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MORNING BRIEFING

Stephon Marbury is the center of attention for Celtics

He'll be in a Celtics uniform for the first time Friday night, and it seems everyone has a comment about it.

February 27, 2009|Barry Stavro

According to Stephon Marbury, he'll be in a Boston Celtics uniform tonight for the first time when the Celtics play host to the Indiana Pacers. "The great thing is that [the Celtics] want me to play with them," Marbury told the New York Times.

Instant Marbury analysis is at red-alert levels nationwide.

Bob Ryan, the Boston Globe's Hall of Fame basketball columnist, likes adding Marbury to the team and said the point guard "will be on his best behavior" with the Celtics. "The fact is, he is a seven-time 20-point scorer who would be coming off the bench. Would he be happy doing that to get a [championship] ring? I think he would."

Celtics Coach Doc Rivers was asked why his team wanted Marbury. "Because we want to be defending champions again next year," Rivers told the Boston Herald.

But Yahoo.com's Kelly Dwyer warns that Marbury is a rusty 32-year-old: "Throw in Stephon's career-long ankle and knee issues, and it's possible that the Celtics would be signing one of the least-productive free agents available.

"Steve Francis and Jason Williams had about the same per-minute, pace-adjusted stats as Marbury did in his final full season, and they're out of the league."

Trivia time

How many times has Marbury made the NBA All-Star team?

Golf economics 101

Greg Norman, who made a bundle on the golf course and off it with his design firms, endorsements and wine business, has some harsh words for players on the PGA Tour. Because of the world-wide economic crisis, he figures a pay cut is fair.

"Prize money is being scaled back in Europe, I wouldn't be surprised if prize money's scaled back in the U.S. just out of respect to every citizen and taxpayer over there who's suffering dramatically," he told Australian media.

"It seems like on the PGA Tour the players are still playing for a million dollars first week, like they're recession-proof. I think there's got to be a lot of sensitivity shown.

"If I was PGA commissioner that's what I would be recommending."

The two-time British Open champion also despises the money wasted by lengthening courses just to accommodate pros who hit the ball farther because of technological advances in golf equipment.

"I think the powers that be could have done a better job of managing the technology breakthroughs . . . [by] not having to spend millions upon millions of dollars to change golf courses for four rounds," Norman said.

WBC mouthpiece

There are some last-minute dropouts from the World Baseball Classic, but Boston slugger David Ortiz isn't one of them.

Ortiz showed up for batting practice this week at the Red Sox's Fort Myers, Fla., facility wearing a big smile and a bright mouthpiece with the colors of his native Dominican Republic flag.

"If you're afraid to play in the WBC, maybe you shouldn't be playing [in exhibition games] either. The WBC is just like spring training," Ortiz said.

Trivia answer

Twice: in 2001 and 2003.

And finally

The New York Post weighed in with this headline about Marbury's effort to end his basketball career with a flourish:

"One Last Chance To Be Steph of Legends."

--

barry.stavro@latimes.com

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