Archive for November, 2008

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 |

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Nothing To Write Home About
November 29, 2008

Copyright 2008 NBAE (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)

Copyright 2008 NBAE (Photo by Brock Williams-Smith/NBAE via Getty Images)

I’ve been thinking of the best way to describe this game… and the best thing I could come up with is…

Nothing.

This game had a whole lotta nothing going on.  There was no flow to it.  No stand-out performance.  No real exciting moment.  The last 2 minutes almost became a duel between Gerald Wallace and Paul Pierce… but that never had enough time to materialize.  Overall, this game was really kinda boring.  But I’ll take a boring 89-84 win over a boring loss. 

Here’s what went wrong:

Ray Allen got cold.  15 points on 5-11 shooting isn’t bad… but 1-7 from 3 is.  I’m not going to kill the guy for it, though.  There was no possible way he’d keep up his scorching pace.  He just got cold.

So did KG.  4-12 from the field… and a lack of aggressiveness.  When it came to making a choice to go to the hole or pull up… he pulled up.

Rajon Rondo didn’t control the game.  His 9 assists are actually surprising.  It felt like a 4 or 5 assist game from him.  He didn’t consistently control the tempo of the game.  He just pushed it in stretches.  

I guess you can blame the back-to-back for those things.  Here’s what went right:

Perk was Perk.  15 points and 12 rebounds for the Beast.  He also had a few big blocks.  

Pierce did just enough.  19 points on 6-14 shooting is a decent night.  He came out early looking like he was going to go nuts.  Then he didn’t do anything for a while.  Then he showed up at the end to take over, hit a couple of shots and free throws… and he found KG for the capper.

Tony Allen provided a lift.  To me, Tony Allen was the key to this win.  The Celtics were flat all night long, except when TA was in the game.  He clearly had more energy than anyone else.  11pts on 4-7 shooting, along with 3 assists and 3 steals (and 3 very Tony Allen turnovers) doesn’t look huge… but I think Tony was the player of the game.

The Celtics really had plenty of opportunities to run away with this game… and they never did.  For a 5 point win, this sure felt like it could have been a blowout.  In the end… the Celtics played sloppy and unenthused while letting the other team shoot 48%… and they still managed to come away with their 8th straight win.

Box Score  |  Recap

League Of Clutch… Scal Style
November 29, 2008

This has been out there for a little while, but I haven’t seen it yet.  And I figured with Scal’s recent resurgence… this would be appropriate.  Maybe now he can replace Ray Allen in the Big 3.

Thanks to my buddy Pish for passing this along.

Old School KG Ad… In Korean
November 29, 2008

From back in the day… when KG was with Nike.

This might be best viewed in a mind-altered state.  Bookmark it and comeback when you have the munchies.

Winning without The Truth
November 29, 2008

Check out Paul Pierce’s numbers over the last five games – all Celtics wins, of course:

30.2 min, 16-43 FG, 2-13 3FG, 5.4 reb, 11.8 points

His minutes are down because the Celtics are blowing out teams. No problem with that. You can’t complain about the 11 points per game, because the Celtics have become a balanced team offensively. (Thank you Rajon Rondo.) I guess you could bitch about the shooting percentage. At 40%, he’s tied his career low. Is it because the lack of consistent touches keeps him from maintaining a rhythm? Maybe. But I wouldn’t worry.

When the Truth needs to take over games – he does. Just ask Cleveland, Toronto (The Mother Fffin Truth Part I), Atlanta (The Mother Fffin Truth Part II) and Milwaukee – all teams stung by his greatness this season. Not to mention, he’s busting his ass on the defensive end.

Looks like the kids, Bill Walker and J.R. Giddens, are enjoying themselves in the NBDL. Giddens had 19 pts, 12 reb and the game-winning baseline jumper in a win over Austin. Walker had 23 pts and 8 rebounds.

Today’s Links: Globe – Celts Deep-Six 76ers | Division Minus the Race | Pruitt Sick, Cassell Activated | Herald – Celts Make Pretenders Out Of ContendersRay the Bright Light | Pierce Wants It All – Again | ESPN – Lakers Beat Mavs | Top 20 Expiring Contracts

And LeBron James had some words for Charles Barkley who told him to “shut the hell up” when asked about the 2010 free-agency.

A few weeks back, we ran a poll asking fans what they would do if they won a championship ring via the Shamrock Foundation raffle: 40% of you would wear it daily. Personally, I see nothing wrong with flaunting the bling.

Domination
November 28, 2008


Copyright 2008 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Sixers were supposed to be a challenger.  The Sixers were supposed to be a threat to knock the king off his throne.  Tonight, the Sixers were the chum… and the Celtics were the sharks.

The Celtics destroyed the Sixers from the jump.  The only quarter in which the Sixers managed any sort of offense was the meaningless 4th quarter.  The best fast-breaking team in the league managed quarters of 16, 12 and 19 points tonight… and they could do nothing to slow down the C’s.

Ray Allen (23 pts, 10-15 fg, 3-5 3pt) was blazing hot.  He put up 15 points in the 3rd quarter alone.  I think there were 3 or 4 straight possessions where Ray scored.  Setting him up was Rajon Rondo… who is on the verge of putting up triple doubles all over the place.  His line tonight:  6 pts, 6 reb, 12 assists, 3 stl, 1 turnover.  Rajon was dominant.  He completely controlled the game, taking full advantage of Andre Miller… who simply cannot keep up with a guy like Rondo.

This game also featured the sequence of the year:  Late 3rd quarter… Perkins comes up with a monster rejection… the ball gets up to Rajon Rondo… who throws the alley oop to KG (for his 3rd dunk in as many possessions).  Absolutely awesome.  The game ended on that play.  I’ll be looking for that on YouTube.

You know… I remember once upon a time that Paul Pierce scoring 6 points and going 1-6 from the field meant a 40 point loss.  Tonight, the game was never in doubt.  It’s killing my fantasy team… but I’ll take it.

Best stat of the night:  Ray Allen’s 30 minutes of playing time was the MOST on the team.  Absolutely perfect for the Celtics as they head into another game tomorrow night.

Box Score |  Recap

Vote Rondo
November 28, 2008

I’m officially launching the campaign right now.  It’s the third quarter of an ugly destruction of the Philadelphia 76’ers… and Rajon Rondo is just doing whatever he wants.  6 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists into this game… it’s time to get Rajon Rondo into the All Star game.  Click here to vote.  Other bloggers can steal the image if you want.  Just get Rondo into the All Star game.

The Lakers Are Setting Up For Failure
November 28, 2008

The Lakers are trying to figure out how to beat the Boston Celtics.  It’s the only thing on their minds.  ‘How can we beat the Celtics’… ‘how can we avoid being embarrassed again?’…

And their answer is: defense.

“The thought process is that you want to win a championship. In order to beat a Boston, you’ve got to be a better defensive team than Boston,” Kobe Bryant said. “If you want to hoist that trophy at the end of the year, we’ve got to be a great defensive team. That’s the only way to get it done.”

And I’ll admit, the Lakers have been playing better defense this year.  The beauty of this is that they’re setting themselves up to get smoked again.  The reason is their over-reliance on zone defense.

“Kurt’s been pestering me for a year or so about doing some things defensively that I was reluctant to do,” Jackson said. “I come from the old school where you play man [defense], and you have that man and that’s your primary goal.”

The Lakers now use a lot of zone principles and try to keep the ball on one side of the court.

They put pressure on the ballhandler to try to force him to a particular side and then often overload the area by sending an extra defender to stand down near the post, essentially shifting the defense from man-to-man to zone.

The problem with this is the Celtics have Rajon Rondo… and the Lakers have no one on their team that can force Rajon to do anything he doesn’t want to do.  Even if he goes where they want, and they shift into a zone, he can split any defenders they throw at him and set up camp in the lane.  Once he’s there, he can pick the guy he wants to pass to.

Beyond that, one back-pick on the opposite side will open up wide open shots.  One skip pass later and the whole thing falls to crap.  So enjoy your modest success while it lasts, Lakers.  I look forward to demolishing your easily-exploited defense on Christmas day.

As for today:  We’ll get our first look at the Elton Brand-led Sixers.  This will be a good test for the C’s.  The Sixers match up well against the  Celtics… and this might come down to bench vs. bench in the end.  Then again, the Sixers haven’t quite figured out how to play with each other… so they might have some lapses that let the Celtics blow this thing open.

Herald:  Doc plenty thankfulPosey lifts Hornets |  Globe:  Allen needed a lift last yearWyc energized by Celtics |  Camerato:  76ers-Celtics preview |  Patriot Ledger:  Brand adds concern for CelticsRondo bringing game to new heightsIverson fined for skipping practiceMarbury suspended

Thanksgiving Turkeys
November 27, 2008

That, my dear friends, is what is known as a Turbaconducken.  It is, of course, a turkey, stuffed with a duck, that was stuffed with a chicken… and the whole thing is wrapped in bacon.  Today, someone will eat that.  Tomorrow, that person’s heart will explode.  (via frumpzilla)

So in the spirit of the holidays, and this disgusting… thing… I present you the turkeys of the NBA so far.

Cap-clearing GM’s:  Half the league is clearing a ton of cap space for the mythical 2010 free agent class.  To me, it makes no sense because it’s 2 years away and ANYTHING can happen.  What if the Cavs reach the NBA finals in the next two years?  Will LeBron really leave that for a Knicks team that has sucked for two years?  The ONLY thing that can raise LeBron’s profile, and earning potential, is a ring.  It’s not like he’s toiling in obscurity in Cleveland.  Meanwhile, ANY team he goes to will be totally rebuilding around him because half their roster will be gone.  A lot of teams are going to get really screwed in 2 years.

Clay Bennett: Your reward for screwing over Seattle so you can high-tail it to OKC?  A crappy team name, a 1-15 start and boos at home.

Stephon Marbury: The Knicks and Stephon have been battling it out all season long.  Now, he’ s flat out refusing to play.  I prefer to remember Steph this way (after skipping to the 2:35 mark).

Mitch Kupchak: Everyone’s drooling over the Lakers right now, but they STILL haven’t addressed their most pressing need: toughness.  After getting punched in the gut by the Celtics, the only move Kupchack made was giving Andrew Bynum about $15 million a year.  His current averages:  11. 5 points, 9 rebounds.  Not exactly $15 million player numbers.  So yippee… the Lakers are 12-1.  They’ve played exactly ONE team that plays physical basketball:  Detroit.  They lost that game.  Yes, that means something.

Enjoy your turkey!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Examiner:  As Rajon Rondo goes…O’Bryant seems to be having same issues with C’s |  Herald:  C’s gobble up win thanks to RondoRondo stands inCeltics worry about the D‘Redhead’ Helen Heinsohn bled Celtic green |  Globe:  Celtics keep frantic paceFun to watch shooting starsNo east coast bias in this statement |  T&G:  Rondo’s star shinesHoliday dishes on Celts menuHeat score 68, lose to Blazers by 38Tony Battie (yes, that Tony Battie) scores 20 in Magic win

Take Notice
November 26, 2008

God damn, this kid has taken his game to the next level. Once the national media runs out of LeBron to NY stories, they’ll have to start writing about Rondo’s game. Check out this stat line:

22 pts, 9-15 FG, 8 reb, 7 assists, 2 stls and ZERO turnovers

This should have been a blowout, but the C’s decided to nap during the 2nd quarter. How else can you explain getting outscored 39-19? But as usual, the Celtics roared back after the half, lead by Rondo’s 15 3rd quarter points. Ray had his stroke tonight – 25 pts, 5-7 3FG. Overall the bench play was weak, except for Tony Allen who chipped in with 9 points while playing the entire 4th quarter as Doc countered the Warriors small lineup.

Box Score | Recap

After the jump, some great pics of KG doing his thing…

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