Sunday, December 31, 2006

Positive Ending

Let's hope the C's find a way to salvage the end of this west coast road swing. I'd hate to see Danny Ainge worry about his mail.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Fantasy Stats

Gerald Wallace put up the following stats Wednesday and Friday:

FG% (.556) FT% (.909) PTS (40) REB (14) ST (6) BLK (4) TO (2)

FG% (.550) FT% (.750) PTS (28) REB (8) AST (2) ST (2) BLK (1) TO (3)

In hindsight picking him and Josh Smith back to back in the third and fourth rounds of my fantasy draft was a terrible idea. Both of them put up stats like that occasionally but struggle to be consistent. Clearly I'm looking for ways to amuse myself in addition to the following:

Allen Turnover: Bad (0:31)
Pass (4 TO)

Green Jump Shot: (11:43)
Missed

Friday - YouTube clip of the week

I've been somewhat inconsistent with my YouTube clip of the week. But in honor of the last Friday of the year I decided to bring back a favorite of mine. It doesn't get much better than 4 kids putting together some sort of convoluted Kevin McHale tribute. And I can't bring up YouTube without referencing Mark Cuban who is absolutely obsessed with it. Check out his latest thoughts which include the following comment:

"Thats what Youtube has become. Fake Porn and Commercials. Sure there is still some fun stuff on there and being uploaded, but how long before fake porn just takes over ? It was 9 of the top 20 for the week as I write this."

And for those of you who are not big fans of Cuban's YouTube rants, all is not lost. I found a pretty interesting article on sports fines on Blog Maverick. Turns out a lot of it is for show. I hope Rodney Harrison is keeping his cash. I love that guy.

Friday, December 29, 2006

C's/Warriors - 12/30/06

Up in Canada I'm having trouble getting FSN and whoever broadcasts Golden State's games. I've often thought that tracking the game live on NBA.com would be painful. Lo and behold I was right. So as the C's closed the deficit to 5 in the closing minutes of the first half I was happy but found it difficult to get into:

Allen Driving (0:42)
Layup: Made (BOS 46-53)
(11 PTS)

West Driving Finger (0:26)
Roll: Made (10 PTS) (BOS 48-53)

At least the beer is good. Go C's...

Fast Times and blogging

The other day I was watching Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which of course includes Damone, the ticket scalper, and his Five Point Plan for dealing with women as told to The Rat, Mark Ratner:

#1 - First of all, Rat... never let on how much you like a girl.

#2 - Two. Always call the shots.

#3 - Three. Act like wherever you are, that's the place to be. Isn't this great?

#4 - Four. When ordering food, find out what she wants and then order for both of you... it's a classy move. And the lady will have...

#5 - Five. And this is most important. When you get down to making out, whenever possible, put on the first side of Led Zeppelin IV.

- There was a point in my life, circa age 16, where all of this sounded like a good idea. That’s embarrassing. However, fast forward to the present where Damone has inspired me to look at a Five Point Plan to writing an NBA blog. This would have been helpful to me 4 months ago.

#1 – First of all, write some quality posts and get on lowpost.net. It’s a good way to get out there and simultaneously see what else is out there.

#2 – Two. Read the beat writers covering your team. In addition to injury reports and actual basketball information they have great anecdotes that show players’ personalities.

#3 – Three. Read Hoops Hype and True Hoop. While it’s important to know your team, you want to keep up with what’s going on with the Association and basketball in general.


#4 – Four. Watch the Wire. Though not necessarily a direct link all sorts of folks who love the NBA push it strongly. Although personally I’m still stuck on Arrested Development.

#5 – Five. And this is most important. Watch your team. This should go without saying but it is important. If possible see them live as well. You have to live it. So I should probably stay out of

Honorable mention:

- Try to pick a team that is not already heavily blogged about. Whoops.

- Play seasons of NBA Live 95. Why? Why not? Touche.

- Possibly incite influential bloggers to harass you. Although I have no idea who actually wrote this.

Best NBA Celebrations

Honorable mention

- Pointing first to a flexed bicep and then to one’s wrist. Big. Time. I’m not sure an NBA player has ever done this.

#5 The Jordan look into the camera/fist clench. It would be higher except no one else can do it. Kobe Bryant tried it in game 4 of the opening round of last year’s playoffs. His Lakers promptly lost the next 3 games and were eliminated. And while we’re at it, players should probably shy away from Jordan’s shrug taunt too.

#4 Pounding the chest. According to Jack MacCallum Eddie House, of all people, pulled this off to perfection against his former team (Charlotte Bobcats) last season. This prompted Bernie Bickerstaff to remark that House had a strong chest.

#3 Grabbing the front of one’s jersey to bring attention to your own number. This is best when done after game winning shots. See Paul Pierce.

#2 Rolling dice. Michael Jordan and a healthy Larry Bird used to pull this one out. It is both subtle and classic.

#1 Jumping on the scorer’s table. Really gets the hometown crowd into the game. Not to be confused with lying on the scorer’s table, which can ignite chaos.

C's out West

It's been a strange trip over the last few days as I've watched segments of the C's last 2 games in bars across New England. Strangely not everyone in New England likes watching them right now. How did it get to the point that some people want to watch the ending of the Motor City Bowl (Central Michigan vs. Middle Tennessee!) instead of C’s/Nuggets? My arguments:

1. The C’s are young and exciting, especially Big Al, Gerald Green and out of nowhere Tony Allen.
2. Iverson is playing for a new team against guys that Danny Ainge refused to move for him.
3. Central Michigan vs. Middle Tennessee?!

So this argument went on at two separate bars and I kind of won. But then the C’s came out and didn’t really play a whole lot of defense. And at times it looked like Doc had preseason type lineups out there. Some other aspects that stood out:

- At one point Brian Scalabrine was guarding Iverson. I’ve gained a better understanding of what Scal can bring to this team. However, this should never ever happen.

- Tony Allen drove to the hoop in the 4th and shoved Iverson in the chest. Tony scored, Iverson yelled and there was no foul. Iverson of course was pissed and finished the C’s off down the stretch. But it got me thinking. If Gerald Green had done that I would have been worried that Iverson or his posse might intimidate the youngster. But not Tony Allen. Just ask MarkTwain Johnson.

- Check Bassy’s locker for a Delonte West voodoo doll.

- I caught Mike Gorman on WEEI and he swears that Big Al and Gerald are legit. He also says that Al’s stats have been meaningful, which is not always the case in the NBA. As Gorman pointed out teams don’t get shut out and someone has to get stats. It’s nice to separate Al’s 16 points and 15 boards from Allen Ray’s 12 points.

- The C’s lost by 11 but I never felt like they were threatening to pull out a W.

- Overall there are reasons to be hopeful but this team has a long way to go.

The Clippers Game:

This time I was a little further north and the C’s were a later start. But the Emerald Bowl (FSU and UCLA) was a bigger draw. Especially with the Seminoles lighting it up at the end. Eventually I settled on watching the C’s alone in a friend’s den. The fact that Boston is a bad team without Paul Pierce was strongly reinforced. Next stop: Golden State. Unfortunately I'm in Canada where they have SportsCentre and a lot of hockey. Things will be back to normal on Monday.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Iverson Fallout

Marc Stein checks in on the C's after holding off on A.I. and offers suggestions for what Boston might do as the season progresses.

After a nice break I'm excited for C's/Nuggets. I just want to see the Nuggets newest addition. Bonus points if his conditioning is back. Although based on the layoff for everyone involved, it could be a bit sloppy.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Hard to Guard

I still haven't gotten over The Truth's injury. And Friday's loss to the Sixers did not help matters. But here's Trenton Hassell's take on the toughest players to guard in the NBA. On Paul Pierce:

"He's got, I think, the best footwork on the block for a [small forward] in the league. There are so many things he can do." - Hassell

Thanks to True Hoop for the link.

A New Reason to Hate Kobe

According to Gilbert Arenas Kobe is responsible for the death of "hibachi" and the birth of "quality shots". Needless to say I'm upset.

Friday, December 22, 2006

C's/Sixers - 12/22/06

- The young C's just did not have enough consistent scoring tonight. Everytime I thought they were about to claw back into it the Sixers went on a run.

- It's reached the point where I want to know if Tommy Heinsohn spent some time in Texas a little under 22 years ago. The next step will be DNA tests on Tommy and Gerald Green. I know Green is a promising young player but so is Al Jefferson. There has to be something else going on there.

- It seems like Celtics fans are starting to come around on Brian Scalabrine.

- Perhaps the Sixers are more accustomed to playing without a superstar. Regardless it would be nice for the C's to win this one. Should be an interesting west coast trip.

- Best wishes to Tommy as he recovers from back surgery.

- When Baron Davis has a big night it is unfortunate but understandable. But Kevin Ollie? When it's all said and done the C's point guard defense might be their biggest achilles heel.

- Andre Iguodala fantasy owners are estatic right now.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Few points on the Iverson/Miller trade

- Ultimately I believe the Allen Iverson/Carmelo Anthony tandem will wreak havoc on the league. However, it’s a bit odd that Iverson will start his Nuggets career with Anthony out of the picture. When Carmelo does return to the locker room it could be like the scene in the movie Rudy where Rudy returned from Notre Dame to find his ex-girl friend dating his brother. You know, because...never mind.

- Does Iverson become the third ranked guard in Western Conference All Star voting?

- I remember Andre Miller carrying an atrocious 2001/2002 Cleveland Cavaliers team to a 29-53 record. That’s even more of an accomplishment if you consider that the Cavs sunk to 17-65 the following season when they traded Miller to the Los Angeles Clippers. But now Miller has tasted the playoffs and will be 30 in the spring. He’s on a team that’s banking on hitting it big with 3 first round picks in the 2007 draft. Does he really want to be a part of something like that? What if the Sixers pull a Boston Celtics, circa 2001?* Eventually the Iverson talk will die down and people will investigate Miller's side of the story.

One other point. I’m watching Pistons/Cavs on TNT and Marv Albert and Doug Collins just had an extremely casual exchange that went something like this:

“Rahseed Wallace connects on a jumper and hears boos.” – Albert

“Rasheed is often not a popular man. Especially since the incident last year when he clubbed Ilgauskas with a forearm to the head and drew blood.” – Collins

* That's the draft the Celtics got Joe Johnson, Kedrick Brown and Joe Forte, which isn't worse case scenario until you factor in the Johnson trade.

Cheer up

This whole Paul Pierce injury situation has me down. So I've decided to try and find five stories, quotes or events to cheer me up.

1. "You would have to be a moron not to vote Tom Brady into the Pro Bowl." - Ron Jaworski. Yeah what he said.

2. Old friend Gilbert Arenas had a big night against the Los Angeles Lakers recently. However, Agent 0 was less than thrilled with Kobe’s response which included the following:

“Asked how the Wizards’ guard scored so many, Bryant said, ‘First of all, he shot 27 free throws. We as a team shot 30. Think about that.’”

The Mamba went on to say, “Some of the shots he took tonight, you miss those, they’re just terrible shots, just awful. You make them and they’re unbelievable."

Thankfully Arenas responded on his blog, “Out of that whole game I probably took two bad shots. And, for me not to have a conscience? You’re right. When you’re an assassin, you don’t have a conscience.”

“When you’re an assassin, you don’t have a conscience.” – Gilbert Arenas. Now that’s a quote for your high school yearbook.

3. Speaking of Kobe. The following clip shows an act that was short sighted, poorly timed, and awesome.

4. The success of this website has led me to seriously consider an ill-fated Brian Scalabrine push. Can you picture it? Las Vegas. February 18th. Shaq, Wade, LeBron, Arenas, Scalabrine!!!!

5. This attempt to forget about Pierce is not working. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

What?! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here I am lying on my couch, dividing my time between blogging about inane subjects and SportsCenter when Michael Wilbon casually mentions that the C's will be without Paul Pierce for up to three weeks because of a foot injury. I feel like I just got kicked in the junk. I saw The Truth last night live. And he was awesome, minus the final possession, which apparently may have something to do with the foot. NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! I was completely taken off guard, although apparently Gerald Green was too.

I was so blindsided that I thought Karl Ravech just used the term "sloppy seconds" in reference to a MLB team's pursuit of free agent pitcher Jeff Suppan. Wait he did.

But seriously what are the implications of this?

- All of the sudden Friday's Sixers game is much better on paper.

- The C's are practicing with 8 guys right now.

- It's a star league. And mediocre eastern conference teams don't generally excel on west coast road trips without a star.

- Not to take anything away from the Nuggets, Clippers, Warriors, Sonics and Blazers but at least it's not the Mavericks, Spurs, Suns, Lakers, and Jazz. That said the C's are going to struggle.

- The young guys get to show what they've got. In a related note Tommy Heinsohn may have a heart attack.

- The C's may temporarily get back in the Greg Oden race.

C's/Warriors - 12/20/06

I made my first trip of the season to the TD Banknorth Garden last night. Unfortunately the four people I went with did not care about the game and the Celtics lost. On the plus side I enjoyed the atmosphere and did not have to get up for food thanks to the aforementioned non-basketball fans.

Celtics Notes:

- Last night was the type of game where the Celtics missed Wally Szczerbiak. They needed someone outside of Paul Pierce who could consistently hit outside shots.

- Speaking of Pierce. He was awesome in the first quarter. Good things happen when Pierce does not force things and does not have to kill himself to get his shots. If he didn’t botch the final play so badly and managed to hit a game winner it would have been a fantastic night all around for #34. Alas.

- I still like Leon Powe and Gerald Green but have a few concerns. I’m not calling into question their futures, rather their current games. Powe has a limited offensive arsenal. He did draw a couple of fouls but is not a huge threat to finish down low and was caught pushing off as well. Meanwhile Green seems to drift at times. I’m not sure he knows how to make things happen quite yet.

- I caught a newscast in the bar before the game along the lines of “Finally Al Jefferson delivers on his promise.” The guy is 21 years old in his third NBA season. He going to be a source of excitement and at times disappointment throughout the season. But Jefferson is headed in the right direction and should be the least of the C’s concerns. Although those missed free throws down the stretch were killer. For the record 13 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots are now disappointing. He’s come a long way.

- I was listening to Michael Holley on the radio this morning and he was questioning Doc’s decision to cover Baron Davis (31 points, 8 assists) with Sebastian Telfair all evening. Apparently this drove Tommy Heinsohn nuts too. It was too easy for Davis. Holley contends that A) Doc should have thrown Tony Allen or even Gerald Green at him in the hopes of making Baron work for his shot and B) when people get upset with Doc incidents like these give them a legitimate case. As Holley points out the C’s have struggled with point guard defense all year. Chris Paul, Jameer Nelson and Chauncey Billups are three guys that come to mind when I think of point guards who have had their way against Boston.

- It is never good to lose to the NBA’s worst road team at home.

- I was shocked to see the C’s earn, by my count, 4 defensive three seconds calls. I was under the impression that this was called once or twice early and then everyone forgets about it. Regardless those possessions at the very least took a lot out of the crowd and perhaps the team.

- I thought Delonte West did a great job pushing the ball and putting some pressure on the Warriors. Unfortunately he was 4-12 from the field. On a side note someone definitely took the airbrush to the Delonte on my ticket.

- I was a little concerned that the crowd was loudest when Lucky and the Celtics’ dancers gave away free t-shirts. Thankfully the place was rocking over the final 4 minutes.

- There was one Celtics dancer who was noticeably taller than the other girls. Just throwing it out there. I also enjoyed the smattering of boos the squad got before their first routine, which set the tone for the whole evening; lots of cleavage and to put it nicely, suggestive.

- I stuck with my balcony seat all evening even though there were a fair number of open seats down below. There also seemed to be a lot of people down there who didn’t care that much about basketball but had more than $20 to give to sketchy guys on the street.

Warriors Notes:

- Of all the Warriors, outside of Davis, Matt Barnes was the most impressive. He made plays and forced the action on numerous occasions. I got the feeling that Golden State will get a lot more out of Barnes and Andris Biedrins someday.

- That was the first Warriors game I have caught all year and overall Mike Dunleavy did not impress me. His numbers were okay (10 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals) but he missed some shots down the stretch. He also bitched out teammates on a few occasions and seemed to whine throughout the game.

- Not a lot of Monta Ellis (just under 6 minutes) last night.

- I thought Tony Allen did more Jason Richardson type things, one put back dunk in particular comes to mind, than Jason Richardson.

- Finally I imagine Baron Davis fans must find his game a little bittersweet. Clearly he can still get it done, as he did last night. And I did not see him forcing it too much or ignoring his teammates. Also he is currently the guy who can make a big shot when the Warriors need it. But all the injuries, particularly to the knees, have robbed him of a great deal of his explosiveness. The guy used to get upbig time.

Miscellaneous Notes:

- There are a lot of distractions at Celtics games – t shirts shot into the crowd, dancers, shooting competitions and of course all of the jumbotron stuff. And most of it is useless. However, the clip from Hoosiers and Paul Pierce calling for a “Let’s go Celtics,” chant in memory of Red Auerbach (from opening night) were awesome.

- At halftime a team of boys played a team of girls. It was a tie game but the girl’s squad seemed a bit older. Still the guys blew it.

- My favorite jerseys worn by other fans last night:

#5 – Michael Jordan’s Bulls jersey with the “Chicago” in cursive.
#4 – Paul Pierce’s Kansas jersey – Only because no one had his Inglewood jersey.
#3 – Bill Russell’s Celtics jersey – Classic.
#2 – Larry Bird’s Celtics jersey – There should always be someone wearing it.
#1 – Russell’s University of San Francisco jersey. – Very cool.

Final Analysis

- These are the type of games that keep the C’s from making the leap from a mediocre team to a good one. That said I enjoyed the game and remained hooked on this team.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wallly = Out

From Yahoo! fantasy basketball: "Boston coach Doc Rivers told the Boston Globe that Szczerbiak will likely miss the team's West coast road trip the week after Christmas because of an ankle sprain. Szczerbiak missed five games between Dec. 4 and Dec. 11 with a sprained ankle. Boston's next game is on Wednesday against the Jazz."

Monday, December 18, 2006

2 Points

- Once again I am happy that the C's did not pull the trigger on a hypothetical Carlos Boozer trade that was said to include Al Jefferson. For those scoring at home I've been against it twice and for it once.

- Word on the street is Isiah Thomas was so furious because the Denver Nuggets stole their bus driver's name plate on the way to the game. Yes that is a reference to the 1996-97 Celtics. More on them later in the week.

Taking copyright seriously

This video has been removed at the request of copyright owner National Basketball Association Properties, Inc. because its content was used without permission

I received this message when revisiting my post about the Knicks/Nuggets brawl. That means it was up for 24 hours. But is that a good thing? I can understand why the league does not want this footage out in cyberspace. And from a copyright stance they are covered. However, I feel that by taking this action* the NBA revealed how serious this event was, which in turn will only increase its infamy. Of course that is debatable. And how is the Palace Brawl footage still viewable? "He's absolutely out of his mind!"

* I have no evidence to prove that the NBA set the wheels in motion to remove the clip in question.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

NBA Fights

The picture to the right comes from a YouTube clip called “Intense NBA Fights.” I’m posting it because I’ve always thought that Michael Jordan’s ability to be legitimately terrifying at times is one of the most forgotten aspects of his legacy. I vaguely recall an incident where he seemed prepared to kill Chris Dudley. In this case (2:22 mark in the clip) John Starks is the object of Jordan’s hatred. Some other points of note:

- The Kobe Bryant/Kevin Garnett introduction that leads into DMX (explicit lyrics if you’re at work).

- Shaq and David Robinson getting into it.

- Kevin McHale introducing Kurt Rambis to the art of the close line.

- Larry freaking Bird.

- Reggie Miller instigating with Jordan.

C's/Bobcats - 12/16/06

The big news in the NBA from last night should be the Celtics five game win streak and Gerald Green’s windmill, which you can find on NBA.com’s top ten plays. Okay maybe I’m over hyping the C’s win streak given what the Suns are doing. I’m excited. Regardless, apparently something happened in New York. My initial reactions:

- Carmelo Anthony sucker punched Mardy Collins so loud that you can hear it. Also at the very end of the clip they play the punch from a different angle. Watch Collins’ legs buckle. He goes down like a ton of bricks although in his defense he never saw it coming.

- Anthony is a grown man and he’ll have to take the consequences for his actions. It’s just too bad he sullied his image and detracted from what he has been doing on the court.

- I’m sure there is going to be a lot of negative coverage of this incident over the next week or so, and rightly so. However, watch some Celtics/Pistons, Celtics/Lakers and Celtics/Sixers from the Larry Bird era some time. Bird threw his share of punches. Was Collin’s foul on J.R. Smith any worse than Kevin McHale’s close line of Kurt Rambis? No doubt the Knicks and Nuggets made the NBA look bad last night. Let’s just not pretend that the league was cleaner 20 years ago. Meanwhile I’m bracing myself for the stories about the generation of thugs that is ruining the game.

- David Stern cannot be happy that this happened. But he has to be even more upset that it occurred in his back yard.

- Nate Robinson’s role is not in the least bit surprising for some reason.

Back to the Celtics:

- Brian Scalabrine led the team in assists last night.

- Sebastian Telfair is the lost man in the recent success.

- Ryan Gomes must be dying to get back.

- When Wally Szczerbiak first went down I thought it helped Doc develop a rotation. This time around it’s more disappointing as he was starting to settle into a role off the bench that could really help the C’s.

- Tony Allen struggled from the field last night (2-10) and still managed to contribute, particularly from the free throw line (7-8). When he’s on Allen definitely gives the C’s a different dimension.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Random NBA stuff

- Somehow Tony Allen did not make NBA.com's top 10 plays from last night. In the words of Pete Carrol, "I'm as surprised as you guys." These words work too.

- Don't forget to vote Paul Pierce into the All Star game. And since you have to fill out the western half of the ballot you should probably vote for Carmelo Anthony too.

- They forgot about Larry Bird. The song in this clip gets me fired up for anything.

- I regret calling it a night during the Lakers/Rockets game as Kobe went off for 53. Apparently this earned him 3 of last night's top 10 plays on NBA.com. I'm still bitter.

- Enjoy the classic C's/Pistons pictures from the 1987 playoffs below. The Bird/Rodman one is bizarre while I really enjoy how miserable Bill Laimbeer looks after the Chief took him out.

Jordan

It's still crazy to see Dikembe running around blocking shots. He got young Andrew Bynum a few minutes ago and did the Dikembe finger thing. But this post is really about Michael Jordan. Some people would view this clip as taunting in action. I see it as the killer instinct that made Jordan great.

Random Points

Go to NBA.com and check out the video of the prank Jason Richardson pulled on rookie Patrick O’Bryant. It’s definitely from the Gilbert Arenas school of team bonding.

In case anyone was wondering Pau Gasol is the guy I’d inexplicably like to punch in the face. Really I have absolutely no reason. The bigger point though is how can a fan base that lived through Bill Walton and Kevin McHale feel good about a big guy coming off a broken foot. Am I alone on this one?

I’d be remiss if I did not credit NESN with replaying Japan/Cuba from the World Baseball Classic tonight just so New Englanders had a chance to see Daisuke Matsuzaka. Credit Bill Simmons with picking up on Matsuzaka’s jacket: “And second, it's always a little scary when the Red Sox spend $103 million on a pitcher who owns the same winter jacket as my wife.” However, this should not come as a surprise. The Japanese jumped on the metrosexual bandwagon and have held on for dear life.

Dikembe Mutumbo had several blocked shots in last night's Rockets/Lakers. That seems odd to me.

"I'm sure if you asked them, it probably sounds good for them to say they have it all figured out, but they're 6-7 and we're 9-4, so go tell me who probably has it more figured out.” – Tom Brady sounding off about the Dolphins after last week’s loss. You can catch the context in Jemele Hill’s article about Teflon athletes.

Friday, December 15, 2006

C's/Nuggets - 12/15/06

Celtics Notes

The following text message exchange occured during the game:

“Tony Allen!” - Reader Fly Gerald Fly
“Of 2 YEARS AGO!” - Me
“Unreal feeling the heat from GG.” - Reader Fly Gerald Fly

Is that it? In a loss to the Raptors 2 weeks ago today Gerald Green played solid and Allen struggled. This prompted Doc Rivers to say that Green was starting to come along. Allen followed that up with a garbage time virtuoso performance against the Bulls. But he only started to really impress during the recent Atlantic Division road trip. And this is a guy I was ready to give up on not too long ago. Crazy team.

This goes without saying but the Celtics are a dangerous team when Paul Pierce is in the zone and working within the flow of the offense.

I’m still willing to rethink the Brian Scalabrine era. Tommy regularly raves about the C’s team defense when Scal plays. However, he did get taken off the dribble by Eduardo Najera and let’s not forget Scal’s PER (#220 in the league). By the way the fact that Marcus Banks is #219 is the real reason I brought up PER.

At 7:01 in the third quarter Mike Gorman referenced the fake orgasm scene from When Harry Met Sally. This is important to know.

“Lot of time left in the game.” – Gorman throughout the third quarter. We get it. The Nuggets will make a run.

Doc and Danny Ainge: wince contest…GO!

Sometimes Tony Allen plays like a stray dog. Strangely this can be both good and bad. Discuss.

You have to go back to a six game win streak from February 27 through March 9 2004 to find the last time the C’s won 4 in a row.

No seriously what the hell is going on with Tony Allen? This is the same guy that Tommy desperately tried to institute a two-dribble rule for. And I would love to have been there when the C’s coaches huddled up and said “Fuck it let’s play Tony the whole game.” Somewhere MarkTwain Johnson is furious.

Big Al (28 points, 10 boards) took it to Marcus Camby a few times tonight. Jefferson is putting up Zach Randolph numbers with slightly better defense, a better contract and no legal problems.

Tony Allen, powered by salmon (pronounced solmon) and mashed potatoes, is a fascinating interview. He somehow manages to use clich├ęs and still be incredibly honest.

The C’s ball movement was inspiring at times tonight.

One more thing about Allen. Remember when he did this. I thought Nate Robinson tried something similar and all he got was a travel.

This was a quality win.

Smells like first place.

Nuggets Notes

Here’s what I love about the NBA blogging community: you can go to the Nugg Doctor’s blog and learn about how Denver can be downright terrible on defense at times. That helps explain tonight.

At least Nene doesn’t have a huge contract.

Wait Kiki Vandeweghe dropped 40 on the C’s...twice.

Carmelo Anthony is a beast. More on this in another post.

Things Tommy Said

“I tell you this kid you’re getting to love him more and more. I mean he’s 6’7’ but he’s playing like a 6’10’ guy…that’s a Tommy Point right there!” – Tommy on Leon Powe

“If he played more minutes he would definitely steal your heart.” – Gorman on Powe

Somehow Powe has surpassed Paul Pierce as the guy I’m uncomfortable with Heinsohn and Gorman discussing. Don’t worry Walter McCarty is still safe as the leader in this realm.

“You gotta give him a step and I don’t think he did. Let’s watch and see if he gave him a step…he gave him half a step.” – Heinsohn unable to control his bias after Pierce was called for a charge.

“He’s their version of Scalabrine.” Heinsohn on Najera.

“My heart stopped! My heart stopped!” – Heinsohn after Pierce hit his sixth three pointer. He could have been serious.

Revenue the NBA could only dream of

- The porn industry makes more money than the NFL, MLB, and NBA combined. As CNN mentioned each league it showed action shots of athletes. Kevin Mench represented the MLB. That was really funny to me.

- There are 4.2 million porn web sites.

- People within the industry are convinced that the Internet would not be the same without porn. The same thing happened years ago with the VCR.

- They are pushing to put porn on cell phones. Eddie Griffin is excited.

The Atlantic

NBA.com's John Schuhmann takes a look at one of the most competitive divisions in the Association. Unfortunately competitive is not synonymous with awesome. If the Miami Heat played in the Atlantic Division we would not see Shaq until March.

One point stuck out for me: "The Fascinating: The two highest individual scoring games in the Celtics' 61-year history came within nine days of each other. On March 3, 1985, Kevin McHale set the franchise record with 56 points against Detroit. Nine days later, Larry Bird broke it with 60 against the Hawks (in New Orleans)."

- I'm under the impression that Bird did that on purpose.

- Speaking of the Atlantic. I'm not satisfied with the line for tonight's Philadelphia/Dallas game. I can see the Mavs pulling away by 20 at least.

Friday - YouTube clip of the week

In honor of the Denver Nuggets coming to town I dug up this bootleg version of Carmelo Anthony addressing the Syracuse faithful. This was in celebration of the Orangemen's national championship. Needles to say, he led them on.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

C's/Sixers - 12/13/06

- The Celtics went on the road and took care of business against three division rivals (Nets, Knicks and Sixers).

- On this three game Atlantic Division road trip the C's showed some resilience by rallying back from early deficits against the Nets (20 points) and Sixers (11 points).

- I still wonder how the C's rotation will shake out once everyone is healthy.

- It's safe to say a franchise is in trouble when Kevin Ollie (14 points) leads the team in scoring.

- Former Celtics and Sixers coach Jim O'Brien had an interesting take on where Allen Iverson should end up in ESPN's Daily Dime:

"A metro area like Boston fairly near the casinos. The best situation would be in the bigger markets. Minnesota is a smaller market, but it would be interesting to see him there."

The part about the casinos killed me.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

How many beers could Shaq drink?

"How many beers do you think Shaq could drink?” – Me
“Shaq could drink an ass load of beer.” – Reader PNH91

As I attempted to answer this three issues immediately arose:

3. Does Shaq even drink? And if so, does he drink beer? I wanted to press ahead but this was a huge stumbling block for me. So I did some research and found a post by Miami gossip columnist Lesley Abravanel. Under the title Scarred:

“To escape the girlie games, Shaq and friends rented the penthouse at the Shelborne and partied there to the tune of Cristal, Grey Goose and grape juice. Then they hit Shine.”

I then sent Lesley a question just to be sure.

“This is a weird question but my friends and I had a pretty big debate about Shaq. Several of them were arguing how many beers Shaq could drink in a night. Given his size the possible number of beers escalated to dizzying heights. But I felt the argument was moot because Shaq is probably a Cristal guy. Mabye some Grey Goose. But he's not wasting his calories on beer. Am I off base here? Thanks.”

Couple of things – I misspelled maybe (mabye) – even though the website gave me a chance to double-check my comment. It wouldn’t be an attempt at journalism for me if it were not half-assed.

Also clearly I know he drinks Cristal and Grey Goose based on the above post. So either I’m lame or a deceitful ass who is trying to make himself look good. Probably both.

They reply: “To be honest with you, although I've seen Shaq out and about, I never noticed what he drinks! I will look next time and let y'all know!”

Oh well. I’m no further along than when we started and just wasted 300 something words.

2. I can accept that Shaq does not drink beer and press on with this exercise because it’s awesome. But then comes the issue of keeping track. Counting beers is for high school kids, college students* you don’t want to hang out with, and in general a certain type of personality. For example if the 2001 Lakers went to a keg party Kobe Bryant would count beers. Shaq would not. This is the second biggest reason I did not try to contact Shaq to answer my question. The first is fear.

1. How much does Shaq weigh? The following exchange occurred during my sophomore year of college:

“I’m so messed up. I just drank a fifth of vodka.” – Pre frosh
“I don’t believe you.” – His host.

I bring this up because it is precisely how I would react if Shaq told me he weighs 325 pounds. How much does he really weigh? Let’s go with 375 pounds. And that may be a low guess.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As we move forward let's start with the chart on the right from the Greater Dallas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. Unfortunately the chart gave up after 240 pounds. Now just being fat does not mean a person can absorb more alcohol. It has to be muscle. And say what you want about Shaq, but the Diesel still has plenty of muscle. So that is going to help his cause. Therefore given Shaq's weight and body make up I’m guessing his blood alcohol contcentration (BAC) would be .11 after 10 drinks. I followed the chart’s advice and subtracted .01 for each hour of drinking. This in turn helped me determine that Shaq would have a BAC of .12 if he killed 20 beers in 10 hours. Long story short if the Big Aristotle decided to kick back and drink for 20 hours I’m sure he could down 50 beers. Especially if he was drinking light beers. I think he could even throw back 35 Ice Houses, keeping in mind that seven is a lot for mere mortals. Regardless Shaq has nothing on this sumo legend.

When I say “college students you don’t want to hang out with” I have to include my former self in that demographic. That’s depressing.

More NBA

In an earlier post I mentioned Josh Smith's strong line from last night. ESPN's Jon Barry agreed:

"Hawks forward Josh Smith: Even though his team lost by 13 to the Nuggets, Smith had 21 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 blocks and 4 steals to become the first player since Hakeem Olajuwon to have a stat line of at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 blocks, and 4 steals in a single game."

- That's pretty good company to keep.

More from the Barry's Daily Dime:

"That's the first time I've put the ice on and had to come back out and play. It's almost like Red Auerbach smoking the cigar." - Kobe Bryant, whose Lakers led the Rockets by 27 points -- 93-66 -- with 9:45 left. Coach Phil Jackson pulled Bryant 3 minutes later and Bryant figured his night was over, icing the knees after icing two 3s. But it wasn't.

-
Is it okay for Bryant to reference Red? It's done in a respectful way but it still feels like blasphemy.

Finally, SI.com's Kelly Dwyer mentions Celtics struggles in passing, "Anyone making excuses for the disappointing Celtics..." as he gives some credit to the Atlanta Hawks and coach Mike Woodson.

-
The Celtics are 7-13 and the Hawks are 8-12. But Boston has played a softer schedule thus far.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

In case you forgot...

...Larry Bird is the man:

"He had earned close to $30 million in salary alone in his thirteen years with the Celtics, including $7.07 million in his final year. Had he merely shown up and played in sixty games in the 1992-1993 season, he would have made another $8 million. But he couldn't do it. In fact, he had deliberately backdated his retirement letter for the 1992-1993 season on August 15. He was raised to work ffor his money, an admirable quality that never deserted him." - Peter May on Larry Bird's retirement in The Big Three.

- Any time I read something about what the Celtics organization used to be I get upset for thinking things like, "Hey the team is 7-13, one game out of first. Sweet." I'll feel the same way when the New England Patriots are getting shut out 21-0 in the year 2015 and their dynasty is just a memory.

Around the NBA

- It looks like Isiah Thomas will last the season. But don't confuse that with a vote of confidence. However, the biggest shot had nothing to do with the current Knicks coach.:

"I'm sorry about last season and about what happened with our coach. I'm sorry how it negatively impacted the team. I'm sorry we made a mistake hiring that coach." - James Dolan, Madison Square Garden chairman.

For a while there I almost regretted not getting T-Mac in my fantasy league. And then the seemingly inevitable happened.

- How many guys can score 21 points, grab 10 rebounds, dish out 5 assists, make 4 steals, block 5 shots and hit a three for good measure in a game? Josh Smith did it tonight. It would be nice if he did something similar to that on a more regular basis.

- I'd love to know what title was used more over the last few days - "InVinceable" (in reference to Vince Young or some variation of "You're with me with leather" (in reference to the old ball coming back.)

- First it got Allen Iverson. Now it has sidelined D-Wade. There is a new threat to NBA players: dental work.

- I found this quote about Kiki Vandeweghe prior to the 2003 NBA draft when he was still the Nuggets GM: "Scouts say it’s obvious Kiki is working on something, it’s just not clear what it is at this point." It wasn't intended as an insult and Kiki did get Carmelo. But that quote could be taken either way and Kiki is no longer working for Denver.

- I still think it's not right for a grown man to wear a wristband with another man's name on it. But I thought about it last night. I quickly forgot about it and bench pressed 350 before doing a bunch of other wicked masculine stuff.

The Truth speaks out

NBA stars such as Paul Pierce have spoken out about the leather ball coming back:

"The players, it was just tough on them because I think [the NBA] kind of just sprung the ball on the players instead of giving them fair warning. When you're playing with something for so long and then it's time for change, it's hard to accept." - Paul Pierce

Monday, December 11, 2006

C's/Knicks - 12/11/06

It is always good to beat the Knicks. This time around it was even more necessary than usual after the last encounter.

I’m not sure I have any Eddy Curry jokes right now. That hurts.

“He averaged forty-two a game. I don’t care what league you’re in that’s a lot of points.” – Red Auerbach shortly after the Celtics drafted Al Jefferson.

Let's all take a deep breath and promise not to get too excited about Big Al's progress. It's still a small sample size and he has a long way to go. That said, let's enjoy it as well.

If the C's did squander the game it would have easily been one of the most difficult losses of the season. In chronological order:

@ Cleveland - 11/11 (93-94) - LeBron would not let the Cavs lose and the C's blew a huge lead.
New York - 11/24 (77-101) - Fans question if the team showed up to play.
New Jersey - 11/29 (103-106) - Infamous final possession.
@ Toronto - 12/1/ (102-106) - Mainly because I'm not a big Chuck Swirsky fan.
@ Chicago - 12/4 (82-100) - Much worse than score indicates.
Memphis - 12/6 (96-98) - The winning shot was Gay.

Red Auerbach and Allen Iverson

In life – be it relationships, jobs, anything – knowing when to walk away is one of the most important, yet underrated skills a person can have. I’ll take it a step further and say that it’s always better to leave one year too soon than to stay too long. Which brings me to Allen “I’m thinking about officially working disgruntled into my legal name” Iverson. Granted his contract makes it such that he cannot simply walk away from the Philadelphia 76ers if he wants to continue playing in the Association. In fact this is more about the Sixers’ management finally coming to the opinion that it is time to move on. Of course the fact that they waited so long means the divorce will be ugly.

But back to Iverson. Over the weekend I read John Feinstein and Red Auerbach’s collaboration – Let Me Tell You a Story – A Lifetime in the Game. It was an excellent source for everything Red and also had great info about current NBA players.

“Are you kidding? I’d love to have coached that kid. First of all, he’s quick as anyone who ever played. But beyond that, he’s a warrior. I’d have gotten along great with him. The (missing) practice thing would never have been a problem. I would just very quietly tell him, ‘Look, you need to do this because it means something to me and to the other players.’ What you have to do is let a guy know what’s important to you and let him know that if he does right by you, you’re going to do right by him. That’s the thing: my guys always knew I’d take care of them if they played hard for me – while they were playing and after they were done playing.” - Red Auerbach on whether or not Allen Iverson could play for him.

This quote in particular and the book as a whole bring Red’s philosophy to light. He believed that you could fine guys but it was generally a bad idea to bench them because everyone else suffered. Secondly it was always better to confront them quietly on the side. That takes a lot of the ego out of it and makes the player feel like a man. Based upon Larry Platt’s Iverson biography, Only the Strong Survive, that may be the best approach to take with the former Georgetown star. Platt* argues Iverson’s “We talkin’ bout practice rant” may have been as much about Larry Brown communicating through the media as it was about Allen’s disdain for practice. As far as I can tell there are only three problems with Red’s hypothetical approach to Iverson:

3. The money is so large now that fines don’t matter like they used to.
2. I’m not sure Iverson plays defense like he did a few years ago.
1. Iverson really does not like practice.

More on Iverson

- He can be critical of the contracts of Samuel Dalembert, Kyle Korver, and everyone else. It makes sense to be upset with the Chris Webber trade. But I have a tough time when he criticizes Maurice Cheeks. Obviously things did not work out and maybe Cheeks is not a good NBA coach unless there is a girl struggling with the national anthem. I can’t say for sure. But I remember wanting him to kiss Cheeks on the mouth.

- I caught Steven A. Smith in the midst of an Allen Iverson rant in which he used terms like “irreconcilable differences” and “as this team is currently constructed” where he ultimately sided with Iverson by saying that the Sixers have not surrounded Iverson with the right players to win. It’s hard to argue given their record – 5-14. At the same time it’s not easy to match players up with Iverson. Jerry Stackhouse, Larry Hughes and Glenn Robinson come to mind. I’ve always liked Iverson but wonder if he sees himself as a part of why things did not work out in Philly.

- If Iverson does not get traded I’ll end up feeling like Bill Simmons when he read this.

- If he does get traded a rejuvenated Iverson could be an absolute terror, even though he is already playing great ball.

One final point:

- As I watch the Iverson situation unfold I can’t help but wonder if Paul Pierce did not know when to walk away from the Celtics.

* Only the Strong Survive is a great source of Iverson info even if Platt’s man crush on the Sixers’ star is hard to ignore.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Random Celtics stuff

Celtics Bandwagon Sucks: Hey what’s the deal nothing on the Suns and Nets games?
Celtics Bandwagon: I didn’t catch enough of either game to talk in depth about them because of work
Celtics Bandwagon Sucks: You don’t know enough about basketball to ever talk in depth about it and it’s never stopped you
Celtics Bandwagon: Well the Suns are an elite team, we know this
Celtics Bandwagon Sucks: right
Celtics Bandwagon: And it was good to see Big Al go off against the Nets but we need to remain calm – he’ll have peaks and valleys
Celtics Bandwagon Sucks: right right he won’t be terrible all the time like you, but he’ll struggle sometimes
Celtics Bandwagon: that is correct, just needs to stay healthy
Celtics Bandwagon Sucks: what do you think about Iverson?
Celtics Bandwagon: you win with stars, but a lot of people raise some good points – where does Wally fit in with Pierce and A.I.
Celtics Bandwagon: my biggest problem though is that people want to get something for nothing, you know – Celtics fans all act like the guy in your fantasy league who tries to get Garnett for Deron Williams because “you really need assists”
Celtics Bandwagon Sucks: I bet that’s you in your league…loser
Celtics Bandwagon Sucks: What about Donny with Tommy and Gorman?
Celtics Bandwagon: If it’s anything like his studio work I say no
Celtics Bandwagon: Also if you want to have 3 guys doing it you have to have a good reason – like one guy is a hall of famer with strong ties to the team who brings a healthy dose of reality to the broadcast
Celtics Bandwagon Sucks: And he’s the freaking Cooze
Celtics Bandwagon: the other thing about the Nets game is Pierce got it done, and you can’t criticize him because he won it
Celtics Bandwagon Sucks: but that shot selection was shaky
Celtics Bandwagon: bingo
Celtics Bandwagon Sucks: you still suck
Celtics Bandwagon: thanks for bringing me down from my True Hoop high
Celtics Bandwagon Sucks: I think True Hoop linked to you so everyone could see how terrible Celtics Bandwagon is, you were a pawn in an elaborate joke
Celtics Bandwagon:thanks
Celtics Bandwagon Sucks: no really I bet that bloggers around the country are mocking your crap
Celtics Bandwagon Sucks: Previous message not received by Celtics Bandwagon because of error: User Celtics Bandwagon is not available.

Hoge flavored Hateorade

I have been catching only segments of Celtics games due to work commitments. A lot has gone on and I’ll get to that soon. In the meantime I’ve also been preoccupied by the brewing Merrill Hoge/Vince Young feud. In the pre-season Merrill Hoge tore Young apart and the Tennessee Titans for drafting him. Unfortunately someone, I’m assuming the No Fun League, got that clip removed. Alas. However, Young has been frisky over the last several weeks with victories over the Eagles, Giants, Colts and Texans. Of course Hoge refuses to back down and give the former Texas Longhorns star credit. Watch this clip and see how angry Ron Jaworski (probably the best football studio guy alive) gets. It’s fantastic. Also enjoy the Vince Young rebuttal courtesy of someone on YouTube.

Some other points:

1. What is suddenness?

2. I wish the initial Hoge outburst was still online, as he goes out of his way to bash Young despite the anchor giving him a lifeline…twice. It was reminiscent of Bob Lobel trying to talk Bob Ryan down from wanting to smack Jason Kidd’s wife.

3. Reader PNH91 put it best, “The obvious question is: what do you think Vince Young did to Merrill Hoge? I bet he took Merrill's sister out for a nice seafood dinner and never called her again.”

4. For reasons I can't quite explain the Hoge/Jaworski clip reminds me of the infamous "You disrespected him a little bit" scene in Goodfellas. Thankfully Sal Paolantonio did not get beaten to death.

- More on Al Jefferson, Allen Iverson, and Paul Pierce's "No, no, no what the hell are you doing, YEEEESSSSSSSSSSSS!" game winning shot.

- On the plus side someone in Texas has already set up www.deathtomerrillhoge.com That was fast.

- Years from now people will talk about "Hoge flavored Hateorade" as the low point of Celtics Bandwagon. In fact it's all down hill from here.

- I hope you clicked on the fake link. Sucker.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Trouble Brewing

All is not well in Sixers land. On the bright side the whole Chris Webber thing worked out for them. Yes it feels good to knock another team. Meanwhile I did not catch enough of the game to comment on it. But it's good to be reminded every now and then what an elite team looks like. And that Steve Nash does not play defense.

Dave Cowens

I have to admit I was a little surprised by how much publicity Larry Bird’s 50th birthday received. By my count there were numerous articles, an NBA TV marathon, some well-done YouTube compilations, and the focus of the opening segment on TNT’s studio show prior to last night’s doubleheader*. It was all excellent and well deserved. And even though I was not old enough to understand or appreciate the Larry Bird era as it occurred, I know a great deal about him. He’s Larry freaking Bird. But it got me thinking about other Celtics. And when it comes down to it I just don’t know much about one Celtic in particular, Dave Cowens. I want to learn more about his taxi driving stints and unbelievable intensity. I’m assuming those two are related. Currently I’m trying to find the definitive Dave Cowens book. Meanwhile, I’m content to read articles about him. Red Auerbach loved Dave Cowens so his legacy is safe with me even after that WNBA stint. But it seems like he was a fan of an infamous trade:

"Changes in personnel also have helped, but so has Cowens' ability to handle them. On July 11, the Hornets gave Cowens a center by trading one No. 1 draft pick, guard Kobe Bryant (University of Kentucky guard Tony Delk was the other), to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac. Three days later, they sent Johnson to the New York Knicks for enigmatic forward Anthony Mason."

* Speaking of last night’s double-header on TNT. You know the TNT executives were dying with the Pistons/Kings as the featured early game while Nets/Suns was going on. Generally you would feel good about playing at home on one day’s rest against a team playing the second of back-to-back games, especially if the first game went to double OT. Well that’s the scenario tonight and I don’t feel good about it.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Yuck it up

Go to ESPN's Daily Dime and check out the video in the upper right hand corner. You have to wonder if the Suns would be laughing as much if Ron Artest played. I'm not saying Sacramento would win. But you don't openly mock Ron Artest. I think that is some sort of life rule. And yes I am putting off talking about the C's/Grizzlies game. Give me time.

Wednesday - Book Review

The Last Shot - Darcy Frey

Henry Abbot, Bill Simmons, Jeff Clark and most importantly reader Bnasty, gave The Last Shot the thumbs up. And as it turns out they were right. Darcy Frey follows Russell Thomas, Tchaka Shipp, and Corey Johnson as they chase the dream of a basketball scholarship. The book begins in the spring of their junior year and progresses through the summer circuit and into the school season. The varied personalities of Thomas, Shipp and Johnson along with Frey’s writing ability combine to make a great read. However, the fact that they are from Coney Island and attend Abraham Lincoln High School of Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair fame, takes the book to another level. As an added bonus Marbury is a freshman on the Abraham Lincoln team and is profiled, albeit to a lesser to extent, in the book. The essential premise of the book is that a basketball scholarship is the only way out of Coney Island. Frey exposes the pitfalls facing these players and points a finger at the government, education system, drug dealers, NCAA, college coaches, family, friends and anyone else who contributes to the seemingly hopeless environment young men grow up in. And as you read the book Frey’s anger at the situation and the fact that nothing is being done about it becomes palpable. He comes to understand their versus the world mentality and lashes out against the system. In fact his anger is almost as intriguing as the young men’s stories. Some other interesting points:

- Darcy Frey can write:

A summer night in Coney Island: “Lately New York City has been slogging through one of its enervating heat waves, a string of 95-degree days, and most of Coney Island’s other players won’t come out until after dark, when the thick, humid air begins to stir with night breezes and the court lights come on. But tonight is turning out to be a fine one – cool and foggy. The low, slanting sun sheds a pink light over the silvery Atlantic just a block away, and milky sheets of fog roll of the ocean and drift in tatters along the project walkways. The air smells of sewage and salt water."

Shooting practice: “Russell waits until the wind settles, bits of trash feathering lightly to the ground. Then he sends a twenty-five-foot jump shot arcing through the soft summer twilight. It drops without a sound through the soft summer twilight. It drops without a sound through the dead center of the bare iron rim. So does the next one. So does the one after that. Alone in the gathering dusk, Russell begins to work the perimeter against imaginary defenders, unspooling jump shots from all points."

- Tchaka, Russell, Corey and Stephon were by all accounts excellent basketball players. However, Frey makes them mythical at times. Consider the following description of young Marbury, “Then he raises his arms jubilantly and dances a little jig, rendered momentarily insane by the sheer, giddy pleasure of playing this game to perfection." Just something I found interesting.

- Frey stresses that the four young men believe they can become either a drug dealer or a basketball player. Given the odds they are far more likely to become drug dealers. Further complicating things is the fact that the drug dealers try to pull young guys down. This is a phenomenon Charles Barkley was appalled by in his book, I May Be Wrong but I Doubt It. It is in stark contrast to Barkley’s youth where he remembers homeless alcoholics and other down on their luck members of society warning him against repeating their mistakes. Is this an isolated observation or a snap shot of a shift in society as a whole? Hard to tell. But “The if I can’t make it no one can” mentality is clearly destructive.

- Frey outlines the stress the boys face as they desperately try to score a 700 on their SATs. As I initially read that it never occurred to me that they were after a 700 on the Math and Verbal… combined. This really speaks to the state of education in Coney Island. Which leads me to my next point.

- There was a long line of Coney Islands phenoms, including the older Marburys, who were derailed by education in general and the SATs in particular. By the time the book was written many members of the Coney Island community had lost faith in Abraham Lincoln High School. Passing athletes on who are weak students is nothing new. O.J. Simpson attended USC and according to Ralph Wiley, the Juice is illiterate. However, I like to think that the faculty at Abraham Lincoln does its best under adverse conditions at what is most likely a poorly funded school. I’m betting those teachers don’t make much money, face all sorts of obstacles and on a day-to-day basis do not see much reward for their time and effort. While I’m sure the faculty members have their issues it seems too easy to put it all on them. I know my parents taught me how to read and I was generally a few reading levels ahead of my current grade because of them. Granted I did not grow up in Coney Island. Yet Tchaka was the best student of the four and his mother was all over him to complete his work.

- I never think of ocean front property as depressing. But that is definitely the case with Coney Island. Frey does an excellent job describing the creation of the projects, the white flight and the lack of stores in Coney Island.

- This book came out in 1994. A lot has changed with college basketball since then. The biggest change has to be the development of the mid major conferences and teams. Everyone outside of Billy Packer seems to accept Southern Illinois these days. But back in ’94 players were crushed if Syracuse, Providence, Villanova, or some other Big East or major conference team was not interested.

- Frey is not a fan of the college coaches. This is because they are all dirty (outside of Bobby Knight allegedly), they pressure kids to sign early and they are clearly looking out for #1. Also it’s important to note that Frey’s time with the players ended in part because the NCAA banned him from all Big East campuses. Anyways while I can’t vouch for Frey’s intentions, college coaches make themselves look foolish in the book. Frey just reports on their antics:

- Jim Boeheim – Frey reports that Boeheim’s pitch danced around possible future sanctions stemming from the coach’s generosity, “Now you’re gonna read in the papers about our kids getting benefits. But I want to assure you, our lawyers are working around the clock and they’ve found no major violations. The headlines say, PLAYERS GET CASH! Shit I gave twenty dollars’ Christmas money to one player. Big deal. “ Boeheim goes on to talk about the need to replace Billy Owens (remember when he was sick). Interestingly Frey comments, “But can Boeheim be believed? On the street the coach has a reputation for “recruiting over” – that is, signing a player but giving his starting spot to a better athlete if one comes along.” Needless to say Boeheim’s reputation is in a better place these days with a National Title and a strong relationship with Carmelo.

- Rollie Massimino – His pitch was all about family. A year later he bolted Villanova for UNLV. Frey was all over the hypocrisy here. Interestingly, Bobby Hurley Sr. of St. Anthony’s fame once threatened to fight Massimino because he did not like the recruiting pitch.

- Rick Barnes of Providence probably comes off the worst as he runs through a series of magic routines such as the classic quarter behind your ear and turning each playing card from a deck of 52 into a 2 of spades. But Barnes makes 2 huge mistakes. He claims that he would never take some guy from LSU named Shaquille O’Neal over his own Marques Bragg. Tchaka didn’t buy that for a second. Barnes also dropped his deck of cards as he was leaving. Before he scooped them up Tchaka saw it was a trick deck.

- Stephon Marbury. He bursts on the scene in The Last Shot, by riding a Big Wheel through a pick up game. From there on the 14-year-old, 5 foot 9 Marbury seems larger than life. He dominates summer pick up and practices and games at Abraham Lincoln. He’s not ashamed to ask for money, rides or food as he is just trying to get a piece of the action. At one point he exclaims, “Man, I’m tired of all this shit! Somebody’s got to make it. Somebody’s got to go all the way. How come this shit only happens to us Coney Island niggers?” You really get a sense for how desperate he and everyone around him is for “the last Marbury” to make it. 5 Random thoughts about Stephon.

5. There are few more polarizing figures in the NBA than Stephon Marbury. Throughout his career he has been attacked for a number of issues. Yet through it all there have been people who love Stephon.

4. He wanted off of the Timberwolves because he was not content to live in “Minnesnowta”.

3. From a legacy stand point, getting traded for Jason Kidd, was the worst thing that ever happened to him.

2. I turned on ESPN classic when a program just came back from commercial. It was a Suns/Spurs playoff game from the Marbury era and immediately I knew it was “The Marbury Game” – when he banked the three to win it. That is the only huge Marbury game/moment that stands out in my memory.

1. In Allen Iverson’s biography, Only the Strong Survive Larry Platt, the author, tells a story about a party shortly after the 96’ draft. Iverson, Marbury, and Puff Daddy and his Bad Boy crew amongst others were there. Marbury poured some champagne for some friends from Coney Island. Apparently Puff Daddy had paid for the champagne and was not pleased. The rap mogul yelled, “You pay for that? You lucky I’m letting you drink my Cristal, let alone your punk-ass friends.” That always bothered Iverson because at that time they were still broke and Puff Daddy had made them guests. But more importantly in a few short years Marbury went from riding around in the back of Frey’s old Toyota to rubbing elbows with millionaires. It’s no wonder he left Georgia Tech early.

- Marbury gets his aggressiveness from his father who has a few heated run ins with Frey as they try to set up an interview. Mr. Marbury does not speak for free and Frey refuses to meet his demands. Stephon puts it best, “Nah, he just wants to know what’s in it for him. He knows you don’t get something for nothing. He knows if you write about the Marburys you’re gonna make a lot of loot.” Stephon goes on to say, “You got to think like a black man. Got to learn how to say, ‘Fuck it, everybody, fuck the whole damn thing.’ Now that’s life in the ghetto.” This brings me to the most ironic aspect of The Last Shot, which is the fact that Frey is part of a system that he criticizes so strongly. In the end he is telling a story about 4 individuals and their families that is not always flattering. And due to NCAA rules only Frey could profit. Granted his motives, tactics and feelings towards the young men may differ from the college coaches, street agents, and everybody else trying to make a buck. But is Mr. Marbury wrong to clump Frey in with all others? Yes Frey brings the boys exposure and gives them rides and a few meals. But he did not help raise their SAT scores. I’m not trying to criticize him or question his motives. It’s just interesting.
Final Grade: A-

Small victories

Here at Celtics Bandwagon I get really excited about things like reader comments and stumbling upon people linking to what I wrote. I also like bacon cheeseburgers. A lot.

Can't we all just get along

Apparently this riot had something to do with a basketball game in Serbia.

Speechless.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Something to think about

I was reading a post on Red's Army about the players that got away from the Celtics. A couple of things stood out. Rick Pitino tried to play Ben Wallace at the guard spot and then cut him? I had not heard that one. (Update - Apparently this is not true or at least a little off. See comment.) Also whoever posted this seems to be under the impression that the Pistons won two rings with Chauncey Billups and Wallace. The San Antonio Spurs and history seem to remember it differently. However, the bigger issue is that it too easy to criticize moves made or not made. And if I learned one thing from the Back to the Future movies it was that you can’t change one aspect from the past and expect everything else to remain the same. Matt Watson of Detroit Bad Boys hit upon this in a recent interview with lowpost.net:

"If you could do the 2003 draft over again, would you take Carmelo, Wade, or Bosh instead of Darko?

I would probably take Carmelo. It's Carmelo or Bosh, really. A much as Wade is everybody's poster boy right now, I think that the backcourt as we have it right now is still the best in the NBA with Chauncey and Rip. I don't think Wade could have possibly developed at the same rate as Chauncey developing into an MVP candidate and Rip becoming an All-Star for the first time in his career.

But Carmelo, my big concern with him coming out of the draft, was he just looked like he had too much baby fat on him, and I though that he had the frame, that you think he might carry a few pounds. He really this year impressed me with his conditioning. And I wouldn't be surprised at all if he wins the scoring title this year. Plus, aside from some of his antics during his rookie season, his clutch shooting, he's become known for that, more so than any of the other players.

My big problem with Bosh, and it's not really a big problem, is that if we had drafted him, which at the time was not even a thought that anyone would take him in the top three, if we had, then we would have been that much less inclined to acquire Rasheed Wallace, and he put us over the edge for the 2004 title.”

The problem seems to be that the Celtics are simply too young. That and Rick Pitino is the devil, which Red’s Army was all over.

Inane Observation

I thought the new basketball was the worst, recent decision made by a professional sports league. And then the NFL started playing football on Thursdays. Never mind the fact that it’s hell on the players, only select people watch it and the quality of play suffers. It disrupts my whole fantasy football routine.

Random NBA stuff

Chris Sheridan figured out what Luke Jackson is up to, "Cut by the Celtics when they gave their final roster spot to Michael Olowokandi, he is expected to decide late this week whether to choose from a number of offers from Euroleague teams. 'This is a gigantic mistake NBA teams are making. He has not failed, he's coming off an unfortunate injury,' agent Mark Bartelstein said. 'It's mind-boggling to me that a team hasn't picked him up.'"


Speaking of Olowokandi. I came across a great Ralph Wiley quote about the former Pacific stand out, "Olowokandi should be arrested and charged with a felony, grand theft larceny; stolen more money than Jim McIlvaine."

Wiley went on to refer to the Kandi Man as "Kandi-puke".

Focused?

At times you have to wonder where Gilbert's head is, "I was in meetings all day. One was just giving me creative ideas of how to branch myself out. There were different concepts. We don’t want to give out the buzz now, so I’m going to hold off on that."

Perkins has Doc's back

Steve Bulpett reports that Kendrick Perkins offered support for his much maligned coach:

“It ain’t Doc’s fault. If we need some change, people should look at someone else. Instead of saying, ‘Fire Doc,’ they probably should be saying that some of us should be fired. I mean, he’s not playing the game. It’s us playing.”


C's/Bulls - 12/04/06

Last night was one of those games where the final score (100-82) did not tell the whole story. It was actually much, much worse.

Celtics Notes

- Did Tony Allen earn 28 minutes of playing time because of Wally Szczerbiak’s injury, his decent showing against Toronto, his Chicago roots, or a combination of all three? Whatever the reason I don’t think they should be running the Tony Allen And1 offense on a consistent basis. And believe me his final stat line (20 points
on 5-8 from the field, 10-13 from the line, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block, 1 steal and one turnover) was not as good as it appears. He had two of the ugliest shots I have ever seen. On top of that he does mind numbing things at times that the box score does not capture. Although he gets bonus points for throwing it down, kicking a Bull in the process and somehow getting to line. Finally was Allen’s performance against the Raptors last Friday more impressive than Gerald Green’s showing?

- I still need to reevaluate my opinion of Brian Scalabrine. That means I have to sit down and really look at each possession he plays over a number of games. For Scalabrine's sake I’ll exclude last night’s game. Outside of repeatedly yelling, “Yes sensei” after he cross body blocked Kirk Hinrich, I did not enjoy Scalabrine’s contributions last night.

- Ryan Gomes puts up 19 points despite not really being a part of the offense. And I’m
fine with that. But if there is no other offense…

- How can they can get embarrassed like that after 2 off days?


Bulls Notes

-
It’s always important to watch a guy play when you are considering adding him to a fantasy team. Think about that when you see Chris Duhon on the waiver wire or someone tries to unload Ben Wallace. Speaking of Wallace, am I the last person to notice that the Bulls might regret signing him?

- After watching the Bulls I had to find the clip of Raptors’ GM Bryan Colangelo talking about Chicago’s length (I saw it on True Hoop first).

- A few weeks back Charles Barkley weighed in on the Chicago Bulls, “To me they’re like a baseball team that has a great five starters but can’t hit. Until they find some consistent scoring from three or four guys they’re not going to win. Cause they’re theory like just cause we got they were a great defensive team and they bring in Ben Wallace we’re a better defensive team. It don’t matter if they can’t score. They’re like the Atlanta Braves to me when they had all those great pitching staffs but they couldn’t score. You can’t assume we’re going to shut everyone out.”

Meanwhile Tommy Heinsohn and Mike Gorman gushed about Luol Deng and Andres Nocioni’s shooting ability. They loved Hinrich. And Ben Gordon is a solid, albeit inconsistent scorer. After watching the game I’ve decided the Bulls are an excellent offensive team when an opponent does not play defense.

- You can see why the Bulls would be reluctant to move Deng.


Basketball Notes


- I caught some of the Washington/Dallas 4th quarter. Congratulations to the Wizards for ending the Mavericks’ 12 game win streak despite not running any semblance of an offense. It’s been said elsewhere but Gilbert Arenas does not look like a fun guy to play with. That’s not easy for me to admit.

- According to SI.com there have only been 6 NBA players to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated as Sportsman of the year: Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Michael Jordan, David Robinson/Tim Duncan, and now Dwayne Wade. I like Wade but I think his winning the award says a lot about the field.

- I immediately thought "Nocioni" when I read the following: “Andres Nocioni vs. Udonis Haslem: Which gritty power forward has the advantage?” But then I read the post and at the very least it is closer than I thought.

- After reading Sole Influence I was shocked to learn that Brandon Rush, of the famed Rushes (Kareem and Jaron), plays for Kansas. Let’s just say that Brandon’s older brothers hold their own in the realm of shady AAU teams and college recruitment and that Kansas was prominently involved. As a side note I will put up my Last Shot book review tomorrow.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Around the NBA

- The players' association is upset with the emphasis on technical fouls and the new ball. I was of the opinion that over time these issues would blow over. Now I'm not so sure.

- "He looks like he's in very good shape and able to play longer stretches. He wasn't able to as much last year." - Scott Skiles on Tyson Chandler. I'm not sure that justifies the Bulls' off-season move (ESPN Insider).

- I know it’s all over the web but Nate Robinson’s ill-fated razzle dazzle and subsequent quote, "I'm just spontaneous. That's Nate Robinson. Spontaneous Nate Robinson. It comes out in the spur of the moment” were pure gold.

- The Pistons (8 straight wins) and Mavericks (11 straight wins) are rolling.

-
There may be an epic Mark Cuban/David Stern altercation looming.

C's/Raptors - 12/1/06

- The Toronto Raptors are 6-10. However, they have lost on the road to the Kings, Warriors, Lakers, Nuggets, Jazz and Mavericks. They also fell to the Spurs at home. Contrast that with the Celtics who have only played two western conference teams (Jazz and Blazers) and have not traveled west of Milwaukee. In fact outside of two losses to the Hawks, the Raptors have good reason to feel optimistic. They have survived a tough part of their schedule and are still contending in their albeit weak division.

While the Air Canada Centre did not appear to be full last night, it was loud.

Much like Tommy Heinsohn and Mike Gorman I like Chris Bosh a lot. Although I wonder how far he can take a team as the franchise player. Does he have a higher ceiling than Kevin Garnett?

I’m hoping that Paul Pierce and Wally Szczerbiak are healthy. But you have to admit that it would be fascinating to see the team play without them. Most likely ugly, but fascinating nevertheless.

The Raptors have a very interesting collection of players. Towards the end of the game they dominated the Celtics on one defensive possession. While I often laugh when coaches and broadcasters marvel about a team’s “length”, it definitely helped stifle a possible C’s comeback. Szczerbiak in particular struggled to get his shot off last night.

From the Raptors’ website: “The Raptors continued their winning ways at Air Canada Centre Friday as they handled the Boston Celtics 106-102. Chris Bosh led the way with 25 and 11.” I think a team needs to win by at least 15 if they are going to “handle” an opponent. Of course I’m just bitter.

I really need to sit down and look at each possession that Brian Scalabrine plays. I’m pretty sure he’s not as bad as he is made out to be. However, there are expectations when you give a guy 3 million dollars a year. Doc speaks highly of Scalabrine, "Scal was phenomenal. Scal was the only guy on our team that could guard Chris Bosh. That's a joke. Chris Bosh is a great player, so I'm not taking anything away from him. I'm just saying someone else on our team besides the smallest big on our team should be able to guard him. I didn't want to take him off the floor." Are Boston fans being unfair?

I’d love to know how many of these jerseys the Celtics are moving a day.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Swirsk

Chuck Swirsky, of Toronto Raptors fame (see last post), has his own blog. It’s called “Chuck Checks In – The Swirsk’s Official Weblog.” That’s right he refers to himself as the Swirsk. For example: “NFL picks to click... Rex Grossman has got to deliver against the Vikings and the Swirsk says ‘Book IT.’ Bears by 14.” He’s like a less famous Chris Berman.* I hope Gerald Green pulls a Tracy McGrady tonight.

*At Celtics Bandwagon it is not good to be compared to Chris Berman.


Gerald Green vs. the Raptors

As you may know one of Gerald’s fingers is shorter than the other nine due to a childhood injury. While this does not appear to hurt his game, which is somewhat amazing, the shorter ring finger is important for one reason: it is the source of one of the most secretive feuds in all of sports – Gerald Green vs. the Toronto Raptors.

It all started in the waning moments of a C’s/Raptors game in the spring of 2006, Green’s rookie year. In fact it was Wednesday March 22nd at the TD Banknorth Garden. The C’s were cruising to a 110-96 victory when Tony Allen and Green decided to add insult to defeat. Predictably Tommy raved about Gerald’s “terrific athletic ability.” However, not everyone was impressed. In fact Toronto Raptors’ announcer Chuck Swirsky was appalled. And to the untrained eye this was just more boorish behavior by a NBA player or another righteous middle aged white guy overreacting, depending upon your viewpoint. To the untrained eye. Watch the Swirsky tirade clip again. This time pay attention to Pape Sow in the lower left hand corner (pictured left) after the Raptors called a timeout. Notice how he throws the shocker as a mock gesture at Gerald. If a guy shows up a team the best response is a hard foul or an equally humiliating basketball play. I think Sow crossed the line. Regardless Swirsky did not see Sow’s display and probably would not have understood it if he had. However, as Chuck’s partner seemingly tried to ease the tension he uttered some fateful words, “Well the Raptors play ‘em again in a few weeks so we’ll see…”

Play they did on Tuesday April 4th. And this was the night Gerald officially won me over. It’s one thing to throw down a highlight reel windmill at the end of a victory. It’s another thing to do it with a vengeful, vindictive purpose. He thought about if for two weeks and then delivered. Did Tommy mock Swirsky for good measure? Is there any doubt?

“I wonder if Chuck got upset there.” - Tommy Heinsohn

2 final points:

1. If Gerald had blown that dunk the C’s could have conceivably lost or at least gone to overtime.

2. This is one of the great examples of how 2 announcers can react differently to the exact same play, depending upon their allegiances. Thank you YouTube.