Celtics In 6
June 4, 2008

WhatIfSports has run 10,000 simulations of the NBA finals… and the result:

It’s the series that we have all been waiting for and if the WhatIfSports.comsuper computer, which is on a roll after correctly picking the NCAA tournament Final Four, Championship and Champion, is correct, the Boston Celtics will take home their 17th NBA Championship. We have simulated the NBA Finals between the Celtics and Lakers 10,000 times in order to determine the likelihood of either team winning it all. In the 11th Finals matchup of these two teams, the recently rebuilt Celtics come out on top by winning the series 64% of the time. The most common occurrence is a six game series, where Boston wins it all in its return home after three games in LA.

KG is the Finals MVP… averaging 20.3 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.7 blocks and 0.8 steals in 39.5 minutes per game.  Good enough for me.  I think it will be Celtics in 6 as well.

EVERYONE is picking the Lakers… and we know how accurate the mob mentality can be.  Everyone is in such a rush to hop onto the Lakers bandwagon… they’re blowing off obvious weaknesses.     

Also out there:  Fitzy’s wicked pissa Celtics-Lakers NBA Finals preview  |  Cuzoogle photoshops the NBA Finals  |  ‘Gasobe’ is one of the creepiest things you’ll see  |  Anatomy of the Ray Allen – Kobe Bryant feud  |  The history of the “Beat LA” chant   

And I agree with Jeff over at Celtics Blog.  Bill Simmons is backing off his obvious reverse jinx attempt of the Lakers.  But that just means Simmons believes that he has the power to influence major sporting events with the words that he writes.  I’m gonna pull a Simmons here and say that the “Lakers Are Unbeatable” reverse-jinx post is where Bill jumped the shark.

“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.

April 20, 2008

WhatIfSports.com simulated the NBA playoffs 10,000 times…. and they came up with a less than desirable result

Utah has the highest chance of winning the tournament at 21.2%.  After the Jazz, four other teams, Boston (12.8%), Phoenix (10.9%), Orlando (10.2%) and Denver (10.0%) are in the double-digit percentages for championship likelihood. The top-seeded Lakers win it all 6.3% of the time, while the defending champion Spurs do it just once every 30 or so times. Every team, including Atlanta, wins the championship at least 0.4% of the time – or at least 40 out of 10,000 tries.

I’m not big into these simulations.  But I hate anything that suggests we aren’t holding a parade in June.  Also from the “F-You files”…. which was brought to light by PerkIsABeast.com:  Bill Simmons picked the LAKERS over Boston in the NBA Finals in his aptly named BS Report.  Am I the only one that sees that the Lakers DON’T PLAY ANY REAL TEAM DEFENSE??  Aren’t the Celtics the best defensive team in the league?  Isn’t that rule #1 in the playoffs?  Bad defensive teams get upset… good defensive teams advance. 

The lesson here:  The pressure of the NBA playoffs applies to analysts too.  They try to over-think things… and they end up talking themselves out of making the smart pick. 

I started to crucify Upside And Motor for declaring the C’s won’t win it all this way:

Paul Pierce has a tendency to dominate the ball and stop the offense, which can spell death for a team in the playoffs. Kevin Garnett consistently disappears late in games because he has no real low block post game, and resorts to shooting turn-around fadeaway jumpers almost every time he shoots the ball. Ray Allen is reduced almost to a three-point specialist on this team, and his ball handling abilities aren’t properly spotlighted because of Pierce. Rajon Rondo can’t shoot, Perkins can’t make anything besides a dunk (and sometimes he misses those), and the rest of the cast is overrated.

But then he emailed me to let me know he was doing a whole series of pieces on “why (contender) won’t win the title”… and that’s the best he could do.  So in reality… the best argument against the C’s is a totally BS one.  That’s nice.  Unfortunately… many other people, like me, thought he was really making an argument against the C’s… and many people out there agree with that crap.

So once again Celtics… you are being doubted.  May I suggest ripping the Hawks apart tonight to remind them of your dominance? 

Are You Ready?
April 16, 2008

First of all, I love this picture of Paul Pierce. It’s half-wink and half-scowl. It’s a cute way of being a bad ass. As the Celtics were toying with the New Jersey Nets (no Posey or Rondo tonight) I saw a great stat on the Comcast broacast. I’ll call them the five reasons we’re going to win the title:

  • Lowest Opponents PPG
  • Lowest Opponents FG %
  • Lowest Opponents 3 FG%
  • Fewest Fast Break Points
  • Fewest Points in the Paint

The defensive dominance of this team is staggering. As I’ve heard a billion times over the past few weeks, it’s a different game come playoff time. Well is any team better suited for playoff basketball than the Celtics? We can defend. Full-court and half-court. We can bang (Perk, Powe, PJ and Big-Baby) and play perimeter D. We can score on the break (Rondo) and perimeter (Ray, House, Pierce). We can score on the block (KG and Pierce). What can’t this team do?

Box Score | Recap

And in one of the longest columns in the history of the internet, Bill Simmons has picked KG for MVP. Here’s a snippet:

On May 22, professional basketball was effectively murdered in Boston. Garnett transformed every single facet of the franchise upon his arrival, from playing for the Celtics to coaching them to following them to owning them to working for them. What he did can’t be measured by statistics; it can’t even be measured in a few paragraphs like the section you’re reading right now. It would belittle what he did. He transformed the culture of the team. He taught everyone to care about defense, to care about practice, to care about being a professional, to care about leaving everything they had on the court, to stop caring about stats and start caring about wins. He single-handedly transformed the careers of three young players (Rajon Rondo, Leon Powe and Kendrick Perkins), one veteran (Pierce) and one coach (Doc Rivers), all five of whom could have gone the other way. He played every exhibition game like it was the seventh game of the Finals.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot about tonight’s call-in show from 10-10:30PM.


Yeah… Win Now
June 30, 2007

Danny AingeI don’t know what’s wrong with people.  Honestly.  I’m starting to think that these writers are being fed lead paint chips in the break room.  What’s setting me off now?  Mark Murphy’s piece in today’s Herald.

in trading away the fifth pick in a very deep draft last night – along with Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak (who filled the double ankle surgery matching requirement) – the Celtics just shortened their window.    Any shorter and they’ll bruise their fingers when the gap closes.

Do you have a problem with the Celtics winning now?  Because I don’t.   This is Danny’s 5th year of running the team.  How much longer are we going to give him?  Yes Danny… WIN NOW!   My favorite part of this all is the revisionist history.  Two months ago, the Celtics were too young, it was taking too long, we had too many players and they were mostly overvalued by Danny and the C’s.  Now we trade one of those young kids and a draft pick for Ray and we’re an “old team” that “suddenly needs to win now”. 

Here’s most important thing:  I did not hear anyone in March, after seeing all these guys in the NCAA tourney, say “wow… if we don’t get Oden or Durant… I’d be happy with Corey Brewer, Jeff Green, Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Brandan Wright or Al Thornton.”  No… everyone was writing and saying that it was Oden… Durant… or trade the pick.  What happened here?  Were people swayed by the workouts?  If that’s the case, then you’d better not EVER write about how a GM got duped by a “workout wonder.” 

So yeah… Danny needs to win now.  Because I’m sick of waiting.  He’s lucky he’s even getting a 5 year plan.  And let me tell you one thing: 1986 was a LOOONG time ago. 

Here’s some negative reaction to the Allen deal from John Hollinger and Bill Simmonsbut Ian Thomsen likes it

Also today (and I’ll make it quick this time): Theo Ratliff is more than just a name on a big contract.  He’s a person…. who hopes to play basketball:

“Theo can still help us. He and Perk together could really help us under the basket. Theo has been working extremely hard. He believes that he can be healthy, and I think this is going to be an important year for him, because he has a chance to earn a new contract.”

Well… that would be a nice surprise.  Shira Springer says Danny isn’t done dealing… because we can’t be a huge player in the free agent market.  And uh… what’s up with Sebastian Telfair?

Breaking News: The Sun Will Rise
June 28, 2007

greg oden and some chickPortland shocked the world stated the obvious when they told ESPN’s Rich Bucher:

Greg Oden‘s camp has been notified by the Portland Trail Blazers that they will take him with the No. 1 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft.

It goes on with the usual tripe about how hard the decision was… but I came to the same decision… and I spend my days parked in front of a computer screen while my arteries audibly harden.  Can’t have been that hard. 

Want some fun reading?  Chad Ford and Bill Simmons take turns making lottery picks and trashing each other in this unique take on a mock draft

Bill Simmons Gets It
June 20, 2007

I’m not one to always agree with what Bill Simmons writes… but he gets it in this case.

He’s doing his VP of Common Sense thing again… and he pretty much nails it with the the Celtics and what they should do with the 5th pick:

If you’re the Suns and you can win the 2008 title, you make a run at Kevin Garnett. If you’re the Celtics and have Paul Pierce, a painfully young supporting cast and a coach with a career winning percentage of .467, you don’t. Of course, this is the NBA, so the Suns are backing off and the Celtics are pursuing KG with a package that includes Al Jefferson, the No. 5 pick, Gerald Green, Wally Szczerbiak’s contract and/or Theo Ratliff’s expiring deal (for KG and possibly one more contract). It’s hard to blame them for considering the deal because, for the first time in five years, the Celtics would be relevant again. You can sell tickets with a Pierce-Garnett combo, make a few more TNT appearances, maybe even get Barkley and the “PTI” guys talking about you. After what happened in the 2007 playoffs, it’s not unrealistic to think that Pierce, KG and 10 drunks from Sullivan’s Tap could win the East next spring.

Then the common sense starts kicking in.

They’d be sacrificing every non-Pierce trading asset for superior defense at the 4-spot and a slight points/rebounding upgrade. They’d also be losing the league’s best young low-post scorer (Jefferson) for a mercurial clubhouse guy who peaked three years ago and hasn’t made the playoffs since. Seriously, would you rather pay Jefferson $4 million combined for the next two seasons, take Corey Brewer fifth (someone who could guard LeBron, Wade, Arenas and Kobe for the next 10 years), use Ratliff’s contract to pursue one more veteran (someone like Andrei Kirilenko, for instance) and build a real basketball team? Or would you rather pay Kevin Garnett $46 million over the next two seasons, flank him with Pierce and nobody else, then hope both guys somehow stay healthy for the next three years? When Kobe and Shaq won three straight titles as a two-man team, they had the likes of Robert Horry, Derek Fisher, Glen Rice, Brian Shaw, Ron Harper and Phil Jackson to help them. Do you see anyone like that on Boston’s roster from the coach on down?

Overpaying for KG looks like a classic Sonny Corleone move, a panic trade specifically pushed by people worried about their jobs, a short-term fix that gets OK’d once the owner becomes sufficiently excited about owning an NBA team that has Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce on it. So what if it’s 2007 and not 2003? We have KG and Pierce! Anytime the reason for a sports trade is, “We need to roll the dice, I’m tired of treading water, I want to be relevant again,” it’s almost like watching somebody lose for a few hours at a $25 blackjack table, then become frustrated and start betting $100 a hand. Well, you know what happens to those people? They lose. They run out of money. They slink away. And after a few seconds, somebody else sits in their seat. Which is exactly what’s going to happen here.

Anyway, I’m against the KG trade, if only for this reason: If I were running Minnesota, I’d grab Jefferson, Green and the No. 5 for KG in a cocaine heartbeat. It’s a no-brainer for them, especially when the sucky contract they’d take back (Szczerbiak) happens to be one of the most popular athletes in the history of the franchise. I want the Celtics to be on the other side of a no-brainer for once. Call me idealistic. Fortunately, as a basketball buddy pointed out last night, “You’re forgetting one thing: Why the hell would KJ want to play in Boston?” Excellent point. He’ll squash this deal in two seconds.

The VP’s verdict: Take Brewer, keep Jefferson and actively pursue Kirilenko. I’d also consider trading down three spots (for the No. 8 and No. 22) if Charlotte wants Yi and Brewer would definitely be there at No. 8.

I’d say that’s pretty good.  Of course… I’d be OK with trading the 5th pick if it meant achieving a similar effect.