Did We Watch the Same Game?
March 26, 2009

Memo to Paul: You have a better chance of making the shot with your eyes open.

Some dude named Tim Potvak of Yahoo! is giving a Jenna Jameson quality rubdown to Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic.

The Orlando Magic didn’t just send a late-season message to the defending champion Boston Celtics on Wednesday night. They left them with a not-so-subtle reminder for their almost-inevitable second-round playoff matchup.

Dwight Howard has grown big enough and strong enough to force his will on even the best teams, and the Celtics are the latest contender to realize as much. With Howard delivering another of his Superman performances, the Magic led from start to finish before fighting off a late Celtics charge, pushing them into a virtual tie for the second best record in the Eastern Conference.

Wasn’t Howard scoreless in the 4th quarter? And the play he did make – the block on Pierce – was a questionable foul. You have to dig 12 paragraphs deep into this propaganda before Potvak mentions KG’s injury. Ya know – Boston’s best big man and reigning Defensive Player of the Year.

To quote the informercial legend Billy Mays – “Wait there’s more….”

If and when they meet the Magic again in May, the Celtics will hold the advantage in four of the five starting positions. Point guard Rajon Rondo, now in his third season, will blow past Rafer Alston. Shooting guard Ray Allen will school rookie Courtney Lee. Paul Pierce will score on small forward Hedo Turkoglu almost anytime he wants. And Kevin Garnett should toast Rashard Lewis.

Yet Howard makes it all even. Four to one doesn’t sound fair unless that one is Superman. The key to the series will be keeping Howard on the floor and out of foul trouble. If he stays clean, the Celtics may have trouble getting past the second round because they have no one to guard him. Nobody else does, either.

Okay….I finally stopped laughing. Try this for your next article Tim: How can Orlando expect to beat the Celtics in a series when they can barely beat them at home with KG playing just 16 minutes none of which came in the 4th quarter?

Deja Vu
March 25, 2009

Just like their last loss to the Magic, the Celtics played like crap for 3 quarters, rallied in the 4th only to fall short in the final seconds.

Dwight Howard (24 pts, 21 reb) was an unstoppable force in the paint – until the 4th quarter where he went 0-4.

Paul Pierce (26 pts, 19 in 2nd half) missed two chances to put the Cs ahead with less than a minute left. He missed an 18-footer with 47 seconds and had a drive to the hoop “blocked” by Howard with 3 seconds left. Yes – Howard made contact but it was a good non-call (I think – I’m having second thoughts after seeing those replays).

KG played 16 minutes scoring 4 pts with 8 rebounds. It must have killed him to stay on the bench in the final minute of this one.

Box Score | Recap


Home court or not, the Celtics beat the Magic in 6 games in a playoff series.

Drown your sorrows in these Magic dancers pictures…

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Shaq’s Show
February 16, 2009

Yeah, last night was all about the Shaq Daddy… he made sure of that.  He also made sure to make Dwight Howard look pretty stupid when he had him isolated on the wing.

Shaq ended up winning co-MVP with Kobe… blah blah blah.  All I really care about is the fact that Pierce, Ray and KG all played 20 minutes or less.  And 20 All Star game minutes are probably not quite as competitive as 10 minutes in a Celtics practice.

“Everybody knows what the All-Star Game is,” said Garnett. “Everybody knows the definition. At the end of the day, man, we had a lot of fun. I got to interact with guys I’m usually pushing or boxing out or going up against nose to nose.”

So all-in-all, a good night for the C’s.  Pierce dropped 18.  Theyr’e all walking around today with no extra bumps and bruises.  The game was entertaining enough.  We all win.

Herald:  Russell remains in total controlShaq, Kobe share spotlightFrosting on Bill’s weekendRumor:  Suns to fire Terry Porter |  Globe:  This application may not sit well A  legend honoredAinge remembers sunny daysShaq, Kobe stars of show |  SI:  All Star grades

Ugly Day
February 15, 2009

Imagine the personal ad said “brunette, huge boobs, totally into leather and MMA”.  Sounds OK so far.  So you think “what the hell… I’ll give this a chance.”

Now imagine walking into that.

That was my level of disappointment with All Star Saturday.  The H-O-R-S-E game had no energy and very little creativity.  It really just became a 3 point contest with a couple of half-court distance shots mixed in.  It was very L-A-M-E.

The 3-point shootout featured a bunch of guys whose names were not synonymous with 3 point shooting and Jason Kapono.  No big names.  The best of the best weren’t involved.  What made Larry Bird raising his hand before the money ball went in move was awesome mostly because it was Larry Bird who did it.

And the only memorable moment in the dunk contest was Dwight Howard bringing in the 12 foot rim… and he even made that look too easy.  I’ll bet he could have windmilled that.  Nothing wowed me.  Even the good dunks took 4 or 5 attempts.

Very disappointing day.

(Image via The Internet Is Terrible)

Herald:  Stars aligned, Celtics still have it | KG relishes his place in the game | Russell’s ultimate honorGame might belong to LeBron, but he’s willing to shareAmare rumored to be on the way outNight shift aids sleep deprived fansKrypto-Nate slams Superman |  Globe:  Four looking out for 1Stars still have that twinkleFinals award to be named after RussellClouds following Suns |  Camerato:  Eastern Conference trades begin |  Souza:  Celtics sorting it out |  Yahoo:  For Russell, it was always about winning | Patriot Ledger:  Celts’ 3 stars divided by none

After the jump, more All Star weekend photos… including KG apparently freestyling.

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Blogger MVP/ROY Voting: The Red’s Army Edition
January 27, 2009

We bloggers have come together again to show actual MVP and Rookie of the Year voters how it’s done.  This is round 6… and we’re hosting this sucker right here (you can find past votes here).  Joining me in the voting are these fine folks:

David Arnott:  Rufus on Fire
Rob D: nbamate.com
Andrew Feinstein:  Denver Stiffs
Wyn Douglas:  Canis Hoopus
MyNetsForLife:  Nets Daily
Brett Hainline:  Queen City Hoops
Dan Feldman:  Piston Powered
Royce Young:  Daily Thunder
Jeff Sack:  Slam Dunk Central and Le Basketbawl
Alex Boeder:  BrewHoop
James Borbath: Dino Nation
Michael Schwartz: Valley of the Suns
Joshua Coleman: 3 Shades of Blue
Don Landrigan:  With Malice
David Clark:  The Dream Shake
College Wolf:  TWolves Blog
Jeremy Schmidt:  www.bucksketball.blogspot.com
Without further ado:

MVP:

lebron-james

Lebron James (180 points)

DinoNation: I have run out of words. Can we just name him the MVP Elect and wait for his crowning at the end of the year

Jeff Sack: By the year 2030 there will be a replica of Mount Rushmore behind the Basketball Hall Of Fame in Springfield, Mass. instead of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt, this one will be comprised of Larry, Magic, Michael, and LeBron.

David Arnott:  It feels like in any other year, Howard or Wade would be runaway choices for MVP at this point, but they’re damned to live in the LeBron Era

Kobe Bryant (145 points)

Clark: Though Laker fans probably want to put Bynum in the Hall of Fame after his 42 point/15 rebound game.  It’s still Kobe’s team.
College Wolf: Bah!  If only they’d stop winning games!  In honor of the Lakers’ sterling record, I have again moved him up one spot for this edition.  Don’t complain Lakers fans, at least I didn’t entirely leave him off the ballot out of spite.

Chris Paul  (138 points)

Jeff Sack:  If you watch Paul on an every night basis, you can actually see him evolving each game. Every time he is on the hardwood, he finds a new way to beat you.

Jeremy Schmidt: Chris Paul gives swagger to Peja Stojakovic.  Putting swagger in a sentence with Peja Stojakovic is what an MVP is suppose to do.

Dwight Howard (135 points)

Sack: Can we all agree that Howard is hands down the best pure center in the Association in the present day era?

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Contender vs. Pretender
January 23, 2009

The Celtics slapped Orlando back to reality last night by doing one simple thing:  Playing playoff basketball.

Keep this in mind:  The Magic had 7 offensive rebounds in the first quarter.  They had 5 the rest of the way.  They were held to 38% shooting, and to season lows in points and points in a half.  And the Celtics did it all without hitting a single 3 pointer and only dishing out 9 assists… VERY atypical of the Celtics.

So Orlando’s problems go beyond Dwight Howard’s lack of polished game and no “go-to” guy.  This is a matter of their style.  They’re a bombs-away offense that struggles to produce when jump shots aren’t falling.  When a good man-to-man defensive team like the Celtics can keep a shooter covered no matter how many picks are set, they’re going to have trouble scoring.  That shot is either falling or it isn’t.

Orlando can get hot and hit contested shots.  They’re a team full of big-time shooters.  But that’s all they are.  A team like that is dangerous, but it’s not built to win a title.  The playoffs are different, and Orlando got a taste of it last night.

“It felt like a playoff game for a minute,” said Dwight Howard. “But we just have to step up to the challenge when we play a great team like the Celtics. We’ve been watching them play for a long time. They play with a lot of intensity, they play hard and we’ve got to be able to match it.”

Herald:  KG going to Phoenix, House isn’tLoss doesn’t diminish Magic’s positive buzz |  Globe:  Celtics up to their old tricks |    Orlando Sentinel:  Magic-Celtics treat TNT audience to sloppy ball |  SI:  What we learned from last night’s game Howard sets All Star voting recordBynum has 23 and 14 against Wiz |  Ben’s Suns Blog:  Phoenix should be more like Boston

Why The Magic Are a Playoff Flop Waiting to Happen
January 22, 2009

I’ve been saying this for a few years now – Dwight Howard needs a signature move if the Magic are ever going to be legitimate championship contenders.  Yes, I realize he’s only 23 years old and his game will surely develop in the coming years. But what about this year? The Magic may be tearing up the NBA now, but they don’t have the pieces for June.

Ira Winderman (who?) of NBCSports.com puts forward this argument:

Oh, for the first 47 minutes, 50 seconds, Howard might torment inside. But his world lacks a polished post game. Unless he is bringing it down with two hands, there is nothing guaranteed even from three or four feet. And a spot at the foul line might be the opposition’s preference, based on his not-so-free throws.

Then there is Nelson, who is moving closer to All-Star level. Yet if it isn’t a pull-up jumper, his diminutive stature could have a defining attempt slapped back the other way. Go ahead, name another 5-11 go-to-guy.

And while Hedo Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis are more than mere standstill jump shooters, at a moment of truth, an all-or-nothing jumper seemingly would be the preference for each.

That is what separates the Magic.

There’s not a Wade. Not a Tayshaun. Not even a Joe Johnson.

Let alone a Kobe, LeBron or Pierce.

We may not have heard of Ira Winderman, but he’s right on the money with this one.

The Celtics smoked Orlando 107-88 in their first meeting of this season. That was the game Paul Pierce went off in the 3rd quarter.

Ok…I know what you are asking – Where’s the advanced scouting of the Magic dancers? The answer – after the jump.

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This Might Not Be The Test We Expect
December 1, 2008

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Photo by Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

On the surface, it looks like a good test for the Celtics.  The 13-4 Orlando Magic, winners of 4 in a row and currently just 2.5 games behind the Celtics in the East, come into town with Dwight Howard coming off a monster 32 point, 21 rebound game.

But Jameer Nelson, who is chipping in 14.4 ppg and 5.1 assists… is out with strained right hip flexor.  Mickael Pietrus, averaging 13 pts and 3.7 rebounds, is out for at least the next 3 weeks.  Those are key role players being replaced by Anthony Johnson and JJ Redick.  That’s a bit of a drop off.  Hedo Turkoglu has dropped off a little and Rashard Lewis has never scared me.

So that leaves Orlando with Dwight Howard.  That’s a hell of a chip to have… but it’s not enough against the champs.  Rajon Rondo might need to wear a bib tonight because he might be drooling so much at the chance to torch Anthony Johnson (I’m setting Johnson’s turnover over/under at 5).  Redick is not going to be able to hang with Ray Allen, and Lewis won’t come close to touching Pierce.  That means all 3 perimeter guys can get by their defenders, draw Howard up, and dish off for some easy dunks… and maybe some fouls on Dwight.

And by the way… the Magic are sending Brian Cook, Courtney Lee and Tony Battie in off the bench.  Maybe Adonal Foyle if the foul situation gets ugly.  If our bench doesn’t run roughshod over that group, then we’ve got problems.

Some people might look at this game a test for the Celtics… but once you get past Dwight Howard… the Magic look like an easy win for the champs.

Better Than Expected
November 30, 2008

(Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)

(Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Celtics made it through their 6th back-to-back situation in a month.  That’s 1/3 of their back-to-backs out of the way in one month.  The’ve got no more than 3 in any month from now on.  And they’ve managed to lose only one of those back-end games.

In fact, the Celtics have come out of this first-month gauntlet better than expected.  Even though they coasted in a few games (like last night)… and the starters are playing fewer minutes… the Celtics are 16-2.  Thank the bench and a few killer 3rd quarters for that.  I would have been perfectly happy if the Celtics were 14-4 or 13-5 at this point because I know the Celtics haven’t consistently played their best basketball.  For them to be 16-2 is a bad sign for the rest of the league.

I think Cleveland is due to come down a little because there’s no way LeBron is going to keep up this ridiculous pace.  And I don’t think the Lakers are going to make it through December with only 1 loss.  So while the other hot stories in the NBA are due to level off a little… the Celtics best basketball is still ahead of them.

Down in the D-League… Bill Walker and JR Giddens continue to tear it up.  Walker scored 26 points and had 5 rebounds while Giddens had 17 and 6, albeit in a loss.  Walker did have 7 turnovers, though.

And last night was a night of HUUUUUGE performances in the NBA.  Here are some highlights:

Herald:  Scheduling storm weatheredChamps stretch streak on the roadClifford Ray has a way of getting around |  Globe:  Pierce, C’s wake up in timeCats got some clawsForecast is OK for Thunder |  Souza:  Atlantic Division no problem for C’s |  T&G:  Pierce riding high |

“I’m Callin’ Your Ass ‘Dwight’”
October 3, 2008

The headline is the best line from the new Addidas Commercial called “The Run”.  It’s just a few guys…. you  know… KG, Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan, Tracy McGrady…. and more… getting together to run some ball. 

Some of it is canned, commercial stuff.  Some of it is funny.  The KG/Dwight Howard stuff is the best.

So I openly campaign for sneakers… and Addidas sends me a commercial about sneakers.  We’re getting close.  I can feel the swag coming my way. 

Hey… maybe you can make a commercial about bloggers playing ball in your shoes?  Or, more specifically, getting winded after 3 trips up the floor and then blowing out an ACL in your sneakers.  But we could make sure the sneaker is visible after I’m loaded onto the ambulance

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