Saturday, May 7, 2011

What can Shaq do for you?

Some numbers people at ESPN took a look at the difference Shaq made this year for the Celtics when they played against the Heat. His impact was... Crazy good! Since he's supposed to play tomorrow, and it's a must win situation, it's pretty exciting. Chris Forsberg presented the results:

 With Shaq on the court in the regular season against the Heat, the Celtics averaged 121.1 points per 100 possessions, a stunning 26.2 points per 100 possessions improvement from when Shaq was off the court.

Boston shot a tremendous 54.1 percent from the field against Miami this season with Shaq on the court. That fell to 45.5 percent with Shaq off the court.

Some of the Celtics that saw the biggest differences were Rajon Rondo, who shot 34.5 percent from the field with Shaq off the court and 50 percent with Shaq on the court, and Ray Allen, who shot 50 percent with Shaq off the court and 68.8 percent with Shaq on the court.

The five current Boston players that played with Shaq against Miami all felt huge impacts. With Shaq on the court, each saw a meaningful elevation in the team's offensive rating (points per 100 possessions). 

Oh, AND the numbers show that the Big Shamrocks presence greatly benefited the percent of assists on made field goals and upped Boston's offensive rebounding statistics (him being on the floor provided them with a 17 percent increase in the number of offensive boards they pulled down).  The team was more offensively fluid with the Big Shamrock suited up. KG had a +13.3, which is the lowest number- but Rondo and Ray Allen, both of whom need to be greatly involved in making this a series, saw improvements of +24.4 and +25.5 respectively. Yes, please. 

Chris Forsberg also provided the efficiency of Shaq on the defensive end, and those results are just as great:

Miami felt Shaq's impact as well. The Heat had a net offensive rating of +8 when Shaq was off the court. However, the Heat had a net rating of -28.3 when Shaq was on the court. 

Miami's shots were about a foot and a half closer when Shaq was out of the game. The average distance of a Heat attempt with Shaq on the court was 15.1 feet. With Shaq off the court, the average distance of an attempt was 13.4 feet (1.7 feet closer).

Effectively, Shaq helped neutralize Joel Anthony
. In the 15 minutes that Shaq and Anthony played head-to-head in the regular season, Anthony's plus/minus took a major hit (-17). That means the that the Celtics outscored the Heat by more than a point per minute with Shaq and Anthony on the court at the same time.

Considering that Anthony currently has the best plus/minus in the 2011 postseason at +91, including +20 in the conference semifinals against the Celtics, Shaq's ability to play becomes that much more significant.

These numbers are all undoubtedly really exciting... But I'm going to try and reign in my optimism because we don't know what Shaq will be able to give. He hasn't played in months, and is nowhere close to 100 percent. That's not to say I'm a Debbie Downer. I'm rooting for Shaq 500 percent and I do hold out hope that he will make a solid impact! (P.S., if you don't know what offensive rating means, you can read about it here). 

A really unsightly rumor about Glen Davis and a video vixen.

I hope that this one turns out to be far from the truth. 

A couple of days ago it was rumored that video vixen Rozay Mylan was kicked out of VIP by Drake and subsequently arrested because she was upset by her ejection from the club. Well, Ms. Mylan called in to the radio show The Breakfast Club, to clear her name. She claims she was kicked out not because Drake wanted her out, but because another video vixen at that same party doesn't like her and organized her getting the boot. I guess she felt compelled to keep talking at that point, because she apparently went on a rant "exposing people," and claimed that another video vixen, Hencha Voigt (where do they come up with these names?), was paid 40K by Glen Davis to get an abortion. 

Could it happen? Yes. But I'd like to think that Baby is victim to a crazy lady embarrassed and mad that she got kicked out of the club, and so now she's running her mouth trying to throw other people under the bus. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

As of Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 4:14 PM, Shaq will play in Game 3.

Hallelujah! Good news! (Maybe...Probably?) Whatever it is, this is the closest thing to good news to happen to this team in the past week or so. I quote Doc Rivers:

“Everybody’s good,” said Rivers. “Everybody is feeling pretty good. Shaq went through practice, we didn’t do anything today, we just watched film and walked over some stuff, and then the second unit [not including O'Neal] worked on their stuff. Right now, we expect every single guy, including Shaq, to play [in Game 3].”

Doc went on to say that the only thing that would potentially keep Shaq from playing in Game 3 is if something happens to him in practice or an injury flares up between now and Saturday. Obviously, it's perfectly likely that this could happen... But for now, I think we should all revel in the good news. Even if he can only play 10 minutes... He'll still be huge- both literally and figuratively. And he'll still be physically able to intimidate anyone driving to the basket. People have been saying that the Heat are beating the Celtics at their own game- intimidation and physicality. I think Shaq being out there could go a long way in reversing that trend, and I have a feeling that he has some unfinished business he'd like to finish with the Heat and with Lebron from his days as a Cav. And that, I will gladly take.

I'm so glad Ron Artest just won an award honoring his great citizenry.

Fresh off being honored by the NBA for his tireless dedication to mental health awareness, community service and other acts that make one an exceptional citizen, Ron Artest decided to throw a temper tantrum because the Lakers were about to go down 2-0:

It's just perfect. So congratulations, NBA, for once again demonstrating a complete and total disconnect from all things sensible, realistic and pragmatic.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Celtics are down 0-2. Let me be clear: I'm not throwing the towel in on this team... At all.

Is being down 0-2 ideal? No. Is it where the Celtics would ideally be? Of course not, sillies. But is it all over? Nope. It's time for them to clamp down, dig deep and ball their hearts out. They're perfectly capable of doing all of that, so let's just hope that they do. In the meantime, I felt like this song (OLD and obnoxious as it is) was the perfect anthem for the fight that lies ahead:

Let the speculation end: Ciara and Amar'e are officially a couple.

And I've officially been spelling his name wrong for months. I didn't realize it was Amar'e, so my fault for writing Amare for months and months. Anyways, what a great distraction mechanism for ignoring the 0-2 Celtics-Heat series: Ciara herself recently confirmed she and Amar'e are an item. Stop the press! Teehee, no, I'm kidding. I think they're a ridiculously good looking couple. They wasted no time in making their first official appearance together as a couple:
Again. A ridiculously good looking couple. I just left the gym, but Ciara makes me want to turn around and go back for a couple more hours. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The saga of Shaq continues

It would be great to get Shaq back. Seeing as how physically the Heat played last game, it would be extremely beneficiary for the Celtics to get Shaq back in to plug the middle and make people think twice about driving to the basket. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Upon further review (not that it was needed)... The league admits its referees messed up. Repeatedly.

Case #1: A foul initially ruled as flagrant on Jermaine O'Neal was downgraded to a run of the mill personal foul. You know why? Because it was blatantly not flagrant. This botched call had serious repercussions: "O'Neal's flagrant led to a five-point possession for Miami and helped the Heat stem a third-quarter Boston rally." 

Case #2: A personal foul whistled on James Jones was upgraded to a flagrant. It's merely conjecture at this point, but maybe if Jones had been correctly whistled for the flagrant at the time of the incident, the recognition by the refs of the excessive nature of the foul would have served to calm Paul Pierce's nerves, and avoid his ejection. But who knows? It's all history now. 

When talking sh*t goes wrong.

HILARIOUS!! The Hawks played Jameer Nelson's life with this one: apparently Mr. Nelson was so confident in the Magic's ability to beat the Hawks and advance to the second round to play the Bulls, he went on the radio talking about how he was going to "see Derrick Rose in the second round." The Magic, as we all know, lost to the Hawks 4-2, but one employee of the Hawks remembered that Jameer had mentioned seeing Derrick Rose in the second round... So he took it upon himself to leave Jameer tickets to the game, so that he could see Derrick Rose... From the stands, as the Bulls played the Hawks. Way too funny!

Thoughts on Game 1

The officiating may have been atrocious, but it is obvious that, zebras aside, there is much that the Celtics need to improve on to win Game 2. I thought of a couple of critical points that the Celtics need to tighten up on. They aren't groundbreaking ideas and they're all pretty obvious... But they're important nonetheless. The first thing is getting off to a good start. The Celtics have a history of coming out of the gate slow, digging themselves in to a hole and then spending the rest of the game clawing their way out. That is a bad pattern in general, a REALLY bad one in the playoffs, and a recipe for disaster against the Miami Heat in a playoff setting. The Celtics came out sluggish yesterday, appeared to be out of sync and struggled to establish pace and maintain a rhythm. This may have been due to the layoff between rounds, or it may have been because guys were over thinking what they were doing instead of playing instinctual, Celtics basketball, but whatever the case may be, setting the tone and coming out strong is important. I don't care what anyone says- the Heat do not play great team basketball. Their two biggest stars play more of a back and forth game with each other, as opposed to an intertwined, complimentary game to each other. The Celtics play their best basketball when they play as a team. If they can come out of the gate playing as a unit, I think that the flaws of the Heat will start to expose themselves.

As was aforementioned, the Celtics were never really able to get over their slow start and establish a flow. It prevented them from doing much of what they do well, and as a result they overcompensated in several areas. The most obvious one to me was over passing. They are an unselfish basketball team, but there were several instances where guys gave up good shots in an effort to get their teammates involved.

The second thing critical to winning is controlling Miami's role players. It has always been the Celtics mantra that the stars will perform, and what they need to do is minimize the impact of role players. That being said, it's inevitable that Dwyane Wade and Lebron James are going to score and get theirs. It is unacceptable for James Jones to come off the bench and be lights out, many times getting wide open looks at the basket. The Celtics were caught numerous times yesterday watching the dribble penetration as opposed to sticking to defensive schemes and staying with their own individual defensive assignments. Defense is the Celtics bread and butter, and it is even more crucial that they are stifling defensively against the tremendous athleticism and scoring duo the Heat boast.

My third key to the game is getting more from our stars. Rondo was bogged down early by foul trouble, Paul Pierce had a tough first half and was ejected in the second half, and Kevin Garnett was largely ineffective. Ray Allen was the lone bright spot for the Celtics offensively, but it felt like the Celtics were riding him and clinging on. These things could have all been flukes, but is important that the team do all that they can to keep it from happening again. Rondo didn't want Lebron to get an open layup so he fouled him, Paul couldn't hit the side of a barn in the first half but came out ready to play in the second, only to be ejected and KG just had a bad day.