Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 is here

So I guess it is time for my Celtics decade recap.

This past decade was certainly eventful. 10 years ago I would have been writing about Pitino's curse, oh wait, I littered the internet expounding on the shortcomings of Rick Pitino.

Fortunately, Rick Pitino resigned in Miami on Jan. 3, 2001 right smack dab in the middle of my divorce. Speculation is that he went on to have a good time with Tiger Wood's hiram.

The team had horrible talent surrounding Pierce and Walker and had a cheapskate (I mean very Shreeeewwwwwwdddd Businessman) owner. Still Jim O'Brien got the best out of his team and earned a playoff run to the 2002 ECF and got within 6 games of winning the NBA title.

The team was thankfully sold to Wyc Grousebeck and Steve Paglicia who hired Danny Ainge to turn this franchise back into a winner. I have already chronicaled the turnaround and now the Celtics are back in the running for championships (as it should be).

The team has a nice mixture of veterans and a very good young PG and C to build a future team around. I am optimistic that Glen Davis can be the future PF succeeding Garnett and Wallace.

We will have to keep restocking our roster through the draft, free agent signings, and trades. Danny has a proven track record in all three rostering tools.

Doc Rivers is a proven NBA coach. You need talent to win in this league. The rest of the NBA is getting a lot better with very few weak sisters (New Jersey and Minnesota come to mind immediately with Philadelphia, Detriot, Golden State, and Washington on the decline). There may be no teams that can win 60 games this year due to moving closer to parity. Even the "mighty" Los Angeles Lakers is finding tough sledding on the road.

Look at tonights results: Orlando lost in Chicago
Memphis walloped Phoenix in Phoenix
Charlotte beat Miami in Miami
Oklahoma had their win streak snapped in Milwaukee (just like the Celtics on Saturday night trips into Milwaukee)

There is an awful lot of basketball to be played and I think the Celtics will regroup, get healthy, and get on a roll. Minutes from the veterans are getting reduced and we are getting useful stints out of Glen Davis, Tony Allen, Rasheed Wallace, Eddie House, Lester Hudson, and even JR Giddens. I still think that a trade is coming in February for the Celtics. But if parity continues to hold, there may not be that many sellers for Danny to take advantage of.

So I will be doing a lot of statistical data collection to see which teams are competing and which teams are rebuilding. January is moving month in the NBA. The Celtics are trying to hang on until they get healthy.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

2009 will be remembered for

Kevin Garnetts knee injury, nothing more, nothing less. In witnessing the playoffs, don't you think Chicago goes down in 5 games, Orlando in five, and Cleveland gets beat again by Boston.

Our pride would not let us lose to the Lakers, I just know it. So our 2nd significant knee injury (the other to Brady) and the opportunity to win two championships was lost.

I think the Bruins anf the Red Sox suffered injuries that kept them from performing at their peak. But fear not, the Celtics are still the favorites to come back and win in 2010 provided that Rondo and Ray Allen are not traded. Free Agency will be the key to Celtics success in 09-10.

I'll come back and run through the possibilities as I have time to post up.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Stephon Marbury

I have to admit that I was nervous about bringing Stephon Marbury in here because of his checkered past and history of being on losing teams.

I was wrong.

However, I remain concerned about his ability to defend and getting his timing down to help the Celtics. He is making the effort to play team ball and work on the defensive end and that is all I can ask for.

Welcome to Boston, Stephon.

Monday, June 30, 2008

We finally won our championship!!!

The first since internet blogging media era was developed.

A lot of hard work went into making this 2008 Celtics Championship possible. 8 years ago at the hieght of the Pitino dark ages, this was not thought to be possible. The owner, Paul "Thanksdad" Ga$ton was in it to make money for himself and to screw the loyal Celtics fans. He would not exceed the salary cap let alone (god forbid) pay a luxery tax. But he was not a shrewd businessman because he paid out some god awful contracts to god awful players recruited by god awful management. Honestly, go back and reread chapter two of Larry Bird's "On Playing and Coaching the Game I Love" on his experience with Ga$ton and More Losses Carr.

First Ga$ton had to sell the team. He sold it to a dedicated Celtics fan with a lot of money (or more possibly access to a lot of money). His name was Wyc Grousebeck. His managing partner Steve Paglicia knew Danny Ainge and hired him as basketball GM. He made Red Auerbach president again (that was taken away by Pitino). A good first step, but the Celtics lacked the talent needed to become a championship contender. Plus they had no cap room and an albatross of a contract with Vin Baker. Antione Walker was the ringleader of this outfit but he really was nothing special. He was a rah rah competitor type. Danny traded him off to Dallas a draft pick, Raef LaFrentz, Jiri Welsch, Chris Mills (expiring contract). Danny traded Eric Williams and Milt Palacio for Ricky Davis and drove Jim O'Brien to resign. Mark Blount had a career 40 games to lead the 36-46 juggernaut Celtics into the 8th seed and 4 game ass-kicking by Indiana. John Carroll's NBA coaching career was over.

Enter Doc Rivers. Ainge was a brilliant drafter - Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Kendrick Perkins, Tony Allen, Delonte West, Ryan Gomes, Leon Powe, to go along with RD, Blount, and Pierce. Ainge traded Mihm and one other to the Lakers for Gary Payton (last year of contract). Walker, somehow came back to Boston, after not fitting in with Dallas and Atlanta (gee I wonder why). We were all set to make a run at the finals, right? Wrong, our nemesis Indiana won again with a game 7 waxing on our HC.

In 2006, the Celtics couldn't get anything going with Blount, RD, Pierce, West, and Jefferson (out of shape and injured much of the season). RD, Blount, Justin Reed got traded to Minnesota for Wally Baby. That didn't help in the standings but Doc's sanity was saved.

Things had to get better in 2007, Right????? Well the Celtics lost 350 man games to injury and the season was completely lost. The Celtics were playing for lottery balls and the right to draft Greg Oden or Kevin Durant. Surely in 2007 we would have one of the first two picks right????
Well the draft lottery was on May 22, 2007 which was my ex-wifes 50th birthday and she grew up in Portland. My three daughters were born in Seattle. So I knew the Celtics were going to get shafted and get the worst possible pick at 5 and have to draft the Chinese Nowitzki (Chinese Jerome Moiso???). Paul Pierce would get traded and lead his new team to championship, CORRECT?????

And, then Delonte, Wally, and #5 went to Seattle for Ray Allen and BBD on draft night. And a month later on our 5th anniversary get away, the Celtics traded Al J, GG, Gomes, Theo Ratliffe's contract, and god knows every draft pick until 2015 to Minnesota for Kevin Garnett.

Now I felt like I was at least back in the game. Posey, House, PJ Brown, Sam Cassall, and Pollard walked through that door. Rondo and Perkins became vital starters. Tony Allen, BBD, and Powe all played important roles. The Celtics went from a very poor 24 win team to the Route 66 team with the number one seed.

The playoffs proved to be difficult endeavor with a bad matchup in the 1st round against Atlanta who managed to hold HC three times but were not competive in Boston. Cleveland, though, gave Boston a fantastic match where Paul Pierce had the defining moment of his career in Game 7 that brought back memories of that Bird - Dominique show down 20 years earlier. As Boston led by one point in the final minute, there was a jump ball between Perkins and Z. Z had the tip and tapped it toward James when Pierce knocked it away and promptly dove after that ball and clutched in a crowd of Cleveland white shirts. There was The Moment of Truth! I thought this game could have decided the 2008 and I was right. Detriot, was a solid team all year and the past six really if you think about it. But between Ray Allen, KG, and Pierce, Boston wore them down and closed out with a major 4th Qtr beat down in Mo-town.......

Then it was on to the Los Angelos Lakers and that CBS song of spring of 20 years ago kept running through my head bringing back those famous Bird and Magic matchups. It was our obligation to deny Phil Jackson is 10th title as HC and preserve Red Auerbach's legacy. I felt the Lakers were not as strong defensively as what we already had faced. After that Game 2 scare, the Game 3 loss, and starting out in that 45-21 hole in Game 4 (during which there was a tornado warning in my area and reports of a brief touchdown five miles from home), I felt Red Auerbach get very angry as the rain, hail, and wind fell. Well, the Celtics came back to win 96-91 in the Tornadic Comeback Classic and I got to my luck TV set at Larry Bud's Tavern. Finally four nights later, I did my old 1980's ritual of eating a Super Bird at Denny's, hitting a large bucket of golf balls at the driving range, and then going up to Larry Buds for the clincher. I think I had the Victory Cigar in my mouth with four minutes left in the game.

So after twenty two years, which in my case is almost 1/2 a lifetime ago, the Celtics fans finally get their championship they long deserve. Congratulations to us for all the poor decisions, poor luck, and poor refereeing that was seemingly directed by David Stern to screw the Celtics. And the Curse of Len Bias got tamed after only 22 years.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

KG is not clutch?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!!

Bill Simmons wrote for ESPN:

"It also wasn't a surprise. Garnett's crunch-time woes have been the dirty little secret of this storybook Celtics season. Sure, he saved the franchise and made the C's relevant again. He's also the reason they might not win the 2008 championship. Put simply, Garnett shrinks from pressure more times than he comes through. The NBA is a simple league to figure out: In a playoff series, the best player prevails unless his supporting cast is significantly inferior to the other team's. So when Boston's best player can't dominate close games against a quality opponent … um, that's a problem."

Well, lets explore that topic further. On Sunday, it was a moment of Truth. Paul Pierce was the man for Boston standing up to Lebron James, who has chance to be the greatest basketball player in NBA history. That was Pierce's biggest victory of his career (much bigger than that game 5 victory against Philadelphia in 2002 when he went off for 49 that night). So it was Pierce who stood out. My guess is that Garnett on Sunday deferred to Pierce and just support him on defense, rebounding, and passing. Garnett scored enough to keep the defenses honest.

Tonight, in Game 1 of the ECF, Garnett was the leading scorer and Sheed could do nothing about it. And in the 4th qtr, it was Garnett to Perkins and Garnett to Rondo for two critical Boston baskets to hold off Detriot. So Garnett is more effective as a FACILITATOR for the Celtics because he trusts his teammates. I think Simmons did not do his homework on Garnett in the playoffs and based his conclusions on a couple of poor performances in Atlanta and Cleveland.

If we want to question anybody here, it must be Ray Allen who really is in poor form right now.

Monday, April 28, 2008

No excuses for this!!!!

Celtics have gone south on us again by poor shooting and lack of athletism. The Celtics are having a lot of trouble matching the Hawks energy level on the road and they are not making shots, not finishing at the rim and not getting much in the way of coaching adjustments in stopping Joe Johnson or Josh Childress.

A lot must change or this series will be lost and then ........ well I do not want to go there, period.

Can the Celtics respond to the Hawks apparent superior athleticism and confidence? Even if the Celtics win Game 5 Wednesday, this series will be far from over. I'm sure that Garnett and Ray Allen did not sign up with Boston to lose the 1st round of the playoffs.

I think Coach Doc is a fine coach (a radical change in opinion for those of you who know me and bother to read my diary) but he must be feeling a bit snake bit when it comes to playoff basketball.

I hope Perkins doesn't get a suspension for stepping on the court during the Za Za - KG altercation. That would force Baby and PJ to play more.

In fairness, the Celtics played better but had trouble making shots for two critical stretches and once again Atlanta made their shots. The 4th quarter was awful for Boston. A ten point lead turned into another horrible set back. Celtics simply lacked good plays on both ends of the court and this does not bode well for future series. Again, I have to wonder what is going on here and what is holding the Celtics back from breaking through on the road. Are they mentally soft? I don't believe so because they won three straight games in Texas. I think Doc is having trouble with adjustments or it is something worse - the Celtics are not in good health and nobody bothered to the media.

I'm confused and worried now.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

What was that?????

OK, I have been hearing that the Celtics have been a bit sloppy the past month and perhaps tonight it caught up with them. Atlanta flat out kicked our ass tonight and that is really all that needs to be said here.

As I said on CSL postgame tonight, the Celtics were not much good in any phase of the game. They did not guard the perimeter, they did not hustle back on defense, they did not share the ball on offense (at least not as well as Atlanta), they shot the ball very poorly, they played passively, were smaller and slower than the Hawks.

Doc was very upset with the Celtics tonight and for good reason. More importantly, he must make some adjustments..... and perhaps plan to use Posey, House, Powe and BBD as the 4 backups. Heck I would use Tony Allen over Sam Cassell for defensive pressure.

The Celtics appeared to never get untracked in the 2nd half. Perhaps the delay due to the clocks threw them off for the night. I had hoped for a 4 game finish to save energy for the later rounds. But this cluster foul-up of a game might be the bad game the Celtics needed to get them going again and play at the Texas road trip level again.

Congratulations to Atlanta, and it sucks to be you Monday and Wednesday. Bye Bye and thanks for letting me vent tonight JB, Jughead, and Duke.