Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Update?

It might be time to update the Celtics blog in AOL's NBA Fanhouse. Although things have gone badly since Tony Allen got hurt.

Down Goes Boozer

Look at the latest news on Carlos Boozer. Now check out #2 under the negatives on this old post. This may be the first decent point I've made since I started doing this. And it is quite generic. Hopefully all my readers will not be spurred on to go through my posts to find all of the mistakes I made.

Beat L.A. - 5:47

It had to happen: "Before Kevin McHale hit Kurt Rambis, the Lakers were just running across the street whenever they wanted. Now they stop at the corner, push the button, wait for the light, and look both ways." - Cedric Maxwell

I'm not asking Brian Scalabrine to do this to the Mamba. But if it happened...

Beat L.A. - 4:14

Lakers fans have pointed out that Los Angeles has won 5 championships since Boston last captured the Larry O'Brien championship. I can't counter that. Although I will say that somewhere Magic Johnson is debating that championship total.
Either that or he's searching for his dignity.

Draft Talk

I hate to interrupt my Beat L.A. thread, which has been awesome. But I got an excellent e-mail this afternoon about the coming draft.

"Josh (Lancaster, PA): Which frontcourt do you like best: Pierce/Jefferson/Oden, Pierce/Durant/Jefferson, or Pierce/Noah/Jefferson?

SportsNation David Thorpe: Oden and AJ not a good fit, and KD is not a 4. So I'd take door #3 or trade AJ and draft Oden.

How does he get away with saying things like this without justifying why Oden and Durant won't fit. Does this beg the question on draft day "Where would we play Greg Oden?". Irresponsible on his part but I am curious why he said this."

- That was the e-mail of the week.

- So after I recovered from the mandatory Lou Gorman flashback (Where are we going to play "insert awesome player such as Jeff Bagwell") I thought about it. Perhaps Oden would be risky because it takes big guys a while to develop. Paul Pierce isn't getting any younger and how long can a franchise rebuild? My head started spinning and I decided to not think about the draft until June. The NBA Draft that is. Meanwhile, I'm prepping for one of my favorite weekends of the year, the NFL Draft.

- I have only received one e-mail.

- Yes I realize the NFL Draft is three months away. Like I said I'm getting ready.

Beat L.A. - 2:19

Random Laker note: Following the 1996/97 season, Rick Pitino decided against strongly pursuing Rick Fox. At the time Red Auerbach was upset because he thought Fox was a player. Obviously Fox went on to play a role on several successful seasons with the Lakers. Ultimately, and I hate to admit this, Pitino was vindicated even though it took about 10 years. How was he vindicated? Let's just say I'd be even more disappointed by Fox's appearance in the new television show Dirt if he spent his entire career with the Celtics.

By the way that link about Fox's role in Dirt does not do justice to how horrifying one scene was. I'll leave it at that.

Beat L.A. - 12:26

Random Laker Note: In 1990 Big Game James Worthy was arrested in Houston and charged with solicitation of prostitution. This happened before a game with the Rockets. Worthy showed up late, obviously did not start, but played. I have heard rumors that Worthy was taking the fall for another teammate or teammates. But it’s all hearsay so I won’t go in depth or name names. Just throwing that out there.

Beat L.A. - 11:10

Random Lakers Note: "When I played, Larry Bird was the only one I feared. A lot of black guys always ask me, 'Did Larry Bird really play that good?' I said Larry Bird is so good it's frightening." - Magic Johnson

How about some Larry Bird? A few points.

1. Explicit lyrics. This may turn you off.
2. I've never thought of Bird as a "gangsta" but who am I to judge?
3. The bench celebrations are classic.
4. Bird's swag is phenomenal throughout.

Beat L.A. - 8:43

I'm at work waiting for a 9 A.M. meeting. I'm having a hard time focusing because I'm worried about Kobe Bryant's return from a one game suspension. You know he's angry about not playing at Madison Square Garden. He could be out for revenge tonight. Also Lamar Odom is healthy and playing again. Finally the Lakers are an excellent passing team.

Random Lakers note: Kobe looked like he was going to cry when he talked about his one game suspension.

Check back for random Lakers notes throughout the day.

Shawn Kemp?

Celtics Bandwagon is in danger of becoming completely devoted to Al Jefferson. That's the kind of stuff people do when their team loses 19 of 21 games. So I was reading John Hollinger's pre-season predictions for Al Jefferson. I won't link to it because you need Insider. I'll just quote my favorite part,

"Young big men who can score have a great track record of success, and despite Jefferson's sophomore slump, he's a 21-year-old hulk who can score. Sooner or later, that should translate into big-time production.

Most similar at age: Shawn Kemp"

- I think we're starting to see that big-time production.

- I realize the comparisons are based upon statistical analysis. But Shawn Kemp? I guess if you take away the vicious dunks and blocked shots the numbers are probably similar. I'm not even being sarcastic. 2 final Kemp related points:

1. Some say drugs and obesity derailed Kemp's career. However, I truly believe Kemp envisioned the NBA's crack down on taunting and realized that was a NBA that he did not want to be a part of.

2. Part of me wants Big Al to reenact Kemp's famous "Lister Blister" on Andrew Bynum. I'll even take the T if Jefferson throws in the finger pointing taunt. Alas, for all his skills I'm not sure Al has that kind of athleticism.

The NBA

It's 2:26 in the morning and for some reason I can't sleep. It may be related to the Celtics 12 game losing streak. I'm not quite sure. But since I'm up I just wanted to point out that the NBA is weird at times. For example Austin Croshere scored 34 points and grabbed seven rebounds tonight. Keep in mind he's averaging 2.9 points and 2.6 rebounds per year and I haven't thought he was good for 6 years or so. More importantly, the following clip is dated (see Shaq reference) but the Lakers are coming to town and every now and then you need a little Alan and Jerome.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

C's/Pacers - 1/30/07

Another tough loss tonight. The Celtics continue to be a mistake prone team that struggles to defend and score for stretches at a time. However, they play hard and generally keep it close. They may be the best at playing in games in which the final score makes the game seem much closer than it actually was. This is not a compliment. But they do play hard.

- I'm not sure Donny Marshall should be broadcasting games. Maybe you like him. However, I am sure that the three man team does not work. It stifles Tommy Heinsohn. We all accept the fact that Tommy will not be around forever and someone will have to step in. Quite frankly I'm amazed he still travels. But let's keep it to Mike Gorman and Tommy whenever possible.

- More importantly how about Al Jefferson (15 points, 17 boards). If he were a musician Big Al would be toiling in small clubs, simply blowing people away. And eventually he’d blow up and people all over the country would be wondering where the hell he came from. That’s what is going on now. At some point the C’s will end upon national TV or Jefferson will be the focus of a cover story in a publication with wide circulation. For the mean time C’s fans and NBA die hards know. Everyone else will soon. Just be happy that it's happening before your eyes.

- My post on which teams the current C’s would fit with best was delayed by sledding. As Pete Carroll would say, “I’m as surprised as you guys.” I’ll get to it eventually. In the meantime:

BEAT LA! BEAT LA! BEAT LA!

- I'm going to try and keep a running diary of my day tomorrow as I prepare for the hated Lakers

P.S. - Is anyone else creeped out by that picture of Big Al?

Rankings

The C's are still holding down Marc Stein's bottom spot: "The latest sign that winning isn't everything in Boston these days: Celts roll up a 28-10 lead on struggling Hawks at home but still fall short of 80 points and lose."

Monday, January 29, 2007

C's/Wizards - 1/28/07

It was a big day of basketball yesterday. I caught Suns/Cavs and Lakers/Spurs until the C's came on. As I was watching the action I was struck by a few things.

1. The C's are 9 games back in the Atlantic and a ways from even competing in that terrible division. Obviously getting Paul Pierce back will help. But as it stands now the C's are about as low as one can get.

2. Needless to say the C's are not in the same league right now as the elite eastern squads such as Washington and Cleveland. Some of that will be fixed by having a real go to guy. But it seems deeper than that. Also something feels wrong when I type "elite eastern squads".

3. Finally the C's seem to be frighteningly far away from competing for a championship. Right now who on the Celtics would crack the Suns top 8?

- This is the state of mind I find myself in after 11 straight losses. That's 18 of the last 20 if you are keeping score at home. Yet I still enjoy watching this team. And I'm convinced that they will put it together. But a win would be nice.

- Just for kicks I've decided to try and figure out what teams would be perfect for the current Celtics to play for. Catch that later in the day.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Wally is Back

- Doc's looking to play him 20-25 minutes. Mike Gorman says it will certainly help. I'm not sure.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

C's/Raptors - 1/26/07

So that happened.

- The Atlantic Division leading Raptors are now playing .500 ball (22-22).

- Meanwhile the Celtics have lost 10 in a row for the first time since 2000 when the Ricktator was patrolling the sidelines.

- And at times the C's played well. Big Al showed the toughness everyone was looking for while adding another double-double (20-10). Somehow Jefferson did not attempt a free throw but he did add 5 assists for good measure.

- Allan Ray came out scorching in the first quarter and finished with 17 points. Mike and Tommy did an excellent job highlighting how much better Ray and Delonte West play on the road.

- Anthony freaking Parker was 7-9 from the 3 point line. Anthony Parker. He's averaging 11.5 points a game but has gone for 17, 18, and now 23 in his 3 games against the C's this year. All Raptors wins. This is the same guy Bill Simmons described as the following,

"Anthony Parker gets my vote for the MMP Award (Most Mediocre Player): 30 minutes a game, 10-11 points a night, gets you three rebounds, two assists and a steal, plays OK defense, and you forget he's out there at least five times per game. He's perfectly average."

- The crazy thing was I saw the wheels come off. And after the aforementioned Parker put the Raptors up by 6 with just under 4 minutes to go, I knew it was over.

- The crazy thing? I could see the C's losing 11 of their next 15, especially with the west coast road trip at the end there. Granted it's hard to predict how they will play through February, especially given the unknown status of the Truth. But...let's just move on.

Wizards
@Pacers
Lakers
Clippers
@Pistons
Heat
Nets
@Timberwolves
Bucks
@Kings
@Suns
@Lakers
@Jazz
@Rockets
Knicks

Friday, January 26, 2007

Pierce Jr.

There is a game for PS2 called Backyard Basketball 2007. This is not earth shattering news. You can check out the game description in the preceding link and you will probably not be rushing out to buy it. The big news is that young animated Paul Pierce looks like Rajon Rondo. In fact I'd say he looks more like real life Rondo than animated Pierce. This was the best thing that happened to me today.

- It's been a slow day.

New rule?

I wonder if Manu Ginobli is concerned.

Friday - YouTube clip of the week

The Friday YouTube clip of the week has been expanded to three commercials to acknowledge the greatness of Tracys Morgan's video game campaign of a few years ago. There is a basketball ad with Ben Wallace. But in my mind the hockey and football ads are a cut above.

To this day Morgan has changed the way I say "accurate" and the phrase "every day I do" is a regular part of my vocabulary.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Truth

This morning I pointed out that Bill Walton did not think Paul Pierce was All Star worthy.
It's easy to forget now but The Truth was having a monster season. John Hollinger agrees:

"Paul Pierce, F, Celtics
Currently sidelined with a foot injury and potentially on the shelf past the All-Star Game, Pierce would be easier to dismiss if he wasn't so glaringly better than the other candidates at this position.

His triple-crown averages of 27-7-4 pretty much dwarf the competition. Before the injury Pierce was again among the East's top players, and few doubt he'll return to that perch when he comes back."

Truth News

In today's Daily Dime Bill Walton shared his All Star Team:

"EASTERN CONFERENCE

Starters: Gilbert Arenas, Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O'Neal, LeBron James, Caron Butler.

Reserves: Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, Jason Kidd, Vince Cater, Richard Hamilton, Joe Johnson, Chauncey Billups.

Didn't make the team: Ben Gordon, Luol Deng, Jermaine O'Neal., Antawn Jamison, Michael Redd."

Paul Pierce did not make it. No big deal, he's been hurt for a while. But if Michael Redd, also injured, is a notable miss, then so is Pierce. Damn you Walton.

- I could listen to Pierce talk about Antoine Walker all day. This clip also represents happier times.

- Finally Pierce is part of a new Nike ad campaign along with 9 other NBA superstars. I'm not a particularly religious guy and even I think "The Second Coming" is a bit much. We all know there will never, ever be another Santa Claus.

Wednesday's Worst

C's guard Allan Ray earned that dubious distinction, according to ESPN's Greg Anthony in the Daily Dime:

"Celtics guard Allan Ray: On this night, the rookie from Villanova was the mirror image of sharp-shooting Ray Allen, clanking all nine of his shots in an 82-76 loss to the Hawks. Note to self: watch out for anybody named James LeBron."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

C's/Hawks - 1/24/05

Tough loss for the C's tonight. However, I laid down the gauntlet after the Spurs game and said it was time to jump on or off the bandwagon. There's still time either way. But realize that young teams are inconsistent. There will be highs and lows. Tonight was a low.

- Kendrick Perkins showed some signs tonight. Never mind the double-double in the first half, even though it was nice. I was more impressed by his lift and mobility at times.

- It's tough to see Big Al go down again, although I don't think he'll miss much time. However, it's far too early to tell. I watched the game with a friend who wondered if in the back of Danny's mind the injury history of Al and Delonte West come up when trades are discussed.

- I'm all for getting a great draft pick. But that was a game the C's should have pulled out. They ended up shooting 31.6% from the floor and it was just terrible down the stretch.

- One word for the second half offensive effort: anemic.

- I need to see Josh Smith play against another team so I won't feel guilty when I'm awed by his talent.

- This would have been a nice game for Gerald Green to step up.

- Do other teams have scouts? If so why does any squad play the C's man to man? The zone is Boston's kryptonite. That and injuries. And coaching. And home cooking. Whoops I'm getting negative.

- Time to put this one in the past and focus on Toronto.

Random Note

- Bill Walton just said that Tim Duncan was recruited by Wake Forest, Delaware something, Providence and Hartford. That's it.

Note to self:

Abort plans for Wednesday's C's/Hawks game. Work on getting a legitimate press pass.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Quote of the week

"Obviously, if you land the punch it's 14 games. Throwing one is one [game] and hitting [someone] is 14. That's the equation I read. I'm just a simple guy. I couldn't pass calculus." - George Karl

- I'd love to read the definitive George Karl biography. I'm guessing there would be a lot of obscenity.

Coaching Carousel

ESPN's Chris "does anyone else think he looks like Chris Elliot?" Sheridan posted his top NBA coaching candidates (Insider required) today. It relates to the Celtics directly as Tony Brown holds down the 23rd spot,

"There are those who believe Danny Ainge would take over on the bench in Boston if he fired Doc Rivers, but sources say this longtime assistant, who has a seven-year playing career in the '80s, would be more likely."

Outside of that it's an interesting list of famous retreads, up and comers, former players, and guys I think could succeed in the right city.




Chris Elliot




Chris Sheridan

Shame on you Scoop

About a week ago I caught a clip of the now defunct Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith that featured Scoop Jackson. I was shocked to see that he was, for lack of a better word, a spaz. Since the segment was so brief I decided to look Scoop up on YouTube for a more in depth interview or clip. I came across footage of him hanging out with HoopsTV. After the intro Scoop immediately launched into a series of “best evers”:

Best coach of all time – Chuck Daly
Best team of all time – 1983 Philadelphia 76ers
Best player of all time – Julius Erving

Now I don’t agree with any of those choices. And that’s fine. In general those are topics you could debate without ever being satisfied. But as the clip went on Scoop started to spout off some statements that could not go unchallenged. First he mentioned a column he was working on about whether or not Wilt Chamberlain could dominate in 2005. Based upon the following quote one has to assume Scoop did not think he would,

“The thing that to me and this is my argument about Wilt was so much physically bigger than ev than most of the people he played against and that’s what made his numbers so high.” – Scoop

Unfortunately I could not find the finished article on line. And granted this is another one of those topics people love to debate despite the fact that it only exists in the realm of the hypothetical. But I strongly disagree with Scoop. Wilt was 7-1, 275 pounds and an amazing athlete. I won’t go into all of his numbers and records as Scoop dismisses those based on the competition. However, as the preceding link noted, “Although his feats were often credited to his tremendous size, Chamberlain was a true natural who possessed exceptional speed, agility, stamina and strength.”

Look at centers on the current All Star ballot:

West - Blount, Camby, Dampier, Elson, Kaman, Magloire, Mihm, Miller, Okur, Stoudemire, Ming

East - Bogut, Brezec, Curry, Dalembert, Howard, Ilgauskas, Krstic, Mohammed, Mourning, O’Neal, Pachulia, Wallace

Yeah Wilt would be a stiff against that competition. However, the real reason for my rant stems from another Scoop quote,

“Best center of all time Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Wilt Chamberlain wouldn’t have done it because he didn’t play against anybody.”

Although I guess he’s right. I can’t think of any dominant centers from Wilt's time. No one from that era captured 11 championships while winning 4 MVP awards, making 12 All Star games and averaging 22.5 rebounds a game. Hopefully the sarcasm is coming through because I'm laying it on pretty thick.

I'll leave you with this. Often times people ask Bill Russell how he would fare against Shaq. NBA TV took a similar approach last June. It's a phenomenon that annoys Russell who, despite his respect for Shaq, wants people to realize the Big Aristotle would be facing a tall task,

"First of all, how would Shaq defend me? There are two ends of the court. I would never let him just have to worry about the offense. I love him. I really do. He is one of my favorite people." - Bill Russell.

Cue awesome video.

C's/Spurs - 1/23/07

“What, you can't take children when you're going to cheat on a horse race? You got some religion out there in the 'burbs?” - Chanice

“I came close. I had them in the car.” – Buck Russell

I put this exchange up for two reasons. I’ve been doing this for a while now and I haven’t referenced Uncle Buck once. That had to change. And more importantly, I was in the car contemplating driving 2 hours to scalp tickets for last night’s game. Granted I didn’t have children with me. But I was in the car. Why did I back down? Well the San Antonio Spurs were in town. It’s not that they own the Celtics. It’s that I was going to have to pay extra for my usual lousy seat. And then I was going to get all pissed off when the camera crew scanned the crowd for dancing morons, the crowd made the most noise as they clamored for t shirts and the Celtics dancers paraded on Red’s grave. Yeah I went negative.

Of course the C’s fell behind big, as is their custom. And they made a frenzied comeback, which is also part of the formula. But a funny thing happened last night. The C’s played with passion as usual, gave the Spurs all they could handle and the TD Banknorth Garden was rocking. How can a team that’s lost 15 of 17 be this damn exciting? Granted I’m concerned that I’ve somehow become content with mediocrity. But it’s not just me. It’s seems like a good majority of the people who faithfully follow this team feel the same way. The C's are exciting. And now on to a random list of statements:

1. I called this blog Celtics Bandwagon mainly because every other name I considered was too obscure. There was something about Chris Corchiani. I vaguely recall batting around some anti Rick Pitino sentiments. But now Celtics Bandwagon seems appropriate. Because it’s time to decide. Are you in or are you out? You don’t nescearrily have to read Celtics Bandwagon, although that would be cool. Just don’t wait for this team to put it all together. Enjoy the journey.

2. Ryan Gomes, Al Jefferson, Rajon Rondo, Delonte West and of course the injured Tony Allen seem to love playing basketball. That should go without saying. But it’s not always the case.

3. It can’t be a lot of fun being Sebastian Telfair right now. If Rondo or West hear Bassy mutter “get over here and take care of it” they should run for cover. That was too easy.

4. Speaking of Bassy. Everytime I catch Brandon Roy highlights I wonder what could have been. I know it’s more complicated than that. But I wonder.

5. At this point Gerald Green is the X factor. He’s still inconsistent and passive at times but carries a lot of potential. Will he reach it? With the Celtics?

6. The Hawks game on Wednesday is going to be crazy.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Nostalgia anyone?

Retired Celtics #s

Walter Brown - 1
Red Auerbach - 2
Dennis Johnson - 3
Bill Russell - 6
JoJo White - 10
Bob Cousy - 14
Tom Heinsohn - 15
Tom Sanders - 16
John Havlicek - 17
Dave Cowens - 18
Don Nelson - 19
Bill Sharman - 21
Ed Macauley - 22
Frank Ramsey - 23
Sam Jones - 24
K.C. Jones - 25
Kevin McHale - 32
Larry Bird - 33
Reggie Lewis - 35
Robert Parish - 00
Jim Locutoff - "Loscy"

- With Tim Duncan coming to town I had to come up with something to brighten my day. Never mind the fact that the Celtics are often acussed, with good reason, of tanking to obtain the Big Fundamental. We all know how that turned out. I'm always amazed that he has never lost to the C's. Granted the Spurs have been great and the C's have struggled. But never? At least Ron Mercer worked out.

Celtics News

- Peter May discusses Ryan Gomes' versatility and Doc Rivers' options when Wally Szczerbiak returns. It will be nice for the C's to regain some semblance of health so that Rivers and company can focus on issues such as these,

"Namely, does he keep the productive, efficient Gomes at small forward, which is where he's been playing lately, when Pierce returns? Or does he move him back to power forward and bring Kendrick Perkins off the bench?" - Peter May

- Mark Murphy discusses how Doc Rivers' used the New England Patriots victory over the San Diego Chargers as a coaching tool for his team. The article opens by touching on the cross-referencing in sports. There is a coaching joke in there somewhere just dying to be made.

- When this season comes to a close I might do a post on Sebastian Telfair's first year with the C's. It will probably be called, "What the F#%&?" As it stands now it has been a long season for Bassy and he is upset...with himself.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Celtics News

Danny Ainge expects Tony Allen to bounce back: "We think Tony’s going to be back and be fine. There’s a lot of guys out there that come back from ACL’s nowadays and play as well as they have.” - Ainge

- If you missed Paul Pierce's extended visit with the guys on FSN you can check it out here. As it turns out Pierce is a legitimately funny guy.

There are numerous highlights but I enjoyed the following:

“You know I like the clean look you know sometimes you gotta look good in a suit, the urban look and the corporate look. That’s why I’m versatile.” – Pierce on his style.

“Wally. Wally is interesting. Wally likes to go with a real real tight look. You know he likes real tight jeans. Sometimes you can see his veins through his jeans because his pants are so tight.” – Pierce on Wally Szczerbiak’s sytle.

He thinks Rajon Rondo could be one of the top 5 point guards in the league in 3-4 years if he can develop a mid range jumper. Likens him to Gary Payton, minus the swagger.

“I didn’t see all that. My claim my claim is she was wasted. I mean it’s hard for you to fall asleep on New Years (laughing) going into 2007 in a club.” – On Britney Spears’ state when they were both in Las Vegas at the same time.

“You know what he’s he’s been salty about that because when I first saw that in the locker room about him not being able to play because of his body fat wasn’t right I called him I called him twice and he hasn’t returned my calls. So if you watching this Antoine call me back man. Don’t feel like that. I thought we was boys.” – Pierce on the deactivation of Antoine Walker.

In fact all of the Walker stuff is gold.

C's/Wizards - 1/20/07

Celtics Notes

- Al Jefferson is starting to exhibit the mentality of a scorer. He pulled the Celtics within 3 towards the end of the third quarter on a shot in the lane after a big rejection by Etan Thomas. Big Al prevailed with his relentless effort. And he’s become a high-energy guy on the boards as well.

- For a stretch in the fourth quarter Ryan Gomes took over the game. From NBA.com:

Gomes Jump Shot: Made (20 PTS) - [BOS 86-89], 10:12

Gomes Free Throw 1 of 1 (21 PTS) - [BOS 87-89], 10:12

Gomes Alley Oop Layup: Made (23 PTS) - [BOS 89-89], 9:51

Gomes Jump Shot: Made (25 PTS) - [BOS 91-91], 9:07

Gomes Layup Shot: Made (27 PTS) - [BOS 95-93], 6:42

Gomes Jump Shot: Made (29 PTS) - [BOS 99-93], 5:04

That's a pretty good 5 minute stretch.

- I'm embarrassed to admit that I forgot how much Gomes and Delonte West bring to the table when healthy.

- Ultimately it was another exciting loss that provided Celtics fans with numerous positives. Hopefully this team will turn the corner at some point and we’re currently watching the pieces come together, building towards that moment.

Mike Gorman and Greg Dickerson


- “Get the calculator out.” – Gorman 4 minutes into the first quarter. The Wizards jumped out to a 16-1
2 lead.

The Wizards scored 39 points in the first quarter, shot 71% and as Gorman noted, shared the wealth. Wizards First Quarter Scoring:

Arenas – 11
Stevenson – 7
Jamison – 7
Butler – 6
Haywood –
8

- “7th NBA season. That’s hard to believe. He’s probably about 22.” – Gorman on DeShawn Stevenson.

- “We all have a little Tommy in us. You know what I’m saying Mike?” – Dickerson after Gorman kidded him about some referee comments. Something you want to tell us Greg?

- “That was a man’s rebound right there.” – Dickerson on Etan Thomas

- The C's are now 1-5 when Dickerson subs for Tommy. Granted that has a lot to do with injuries and that ill-fated west coast trip. However, Dickerson went out of his way to mention that Arenas was held in check in the third quarter and repeatedly said, "If the Celtics do win..."
Apparently the Wizards organization turned down Dickerson's request to throw a black cat on the court during Boston's free throw attempts.

Wizards Notes


- Wait Washington got Caron Butler for Kwame Brown? Somebody in the Wizar
ds organization needs to send Mitch Kupchak a cake. Just make sure Brown doesn’t get it first. Thank you, thank you. You’re too kind.

- Check out whom nbadraft.net compared Stevenson to back in the day. That cracks me up. They also said he had super character. The crazy thing is that Stevenson’s high school friend that participated in the alleged
statutory rape was also named DeShawn. What are the odds of two guys named DeShawn meeting and becoming friends?




Saturday, January 20, 2007

No Fear

Gilbert Arenas did not feel that it was necessary to mention the fact that the C's were coming to town in his blog. Currently Boston trails by 19. These 2 occurrences may be related.

Game Time

- Do Golden State fans sit back every once in a while and remember that the Warriors let Gilbert Arenas go? If so, do they swear and throw stuff? At least the C's got Tony Delk and Rodney Rogers for Joe Johnson. Wait...

- Speaking of Gilbert. The onus is on Delonte West who has been given the task of guarding Agent 0. In the pregame Delonte said it's a team effort and don't forget about Antwan Jamison and Caron Butler.

- It's a big night for Delonte all around, as in addition to his defensive assignment he is playing in his hometown. One has to assume this is where the wire hanger was born. It's going to be a while before that gets old. One more Delonte note. When the C's miss the playoffs, I hope one of the networks brings him into the studio similar to what TNT did with Kobe Bryant. Heck they could even make him a sideline reporter like Jalen Rose. In no way is this a bad idea. Although Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith would have a field day with West.

- With all the talk about the tear Arenas is on I got nostalgic for last year when The Truth was playing at another level. Of course his out of this world play included a trip to Washington.

- The C's should lose this game.

Injury Update

Tony Allen – Out for the season
Ryan Gomes – Appears healthy and minutes and numbers tend to back that up
Gerald Green – Healthy
Al Jefferson – Healthy
Michael Olowokandi – Healthy
Kendrick Perkins – Bothered by the foot, has no lift, struggling to play through it
Paul Pierce – Still in the boot, possibly out until after the All Star break
Leon Powe – Healthy but always working on knees/legs
Theo Ratliff – Out for the season
Allan Ray – Healthy
Rajon Rondo – Healthy
Brian Scalabrine – Probably out another week or so
Wally Szczerbiak – Not rushing him back, will not play until next week
Sebastian Telfair – Healthy
Delonte West – Benefited from rest, playing again

C's/Kings - 1/19/07

Some thoughts on last night's game:

- Didn't you used to be Mike Bibby?

- I appreciate the fact that Tommy Heinsohn can't hide his disdain for Ron Artest. At least he's honest.

- Big Al put up 23 and 11 last night and is averaging 17 and 16 over his last 3 games. He's rapidly approaching all growns up status.

- Generally speaking, when a team shoots 73% in a quarter, as the Kings did in the 4th, it has a great chance of pulling out a W.

- Welcome back Delonte West (25 points, 6 assists, tons of praise from Heinsohn).

- It's getting to the point, if they're not already there, where this Celtics team finds ways to lose.

- I've heard it a million times but the problem with young guys is that they are inconsistent. Example: Gerald Green.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Hell won't be a surprise

I've been holding off on posting this for a few days because it's wrong. I realize this. I'm not proud of it. However, in the end good judgment was kicked to the curb. Such is life sometimes.

"Head! Pants! Now! I'm no' kiddin'; that kid's go' a huuuuuge noggin!"

Sactown Royalty

Earlier tonight I checked in with Sactown Royalty to try and figure out why the Kings are so bad. They've lost 7 in a row. Apparently they are a poor defensive team, Ron Artest is all over the place and Mike Bibby is struggling. But I do have two questions:

1. Was there a memo on the Ron Artest mohawk? This is important stuff. Also I'm glad he's trying to keep a low profile as he heads back to Detroit for the first time since you know when.

2. I was checking out the game preview for tonight and was struck by the description of Big Al. Keep in mind I'm terrible at game previews. So I admire the effort and overall product. But what about the following: "PF - I think Al Jefferson, on the other hand, is one of those players who won't blossom until he moves on. The weight in Boston has to be heavy for a guy who's been the focus of hope for three seasons now, right?"

I think it's safe to say it's time Al Jefferson was profiled in a basketball mag. He's got 14 points tonight in the first half alone.

Friday - YouTube clip of the week

The guys at Celticsstuff Live are all over Delonte West's new commercial. It's one of the funniest developments of the season. In fact it's so brilliant that it defies description. There's nothing I could say that would be funnier than the actual commercial. Without further ado: WHYAA HANGAA!

Thank you YouTube and user TonyAllen06.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hollinger's New Toy

ESPN's John Hollinger has a new NBA power rankings (Insider required) that automatically updates daily. The formula removes the human element (Paul Pierce injury for example) and takes into account scoring margin, strength of schedule, recent performance and home and road. The Celtics currently rank 21st.

I wonder about Hollinger. In a way he provides a fresh approach to looking at the NBA, which he won't hesitate to tell you about, "Nonetheless, it can be very useful because it allows us to see what the landscape looks like when we remove our usual filters."

At the same time I have my reservations with Hollinger. He will create a formula and take 3 whole paragraphs to say that Keith Bogans is a bad shooter. Finally the human element can't be easily forgotten. The Celtics are ranked 21st despite losing 12 of their last 14. I realize there have been a lot of road games in that swing and the scores have generally been close (2 aspects the rankings take into account). However, the C's as they are currently constituted are terrible. Teams coast after building leads against them and lay the smack down at the end.

Ultimately I believe that Hollinger is necessary. At the same time I would never want to run a franchise entirely based on the tenets of John Hollinger. But that's just me.

I also resent him because he is much smarter than me.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Trade

Larry Legend and the Indiana Pacers have decided to go in a different direction. Some thoughts:

- Indiana unloaded Stephen Jackson, which had to be done. Maybe this finally helps them move beyond that whole Detroit thing. I'll always wonder what that Pacers team could have done. It has never been the same.

- Troy Murhpy and Mike Dunleavy desperately needed a fresh start. They are also two guys that I always think are better than they actually are.

- Al Harrington is in his 9th season. That's the crazy part about the guys who came right from high school. They're still young and yet they've been around forever. So how long before Harrington ends up back in Indiana?

- I think both teams could benefit from this.

- This trade may actually suit Jermaine O'Neal's game but it will be interesting to see how he reacts to losing friends. He's a bit disgruntled as is.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Feels like 10 years ago

"Boston: They didn't have a true point guard on the roster, so every half-court possession was practically a chore. So Ainge goes out and gets Telfair (who will evolve into a Barbosa-like scorer once the coach who replaces Doc Rivers in 10 weeks starts bringing him off the bench) and Rondo (a truly special talent). Problem solved. Suddenly they're one of the fastest teams in the league, and if you don't think Pierce and Szczerbiak are going off with all the wide-open outside jumpers and layups they'll be getting, you're crazy. This team would win 45-50 games with Mike D'Antoni or Nelson coaching them. I really believe that." - Bill Simmons in his NBA preview

- Hopefully all of Simmons' Rondo praise will come to fruition some day.

C's/Hawks - 1/15/07

- The Celtics seem to have developed a new formula where they fall behind by double digits, battle back, make some exciting plays, keep it close and ultimately lose. Furthermore, since they don't seem to be intentionally tanking and there is growth (Al Jefferson - 18 points, 17 boards) it is hard to be too disappointed. Some observations:

- Outside of Gerald Green, the C's seemed sluggish early on.

- Doc Rivers could be one of the greatest salesman ever. I can imagine Danny Ainge calling Doc in with every intention of firing him and Rivers somehow stays on as coach...with a raise. He's that mesmerizing.

- One more point on Doc. He has occasional bouts with passive aggressiveness when he talks. I can't think of one of the top of my head but I'll try to provide more details in the coming days.

- The Celtics are what they are. Accepting that and moving on is the only way to continue watching them. At some point, and it's probably next season, I won't be satisfied with exciting. The opportunities the young guys are getting right now have to lead to something.

- "It seems like the Hawks are 29th in everything." - Bob Cousy.

- There are not a lot of players out there who remind me of Josh Smith. According to Mike Gorman he's a legit 6'9. That combined with his terrific athletic ability and dominant left hand make Smith unique. Granted he had 8 turnovers. That's terrible no matter how you look at it. But he also blocked 7 shots and had 5 steals. And an offensive player always has to be concerned about him. For example it's one thing if Shelden Williams is chasing a player on the break. And it's another thing if Josh Smith is. Let's just say if Williams is on a player's tail there is time to slow down and do a windmill, even if Bob Cousy does not like it. There are countless examples on YouTube of Smith going out of his way to block shots/dunks such as this one. Long story short I really want to see Josh Smith live.

- It seems like everybody has criticized the Hawks for passing on Chris Paul for Marvin Williams. So there is nothing new to add. But I will say this. In watching the Hawks it becomes apparent how much of a blunder that was. Just thinking about what Paul could do for Smith and Joe Johnson would infuriate me if I was a Hawks fan. And based upon all the fans disguised as empty seats at yesterday's game, I'd say Hawks fans tend to agree.

- Speaking of Johnson. He does not look right. His calf injury may be a nagging issue.

- I would have loved to see Rajon Rondo and Smith play together at Oakwood Academy.

Random NBA thoughts:

- After watching Robert Horry dunk on Andres Nocioni last night it occurred to me that Nocioni is a dark horse for "guy who gets dunked on a ton" status.

- In last night's Suns/Grizzlies game it was 76-72...at the half.

- Gilbert Arenas hit another game winner yesterday. It was shades of Larry Bird's, "I only need a 2 but screw it I'll hit a 3 because I'm that good."

Sunday, January 14, 2007

NBA Trade Rumors

''I've talked to a bunch of teams. But what they want you to do is ridiculous. Everyone thinks there's a fire sale here. There's no fire sale here, period. None. I think there's a clear direction of where we want to go here and what we'd like to accomplish for now, for the remainder of the season, and for the rest of the year." - Jerry West courtesy of Marlon Morgan and Hoops Hype.

- West makes a good point when he talks about ridiculous proposals. I don't want to read another trade rumor in which the C's get a good contributing player in return without sending away Al Jefferson or Gerald Green. It's not that I want either one to leave. But other teams would have to be idiotic to not get one of them in a trade. Long story short we won't be seeing Pau Gasol in a Celtics jersey.

Quite Frankly Canceled

I hate to admit this but I liked watching Stephen A. Smith's Quite Frankly because he always interviewed NBA guys. Also Smith was far less obnoxious than he is on other shows. And absolutely no one wants this:

"He'll be featured more regularly on SportsCenter, NBA studio programming, and on ESPNEWS, as well as host four TV interview specials surrounding big events."

So in a way we'll all suffer from the cancellation. I've said it before and I'll say it again. You can't stop Stephen A. Smith you can only hope to contain him. And Quite Frankly did that.

Courtesy of Celtics Blog

A pretty cool development. That along with his center eligibility in Yahoo! leagues has provided some much needed hope to my fantasy squad. Nice work Al.

C's/Pistons - 1/13/07

I listened to the game on the radio and picked up some interesting insight from Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell.

- Following a Michael Olowokandi air balled free throw:

“What the hell was that?” – Maxwell

“That looked like a Mike Vanderjagt field goal attempt in the playoffs.” – Grande

“That was terrible.” – Maxwell

- According to Max and Grande Doc Rivers called a play for Olowokandi in the Pacers game. The Kandi Man either didn’t know the play or was shocked that it was called for him.

- One of my friends e-mailed me the following, "Paging Al Jefferson. Paging Al Jefferson.” – What the fuck? Who uses a pager?

Well apparently Big Al got the page prior to the Pistons game, as he finished with 22 rebounds.

- No team in the NBA seems to toy with the C’s quite like the Pistons. Keep in mind Detroit was coming off losses to the Bobcats and Hawks. They always do enough to beat the Celtics.

- On my way from Massachusetts to New Hampshire I lost the station broadcasting the game. I spent about 10 minutes searching the AM dial, waiting for stations to come back from commercial breaks and swearing heavily. Eventually I had to settle on the Saints/Eagles game. The crowd was ridiculous.

- Somehow I have work tomorrow, but hopefully I can catch the second half. C’s/Hawks has the potential for craziness.

Friday, January 12, 2007

C's/Raptors - 1/12/07

I had a few thoughts as I watched the C's lose tonight:

- It's shaping up to be a for die hards only type of season.

- I never pictured Rajon Rondo, Allen Ray and Sebastian Telfair playing together.

- How did Chris Bosh get a T for...well I'm not sure what he got it for? Meanwhile Jose Calderon yelled and did some sort of Spanish gang sign after his back breaking 3 and the refs didn't seem to notice.

- Paging Al Jefferson. Paging Al Jefferson.

- The Celtics are an entertaining team, which is not to be confused with a good team.

Dire Straits

Shortly after Tony Allen's season ended Tommy Heinsohn and Mike Gorman had an exchange that went something like this:

“Dire straits. Dire straits. You know where dire straits is?” – Heinsohn

“Africa?” – Gorman

“Just south of frustration.” – Heinsohn

- Print can't do it justice. Heinsohn was absentmindedly thinking out loud and Gorman's answer came out of confusion when he finally got a word in. And if the exchange were about any other team in the NBA I would have found it hilarious. And it shows why Boston fans love Heinsohn. It’s not the unbiased look at the refs, the Tommy points, or the cackling after every big Gerald Green play. It’s the fact that somehow he still cares about the franchise so much that it drastically affects his mood.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Surgery

Mark Murphy reports that Tony Allen will in fact be going under the knife.

Tony Allen’s Injury

It all comes down to his ill-fated dunk attempt. Unfortunate? Certainly. Unnecessary? Definitely. Surprising? Maybe not. Avoidable? Maybe. A lot of people would disagree with me on those last two. So let’s take a closer look.

Was the injury surprising?

It’s safe to say that no one expected Tony Allen to get carried off the court after missing a dunk in the third quarter of last night’s game. However, is it that inconceivable that he could get hurt dunking a basketball? It wasn’t even a full week ago that I was talking with a coworker about how amazing it was that Allen did not sustain an injury while dunking against the Grizzlies. Watch how he lands. Even at his best there is a certain amount of chaos in Allen’s game. Which brings me to the second question.

Was the injury avoidable?

I completely understand the point of view that Allen had no business going up for the dunk. If your watch the clip again it’s clear that everybody but Allen has conceded that the play was over. And it’s not like Tony is above showboating. You could even argue that he’s all for it. However, I believe there’s something more at play here. Allen is the type of player who approaches every aspect of the game the same way. Just last night Mike Gorman marveled at Tony’s boundless energy on the court. Unfortunately Allen has not quite figured out how to turn down that intensity. Some guys never do. (See Kevin Garnett). So it’s not out of the realm of possibility that the same fire that propels him to record seven steals in one game may also lead him to try dunks at meaningless times. Ideally with age and maturity a player learns when to turn it on and off. However, I’ll always take Tony Allen and his occasionally misguided exuberance over guys who don’t seem to care at times.

In conclusion, lay off. You think Tony won't be running that play through his head over and over again for the next however many months? This was a guy who was finally establishing himself after 2 plus roller coaster seasons. And in the blink of an eye it's over.

State of the Celtics

Peter May took it upon himself to write not one, but two articles about how depressing the Celtics franchise is right now. Although Steve Bulpett and Matt Kalman get in on the act as well.

- “To see him go down, it was like seeing Superman get beat up. If you’re watching a movie and see Superman get beat up, it don’t feel right.” - Sebastian Telfair on Tony Allen.

As it stands now the Celtics will be using a 9 man rotation: Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Michael Olowokandi, Kendrick Perkins, Leon Powe, Allan Ray, Rajon Rondo, Sebastian Telfair.

The future has to happen now for Jefferson and Green, while Telfair has a second shot at earning his stripes.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

C's/Pacers - 1/10/07

The Celtics headed into the game knowing they would be without Paul Pierce (at least 2 weeks), Wally Szczerbiak (1-2 weeks) and Delonte West (day-to-day). Yet they played hard against a more talented Pacers team for the better part of three quarters. Late in the third Indiana started to pull away and then Tony Allen went down trying to throw down a dunk after a foul on the floor. That injury devastated the team and the crowd as an eerie silence hung over the TD Banknorth Garden for several minutes and the C's fell behind by 18. Boston did rally to within 4 until Danny Granger and Jermaine O'Neal slammed the door shut. Some points on the evening:

- Szczerbiak's absence seems to reinforce the belief held by many that he came back to soon.

- Ryan Gomes touched on how devastating Allen's injury was as #42 had emerged as a leader.

- I always hate to see a guy get hurt. But it was worse in this case as Allen was coming into his own and playing with such reckless abandon. I sat in silence for at least 5 minutes after it happened.

- Having said that about Allen, he and Michael Redd might have to do some sort of infomercial on the risks of meaningless dunks.

- Granger's 3 down the stretch was cold blooded.

- It was nice to see the C's rally and pull within 4. However, I couldn't help but think of Bob Cousy's argument that the Orlando Magic did what they had to do to beat the C's on Sunday. They knew they could throw it in cruise for a while and pull out a victory. It felt like the Pacers did the same tonight.

- This is the first time all season that I felt awful watching the C's. Maybe the 20+ replays of Allen's injury that FSN felt obligated to show made matters worse. Although it was nice to see Boston rally and the crowd make some noise. I'm going to watch game 7 of the 1988 eastern conference semifinals. If you don't know what that game is about I've got two words for you: Larry Bird. And Dominique Wilkins. Okay that was 5 words.

Assorted Information

Peter May passes along some good information in a recent Celtics Notebook:

- Delonte West is hurting and I'm starting to wonder if he's going to earn the dreaded injury prone label.

- Bassy is the only Celtic to play in every game this year.

- "I know one thing. It be cold in that gym. It be freezing cold. In other gyms, you're out there and you break a sweat after one minute. But that's not an excuse." - Kendrick Perkins on the TD Banknorth Garden

Meanwhile the Indiana Pacers come to town tonight with a slightly banged up Jermaine O'Neal and the 6th best record in the Eastern Conference.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Good for him

The following game summary was posted on NBA.com under the link "Carter carries Nets into First Place". Given the state of the division heading into tonight I'm not sure that is an accomplishment.

Bob Ryan vindicated?

I wouldn't go as far to say that Ryan was right. But in hindsight the Boston Globe columnist should have been worried about the abusive Joumana smacking him in the mouth. Meanwhile, I wonder what Jason Kidd will do over the All Star weekend.

Let it go Doc

Doc Rivers on Grant Hill following the C's loss to the Magic on Sunday,

"I got on Grant. I said, ‘Why play tonight? You never play in front of me, so why play tonight?'"

I realize Doc was joking and he's got a point as the article goes on to explain that "Hill played in just 47 of a potential 257 games when Rivers was coaching the Magic. Both have wondered how Hill’s injuries might have altered their respective careers."

Obviously it would have been better if Doc had Hill. And Kevin McHale will always walk with a limp. He's not complaining.





Cuban weighs in

Mark Cuban's take on the Atlantic, which he calls the "Hotlantic Division".

He raises the typical concerns about whether any team outside of the Knicks have an incentive to win the division (Chicago owns their pick) or if the other four franchises will tank for "a lottery pick in what is being called the deepest draft since the Lebron/Josh Howard Draft." And you have to wonder. I'm not entirely sure what Paul Pierce's health status is but the C's are certainly not rushing him back into action. Meanwhile, I love Josh Howard. You love Josh Howard. Numerous teams regret passing on him. But I'm pretty sure that draft class had some other key players, even if they don't play in Dallas.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Power Rankings

Mark Stein places the C's at 25th and advises them to tank: "Pierce returning later rather than sooner sounds like Celts' best option. Why not let Raps, Nets and Knicks ''fight'' for the Atlantic crown and play for a top-three pick?"

Maybe Sheed was right

From ESPN's Daily Dime: "Boston's Tony Allen was slow to get up after taking a flagrant foul from Orlando's Darko Milicic with 3:26 left in the fourth quarter. Milicic swung an elbow and Allen came up clutching his chest, but the Celtics guard finished the game."

- As a side note I spelled "Milicic" wrong every time in my previous posts. And Szczerbiak is never a safe bet either.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

C's/Magic - 1/07/07

When I called my C’s/Magic preview mediocre I wasn’t kidding as both Grant Hill and Darko Milic played. And while I’m on the subject of Darko, Mike Gorman and Bob Cousy lose points for calling him Milic all night. I think freemilic.com would be infinitely less cool.

There was a play where Delonte West grabbed a rebound on the block, took one dribble and hit Tony Allen with a pass at half court. Allen caught it in stride and Carlos Arroyo fouled him before the former Oklahoma State star could find a streaking Wally Szczerbiak. It’s the kind of play that drives Celtics fans crazy because we want to see it more often. Orlando was retreating and forced to foul or give up a basket. It's definitely better than watching Wally and Scalabrine chuck up bricks. Although if a team struggles to rebound…

Speaking of Wally. His 26-point performance against the Grizzlies the other night may have been harmful as it obscured the point that he’s just not healthy. Even with his competitiveness Szczerbiak is a liability when his shot is not falling (4 of 15 from the field tonight). Although he does seem to be getting superstar calls, particularly when he plowed over Jameer Nelson and got the hoop and the foul call in his favor.

Due to a Ryan Gomes illness Doc finally played the duo of Jefferson and Perkins together. In the third quarter they did cut down a 16-point lead to 5 briefly before Orlando built it back up to 10. I'm putting myself firmly in the camp of people who believe in them playing together.

Tony Allen does seem to be playing at a different speed right now (7 steals!). Although we may not have to completely throw away Tommy Heinsohn’s three-dribble rule for Allen. Perhaps it should be modified and only apply to his left hand.

The Bob Cousy Experience


“It’s a shame this kid isn’t a little more talented.” – Cousy in the midst of praising Brian Scalabrine for his hustle. He’s absolutely correct. It’s great when Veal chases down a loose ball or drives and finds Kendrick Perkins in the paint. But then he’ll grab a rebound and lose it off his leg or have a pass go through his hands for a backcourt violation. There are numerous situations where the mind is willing but the body is incapable.

“Said a naughty word did he?” – Cousy after Trevor Ariza received a technical foul.

“I’ll tell you if there’s a more physical slasher pound for pound in this league I’d like to see him.” – Cousy on Tony Allen. Keep in mind Cousy knows maybe 15 players in the league but he’s got a point.

Heinsohn always takes a back seat to Cousy. It’s an interesting phenomenon. Hopefully FSN is paying for Tommy's long distance because I doubt he has a cell phone or Vonage.

Cousy can’t do a broadcast without referencing Bill Russell. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Well that Latin temperament …although if I’m not mistaken I got a few over the years so you can’t blame it on that.” – Cousy catching himself after Arroyo earned a technical foul.

“He kind of did a 360 tonight. He has not played well.” - Cousy speaking about Nelson who in most previous games the Couz had seen play well. Gorman didn’t have the heart to tell him it was a 180.

Let's revisit my pre game predictions (in bold).

- Nelson has another huge game against the C's. - Nelson struggled throughout the night and finished with 6 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.

- Howard puts up a minimum of 20 points and 15 rebounds. - He only went for 18 and 12. Thankfully I didn't predict 25 and 20 as I initially wanted to.

- Wally Szczerbiak makes one incredibly awkward and graceless, but ultimately harmless play. – At one point he dribbled towards the paint, was stripped of the ball and then somehow bear hugged Hedo Turkoglu into a jump ball.

- The C's big men get in foul trouble because of the beast that is Dwight Howard and Leon Powe gets some time. - Can you say DNP - Coach's decision?

- Ariza and Gerald Green make bids for the Slam Dunk Contest. – Ariza got in foul trouble and had to alter a couple of baseline moves when that the C's contended. Then Delonte West denied Ariza’s best chance on a drive midway through the 4th. Gerald meanwhile threw down a highlight reel dunk on a Szczerbiak miss. The crazy part was that he misjudged his jump and seemed to hang in the air for a split second before dunking. Sadly Gerald didn't do much else.

- If Bob Cousy is in the house he mispronounces a name or calls someone by the wrong name altogether. - Cousy forgot Darko’s name and then mispronounced “Milic” when Gorman fed it to him. Good times.

- C's win. – Orlando was relentless on defense and the glass. And it was not just Dwight Howard when it came to rebounds. Even Grant Hill got into the act (8 rebounds). Bonus points to Hill for hitting the floor to win a loose ball with five minutes to go in the first half. And then he contested a Tony Allen dunk attempt late in the 4th. Long story short he does not play skittish.

I finished 2.5 for 7. Not good.

Random Points


“If you don’t want to know much about basketball watch Gary and Greg on Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight (cackling)” – Paul Pierce in a FSN promo. It never gets old. Although the verdict is definitely still out on Delonte’s wire coat hanger commercial.

One halftime observation: As Greg and Gary stumbled through their awkward interview with three Celtics dancers who were attempting to redefine our understanding of short shorts Red Auerbach officially rolled over in his grave. Although it’s worth noting that the Orlando squad picked up on the Mariah Carey formula – wear tight fitting game jerseys. Interestingly the dancers wore either #12 (Dwight Howard) or #33 (Grant Hill). You wouldn’t think stuff like this matters until you read about Shawn Marion in 7 Seconds or Less.

The Magic organization loses points for playing that “clap clap clap clap your hands” song on at least 2 occasions, if not more, during live action.

Right now on NBA.com...

Apparently it's just the seam of her outfit. But if you look quick...


Meanwhile, the C's lost tonight. More on that later.

Celtics News

- Steve Bullpet reports that the Celtics may in fact be a running team.

- Shira Springer relays a story about confusion that makes me think that maybe Tony Allen doesn't just black out after dunks. However, of greater interest are the following words from Brian Scalabrine:

"I don't have a bead on this team. I can't look around the room and say, 'Tonight, we're going to bring it.' I can't say that with this team. I just don't have that feel with these guys as I do with other guys. It's definitely the personalities on the team. I can't tell you if we're going to be focused tonight. I don't know why. Some nights I think, 'Oh, we've got it tonight,' and it's the opposite. Other nights I think, 'Oh, these guys aren't focused at all,' and they are."

That could double as a true statement and a passive aggressive way of calling out the young guys.

- As it turns out Grant Hill should play tonight and he has good things to say about Doc, "Doc's always fun to see. I have good memories of being around him, and I learned from him. I still consider him a good friend." - Grant Hill

- Celtics fans everywhere are hoping that ABC/ESPN's interest evolves into a Godfather/Nick Saban type of offer that Doc can't refuse.

Praise for Celtics Bandwagon

“It’s on the high end of mediocrity.” – Anonymous Harvard Graduate

“Usually the spelling and grammar are decent. Usually.” – Some guy.

“It doesn’t hurt the eyes. Although that’s actually a polite way of saying it’s plain and ugly.” – Intern at an ad agency.

“Out of all of the Celtics blogs on lowpost.net that don’t have any influence, Celtics Bandwagon is the top ranked.” – Celtics Bandwagon

"It makes me feel really good about the quality of my blog." - Numerous NBA bloggers.

Mediocre C's/Magic Preview

The C’s face a difficult task tonight as they play an Orlando team that has won three in a row and has the second most wins in the Eastern Conference (20). The Magic could be without Kenyon Dooling, Grant Hill and the immortal Darko Milic. This has created a scenario where Keith Bogans is starting. If memory serves Bogans is an atrocious shooter. Also Tony Battie will start as usual but the Magic will suffer if Batman cannot be spelled by everyone’s favorite Serbian gangsta. That said Orlando still has Jameer Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu, Dwight Howard of course, the puzzling Carlos Arroyo and Trevor Ariza who absolutely violated Emeka Okafor on a dunk the other night. (Just ask Andres Nocioni, Ben Wallace, and Alonzo Mourning). Also unlike the last meeting between the two teams, J.J. Reddick will probably make an appearance tonight. Who doesn’t like rooting against Reddick?

Why not try to run the Magic off the court? Granted Ariza, Nelson and Howard can run. But their depth is a little shaky. Whatever approach Boston takes, it would be nice to see them pull one out and go .500 on the road (9-9).

And now some meaningless predictions:

- Nelson has another huge game against the C's.

- Howard puts up a minimum of 20 points and 15 rebounds.

- Wally Szczerbiak makes one incredibly awkward and graceless, but ultimately harmless play.

- The C's big men get in foul trouble because of the beast that is Dwight Howard and Leon Powe gets some time.

- Ariza and Gerald Green make bids for the Slam Dunk Contest.

- If Bob Cousy is in the house he mispronounces a name or calls someone by the wrong name altogether.

- C's win.

Celtics News, kind of

In his recent "Inside the NBA" SI's Paul Forrester looks at an Eastern Conference team that has rebuilt the right way (unfortunately not Boston), Kevin Garnett's struggle with Wally Szczerbiak and the mystery that is old friend Ricky Davis:

"Intensity a help on court but sometimes a distraction off the floor. Every superstar needs to police his team, but Garnett's anger with certain teammates over the years has seemed to hurt them, not inspire them (see: Wally Szczerbiak)."

"The thing is they're leaning on Ricky Davis to be one of the anchors ,and that can be very tough to do. He's one of the most talented guys in the league, but you have no idea when he's going to bring it or why he even wants to bring it."

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Gilbert and a few other things

In launching Celtics Bandwagon I was conflicted almost immediately as Gilbert Arenas became a full fledged media star. As you may recall Agent 0 launched "The Takeover" and dominated blogs everywhere. In the process he dominated the Celtics and wore a robe just to add a little something extra. He can't be the focus of a Celtics based blog. So I've cooled on him a bit. But I have to give the man credit for two things:

1. Courtesy of Mutoni, “Everybody, get drunk and make bad decisions.”

2. Courtesy of just about everyone but I read it on YaySports!NBA first, "My swag was phenomenal."

- First prediction of 2007: I see myself getting a lot of mileage out of those 2 quotes.

- Patriots/Jets and Celtics/Magic on tap for tomorrow. I may not leave my house tomorrow...and in no way is that depressing.

- I'm thinking about playing a "season" of NBA Jam with the C's and tracking my progress. I say "season" because you really just type in codes and try to play every team once. I'll keep you updated. Or I'll save it for the off season so I don't have to spend all my time talking about trades that are not going to happen.

Around the NBA

1. Jermaine O'Neal is frustrated by the current state of the Indiana Pacers. A few points:

- This is his 11th season in the NBA. And he won't be 29 until October.

- Brace yourself for a tidal wave of O'Neal rumors. It would be interesting to see what the Pacers would get for him. I'm sure they won't just give him away. Look what they have to show for the Ron Artest trade.

2. Bookies are taking bets as to when Larry Brown switches jobs within the Sixers organization. For now he's the executive VP. For now.

3. The NBA is really pushing this first ever All Star dance team. "While in Las Vegas, dancers will sport exclusive adidas gear, including specially designed Eastern and Western Conference All-Star jerseys. This will help cover up the rug burns but will do little to fend off pregnancies or STDs. The 2007 Las Vegas NBA All-Star Dance Team’s airfare will be provided by Southwest Airlines, the official airline of NBA All-Star 2007."

- This may surprise you but that quote is not entirely true. I am responsible for one of those sentences.

- Flying the girls Southwest? Nothing but the best for NBA dancers. In case you're wondering you could do Manchester, NH to Vegas for $216.80 on All Star weekend. Round trip. They don't charge extra for treating you like cattle.

C's/Grizzlies - 1/5/07

- The C's kicked off their 2 game road trip in fine fashion by holding off the Grizzlies for a 128-119 win. I had predicted 240 combined points and saw them reach that and tack on an extra 7. It was a fun game to watch as Doc Rivers gave at least 15 minutes to nine players, 7 of whom scored in double figures.

- Brian Scalabrine had an efficient (4 for 4 on 3s) "I can't believe this is going on" 16 points. He did throw in one air ball just so it wouldn't be too weird.

- Gerald Green threw down a bad ally oop from Sebastian Telfair. I was actually afraid he was going to injure himself.

- Someone needs to research the theory that Tony Allen blacks out for a few seconds when he dunks. He exploded by the sleeping Grizzlies last night for a vicious dunk and landed on his feet in Wally Szczerbiak like fashion. "Wally Szczerbiak like fashion" is code for awkward.

- Hopefully Kendrick Perkins can stay healthy and string some minutes together. He looked good last night in spurts both offensively and defensively.

- Clearly Doc based his game plan and substitutions on how the Grizzlies run and gun, 7 Seconds or Less type of play. For a C's team that is 12-20 you have to wonder if playing like this on a regular basis makes sense. They have a number of guys they want to give minutes to. Why not exhaust them and substitute regularly? Perhaps other teams will have to adapt to the C's style. They could be like an elementary school version of the Phoenix Suns. What do they have to lose? More games?

- I caught some Mavs/Spurs during a few of the FSN commercial breaks. They were playing a whole different style of game. I saw some defense.

- At no point in the 4th quarter did I feel like the C's would lose. That is rare.

- Both teams shot over 56% and played unselfishly.

- There have to be guys all over the league who want to be in Mike Miller's situation right now. New coach Tony Barone didn't give him the green light to shoot. He took down the traffic signal altogether.

- The Celtics are now 4-11 at home and 8-9 on the road. Only the Pistons, Jazz, Rockets, Spurs, Mavericks and Suns have more road wins. Meanwhile no team has less home victories, although the Hawks and Sixers both have 4 as well.

Friday, January 05, 2007

2 Random Thoughts

- The C's and Grizzlies will combine for 240 points tonight.

- Here's a fun out of context quote: "I'm able to get some stops and getting my hands on some balls. It's feeling stronger. It was a little stiff early on because of the back-to-back." - Larry Hughes

Friday - YouTube clip of the week

I came across the Boston Celtics song/video "We Ballin", which is interesting for numerous reasons.

1. It focused on the Paul Pierce, Antoine Walker, Kenny Anderson, and Eric Williams led Celtics. They look better than I remember. The power of highlights.

2. It implied that Pierce, Walker and Anderson were the new Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. Let's move on.

3. I took a screenshot of the Big Three from around the 35 second mark. Let's ignore the fact that it's disturbing and focus on the Converse sneakers. Did they get any support from those? Is it any surprise that McHale and Bird suffered from chronic injuries. And how was Parish so durable? I'd love to jump in a time machine and give those guys some high tops.

4. The song is terrible.

Big Al day-to-day

From Yahoo! Sports:

"Jan 4 Jefferson suffered a sore right hamstring in the Celtics' 107-104 loss to Cleveland on Wednesday.

Advice: The forward-center is listed as day-to-day. Jefferson is having a vreakout season with 13.7 points per game and 9.8 rebounds in 24 games -- 15 starts. If the injury is a problem, Kendrick Perkins could start in his place."

- By the way congratulations to Yahoo! for coming up with a new term, "vreakout season". You would think that I was working for Yahoo!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Legend of Lebron

It was a cool idea for a commercial and then Lebron James did it for real. For the record I'm still bitter about Lebron sitting out that preseason game in Manchester. And I believe his football skills don't compare to Allen Iverson's.

Iverson highlights:

1. The huge hit around the 45 second mark.
2. The bomb at the 1:30 mark.
3. Numerous kick returns.
4. 7 interceptions in one game?!

Celtics/NBA Links

- It looks like this whole Paul Pierce injury situation could drag out for some time.

- The Truth still has his sense of humor, which would even funnier if the C's were not in a 1-7 slide: "The Cleveland Cavaliers star had just followed Wally Szczerbiak back on defense in front of the Celtics bench when he heard someone shouting, "Post, post!' It wasn’t until James saw his sidelined rival - a howling Paul Pierce, decked out in a denim suit - that his renowned game scowl broke into a smile." - Mark Murphy.
- You will not be able to convince me that Chris Bosh, who has missed significant time as well, is this much more deserving than Pierce for an All Star spot. I sense another Canadian conspiracy. Let's pick up the pace here on the Pierce voting.

- I have to admit that the creation of the NBA's All Star ballot is a bit of a mystery to me - Speedy Claxton, Chris Mihm, and others come to mind. But I really don't understand how they select three members of each dance team for the ballot. Is it all about appearance? Do they look at dance skills? Are other skills that could be useful in Las Vegas taken into account? Does Ricky Davis control the whole process? Regardless I encourage you to vote for a bunch of tall dancers and one short one. Just for kicks. I mean if you're into that kind of thing.

- You have to wonder if Antoine Walker longs for the days where his coach loved him so much that Celtics teammates called the recently deactivated Heat forward "Antoine Carr".

- Chris Sheridan (Insider necessary) groups Doc Rivers with some coaches that have to make the C's coach cringe. Sheridan has put the odds of Doc's firing at 3-1. Here's my point. Aren't the New Jersey Nets infinitely more disappointing than the Celtics?

What if?

What if the 2006/2007 Boston Celtics reenacted the 1996/1997 season? Using Michael Holley’s epic article, “FOUL! MANY STRANDS IN CELTICS' SEASON-LONG UNRAVELING” and to a lesser extent my memory, I will attempt to recreate that terrible season. The events remain the same (outside of the events leading up to Nameplate Gate) but I have updated the names. More on the names later.

- Three days into training camp Sebastian Telfair would have punched Brian Scalabrine in the face. This of course would be followed by team captain Paul Pierce yelling, “Hey, Bassy what you just did was shit!” Scalabrine would have responded by saying it was no big deal, taking a few days off and having a bad season.

- In fact Scalabrine would only play 25 games before shutting it down for the season. In the process he would confide in a teammate, “I do not like this Sebastian Telfair."

- As the season progressed Telfair would not take playing behind Delonte West well. After a practice full of intense trash talking initiated by Telfair and physical play between the two, West would attack the Coney Island native in the locker room.

- Doc Rivers would be surprisingly cool after being embarrassed at home by the Knicks and letting one slip away on the road to the Cavs. He would not be dismayed by the C’s inability to stop point guards from having huge games, the anemic displays against zone defenses and struggles with the pick and roll. Doc would not lose it until one of his players stole a bus driver’s nameplate. Ultimately this would lead to a players only meeting, a collection being taken to pay for the missing nameplate and no one admitting guilt, despite Doc threatening to make everyone walk to the game.

- Clifford Ray would tell Doc he wanted to resign after an altercation with Mark Blount that revolved around Blount not working hard. Notice how I had to use Mark Blount because everyone on the current C’s roster works hard. I only included this to take another shot at Blount.

- People would scratch their heads as Doc let Wally Szczerbiak head to Key West instead of rehabbing his ankle while Michael Olowokandi flew to England in the midst of numerous medical DNPs.

- The head scratching would continue as Doc held a plane in Orlando for a tardy Theo Ratliff. Though out for the season due to injury, Ratliff would stroll on late with his golf clubs.

- Doc would slowly lose it and write notes to himself about the need to neutralize Larry Bird.

- Ultimately the C’s would finish 15-67. Doc would be moved upstairs and receive an extra $500,000 over each of the next 5 years.

- Despite good odds the C’s would fail to win the Greg Oden sweepstakes.

- Billy Donovan, who had come aboard with a monster contract expecting to get Oden, would clean house and then destroy the Celtics fans will to live. The highlight of the Donovan era would come in the form of an epic tirade about the negativity in Boston.

Name Association

Sebastian Telfair = Todd Day
Brian Scalabrine = Dino Radja
Paul Pierce = Rick Fox
Delonte West = Greg Minor
Doc Rivers = M.L. Carr
Clifford Ray = Dennis Johnson
Mark Blount = Antoine Walker
Wally Szczerbiak = Frank Brickowski
Michael Olowokandi = Dino Radja (in terms of rehabbing an injury out of the country)
Theo Ratliff = Pervis Ellison
Larry Bird = Larry Bird
Greg Oden = Tim Duncan
Billy Donovan = Rick Pitino

Obviously this works better in some cases than in others. For example I made Bassy Todd Day mainly because of the recent road trip where Telfair fell out of favor and rumors surfaced that he was not well liked within the locker room. Also much like Day, Telfair is not happy with his playing time. Theo Ratliff is Pervis Ellison because of their injured status although I can not envision Ratliff holding up a team plane. Scalabrine is Dino Radja because he was the best big white guy available. And so on. Overall the real point of this exercise was to recall a truly atrocious season . Michael Holley owes it to C’s fan to write a book on this. Even if he simply converted his column into a book, similar to how Bill Simmons wrote his. But I digress. My other point is that things are not that bad this season. Keep in mind that I was not old enough to really appreciate the Big Three Era. My defining moments as a Celtics fan are as follows:

1. Reggie Lewis’ death.
2. The 96/97 team, which almost made me give up on basketball all together.
3. Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker’s run to the Eastern Conference finals.
4. The Rick Pitino era.
5. Red Auerbach’s death.

It’s not a fun list. But when I watched Al Jefferson and Gerald Green last night I could not help but get excited. It’s going to be a streaky, difficult year but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Update

- It's just under a minute to go in the 3rd quarter and Tommy Heinsohn is railing on the refs "the third team out there!" "They are manufacturing fouls for Cleveland."

- Tommy also wants to wipe the smile off Jones' face because he's "a cocky kid." Tommy does have a point though.

- The C's trail by 4. However, Celtics fans everywhere have to be having basketball related fantasies about Gerald Green and Al Jefferson.

- Lebron James just recreated his old Powerade commercial.

- Jones just hit his third 3 of the night. Much like Tommy that kills me.

I'm Back

Somehow I think it was more effective when Michael Jordan said "I'm back." Regardless I've settled back into my couch after a couple of weeks of roaming. A lot has gone on. In no particular order:

- Tony Allen 21.6 points and 7.0 rebounds over the last 3 games.

- Danny Ainge joined Mike Gorman and Greg Dickerson on the air during the recent Blazers game. Ainge strongly defended Doc Rivers while Dickerson disappeared like the Duke during Celticsstufflive's most recent podcast.

- Numerous fans and bloggers demanded that Doc be fired.

- Sebastian Telfair was demoted in favor of Delonte West. Doc said the move would last the season.

- Doc threw players under the bus.

- Bassy may have thrown a middle finger at some fans during the Nuggets game. Interestingly said fans sat behind the C's bench/coaches.

- Wally Szczerbiak averaged about 30 minutes a game despite shooting 14 of 51 from the field over the final 4 games of the west coast road trip.

It's good to be back and I'll be posting more regularly. I'm excited to see LeBron come to town if only because he'll probably duck the fans much like he did during Cleveland's preseason visit to Manchester, New Hampshire. Some guys just can't play in certain markets. All kidding aside I think this will be a good game as I've heard a good deal about the Cavs playing down to the level of their competition.