Saturday, January 8, 2011

News around the NBA

Adrian Wojnarowski tweets that there have been new developments made in the ongoing drama-fest between Carmelo Anthony and the Nets. 'Melo is looking for instant gratification: after 7 years in Denver and 0 rings, he wants to move to a new team, be surrounded by veteran talent and have a legitimate chance of winning the whole thing right away. It's no secret that 'Melo really wants to end up on the Knicks. It's also no secret that Denver isn't interested in making a deal with New York. Melo's agent is now pushing for  Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton to be the complementary pieces that convince him to take the plunge and sign the 3 year/64 million dollar deal with the Nets. The proposed deal between Denver and NJ is as follows: the Nuggets would send 'Melo and Billups to NJ and NJ would send Devin Harris, Derrick Favors and multiple first round picks to Denver. Acquiring Richard Hamilton would obviously bring a third team, the Pistons, in to the picture, and that always makes things more complicated. NJ offered Troy Murphy and Johan Petro to Detroit in exchange for Rip and a future first round pick, and this offer was promptly rejected. Apparently the Pistons are looking to rid of Rip, due to the 25 million dollars left on his contract and his dip in productivity, but they're not looking to part with the future first round draft pick.

Personally, I'm not sure how realistic this all sounds. 'Melo wants to go to New York to be with Amare Stoudemire. Why would he look at a team made up of himself, Rip, Billups and Brook Lopez and think it's comparable to a team made up of himself, Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler and a promising young talent in Landry Fields? Rip and Billups aren't the same players that they were during those Detroit wonder years, circa 2004. And even if 'Melo is banking on Chris Paul joining him in 2012, what other pieces does New Jersey have to offer that would make it a more complete and competitive team than what the Knicks have to offer? Nada! Maybe I'm wrong, and 'Melo will look at it differently than me, but all of this just seems to indicate that the silly drama and posturing is going to continue on as the deadline of February 24 draws closer and closer.

Also- I think that 'Melo is acting reaaaallly wack. To me, it's his job to show up and play as hard as he can for the Denver Nuggets, because that's what team he's on right now. Instead, he's just kind of going through the motions of playing, and he's walking around a good 5-10 pounds over weight. Maybe it's just my view from the starry eyed perspective as a fan- but if I liked the Nuggets, I'd be none too pleased. Don't get me wrong- I'm a Syracuse fan, I love Melo. I just think he should be more thoughtful- or at least tactful- after 7 years on the same team.

In other news, the Timberwolves offered Jonny Flynn to Houston in exchange for Aaron Brooks. Houston said no thanks. Shocking, really! Except not at all. Why the Wolves would think the Rockets would be interested in that is beyond me... And again. Don't get me wrong. Go Orange, I like Flynn too... But come on now! My dad calls him Jonny No-D-Flynn. Clever.

Looking back at C's-Raptors: What up Luke Harangody? Game 35.

The bottom line: The Celtics pride themselves on being a defense first team. Not so much last night... But when you score 67 first half points to your opponents 45, that's kind of okay. The Celtics ran away with this one early, and the Raptors never caught up. They came within 12 a couple of times, but the Celtics held on and never let them any closer. The real story of this game is Luke Harangody. In 26 minutes and 42 seconds of wonderful play, he recorded the first double-double of his young career: 17 points and 11 rebounds. The points came in a variety of ways- 10 to 15 feet away from the basket, and in the paint. The rebounds, too, came in a variety of ways. 4 of them were offensive. Since I'm a Syracuse fan, I watched Luke while he was playing at Notre Dame and I was amped when the Celtics drafted him. Yes, Avery Bradley was the flashier pick, coming at 19. But I was excited about Luke, because who doesn't love guys who are pure and simple workmen? So what if he's undersized and not especially athletic? He has an innate sense of where he should be on the floor- and when, so he rebounds anyway. Plus, he has no fear, so he bangs in the paint with the best of them. His jumper looks a little bit funny, but he has a quick release, a soft touch... and plenty of confidence. You know, he's a Big East breed white guy, a la Troy Murphy. He knows what he's capable of doing, and he won't try and do more than that.

Play of the game: I'm so annoyed that I can't find video of this... But at the end of the third quarter, Ed Davis was driving to the basket, and guess who- Luke- came streaking in, from across the court, for the block. As if that wasn't enough, he took off down the court, got the ball back, and laid it in. Pure hustle, all over the place!

Other notable things: 
Jermaine O'Neal's knee hurts again 
Perk is on the fast track back (I know I wrote about it already. But it's so exciting!! I can't wait to see the scowl)
KG could be back on Monday (Too much excitement at one time!)
And it was Marquis Daniel's 30th birthday yesterday. Happy belated!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Amazing news

With video! Check it out here (And Perk's fab Texan drawl, too.)

One of my favorite sources for all things Celtics, Chris Forsberg at ESPN Boston, just tweeted something reaaallly realllyy amazing: 
@ESPNForsberg A bonanza of positive injury news for the C's: 1) Perk wants to be back in 3 weeks; 2) Doc says KG back as early as Monday.


Girls Talk Sports: Looking ahead to Celtics V Raptors

For some reason, as is often the case with the Celtics when facing lower caliber teams, the Raptors are an unnecessarily pesky opponent. The Raptors come in to the Garden with a 12-23 record, winning only 5 of 13 on the road. The last time these two teams matched up, Toronto was just as injury depleted as Boston. They played without Sonny Weems, Jerryd Bayless and Andrea Bargnani. It is yet to be seen if Weems and Bayless will return to the lineup, but Bargnani is back in action and he is coming off of a 25 point performance against Cleveland. Bargnani is not the only guy on this club that can score the ball. The Raptors are the 11th highest scoring team in the league and their roster boasts multiple people who can get it going in a hurry: Demar DeRozan, Jose Calderon and Leondro Barbosa join Bargnani as capable scorers. Sonny Weems and Linas Kleiza have also had big games against the Celtics in the past. They also rebound the ball fairly well, thanks to Reggie Evans (HE IS SO ANNOYING) and Amir Johnson. The bottom line is this: for a team with a 12-23 record, their roster isn't as depleted as you may think it would be.

-So how do the Celtics beat the Raptors?

1) Keep the ball moving. Toronto will get bored with playing defense after a couple of passes.

2) Limit Bargnani and DeRozan. Make other people score the ball.

3) Matchups to exploit: Anyone guarding Rondo, especially Jose Calderon, because he doesn't have a prayer of staying with him. Also, involve Shaq early. Reggie Evans and Amir Johnson, like everyone else in this world except for kind of Dwight Howard, have nothing on Shaq physically.

4) Speaking of Reggie Evans. He doesn't look to score- he looks to rebound. Try and keep him off of the glass.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Rondo isn't the only cover boy in town...

Does that phrase have any connotation to it? Just wondering. In any case, go 'head Shaq. Lookin' very dapper. The folks at The Improper Bostonian chose the Big Shamrock for their year end issue.

Rondo covers slam!

Lookin' good boo! Our little Rondo, growing up before our eyes :) This is on newsstands now. I personally am going to cop it ASAP.

Recap: 12 points, 22 assists, 10 rebounds, 6 steals. Rondo. Game 34.

The bottom line: This game was advertised as being a clash of the titans, and it lived up to the hype. The Celtics shot 61 percent from the field for the game, but still only won by 2. It was a struggle the whole way through. When the Celtics went up by 9, 105-96, LATE in the 4th, and I literally said out loud, "That should do it...." Only to be kicking myself for saying it seconds later, as the refs helped the Spurs out with a couple of consecutive (to be politically correct) questionable no-calls, and the Spurs rattled off 7 straight points, to make it a 2 point game. Have you heard about all the strange stuff going on? 1000 blackbirds falling dead from the sky on New Years Eve? And more recently, millions of tiny fish turning up dead at the same time in the Chesapeake bay? Well, conspiracy theorists were given even more fuel for the fire last night- Ray Allen missed 2 free throws with 8 seconds left in the 4th quarter. They would have sealed the game! But they rimmed out. Apocalypse, anyone? Luckily Paul Pierce came up big on the final defensive stand of the game, blocking a Manu Ginobili three, and the Celtics won. The bottom of the bottom line: A really great win for the KG-less (and Kendrick Perkins-less + Delonte West-less) Celtics. 

Hero material: I love words. It rarely happens that I can't find the right word to properly befit a situation, but in the wake of the clinic Rondo put on last last night... I find myself in that position. Here are a few, but they don't do him justice: prodigious, phenomenal, wondrous, magnificent... and I'll end simply, with "GOOD." His performance last night wasn't so good just because he dished out 22 assists. It was so good because he did whatever he wanted all night long. In crunch time, when the Spurs dared him to be the one to score, he knocked down shots when they mattered most. He made sure no passing lane was safe for the Spurs, with 6 steals. Ooohh, and that block. The picture isn't the best... But the block was timed absolutely perfectly, and I don't know if I've ever seen a swat come with so little body to body contact. Again. Perfect timing. You know what the best part is about Rondo playing so well? It enevitably means that other people are playing well, too. Ray Allen was hot all night and he scored 31 points on 13-16 shooting. I wish he would have taken 30 shots. Paul Pierce was his regular heroic self, even though the refs had some kind of personal agenda against him the whole night, and Glen Davis scored 23 points (one away from his season high) and generated an offensive foul against Richard Jefferson late in the 4th frame. Yeah buddy. Oh, and another person I think deserves recognition: Jermaine O'Neal. I'm hearing lots of people around town talking about they want to dump Jermaine O'Neal for Rasheed Wallace. I, too, have been frustrated by Jermaine's lack of play due to his steady stream of injuries... But in no way do I believe the Celtics would be better off with 'Sheed. Maybe 'Sheed was funnier (I will say BALL DON'T LIE for the rest of my life), but really... even though Jermaine is still rusty- he had a good game last night and he gave the Celtics 22 good minutes. He played good defense against Tim Duncan and he made his presence known in the paint, with a couple of nice blocks. I believe that the little 5-10 foot jumpers will start to fall for him, and that as he becomes more comfortable in the Celtics system, he'll develop a rhythm out there and perform better. If he can stay on the court consistently for another month, look for him to show considerable improvement. That is something we could never say about 'Sheed last year, since my man never even bothered to get in to shape. Also, Doc Rivers deserves a shout out. He's always good, but last night he dared to go small (Rondo, Robinson, Daniels, Pierce, Davis) and it worked out really well.

It would also be good to check in on my keys to winning the game, from yesterdays post.
-The Celtics were able to effectively control Richard Jefferson. It was not a Reggie Miller like night for him.
-The battle of the boards was won by the Spurs. Sure, the Celtics had 36 rebounds, but only 5 of them were offensive. The Spurs on the other hand, had 37 rebounds, and 15 of them were offensive. Wamp!
-They ran! Nobody runs routes in the NBA like Ray Allen. I can only imagine how many miles he runs over the course of 48 minutes, but it's enough to make me tired just thinking about it. It made Manu Ginobili tired, and he probably went to sleep last night and dreamt about fighting over, through, and under Celtics green picks. Not only did they keep the pace up, but they kept the ball moving, as is apparent in Rondo's 22 rebounds. Swooning!
-The Celtics also got a pretty good night out of their bench. Nate Robinson didn't play much, but he did a good job in his 16 minutes on the floor. Marquis played a solid 17 minutes, and contributed on both ends of the floor. He guarded a variety of people and did a good job at it. He also scored a couple of key baskets. And, as was aforementioned, I thought Jermaine played a pretty decent game. Look for the bench to become even stronger as the team (hopefully) gets healthier.

Looking for more? Check out this piece by Dan Shaughnessy, over at the Globe. A very nice read.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tony Allen fights on planes now

I guess this is what happens when you leave the Celtics. Oh TA... The downside is that he punched OJ Mayo in the face, and fighting between teammates is not a good look. The upside here... at least for TA's ego... is that OJ Mayo sat out the Grizzlies next game, against the Thunder- and not only did TA start, but he scored 19 points. You already know he's amped...

Girls talk sports: looking ahead to tonight's Celtics-Spurs battle.

The Spurs come in to the Garden tonight with a 29-5 record, good for the best record in the NBA. The Spurs have been good every season going back.... a long while- but what put them at the top this year? For starters, they're coached by an OG, and this is absolutely invaluable. I love teams with institutions for coaches- Boeheim at Syracuse, Sloan in Utah, etc- and Gregg Popovich is another shining example. His knowledge of every nook and cranny of the game is bananas and his X and O game is something serious. So, besides the fact that they're coached to a T, they're playing with a healthy roster for the first time in a while. Their core of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, have all been hampered by injuries in the past, and as all Celtics fans know, it's very important to keep your core healthy. The Spurs also boast a roster with great depth: DeJuan Blair was a favorite of mine during his years at Pitt. He's chubby and all, but don't let that fool you. That man is not only tough and determined, but he wreaks havoc on the boards. Also helping the Spurs along is Richard Jefferson, who appears to have at least halfway risen from the dead and is looking a little bit more like the player the Spurs hoped he would be when they dealt for him last season. Their bench is lead by a strong veteran in Antonio McDyess and features a strong rotation of Matt Bonner (red head alert), George Hill (hahahaha he was naked on the internet last year. Sorry- but if you're dumb enough to get caught up in that, I won't let you live it down. I just can't ), and first year NBA player Gary Neal (who's not shy about shooting). 

-So how do the Celtics win this game? I have a couple of ideas, and these are in no particular order- because it will take a complete game to beat the Spurs:

1) Limit the effectiveness of Richard Jefferson. Please, don't let this man start thinking he's Reggie Miller, shooting the lights out. He doesn't like to play physical, so Paul Pierce should have the upper hand in that arena.

2) Keep Duncan/Blair off the boards. Second hand points, when they're scored against you, suck! (Duh) The Spurs pulled down 37 team rebounds last night in a crappy loss to the Knicks. To put it in a little bit of perspective: The Spurs rank 8th in the league in rebounds per game, at 42.9. The Celtics rank 28th, at 39. So on a bad night, like the Spurs had last night, they still almost pulled down the Celtics average. Boo!

3) Run!!! And move the ball. The Celtics have to make the Spurs work on both ends of the floor. Popovich has deviated a little bit in his master working, and has put more of an emphasis on the offensive end this year, sometimes at the expense of the defense. That being said, the Celtics can't let the Spurs take any breaks, on either end of the floor.

4) The Boston Bench Mobb must show up. The Spurs have a good bench, but so do we. There are match ups that the Celtics second unit can exploit. I like how Jermaine O'Neal matches up against McDyess/Bonner. Nate Robinson is faster than most people on this planet, and I already know Tony Parker wants nothing to do with chasing him around. And Marquis...(When he shows up to play) I love how Marquis matches up with most anybody. He appears to be slow and deliberate, but blink and he's past you, on the way to the basket. He's bigger than Hill, and could match up with Jefferson, or even Ginobili, if need be. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Shaq is going to be on Letterman!

(photo obviously courtesy of
I just got a text from my mother telling me Shaq is going to be on Letterman tonight! I'm sure it will be hilarious, because the Big Shamrock aaalllwwwaayyss has me dying. Anyways, here are more pictures of Shaq and his short boo Hoopz arriving at the set for the taping this afternoon. Get back to Boston soon though, Shaq-achusetts... a battle with San Antonio looms in the immediate future!

RĂ©sumer: Celtics Vs. T'Wolves, game 33

The bottom line: This one was ugly, but a win is a win. The Celtics played from behind for 46 minutes and I sat around waiting for them to wake up, before showing up in the final 2 minutes, just in time to keep everyone on edge and win the game. You know. The usual.

Player of the game: Preface: It might become apparent as I keep blogging that I don't like Von Wafer. This is due to the fact that he has the tendency to only talk to naked women on twitter in an apparent effort to.... err.. connect... with them. However, I'm a grown up, so I should at least make the effort to make the distinction between what he does in his personal life and what he does on the court. That being said, the player of the game for last nights less than beautiful effort goes to both Von Wafer (for reaching double figures ((10 points)) for the first time in a Celtic uniform, forcing a rare 5 second violation in the beginning of the 4th frame and finishing with a team high +15... meaning that everyone else in Green played well while we was on the floor), and Paul Pierce (for having a monster second half and giving the team energy: 18 of his 23 points and 5 of his 6 rebounds came after the intermission. It never gets old!).

Tommy quote of the night: "IT WASN'T PRETTY BUT WHO NEEDS AN OIL PAINTING AT THIS POINT?" This came after Rondo squeezed the ball to Shaq at the end of the 4th, and Shaq managed to find the sunlight and lay the ball in.

Other goodies: Delonte West got his cast off. I can't wait to get this guy back. It will help everyone out, and we have some weary bodies hanging around. He also shared that since the cast was removed, he was able to wash his hand and get rid of the smell of Cheetos. Yum. Thanks. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Because I like songs where people talk about the Celtics...

Rondo! Fab drops his name 18 seconds in. Very fitting, since, if you watch the Celtics on Comcast Sportsnet, you'd know... It's all about 18.

Kim Kardashian infiltrates the NBA

Stop the press! Kim K has a new boo.The esteemed fellow is sometimes starting forward of the not so glamorous New Jersey Nets, Kris Humphries. Doesn't she usually go for super bowl winners? We're not sure how the Nets 9-25 record will sit with her... But we'll see how long Mr. Humphries lasts. Good thing he's already hired a team of publicists. Seriously. He has.