Friday, April 8, 2011

What's eating Rondo?

Yesterday I saw this: 
And I thought to myself that we were going to be in for a treat. I imagined Rondo as a man obsessed. The Rondo that I envision is never satisfied with a mediocre effort. He's publicly soft spoken and fairly stoic, but still fiercely competitive. So when I read that, I imagined that the idea that people commonly believe Derrick Rose is better than him, and commonly believe that the Bulls are the team to beat in the East, not the Celtics, was eating him up inside. I imagined him in the gym so zeroed in on the task at hand that he hadn't even realized hours had gone by and that all of his teammates had long since departed. 

Clearly I allowed my imagination to run away with me, because his performance last night was not that of a man possessed. No, that performance belonged to Derrick Rose. Not only was it Rose who so flashily demonstrated everything that Rondo's game lacks: a consistent jump shot and the ability to finish continuously at the rim, but it was Rose who beat Rondo at his own game. There is no debate that Rose is better than Rondo in some areas- specifically the aforementioned areas of scoring. Similarly, there is no debate that Rondo is better than Rose in other areas, namely defensively and in passing. Rondo was inexplicably aloof last night, and was scorched by Rose for 30 points and 8 assists, while he was stifled offensively (3-10 shooting) and was unable to get his teammates involved (6 assists). 

My theory is that he's a tortured genius. While a talent like Derrick Rose is easily comprehended as something special, it's harder to classify Rondo. He's not a prolific scorer, and he's not the physically imposing/freakishly athletic presence the way Lebron is, but he's still the engine that makes this team run. Last night for whatever reason (and I won't pretend to know what it is. Nagging injuries? Mental barriers? Exhaustion?), he got in his own way and had a clunker of a game. He knows that better than anyone else. He was visibly upset after the loss and had a post-game meeting with Doc Rivers to discuss top secret things. 

But you know what? No matter what, my faith in Rondo is imperturbable, as is evidenced by the fact that I fully believe he will step on the floor tonight and victimize John Wall. Maybe there is no magic switch to be flipped, where the Celtics will stop messing around and start playing like they care, but I fully believe that Rondo is capable of kicking it up a gear. Rondo has been saying he's the best point guard for years, and I know many Celtics fans are with me when I say that he's beyond proved that point. I can not, and I will not, believe that he will not soon return to consistent dominance. 

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Tattoo time at afterschool.

I work at an afterschool. One of my most FAVORITE kids drew this on me. She rocks. I've clearly taught the kids well.

Jermaine O'Neal says all the right things.

C/O ESPN Boston

On the uncertainty surrounding his return 
"Is coming off of surgery to finish a job really pressure?" O'Neal asked after the Celtics' win over the 76ers Tuesday. "A state in Indiana really [jumped] on my back to see if I could carry a team and I didn't really see that as pressure. It's all a challenge. If you see it as pressure then you're not built for it." 

On his decision to have in-season surgery 
"The difference is in this league, the people who are in it for the wrong reason, would have laid down," said O'Neal. "They would have laid down, said, 'OK, I had knee surgery, my year's over.' I fought it. I fought it before the surgery. I didn't want to do it. I was out there on one leg basically, fighting the swelling, because I'm prideful. I'm prideful and I'm dedicated to the job that has been given to me. I've never been one to take the easy way out." 

On his role with the Celtics 
"It's whatever the team needs," said O'Neal. "I'm not in a position in my life, in my career any more, where it's about numbers. I gave that up when I decided to leave Indiana. I felt like it was about winning a championship. It wasn't about money, it wasn't about All-Star games, [or] anything [else]. Some guys sit in this situation and say, 'Alright, I'm going to go for the numbers every night, to see what I can get out of it.' You can get all the numbers, then you look at it, and you ask yourself, 15, 16 years later, 'What did I really get out of it?... All these years, I've accomplished a lot of things in my career and it doesn't really matter. This is what matters; the champagne, confetti, tears. That's what matters to me. I'm not about to let [anything], surgery, anything, take away, at least that opportunity." 

I, for one, have been pleased with what Jermaine has done in his time back. He looks to be comfortable in his body and he appears to be in good shape. I said it before and I'll say it again: nobody knows what Jermaine has gone through this season. I'm sure he was in excruciating pain but still wanted to contribute. Luckily for us, he had the surgery and committed to rehabbing. He's now in a position where he can stay on the floor (fingers crossed) and be a contributor. It's time to stop complaining about all the time he's missed and how old he is, and commit to the pieces the Celtics have to work with going in to the postseason. I think he's done a good job meshing with the starting unit, and has also helped  the bench to develop more of a flow. His return has put Krystic with the second unit, and has allowed Glen Davis and Jeff Green to play in their natural positons. We'll see what JO can do in a big game situation tonight, matched up with the ever pesky Joakim Noah. 

Marquis Daniels released a mixtape

For the 500000000th time, I love Marquis Daniels. You can support him by downloading / listening to his mixtape by clicking here!

Lebron's mom got arrested in Miami last night.

Sorry, I had to use this picture. Remember? SIT YOUR A$$ DOWN!! Those were the good old days.

Apparently she was partying at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami and got in to a scuffle with a valet parking attendant. TMZ reports:

Hotel sources tell us ... Gloria was partying at LIV nightclub with some of her girlfriends earlier in the evening ... but when she tried to leave the hotel, she got into an altercation with one of the valet parking attendants.

We're told Gloria allegedly assaulted the valet. Cops received a call about the incident at 4:47 AM. Gloria was eventually arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor assault. The valet was not arrested.

We're told Gloria has been released from custody.

Gloria has been in trouble with the law before ... having been arrested in 2006 for DUI in Ohio

To be fair, we don't know what happened. The parking attendant could have done something to provoke Mrs. James to respond physically, but still. This is not a good look! Not at all. You know Lebron was double mad- the Heat lost to the Bucks and then his mother acts crazy and embarrasses him all over again.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Who's a better first round opponent for the Celtics? Sixers or Knicks?

I've been thinking that the Celtics should purposefully get the 3 seed, so that they could match up with Philly instead of New York... And after last night, I'm sticking with that thought.

Chris Forsberg broke it down yesterday and made a really good argument about why the Celtics should fight for the 2 spot. He argues that the team with home court advantage in the conference semi-finals is statistically more likely to advance to the conference finals. The team with home court advantage wins the series .787 % of the time. The numbers for all of the other series are lower: the first round is .769 % advantage to home court, conference finals is .685 %, and the finals is .788 percent %. He also points out that even though the Celtics made it to the finals from a 4 seed last year, it wouldn't be as doable this year, since the competition atop the Eastern Conference has become significantly more staunch. These are all valid points, but it's just not enough for me to change my mind.

If the debate is about who would be a more attractive first round match up for the Celtics between the Sixers and the Knicks, I pick the Sixers every time. Yes, the Sixers are a younger and more athletic team than the Knicks, and those types of teams have given the Celtics trouble in the past, but I think that over the course of a 7 game series, the Sixers are more mentally vulnerable than the Knicks. They simply don't have the offensive weapons and veteran experience that the Knicks do.

The Knicks possess one of the most formidable scoring duos in basketball, in Amare and Carmelo. I'd like to remind everyone that Amare averaged 37 points in the 2005 Western Conference Finals against the Spurs. Yes, that was a couple of years ago now, but I think he's still physically capable of posting similar numbers. That wouldn't be any fun. The Knicks also have an experienced, veteran point guard in Chauncey Billups. He's an NBA Finals MVP and he won't rattle under pressure, and we all know how valuable that kind of experience is. It's true that the Knicks don't exactly play defense, but at the end of the day, if you can score more points than the other team, you win the game. I think that the Knicks have enough offensive firepower to potentially outscore a Celtics team that has at times struggled to put points on the board. A drought in scoring would be an easier storm to weather against the Sixers than the Knicks. It's much harder to shut down Amare, Carmelo, Billups and a host of other trigger happy perimeter shooting players that can get it going in a hurry, than it is to stifle Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand and Jrue Holiday. Finally, one of the things that's so hard about playing the Celtics is that in the final minute, if someone needs to make a big shot, you never know who they're going to go to. The same could be said for the Knicks- they have three legitimate options.

If the Celtics are going to get to the Finals, it's seemingly inevitable that they will have to defeat Miami and Chicago. Another reason why I'd rather see the Celtics in the 3 is that it means Miami would match up against New York in the first round. Philly hasn't beat Miami this season. New York has. The Heat don't have a big man that can out muscle Amare, and I truly believe it would be possible for Amare to bruise his way to a victory. Someone always gets hurt against him, it's inevitable. I believe that Miami could be rattled by the physicality- and even if they don't lose the series, they will advance to the second round having exerted considerably more energy and effort than they would against the Sixers. The Celtics can match Amare's physicality- but it's not exactly a desirable idea in the first round. The Celtics want to preserve their health and energy, and at the end of the day, I think that the Knicks would take more out of them than the Sixers. Lastly, while the Sixers may be a more athletic team than the Celtics, and many view this as a reason why the Celtics could be vulnerable matched up against them, the same can not be said for the Heat. Lebron and Dwyane Wade are not only freakishly athletic, but both have more playoff experience than probably the whole Sixers team combined.

Never doubt Shaq's agility

This clip from Shaq's TV show, Shaq Vs., is hands down one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. Shout out to Shaq for having a truly wonderful sense of humor. One of my pet peeves is when people take themselves too seriously and are too cool to make fun of themselves. This does not appear to be the case for Shaq, because he's always having a good time and is willing to put himself out there in all kinds of different situations. Also, shout out to Shaq for his dancing skills. The big man can get it in and displayed an amount of agility that I bet most 7'1, 325 pound people don't have. Oh, and Justin Bieber wasn't too bad either. My favorite part was when Shaq picked him up and threw him over his shoulder. Too cute.