The Game Changer
February 18, 2009

The Cleveland Cavaliers are making a push for Antawn Jamison. It’s a deal that might dump Wally Szczerbiak’s expiring contract in exchange for instant, no-doubt-about-it favorite status.

I’m not going to say it will be “game over” if Cleveland gets Jamison, but they’ll clearly move ahead of everyone else if they do.  They’re playing out of their minds right now, they’ve got Mo Williams playing some of the best ball of his life.  Delonte West, who was playing great before his injury, is coming back in the not-too-distant future.  And to improve things with a #2 option as potent as Jamison could simply be too much for opposing teams to handle.

The only potential saving grace is that we don’t know how LeBron will react to being the favorite.  It might be the rest of the leagues only hope that he will crumble a little under that kind of pressure.  I would highly doubt it though.

And not only would getting Jamison be a game changer for this season, it could have a ripple effect for years.  If they DO get Jamison… and if they DO win the NBA title… then why would LeBron leave in 2010?  Why wouldn’t he just try to re-up and ride this wave for as long as he could?  Why would he leave all that to go to a team that is clearly at the bottom floor and building around him all over again?

The Wiz say they’re not looking to dump Jamison’s salary.  I hope they’re being sincere.  Because I think a trade for Jamison would have an effect for them that rivals the effect the Kevin Garnett trade had for us.

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How About That Patrick O’Bryant?
October 29, 2008

Let me start by saying that I’m not launching into an over-analysis of this team after only one game.  As Chuck said in last night’s recap, these guys were understandably emotional last night.  There’s no way we can judge performances based solely on last night.

BUT…

We can look at the lack of Patrick O’Bryant as a sign of how far he still has to go.  When you leave your newly signed 7 footer on the bench to play an undersized forward against a guy pushing 8 feet tall… that says something.  We saw a sign of that the other day when Doc said there’s “Celtics speed” and then there’s “Patrick speed.” 

A lot of us liked what we saw in the preseason, and there’s no doubt he’s got the potential.  And again, let me stress that this isn’t a criticism of him or a criticism of Danny for signing him.  It’s just me calling attention to the fact that, after some positives in the preseason, O’Bryant clearly hasn’t done enough to earn any playing time yet. 

One thing we need to watch for is how he responds to a DNP in a game where he had a chance to play.  I’m sure he thought that a chance to work against a big, slow Zydrunas Ilgauskas would be perfect for him.  Now, what does he do in practice to make sure the next time Perk gets into foul trouble, he gets a chance to play?

Quick question on Perk, again playing off what Chuck said last night:  Should we just accept that this is going to be what Perk is… a foul-prone bruiser that will occasionally bust out for a big night?  I love Perk, but at what point does he stop committing some of those unnecessary fouls?

Over on Examiner.com, I look at why Paul Pierce’s display of emotion was good for the team.

And when Paul Pierce cried those tears of joy (and maybe a little relief), he also showed his younger teammates a little something about being a Celtic.

Being a Celtic is different. It IS about trying to be a member of “the club.” It IS about pouring your heart and soul into a kids game, whether you make the league minimum, or $17 million a year. It IS about showing the fans you care about what you’re doing as much as we care about what you’re doing

After the jump, today’s links, and the YouTube video of Leon Powe posterizing Delonte West

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Depressed Delonte
October 18, 2008

Boston Herald

Courtesy: Boston Herald

Despite playing for the enemy, Cavs guard Delonte West is still well liked and admired around here. He always played hurt and wasn’t afraid to take and make the tough shots. Now we’re learning that D-West is being treated for depression and a mood disorder. Everything came to a boil after West berated a high school ref working a Cavs scrimmage.

“The ugly head started to show itself again,” the 25-year-old West said. “It’s been haunting me my whole life, self-destructive behavior. Everything is going good for me – being on a great team where anything less than a championship is unacceptable this year, getting a new contract, being in a good situation. When everything is on the upside, I’m feeling the worst.

Delonte is back with the Cavs and we wish him a successful season – that hopefully ends with a loss to the Celtics in the ECF.

As for Rajon Rondo’s ankle sprain:

“I’m cool, nothing major,” Rondo said. “I’ll just get some treatment and see how it is.” Asked if he would be playing if a regular-season game was scheduled, Rondo replied, “Yeah, probably so. I really don’t even know [the cause of the injury]. I stepped sideways and came down on my ankle wrong. It was all me.”

The Celtics are taking care of their ball-boys. All 16 of them will receive a smaller version of the championship ring along with a $500 playoff share. Doc describes how and when the team made the decision:

“I went in and told the guys about who I thought deserved something,” Doc Rivers said of a meeting that was held shortly after the team’s victory parade through Boston. “I think half of them were hung over, actually, from the night before. In fact, there was one I know was definitely hung over. But it happened pretty quickly.”

Any guesses as to who the hung-over one was? I say, Paul Pierce. For the record, I’d pay the Celtics for the privilege to pick up sweaty towels and mop the floors during games.

Today’s Links: Globe – Celts Notebook | Herald – Rondo on Ice | NY Daily NewsKnicks Beat Champs

“100% By Christmas”
September 14, 2008

A lot of people were surprised when Darius Miles’ name kept popping up this offseason.  Forget the issues with his personality and play… this guy’s career was supposed to be over.
 
But apparently, according to one guy who should know, it’s far from over
 
“He is going to Boston a little sooner than we’d like,” said Grover, a fitness specialist who has trained Michael Jordan and other stars from the Attack Athletics gym in Chicago. “But, from an explosiveness and quickness standpoint, he is 80-85 percent from where he used to be, and my guess is he should be back to 100 percent by Christmas.”
He’s got to serve a 10 game drug suspension… which apparently was for some kind of of diet drug that is classified as a banned stimulant.  But if you think that’s a sign of continued immaturity… think again.  
“Everyone is always talking about championships, you see pictures of Red Auerbach and Bill Russell all around here. So, I am kind of just slowly taking everything in, staying real quiet. I don’t want to disrespect anyone in this organization.”
We’re seeing with the Celtics right now the same thing that we’ve seen with the Patriots.  Reclamation projects are dying to get here… they shut the hell up once they do… and the people who bring them in look like geniuses.  It helps that the guys are pretty much all in town already working out.
 
Did you need another reason to love Leon Powe?  I didn’t think so… but I’ll give you one anyway.
Powe said he started personal workouts in California at the end of July and put in a good six weeks of training before heading east. But it wasn’t all rest and relaxation for the third-year power forward. He hosted his low-cost ($25 for two days of instruction) Powe Folks Basketball Camp in Oakland – which he said drew about 300 kids in August – and took his entire family to the Bahamas earlier in the summer.

“We had 12, 13 people with us,” he said of the vacation. “You know, some people had never been nowhere in their lives, so I wanted to do that for them.”

And for those of us who are still Delonte West fans… the Cavs just locked him up for the next few years.  Also locked up:  Every Thunder season ticket… already.

The Spanish Interview
July 29, 2008

Paul Pierce was in Spain for the past few days and everyone’s buzzing about what he said over there.  I think it’s a big pile of nothing… but since there seems to be some reaction to it… here it is.

First… a bunch of Spurs fans are all hot and bothered by this.

Q: Is Kobe really the best player in the world?

Pierce: I don’t think Kobe is the best player. I’m the best player. There’s a line that separates having confidence and being conceited. I don’t cross that line but I have a lot of confidence in myself.

Q: Who are your top five favorite players in the NBA today?

Pierce: Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins and Paul Pierce.

There are some insane reactions in that link… people just being idiots.  But what is he supposed to say?  His favorite players are his teammates.  Perfect answer… and he loves himself too. 

Here’s more of his interview… which includes the next interesting aspect:

Q: Celtics fans have suffered a lot these last few years. Does this title signal the end of this black period?

A: I hope so, at least for as long as I am on the team. I will play there for the next five years and I hope to win each year, or at least as much as possible.

5 years?  But Paul… you’re only under contract for the next three.  That would mean………

Is it possible that Delonte West is coming back to Boston?  Supposedly we’re looking into a sign-and-trade. In other player movement news:  Ricky Davis is going to the Clippers.

The latest Carnival of the NBA is up.  Ball Don’t Lie has the “Will Ferrell” edition up right now.  Check it out.  Many good blogs have written many good things.

Open The Floodgates
July 25, 2008

All the mid-level guys who don’t think they’re mid-level guys are willing to leave the NBA to go make some bigger money in Europe.  It doesn’t hurt that most of them are European.  Add Sasha Vujacic to the mix (and if you read further in that piece… Ricky Davis is rumored to be considering it).  Oh.. and Delonte West.  Oh… and Andris Biedrins.  Oh… and Carl Landry

All it took was one.  Now that Josh Childress, a pretty good player, made good on what used to be a laughable threat… these guys now have a bargaining chip.  But like I’ve said before… David Stern has a problem on his hands.  All of these players who can only be given part of an MLE are seeing the chance to make big money somewhere else.  You say every kid aspires to be in the NBA… but they’re not going to just pass up $5, $7 or $10 million to do it. 

So what happens now?  It’s anyone’s guess.  I don’t think EVERY mid-level guy is going to take off.  But I think a few might.  But what happens when they come back in 2 years?  Will the NBA be in the same place?  will they all be fighting for the same MLE again?  Will guys who don’t deserve the MLE suddenly get it?  Will stars get less money so more is left over to sign the mid-level guys? 

I don’t know the answers… but every guy willing to skip the pond and play overseas keeps bringing up more questions.  It’s getting more interesting every day.

Celtics Don’t Care What Stern Thinks
May 15, 2008

pregame

David Stern “suggested” that teams cut out all the fireworks.  The Celtics, much to my delight, don’t seem to care much about what he’s suggesting.

“We’re going to do our usual show, get the fans fired up, get the energy behind our players,” [Celtics team president Rich] Gotham said.  “It’s been working out pretty well so far, so good in the playoffs (at) home that we’re 6-0 (now 7-0). We’re a little superstitious; we’re not going to change anything just now.”

So the fireworks will continue until David Stern makes them care.  The Cavs had to send Ben Wallace and Delonte West back to the locker room for the intros because the pyro makes Benny dizzy and Delonte go blind in one eye… spurring yet another classic quote from Delonte:

“It’s hard to play this game with one eye unless you’re a pirate”

But I don’t wanna be a pirate.

As for the actual game… I want to thank Mike Brown for playing Zydrunas Ilgauskas only 26 minutes last night.  I mean… all he does is clog the middle and make Rajon Rondo think twice about launching floaters in the lane.  I watched Rondo make a move… get to the middle… and turn and run from Big Z like a scared puppy.

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Not Worried
May 11, 2008

kevin garnettPardon me while I quote myself:

In the end… the matchups favor the Celtics.  The defense is just way too much.  LeBron is good for a win by himself.  Their shooters can get hot and win another one.  Celtics in 6. 

Well… last night was all about “the other 4 guys.”  LeBron shot 5-16 for another crappy shooting night.  But he had 8 assists… because everyone else was making shots… especially Joe Smith (7-8, 17 points) and  Delonte West (7-11, 21 points).  Does anyone expect those guys to shoot like that again?  

My biggest problem with the C’s last night wasn’t that they lost.  I think a lot of people expected a loss.  Its that they gave up too many offensive rebounds (which is a strength of Cleveland’s) and the offense got way too stagnant way too often.  I think I speak for most people when I say I’m a little sick of Sam Cassell turning into a black hole when he’s in the game.  Its ok if he shoots… but how about working the ball around a little, huh Sam?  And someone tell Rajon that those little baseline jumpers he was hitting in the 3rd quarter (when the C’s cut a 20+ point lead down to 12) are the shots he needs to make early in the game. 

So don’t put any stock in the “they can’t win on the road” mess that people will be talking today.  Game 3 was about their role players playing out of their minds.  There’s no way that can be sustained.  Maybe LeBron will step up and win a second game for them at some point… but if the Celtics come out and just…. play… basketball… they’ll win.

Herald:  C’s out of their element  |  No place like home  |  C’s turtle in game 3  |  For this team’s legacy, its title or bust  |  Point blank reason for loss  |  Players burn over pot shot  |  Globe:  Cavs beat C’s easily  |  Another disturbing roadblock  |  Posey denied home run  |  James gets lift from supporting cast  |  The saving of the Green  |  Giddy, and a little sheepish, loyal fans return  |  Columbus Dispatch:  Team effort downs C’s  |  ProJo:  As Rondo struggles, Cassell forced into larger role   |  Garnett:  “It’s pretty frustrating”  |  Plain Dealer:  West gets point across  |  LeBron confident  |  SI:  C’s need to step it up  |  ESPN Daily Dime:  Deadline deal never looked so good

For Old Time’s Sake
April 28, 2008

delonte west is clutch

In honor of Delonte’s big 3 to put the Cavs up 3-1 against Washington.  Here’s the video.

I still miss that kid around here.

I Miss Delonte
February 27, 2008

delonte westI’d rather have Delonte West than Sam Cassell.  There.. I said it. 

I miss Delonte.  I mean… this team is fun… but it would be so much more fun with him around.

I know… I know… we had to give him up to get Ray… and I’d make that move again if there was a do-over. 

But I still miss the guy. 

Nothing really new to report on Sam Cassell.  Donald Sterling is still cheap:

Yesterday, however, there was no news, other than the emergence of one NBA truism: Sterling and his money are not easily parted. The owner actually said Monday night that he figured if Cassell were to leave the team, then the Clippers’ financial obligation to him would go with the player. Doesn’t work that way, Donald.

No wonder the Clippers are perennial jokes.  Also… speaking of jokes:  The Knicks are so pathetic… even comic strips are taking shots at them (nod to TrueHoop for the link). 

Back to the C’s… and tonight’s game.  The Celtics are trying to build off the momentum of 2 wins in a row out west… but I’m afraid this game is going to be sloppy.  Its the first home game in 2 weeks.  Some of these guys have been a way for way too long… and we’re coming back from a lot of time on the west coast.  The Cavs are on the back end of a back-to-back… with a completely made-over team. 

What are the odds that this game is anything besides an ugly festival of turnovers and missed shots?  You might see rebounding numbers in the 60’s. 

Also out there today:  ClipsNation goes on a rant over Sam Cassell  |  Antoine wants a buyout too  |  Gerald Wallace’s 4th concussion is new territory for the NBA  |  Ray Allen trying to lure Brent Barry  |  Ex-Celtics return to Boston  |  Road trip punctured C’s aura of invincibility