Morning shootaround: Enjoy the ride
--CELTICS MAILBAG: IT'S ALL GOOD FOR GREEN--
As the Celtics trek home from a successful four-game road trip, a three-game cushion atop the Eastern Conference standings in their checked baggage, there are plenty of reasons for optimism. Not only is the team playing inspired ball, particularly against the league's top competition, but it's nearing full health, with both Delonte West and Jermaine O'Neal pegged at (tentative) late-February returns. But there's also plenty of work ahead for the Celtics even before the All-Star break arrives. That includes a daunting home slate to start the month, featuring visits from the Mavericks and Magic -- two teams with victories over the Celtics this season. The following week, the Lakers and Heat visit, and after the All-Star festivities, Boston goes back out west for another four-game road trip. You can expect a few bumps in February, but optimism reigns at the moment.
--A quick look at more headlines:
* Technical Tracker: A look at Boston's 35 techs this season
* Payne: Rivers rewarded with patience in Robinson
* Heat Index: Miami can't match chemistry of Celtics and rivals
* ESPN LA: Artest denies trade chatter amidst Laker panic
Play Podcast Buster Olney and Jayson Stark talk about the chances that Jon Lester and David Price will be moved before the deadline. Plus, Roch Kubatko on the Orioles' momentum.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL analyst Tedy Bruschi weighs in on the responsibility Tom Brady shoulders for the Patriots, Rob Gronkowski's physicality and how New England will use Darrelle Revis.
Play Podcast Buster Olney talks to Alex Speier, Karl Ravech and Justin Havens about whether the Red Sox will move Jon Lester before the trade deadline, pace of play and much more.