Monday, March 26, 2007

I'm Out

This is most likely my last post on Celtics Bandwagon. Don’t worry I’m not pulling a Ron Artest. As a side note when you read, “pulling a Ron Artest” what went through your mind? There are any number of possibilities, but back to my future. I have joined SportsBlogs Nation as the Celtics blogger. The hope is that I will be able to raise my readership from 10 or so people to maybe 15, or 20 if I’m lucky. And I get to join a great group of bloggers. For example the San Antonio Spurs blogger – Pounding the Rock – recently passed along the following gem,

“Four times! Watching the game at home no less, and four times I heard Rasheed Wallace say ‘Ball don't lie’ after a missed free throw. In case you are unfamiliar, Old Grey-Spot unleashes his catchphrase after an opponent misses a free throw garnered via a dubious foul call on the Pistons.”

I don’t want to know these things. I need to know these things. And for the record Sheed has given us CTC (Cut the check), Serbian gangsta (Darko), and now “Ball don’t lie”. He’s such a giver.

Now I know what you are thinking. What does the move mean? Well I will still write for Celtics Blog from time to time. Check out my latest post here. I spent an inordinate amount of time on that piece and ended up with a barely coherent post that is all over the place. Although I think it’s safe to say I won the award for most reactionary post following the Bobcats debacle last week. So I’ve got that going for me…which is nice. However, most of my time and effort will be focused on the new site – greenbandwagon.com. As a bonus it gives you the reader a great opportunity to participate. I'm hoping you can help me attract a passionate Celtics community.

So thank you for following Celtics Bandwagon, please keep reading, write a diary (you'll understand when you check out Green Bandwagon), and tell your friends. In closing, I will leave you with the image I used in my very first post back in September. Why? Why not? Touché. Actually the real answer is I never get tired of McHale close lining Kurt Rambis. I know you agree.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sometimes they get it right

Will Ferrell will take part in the Sunday conversation with Kenny Mayne. That will be good.

Scolded

Gilbert Arenas got a talking to from the league for making bets with fans. The funny thing is that his blog did him in on this one. On the bright side at least people are reading. Meanwhile, I wonder if that is part of someone's job in the league office?

Update - The announcers over on ESPN for the Cavs/Nuggets game just said that Allen Iverson won $500 from George Karl due to Georgetown's victory over UNC. I wonder if they will be hearing from the league soon.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The 2000 LA Clippers

The other day I was wondering if the 2007 Celtics were the most exciting bad team ever. Whoops. I immediately sent each of these guys a handwritten apology.

Friday, March 23, 2007

C's/Mavericks - 3/23/07

- Tough one tonight as the Mavs inflicted a beating on the C's. I don't know what to say. On the bright side the blog Mavs Moneyball reminded me of this gem of a commercial. One question: What the hell is Michael Jordan wearing?

- In other news Kobe Bryant's scoring explosion is seriously threatening to derail my quest for a fantasy basketball championship. As if I could dislike him any more...

- Next week's schedule looks (Raptors, Magic, 76ers) looks a little more inviting than tonight's game. It would be nice to break this 3 game skid.

Heading into the 4th...

The C's trot out Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Leon Powe, Allay Ray, and Delonte West. The C's are down 19. This one is over.

I wish I documented Tommy Heinsohn tonight. He's bitter, angry, annoyed, and using the word "askance" a lot.

Al Jefferson just checked in.

56-51 at the half

Give the C's credit for battling back to make this a ball game. We could learn a lot about this team in the next 24 minutes. By that I mean the second half because in real time we won't see a lot of basketball in the next 24 minutes.

Thoughts?

Scalabrine Out

He's got some hamstring problems that might keep him out for a while. Let the tanking talk begin.

In other news Greg Dickerson just reported what Celtics fans should probably already know - Kendrick Perkins is feeling better. It has definitely shown in his play recently.

Friday - YouTube Clip of the Week

I haven't done one of these since my ill-fated 24 hours of YouTube. That said this clip fascinates me for several reasons:

1. You'd think Boston was the home team.

2. The C's blatantly fouled and went out of their way to pass to Bird. It’s a terrible display of sportsmanship. If Ricky Davis did this there would be a riot.

3. Really the game is not in Boston.

4. As numerous people have pointed out before, some of the Hawks were fined for their behavior on the bench.

5. Whatever your opinion on the performance is you have to admit some of those shots were outrageous.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Great Minds...

Yesterday in my C's/Bobcats recap I referenced Lil Penny and his classic Secret Service line. Today Gilbert Arenas went a step further and included the clip.

- Some good insight into the mind of Arenas from the man himself.

- Thanks to Deadspin for reminding everyone to check in on the always-entertaining Arenas.

Building for the Future?

- It's not easy being Doc Rivers. All season fans have been calling for more time for Leon Powe, Gerald Green, and even Sebastian Telfair. Careful what you wish for I guess. Shira Springer reports that Rivers consciously decided to leave Al Jefferson and Paul Pierce on the bench while the outcome of the game was determined. Looks like the post game press conference was pretty interesting:

"I was not throwing the game or anything like that because I've heard all those questions [before]. Honestly, I got to the point early in the fourth quarter and I turned to my coaches and I said, 'We're going to win or lose with this group.'" - Doc Rivers

Doc went on to make an interesting Phil Jackson/Lakers analogy:

"At some point, those other guys have to be able to play a little bit. You look at the Phil Jacksons. They're able to [put the game in the hands of the bench] all year because they know they're playing for a title and they can teach lessons to their bench."

This seems to be a total reversal from Doc's usual approach. I'm intrigued. However, Herm Edwards is confused by Doc's tactics.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Confusion


"Wait how did Boston lose to the Bobcats tonight?" - Larry Bird

C's/Bobcats - 3/21/07

Wrap Up

I'd like to say that Al Jefferson (22 points, 11 rebounds) and Paul Pierce (23 points) were the lone bright spots in a disappointing loss. But that's only partially true. The Truth sat out the 4th with an eye injury and the Bobcats' double teams neutralized Big Al in the final minutes. Meanwhile the 4th quarter conjured up images of that woeful second quarter from Oklahoma. Ultimately Boston fell apart and could not rally while Charlotte played care free and seemed to genuinely enjoy earning a W. This was not a game that Boston should have lost. Ugh.

A Few Random Points


- Tommy Heinsohn described Perk as a “point guard on the inside.” He does have a point as Perkins has thrown some nice passes. That said, no one is having visions of Bill Walton.

- I’m hoping Big Al looked at Jake Voskhul and dusted off the classic Lil Penny line, “You can’t guard me. The secret service can’t guard me.”

- I giggled the first time Tommy Heinsohn referred to Matt Carroll as Carroll. Of course giggling is probably worse than being called Carroll.

- Raymond Felton and Matt Carroll took turns guarding Paul Pierce tonight. Keep in mind that Gerald Wallace was on the floor. In other news Bernie Bickerstaff will not be coaching the Bobcats next year.

- It’s getting to the point where we might need to give Paul Pierce and Al Jefferson coordinated nicknames. Something like Starsky and Hutch, Thunder and Lightning, or Fire and Ice. Although they would have to make sense. And be cool.

- Brian Scalabrine and Ryan Gomes returned tonight. At this point I’m not able to wrap my mind around Veal starting.

- I’m pretty sure Leon Powe is not opposed setting a moving pick.

- Doc went with 11 guys tonight, 10 of them (everyone but Bassy) got 15 minutes or more. Not sure how I feel about this.

I hate myself for this...

...but turn on ESPN. LeBron is doing LeBron things against the Mavericks. He's attacking the rim and has all of Cleveland's 11 4th quarter plays.

Quick points.

- Nice job by the announcing team pointing out that The Truth and Delonte West will be hanging out on Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight tomorrow night at 6:30, on FSN of course. I can't wait.

- The C's should really win this game.

Die Culture Die

It's nice to see that in some small way I am contributing to the destruction of culture.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

C's/Hornets - 3/19/07

- Well the C's came right back down to earth. It seemed like Boston went out drinking to celebrate the Spurs victory. Paul Pierce played the crafty veteran role as the guy who either drank a little less or just knew how to handle it. I have absolutely nothing to base this upon.

- A hurt Chris Paul is still awesome.

- 30 seconds into the 2nd quarter someone screamed "Holy Shit!" and the mic picked it up. Little did I know that it would be my highlight of the 2nd quarter. If that were a fight they would have stopped it.

- Hey losses happen. This season they happen a lot. It would have been nice to at least keep it close. But on the bright side Donny Marshall divided his time between talking about UConn guys and how long Tyson Chandler is.

- I don't believe in moral victories and I'm not convinced that what happens over these final weeks really effects next season. Still it would be nice for Jefferson and the gang to continue to improve.

- Allan Ray gets Bassy's minutes? Really?

- Gerald, Gerald, Gerald. Going for a garbage time dunk when the Hornets had clearly kicked into run out the clock mode. On the one hand it was nice to see some fight. On the other hand it was misplaced. And the Hornets seemed legitimately annoyed. Oh well.

- Al Jefferson needs the ball.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Take care of it...

I couldn't help it. Pay attention to the the schools that were involved.

- Thanks to Bill for the tip.

Triple Threat Basketball

I've had Triple Threat Basketball on the blog roll for a while but I want to point out 4 reasons it is important:

1. It is the only site I've seen that diagrams plays regularly. I enjoy that. I'm not saying other sites don't do it. I'm just saying I saw it here first.

2. I like the coach's perspective. It seems like the idiot fan (myself included) has been tapped into and players are starting to get into the act (see last post). But the coach looks at the game in a whole different way. Nice to see that.

3. Lot of NBA stuff out there. Not as much college stuff.

4. Check out the types of players in the most recent post. It's fun to think about where the current C's fit. In my opinion no player swings back and forth between conscious and unconscious more than Gerald Green. That might deserve it's own post...

- I wonder how many times I have actually followed up with a post after typing "that might deserve it's own post..." It's like "Next time on Arrested Development..." minus the humor and originality.

Agent 0

It's been a long strange journey for Gilbert Arenas. I would break his season down into 3 sections:

1. He came out struggling a bit (minus the Wizards' home opener against the C's when he was on fire) and people wondered if he was focused.

2. He caught fire with some game winners and scoring explosions.

3. He calmed down a bit, had a dispute with his coach, and struggled with Antawn Jamison and then Caron Butler missing time.

- I'm not sure what the next step is for Arenas basketball wise. Meanwhile, he is a blogging sensation that people seem to love or hate. Whatever your view, you have to admit that the man is consistent. I admit that I'm biased but his blog is always entertaining. Definitely check out "My New Catchphrase" and "I have a story for you". While reading the latter keep in mind that he once licked off the powder off a bunch of donuts, covered them in baby powder, and gave them to the Golden State Warriors veterans. Translation - do you really want to start a locker room prank war with him?

- I'll close with this: There are not a lot of people in this world who celebrate the birth of a child on a blog and also post the following under the title "Extracurricular Activities" about All Star weekend, "There’s a lot of women here. I’m going to try to throw that fishing pole out there and see what I can get. As long as I don’t get a tire…or a boot."

Oden - Hard Foul

This clip is important for several reasons:

1. Greg Oden is already getting star treatment.

2. There are 68 comments on it. I've never seen that many on a YouTube clip. Although I've never really looked. Regardless, all hail the power of Oden.

3. This was one of the first times I've thought, "Man you don't want to mess with Oden."

4. Initially I called this a cross body block. Then I did some research and realized Oden's movements did not constitute a cross body block. He did throw the dude though.

Shout Outs

- Check out the Operation Oden section over at Red's Army. Ignore the fact that I stumbled upon it at 2:00 A.M. on a Monday. Enjoy.

- And for the record Operation Oden and Gred Oden.tv are my favorite Oden themed developments on the Internet. Nice work by Gred Oden.tv highlighting Oden's cross body block from Saturday. It's so good that I'll devote my next post to it.

- Check out District Celtics as well. I get a kick out of the nicknames for each Celtic on the right hand side. And I'm upset with myself for not doing a piece on Celtics commercials first. Although I have launched an official investigation to determine why wire hanger did not make the cut.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Celtics News

- In my quest to be the last Celtics themed blog to bring you important Boston Celtics news I've held off on this until now. Apparently Danny Ainge's conversation with Kevin Durant's mom was a bad idea. In fact the C's were fined. On the bright side I was ahead of the curve when it came to documenting their interaction. Okay I just wanted you to see the Balki Bartokomous post again. Is that a crime?

- Kelly Dwyer gives Al Jefferson a shout out in his "Growth Spurt" column. In the process he makes a great point about Big Al cutting down on the hacking. That seems to get lost in the shuffle as Jefferson's health gets so much attention.

- You would be hard pressed to convince me that this shirt is for dudes.

- I need a ruling: Is this cool to wear? I'm guessing no.

Random Thoughts

- Tonight at dinner I had lasagna. There was also a loaf of Italian bread and I went rip off a chunk. And then it hit me. Lasagna sandwich. I'm not going to say I invented it. Italians have 500 kinds of pasta. I'm sure they've stumbled on the lasagna sandwich at some point. The important thing is that you should try it.

- The debate over whether or not the Celtics should win games threatens to tear apart the fan base. We have not been this divided since Antoine Walker's heyday.

- The following Celtics have seen time for my fantasy squad this season: Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Al Jefferson, Rajon Rondo, Wally Szczerbiak, and Sebastian Telfair. The fact that I am in first place means that the NBA's superstars have been decimated by injuries this season.

- Speaking of fantasy basketball. Have you heard of the Eddy Curry Line yet? Check out the explanation below as well as some examples at the bottom of this link:

"The Eddy Curry Line was originally established to put a spotlight on how truly anemic Curry's overall fantasy line is. The standard: a player must average more turnovers than assists, steals, and blocks combined – in order to qualify, a player must have appeared in at least half of his team's games and averaged at least 25 minutes of playing time."

The Sixers lost to the Rockets by 50 (74-124)...at home. Yikes. At least Andre Miller showed up (2 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists).


C's/Spurs - 3/17/07

Celtics Notes

- In the first quarter Al Jefferson blocked a Fabricio Oberto shot, Rajon Rondo grabbed the ball, sped up the court, threw it to Delonte West, and the former St. Joseph’s standout finished with a reverse lay up. My favorite part? The nice defensive play? No. Rondo pushing the ball for an easy basket? No. The fact that Big Al could have caught the ball as it came through the net. Jefferson is hungry. Nothing that is happening to him right now is a fluke.

- “I don’t think there’s anything Delonte doesn’t think he can do when he goes left.” – Mike Gorman. He's got a point. West bounced back after a tough game in Dallas and delivered in San Antonio. He's done some really nice things since the All Star break.

- “I was a great.” – Donny Marshall responding to Mike Gorman’s question about whether or not he was a good free throw shooter. Marshall then rambled on - “took pride it in”, “could do it blindfolded”, and so on – as he is prone to do. But here’s my question. Does Gorman set Marshall up so Tommy can laugh about it after the game in between scotches?

-
I will preface this by saying that I am hoping for the best for Brian Scalabrine and his family as they await the newest addition to their family. However, I was disappointed that Veal did not play tonight. And not because of some old school “the team comes before everything” style reasoning. I just wanted Scal to stand next to Matt Bonner. Is that too much to ask?

- “I think this is a very poorly officiated game tonight.” – Tommy Heinsohn

- I’ve watched a lot of Boston Celtics basketball this year. They’ve been young, injury prone, stupid, and inconsistent at times. But I’ve never doubted the players’ commitment to winning. But why did Allan Ray get crunch time minutes tonight while Rajon Rondo sat on the bench? Why did Al Jefferson face double and triple teams while Tim freaking Duncan faced one defender? Why did Big Al get run into the ground without any help on defense or on the boards to the point that he was ineffective at crunch time? I’m not saying Doc Rivers was trying to lose the game. I’m just saying…

- Paul Pierce is starting to regain the form. He's grabbed boards, took a key charge to seal the victory, dove on the floor for a jump ball, finished on the break, and abused Bruce Bowen. He has absolutely no concern for the lottery. This deserves a whole separate post. But in the meantime, The Truth is another reason to watch the final 16 games.

- Great win. This C's team is making some noise.

Spurs Notes

- For reasons that are still unclear the Spurs decided to drape themselves in tinfoil tonight. They wore some of the worst uniforms I have ever seen. Thankfully the NBA works a little different than the real world. For example let’s say a former movie star dies in April. By the time the Oscars roll around and they do that montage of celebrities who have departed I always think, “Wow person X died last year. I forgot that.” However, in the NBA the Washington Wizards trot out the worst uniforms ever frequently enough that I never mistakenly think that San Antonio has the most atrocious alternate uniforms. Note to self: work on analogies, metaphors, and similes. Seriously it’s embarrassing.

- The top 10 things I forgot about the Spurs until I saw them tonight:

10. Tim Duncan is unstoppable when he is on. Everyone knows but he's something.
9. Bruce Bowen is old.
8. Tony Parker is fast.
7. Michael Finley is old.
6. Beno Udrih might not work out.
5. P.J. Carlesimo of Seton Hall and Latrell Sprewell fame, is still an assistant in San Antonio.
4. Robert Horry is old.
3. The Spurs are one of the whiniest teams in the Association. It's nauseating.
2. Gregg Popovich may or may not be inherently evil.
1. Manu Ginobili's bald spot is taking on a life of its own.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Highlight of the Season?

That was awesome. I'd like to post a more in depth recap but I've got a hot date. And by "hot date" I mean that I am on vacation, I am staying with my family, my parents just brought home some leftover nachos, and I recently purchased the Departed DVD. Three quick points:

1. Tim Duncan may have 3 rings but he's no longer undefeated against the Boston Celtics. So yeah.
2. Paul Pierce.
3. No seriously Paul Pierce.

- More to come later.

One more thing - Paul freaking Pierce.

C's/Mavericks - 3/16/07

“The Celtics really have this Tim Duncan syndrome. I don’t know what it is.” – Donny Marshall on the C’s struggles against the Spurs.

- Maybe Tim Duncan is awesome. And he’s played on some pretty good teams too.

- Later as Dirk Nowitzki struggled through three quarters Marshall wondered if all the MVP talk was hurting his game. It was clear to everyone else that Dirk was not trying.

- At one point Al Jefferson got the ball around 12 feet out, turned to face the basket, pump faked, pump faked again, drove to the middle of the paint, executed a 2 footed jump stop, pump faked, and then went up and under the defender for a lay up. DeSagana Diop had no clue what hit him. Overall Jefferson played well (20 points, 10 rebounds) but he has to make quicker decisions at times.

- I’m convinced Boston would have won if Delonte West had a decent shooting night (3-12 from the field).

- Henry Abbot talked about one of the most important story lines heading down the stretch in his Suns/Mavericks round up the other day. That is the on court relationship between Nowitzki and Jason Terry:

“I have a feeling that, in his heart of hearts, Jason Terry trusts Jason Terry to win the game more than he trusts Dirk Nowitzki to win the game. That's fine, I guess, but doesn't it seem like eveyone should be on the same page? If the team's philosophy is that Jason Terry and Jerry Stackhouse are options A and B in the clutch, shouldn't the team be working to get those guys open? Instead they have given the ball to Nowitzki in a lot of those situations--except for other times when Jason Terry seems to intentionally keep it from him in what appears to be a broken play. Terry hit his game-saver at the end of the first overtime last night while eluding not just his defender Nash, but also his teammate Nowitzki, who was apparently hoping to pick and roll.”

Last night Nowitzki was a zombie in the first 3 quarters before eventually getting hot and hitting some big shots down the stretch. However, it was Terry who was attacking the rim, pumping up the crowd, chest bumping his teammates, and trying to light a fire under a sleeping Dallas team, Josh Howard excluded. These next 3 months will go a long way in determining Nowitzki’s legacy.

- I love the fact that Tommy must downplay the skills of opponents. For example he repeatedly discredited Josh Howard’s offensive contributions because the Celtics were focused on Nowitzki.

- Brian Scalabrine was not with the team. Rather he was home, as his wife was due to give birth. This meant that Leon Powe got some time. And he acquitted himself just fine. In fact outside of Veal’s sporadic 3-point shooting I’m not sure why Powe does not get more minutes. And Bassy played well in the first half too.

- Kendrick Perkins is quietly putting together some stretches of good basketball. He’s grabbing boards, making outlet passes, defending, finishing well, and even throwing some good passes. He could be a great back up center, provided the starter is not someone like Michael Olowokandi.

- Paul Pierce came out smoking in the first half, scoring 19 points, and conjuring up images of a healthy Truth. He did not quite get into the groove again but did finish with 29. Nights like these make Celtics fans think, “Okay a healthy Pierce, a healthy Perk, Big Al keeps developing, high draft pick, Tony Allen bounces back, maybe a trade…”

- Mike Felger is growing out the beard, mocking the comments on Curt Schilling’s blog, going out of his way to badmouth Boston College basketball, bringing a whole new level of snarkiness to FSN, and essentially doing his best to fill the Ron Borges void. Good for you Felger. It was either you or Andy Gresh.

- I’m a fan of the new Red Auerbach gear, particularly the t-shirts the team wears on the bench during games, which by the way are already sold out. Imagine if the Celtics were good and all the bandwagon people were on board?


- Ultimately I do not know how to feel about last night’s game. The C’s played hard, made some things happen, and simply did not have an answer for Nowitzki down the stretch. There is no shame in that. Furthermore, in the final 6 minutes Boston refused to quit, erasing a couple of 6-point deficits in the process. However, Dallas did not exactly kill itself.

Friday, March 16, 2007

C's/Mavericks - Preview

Things do not look good for the Celtics heading into this one. Dallas is at home, has lost 2 games in a row, and appears to be facing its first real adversity since a 0-4 start. Meanwhile, Dirk Nowitzki must be tired of hearing that he choked and that Steve Nash is the MVP. Don't get me wrong Suns/Mavericks was an awesome game. But let's not get carried away. Dallas has now one 2 of the 3 regular season games and the season still has a ways to go. I can't stand people who say, "If the season ended now who is your MVP?" Here is my answer - who cares? And if the season ended now rookies would not hit the wall as much, the Finals would not inexplicably extend into June, and maybe teams would show up to play every night, as opposed to what the Hawks did the other night against Boston. Speaking of Boston. I am going to focus on one aspect of tonight's game: Al Jefferson's offense. At this point he has shown what he can do against mediocre defensive teams and poor individual defenders. And I do not believe that Big Al fears anyone. However, Ben Wallace did keep him in check. So it is important for Al to get it done against a strong defensive team such as Dallas, particularly if Erick Dampier cares tonight. All eyes are on the artist formerly known as #8.

Random Thoughts:

- This is the last time I will ever talk about Skip Bayless. I now realize that when he says Steve Nash is the best point guard ever Bayless is just trying to agitate and get attention. So he's dead to me now. That feels better.

- March Madness is in serious danger of going the way of the Olympics. Too much attention, too much corporate influence, and not enough footage from the close games (damn you CBS). I'd like to think it is too awesome an event to ruin. However, with ESPN and everyone else throwing bracketologists and experts at us, I am concerned. The beauty of March Madness always will be that any number of people wanted VCU to beat Duke and yet how many people really picked it to happen? Let's not forget that.

- One more March Madness note. Can we all agree that some of those games were bad yesterday? Overall I love the intensity, atmosphere, and randomness, regardless of the quality play (see my previous post about a bad high school game). But let's not pretend it was all like VCU/Duke.

- I really hope that I can get this stuck in your head. Welcome to my world.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

High School Hoops

When I tell people I have a Celtics themed blog they always ask if anybody reads that type of thing. I have to be honest and say, "Yes and no." They do not necessarily read my Celtics blog but they do read one. The point is that Celtics and NBA blogs in general are a lot less obscure than people think. They are definitely less obscure than rants on high school basketball, Worcester, and Massachusetts. Having said that, enjoy...


Last night I decided to check out the Massachusetts Division I Boys basketball semifinals in Worcester, MA. Holy Name played Holyoke at Holy Cross. It was a neutral site minus the fact that both Holy Name and Holy Cross are in Worcester, while Holyoke is about an hour west, out by Springfield. I was born and raised in Worcester, which is literally right in the middle of Massachusetts. However, people from the Boston area view anything west of Framingham as Western Massachusetts. This was a huge point of contention with guys I played college football with from Waltham, Melrose, Weston, Brockton and numerous other soulless towns in Eastern Mass. For the record Worcester is clearly Central Mass and anything west of it, such as Holyoke, is Western Mass.

The game was actually pretty terrible. Holy Name played by all accounts an atrocious first half and led 20-11 at the intermission. In the second half they built a big lead and won by a comfortable margin. This was even after Holyoke finally started to push the ball and create scoring opportunities after 22 minutes of stagnant half court offense. I say, “won by a comfortable margin” because I left early to beat the crowd and I don’t have enough confidence in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette to report the outcome accurately. I kid, I kid. Five years from now when I’m pulling a Ron Borges (hypocrisy or plagiarism - you choose) over at the Gazette, we’ll all look back at this and laugh. Of course I’ll have to write as if my target audience were freshmen in high school. Meaning I’ll actually have to raise the quality of my writing. See I can laugh at myself too. Back to the game. Despite the poor quality of play I really enjoyed it. Why? Atmosphere. It had the following in its favor:

Holy Cross was the perfect venue. It was big enough to allow for a good-sized crowd. Holyoke traveled well (several buses), Holy Name had a big following, and people from Worcester who simply love basketball showed up as well. Worcester is actually a solid basketball city. You can always, always get a game in Worcester. Meanwhile the city has 5 public high schools, 2 parochial high schools, and many other schools just outside the city limits in the numerous surrounding towns. And while Holy Name (parochial school) is by no means popular, people still turned out to watch. Also I would be remiss if I did not mention that Holy Name has a solid basketball tradition. Basketball legend Marvin Safford played there before moving on to USC and a small part in the movie Airplane. People always say he could have stuck in the Association if the three-point line was around in his day. Neil Fingleton from England played there before going to UNC and later Holy Cross. Of course Holy Name does not recruit (my dad forced me to type that). J.P. Riccardi (the fact that they said he's from Worchester made me hate them), the current general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, coached the Holy Name Boys team for a number of years before his baseball duties grew to a point that he could no longer do it. But back to Holy Cross as a venue:

It has seating under both baskets, which meant the student sections stared each other down and chanted for the duration of the game. And that was the key. Other possible venues – Worcester State College, WPI, Assumption, Clark, etc. don’t have the seating under the basket, which really ratcheted things up a notch. This was most noticeable when the opposing team had to shoot free throws while facing the other school’s fans. Unfortunately this only occurred during the first half. I think the fans should have switched sides to keep this up or had the foresight to sit under the baskets that their opponents would shoot at during the second half. However, that’s a lot to ask for from high school kids. And in every other regard they were fantastic fans. The following occurred:

“Aiiiirrrrbaaaaallllll, Aiiiirrrrbaaaaallllll, Aiiiirrrrbaaaaallllll…” – Shouted after every air ball, and there were plenty. It’s a classic.

“Let’s go defense (insert 5 claps), let’s go defense (insert 5 claps)…” – At times students stomped their feet on the bleachers making this one even crazier.

Both student sections never sat down.

Each student section had a leader coordinating the chants. That kept everyone on the same page and raised the quality of the chanting. Very savvy.

The noise was deafening to the point that players could not hear coaches, refs could not hear slaps, and I could not hear the people next to me. Impressive.

At halftime 5 Holyoke students snuck into the Holy Name section, which caused the Holyoke section to explode with applause. I’m pretty sure the MIAA (Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association) put an end to this because things were getting a little tense. By the way, I hate the MIAA. It’s the kind of organization that I’d still despise even if it created peace in the Middle East.

Meanwhile each student section had individual high points:

Holyoke:

Chanted, “You got served” after a particularly devastating blocked shot.

Chanted, “We still love you” with the 5 claps after one of their players fouled out.

Pulled off a coordinated, collective back turn on the Holy Name cheerleaders, which led to the obligatory MIAA announcement on sportsmanship.

Pulled off the only “bullshit” chant of the night, which somehow did not lead to a sportsmanship announcement.

Chanted “hometown refs” after a close call went Holy Name’s way. It was really well done.

Holy Name:

Chanted, “We can’t hear you” anytime Holyoke’s spirits were down due to the poor play of its team.

Pulled out the old “Scoreboard, scoreboard…” routine on a few occasions.

Chanted, “You can’t stop us” several times.

Chanted “Whose your daddy?” In my opinion it did not work all that well.

Screamed to drown out the Holyoke cheerleaders, which led to the first sportsmanship announcement of the night. Of course Holyoke countered with the aforementioned back turning routine, which proved to be far more powerful.

Pulled out the most controversial chant of the night: “No comprende” after Holyoke chanted, “We still love you” for the player who fouled out. Thankfully nothing came of this chant. However, given the racial make up of the student bodies (Holyoke’s was far more diverse) it could have been trouble.

Ultimately Holy Name had a lot more to cheer about and yet I’d argue that the Holyoke kids did a better job precisely because of that reason.

Some random closing thoughts:

I love how high school basketball teams seem to have 1-2 football kids who are not as skilled as their peers from a basketball standpoint (shooting, dribbling, etc.) but make up for it with intensity, athleticism, and toughness.

It’s refreshing to watch a game without TV timeouts and with refs that let players play.

Some guy sat in front of me with a Red Sox t-shirt that had the number 22 and the name “Pena” on the back. I looked at the shirt for a while and thought, “Tony was #6 right? Was Carlos with the team long enough to have a t-shirt made? Is there another Pena? Who was #22?” About a half hour later it hit me – Wily Mo Pena. Kind of sums up the Wily Mo era for me right now. Hopefully he'll have a big season.

Cornrows and tattoos have made their way to high school basketball. Sweet.

I love it when people who live in Worcester big time act big time. I guess it’s better to be big time in Worcester than nowhere at all. But still…

On Saturday the Division I, II, and III boys and girls state finals will be played at the DCU center. Sadly this is way too big a venue that will hurt the quality of the cheering. I might still go. I saw Scoonie Penn, of Boston College and later Ohio State fame, play there once and it was awesome.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Tonight

My Celtics/Hawks plans fizzled and now I've got new options. I can watch Boston at home and then catch the Mavericks/Suns game, which would be getting way more hype 2 weeks ago. Thankfully the dark period between the Super Bowl and March is over and the sports world is normal again. Finally Massachusetts high school basketball is lurking as a serious dark horse right now. That would mean missing the Celtics for the first time in a while. I've got a half hour to decide. Whatever happens I think the C's and Hawks combine for 220 points tonight.

C's/Bulls - 3/13/07

- I caught the game at a friend's house so the recap will be a little shorter than usual. Five things stood out:

1. I found the Bulls' green jerseys disorienting. I started watching right at the jump ball, which the Bulls won. However, at the time I thought the C's had the ball due to the green uniforms. "Wait Boston has a white point guard." Then I realized it was Kirk Hinrich. If you were under the influence of anything and stumbled upon that game it would have confused you.

2. After watching the last 2 games I understand why the Bulls do not want to trade Luol Deng.

3. The Bulls are not that much older than the Celtics. Makes me feel worse about Boston's youth movement.

4. Tyrus Thomas and Ben Wallace combined for 42 points. Wallace, of all people, shot the ball 21 times. And speaking of Thomas. He is a phenomenal in game dunker.

5. It may not happen until the playoffs but I want to see the Bulls play against a strong defensive team.

- I'm really tempted to attend tonight's game because I always enjoy it live and I really want to catch the Josh Smith experience. Last night he had 26 points, 17 rebounds, 5 assists, 4 steals, and 3 blocked shots. Even hit a three for good measure and shot the ball well from the field (11-20) and the line (3-4) while committing 3 turnovers.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Gerald Green Lookalike.

Posting and Toasting found Gerald Green's long lost brother.

Hollinger

In his recent NBA chat John Hollinger perpetuated the belief that Al Jefferson FINALLY decided to live up to his potential.

"Brian(boston):
John, You must have a lot of people eating crow these days after Al Jefferson's recent play. Is he a future allstar ?

SportsNation John Hollinger: I'd say Jefferson goes under the tree-in-the-forest category at this point -- people stopped paying attention to Boston a long time ago. But yes, he looks like he's finally interested in living up to his All-Star potential. Incidentally, got some emails asking why I didn't put him in the list of the 10 centers who might one day make the All-timers list -- I was down to Aldridge and Jefferson at No. 10 and went with Aldridge. It was a close call and, in retrospect, I'm not sure I chose correctly."

Is it easy for big men to jump from high school to the pros? In addition to adjusting to the physical play guys have to learn how to lift, work out, eat, and play in an 82 game season. It's not as if Jefferson is 28 and finally putting it all together.

Climbing the Rankings

The Celtics jumped a spot to #28 this week in Marc Stein's rankings:

"Doc Rivers recently told his team: '[Expletive] the draft pick.' But I'm curious to hear how Celtics fans feel right now. Happy to see this little 5-2 run? Or a bit freaked?"

Hanging with the NBA

Last Sunday I went on a mini basketball odyssey. We all enjoyed that. But it was a whole new ball game this weekend. Now I truly believe that you are either a college fan or a NBA fan. You can appreciate the other but if things go too far you end up cheating. And for NBA fans it was a tough weekend. The big conference had their tournaments championships, selection Sunday, bracketology! Big day. But I stayed true and devoted myself to watching 3 NBA games.

Kings/Nuggets

- When the news broke that Ron Artest had been arrested on suspicion of domestic violence he was “excused indefinitely” from the Sacramento Kings. The great thing about the word “indefinitely” is that it does not specify an exact time. But for some reason I assumed it would be longer than 2 games.

- Here’s a glimpse into my thought process: “Who the hell is Linas Kleiza? Is he available in my fantasy league?

- One of the referees explained Allen Iverson’s technical foul to Marcus Camby like this, “Marcus. Marcus. He cannot have over actions like that after a call anymore. It’s respect for the game. You cannot do that anymore.” For the record A.I. simply ran to the bench after the foul was called.

- Mark Jackson just could not help himself and he responded to the ref’s explanation with the following: “He needs to put some base in his voice. He sounds like my 3rd grade teacher.” Mike Breen is a professional. But you could tell he was uncomfortable.

- We all can agree that the Eastern Conference is terrible, particularly the Atlantic Division. However, let’s not lose sight of the fact that if the playoffs started tomorrow the 7th and 8th seeds in the west, the Nuggets and Clippers respectively, would have losing records. And Sacramento at 28-33 is still in the picture.

- Joe Maloof, speaking publicly about Ron Artests’s recent legal problems for the first time, stressed that up until this point Ron has been great. Really? What about Artest’s agent questioning Coach Eric Musselman’s control, the bizarre back injury that stemmed from using his wife’s car, dominating the ball some games to the detriment of the team, and reports of a Bibby/Artest feud? Other than that he’s been great?

Well ABC made the call and as a result the Bulls and Celtics did show up on national television today. Neither did the Kings. Thank you thank you. I try.

Celtics/Bulls


- With under 2 minutes to go in the first quarter the Celtics had Allan Ray, Rajon Rondo, Sebastian Telfair, Leon Powe, and Brian Scalabrine on the court. Now that’s a pre season lineup. And they were still playing as a unit until Paul Pierce checked in for Ray with 6 minutes to go in the second quarter. And they ended up taking the lead! Rondo was doing Rondo things - leading fast breaks, attacking the basket, and in general making Tommy gush. Leon Powe had a ferocious dunk as well as a legitimate low post move that resulted in a basket. Scal hit a three. And the Bulls had the likes of Ben Gordon and Luol Deng in. It was surreal.

- Deng gives Pierce trouble.

- Towards the end of the first half Mike Gorman complimented Scal for counting the number of Celtics on the court before heading to the bench. Tommy yelled, “court awareness!” So next time someone asks you what Scal brings to the team, now you know.

- Pierce and Al combined to score 6 points in the first half and the Celtics were only down by 7. I was surprised.

- Ben Gordon is an assassin.

- “He’s a great shooter. Not a great player but a great shooter.” – Tommy on Ben Gordon. For the record if Gordon were a Celtic he’d be the second coming of some Celtic great and an All Star for years to come.

- The other day Bill Simmons hit on something I’ve been thinking about for a while in his running diary (Insider):

“One of the funny subplots of the season: Tommy's unabashed devotion to Rondo's unselfish game and his thinly disguised loathing of Telfair's shoot-first game. It's been like listening to a father constantly raving about his son at Harvard and grunting every time someone asks about his son who ended up at Bunker Hill Community College.”

And tonight Simmons’ theory had some juice. Check out Tommy’s reactions:

Rondo had three jump shots that were atrocious. They had absolutely no chance of going in. Tommy was silent. Meanwhile, he was all over Bassy for passing up 15 foot jumpers. I think the Telfair criticism was justified although I never thought it would come to people demanding that he shoot. But the Rondo shots deserved light mocking at the least.

Rondo pushes the ball and finds a teammate for a lay up. Tommy praises Rondo.

Telfair pushes the ball and finds a teammate for a lay up. Tommy praises whoever finished.

“Tough shooting night for Rondo, 5 of 15.” – Mike Gorman on Rondo

“Yeah but it started well.” – Tommy

Mavericks/Lakers

The ESPN crew is spending an inordinate amount of time defending Phil Jackson’s salary. I’m spending an inordinate amount of time not caring.

If this were a fight they’d stop it.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Go get 'em Al

The defensive oriented Chicago Bulls provide a big test for the blossoming Celtics big man. I for one am excited. In other news I’ve already watched Kings/Nuggets and I’m planning on catching Lakers/Mavericks. Big day.

C's/Bulls Preview - 3/11/07

They’ve met once this season, a December match up in which the final score (Bulls 100, Celtics 82) does not do justice to the beating Chicago laid down. Interestingly Tony Allen scored 20 points and at the time I immediately dismissed his performance as garbage time. Allen of course went on a statistical tear until his knee injury. Seems like ages ago.

Bulls Starters

Kirk Hinrich – One of the better defensive players in the league regardless of what Pat Riley says. While I would not go as far to call him a “Dwayne stopper” he always makes Wade work.

Ben Gordon – Few people realize this but he was born in London. I actually say “few people” to make myself feel better because I only found out the other day. Anyways Gordon is the Bulls crunch time guy. He’s a scorer who can be streaky at times.

P.J. Brown – I feel like he’s been around forever. Came over in the Tyson Chandler deal. Does some of the dirtier aspects of pro basketball and believe it or not will make $8 million this year.

Luol Deng – He’ll turn 22 in just over a month and currently is averaging 18 points and 7 rebounds per game. His numbers have improved every season and the Bulls think the sky is the limit for him. They better be right, as it appears that Chicago refused to part with him in a possible deal for Pau Gasol.

Ben Wallace – He’ll turn 33 next year, will be making more than $14 million per year through 2009/2010, and most people feel that his best days are behind him. Meanwhile Tyson Chandler is averaging 9 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. And those numbers don’t speak to some of the absolutely monstrous nights that Chandler has had. He’s averaged 15 rebounds since the start of February, including 3 20-rebound efforts.

Other Bulls of Note:

Andres Nocioni – One of my favorite Bulls. Despite the fact that he gets dunked on all the time, is a real solid player.

Thabo Sefolosha – Promising rookie who was part of the epic Bryan Colangelo draft day clip on YouTube. Gained prominence partly for Colangelo praising how “long” the Bulls were and partly because he appeared to browbeat Danny Ainge on the phone.

Tyrus Thomas – Also part of the Colangelo clip. Distinguished himself with all the bad press around the All Star break. Is it bad that his comments about just doing the dunk contest to collect the cash prize did not bother me at all?

Chris Duhon – I’ll guarantee you two things – he’s a free agent right now in your fantasy league and if you need to pick him up you are in trouble.

Celtics Starters:

Kendrick Perkins, Paul Pierce, and Al Jefferson seem to be the only givens in the starting lineup right now. Doc is taking it slow with Delonte West so I’m guessing Rajon Rondo gets the start again. And I think Brian Scalabrine rounds out the starting five as Chicago is a more physical team than Seattle.

Bassy

For some reason I have been operating under the assumption that Telfair was playing out the third and final year of his rookie contract. However, back in July the C's picked up the team option for next year. For the time being he remains in Boston's plans regardless of how the last two months have gone.

But that's just me...

If I were essentially faking a knee injury to get a buyout until a spate of injuries at the guard position forced me into action and my coach made up some crap about adrenaline (via True Hoop) to feed to the media I would feel somewhat awkward if I had a huge game. In an attempt to avoid further suspicion I would definitely refrain from jumping on the scorer's table on that bad knee. But that's just me...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Celtics & NBA Stuff

The Sonics Game

Just a few points before I put that one behind me:

- It looked like a great game to attend. No defense, lots of scoring, a Gerald dunk, and the Garden was rocking.

- I don't want to gush over Big Al anymore because people are starting to wonder about me. But he looked really good. See next point though.

- I love Leon Powe. However, anytime he drives baseline and throws in a reverse lay up I wonder about the opposing team’s ability to play defense. And Seattle doesn't play any defense. Their coach, Bob Hill, said he ordered them to double Jefferson but for some reason they refused. That ship is sinking.

- With just under 4 minutes to go in the 4th quarter Al Jefferson set a pick for Sebastian Telfair. Bassy drove to the hoop and scored. I’ve been waiting since October for the C’s to do that.

- Fun game, like where the team is headed, and I am way more interested to see how they do on Sunday against a good team.

NBA

- Some team is going to pay Darko Milicic a lot of money this off-season. I think they will regret it. And I've been thinking a lot about this for one reason. If his name were Dave Milicic would people care less about him? Is some of our fascination fueled by the name Darko? That's what keeps you coming back to Celtics Bandwagon - hard hitting analysis.

- I saw Danny Ainge sitting next to Kevin Durant's mom and grandmother during the Texas/Oklahoma State game. Just thought that was interesting. "Let me tell you something Mrs. Pratt, college is overrated. Big time overrated. I mean..."

- I'm probably stumbling on this late but has anyone ever seen Manu Ginobili and Balki Bartokomous in the same place? I'm guessing no.


Friday, March 09, 2007

He's all Growns Up

How about some Al Jefferson, of 31 points and 16 rebounds against the Sonics fame, news?

David Thorpe mentioned Big Al in his recent article on post moves (Insider):

"Born to get buckets, Al Jeff is the modern master of the sneaky jump hook because he has an amazing sense of timing and feel for when to release the ball. He over-rotates his body on the release, which makes the move vulnerable if his timing is not perfect."

The Deuce

Baylor is taking it to Texas right now on ESPN2, 34-16. Kevin Durant is 0-10. More on the Celtics victory when I settle down and gather my thoughts. I think I'm experiencing a basketball overload.

UPDATE - Apparently this game is not on. ESPNU just cut to it for a while so they could throw it back to some talking heads to babble on. Great move by the Worldwide Leader...

Clip #14 - Maradona la Mano De Dios

I tried to shelve the YouTube clips. But for the first time in months my readers have risen up and made demands. Enjoy - "the goal of the century". It's somewhat reminiscent of Larry Bird famously following his own missed shot and making a ridiculous shot. Reminiscent in the way they contort their bodies.

Rondo will start...

In his pre-game interview Doc said it was a tough decision and he thought about starting Telfair. I do not believe Telfair was even close to starting. But that’s just me.

It turns out Gerald Green gets the nod as well alongside Jefferson, Perkins, and Pierce.

Clip #13- Paul Pierce vs Al Harrington

I have decided to stop posting clips. However, this is a nice finish. Take that Al Harrington!

C's/Sonics Preview

Seattle's Starters

Earl Watson – Earlier in the season he got into with coach Bob Hill over playing time. Eventually he won the starting point guard job. While Watson is not a good shooter (37%) he is averaging 5.7 assists per game. I see him as more of a back up point guard and the Sonics do too, as Luke Ridnour regained the starting job. However, Ridnour is battling a herniated cervical disk. With Ridnour’s status up in the air I’m going with Watson for now. But I will say this about Ridnour – he strikes me as one of those players that fans around the league like and wouldn’t mind seeing on their team. Meanwhile, he drives Sonic fans crazy.

Ray Allen – He has one of the best jump shots of all time. Is a deadly three-point shooter. He’s had some monster games this year and nobody seems to care. Has missed some time due to an ankle injury that he will battle for the rest of the year and probably will not practice anymore. Is a scorer who does not dominate the ball.

Chris Wilcox – Seattle is not a prominent team in a national sense* so I haven’t seen much of them. Therefore, I have not been following Wilcox closely. I think he’s got a lot of potential, has shown flashes, and has not put it all together yet. That said he is averaging 12.5 points and 7.5 rebounds. I’m interested to see how he does tonight.

* Save the hateful comments Sonic fans. The Celtics are not prominent either, which was evident when ABC decided against televising their game this Sunday.

Rashard Lewis – Lewis was in the midst of a career year before an injury sidelined him for 22 games. He’s a scorer and I always forget that he’s 6-10. Can opt out of his contract after the year and I would be shocked to see him back in Seattle. Someone is going to give Lewis a lot of money. However, he’s kind of like Michael Redd. Do you really want him to be your best player? We’ll see.

Nick Collison – He actually had some big games in February. Has cooled off a bit. I wonder about his ceiling as a basketball player.

That’s pretty much it. Nobody on the Sonics bench scares me in a basketball sense. I’m terrified of Danny Fortson but he is a non-factor these days.

Boston's Starters

I think that Al Jefferson, Kendrick Perkins, Paul Pierce, and Brian Scalabrine are a given at this point. However, Delonte West's recent concussion complicates matters. I'm guessing that Rajon Rondo gets the start at point guard. But do you really want a starting 5 that only has 2 guys who can score? Some people say yes. I am not one of those people

Analysis

I have no idea who is going to win this game. Earlier in the week I did say it was one of the few remaining games in March that I thought the C's could win. However, Boston has struggled with defensive rotations this year. I'm picturing Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen absolutely lighting it up from deep. Meanwhile, I think Al Jefferson will have his way. If Pierce were healthy this would be a big game for him and I won't rule it out. In the end I think Seattle pulls it out with Boston getting sucked back down into a vortex of injuries and losses.

Clip # 12 - Larry Bird

Some fantastic Larry Bird clips. Including several “I’m Larry freaking Bird” moments, the X Man’s legendary account of getting schooled, and this gem of a quote from Cedric Maxwell “You could have heard a mouse pee on cotton in that building.” Even Dan Shaughnessy could not ruin it for me.

Clip #11 - 2000-01 Boston Celtics

Has anyone ever listened to this entire song?

Clip #10 - Utah Jazz Commercial

“Passin be an art kid…”

Clip #9 - Terry Tate Original

I still remember when this first aired during the 2003 Super Bowl. Reebok was actually criticized because some people did not know what the commercial was advertising. But more importantly, as the Celtics continue to deal with injuries, they should look to the wisdom of Terry Tate, “I don’t got time for pain. The only pain I got time for is the pain I put on fools who don’t know what time it is.”

Clip # 8 - Rick Pitino's $50 Million Choice

He really should have been a politician. Watching this makes me angry for some reason.

Clip #7 - Pierce vs Davis

There is a Kwame Brown joke here just dying to be made.

Clip #6 - Jordan dunks on Mutombo

The other night Dikembe Mutombo blocked a shot and pulled out his finger wagging routine. Both Tommy Heinsohn and Bill Simmons were confused because they thought it violated the NBA’s taunting rules. However, the NBA has given Mutombo the okay as long as he directs it towards the crowd, instead of opposing players. Personally I miss the taunting a bit. And though the quality of this clip is not great, it is always enjoyable to watch Michael Jordan give Mutombo a little taste of his own medicine. Further proof that you should never mess with Jordan.

One more thing. It’s nice that the big guy is not a stickler for being called by his full name: Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean Jacque Wamutombo

Clip #5 - Tracy Morgan and Warren Sapp

I promised you 24 hours of YouTube and failed miserably. I also promised you some comic relief. And now I have delivered. I will now go play some NBA Jam. I know what you’re thinking – "Wait you still play NBA Jam?" My response: “Everyday I do.”

Clip #4 - Josh Smith

At this point everyone knows about Josh Smith right? He’s still inconsistent and struggles from the foul line. But Smith is one of the most exciting players in the game. He plays above the rim better than everyone except a healthy Amare. At times it seems as if Smith was put on this planet to block shots and dunk. Still has a ton of growing up to do but is a blast to watch. But on to the clip. That’s one hell of a sequence.

Clip #3 - Fly Joel Fly

This is from a high school basketball game from a few years ago. However, the dunker (Washington) and the dunkee (Duke) are both playing in college. But the highlight of the clip has to be his teammate's command, "Dunk on him! Dunk on him!"

Whoops

Well 24 hours of YouTube fell apart faster than the Celtics commitment to running. Years from now we'll look back on this like closer by committee, quarterbacks alternating series, going young in the NBA, professional teams hiring college coaches, and every other seemingly good idea that flops. However, I still have a ton of clips. So I'll just randomly post throughout the day.

Clip #2 - Dino Radja

You can’t stop Dino Radja. You can only hope a knee injury, the 96/97 Celtics, specifically Todd Day, and Rick Pitino destroy his will to be in America. And for the record it doesn’t get much better than Radja allegedly confiding in a teammate, “I do not like this Todd Day.” Shortly thereafter Radja shut it down for the season. Then following the season Dino derailed Boston’s attempts to trade him (http://www.standardtimes.com/daily/06-97/06-24-97/d01sp126.htm). I actually remember Pitino’s take on the situation (from the previous link): “At that time, Radja said he would prefer to be sent to a warm climate and a playoff contender. ‘We explained to him that it's not Club Med.’" Dino never played in the NBA again.

Two more important points from that link:

1. “Pitino has said he would deal anybody for the right price.” Little did we know he would even deal people for the wrong price.

2. Somehow the Sixers had the #2 pick in the draft that year. As you may recall the C’s picked 3rd and 6th. I bring this up because Philadelphia won 7 more games than Boston. Philadelphia was also not accused of openly tanking the season.
Interesting.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Clip #1 - Dr.Hoops

I played some pick up basketball tonight. At some point I have to put together a list of guys you come across in the world of pick up basketball. For now I'll settle for one - Dr. Hoops. You know this guy. He calls fouls all the time, reminds you about 3 seconds, tries to mess with the score when he thinks no one is paying attention, and so on. The important thing is that everybody, including his friends off the court, hates him. And Starter absolutely captured the essence of these guys to the point that they should all be called Dr. Hoops from now on. Finally, one question: Did you download those plays that I sent you?

24 Hours of YouTube

I'm going to mix things up and try to post a YouTube clip every hour, for 24 hours. There's an excellent chance that this will fall apart within the next hour. But I can dream. All the clips will have something to do with one of the following - the Boston Celtics (obviously), the NBA, basketball, or something funny. So here goes nothing. I have actually posted many of these clips before. But that's only because they are awesome. Enjoy.

Guess who's back

Say goodbye to the Holiday Inn and hello to the Four Seasons. Allan Ray is back in the Association. He has to be fired up to return to the Celtics team, even if it probably has something to do with not having enough healthy guys to practice.

Success

Wally Szczerbiak's ankle surgery went well. I'm not even going to make a joke here, as I tweaked my ankle the other night leaving a basketball gym. I 'm convinced that I've been too hard on Wally and that was a subtle reminder to lay off and focus my humor elsewhere. In unrelated news...your mom.

The Kool-Aid

For regular readers of Celtics Bandwagon it's probably pretty clear that I drink the Celtics Kool-Aid. I really believe they will turn it around in the next year or two. Tommy Heinsohn is of this line of thinking, as is Loy's Place, which recently did a great job bringing us Tommy's opinion of the team. I agree with everything except the take on Kenrick Perkins:

"If you compare Perk's 1st 4 years to Jermaine O'Neal's first 4 years, Perk actually has a slight advantage, in spite of the injuries and a lack of playing time.

Perk
3.8 PPG
3.7 RPG
.9 BPG

O'Neal
3.7 PPG
3.1 RPG
.7 BPG

We can't say whether Perk will become as good as O'Neal for certain, but I believe he will be, and even better."

- I love Perk but I never see him developing an offensive game even close to O'Neal's. Furthermore, O'Neal is one of the most fluid big men in the NBA and as of this year a shot blocking machine. I see Kendrick evolving into one of the better back up centers in the league.
However, the bigger issue here is that Loy's Place is now the top Celtics blog, at least according to lowpost.net. I feel like this is a pretty big deal that no one is talking about. Maybe I'm the only one who cares about this type of stuff. And for the record I'm holding down 8th. I wish I had some sort of joke here so that this post didn't just end awkwardly...

Celtics Links

- The Celtics, upon trainer Ed Lacerte's request, canceled practice today. With Tony Allen, Theo Ratliff, and Wally Szczerbiak out for the year, Allan Ray in the D League, and Delonte West (concussion), Ryan Gomes (foot), and Al Jefferson (sore foot) battling injuries or pain, apparently it was not a tough call.

- Peter May explores the beating the Celtics absorbed last night.

- Apparently the Herald finally caught the same fever I have and the only prescription is Al Jefferson. Tony Massarotti's article talks about how Big Al has arrived. It turns out that one guy who knows a good deal about big men likes what he sees, “He’s got a chance to be a great, great, post-up player.” - Dikember Mutumbo on Al Jefferson.

- Not to be outdone Steve Bulpett gets into the act and focuses on Jefferson's desire to keep improving.
- It's never too early to start thinking about locking up young players as the team moves forward. Hopefully Big Al is a priority. Jefferson wants to stay,

“I love this place. I love the Green and White. I love Boston. If I have my way, I’ll stay here for the rest of my career. You don’t really know until you cross that bridge, but I really believe in my heart that everything will be OK and everything’s going to work out fine. I really do."

It's great that he wants to be here but the C's better be prepared to pay him.

- While the Celtics are not particularly good at winning, they're blazing a trail in corporate sponsorship. That's the strange thing about this squad. Their attendance is solid, there are 20 something blogs devoted to them, and now this. There's something to be said for being young and exciting. Of course eventually that has to translate into wins. Right?

- I always thought college dance teams were not really focused on dancing. I guess I was wrong, although I've heard things about the U's dance team.

- By the end of this week every local new outlet will have completed its "Al Jefferson is having a big year" piece.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

C's/Rockets - 3/7/07

Snap back to reality.

I wish I had predicted that the Rockets were going to unleash a beating on the Celtics tonight. Not because I'm happy that it happened. Rather if you love the NBA and have a moderate understanding of how the league works you had to see this coming. The Rockets had to make up for losing at home, short handed last week. And they did. Houston showed up and shot better than 50% from the field (51.3%) and from the 3 point line (53.6%) while executing a beautiful offense. They didn't even need Yao to be Yao and he slowly continues to play himself back into shape. And while I'm on the subject of Yao I'll say this - Skip Bayless is crazy if he thinks Houston does not need the big fella and can survive with Dikembe Mutumbo playing big minutes. That might fly in March against the C's but it won't cut it in May against Dallas. And no I don't watch Cold Pizza. I only caught a segment. I swear. I'm on vacation. There's not much on during the day. Forget it. Long story short the Rockets dominated a clearly over matched Celtics squad. Now onto some random thoughts.

Looking at the schedule I say the C's go 4-8 for the rest of the month. The Wins? Seattle, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Philly.

“Did you see that knee brace? That’s the BIGGEST knee brace I have ever seen.” - Tommy Heinsohn on Yao Ming

“That would be a body brace for me.” - Mike Gorman

Just under 6 minutes into the game Kendrick Perkins and The Truth ran a pick and roll. Perk drove to the basket, grabbed a bounce pass, finished, and hit the free throw. I didn’t know he had it in him.

I think the C’s easily used more picks in the first quarter than they have in any quarter I can remember. And strangely many of them were effective.

During halftime Donny Marshall tried to popularize the phrase, “right in your mouth” to describe when a player hits a jumper over a defender, preferably when his mouth is open. Key word "tried".

Why does FSN have to show that Gerald Green’s numbers are better than T-Mac through their first 90 games in the league? And then to top it off Tommy Heinsohn claims Green will be a replica of McGrady. I don't need to get my hopes up like this.

In all my fawning over Al Jefferson I’ve neglected the fact that Delonte West has put up some good numbers since the All Star break. This article speaks to that. On top of that he’s been shooting right around 50% from the field and from the 3 point line, while knocking down just over 90% from the charity stripe. Well done Delonte. And yes FSN was all over this too.

Speaking of Delonte. It looks like he left the game with a concussion from an errant Dikembe elbow. When I post my list of guys whose games were perfectly suited for NBA Jam and obvious choices like Harold Miner and Dee Brown show up because of their athleticism, Dikembe will also make it. Based on his body of work you wouldn't think so. But any setting where players can throw elbows with reckless abandon suits Dikembe just fine. And yes I know you're desperate for my take on NBA Jam. It's going to be a while. But know this. I will reveal myself to be the foremost expert on an 11 year old game that nobody plays anymore. Wait and see.

One final thought - At a some point in the 4th quarter I switched over to the St. Johns/Marquette game and almost immediately said, "Holy crap, it's Mo Vaughn." It was actually Anthony Mason, there to watch his son. Draw your own conclusions about Mason's post career workout program.

C's/Rockets - Brief Pre Game Thoughts

- A very different Rockets team (plus Yao and T-Mac) takes the court than the one Boston saw in Houston last week.

- Yao is dying to play after struggling in his first game back against the Cavs where he shot poorly and turned the ball over regularly.

- This is a light week for the C's compared to the 5 games in 7 days on the horizon.

- I am most interested in what kind of minutes Gerald Green gets and how he performs.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Blogging

I've only been blogging since September but I've read and heard a lot of comments from established media sources that go a little something like this: "These losers without jobs sit around in their underwear, without doing any research and just write whatever the hell they want." From Sam Smith (scroll down to the bottom) to this little discussion (courtesy of True Hoop via Celtics Blog) to any number of other criticisms of bloggers it happens all the time. Numerous bloggers have risen up to defend us with strong, well thought out arguments. So I will only say the following:

We're talking about sports. It's not as if a group of people with no experience are going around building nuclear reactors or performing surgeries. Most bloggers have been involved with sports in some capacity their entire lives. It's like older generation criticizing the youth during 70s who were getting to third base just by saying hello. Deep down the older people were really just upset that they spent three years holding hands. And for the record The Jordan Rules (Sam Smith) seems like a good book until you read Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made (David Halberstam). To put it another way, consider this analogy:

The Last Banner (Peter May): Unfinished Business (Jack McCallum) as The Jordan Rules: Playing for Keeps.

That basically says it all. There's a big difference between well written sports books and collections of great anecdotes about interesting subjects.

Luck or skill?

4 friends sat in front of me at the C's/Timberwolves game on Saturday and argued over whether or not Boston should try to win. One of them shouted "I want Oden" repeatedly. He joined 2 others in rooting for Minnesota. Meanwhile their was a lone member of the group who rooted for Boston the whole game and chastised his friends. Their heavy drinking and bitter arguing inspired me to analyze the C's recent 4 game win streak. Is it the start of something special or just some incredible luck?

Houston


Negative - The Rockets were without Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming. That game tried to set the NBA back 50 years.

Positive - They showed they could roll up their sleeves and gut out a hard, half court battle. And if other teams are going to start using injuries as an excuse they can stick it.

New York

Negative - The Knicks basically played with one guard – Starbury. David Lee did not play either.

Positive - The C’s were victorious in a game where they played against the zone and when their opponents charged back and threatened to erase a substantial deficit. Resilience!

New Jersey

Negative - It was odd that they won this game.

Positive - This was a great win on the road against a team with one of the best play makers of all time. They are overcoming adversity and making noise.

Minnesota

Negative - Randy Wittman did his best to show what bad coaching is all about. They stopped giving Kevin Garnett the ball down the stretch. Despite having done nothing to warrant it Marko Jaric and Rashad McCants got open looks, which they missed badly. And Minnesota was robbed when Ricky Davis’ free throw attempts went from 3 to 2.

Positive - Any time a team wins back-to-back overtime afternoon games it is an accomplishment.

11 Rings isn't what it used to be...

The Daily Dime went out of its way to annoy me today by picking Bill Russell as the third greatest center of all time.

Wait, what?

From Steve Bulpett's roundup of the C's/Timberwolves game on Sunday,

"Showing even less love for the Timberwolves, they fought tooth and nail and epithet all the way to the dressing rooms. Kevin Garnett yelled at Gerald Green in the hallway, basically daring him to come back out. Green said later he didn’t know the reason behind any of it, but clearly this was going to be a testy afternoon from the time three weeks ago to the day that Ricky Davis hit the game-winner on the Celts and celebrated wildly with Mark Blount."

1.
This apparently happened after the game as the beginning of that statement leads you to believe. But the closing line makes it a bit ambiguous.

2. Garnett wanted to pull a Jerry Stackhouse on Gerald after the game and this is only given a passing reference.

3. Gerald must have pushed Garnett's buttons somehow. I know Green got a technical for, as Tommy would say, "yapping". But overall I have no idea what went on.