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December 12, 2014

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Page16 BOSTON POST-GAZETTE, DECEMBER 12, 2014 HOOPS and HOCEEV in the HUB < by Richard Preiss THE CHAMPS with Celebrities of Film, Politics and Sport This week I thought I wc uld share some photos of various boxing champions posing with celebrities from outside the boxing world. Some photos are with actors, some with athletes from sports other then boxing, and some with politicians. It seems as ff everyone loves to have their photo taken with a boxer. Hope you enjoy. Gene Tunney getting into make- up with Rudolph Valentino. Jack Dempsey, Frank Sinatra and Joe Louis Martin Scorsese, Robert De Niro, Jake LaMotta Jack Dempsey trading blows with Charlie Chaplan. Primo Carnera with Jean Harlow Joe DiMaggio, Dwight,Eisenhower and Rocky Marciano Joe E. Ross, Jake LaMotta and Fred Gwynne in "Car 54 Where Are You?" Tony DeMarco with Batting Champ Ted Williams 'tony Galento and Lee J. Cobb in "On The Waterfront," ~oeky Oraziano, Martha Raye and Jake LauMotta Finally there were smiles all around the Celtics -- at the end of games, in the post- game press conferences and in the locker room. For you see, Fmally, yes fi- nally, there was a winning streak on Causeway Street. And once more the fabled parquet floor played host to a series of victories rather than a string of defeats. Once more -- like their comrades of the past -- these Celtics left the floor as victors rather than the vanquished. Once more heads could be held high, rather than hung low after another humbling setback. For once Head Coach Brad Stevens smiled-- actually smiled -- in a postgame press conference and it seemed as though while winter was on the doorstep, the brightness of spring was in the air. It seemed that a different atti- tude had come to the fore, dispelling, at least for the moment, the darkness that had come before. For, let's face it, there had been a long, sad string of losses for the Green, many due to a now all-too-familiar fourth quarter meltdown, but the victories had halted the horrid -- at least temporarily -- and provided at least a positive interlude where assessments could be made. The first victory in the streak came against Detroit, a team that also was having problems of its own. Stan Van Gundy, who formerly had coached Orlando, is now experiencing the nether world of the NBA. The set- back to the Celts was Detroit's 10~ loss in a row and throughout the contest you could clearly see the pain and exasperation on Van Gundy's face. Stevens -- give him credit -- is much more of a stoic in such matters. Rarely does he show emotion, especially when things turn sour. But not Van Gundy. He wore everything on his sleeve and it was there for all to see. A few nights later, Van Gundy and his Pistons would experience the ultimate NBA embarrassment for any team this season -- losing to lowly Philadelphia 76ers -- thus providing the 76ers with only their second win all season. By the way, if you think the Celtics were happy with a three-game win streak, you should have seen the Sixers after beating Detroit. You would have thought they had clinched a berth in the playoffs. Next came a matchup that was once "The Game" of the regular season here in the Hub. That would be when the Los Angeles Lakers grace Causeway Street. But now, the Lakers -- much like the Celtics -- have fallen on harder times and the con- test, once a meeting of NBA titans, is now a game be- tween two teams who have somewhat more modest goals -- simply earning a berth in the playoffs. The ~a~e wa~ a -'.iisolav of the aging Kobe Bryant's tal- ents and little else on the L.A. side. "We're still trying to figure things out," said Bryant. "It's an up and down thing for us in terms of how we play. We been pretty good at getting back on defense, but it's been up and down. Were struggled to put together a couple of good performances in a row." As far as Bryant was con- cerned, the Boston fans were at their best. "They really understand the game. When they get on me and they boo I sincerely appreciate them. It means I'm doing some- thing right. I feel a part of the history between the two clubs when they do that so it always feels good." Another Lakers player familiar to some in the area is Harvard grad Jeremy Lin -- the player who was the center of "Linsanity" when he played with the New York Knicks in 2012. "The Celtics were in a rhythm," said Lin after the game. "They felt comfortable and we never made it diffi- cult for them. We just have to have everyone who comes to the game play extremely hard." Like all Western Confer- ence teams, it was the Lakers only appearance in the Garden this year. Things may be very different for both teams a year from now. The Washington Wizards were the next team to visit the Garden and lose. And they brought with them one of the most appreciated players in Boston history -- Paul Pierce. Everyone realizes who Paul Pierce really is -- a member of the Celtics on leave -- bound to return home at some point in the future to possibly assume a front office position within the organization. After all, he seems eager. Speaking of the possibility of returning to the Hub, Pierce explained: "If the opportunity presents itself, I would love to." But for at least the duration of his two-year contract with the Wizards he is still an NBA player. "The Celtics are a really good team," said Pierce. "They've had a lot of games they should have won. Last year {coming back to Garden) it was really tough for me to focus on what I needed to do. This year I just wanted to come in and focus as much as possible. It's hard at times when I hear the chants and I hear people yelling. But when I come here now, it's to try and get a win against the Boston Celtics." Pierce and the Wizards would do that the very next night in Washington when they posted a 133-132 double overtime victory to snap the C's win streak. But even so, the Celtics had proven, at least for a week that they can be a different team. If that continues, something may be salvaged from this season after all.