Archive for May, 2008

A Lot Of People Will Be Wrong
May 31, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen… the picks are in.  Not a lot of green in there, huh? 

So there it is… the Celtics are officially the big underdog.  The 66 win, #1 in defense, 3-headed offensive threat Celtics are expected to be a mere speedbump to the one-man offenisve show that plays mediocre defense. 

A lot of people are going to have to explain why they were so wrong.  We’re going to see a lot of “in the end… the matchups just favored the Celtics” being written around the country.  We just happen to be saying it now.  The matchups favor the Celtics.

My favorite part about that graphic is that its sitting next to an Accuscore graphic showing the Celtics as 53% to 47% favorites in game 1 after running 10,000 simulations. 

Thanks to Josh for bringing this up in the comments.

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“When Did They Flip You?”
May 31, 2008

(NSFW language in clip)

I thought long and hard about how to approach the latest Bill Simmons column.  If you haven’t read it… spare yourself.  The man who gained national fame as the world’s biggest Celtics fan has written this:

Nobody is beating the Lakers this season. Not Boston, not Detroit, not anybody. They have the best team, the best player and a Hall of Fame coach. It’s really that simple. 

Now here’s where you shake your head and say, “You’re just trying to do another reverse jinx like that column about how Kevin Garnett isn’t clutch.” Fair point. That column was written for two reasons — because I thought it was an interesting debate (is clutchness in our DNA or do we acquire it through repetition?), and because I was aiming for a reverse jinx that partially absolved me for blowing an undefeated Patriots seasonfour months ago. This is different. The Lakers clearly have a better team. I believed this to be true before the playoffs and haven’t seen anything to change my mind; if anything, the first three rounds confirmed the chasm between the two teams was even larger than anyone believed. Even with homecourt advantage in the Finals, the Celtics will still be underdogs against the Lakers. And they should be.

Instead of making the case that the Lakers, as great as they’ve been, don’t match up well with the Celtics (and they don’t)… instead of extolling the virtues of a resurgent Paul Pierce and giving him some of the national spotlight… Simmons flipped to the other side.

So is there any more appropriate clip to use for what is about to happen… than Big Pussy getting whacked by Tony after they found how he was an FBI snitch? 

I’m going to follow Green 17’s lead over on Celtics blog.  I’m done with Simmons as the national voice of C’s fans.  As far as I’m concerned… he’s lost us.  You can’t give the Lakers that kind of national blowjob as we head into a Celtics-Lakers finals and expect us to sit here and take it.  After all these years and all those Celtics pieces… he’s finally got his chance to finally be our point-man… and he’s giving it away.  I don’t care if this is some kind of super reverse-jinx in which you really claim you’re not reverse-jinxing. 

Hey Bill… jinxes don’t exist.  Your column didn’t make the Pats lose.  And it won’t make the C’s lose. 

I think the Celtics ARE going to win the championship.  And you’ll be remembered now as the guy who flipped when it counted.

Just Like (Very) Old Times
May 31, 2008

Over the next five days we’ll be beaten over the head with stories of this renewed rivalry. Magic vs Bird. McHale’s clothesline of Kurt Rambis. Henderson stole the ball. Magic’s baby sky hook. Some will reach back even further to the 60s. For an old bastard like myself, this is heaven. But I also realize a majority of Red’s Army readers were probably born in the 80s. So we’ll do our best to spare you the nostalgia.

The Celtics series clinching victory in Detroit was clutch…to say the least. Here’s Bob Ryan’s take:

There are no more questions. The Celtics have closed the deal. They have not only won an elimination game in the Eastern Conference finals, they have done so with a monster comeback, a fourth-quarter performance that will go down in Celtics history. They have won a big playoff game on the road and they have won it in a style that the Russells, Cousys, Havliceks, and Birds could be proud of.

Nice to have that monkey off our back. Like it or not, the Celtics are underdogs in the Finals. Everyone is caught up in Kobe-mania. The Lakers mowed through the West and rightfully deserve credit. But as we all know and usually forget – defense wins championships. The Lakers don’t play it – the Celtics play it the best. For now, I’m basking in the glow of last night’s win. John and I will hammer you with breakdowns (Gasol vs Garnett), matchups (Is the Lakers bench really better than Boston’s?) and predictions (Celtics in 6) over the next few days.

Today’s Links (Sorry, I can’t post them all): Globe –  A Green Dream | He Posed a Problem for Pistons | Pierce’s Wait is Over | Herald – Beat LA! | Doc Rivers: Best Man for Boston | Lakers-Celtics: It’s Fantastic | Daily Dime – Celts Snatch Series | SI.com Good to be Green | LA Times: Dream Finals are Greenlighted | Watch Trophy Presentation | Watch the Truth Destroy Detroit |

One final note: David Stern is an ass. Starting Finals games at 9:17 pm is absurd. It sucks for me and any other working guy not to mention the 12-year-old diehards who won’t be able to watch the second half. But as long as Stern is happy with the NBA being the 3rd most popular sport (behind NFL and MLB) in America, than why change? 

A second final note: You all know we love the Laker fans who spout off in our comments section. But if you keep bringing those expletive-filled, hate-based tirades – you will be banned.

More Photos
May 31, 2008

paul pierce

More photos from your EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPION BOSTON CELTICS!!!!!!

This is so awesome.  A year ago we were praying for Greg Oden.  Now Paul Pierce is kissing trophies.  You fans deserve this moment.  You also deserve a parade.  I’ll see you there.

(all photos courtesy AP / Getty Images)

doc rivers

(more…)

B-B-Bye Bye, Dee-troit
May 30, 2008

I must admit, after Detroit dropped 31 on the Celtics in the 3rd quarter and Bennett Salvatore robbed Paul Pierce of a 4-point play by calling the worst offensive foul in the history of the NBA, I started preparing some negative rants for this blog. While I may have quit, the Celtics surely didn’t. A 23-6 run turned a 10-point deficit into a 7 point lead. Pierce (27 pts, 8 reb) dropped 13 huge points but there were so many key plays by different players.

-Rajon Rondo with a big steal off Rasheed Wallace with 5 minutes left and his 20-footer with 2:33 to go gave the C’s the 7 point lead, 83-76.

-James Posey stole the ball from Tayshaun Prince after Detroit gained possession down 4 with 1:39 left. This was the play that broke Detroit’s back.

-Kendrick Perkins swatted away a Chauncey Billups layup with 1:23 to go.

-Doc Rivers deserves credit for playing James Posey instead of Ray Allen for most of the 4th quarter.

-My favorite scene: Watching those lame-ass Pistons fans quitting on their team, leaving the arena with Detroit down just 6 points with :35 left.

Box Score | Recap

Here’s a few other pictures from the post-game celebrations:

KG and Russell
May 30, 2008

The Garbage Time All Stars have done it again… with their cartoon take on KG’s conversations with Bill Russel.  It’s currently up on Yahoo’s Ball Don’t Lie Blog.

Red Hated Flopping
May 30, 2008

This is one of the greatest clips you’ll ever see… and it comes to us courtesy of BulletsForever.

Here is Red Auerbach… lamenting the new practice of flopping in the NBA.  Let me tell you… he doesn’t like it one bit. 

My favorite part is when he brings in Mendy Rudolph… former Dean of NBA Referees (and who Red calls one of the great officials of all time) to break down the flop that he has set up on the tape:

“as soon as the contact came, Mike [Riordan… who is demonstrating the flop] does some Hollywood acting.  And the best thing the officials can do in this case, Red, is to ignor the play and don’t even call it.”

Hmmm…. I wonder where I heard that argument before

So take a memo, NBA Officials.  It’s not just douchebag Celtics-crazed blogger that is saying you should have the sack to no-call a flop… it’s one of the greatest officials of all time, too. 

Thanks, Red.

Stephen A. Smith Makes Me Want To Vomit
May 30, 2008

I know… what is it this time??

One year ago today, Kobe Bryant pulled his big douchebag move and demanded a trade from the Lakers.  Now, one year later, the Lakers are in the finals.  Now everyone’s blowing Kobe because he led his team to the finals… including Stephen A. Smith on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning (audio link):

“I don’t think this has ever happened in my lifetime, not that I can think of.  I can’t think of anybody that had had such a complete 180 occur in their career.  To consider how despondent he was… you gotta remember I had spoken to him a couple of days prior to him coming on my radio  show last year and announcing to the world that he wanted to be traded and for exactly a year later to be in the situation where he’s the reigning league MVP… where he’s on his way to the NBA finals… where its entirely possible and likely that he’ll capture an NBA world championship just two months removed from leading the United States to a gold medal… considering all the things he’s accomplished and the metamorphosis that has taken place in regards to his image… I’ve never seen anything like it, I really haven’t.  But its a tribute to him… its unprecedented… its miraculous… but you talk about the American Dream and how anything is possible… definitely… when you look at what has transpired with him over the last year you can’t argue.  As Don King will tell you… only in America.”

Where do I start?

Kobe Bryant was an MVP candidate last year who led his team to a 7th seed.  Afterwards, he dickishly took his trade demands to YouTube.  This year, he won the MVP and led his team to a 1 seed. 

Where, pray tell, is the turn around?  Where, kind sir, is this miraculous, unprecedented American Dream? 

The Lakers, after improved play from Andrew Bynum, the return of a stabilizing force in Derek Fisher, and a trade that most people consider so lopsided that they half-jokingly called for an investigation… have made the NBA finals.  Turnaround? 

Dare I say that this was expected from Kobe Bryant and the Lakers? 

This wind-bag hyperbole fest is exactly why people like me hate Stephen A. Smith.  To flat out say that a perennial MVP candidate experienced some kind of metamorphosis simply because his GM had enough smarts not to trade him for pennies on the dollar is one of the most ridiculous arguments that I’ve ever heard.  Congratulations to Kobe for coming out and actually playing up to his potential after not getting traded. 

Stephen A…. that’s not a turnaround… Kobe simply did his job.  He had a great season.  He deserved the MVP.  His team dserved to be in the Finals.  But this was NOT a turnaround.

I guarantee you this:  Paul Pierce won’t get this kind of blowjob on ESPN if the C’s advance.  Meanwhile… he was the beneficiary of a similar trade… he also hinted at trade demands in the offseason… but he has ZERO championships… he didn’t force the trade of one of the best players of all time… and unlike Kobe’s Lakers… the Celtics were the SECOND WORSE TEAM IN THE LEAGUE LAST YEAR!  Yet, Paul Pierce rededicated himself to defense… accepted two superstars with open arms and played the most unselfish ball of his career… and when it mattered most… he out-dueled LEBRON FRIGGIN JAMES in the biggest game of his life. 

So Mr. Smith… when if you went this ga-ga over Kobe Bryant’s “turnaround”… I can’t wait to see how insane you get when it comes time to recognize what Paul Pierce has done.  If you care to mention him at all.

Hamilton Will Play
May 30, 2008

Rip Hamilton says he’s a go for Game 6

“I have no choice. This is do or die,” Hamilton, who suffered a strained right elbow near the conclusion of the Pistons’ Game 5 loss in Boston, said after the team’s shootaround Friday.

“Once I get out there and the adrenaline is going, I’ll be fine,” Hamilton said. “I told my teammates, ‘Don’t look at me as handicap.’ … I’m fine. I’m ready to roll.”

Doesn’t sound like he’s very healthy to me.  Maybe its worth a good, hard foul to see how healthy that arm really is.

Pistons Perception
May 30, 2008

It’s always good to peek outside your own bubble, and by bubble I mean the Boston sports media scene. Fans of New England teams are generally beaten over the head with negativity and tales of curses – even during the good years. While admitting the Celtics have been anything but a juggernaut this postseason, I firmly believe the media has gone overboard with it’s skepticism. Along with that skepticism comes “overhype” for the opposing team. There aren’t many locals who think the Celtics can hang with the Pistons in a Game 7. Maybe they should read what the Detroit media – particularly what Mitch Albom has to say:

Since winning the NBA title in 2004, they have been known to: 1) Steal playoff games. 2) Throw away playoff games. 3) Win strong on the road. 4) Lose ugly at home. 5) Go longer than needed against inferior teams. 6) Oust challengers in seven games. 7) Watch certain stars drift off the stage. 8) Stay cool. 9) Lose their cool. 10) Face elimination. 11) Say they like the pressure. And 12) Get eliminated anyhow.

So Rasheed Wallace, heard Wednesday night in the locker room cursing a blue streak, will have to play, not scowl, his way to redemption. And Tayshaun Prince, understandably tired from his defensive burdens, will have to find aggression and a shooting touch if he wants another game this season. And Billups, a puzzling force this series, will have to earn his Mr. Big Shot reputation, not just hear it.

For all the bravado, here is who these Pistons really are: a team that, like late-arriving passengers, stuffs all its baggage into one huge suitcase and tries to hoist it through a closing door.

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I’ve been a bit sensitive to Celtics criticism this postseason. It’s just nice to know the guys wearing blue-and-red have their faults too.