Archive for March, 2008

That Crazy KG Crawl Thing
March 31, 2008

kevin garnett crawlingThe one thing that people wanted to see most after Friday night’s game was Kevin Garnett, down on all fours, guarding David West.

I haven’t seen a single photo out there from any of the professional services… so I did the best I could do:  Pull a series of stills from the Comcast SportsNet broadcast.

Sorry that it looks like something from the old NBA Live ’95… but its the best I could do.

In the sequence… its KG facing up David West… then doing the “hands on the floor” defense thing…

…. and then he does this weird, down on all fours insanity before getting back up.  Of course, KG remembers none of this… which is just simply amazing.

Not pictured:  David West scoring.

Shift Feet, Score More
March 31, 2008

 paul piece

 paul pierce

How many times did we hear it in prior years… “Paul Pierce can’t hit clutch free throws”?  It was one of the big knocks on Pierce’s game.  It was hard to argue.  His free throw average was in the high 70’s… but it dropped a few points late in the game over the past few years. 

But you don’t hear that anymore, do you? 

Paul Pierce has changed a lot about his game this year.  He’s been unselfish (his scoring is 3 points below his career average, but his shooting% and assists are higher).  He’s clearly playing better defense.  But his biggest change… and one that no one’s talked about… is his free throw shooting.

Paul is a career 79.5% free throw shooter.  This year:  84.6%  And there’s a simple reason why.

Watch his feet.

In years past, Paul went to the line… put his left foot slightly back from the line… bent a little at the knees… and shot.  This year, he’s got that left foot way back.  He’s also crouching a bit more. But why?

The past few years, Paul had gotten into a bad habit of shooting his free throw and fading away from the line.  By the time the ball hit the rim, he was practically at the top of the key.  That’s a sign of bad balance… and its enough to make the shot bounce out, rather than bounce in. 

By putting that left foot back and bending more, he changes his center of gravity and maintains his balance throughout the shot… preventing himself from fading away.  Just look a the second set of photos.  In the 2006 photo, when he brings the ball up to shoot… his weight is over his heels… almost forced him to fade backwards when he shot.  Now… his weight is forward… over his knee. 

Now, a shot that grazes the front of the rim and goes in… where it used to hit the front of the rim, bounce up, and sometimes out. 

Its that simple.  Shifting that left foot back and bending the knees… is good for an extra 5% of Paul Pierce’s free throws going in. 

Herald:  C’s in a different league  |  Doc:  the future is now  |  Globe:  Celts happy to frolic in field of dreams  |  Riley, Rivers have different views on tourney  |  Souza: C’s take care of business  |  Camerato:  Another record for C’s  |  Palm Beach Post:  Riley should scout NBA  |  T&G:  C’s don’t break a sweat  |  Patriot Ledger:  Big Chill 

Never in Doubt
March 30, 2008

This game was over :30 seconds after the opening tip. Seriously. The Celtics ran out to a ridiculous 22-4 lead and never looked back. Neither did I. Can you blame me, considering Davidson was giving Kansas a run for their money? So the Celtics beat the Heat 88-62. Not a single starter played more than 25 minutes. In fact, Leon Powe played a game high 27 minutes and scored a game high 17 points and pulled down a game high 13 rebounds. Way to go Leon!!!

Box Score | Recap

This Ain’t Ever Happening Again
March 30, 2008

This video is awesome and depressing at the same time.   Its awesome because its everything sports should be.  The crowd piling onto the floor to celebrate a championship… the General Manager talking crap about the losing team when he holds up the trophy… David Stern’s mustache.  But what’s depressing is that this scene won’t ever happen again.  It’s especially bad news for Chuck… because he was planning to do exactly what the guy was doing at the :55 mark.

Reduce Minutes, Win Games
March 30, 2008

After months of begging, I finally caved and agreed to meet Doc Rivers for dinner. Hopefully now, he’ll understand how to handle player rotations (Yes, I’m still beating this drum). My direct order for the games remaining on this cakewalk schedule (Miami, Chicago, Indiana, Charlotte, Washington, Milwaukee (2), Atlanta, NY, NJ): limit KG, PP and Ray-Ray to a maximum of 32 minutes. That’s 8 minutes per quarter. Under those conditions, you are able to give Sam Cassell, PJ Brown, Tony Allen and Big Baby significant minutes, while winning the game. 

Other random thoughts:

I really feel sorry for anyone going to today’s game against the Heat. Here’s the starting 5 Miami rolled out for their last game against Detroit: Kasib Powell, Earl Barron, Chris Quinn, Ricky Davis & Mark Blount. On second thought, limit the Big 3’s minutes to 24 for this one.

The Cavs are reeling. They’re 4-6 in their last ten games. At 40-33 they are just two games ahead of Washington and Toronto. Ben Wallace is hurting. Sorry LeBron, in my mind you’re no more an MVP candidate than Caron Butler or Chris Bosh. (Thanks to Fire Doc Tim for bringing this to my attention.)

The news is even better out of LA. The Lakers are 5-5 in their last ten, which includes back to back losses to Charlotte and Memphis. In that Grizzlies loss, Kobe dropped 53 but just 2 came in the final 8 minutes. Add Derek Fisher to the list of walking wounded, he tore a tendon in his foot.

Today’s Links: Globe: Cassell To Coach Next Season? |  C’s Challenge is Motivation | Herald: C’s Hit Easy Street| Celtics vs Heat Preview | Eagle-Trib: Rondo Surpassing Expectations | Patriot Ledger: C’s On Cruise Control | Isaiah “J.R” Rider Arrested Again| Nuggets Leapfrog Warriors Out West|

KG Might Be A Little Crazy
March 29, 2008

kevin garnettBut in a good way.

Late in the 3rd quarter… Kevin Garnett got down on all fours in a wild, “I’m ready to rip your throat out” defensive stance on David West (West actually scored on the play… but that’s beside the point).  People in the Garden seemed to enjoy it. 

We’d love to post the photo of it… if we could find it (anyone?)… even if its just to prove to KG that he actually did it.  He doesn’t seem to remember it.

“The messed-up thing is that sometimes I do things on the floor that I don’t even remember, and that might have been one of them”

It’s one of the more memorable moments of the game… and the man who did it doesn’t remember it. 

Do you realize how intense you have to be for that to happen? 

Forget intense.  KG apparently reaches some sort of higher plane… an alternate world in which only he exists.  Where every 1 second to us is 5 seconds to him.  Where the crowd is just white noise and the only discernible sounds are his teammates voices and the squeak of sneaker on parquet.  Down on all fours?  KG doesn’t know.  He might as well be levitating.  All he knows is there’s a blob of humanity in front of him wearing a jersey that doesn’t match his… and he’s got to do anything to stop it. 

People wonder if there’s another gear for him to reach in the playoffs… but how could there be?  Doc Rivers understands… we’re in great shape getting what we’re getting from KG right now.

“I don’t know if he has another gear. I’m fine with where he’s at,” Rivers said. “If he can stay at this level, I’m gonna be pretty happy.”

Even if there was some sort of new level for KG… what would we call it?  50th gear?  How can we ask if KG can go higher than where he is… when we don’t even really understand where he is to begin with?

We continue to learn more about this guy on an almost daily basis.  Maybe he’s not the MVP this year… but that’s only because the MVP award isn’t good enough for him.  Everyone else can battle for that trophy if they want.  Something new has to be created for KG… not that he’d remember getting the award anyway.

Herald: No MVP in Green  |  Celtics beat all comers  |  Globe:  Celts handle Hornets  |  Rondo proves his point  |  Anderson’s road to recovery  |  Camerato:  Record setting win  |  Souza:  The Tony Allen dilemma  |  Clean sweep  |  Hoopsworld: Stern-no changes in playoff format  |  T&G:  Paul is Byron Scott’s MVP  |  Celtics stake #1 claim  |  Megliola: Great night to be at The Garden  |  Taunton Daily Gazette:  Nothing left to prove  

And finally… a photo from last night’s game: 

the redsarmy.com crew

 That’s WBZ reporter David Robichaud, Chuck, me, and our buddy Mike Pueschel.  I’d like to personally thank Robi’s brother for being forgetful.  He forgot to get a babysitter… which means Robi got his brother’s season tickets… and that means we were there to witness a great (and historic) win.  Feel free to forget more often… other Robi.

Got ‘Em All
March 28, 2008

kevin garnettWhat a great time at the Garden tonight. 

The Celtics used another second half lockdown to blow past the West leading New Orleans Hornets 112-92. 

Paul Pierce had 27 points (13-13 FT), KG had 21 points and 13 rebounds, and Rajon Rondo had 17 points (8-10 fg).

The Hornets were shooting 50% at halftime…. but the C’s D shut them down… and chopped that number down to 44% by the end of the game.  The C’s gave up 36 points in the second quarter… they gave up 32 in the second half.

A few things I noticed as I sat 10 rows from the court:

  • Tyson Chandler is built exactly like Kevin Garnett.  Funny how two guys who look exactly the same can be such different players.
  • Rajon Rondo waved away a pick from Paul Pierce so he could take Chris Paul 1-on-1 on the baseline.  And he ended up scoring.  Later in the game, Chris Paul went to the line to chants of “Over-rated”
  • The MVP chants started faintly early in the game for Paul Pierce (from section 313 I think)… and it spread through a lot of the Garden by the end of the game
  • When the Patriots play a team tight in the first half and then blow a team away in the third quarter… I hear a ton of gushing about how that’s a sign of a great coaching staff making adjustments.  I’m just sayin’

So there it is… we’ve beaten every team in the NBA with this win tonight.  The regular season essentially ended tonight.  We’ve accomplished all we can.  The rest of this is padding stats and figuring out the second team.

Box Score  |  Recap

Going To The Game!!
March 28, 2008

Here’s the good thing about being a mega-Celtics geek… people who know how much of a fan you are think of you first when they get tickets. 

And so goes the story of how I’m going to the last big regular season game of the year.  Yep…. I’ll be sitting somewhere in the loge area tonight watching the C’s cross of the last victim on their list this season.  That means the post-game update will be later than usual.   For those of you who want to talk during the game… there’s always a good conversation going on in our forums.  You gotta register… but its FREE!

Oden Is An Idiot
March 28, 2008

It’s been six months since Greg Oden had microfracture surgery on his knee. Since he’s considered the next-greatest center, Portland is being extremely cautious with his rehab. Too bad Oden isn’t doing the same. Despite the fact the team has cleared him to only participate in light drills, Oden decided to play in two pick-up games at a fitness center the other night:

We heard about that, and I talked to him today,” coach Nate McMillan said. “I let him know he can’t do that.”

“I know he is excited to be moving again, but as I talked to him about it he said ‘Coach, I promise I wasn’t running hard …’. And I was like — ‘I really don’t care’,”‘ McMillan said. “The thing is, we were surprised. So we let him know that he doesn’t need to be there. We have plenty of workout equipment and gym space at our facility.”

After Oden took part in two pickup games Wednesday night, one of the participants went home and posted an account on the Internet. By Thursday morning, word had gotten back to the Blazers, who were in Oakland, Calif., for a game against Golden State. McMillan said he then called Oden.

He’s also banned from allowing chicks to grind their ass up against him. I just can’t get enough of that picture.

West Is The Best Conference, East Has The Best Teams
March 28, 2008

rajon rondo burns chris paulTonight… the best team in the Eastern Conference hosts the best of the West.  And while the the Celtics have gone wire-to-wire as the top seed in the East, the West has been a merry-go-round of top seeds.  The Lakers lost last night, and dropped 3 spots in the playoff standings.  Utah was a top seed not too long ago… and now they’re fourth.  The spread between the 1 through 8 seeds in the West (5.5 games) is the same as the spread between the Celtics and Pistons.

That means the Western Conference is better, top-to-bottom, than the East.  But just because the West has more contenders… it does not mean those teams are better than the Celtics or Pistons. 

For some reason… people seem to believe more good teams in one conference mean individual teams out West would be better than the teams in the East.  But the fact that Golden State has a good record has no bearing on whether the Jazz can beat the Celtics or Pistons.  The Nuggets being out of the playoffs out West while they could be a 4 seed in the East doesn’t really fix any of the matchup problems the Hornets might have against the Celtics. 

And dropping the “they’re better because they play better competition” line doesn’t hold much water either.  So what if the Lakers play a couple more games against Phoenix?  Is that somehow supposed to get them more prepared to play Boston?   These are NBA players here.  As bad as the Knicks are… you still have to guard talented guys like Jamal Crawford when you play them.  The Celtics and Pistons aren’t playing Gonzaga every night.   They have to give the same effort and execute the same way… because even bad NBA teams have good NBA players… with NBA strength and NBA speed.

The best evidence comes from the Celtics 24-5 record against the West… better than any Western team’s record against the East (Detroit is 20-8 vs. the West).  And a few of those 5 came with a rusty, post-injury KG trying to get back into form… so the record could be even better.

Are there more very good teams out West?  Obviously.  But that doesn’t give any individual teams any more of an advantage against the best teams in the NBA… which happen to play here in the East.

Herald: Shot at big turnaround  |  Pierce on plate for great 8  |  Globe:  Paul has Hornets buzzing  |  TrueHoop:  Chris Paul & LeBron teammates?  |  Souza:  Celtics have another shot at history  | Patriot Ledger:  Celtics show how West was won  |  Rondo ready for Paul  |   USA Today:  Posey carves out role with Celtics  |  Fall River Herald News:  Bill Russell on offensive at fundraiser  |  Pistons seal Central Division  |  Hilarious video of Andrew Bogut high-fiving…. no one