Saturday, June 2, 2007

My Celtics History in a Nutshell.

Green Koolaid is the spiritual tonic prescribed by FLCeltFan who does an outstanding job on Loy's Place, and . But you already knew that if you found this place to begin with.

Now I believe that Red Auerbach is our father and he looks down on us to make sure we show our




After our time has passed, we live our eternal life in the Boston Garden and watch our games play out. If we are good, we can play for our father our coach.

Our lives began when we fell out of the Rafters in Boston Garden and into the Circle of Life.

We grew up when the Reverend Johnny Most was preaching the Celtics were good and the referees, Lakers, Knicks, Pistons, and 76ers were evil. Bill Laimbeer is the living satan. Too bad he could not stay in Boston and been a Good Old Boy.

Things were great for Boston Celtics winning 16 out of 30 championships including Eight Straight to open my life!!!!! I thought the Celtics were supposed to win every year. That is simply the way it was. Bill Russell retired but Cowens and Silas walked through the door. Havlicek played forever. Don Nelson was a good hand. Jo Jo White was the best shooting guard in the league. Tommy Heinsohn was the best coach because he argued with the referees and still does on a nightly basis with Mike Gorman (THAT's A TERRIBLE CALL). Once Cowens, Havlicek and Jo Jo White retired, in came Cedric Maxwell, Bird, Parish, McHale, DJ, Ainge and for couple of years Bill Walton. In 1986, the Celtics were the best team ever and had Seattle's pick for Gerald Henderson (Why can't we get trades like that anymore). We got the #2 pick and drafted Len Bias (My thoughts are Bias was better than this Durant kid coming into the league) and we had our 6' 9" answer to Micheal Jordan. That was until somebody slipped some white sugar into one of his Red Auerbach's cigars and dropped dead on the spot. OH MY GOD!!!!! My thought was that this was 1918 and we just sold George Herman Ruth to the Yankees. I just got married and this thing happened right on my honeymoon. Things have not been the same since. Our Celtic luck changed. Red Auerbach could no longer hoodwink the rest of the NBA into stupid one sided deals favoring the Celtics. Bird, McHale and Parish got old and injured. The Celtics could only get as far as a seven point halftime lead in Game 6 in the LA Forum of the 1987 finals. And in 24 minutes, the Celtics Dynasty ended. 1988, the Pistons kicked our ass in the ECF. 1989, Bird lost a year. 1990, the Knicks of all teams took us out in the 1st round. 1991, Dee Brown and Reggie Lewis helped us back into Detriot but we lost in OT in the 2nd round. Finally in 1992, which was obviously Bird's last season, we lost to Cleveland in Seven Games and the Micheal Jordan era began. In 1993, Reggie Lewis died of a heart attack. Dr Gilbert Mudge was wrong and I wonder if he is still practicing.

The Ga$ton - ML Carr era began. Larry Bird and Dave Gavitt were out. Without any real talent coming into the league during the Mid Nineties (1st round picks of legendary busts Pervis Elison and Micheal Olowakando are a testament to that), the Celtics had no shot at competing. ML Carr began his legendary three year tanking program to get a 40% chance at Tim Duncan in the 1997 draft. Heck at #1 and #3 it could have been Billups and Duncan. Trade Walker for Dale Davis, draft Pierce or Marion, etc.

Larry Bird gave Ga$ton two choices: Rick Pitino or Larry Brown to replace ML Carr. Against Larry Bird's recommendation, Ga$ton chose Rick Pitino. As the 1997 lottery dealt us #3 and #6, we got Ron Mercer instead of Tim Duncan. Chauncey Billups proved to be a good draft choice but the Pistons benefitted with their 3rd championship under Billups' watch. Pitino traded Billups for Kenny Anderson, traded a pick to Cleveland for Vitaly Potapenko and gave him a 30 million dollar contract. Antione Walker became Fatione, the chubby chucker PF. We lucked into Paul Pierce at Number 9. But the Celtics became terrible due to Pitino's poor trades, drafting (Jerome Moiso) and his micromanaging by yelling at the players. The fans meanwhile became irate and Pitino turned on them by calling them the Fellowship of the Miserable headed by the three giants of the Boston media: Ryan, Shaugnessy, and Peter May.

Enter the ESPN message board which started a whole new era of connecting with fellow Celtics fans (as well as the Red Sox, Patriots, Nebraska Cornhuskers) and of course the trolling. I remember that 1st post in 1999 titled "Time to go back to the Old School"

"Fire Rick Pitinoto. Hire Larry Bird as GM and Dennis Johnson and Robert Parish as coach. Trade Antione Walker for Tim Duncan, trade Mercer and Anderson to Dallas for Steve Nash and Micheal Finley. Tear down the Fleetcenter and bring back Boston Garden and save the game of basketball."

And I had a lot of fun - too much fun perhaps - with the Celtics fans on the messageboard. Any of you remember those Mercer for Fortson trade talks that went on forever and finally it happened. Admittedly neither player has done a lick in this league. And we talked Rick Pitino out of trading Walker for Dale Davis. An ESPN employee who posted under the name of "Remember Tony C" actually gave me a tour of the ESPN facility in my last visit to New England.

I know Rick Pitino was a loser on his interview with ESPN stating he took the job with the premise that he was going to coach Tim Duncan and would not have done so if had known the lottery results. But Paul Ga$ton gave him a 50 million dollar contract and the keys to the team. He incurred the wrath of Auerbach by taking the team president title along with coach and GM. He stated that he wanted to build the team around Paul Pierce (a PHD in his eyes Poor, Hungary, and Driven). Well, I knew that Walker left Pitino after 2 years in Kentucky and he was going to tank on Pitino until he was traded or Pitino quit. The messageboard posters kept the optomism the Celtics would come around. However the team went into a tailspin in December 2000 and finally Pitino resigned after the Celtics lost their 10th straight in Miami in January 2001. I personally was going through a bitter divorce and the kids and Mommy relocated to Portland, OR and I stayed behind in Wichita, KS. Things were really bad for me. The messageboards were my only source of enjoyment. All of the Boston sports teams stunk. The curses of Len Bias, Babe Ruth, and the Raiders were simply wreaking havoc (I have extinguished 2 of the 3 curses but the Len Bias one is extremely problematic.) on my life. I turned to dog racing trying to supplement my income by collecting on Quiniela Box bets and hence my internet name. I have shortened it to "Q" since.

So Pitino resigned and for the 1st in his life admitted defeat. That loser went on to coach archrival Louisville and I have become a Kentucky Wildcat fan ever since. I lived in the Louisville for 1 year way back in 1983 and that was my college team. I liked Denny Crum. An interesting thing happened that year. My friend at work ran into Larry Bird at the Louisville's Standiford Airport and over a beer my friend was telling Larry about me. At the end of the conversation, Larry signed on a piece of paper, "Hey Ron, see you in Wonderland, best wishes, Larry Bird." Man I got so many stories about what Bird did for the Celtics and for me that I will go over as time permits under the QuinielaBox remembers series.

In 2002, I met and dated my 2nd partner. The Patriots with rookie Tom Brady (or maybe it was his 1st year playing full time) led the Patriots to their 1st Super Bowl victory - A terrific moment in sports history. The Celtics experienced a revival under Jim O'Brien with a scrappy group of veterans and Walker and Pierce. The boys were hooting it up in the messageboard room. We were finally going to the NBA finals for the 1st time since 1986 after coming from 30 points down in the 4th quarter to beat New Jersey and play the Lakers just like the good old days. Uh, Not so Fast. We did not have the talent to build off this. I got married again in summer. The Patriots and now the Red Sox were on top of their games. The Celtics traded FOR Vin Baker in a deal that saved Ga$ton 3 million dollars but absolutely hamstrung the team for years. This deal directly led to the 2006 - 2007 valley noted as tanking for Durant and Oden.

Ga$ton sold the Celtics to Wyc Grousebeck and Steve Paculia (SP??) and Danny Ainge was hired to GM the Celtics. The 1st thing Danny did was basically ship Antione Walker (with Delk) out to Dallas for Raef LaFrentz, Chris Mills expiring contract, Jiri Welsch and draft picks. After extending Jim O'Brien as coach, Danny trades Tony Battie and Eric Williams to Cleveland for Ricky Davis (RD) and Chris Mihm (last year in a contract). Jim O'Brien immediately resigned and John "Deadman Walking" Carroll took over a dysfunctional group. Raef LaFrentz was shut down with a knee problem early in the year setting a pattern of Danny Ainge trading for cripples. Deadman Walking got Mark "Poor Energy" Blount to have a career 2nd half of the 2004 season to get the Celtics into the playoffs with a fraudelent 36-46 record. The Celtics were promptly dismissed that year. In 2005, Ainge traded for Walker but hired Glenn "Doc" Rivers as coach. The Celtics easily won the Atlantic Division but were crushed in Game 7 by Indiana as Doc Rivers was horribly outcoached by Rick Carlisle and has yet to win his 1st playoff series.

Walker was traded away to Miami for pure flotsam in a sign and trade. Gary Payton walked. Danny Ainge kept drafting high schoolers and trading for cripples like Wally Sczczerbiak and Theo Ratliffe. Finally in 2007, the perfect tanking storm hit. Auerbach died. DJ died. The Celtics got off to a horrible start and had the worst home record in the NBA. Pierce, Sczerbiak, and Tony Allen were injured. The Celtics went on an 18 game losing streak. Bill Simmons began a public campaign to lose games for more lotto balls. and became major places to vent fan frustrations. I look forward to those Sunday night webcast shows with JB, Jughead, and Duke and matching wits with those people in the pit.

Black Tuesday hit as the Celtics got pidgeonholed with the 5th pick. The sky fell in on the Celtics. But Seattle and Portland got number one and two thereby putting the Lakers in a bad spot to make the playoffs and prompt a trade demand from Kobe Bryant. So Auerbach compromised with God and sent the 1st two picks of the 2007 NBA draft as far away as he could. If it had been Indiana and Charlotte, the Celtics only entry into the NBA playoffs would be to win the Atlantic Division and then be one and done.

No comments: