Tag Archives: Celtics

PODCAST: NBA Finals Preview!

Touchdown!

Touchdown!

Brother Dan, coming off a grueling cross-country drive, called into the Another Beer Salesman studios to discuss the NBA Finals, Lebron’s Eastern Conference vs. Magic’s Western Conference, how crucial Andrew Bogut’s health is for the Warriors’ championship run, the sad state of the Celtics, and how the Sixers are like the Avengers, but without CGI. Get ready people.

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I Will Miss Being Totally Confused by Rajon Rondo

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It’s not often that a professional athlete is branded with a SAT vocabulary word by the sports media, but wherever the name Rajon Rondo appears in print, it seems the word “mercurial” is sure to be nearby.

“Perhaps the most discouraging news to come out of Boston this summer regarding the often mercurial Rondo,…”

And if the Celtic star isn’t being described as mercurial, it’s probably because he’s being enigmatic.

“As the Celtics open the 2012-13 schedule Tuesday night in Miami against the title-defending Heat, the enigmatic Rondo — a fussy fashionista with a basketball assassin’s soul — reigns as their undisputed floor leader,…”

Both of these words can be useful, but when applied to Rondo they don’t illuminate him, or his relationship to the otherworldly basketball talents he possesses. They only obfuscate our understanding of him. When sportswriters first started using those words to describe Rondo they meant he was moody, tough to talk to, tough to interview certainly, but also clearly capable of giving thoughtful and funny answers (his assessment of his likelihood to play on opening night — 79% — and the 4% upgrade he gave himself today, along with his assertion that he will be a “nap time decision” are just the most recent examples). His game was similarly bipolar: his imagination on the floor was limitless, but his focus untrustworthy. Writers never knew which Rondo they would get when talking to him or watching him play. The assumption was that there were two Rondos: the brilliant technician leading the Celtics high-powered offense, and the other Rondo who emerged when his maturity faltered. This Rondo was all petulance, lazy defense and ill-advised passes.

Early on, it was assumed that the duality was connected to an immature moodiness that would dissipate with time. Those words so often used to describe him (mercurial, enigmatic, aloof) were placeholders; he was enigmatic only because we didn’t know him yet. He was mercurial because we didn’t understand him. Surely, winning a championship would allow us to know him. Becoming the Celtics’ best player as the big three grew old would force his personality and his game to calcify into something we could easily define. Maybe a knee injury and a blow to that aura of invincibility he wore so casually would force him to do away with the impatience that became palpable whenever a camera or microphone was directed his way. And then there was last year, when we thought that Rondo would surely let us know his true self as the unquestioned face of the franchise during a hopeless campaign. We were waiting for the easy narrative, for enough pieces to fall into place where we could properly pigeonhole Rondo, as both a person and a player. That has still not happened (nobody can even agree if he is a good shooter or not) and it’s pretty clear now that it never will.

Thank God.

Rondo is the weirdest, most mercurial, enigmatic, and inscrutable player in the NBA, which is a just a list of thesaurus words employed to say that we just don’t get him. Our greatest basketball players exist in a simple personality matrix: there’s the immature talent (Boogie Cousins), the former immature talent who grew up and “got it” (Kyle Lowry, Chris Webber, Paul Pierce), the quiet superstar (Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Tim Duncan), the affable pitchman (Lebron James, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin), and the win-at-all costs sociopath (Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Kevin Garnett). Where does Rondo fit into this? Couldn’t you make a case for just about every category, minus the affable pitchman? But then again, would it even be surprising if Rondo was in a series of hilarious Kia commercials? What can’t he do?

Apart from his statistics, and the fact that he’s fourth all-time in playoff triple doubles, here are some things we know about Rondo:

  1. He is a freak. From Lee Jenkins’ excellent 2013 SI profile: “Rondo’s hands, 9½ inches long and 10 inches wide, are the size of a 7-footer’s. His wingspan is 6’9”, common for a power forward. If built proportionally, he says, “I’d be like Magic or Oscar Robertson.” In peripheral vision tests Rondo beats everybody except Ainge, and on road trips he can recall exact directions to places he visited once. Ainge has seen him throw a football 80 yards, hit a softball 380 feet and beat 33-year-old assistant general manager Ryan McDonough in a 40-yard dash with a tire strapped to his waist. In college Rondo stole the ball from his man 16% of the time; no one else in the 2006 draft swiped it more than 5%.”
  2. He is a connect four savant. He challenges groups of children to simultaneous games of connect four and he beats them mercilessly.
  3. He never watched basketball growing up. He learned the game entirely through his own experience of it. His unique style, the chances he takes, the plays he makes that seem to have never been made before, much of that may come down to the fact that he was a basketball tabula rasa. He invented his game in a vacuum free of expectations of what the game is supposed to look like.
  4. He asks questions back at reporters more than any athlete I’ve ever seen. It’s often steely and cold, but it’s never hostile. He can give the most cliché sounding answers and make them seem natural and genuine, and he can give the most controversial answers and make them seem boring and cliché. He can be friendly and adversarial. His interviews are great in a subtle way. Watch how many interesting, yet very simple answers he gives in this three-minute interview.
  1. Speaking of interviews, he gave the greatest halftime interview of all time when he called out the Heat for crying to the refs. He wasn’t complaining about them doing it, he was simply answering a question about why the Celtics were able to get out and run. “Them complaining and crying to the referees in transition.” Rondo seems like he is at once deeply committed to the truth, and totally bored by it.
  2. He is best friends with Josh Smith. This can reasonably considered a red flag.
  3. He has been, according to this typically excellent Jackie MacMullan piece, the leader of the team for years. He was the guy who took the younger players under his wing, not just recently, but while KG and Paul were still in town. He forms deeply committed friendships with teammates.
  4. He once told a reporter that he had big plans for his post-basketball career, but refused to say what they were.
  5. He may or may not have clashed with Doc Rivers and Ray Allen.
  6. He takes five showers a day.
  7. He is an excellent roller skater. 
  8. He said he “felt nothing” when Paul and KG left.
  9. Nerlens Noel said Rondo was the “biggest helper” of any NBA player while dealing with his recovery from ACL surgery.
  10. He is smart. He drops in on high school math classes and ends up teaching them. Danny Ainge has said that Rondo is always “the smartest guy in the room, and the most stubborn.”
  11. He out rebounds his height (6’1) better than anybody since Charles Barkley.
  12. Danny Ainge has tried to trade him roughly 3,540 times.

What are we to make of all this? It’s 2014 and the mercurial and enigmatic Rondo® is still as unknowable as he was when he entered the league in 2006. Those adjectives are no longer placeholders, they are an admission of a comprehension failure. Writers have given up trying to understand Rondo or get to know him, not because he’s dull – he is anything but – and not because he only allows access to a customer-facing version of himself (I can’t imagine Rondo ever talking about his “brand”), but because Rondo is honest and yet still we can’t figure out what type of player or person he is. He refuses all attempts at explanation or narrative. He frustrates the manufacturing of simple career arcs that we have become accustomed to as sports fans. He is a series of parts, impressions, and facts that don’t seem to fit together. He is a mystery.

There will be no “knowing” Rondo. To just sort of flippantly refer to him as mercurial and enigmatic is understandable, and a time saver, but doing so is a disservice to the complexities of one of the most dynamic athletes and personalities I’ve ever had the privilege of watching. As the 2014-2015 season begins, Celtics fans know this is very likely Rondo’s last in Boston. I personally hope that the Celtics sign Rondo to a max deal, since no free agent is coming to Boston without an established star, and try to build around him. But whatever happens, we should appreciate him for his basketball genius and also his inscrutability; we should relish the fact that in this age of social media and advanced analytics a point guard leading a marquee franchise is still capable of being so joyfully confusing. We should enjoy every last one-handed cross-court pass, every altercation with the referees, every question turned back on a reporter. We should stay vigilant in order to celebrate the plays, and there will be a few, which Rondo is the first to ever complete, not because there has never been anyone with his talent, but because Rondo was the first to see through the limitations of physics and aesthetics and will a new basketball play into existence with his daring and stubbornness.

Rondo is totally unknowable. But that doesn’t make trying to know him any less fun, and it doesn’t make his inevitable departure any less sad. For the next few months, we should bang our heads against Rondo’s contradictions and be happy that someone so intelligent and so talented wouldn’t make it simple for us to love him. It will be a sad day when Rondo isn’t around to confuse us anymore.

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The Greatest Run in Obnoxious Sports Fan History Comes to an End

It appears the greatest era of major sport dominance in American history is now coming to a close. As New England sports fans, we knew this was coming. We couldn’t be this obnoxious forever.

We’ve talked about it for years now, wondering how much longer all four Boston teams could be playing at championship levels.  For educated fans (and what fan base prides themselves on their education and knowledge more than New England fans?) we couldn’t help but notice the parallels between rooting for a truly dominant sports empire during a decade that saw our country’s preeminent geopolitical position challenged and weakened both from outside and within. We knew that nothing lasts forever, that pride goes before a fall, and that empires, like everything else in this world, are either growing or dying.

By 2010, we were talking about it openly, wondering if this was it, examining slight deviations from championship form as a sign of the coming collapse. The Celtics were old, true, but they forced the Heat to a Game 7 last year.  The Patriots secondary had starters  that Monday Night Football didn’t have pictures of a few years ago, but they still contended for a Super Bowl the last few years. The beer and chicken late season swoon gave way to the horrifying Bobby Valentine era for the Red Sox, but the fire sale to LA and John Farrell’s guidance seemed to have righted the ship.  We kept looking for signs that the pendulum was staring to swing the other way. We were aware it couldn’t last because we remembered what it was like before.

It’s easy to see New England sports fans as entitled brats spoiled by victory, and the fact that I’m writing this eulogy while the Red Sox are in first place, the Bruins are the current eastern conference champions, and Tom Brady is still the Patriots QB illustrates this point pretty clearly. But those of us who grew up in the nineties as I did are acutely aware of how precious this decade was.  I “saw” the Celtics win the 1986 Finals in only the most strict optical-neurological sense; being one year old at the time have no memory of the event.  Although, I also don’t remember Buckner’s error or the destruction of the Patriots at the hands of the Super-Bowl shuffling Chicago Bears from that same year, so that’s probably a fair trade. A Boston team didn’t win a title between 1986 and 2001, the longest stretch in Boston sports history since the drought between the Bruins Stanley cup win in 1941 and the first Celtics title in 1957. Even the long-suffering Red Sox fan of older generations had seen the Celtics dominate four decades of basketball.  That long championship-free run lined up perfectly with my youth, and as such, I was raised on sports ineptitude.

There were some moments of success between then and the beginning of the 21st century, including a trip to the Super Bowl for the Patriots and Pedro’s six hitless innings of relief in game five of the ALDS against the Indians in 1999 (a game Troy “yum-yum” O’Leary hit two home runs in, second one at 2:00:00). Those were the two highlights of my first sixteen years of sports allegiance.

So when Patriots pulled off the greatest upset in Super Bowl history in 2001, and the Red Sox pulled off the greatest comeback in sports history in 2004, it was not only shocking, it was as if God himself had smiled on us. We were no longer the lovable losers, we were the best. There were those three Super Bowls, two world series, an NBA title, and a Stanley Cup. Our teams were excellent. All the organizations were excellent.

That’s what we valued: excellence. So at some point, realizing that the cynical New England doomsday gloominess no longer befit a people so gifted by the sports gods, we decided to become excellent ourselves, nearly precisely at the moment when we realized the run was unsustainable, that our own window for excellence could not last.

We became the most excellent assholes in the history of sports fans.

No one could come close to our mix of hubris, condescension, knowledge, conviction, and volume. We were the most excellent assholes that have ever gone into a bar. I was one of them. And I was truly obnoxious not because I thought we would never have our comeuppance. On the contrary, I understood the window would inevitably shut, that such a run of championships and perennial contention was unsustainable. We knew we had a small window to be the greatest assholes in sports history, so we took up the mantle and wore it proudly.  We were obnoxious because we realized that we could be smug in a way that no fan had ever been, we could reach new levels of arrogance, we could belittle other fans in ways that no on had ever been able to do.

When destiny knocks, you open the goddamn door.

Of course, pointing out that we were the most excellent assholes in sports history is, in and of itself, a really asshole thing to do. But I am one of them. You see, a Boston fan is not just louder than you, and won’t just yell at the TV louder than any other fan at the bar. A Boston fan will yell really good points and will drunkenly slobber statistics while quoting both members of the mainstream sports media and esoteric analytics guys. They will also spill your drink on you and blame you for putting it there. This is us. This is who we are.

And when you cross us, or tell us that Boston sucks in some way, unlike Yankee fans from their era of dominance in the late 1990’s, we don’t simply have catchphrases we repeat like half-retarded plains politicians spouting talking points (1918! 27 rings! Drill baby drill!). We would sarcastically, caustically, and condescendingly remind you that you didn’t matter. We usually laughed while we did it. I remember one time being with my brother in Philadelphia after Vince Young had very incorrectly dubbed the Eagles a “dream team” and a guy in a Eagles jersey called out my brother for being in a Patriots sweatshirt during a minor league hockey game. The Philadelphia fan, in typical Philadelphia mediocre-asshole style, said simply “Pats suck!” My brother looked at him, burst out laughing and said in the manner of  the more-seasoned,  professional asshole, “good luck with that dream team!”  The guy had to be restrained by his buddies. My brother laughed at him like you would at a child threatening you if don’t provide it with cookies. How dare he even attempt to say something negative about the Patriots. Have you seen Tom Brady play? 

This attitude is hard to give up. I was in a bar in New York when the Knicks eliminated the Celtics. People were celebrating, I was heartbroken knowing that it might be the last time I got to watch the Big Three era Celtics. They had come from 3-0 down to force a game six. They were scrappy and they even made a come back in the fourth after everyone thought the game was far out of reach.

Knicks fans were celebrating. I yelled across the whole bar: “So glad New York has moved to .500 when up 3-0 against Boston teams in the 21st century! Good to break even!”

I am the worst.

People really started to not like us during the run, and absolutely justifiably so. Having lived in Philadelphia and New York over the past few years, I see people roll their eyes when they find out I follow Boston sports. It’s not just New York or Philly people either, it’s any sports fan from anywhere else in the country. People will tell me to my face “Boston fans are obnoxious.” I had a girlfriend who was born overseas and only spent two years in the U.S. before I met her. She was telling a group of mixed-company friends about me when we first started dating, and she reported back to me that the males present had all uniformly agreed that New England sports fans were assholes, and I, as such, must be one as well. I explained to her that people hate us they way people hate the U.S. They hate us because we control everything and their tiny countries don’t matter. This explanation convinced her that her friends were correct.

Here’s one of my favorite stand ups explaining just how annoying Red Sox fans are in an offensive and hilarious analogy.

But suffice to say, that era of dominance across all four sports (although the Celtics and Bruins were late to the party) seems safely behind us now after last week  ended with a shitstorm of calamity that hadn’t been seen even during the pre-Rams upset days.

First, the Bruins blew the Stanley Cup up by two goals with barely a minute left to play. Then the rumors started that Doc Rivers wanted out. This was personally deflating for me, because I had, and I am dead serious, wrote-in Doc Rivers for President in 2012 specifically because I felt betrayed by Obama. Now this? Why do all the black men I vote for placement in our highest office betray me?

(Late addition to this: just found out that Brad Stevens was hired as the Celtics new coach. Not sure Rondo is going to listen to a college coach who looks like he’s twelve. Although Rondo doesn’t listen to anybody. Fingers crossed.)

Then there was the arrest of Aaron Hernandez for MURDER which was amazing because when the story broke that a body was found near his house and he was wanted for questioning, I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. He was, according to all accounts, a “good kid.”  The transformation in my mind from “maybe Aaron Hernandez hangs out with the wrong people”  to “Aaron Hernandez has DEFINITELY murdered a bunch of dudes in cold blood” was shocking. In a few short days his case morphed from something akin to Ray Lewis hanging out with the wrong people to Marvin Harrison’s kingpin-level execution of witnesses.  This is not just bad for Hernandez and the poor people, as in plural of person, that he probably killed, it’s really bad for the Patriots. This is the organization that let the greatest receiver in franchise history walk, a move that some argued would open up the middle of the field for our two stud tight ends, one of which will most certainly never play football again, and the other of which has had five surgeries this year. (It should be noted that when you Google “how many surgeries has….” the first autofill is Joan Rivers, the second is Rob Gronkowski). It’s looking an awful lot like that gargantuan body of Gronk’s is just not meant to hold up. Professional athletes don’t have that many surgeries on unrelated issues and then come back and play a long and healthy career. The future for the Patriots is suddenly looking bleak, because the future of the Patriots is limited to the short time left in Brady’s career. (Again, look at how entitled that is. “We don’t have a team unless we have the best quarterback of all time.” I know its ridiculous. But once you have Tom Brady, no other QB will ever be able to satisfy you again).

Then Paul and KG were shipped out of town for draft picks and a heaping pile of guaranteed money owed to Gerald Wallace. I am pretty devastated that they, and especially Paul, will not retire as Celtics. I could write forever on Paul, but my man Alex at Journeymen pretty much summed up the relationship Boston fans my age have with Paul as well as anyone could. I have a lot of conflicted feelings about the trade, and a good deal of that conflict arises from the fact that I live a fifteen-minute walk from the Barclay’s Center, which means I get to watch Paul and KG play more than I would’ve if they were still in Boston. I will be scalping tickets at every home game. I will be like the guy at this Lakers game, only desperate for Paul to look at me instead of Bonner.

And something that hasn’t been mentioned much recently in the wake of all that’s happened in the past week, but remember somebody also BOMBED the most important amateur New England sporting event. It’s been a rough year.

John Liam Policastro wrote an article over at Vice.com about how the Boston’s return to (relative) sports mediocrity will be good for the city. He reminds us that the indie music and comedy scene in Boston was awesome when the sports teams sucked. Besides the real big issues with causation, correlation, and coincidence in that article, it does bring up an interesting point about what happens when a whole city gets high on its own glory. He argues that with less people asking to turn the game on in bars, there will be more bands and comics getting attention. I doubt that’s the case, although that would be nice. But what Policastro doesn’t think about, and probably fairly so as the article is about Boston specifically, is the rest of New England. New England roots for Boston teams just as much as Boston does, and as someone who grew up in Bangor, ME, and just spent time last weekend in a sports bar in Putnam, CT,  there are no “scenes” that will emerge in these places because the regional sports teams aren’t winning titles. Boston people often forget just how regional their sports teams are, and in doing so dismiss the thousands of fans that stream south from Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, and North from Connecticut and Rhode Island to fill Fenway, Gillette, and TD Garden. Don’t tell those people that their going to get more culture now that the Celtics suck. That Celtics are their culture.

But we, those from the farthest flung corners of New England, knew the end was coming as much as any Harvard or MIT student (or janitor) did. If Boston fans want to start going to hear bands instead of watching the games, let them. We New Englanders will keep watching.

After all, those Boston fans are assholes anyway.

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Asking Questions of Tall Naked Men: A Fantasy

Here are some questions I would ask the participants of Sunday’s Celtics-Knicks playoff game if I had locker room access, which I don’t, and if I had the balls to challenge professional athletes standing around half-naked on their performance and craft, which I definitely don’t.

 “Doc Rivers, what’s it like coaching a professional basketball team in a playoff series without playing a single point guard or center?”

The Celtics had one point guard on the roster this season, and his name is Rajon Rondo. Avery Bradley is not a point guard, Jason Terry is not a point guard (or an NBA-basketball player at this point), Courtney Lee is not a point guard, and Jordan Crawford is, almost, relative to the rest of the guards on the roster, sort of a point guard.

And KG is not a center, which is something we know because only two years ago he said he didn’t like playing center. Brandon Bass is being asked to guard Carmelo Anthony when KG is in, and then play the five when KG is out (which is a Lebron-level demand of someone’s full range of athletic abilities, a demand which he very admirably met).

But that’s the issue with this team. Only the Heat can get away with playing without a 1 or a 5, and that’s because Lebron is a terrifying monster-movie villain that cannot be killed and can switch forms into whatever shape is necessary to murder or disembowel you. He’s like the liquid metal guy from Terminator 2. Or the clown from IT. He is terrifying. I guess if you actually like Lebron, you would see him more like Mega Man at the end of the game, when he can switch between a litany of ammo and powerups to perfectly compliment the enemy’s weaknesses. That’s whats terrifying about the possibility of facing Lebron in the playoffs. You know he has the ice ray for the C’s fireballs. Just like he’s got the boomerang ray for the Knicks flying robot machines and the heat seeking missiles for the Pacers….bouncy bombs? Ok, it’s been a while since I played Mega Man. I guess D-Wade is kind of like the dog he had in that one game?

Speaking of not having a center….

“Shavlik Randolph, as the only true center on this team, we could really use your defense and rebounding when KG sits and we are playing Brandon Bass at the 5. So, my question is, what did you do to Doc? Can you apologize please?  ”

Shavlik Randolph’s per minute averages are insane. He can rebound, defend, and he’s got a pretty good sense of how to move without the ball, and when he gets it down low he can finish. Most importantly, Shavlik knows his limitations perfectly. He doesn’t try to do anything he can’t.

Also, he gets hit in the face a lot.

shav

He averaged 4.4 rebounds over 12.4 minutes per game this season, which projects to 17 boards a game over 48 minutes. He also shoots 58% and would average a block and a half over a complete game. I know this kind of projection is a kind of fool’s errand, sort of like projecting the proliferation of Elvis impersonators. Those stats aren’t going to hold up, and in limited action he somehow manages to put up complete game foul totals. But that being said, Shavlik has had some solid performances in limited minutes when KG was out (including a 16 and 7 against a Varejao-less Cleveland and a 9 and 13 against Atlanta in 22 and 13 minutes, respectively). He’s tough and smart. He can play in small doses. So why can’t he get ten minutes a game when KG sits and the C’s are playing Brandon Bass at the five?

“Mike Woodson, what’s it like knowing you can play three guards and two forwards against a team playing four forwards and not get out rebounded? “

The Celtics started big with one guard and four forwards, sending out Avery Bradley, Paul Pierce, Jeff Green, Brandon Bass, and Kevin Garnett for the opening tip. They stayed with this line up for much of the game, while bringing in only guards off the bench to go small at times. Doc’s plan with the big lineup is to have three guys on the floor, Brandon Bass, Jeff Green, and Paul Pierce, who can guard Carmelo at any time, which prevents him from destroying smaller defenders on switches.

(Amazingly, Bass guarded Anthony the best, which I found surprising. I forgot how big Melo is, how quick Brandon is, and how much Jeff can get muscled around.)

With that large lineup, you would expect the Celtics to have a rebounding advantage, but the game ended with both teams grabbing an even 40 rebounds. For a weak rebounding team like the Celtics, this could be seen as a victory.

But if you look at who the Knicks played, it becomes pretty apparent that they are getting away with going small and quick while not sacrificing rebounding in the process. Tyson Chandler played 20 minutes and Kenyon Martin played 28. After that, you had 6’8 Chris Copeland playing thirteen minutes, and that’s pretty much it for the Knicks big men, other than Melo, who doesn’t exactly protect the rim.  This leads me to my question for Kenyon Martin.

“Kenyon Martin, I understand you are happy to be back in the NBA, and especially the playoffs, after playing in China for most of this year. But can you act like you maybe aren’t totally shocked to dunk the ball? Like maybe, you don’t need to scream at the sky like a ‘roided out coyote at a full moon every time you do anything? What’s the deal with that stupid pick up artist lip tattoo on your neck? Can you be any more unlikable?

I have hated Kenyon Martin ever since Jason Kidd and him used to beat the Antoine Walker-Paul Pierce Celtics in the early 2000’s. I have hated Kenyon Martin since before there was a Southern Sudan.

Speaking of hate…

“Officials, you do realize that Jason Kidd’s veteran savvy does not mean that the whole forearm of the ball handler magically becomes part of the ball when he goes for a strip, right?”

Alright…now that I got that off my chest, let’s get back to more positive things.

“Paul Pierce, I love you.”

(Realizes that’s not a question.)

“Paul Pierce, guess how much I love you?”

Paul had a great sequence in the third after Jeff Green mentally left the game and the Celtics offense was suffocating and on the verge of collapsing (a condition it would succumb to in that abominable fourth quarter). Paul was having an off night shooting, and he had just air balled a mid-range jumper. You could see that Paul had decided “we need a bucket, and I don’t have my shot. I need to get to the line.”

Over the next five minutes Paul took the ball to the rim, drawing fouls on Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd, which are match ups he needs to take advantage of. He then pulled up over top a KG screen and hit a three that revolved three times around the rim before dropping in. It looked like Paul had self-medicated his limp jump shot with a few quick trips to the line, a remedy we’ve seen him use a thousand times to get his shooting going. When he hit the three, the C’s went up 70-64. But then he pulled up the next time down the floor and missed a three with a hand in his face. C’mon Paul. You hit one shot, not exactly time for a heat check.

That being said, even though his scoring wasn’t there, the Captain led the team with seven assists and three gutsy charges.  Paul is the point guard now.  It certainly isn’t Avery, and the JET should be permanently grounded and put in some sort of aerospace museum dedicated to housing antiques, like combo guards that could win titles. The problem with Paul at the point is that he had six turnovers. That can’t happen. Paul needs to score or he needs to be an efficient point guard. If he’s neither, the C’s are pretty doomed.

The good thing about all of this is that Paul is going to find his offense, and he can score against all of the Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton, and J.R. Smith match ups he gets when the Celtics go big. He will be fine, and if he can get the pick and roll game going with KG, they have a chance. They stopped a Knicks’ run with a pretty oop off the pick and roll in the second. Especially when it’s Tyson Chandler or Kenyon Martin , Melo, and three guards in the game, the C’s have to run lots of pick and rolls with KG, bringing Chandler or Martin away from the basket for Avery cuts and Jeff Green driving lanes.

That’s the thing about this series, the shots are gonna be there for Paul and KG. They also held Melo to a pretty low percentage (13-29). The C’s have a shot.

“Avery Bradley, you realize you can bounce the ball into the post, right?”

Avery had a decent game, and was effective on the offensive end. But he had some pretty egregious turnovers trying to lob the ball to KG in the post from near half court.

I feel for Avery, because watching him trying to make entry passes at MSG reminded me of myself trying to make entry passes while playing NBA 2K. How is there not a bounce pass button? I see the lane, why can’t my little digital man see it? Why do they randomly bounce the ball sometimes and not others? Just put a bounce pass button in the game. How hard is that?

(After writing this it occurred to me I have not played the newest NBA 2K13. I looked it up, and turns out they have implemented the bounce pass button. So, thanks EA Sports.)

“Kevin Garnett, are you ready for game two?”

Just checking that you have, you know, a couple missiles.

And finally….

“Mike Woodson, what is your goatee? It looks like it is one solid thing, like the individual hairs have fused together to make some sort of composite material that could be used to stop bullets. How does your hair grow so perfectly to the borders of your lips, not just the top lip, but the bottom lip as well? 

woodsons beard

Can I touch it? What? This is the last time I’m allowed in the locker room isn’t it?”

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