Thursday, November 30, 2006

Carlos Boozer has played well

If you're watching the Lakers/Jazz game on TNT later tonight, take some time to reflect on all the idiots who were critical of Carlos Boozer. There's just no room on the Celtics for a guy who averages 21.9 points and 12.8 rebounds per game while shooting a high percentage (.569) from the field.

Take a number

Paul Forrester of joins the horde of journalists lining up against Doc Rivers:

1. Doc Rivers' revolving door
It's not just that players such as Kendrick Perkins play 29 minutes one night and 13 a few later. It isn't just that promising rookie Leon Powe sits for the first game of the season, plays in the next four and sits again in two of the next three. It's that someone like Brian Scalabrine plays more often than a promising sophomore such as Gerald Green. The poster boy for brain-typing as a player evaluation tool, Scalabrine, who is supposed to have the same brain type as Michael Jordan, is averaging 1.6 points, 1.6 rebounds and 0.27 blocks a game -- and he's 6-9. Scalabrine isn't a culprit as much as a symptom of Rivers' inability to define roles. And when a big part of your job as a coach is to develop a roster littered with inexperienced talent, uncertainty doesn't help breed confidence -- or wins.

Who knew?

I had no idea that Florence Griffith-Joyner was responsible for one of the Indiana Pacers' jerseys.

Yeah what he said.

It's never good to be the focus of the ESPN's Daily Dime after a loss. But in this case it is terrrible.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

C's/Nets - 11/29/06

The Boston Celtics are a young, inconsistent team. Forget about the back-to-back losses to the Bobcats and the Knicks. Tonight was the greatest example of how far this team has to go. The Nets were reeling from an abysmal west coast road trip and six straight losses heading into the second game of a back-to-back. Meanwhile the Celtics were rested after a few days of practice, which Doc stresses. Of course the Nets looked sluggish in the first 24 minutes but only trailed by three at the half. So what happened? Jason Kidd caught fire in the third, Vince Carter decided to play the second half and Richard Jefferson made some big shots down the stretch. Yes it’s the NBA and everybody makes a run but the C’s need to learn how to put a team away. I hate the fact that with 9:32 to go in the game and the Celtics leading by 10, I started wondering how they would blow the lead. Overall it was a difficult loss to take especially the way Pierce and Szczerbiak blew the last two possessions.

Celtics Notes

Sebastian Telfair – He’s growing up as a professional basketball player right in front of our eyes. He’s got a quick first step and finishes well. And now he’s starting to drive and dish. There’s something to be said for giving a guy consistent minutes and letting him develop as a player. Perhaps there is something else at play here as well. In his book A Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football Dr. Z discusses his attempt to play football at Stanford. As an east coast guy he never fit in and ended up at Columbia. Maybe a similar thing happened to Bassey and he never felt quite right in Portland. Whatever the reason he is quietly coming into his own in his third season as a pro. As much as I love Rajon Rondo, Telfair is the right man for this team. Also if you know people interested in football that know absolutely nothing about it, give them Dr. Z’s book. You know like Merril Hoge

Al Jefferson – Talk about growing up in front of our eyes. Please stay healthy.

Brian Scalabrine – I was so floored by his 2 three pointers that I had to call someone else to discuss the surreal nature the game was beginning to take on. And then he started a Nets fast break with a turnover. I never should have made that phone call. He crashed back down to earth within seconds. But here’s the thing I don’t understand. Mike Gorman commented on how Scalabrine really wanted to perform against his original team. This is not like Telfair matching up against the Portland Trailblazers after they shipped him out of town and questioned his decision-making and shooting abilities. I’m pretty sure Scalabrine wasn’t expecting a 5 year, 15 million dollar offer from the Celtics. He can’t be holding a grudge against the Nets for not losing their minds. Once a guy is nicknamed “Veal” he probably loses any vindictive streak.

Tony Allen – He’s not bringing anything to the table right now and is caught in a catch 22 of sorts. He probably needs more than eleven minutes to get comfortable and show something. But Doc would be out of his mind to give Allen more than eleven minutes until he shows something. Tonight he missed one shot and had two fouls. That’s it. Allen is starting to separate himself from the Celtics youth. In a bad way.

Nets Notes

- Gorman and Heinsohn loved Hassan Adams. I was most impressed by his basket at the 3-minute mark in the fourth quarter. Yes he was wide open but the Garden was rocking and the C’s had the momentum.

- Given the state of the Eastern Conference and the fact that Carter, Kidd and Jefferson still play for the Nets, they are almost good by default. And it’s a difficult team to judge as Jefferson is not quite full strength and Josh Boone and Eddie House are still working their way back. However, they don’t appear to be the fast break force they used to be. While they do it in spurts they are more of a half court team.

Quote of the Night

“You know some coaches make issues on ridiculous stuff and this is one of them.” – Tommy Heinsohn on headband gate.


If Homer Simpson has taught me anything it's that "default" is one of the greatest words in the English language. So I was not offended by the backhanded compliment to the Celtics in ESPN's Daily Dime,

"CONGRATULATIONS! The Celtics are now all alone in first place in the Atlantic Division, and hold the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race, thanks to their spectacular 5-8 record. You go, Green."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Injuries and such

Peter May has a solid update on Celtics' injuries. Michael Olowokandi and Theo Ratliff are still out. Meanwhile Kendrick Perkins will be playing but not practicing as in an attempt to take some stress off of his feet.

Other points of interest:

- The Celtics blame their woes against the Bobcats and Knicks on unproductive practices that were a result of low numbers because of injuries. By that logic we should not expect much from Perk on Wednesday.

- Pierce sprained his wrist against the Bucks but is taping it and playing.

- Pierce dismisses the notion that the Knicks/Bucks games were a legitimate back-to-back scenario, "How physically tired could we be when we didn't even play Friday? We played, but how hard did we go?" In case you were wondering Friday they played the Knicks.

- Along with the Nets and the Sixers the Celtics do lead the division.

100% Reason to remember the name

Does anyone else have Fort Minor's Remember the Name stuck in his head? Damn you TNT.

“10% luck, 20% skill…"

Monday, November 27, 2006


How dare the Power Rankings disrespect the Atlantic Division leading Boston Celtics. All kidding aside the C's are better than Grizzlies at least. And the New Jersey Nets, the Atlantic Division co-leaders, are 6 spots higher despite 5 consecutive losses. On the bright side, Danny Ainge stole Brian Scalabrine from the Nets. As a side note Ainge is 47. Isn’t it time he started going by “Dan”?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

You'll get 20 seconds and like it!

Rajon Rondo played 20 seconds against the Bucks. It’s tempting to get angry that Brian Scalabrine got 12 minutes. But they don’t play the same position. By all accounts Sebastian Telfair is playing well and the former Lincoln High standout poses more of an offensive threat. Furthermore, the coaching staff wants to get Delonte West minutes and that’s not a bad idea. It’s a numbers game and Rondo will have to wait his turn.

Tecmo Super Bowl

If for some reason you are reading my blog at 2:11 P.M. eastern time I strongly urge you to check out Mike Vick's QB Eagles impression over on Fox. He's only 4-12 passing but has run for 127 yards.

Vegas, Baby! Vegas!

It will be February 18, 2007 before you know it. That means we need to mobilize and send Paul Pierce to Las Vegas.

Other players that need to go to Vegas:

1. Gilbert Arenas - It will hurt his feelings if he doesn't make it.
2. Ron Artest - This is more for the chaos that could ensue.
3. Carmelo Anthony - Crunch time assassin.
4. Lamar Odom - I think he'd have fun

- I realize you can't vote for Anthony, Artest and Odom. I listed them all because most NBA coaches read this blog.

Players I don't want to see in Vegas:

1. Shaq - Hurt
2. Pau Gasol - Hurt. I don't care if Danny Ainge loves him
3. Ben Wallace - Pulled a Mark Blount (scroll down to March 1st) the other night. Hopefully you did not have to click on the link to know that being compared to Mark Blount is a bad thing.

As a side note I'm watching the Falcons/Saints game right now. Mike Vick might rush for 1000 this game.

Ainge: Doc is ok

Danny Ainge checked in from his scouting tour to say Doc’s job is not in jeopardy. Ainge argued that he and the players must take responsibility for poor play (see Knicks game).

If this last week is any indication, it is going to be a crazy season.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

C's/Bucks - 11/25/06

The circus move Pierce made with just under a minute left in the third quarter gave the C’s their first lead of the second half and was ridiculous. It gets bonus points for prompting Tommy to say, “He’s got blood in his eye” in reference to Pierce. And yes he was speaking metaphorically although it is not a phrase I’ve heard in the past.

Things I wrote, “When the C’s become a jump shooting team they do not have success.” How did the C’s gun themselves back into the game? They were firing from the outside. Although in my defense, Pierce and Gomes did take it to the rim.

This was a huge win given the circumstances surrounding the game. From an earlier post:

“I listened to Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell broadcast the Knicks game on WEEI. They made some good points. For example the Celtics were playing the first night of back-to-back games. The second game will be on the road against a Milwaukee team that is coming off two free days. This is not a good scenario and Maxwell stressed the importance of winning the Knicks game.”

More importantly the C’s were down by 16 and it looked bleak. On top of that the Bobcats and the Knicks defeats left fans wondering about the team’s character. So it was great to see the C's respond to an adverse situation.

Tommy was all over Pierce's effort on both ends of the court tonight. Michael Redd did end up with 24 points but Pierce and others made him work.

Al Jefferson did some good things tonight. I loved the blocked shot and he ended up with 10 points and 6 rebounds as well. At one point though Al held the ball in the post for several seconds, refused to pass out of a double team and then threw it out of bounds. Much like the Celtics as a whole, Jefferson has a ways to go.

I’m still terrified by what some of the league’s dominant big men (Yao, Duncan, etc.) will do to the Celtics.

It’s nice to see another team’s coach get booed. I like how Doc downplayed the win by stressing the fact that the Bucks were missing two starters (Bobby Simmons and Charlie Villanueva).

I was thinking that Gerald Green always seems to be cheering on the bench or meeting the players as they come off the court during subsitutions and timeouts. Mike Gorman brought up the same point midway through the fourth quarter. Maybe Gerald is just happy to be out of the D League. It doesn’t matter. I actually brought him up for another reason. Prior to the first Celtics/Raptors game of the year (December 1st) I will publish my favorite post ever.

I quoted myself twice in this post. I'm such a tool.

Trash talk?

"Is there any way we can reward the weaker teams by allowing them to pick up the best available free agents each week and make it impossible for the stronger teams to help themselves team in any way? Oh, wait, that's already in place. Forget it." - Bill Simmons commenting on his fantasy league and his displeasure with some of the rules.

I can't decide if this is funny or bitchy.

Thanks for the link Gilbert.

Thanksgiving Break

I thoroughly enjoyed my Thanksgiving break and some time away. Highlights included getting soaked by uncooperative weather at a high school football game, playing an intense game of NBA Live 95 (Chris Corchiani was prominently involved), and making my first late night Domino’s visit in a few years. Unfortunately I was only one of three people to show up for a planned tackle football game. This only reaffirmed the fact that plans made at 2 A.M. often fall apart, particularly when they are supposed to occur before 10 A.M. Speaking of things falling apart. That is exactly what happened to Celtics Bandwagon over the last couple of days. However, I do have some scattered thoughts on the Celtics’ recent uninspired performances.

- Realistically this two game slide was good in the sense that it reminded everyone that the Celtics have a long way to go. They are a painfully young team and it’s still unclear what the core will be as they move forward. Also while I’m not leading the charge against Doc, I would say that the C’s do not appear to be well coached at times.

- I listened to Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell broadcast the Knicks game on WEEI. They made some good points. For example the Celtics were playing the first night of back-to-back games. The second game will be on the road against a Milwaukee team that is coming off two free days. This is not a good scenario and Maxwell stressed the importance of winning the Knicks game. We all know how that ended. Meanwhile, Grande and Maxwell make Tommy Heinsohn look neutral at times. I’ll try to recreate a few of their calls:

- “That crash you heard was Eddy Curry coming back down to the floor.” – Grande moments after the tip off.

- “You ever lose your cell phone?” – Grande
- “Yes.” – Maxwell
- “The worst part of that is losing all of your contacts. It looks to me like Eddy Curry lost his cell phone and trainer Tim Grover’s number. He might have found another number though.” – Grande
- “Patrick Ewing!” – Grande and Maxwell in unison.

- Needless to say Grande and Maxwell were all over Curry, and to a lesser extent Ewing, throughout the game. Grande did point out that Curry leads the Knicks in personal fouls, turnovers and missed free throws. Despite those stats and the mocking from the broadcast team, Curry had his way against the C’s. As a side note how did he get Charles Oakley's number?

- Granted I only listened to the Knicks game, but it seemed like David Lee was absolutely dominant at points.

- Did Isiah Thomas find the C’s kryptonite in the form of zone defense? It does make sense in a way. When the C’s become a jump shooting team they do not have success.

- The most discouraging aspect of the C’s first 12 games has to be whom they’ve played. They are 4-8 without making a western road swing yet and and have only seen 2 Western Conference teams (Jazz and Blazers). Only 5 of the 15 Eastern Conference teams are at .500 or better. Compare that to 10 out west where only the Grizzlies are legitimately terrible. This means 2 things:

1. The Celtics have tougher stretches of games to come.

2. The Atlantic Division (no teams at .500 or better) is so bad that the C’s are only a game back of the division leading Nets and Sixers.

- I refuse to root for a tank job in the hopes of drafting Greg Oden as the Tim Duncan debacle still burns. Anytime you accept losing bad things happen. Speaking of Duncan. I winced when I saw him get rejected by the rim a few nights back. But then last night I saw him dribbling through his legs before banking a wing jumper against Erick Dampier. The next possession Duncan drove strong to the lane for a hook shot over Dirk Nowitzki. What could have been...

Other Random Thoughts

- When it comes time for Tyler Hansbrough to go pro I’m going to remember his struggles against Gonzaga as New Englanders dream about yet another second coming of Larry Bird.

- If I were a Boston College basketball fan I would be worried.

- I tried to listen to the Big Show on WEEI earlier in the week. It was terrible. In the first hour and fifteen minutes they did exact same long, annoying promo twice. They had a huge argument about whether or not Glenn Ordway has purposely Fred Smerlas’ career. Never mind the fact that Smerlas brings nothing to the table. The bigger issue is that the Big Show crew discussed little to no sports. I can live with the fact that they don’t care about Celtics. But how can a collection of self-proclaimed football guys completely ignore Dr. Z’s analysis of Richard Seymour, the Patriots’ best defensive player?

“Let's take a look at all-pro DE/DT Richard Seymour. Against the Colts he stomped on Tarik Glenn's head and got fined for it. Albert Haynesworth did the same thing and got bounced for five games. I watched Seymour when the Pats lost to the Jets. Biggest dog you've ever seen on the field. No effort, no technique, I mean tight ends were steering him around like a VW. OK, maybe he was hurt. You never know with this club. Against the Packers' struggling O-line he was Mr. All-Pro again, hustling, making plays.” – Dr. Z

- You have to love Notre Dame fans. Even though their team was exposed by Michigan and then want on to play a joke schedule, they have been arguing that the Irish deserve a chance to play Ohio State. Now USC is threatening to run Notre Dame right out of the stadium. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Lenovo Stat?

There was a point in my life when Moneyball was my favorite book. It's no longer tops but I still love it. This is important because I'm no Joe Morgan in the sense that I don't hate the infiltration of professional sports by stat geeks. I'm also not in the Baseball Hall of Fame in case you were wondering. In a related story I recently caught a great ESPN show on Kirk Gibson and his famous World Series homerun off Dennis Ekersley. Gibson and numerous others praised the Dodgers' scouts for identifying the fact that the Eck always threw sliders on 3-2 counts to left handed hitters. Gibson knew this, ended up in such a count and hit a slider out of the yard. Of course Peter Gammons tells us that prior to that encounter Eckersley had not thrown a 3-2 slider against a lefty all year. This is the kind of story that drives stat people up walls. Personally I think there is a place for stats and gut feelings in any professional sports. Which brings me to basketball and The Lenovo Stat. At first glance I was thrown off and wondering if McMenamin was arguing that the Celtics have the best starting 5 in the NBA. However, after further review, I realized he was analyzing week 3, which happened to be a great week for the C's. I think there is some value in this stat as long as you keep things in perspective. Just don't compare Yao Ming to Gheorghe Muresan.

1. Is John Hollinger pissed that McMenamin is stealing his thunder?
2. Does McMenamin know that Hollinger called dibs on the Chuck Hayes man crush?
3. Am I just mad at Hollinger for his honest look at Rondo?


Yesterday I argued that barring a trade only injury could lead to the Celtics developing a rotation. As brilliant as that post was Steve Bullpet correctly points out that the center situation is becoming dire. If not for the 3 game winning streak Ratliff’s back, Michael Olowokandi’s abdominal muscle and Jefferson’s recovery from an appendectomy would probably be bigger stories. Meanwhile Shira Springer reports that Kendrick Perkins (foot), Wally Szczerbiak (gluteus) and Delonte West (toe) have joined the walking wounded under trainer Ed Lacerte's (pictured right) care. I’m not prepared for a rotation that consists of Tony Allen, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Paul Pierce, Leon Powe, Allan Ray, Rajon Rondo, Brian Scalabrine and Bassy Telfair. That takes small ball and Scalabrine’s playing time to whole new levels. On the plus side Pierce hasn’t lost his sense of humor:

“Maybe I should start something. Maybe I should slap Perk. No, I ain’t touching that man. He’ll choke me out. But we’ve got to start something on this team.” – Pierce joking about how boring it is now that the soap operas surrounding the Lakers and Knicks have died down.

Tuesday - Old School NBA Moment

In Sam Smith's "The Jordan Rules" Scottie Pippen talked about how certifiable Rodman was as the Bulls were finally getting over the hump against the Pistons, “People like him should not be allowed to walk the streets.” Ironically they were on the same team 5 years later.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The negativity in this town?

I was reading John Hollinger's chat (could not get the link to work) over on when I came across the following:

John (Boston):
You are the worst "analyst/columnist" of all time. You don't know the slightest thing about the game, how do you still have a job?

SportsNation John Hollinger: Don't hold back. Tell me how you really feel.

Hollinger may actually be the most hated basketball columnist there is. And I was going to defend him until he applied his brand of rational thought to my favorite backup point guard:

Benny (Newton, MA): Rondo for ROY when all is said and done. Your thoughts?

SportsNation John Hollinger: Did he learn to shoot during my drive from home to the coffee shop? If not, forget it. Look, I love to watch him play as much as you do, and I understand why Gorman and Heinsohn get so geeked up about him, but the guy can't score, and until he can do at least a little of that he's a 10-15 minute guy.

How dare Hollinger speak realistically about Rondo? Although I did laugh when he off handedly called the eastern conference a "cesspool of mediocrity." Of course that is nowhere near as funny as his evaluation of Yao Ming heading into the season, "Most similar at age - Gheorghe Muresan." The same Yao Ming that Hollinger calls the best center in the NBA. Maybe I don't remember the Gheorghe Muresan era accurately.

Power Rankings

Is it bad that I'm excited by the Celtics at # 21 in ESPN's most recent power rankings? Not if you consider they were 29th last week.

Agent 0 Update

With the C's off again tonight now is as good a time as any to check in with my favorite non-Celtics player – Gilbert Arenas. Thankfully Arenas sat down with Ahmad Rashad last Tuesday with hilarious results. The segment opened with a clip of Arizona coach Lute Olsen offering some insight into the former Wildcat star, “Gilbert is a character. Some of the things that he did were things that you would expect somebody in middle school to do you know like turning off the lights when the professor is up putting something on the board. And when they find the lights and get ‘em back on everyone is there except one guy and of course that was Gilbert who turned the lights off. He just has that little bit of the devil flowing through there I think.”

Following Olsen’s input it cut to studio where Rashad prompted Arenas to tell another story from college. Agent 0 obliged by explaining how he took a fish out of the fishpond at Cal Berkley and put in front of one of his teammate’s doors. Arenas then sprayed the fire extinguisher under it. This set off the alarm and had the fish moving. I watched him explain this three times and I still have no idea exactly how this prank worked.

However, any confusion over the fish prank was immediately forgotten as Arenas explained an incident from his time with the Golden State Warriors. He prefaced it by saying, “That wasn’t, I wasn’t actually being funny on that one. I was actually mad.” Why was he mad? Well as a rookie Arenas had to buy doughnuts for the team. After a while he grew frustrated from spending his own money on the doughnuts and driving 45 minutes outside of practice to buy them. So he licked all of the powdered sugar off one batch and covered them in baby powder. Arenas claims Chris Mills actually bit into one.

“See you can pull that off in ba...if you ever did that on a football team somebody would beat you up.“ – Rashad

“Oh oh no…(laughing) no I got I got beat up.“ – Arenas

The best part is Arenas does not explain the beating he took or seem upset about it at all.

Finally Arenas jumped to the present to explain how the Washington Wizards’ locker room is divided into east coast and west coast sides. The west coast side has characters such as Arenas. When James Lang, an east coast guy, was caught stealing deodorant from the west coast he was fined and banned from the locker room for a day. As long as this east coast/west coast thing does not add fuel to the fire in Brendan Haywood/Etan Thomas dispute, it seems fine. Although I’m hoping there’s no Biggie/Tupac potential there either.

Are the Celtics better off with a few injuries?

Imagine a scenario in which everyone on the Celtics’ roster was healthy and ready to play. Who would not play? Allan Ray is a given. But after that it’s a bit tricky. Based on the first few games of the season I would say Leon Powe and Michael Olowokandi sit. Ryan Gomes, Al Jefferson, and Brian Scalabrine get minutes over Powe while Kendrick Perkins and Theo Ratliff beat out the Kandi man. In fact Powe only saw time after Jefferson’s appendectomy and foul trouble to Gomes and Scalabrine. So in this hypothetical situation Doc could give minutes to Tony Allen, Gomes, Green, Jefferson, Perkins, Paul Pierce, Ratliff, Rajon Rondo, Scalabrine, Wally Szczerbiak, Sebastian Telfair, and Delonte West.

Unfortunately I don’t trust Doc to establish a rotation. For example he’ll let Allen dribble and shoot 3s, which should never happen. Now if you remove Olowokandi, Jefferson and Ratliff from the mix it definitely makes the Celtics a small team. But it also makes the rotation a little clearer as there are now 2 rotation guys in civilian clothes and Allan Ray is probably not going to play. In this new scenario, which is currently being played out, Doc gives major minutes to the starters (Pierce, Gomes, Perkins, Szczerbiak and Telfair) and the 6th man (West). After that Rondo plays solid minutes while Allen, Green, Powe and Scalabrine get time based upon necessity or situations. This occurred against the Knicks on Saturday (see the hard to read box score below). In conclusion, barring a trade, injuries seem to be the best way to get some semblance of a rotation for the C’s.

Believe it or not there was a point in time when that post made sense to me. Alas.

Van Horn steps aside

A while back Gene Wojciechowski ran a feel good story about Keith Van Horn taking a year off from the NBA, turning down an estimated $5 million in the process, to spend time with his family. This article was a tour de force.

It opened with a cheesy lead in:

“On Halloween night -- the same evening the NBA season began -- Keith Van Horn wore a costume that still causes some team executives and fellow players to do double takes.

Van Horn went dressed as a husband and father.”

Later Wojciechowski took the obligatory shot at Latrell Sprewell:

“That's because Van Horn, the No. 2 selection in the 1997 NBA draft, isn't playing this season -- not because he's injured or because, like numb-above-the-neck Latrell Sprewell, he can't support a household on a multimillion-dollar salary.”

There was a pop culture one liner:

“The guy has spent more time on the Eastern seaboard than Tony Soprano.”

I picked up on a middle aged white guy longing for the days when athletes weren’t uber rich:

“Ah, money. You know how pro athletes always say it isn't about the money ... but it always is? In Van Horn's case, it really isn't about the cash.”

There was even a cheesy closing:

“Van Horn will be back next season. At least, that's the plan. But so much can happen between now and then.

Who knows -- maybe he'll get used to the husband/dad costume.”

However, I reference this article not to criticize Wojciechowski. Rather I want to point out the fact that there are two types of people. Those who read the it and say, “Wow Van Horn is a great guy” and those who say, “Wait Van Horn has his own shoe?” (Click on family and then Van Horn.) In case you were wondering I fall into the second group.

Upon further review it looks like Nike simply has a whole family of guys that wear its sneakers. Though as far as I can tell not every guy has his own line. I mean Brian Scalabrine is in that family.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

C's/Knicks - 11/18/06

- I’ve been hearing about the phenomenon in New York where the Knicks’ subs consistently outplay the starters. Last night Jamal Crawford, David Lee, Nate Robinson, Renaldo Balkman, and Jerome James came off the bench to outscore (72-42) Stephon Marbury, Steve Francis, Quentin Richardson, Channing Frye, and Eddie Curry. Although to be fair Richardson had an uncharacteristic game and fouled out. Regardless I’d love to see the Knicks' 1st and 2nd teams play a game.

- Last night I was scribbling notes about the game before I gave up to pursue pizza. This morning I glanced at the 5 or 6 notes I had. One of them simply said, “GOMES!” If you watched the game that makes sense.

- No one is calling Steve Francis “the franchise” anymore right?

- What exactly is going on with Stephon Marbury? He had 8 assists last night but at no point was I worried about him.

- Say what you want about the Knicks but they can shoot foul shots (43 of 50).

- I would not want to have Jamal Crawford, Marbury and Francis on the same team. I would not compound that error by playing them together.

- You could make the argument that Isiah Thomas’ double technical was the coaching move that benefited the Celtics the most.

- The Knicks fans have mastered booing and sarcastic cheering. Well done.

- I think the Knicks bring out the worst in the Tommy Heinsohn. Everyone knows he’s biased but Tommy gave up all pretense of rational analysis last night. It was fascinating to watch it unfold.

Friday, November 17, 2006

C's/Blazers - 11/17/06

The C's took the Blazers behind the shed tonight. It was fun to watch and I'm too giddy to speak rationally about it. So I'll just make a few quick points:

- I love Leon Powe's game as much as the next guy. But I didn't realize he had the ability to make the drive and dunk he pulled off.

- Delonte West had the most productive 12 minutes and 54 seconds I've seen in a while.

- Zach Randolph got his numbers but Ryan Gomes made him work a bit. I loved when Tommy tried to compliment Brian Scalabrine for containing Randolph and the troubled Blazers power forward immediately put back a rebound. The fascinating thing about Randolph is that he scores, rebounds and shoots free throws really well. And that's about it.

- The Celtics young guys once again bombed from all over the court in mop up time while the starters whopped it up on the bench. I'm okay with the C's developing a reputation as a bunch of sore winners because that involves winning.

- That Blazers team needs to get healthy (Brandon Roy, Joel Przybilla and Raef LaFrentz) or it's going to be a long season.

Upcoming schedule

11/17 – Portland
11/18 – @ New York
11/22 – @ Charlotte
11/24 – New York
11/25 – Milwaukee

- Greg Dickerson says the C’s will win 5 in a row. Mike Gorman, Tommy Heinsohn and others see this as a legitimate chance for the Green to rise up to .500. Those are high hopes for a young, inconsistent team. I’m just along for the ride trying to keep the Celtics dance team away from Zach Randolph.

- Donny Marshall killed the Blazers organization in the pre game. "They breed losing." He also raised several other questions about the character in Portland. Although I was under the impression that a lot of that was behind them, especially with Darius Miles out for the season. Then Marhshall went out of his way to express his hatred for Nate McMillan. It was one of the more unprofessional, fascinating things I have seen a commentator do and I'm not complaining.

Friday - YouTube clip of the week

This clip of Kobe Bryant and Chris Childs losing their cool is impressive even if it is too short. And while I like the poorly thrown punches I’m more impressed by Shaq’s lukewarm response. He tries to break it up but you can tell his heart is not into it.

Around the NBA

Troy Murphy has center eligibility in Yahoo! Leagues. This is important to some people.

There is a lot of talk about how Tracy McGrady has been in the league for 10 seasons and is therefore older than his 27 years of age would suggest. T-Mac has gone as far to say that he feels his skills diminishing and will probably retire when his contract runs out in 3 seasons. I’m not going to argue with him, particularly given the condition of his back. However, I always thought he didn’t really play big minutes or become the man until he went to Orlando in his 4th season. In that 4th season he started more games (77) than his previous 3 combined (53) and averaged 40 minutes a game for the first time. His previous high was 31.2 mpg. But the plot thickens. McGrady hopes to spend time with his family and pursue baseball following his retirement. According to Craig Sager T-Mac was quite the pitcher in high school and has worked out with Roger Clemens.

Meanwhile Charles Barkley called out McGrady on the TNT halftime show, “He doesn’t want the responsibility of being a star. Nobody slows down at age 27…from 25 to 32 you’re bullet proof. Nobody can touch you.”

Whatever your stance on T-Mac you have to admit the man can pick a fight and provoke international anger.

There is a group of fans known as the Red Rowdies who attend Rockets home games. Prior to the season Jeff Van Gundy had tryouts and interviews with numerous people who hoped to join the group. Van Gundy ended up choosing 50 and buying season tickets for them. They must show up for every game, act rowdy and wear red. This is all part of his plan to regain a home court advantage as the Rockets won more games on the road last year. Once again thanks to Craig Sager for the info.

Kobe Bryant sent Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Ernie Johnson and Reggie Miller Playstation 3s. Charles was delighted and went as far to proclaim. “I’m glad I’m rich and famous because all the free stuff is great!” There are people camping out and risking death by trampling to get their hands on these. And Kobe buys 4. Funny stuff.

It’s nice to see that Barkley hasn’t given into political correctness. As the halftime show was ending he went on a little rant about women that was seemingly out of nowhere. It started with, “Woman can’t be considered great jocks. Come on…They can be queens but they never be the king.” And he didn’t stop there, “You never buy a woman a watch because there’s a clock on the stove.”

After watching Marquis Daniels and Stephen Jackson on the court the other night I was less surprised by their pre-season hiccup.

Marty Burns recently tackled the issue of whether or not Bruce Bowen is a dirty player. One anonymous, former teammate raised an intriguing argument in Bowen’s favor:

"If anything Bruce is too nice. If he were an asshole, nobody would say anything about him. They'd be afraid he'd punch them in the face. ... But Bruce isn't like that, so Vince Carter and Ray Allen and Rip Hamilton feel they can say what they want about him.”

Upon reflection I realized that I’ve never heard anyone call Ron Artest dirty. Crazy yes, but not dirty. Although I did not research this. Still when the Pistons matched up against Artest for the first time since the Palace brawl they went out of their way to avoid saying anything about Artest or the incident. Maybe the anonymous player has a point. Meanwhile, Harlan Schreiber via True Hoop does a good job of looking at Bowen’s past incidents. Scroll down to #2. Is Bowen dirty? It makes for a great debate.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

In Doc's defense

Mark Murhpy offers a new spin on Doc Rivers’ situation by profiling the players’ support for their coach. Kendrick Perkins thoughts stand out, “It’s not coaching that’s the problem here, and it’s not our offense - it’s us and our commitment. I don’t want anyone blaming the coaches for this. We have good defensive schemes, and they put us in the right position to make plays. We just have to stick with it and see it all the way through.”

- Also there is some more enjoyable Orlando bashing by Doc. Good times.

Move over NFL

Deadspin originally posted this article on the NBA’s seemingly NFL inspired tactics with the compulsory jokes and important highlights. I can’t top Deadspin. Nor can I get over the content of the article. If this was actually another fake article I would not be surprised. Alas, it is all too real.

Doc and the Magic

Peter May’s article titled “Rivers unfazed by slow start” had the potential to be shades of something right out of the Pravda circa 1918-1991. However, May was not willing to play the part of a loyal Soviet writer. While Doc points out that he was 1-6 once before and learned greatly from the experience May notes that that experience only lasted four more games. When Doc complains about how disruptive the Ben Wallace trade (2000) was to his time in Orlando May remembers that Doc was fired several seasons later (2004). While Doc continues to put a positive spin on everything, it's fascinating to see him explain the Orlando situation:

He cited previous clairvoyance: – "On the third day of [training] camp that year, I told my assistant coaches, 'Guys, we are in trouble as a team. You can see it all around us.’”

He saves face: “But I never panicked. I knew it was going to be tough and it was tough. But I knew the end was approaching.”

The aforementioned Ben Wallace complaint: "I never gave in on that. They brought in John Amaechi and Bo Outlaw and let Ben Wallace walk out the door. I was still young then and I didn't let go of that for a while. And that wasn't the best way to handle it. I knew after that, if things didn't go right, I wasn't going to be around. But I thought it was a fight worth fighting."

The Orlando Magic material is reminiscent of Rick Pitino throwing everyone from his Boston days (Antoine Walker, M.L. Carr, etc.) under the bus last spring. Although in Doc's defense he is far more subtle than Pitino and overall much less of a jerk. Regardless I'm not entirely confident in Doc.

C's/Pacers - 11/16/06

- Winning always helps. Whether it’s Wally imitating Olowokandi trying to handle a Rondo pass, Telfair celebrating a dunk from the bench, Pierce joking with Telfair or The Truth wearing his patented towel/turban – winning smoothes over everything. Especially winning big.

- Speaking of winning big. This Celtics team has so many young guys looking for minutes that they have to be one of the worst teams to get blown out by. They’re going to gun for stats and try to dunk whenever possible.

- I think we all can agree that Rondo has to get minutes. And to say he’s an upgrade from Orien Greene is an understatement of epic proportions.

- The C’s big men have mastered the mini hook. It’s time to enhance the repertoire.

- If you give a person under 12 access to a soda fountain there’s a great chance they’ll come away with a Lemonade/Fruit Punch/Diet Coke/Sprite/Orange Crush concoction. And sometimes it will be good. Other times it will tank. You never know. That’s how I felt about the C’s substitution pattern and lineups in the third quarter. And it worked. So what do I know? As usual not much.

- It was a good win especially since they turned it on in the third and closed it out in the fourth. That is something we have not see all year. At the same time the real test will be Friday as the C’s play another young team, the Trailblazers. Boston needs to use this as a building block.

- I’ve come to grips with Bob Cousy announcing. Maybe he doesn’t know a lot of players. And he’s always good for a "Jamar Nelson". But when Cousy gives a compliment you know the player earned it. I appreciate that.

- It was fascinating to watch Greg Dickerson tweak Pierce when their interviewed started after the game. Pierce was a professional and said all the right things but you know he was not pleased. Especially since Dickerson was repeating a Pierce comment that was not caught on camera, “Come on I need to get out of here.”

- I was happy to see the C's win one and they did some great things. But following the NBA I've noticed that at times blowout victorys have more to do with the team that lost. I believe the Pacers are better than that. However, it was desperately needed.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Power Rankings

Mark Stein’s newest Power Rankings came out prior to the C’s 6th loss of the season. And even without that defeat the C’s are ranked 29th with the following comment,

“It hasn't lessened the serious heat Doc's facing, but Pierce wasn't kidding on that NBA TV fantasy commercial when he promised 10 boards a night. He's at 11.7 rpg.”

Speaking of those NBA TV fantasy commercials. You will never be able to convince me that they are not filmed on a porn set. I’m convinced that they shot Pierce’s commercial in one take and then wrapped up production on Naughty Office 127.

If I had to sum up the power rankings in one word it would be "depressing."

C's/Magic - 11/13/06

Celtics Notes

The Celtics are 1-6 and if you told me they were going to finish up 10-72 I would say, “Sounds reasonable.” They are that bad in the fourth quarter of games. At the same time I really enjoyed last night’s game. Therein lies a huge issue with the Celtics franchise. As someone who is not old enough to remember the glory days I am content with slow, painful progress. And that’s if you believe there is progress. That is probably the strongest indication of a culture of losing and a sobering look at the state of the Boston Celtics. How the mighty have fallen. Meanwhile it’s becoming apparent that the C’s struggle with pick and rolls, have mental lapses on defense, turn the ball over too much and seemingly find ways to lose. Instead of exhausting those issues let’s take a look at the roster again.

Tony Allen – I’m still pretty sure he could be a good defensive role player on a winning team provided the coach instituted Tommy’s 2-dribble rule.

Ryan Gomes – There was an episode of Seinfeld where Elaine was torn between the old gang (Jerry, George, and Kramer) and a bizarro crew (Kevin, Gene, and Feldman). The bizarro crew was a much nicer, more optimistic group of people. For example Feldman buys groceries for Kevin instead of just mooching off him. Gene picks up the check at their coffee shop. Kevin gets along with his Fed-Ex guy, Vargus. You get the point. Long story short there is a scene where Elaine is caught between both groups. She decides to turn her back on Jerry and company, which leads to the following exchange:

“Can I come?” - George

“I'm, I'm sorry…We've already got a George.” – Elaine

While the whole bizarro analogy does not hold true I wonder if Gomes ever looks at Leon Powe and thinks, “We’ve already got a Powe.”

Gerald Green – The kid is still a ways away. The Cavs game, which I don’t usually talk about, was the perfect example of that. At times I think he’s turning the corner. However, the mental lapses (dribbling around without a real purpose, draining the shot clock in the process) are still there.

Al Jefferson – He really needs a streak of good luck. I’m terrified of the proverbial light going on somewhere else.

Michael Olowokandi – He’s a great example of why it is important to separate perception from reality. It’s safe to say the Clippers regret drafting him #1 overall and the Timberwolves gave him too much money. With those memories in mind I was not pleased to hear he was in camp. However, he is valuable to the C’s if his head is in the right place. The reasonable salary helps too.

Kendrick Perkins – Granted Perkins is only 22, showed some promise last night, and people almost unanimously like his game. But he only has 5 double doubles for his career. He has never averaged 12 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks (Kandi man – Clippers 02/03). Good old perception and reality.

Paul Pierce – Following the opening night loss I compared Celtics players to Nintendo characters. Pierce gave me the most trouble. I desperately wanted him to be Mario but feared that he was still a step below the elite. Since then Pierce has put up impressive stats. At the same time he’s had some backbreaking turnovers and ill-advised shots. On top of that LeBron willed the Cavs to victory last week. So The Truth is still no Mario. And as we move forward you could make the argument that Pierce’s game and attitude will be the most fascinating sub plot of the season. That’s saying something given the coaching hot seat and the development of the young guys.

Leon Powe – It’s hard not to like what Leon did last night. It will be interesting to see what kind of minutes he gets as we move forward.

Theo Ratliff – Great defense, injury prone. Interestingly I read somewhere (it escapes me, I apologize) about Danny’s penchant for obtaining injury concerns via trades. With Raef (knees), Wally (knee) and Ratliff (back) it’s a pretty good point.

Allan Ray – Dangerously close to having his name changed to DNP. At this point there is not much new to evaluate and I don’t see the situation changing anytime soon.

Rajon Rondo –

“Rajon Rondo, point guard.” – Rondo
“Sebastian Telfair, starting point guard.” – Telfair
“I know that’s why they drafted me.” – Rondo

Wally Szczerbiak – He’s a solid #2 scoring option and I’ve dropped my preconceived negative view of him. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice. Also in last night’s game Wally made one of the most out of control hustle plays I have ever seen. Ultimately it worked out for the C’s. But it did have the potential to be a great, “White guys playing basketball…IT’S FANNNNTAAASSSSSTIC” moment. In case you were wondering.

Sebastian Telfair – I have to admit that he had some ridiculous scoring drives last night. And for the first time I felt like he was trying to create shots for others, which is what a point guard should do. Overall I have no idea how the Sebastian Telfair era will work out. And by the way if you didn’t pick up on The Program reference under the Rajon section then I am disappointed. Severely disappointed.

Delonte West – He’s starting to hit shots, make things happen and put forth a strong case that he deserves a good deal of playing time.

Overall I’m still not sure where the team is going as far as minutes and roles. And it is disheartening that Doc doesn’t know either. I would love to see the coaching staff put players in positions where they can help the team win. Furthermore, I’d like the C’s to start taking away what other teams do well. Those are two hallmarks of good coaching. That said I’m far from seeking out the Tobin Bridge. That is due in part to living in New Hampshire but mainly I’m just along for the ride. And you have to admit it’s been interesting.

Magic Notes

Who knows if Grant Hill will stay healthy? The odds and Tommy Heinsohn assume that he won’t. But I still enjoy watching him. And let’s not forget how good he was in Detroit.

Donny Marshall argued that Dwight Howard did not become one of the best young players in the league until he filled out this year. Yes his post game is limited. And his foul shooting is bad. But he’s awesome. And he has been one of the best young players in the NBA since he was a rookie. Not many guys can do this. Amen.

It would take me two minutes to agree to deal in which I traded Steve Francis for Penny Hardaway (already off the books) and Trevor Ariza. And it’s only that long because I would be shocked that it was on the table.

Jameer Nelson, or Jamar as Cousy called him, was cold blooded at times last night. Pound for pound he might be more jacked than Howard.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Judging by the 1-5 record and the comments section over at Celtics Blog the Celtics franchise is a mess right now. A day doesn’t go by in which I don’t hear or read a demand for Doc Rivers’ head. He continues to preach patience and stress the length of the season. However, Celtics fans seem fed up and people around the league are critical of the situation as well. I’m convinced that Doc only has one option. Prior to the Magic game he should gather the team behind him and address the media with the following,

“Ladies and gentlemen, l'll be brief. The issue here is not whether we lost a few games or took a few liberties with our female dance team. We did. But you can't hold a whole team responsible for the behavior of a few sick, perverted individuals. If you do shouldn't we blame the whole NBA? And if the whole NBA is guilty then isn't this an indictment of our athletic institutions in general? I put it to you, Celtics fans. Isn't this an indictment of our entire American society? Well you can do what you want to us but we won't sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America!”

As soon he finishes the team should storm the court. Of course if the C’s lose then it’s time to revert to this.

C's/Cavs - 11/11/06

I watched the game again today and it was not any easier to take. The C's are now 1-5 and there are issues galore. For example what is Dwight Howard, coming off a 21 point and 22 rebound night no less, going to do on Monday? Instead of offering the usual amateurish post game analysis that you've come to depend on, I've decided to close the book and move on. There are 76 games left and I'm just going to take them one at at time. And yes I realize that I sound like I'm in some sort of support group. But hey the C's are only 2 games behind the Nets.


I was watching the Saturday night highlights over on, which included Josh Smith's tomahawk dunk against the Sonics. As Smith ran back down the court it looked like fire came out of the opposite basket. I ran it three or four times and sure enough it looked an awful lot like fire each time. Fire. So I took a screen shot (pictured right) and did some search to see if this was for real. According to Lang Whitaker it is, "The Hawks appear to be shooting fire out of the shot clocks whenever the Hawks score, or at least after big baskets. Looks really cool on TV, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a team shoot fire after made baskets before."

I realize that photo looks like a video game but the important thing is the fire. And yes I'm still not ready to discuss the game that led to a whopping 161 frustrated comments over on Celtics Blog.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Scalabrine got crunch time minutes

Scalabrine got crunch time minutes

More when I recover.

A few thoughts

Theo and Wally will not play tonight due to back issues.

The C’s started the game with Gomes, Pierce, Perkins, West and Telfair, which is an intriguing line up.

“On the subject of things LeBron James has done that offend more than walking off the floor with 15 seconds left in the Atlanta loss, which I'll get to in a weekend Blog entry, here's another: LeBron sitting out that exhibition game in Rochester last month ... Rochester's first NBA experience in 25 years.” – Mark Stein in ESPN’s Daily Dime

- Looks like some other people may be disappointed with LeBron. Notice I’ve downgraded my feelings from hatred to disappointment. Ah, the power of the LeBrons.

C's/Jazz - 11/10/06

Celtics Notes

- “Everyone’s talking about us being this fast break basketball team. And you know we’re really an early offensive team. I think that’s who we are…” – Doc Rivers prior to the Jazz game.

I do not recall anyone talking about “early offense” during the preseason. However, that’s not important now. Doc can call the offense whatever he wants as long the C’s attack like they did in the first quarter. For example following the jumper by Pierce to open the game, the C’s next three baskets were as follows: 2 lay ups by Telfair and a lay up by Pierce. They were attacking the rim and not settling for contested jumpers. Between that and running when possible (steals and outlets) the C’s will give themselves their best chance of winning. As it stands now Rondo appears the most committed to this style of play.

- Maybe it’s because he’s undersized. Or maybe he’s just an intelligent player. Whatever the reason Ryan Gomes is a master of the up fake.

- I was wrong about Ratliff. He is the best shot blocker the C’s have had in a while, although that may be partly by default. At the same time it’s safe to say that he’s not in game shape quite yet. And you can always count on Tommy and Gorman to point this out whenever Theo gets big minutes. "Theo is really chugging out there..."

- “Boozer set an unofficial record last year for games lost to a hamstring injury.” – Mike Gorman.

Given Boozer’s start to this year it is easy to complain about Danny Ainge not acquiring him. The Jazz power forward is a double double beast. At the same time it’s hard to take on a huge contract when the guy receiving the checks is developing a reputation for being soft. And Sloan still has major concerns with Boozer’s defense.

- I like Tommy’s 2-dribble rule for Tony Allen

- Sometimes when I’m watching the Celtics I find myself wondering, “What the hell just happened?” Too frequently they find themselves on the wrong end of scoring runs. Last night it was a 15-0 run in the third quarter. It’s like waking up after a big night out and trying to piece together the evening. They need to learn how to stop the bleeding both offensively and defensively. It's hard to come back from large defecits on a consistent basis.

- Do you think Gerald Green ever looks at C.J. Miles and wonders what the hell is happening? Both players are in their second year in the league after coming out of a Texas high school. Yet Miles starts and gets minutes (17 a game) on a winning team. And Miles isn’t exactly lights out.

- Tommy and Gorman can talk about the controversial calls (goaltending not called on Rondo’s lay up, Pierce foul on Williams). But in the end the C's had some backbreaking turnovers (Wally's travel comes to mind) that disrupted their comeback attempt.

"But there Rondo showed his porn guard...his point guard prowess..." - Donny Marshall following the game. Just throwing that out there.

Jazz Notes

- I liked a lot of what I saw from Deron Williams last night (26 points, 14 assists). And beyond the numbers he was an assassin at points. However, there was one play where he threw a lazy pass to the wing. Szczerbiak stole the ball, raced down court and fed Tony Allen for a lay up. In the process Wally beat Williams down the court. It makes me nervous when a point guard can’t chase down a dribbling Wally. Of course I could care less about the Jazz. But that had to drive Jerry Sloan crazy.

- Mehmet Okur’s inability to get minutes with the Pistons has never been adequately explained. I realize that was a defensive oriented team. But it never hurts to spell your frontcourt with a sharp shooting center that creates match up problems.

Around the NBA

- I picture Eddy Curry going to a Chinese buffet (not hard to imagine). He has a huge dinner, which is once again not hard to imagine. And when he gets his fortune cookie it teaches him how to say, “I own you” in Chinese. At that point Curry has flashbacks to Yao’s 35 points, 17 rebounds and 7 blocked shots from last night.

I think LeBron walking off the court a little early against the Hawks is less of an issue than some reporters make it out to be. At the same time I think it is a bigger deal than LeBron makes it out to be. Does that make sense?

I love the fact that Zach Randolph is scoring close to 30 points a game to go along with 10.5 rebounds a game for my fantasy squad. But it does make me a little nervous when Yahoo! feels compelled to offer the following analysis, “Randolph seems to have his mind on basketball in the early portion of the season, averaging 28.5 points through six games.” Hopefully Randolph will care all year.

Can we get Bassy an inhaler?

Sebastian Telfair left last night’s game complaining of chest pain and shortness of breath. He then went to New England Baptist Hospital for a series of tests and was diagnosed with a bronchospasm. In his absence Delonte became the #1 point guard and Rondo saw the light of day again. At the very least Rajon showed that he deserves time. But I was also intrigued by Delonte’s take on Telfair’s absence, “I didn’t know he was hurt, but I did see him signal to Doc to send a sub in. All I know is I got the call. But I didn’t know there was a problem until I saw he wasn’t on the bench.” Granted West may have been quoted out of context and you never want to comment on someone else’s health. But that clearly was not a “get well soon” or “I hope he’s all right” approach.

- More on the game itself later as I’m watching the tape right now. And yes I feel important when I type, “I’m watching the tape right now.”

Bad decisions

Worst promotion ever.

Friday, November 10, 2006


“You read it here first: If Doc Rivers is fired as Celtic coach, he very well could be the third man in the booth on ABC's lead broadcast team with Mike Breen and Mark Jackson.”

Doc Rivers’ job security has legs as a story, which only means people are watching the Celtics. Also I'm not sure how I'd feel about Doc critiquing other teams especially if they were not playing defense.

- Special thanks to Hoops Hype and the New York Post

Friday - YouTube clip of the week

Realistically four white kids playing pick up ball in suburbia with a bizarre Kevin McHale homage deserves to be the clip of the week. But when I came across that clip I could not hold off until Friday, even if it was 6 hours away. Also I felt the need to pursue another injustice, which revolves around Chris Paul. He lit it up at Wake Forest, was ROY last year, is even better in his second season and will haunt the Hawks fan base for years to come. However, lost in the Chris Paul love fest is a little incident that I’m sure Julius Hodge has not forgotten.

I actually have an excerpt from Hodge’s diary circa senior night 2005:

- It was a memorable night:

1. Gave flowers to mom.

2. Got framed jersey.

3. Great applause from fans.

4. Lost to Wake because I wasn’t at full strength. See #5.

5. Cheap shot from Chris Paul.

So if we're going to be all over Hodge's Nuggets teammate Reggie Evans, Paul deserves some heat as well. By the way I always enjoy how YouTube groups similar videos together. That's why in the midst of my research for this post I came across an incident that made Paul's low blow pale in comparison while vindicating my decision to avoid Uruguay at all costs. Two final points about the clip:

1. The shirt-waving scene is epic.

2. As the clip closes is the anchor on the right fighting off laughter? If so, that’s cold.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

No love for McHale?

You can mock Kevin’s McHale’s dress code and skills as a GM, or lack thereof, as much as you want. I’m not offended. However, let’s not forget his playing career. Tonight on the TNT halftime show Charles Barkley went as far to say, “Kevin McHale is the best player I ever played against.” This of course got me all fired up and I went to YouTube to watch some sick McHale pivots. I could watch #32 in the post all day. Unfortunately the search “Kevin McHale” yielded only 4 clips. There was a crappy highlight compilation of various players, a certain hook shot from 1987 that I refuse to post, and 10 seconds of the man himself. And then this happened. A few basic points:

1. We need this to spread like herpes (I’m tired of the wildfire analogy) so that we get a new catch phrase, “I gotta party and stuff.”

2. The kid who utters the party line looks at his wrist to check the time. The video quality is such that it’s hard to tell, but I do not believe that he is wearing a watch.

3. Robert Bickerstaff (McHale) wears a shirt with #55 on the back and #15 on the front. As I noted earlier, McHale wore #32.

4. Every time Bickerstaff shoots they cut to a ball going in the basket without showing how it got there. That’s understandable. But I’m not sure how I feel about a few of the shots where the ball entered the basket from an angle that was drastically different from where he shot it.

5. I enjoyed the fake dunk.

Overall this clip borders on the surreal. It has some cult potential. It also could be a cautionary tale that would be effective as the centerpiece of interventions. And yes this is not the first time I have posted the McHale/Rambis picture. Nor is it the last time.

Things I can't make up

From Boston Celtics' dancer Emily's diary:

"Which brings me back to our booty-shaking practice. Marina breaks it down for us. Legs apart, bend your knees deeply, both hands on your right hip, and pop it, pop it, hit, end. She has two girls, who obviously have a bit more rhythm than me, demonstrate. I see the rest of the girls try it. They don't look half bad, so I decide to give it a go. Legs apart, check. Knees bent deeply, check. Both hands on my right hip, got it. Then I attempt the booty pop. But wait; there was movement, but no pop. So I try it again. Yep, plenty of movement, but absolutely no pop."

1. This diary is a comedic goldmine.

2. The whole NBA dance team experience in general is a book that's waiting to be written and a movie that's begging to be made.

3. I'm still against the dance team. However, I'm not making threats.


My top five regrets in life:

5. Never beating Mike Tyson's Punch Out. Although I haven't quite given up on this one.

4. Not being able to dunk.

3. Not being able to grow a ridiculous mustache, though I've done my best with a few beards.

2. My college football career. I won’t delve into that. I should note that never winning a college intramural basketball championship almost cracks the top 5. And it's closer than you think.

1. Turning down tickets for a Pats manhandling of the Bucs in 2005, which was followed by an epic night of drinking with the guys who went. It's a complicated story but I landed in the whipped Hall of Fame...and deserved it.

That’s a tough list. Obviously I’ll never grow an awesome mustache and I’m not getting out of the whipped Hall of Fame. I don’t own a Nintendo but I will beat Tyson, even if I couldn’t do it in my video game playing prime (at this point I might be Barkley hoping to win a ring with the Rockets). And last time I checked college is over for me. However, True Hoop has shown me the light. If I can ever dunk with my WNBA knees (long story) it will all be downhill from there. And I won’t care.

Is Pierce a loser?

Last night on NESN Jackie MacMullan said that some players around the league don’t respect Paul Pierce because he took the money from a mediocre team and seems content with losing. Never mind that this flies in the face of how The Truth plays the game. He is not the Boston Vince Carter. We can debate whether Pierce can lead a team all the way. But I’m confident that he’s trying his best to win. Otherwise he wouldn’t invite the type of abuse he takes on a nightly basis. More importantly what players are saying this? Generally speaking I don’t question guys from Oakland who survive brutal stabbings. But that’s just me.

It’s important to note that I’m not implying that MacMullan is lying. And if she is, I'm not mad. How could I be upset with the reporter who taught me that BC standout Jared Dudley weighed 230 pounds…when he was 12?

Just say no to Larry.

With every passing day the anti Doc campaign gains steam with speculation about when he’ll go and who will replace him. That is the nature of the rumor mill. And you can say whatever you want as long as we can agree on one thing: Larry Brown can not coach the C’s. Consider the following:

1. Brown seriously hampered the Piston’s repeat attempts. The franchise has never fully recovered. Although Flip Saunders was officially exposed, which was good for everybody. Somewhere Garnett is smiling.

2. After the aforementioned sabotage of the Pistons Brown couldn’t even leave with dignity. He had to squeeze a few extra dollars out of the organization.

3. Following his separation from the Pistons Brown parlayed his newly found freedom into a massive deal with the Knicks, which apparently was his dream job.

4. The Brown led Knicks posted an abysmal 23-59 mark. In the process he was Larry Brown at his worst – sticking with washed up veterans, burying promising youngsters, throwing his guys under the bus, taking shots at management, and allegedly holding unauthorized trade talks. In his defense Brown did not assemble the roster. However, he did agree to coach it.

5. He’s not getting any younger (66).

6. Let’s face it the Knicks were not a good team but they weren’t that bad. As Jalen Rose put it, “I put together our roster on "NBA Live" and we're pretty good.”

7. I do agree with Brown's approach to defense. However, at some point you have to set a rotation and realize that the roster isn't changing drastically. There’s something to be said for adapting to your personnel rather than trying to force a system that’s doomed to failure.

8. As the off-season began Brown made logical people wonder, “Is he trying to get fired?” You just can’t cut 5 to 6 guys off NBA rosters. It doesn’t happen.

9. Brown redefines whiney at times.

10. Of course the Knicks fired Brown and the Hall of Fame coach eventually walked away with an $18 million settlement. Mark Berman’s account of how it all went down is damning for 2 reasons:

- “Brown asked for $53.5 million in the hearing - an additional $12.5 million beyond the $41 million for ‘liquidated damages’ and attorney's fees.” If he cared at all last year this would not bother me.

- “Brown confidants say he will coach again, possibly for his buddy Michael Jordan in Charlotte.” While this is not coming directly from Brown he often communicates through the media or his friends. I’d like to think he is not lobbying for a job that is currently filled, a major coaching faux pas. I’d like to think.

In conclusion let Brown bring his turmoil to some other organization. The Celtics have enough already.

An outsider's assessment

Royce Webb does his best to put the C's win in perspective while critiquing Doc and Ainge as well. And I can't argue with him.

"OK, so the Celtics finally got a win . . . in OT . . . vs. the Bobcats . . . in Boston. Don't start sewing that 17th banner yet.

But did Boston coach Doc Rivers really deserve his first W? Somehow, on a roster that's supposedly too crowded with good players, he found 30 minutes to give to Tony Allen and Brian Scalabrine , who combined for -- get this -- five points, one rebound, no assists, four turnovers and seven fouls. They're like the guys no one wants to pass to in a pickup game.

Give Delonte West props, though, for sticking it out and sticking that J at the final horn. He's endured any number of injuries, not to mention the whims of Rivers and Celtics president Danny Ainge, who keep replacing him and benching him and moving him from spot to spot.

Hey guys, make up your mind. Indecision 2006 is hilarious on "The Daily Show," but not for the league's most storied franchise."

Catch the rest of the Daily Dime over on ESPN.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

C's/Bobcats - 11/8/06

A few observations

I was in a bar for the fourth quarter and someone changed the channel to Dog the Bounty Hunter. Sometimes the type of people who watch Dog the Bounty Hunter in bars are not the type of people you want to engage in a conversation about your desire to change the channel. Thankfully there were two televisions. That was close.

It’s a little know fact Emeka Okafor plays for the Bobcats and Celtics Bandwagon – my fantasy squad. I’m too much of a Celtics fan to enjoy Emeka’s 28 and 18 if the Bobcats were to win. So I’m pretty satisfied to see it worked out.

Rajon Rondo’s DNP (coach’s decision) falls into the old, “I did not see that coming” realm.

It looks like Ratliff can help. I’m guilty of underestimating what a veteran presence can bring. That said he did seem exhausted at times.

It was interesting to see Gerald get some burn. But I was more intrigued by Delonte’s role as the back up point guard.

Delonte Quotes

“Exactly what you seen, that’s exactly what was called.” – Delonte West responding to Greg Dickerson asking what play was called at the end of the game.

“When we execute we can play with anyone. We can win games.” Delonte West getting caught up in the moment after the first win of the season.

Doc critique of the night

"The Knicks just blew a 19-point lead and got the ball back with 16 seconds left in a tie game. Isiah calls a timeout, presumably to call a play. What do they do? Inbound it to Crawford. Everyone else goes under the basket and watches Jamal dribble until there are six seconds left and he pulls up for a crazy 3-pointer.” - A portion of a random e-mail to Bill Simmons that describes a scenario, minus the 19 point lead, eerily similar to the end of regulation in Boston tonight. Before it’s all said and done Doc and Isiah may put a new, negative spin on an old coaching axiom. The new axiom?

“He can lose to yours with his and lose to his with yours.”

Around the NBA

- The best part about Vince Carter selling out Jason Kidd in the new fantasy basketball commercial is that it definitely could happen. If they were going for believability Carter was a good choice. However, if they were hoping to show the conflict between real life and fantasy teams they had to choose Richard Jefferson as Kidd’s co star.

- “He's the ugliest productive player I've ever been around.” – Greg Poppovich on Fabricio Oberto. If you haven’t seen Oberto and his game yet trust me, it makes sense either way.

- I’m not sure I want a league where guys can’t slam basketballs and catch them at waist level after bad calls. That’s a victimless crime.

- “No you’re the one who’s under the influence…of being a jerk.” – Eric Musselman’s possible last words to Ron Artest. It’s important to note that I stole that line from Chief Wiggum and I made up that scenario all together.

Another problem in losing Big Al...

Mike Gorman just uttered the words, "And that's going to bring Brian Scalabrine into the game."

Mismatch, mismatch!

I went to a Junior/Senior High School that, as the name would suggest, was grades 7-12. When I was in seventh grade future UNH great/Chicago Bears cornerback Jerry Azumah
was a senior. As one can imagine the man who would go on to win the Walter Payton Award in college was one hell of an athlete. He was fast, strong, could do a back flip, and legend has it he once jumped out of the broad jump pit at a track meet even though it was not his event. This is important because I felt the need to namedrop. Furthermore, I was in a pick up basketball game once in which the ages and skill level varied greatly. On three consecutive trips down the court I somehow drew the short stick and ended up guarding Azumah. Each time he yelled, “Mismatch, mismatch!” He then received the ball and dunked on me. I have a point here. If the Bobcats are going to guard Pierce with Felton or Knight the C’s should run one play: post up Pierce.

Snake Bitten?

Say it ain’t so Big Al. If you haven’t heard yet Jefferson will miss at least a month after having his appendix removed earlier today. Whatever your stance on Al you have to admit this is not what he or the team needed. We’re one Theo relapse away from being a very small team. You can only play Perkins and the Kandi Man so much. As a side note there’s a good chance that someone within the Celtics organization probably thought “Quit being a bitch Al, it’s a stomach ache.”

Final thoughts before tip off:

- Bob Cousy is back again, despite the fact that it seems to make him miserable. And yet he’s preaching patience.

- Emeka Okafor has been a revelation on my fantasy squad this year. He’s blocking shots like a beast while scoring and rebounding well. If Perk gets in foul trouble (very plausible) and the C’s limit Ratliff’s minutes (the smart thing to do) it could get ugly down low. That said I feel good about Jake Voskhul starting for them.

- “It would be nice…I don’t believe in must wins unless it’s a game 7” – Doc on winning tonight. That’s how to build a culture of winning.

Giving back

My favorite part of Carmelo Anthony’s recent donation to Syracuse? It has to be Carmelo gushing about his former school, "The six months I was there I had a great time.” Six months? Even if you factor in breaks it’s pretty clear why Carmelo is not putting a new wing on the library. I kid, I kid. Well done Carmelo.

Why the Celtics need a win

I’m afraid to go to Celtics Blog if the C’s fall to 0-4. It’s safe to say the hardcore fans will feel like this.

Welcome Theo

As the C's head into tonight's game against the Bobcats Doc Rivers, the Boston Herald, and the Boston Globe are all pushing the importance of Theo Ratliff’s pending return and the positive impact it could have on team defense. Even after watching Zydrunas Ilgauskas abuse Ratliff in the pre season I’m willing to admit that the former Piston/Sixer/Hawk/Trailblazer can help. Or maybe I’m just hoping that he can help. However, as Bill Parcells says, “You are what you are.” Ratliff is a thirty-three year old big man with a bad back. So it’s a problem if the entire defensive scheme revolves around him.

The Takeover

Saturday night Gilbert Arenas was introduced at the Wizards home opener wearing a boxing robe. Given that the Celtics were the opponent and #0 proceeded to drop 44 points that night, it’s only now that I’m able to put it in the blog. I'm not pleased with his dominance of the C's or the outcome of the game, but I had to mention it. This is all part of Arenas’ master plan for the season, which he calls The Takeover.

What is The Takeover? It is “just about everything. From taking over the city, I’m trying to take over the league, taking over sponsors, taking over you know … Just the industry of everything … Getting buildings in my name, getting leagues in my name … This is the time where, you know, me as a person is gonna go get bigger.” – Gilbert Arenas

I am not sure what half of that means.

Also, don't be surprised that Arenas did not mention the Etan Thomas/Brendan Haywood fight on his blog. Yes it featured punches, a body slam and ripped out dreadlocks. However the Wizards organization went out of its way to protect Arenas as he attempted to avoid a paternity related court summons last season. Gilbert strikes me as a loyal guy.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tuesday - Old School NBA Moment

Prior to the 1992-1993 season the Knicks’ marketing department was kicking around campaigns for the upcoming season. They approached Pat Riley. “The first artwork they had me look at was looking down on a basketball court. There was a hoop, and inside the foul circle was a chalk outline of a dead person. I said I didn’t know if I wanted to go that far.” – Pat Riley in The Jordan Rules.

Some would say the Knicks did take it that far. And that it wasn't until last spring that the NBA put an exciting, fan pleasing product on the floor. It's an interesting debate.

Give 'em hell Dave

With the passing of Red, the addition of the Celtics dancers and the 0-3 start to the season, we were in need of some good news. To that end I am excited that Dave Cowens is losing his cool on a NBA sideline instead of coaching in the WNBA.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

C's/Wizards - 11/4/06

I will keep this short:

1. I feel somewhat guilty about my recent focus on Gilbert Arenas as he took it upon himself to torch the C’s tonight.

2. The Celtics are the kings of giving up large, uninterrupted scoring runs.

3. After briefly checking out the comments over on Celtics Blog I’d say the hardcore fans are not doing well. One guy spoke well of Blount. This would be much easier if I could rationally discuss this team.

Is Doc in trouble?

In the past 6 years the Patriots have won 3 Super Bowls and the Red Sox broke through as World Series champions. This once in a lifetime string of success has not made me arrogant as if the local teams’ victories somehow correlate to my value as a person or the weight of my opinions (see FSN personalities). Rather I’m like Peter from Office Space after he was hypnotized. I’m just along for the ride and in the process I’ve approached an unflappable state. That’s not to say I like to see the Patriots lose to Denver in the postseason, the Yankees sweep the Red Sox or the Celtics stumble out of the gate this year without a rotation or an understanding of defense. I still follow the teams, get into the games and have concerns about the state of each organization. But I’m more likely to compare the Celtics players to Nintendo characters than to lose sleep over their start. Having said all that I’m a little concerned by the Truth’s recent comments following the loss to the Pistons,

“You know it’s just hard for me to see right now. There are so many guys in their second and third years. It’s hard to see who’s really going to be the core. I don’t know if we can sign eight or nine of the young players. Right now we’re trying to figure that out. We’re trying to see who steps up. Probably by the end of the year you’re going to find that out.”- Paul Pierce

And to a certain extent he’s right. The Celtics have to figure out who their core is and somehow get them to perform. Unfortunately development does not occur over night and you can’t force it to happen. The C’s need only to look at their most recent opponent to see three guys – Rip Hamilton, Chauncey Billups and to a degree Rasheed Wallace – who got it after a combined 10 teams (I did not count Sheed’s one game in Atlanta) gave up on them. Outside of making a trade to bring in a veteran and clear up some of the log jam for minutes there is really only one area the C’s can improve quickly: coaching. I’m sensing this is going to be a common cry on Celtics blogs, message boards and perhaps even the mainstream media over the next few weeks. It should be interesting.

Heavy is the head that used to wear the crown?

The historian Lord Acton once said, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Based on Mark Murphy’s recent Celtics Notebook it looks like Rasheed Wallace agrees. By now it’s common knowledge that Sheed was ejected from the Pistons opener, which according to the mighty MJD put him on pace for 164 technical fouls. I say this because someone just traded for him in my fantasy league. But back to Lord Acton. Prior to last night’s game Detroit’s remaining Wallace echoed the long dead historian’s sentiments:

“In my opinion it’s (expletive). It’s just giving (the refs) more power than they can handle.” – Rasheed Wallace

“If you already got a beef with a ref, then you have to watch out. And with me, that means about 90 percent of them. It’s (expletive). You ain’t really got to say nothing or do nothing. If they come in with an attitude, then you are (expletive).” - Rasheed Wallace

Rasheed’s frustration over the new stricter rule was somewhat validated by The Truth’s assessment of the aforementioned ejection, “Wow, that was low-keyed for him.” – Paul Pierce

Hopefully the refs are taking a hard line initially that will help change behavior (it was getting out of hand) and then settle into a place where they are not determining the outcome of games. Of course the whole issue has been an amazing smoke screen for the fact that the refs are not that good. But that’s another post. It is worth noting that the former champs may have actually lost both Wallaces – Ben to free agency and Rasheed to technical fouls.