got to be Pedro Martinez’s 3-1 win over the Yankees in Yankee Stadium in September 1999. Pedro retired the last 22 batters and got eight of the last nine on strikeouts, finishing with 17 Ks. On April 22, 1970, young Tom Seaver beat the Padres, 2-1, on two hits while striking out 19. Seaver fanned the final 10 batters he faced. Pretty good. But not quite Pedro. The 1970 Padres were about one-third as good as the ’99 Yankees.

 According to Sports Illustrated, the top five players in baseball history in fielding runs saved are Brooks Robinson, Mark Belanger, Ozzie Smith, Andruw Jones, and Adrian Beltre. Must have been fun to pitch for the Orioles in the days when Robinson and Belanger held down the left side of the infield.

 The Red Sox only have eight home games in September.

 Terry Ryan was GM of the Twins when they released David Ortiz after the 2002 season. Ryan told the Fort Myers News-Press, “I whiffed. When you whiff on something, it’s just a bad decision. I just made a mistake. It was unfortunate. When you’re a decision maker, you make decisions on a daily basis. He did something with the decision that I made. He reached heights that I obviously didn’t predict.’’

 There are nine retired numbers on the right-field facade at Fenway and you could align them to make a nifty team. Carlton Fisk (27) catching, Pedro Martinez (45) pitching, Jackie Robinson (42) first base, Bobby Doerr (1) second base, Johnny Pesky (6) shortstop, Joe Cronin (4) third base, Jim Rice (14) left field, Carl Yastrzemski (8) center field, Ted Williams (9) right field.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at dshaughnessy@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dan_Shaughnessy.
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