Claws Jam Bakersfield

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Maine Red Claws, as expected, destroyed the league's worst team tonight in front of another sellout crowd in the Portland Expo. Despite Bill Walker being sent back up to the Celtics, Alexis Ajinca not at his best, and Lester Hudson only arriving for the second half, it was no contest. At various times the Jam tried to turn it into a contest. While it looked like they might get it going and make it a game, their rally never quite materialized. After the first quarter it was never closer than nine points.

Bakersfield started strong, to be sure. With less than three minutes left in the first quarter, they were only behind by a point. Initially, it seemed that they might be competitive. Perhaps their recent roster moves had been effective, or perhaps this would into a surprise challenge for the Claws, much like their first home loss. Then the Red Claws went on an 11-3 run, and by the end of the quarter the home team was ahead by nine points. That run would be indicative of the rest of the game. Maine never looked back, defeating the visitors by a final of 105-82.

It took Bakersfield the first three minutes of the second before they were able to score. While the Claws scored five more points in the second than they had in the third, the Jam scored the same. At halftime the Claws were in full command with an impressive 23-point lead - identical to the final margin.

Although a brief rally materialized for the visitors as they pushed from being down almost twenty points to finishing the third with an eleven-point deficit, they only barely got it into single digits when the rally fizzled. This was the only quarter where the Jam outscored than the Claws (35-27). For a while there the Jam looked impressive, but then the Claws dominated the fourth quarter.

It wasn't the NBA assignees who stood out, but Trey Gilder and Noel Felix. Gilder notched 18, leading the team in points, while Felix had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Although Hudson didn't see much time, he played well in 13 minutes and Ajinca was impressive despite a slow start, with 12 points and 9 rebounds.

Maine played a strong game, despite losing Walker and with Hudson only notching 3 points in 13 minutes. The Red Claws showed why they're one of the best teams in the D-League. They also proved they could dominate without their NBA assignees, and that they'll be competitive with or without help from the Boston Celtics and Charlotte Bobcats.

NOTES: Celtics GM Danny Ainge attended the game...the first-place Iowa Energy face the 3-7 Eerie BayHawks later tonight; an Iowa loss would leave Maine and Iowa tied for first place...Lester Hudson arrived late & only played in the second half.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Noel Felix; Honorable Mention to Trey Gilder

Lester Hudson sent back to Maine Red Claws

Via the Red Claws' Facebook page:
The Red Claws face the Bakersfield Jam today at 1:00 in front of another sell out crowd. Did we mention that Celtics have sent Lester Hudson to us again?!
The move makes sense; with Paul Pierce out with an injury, it's more pressing for the Celtics to have Bill Walker and J.R. Giddens with the big club than it is to have Hudson.

Maine vs. Bakersfield Preview

Maine Red Claws (7-2) vs. Bakersfield Jam (2-10)
1:00PM Saturday December 26;
5:00PM Sunday December 27, Portland Expo, Portland, Maine

This afternoon and tomorrow evening, the Red Claws square off against the Bakersfield Jam, the worst team in the D-League. Like the Armor, the Jam have the benefit of no NBA assignees. Like the Armor, they're associated with thoroughly mediocre NBA teams: the 7-21 Golden State Warriors and the 12-17 LA's Other Team. In fact, last spring the Jam almost ceased operations entirely.

The team leader so far this season for Bakersfield has been 6'11" C Brian Butch from the University of Wisconsin. While his high school career was notable, and Wisconsin made strides during his collegiate career, he has yet to receive a serious look from an NBA team. 6'6" G Reece Gaines has the most NBA experience on the Jam roster. He played for Louisville in college, then was drafted and signed by the Orlando Magic in 2003, where he sat on the bench. He's played with the Houston Rockets and Milwaukee Bucks since then, seeing his playing time decrease steadily, and hasn't been in the NBA since the 2005-2006 season.

These two games should be good opportunities for the Red Claws. While they just lost Bill Walker after Paul Pierce was sidelined for a few games, that shouldn't be too much of a concern. He'll likely be back, and the Claws still have an NBA assignee in 7'0" Forward-Center Alexis Ajinca, from the Bobcats. Ajinca has been steadily improving over the course of his time in Maine, which should please Michael Jordon and Larry Brown as well as Maine fans.

Even apart from the assignees, the Claws have plenty of NBA talent and should continue to be a top-notch team. This organization has a lot of talent, which is reflected by their relatively balanced offense. The Jam, too, have a fairly balanced offense - just for the opposite reason. The difference between the two on defense couldn't be more obvious; if that continues over the weekend, Maine fans won't have much to worry about.

Update: According to the Red Claws Facebook page, Lester Hudson has been sent back down to the Red Claws.  At this point, it is unsure whether he'll play in today's game.

Doc: Yesterday's win ugly ball, not bad ball

Yesterday's win wasn't pretty. The Celtics had 20 turnovers. They shot only 42.5%. They hit only four out of 15 threes. No, the game wasn't pretty at all.

But it sure was a win Doc Rivers could be proud of.

Via the Boston Globe:
“A lot of good things happened for us. Our defense won the game. We talked about it for two days - the only way we’re going to win this game is in a defensive game. We’re not going to come in without Paul Pierce and shoot them out of the game, that wasn’t going to happen. We were going to have a great defensive team and we were. It was not the prettiest ball - I can tell you both teams played tremendous defense, by the way. We didn’t lose points in that stretch - no one was scoring. It was ugly ball. But I don’t necessarily think that’s bad basketball, I think that’s two teams playing extremely hard and playing great defense.’’
I'm not like a lot of people. I'd rather see a low-scoring, grind-it-out game, as long as both teams are giving it their all. I want to see players hitting the floor after loose balls, hard box-outs on missed shots, and contested jumpers rather than open ones.

And by those parameters, yesterday was certainly satisfying.

'It's a Wonderful Life', starring Paul Pierce

Friday, December 25, 2009

Every Christmas Eve, my family and I sit down and watch "It's a Wonderful Life," the timeless Christmas movie released in 1947.  Every Christmas Eve -- without fail -- I claim it's an overrated movie, then get suckered into its heart-warming story.  By the end of the movie, I'm without a doubt holding back tears, or attempting to secretly wipe them away from my eyes.  I can't let my family detect me tearing up... it's an overrated movie, remember?

Anyways, I will now admit it's one of the best movies ever made, and then hope beyond hope my family doesn't read this post.  After all, next year I'll have to make my claim that it's an overrated movie; it's become a Christmas tradition, like opening presents, singing carols, or drinking egg nog.  (Of course, an hour or so later I'll be weeping like Adam Morrison in the NCAA tournament; yet another King family Christmas tradition.)

If you don't know the premise of "It's a Wonderful Life", it's this: (Note: I promise there is a point to this.  Bear with me.)  A businessman named George Bailey runs an exceedingly moral Building and Loan and successfully battles the local tyrant (Mr. Potter) who wants to take over the town and run it down, in the process almost single-handedly saving his town from the clutches of despair.  But then he runs into enormous bad luck; his uncle Billy accidentally gives $8,000 to Mr. Potter, and the bank is suddenly short money and in trouble with the police.  As George thinks suicidal thoughts, he prays for some help, and it comes... in the form of his guardian angel Clarence.

Long story short, Clarence takes George into an alternate reality and shows him what his life would have been like if he were never born, essentially proving how many lives George has touched.

So why the hell am I talking about It's a "Wonderful Life"?  I'm supposed to be discussing the Celtics, aren't I?

And I will, by putting Paul Pierce into the shoes of George Bailey and showing him what the Celtics would have been like had he never been born....

Cue the smoke, bring on Clarence, and let's take Pierce back to the 1998 NBA Draft...

As the future Pierce watches and thinks to himself, "I'm about to get drafted," David Stern comes to the podium to announce the 10th pick of the NBA Draft:

"And with the 10th pick of the 1998 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics select... Bonzi Wells."

The crowd murmurs for awhile, wondering 1) who the hell Bonzi Wells is [after all, he went to Ball State, and wasn't exactly a known commodity], and 2) how the Celtics didn't use that pick to scoop up Michael Doleac.  Future Pierce, meanwhile, is puzzled. 

"But I was drafted with that pick.  Not Bonzi Wells."

"Keep watching," said Clarence. "It gets worse."
Future Pierce is whisked away to the following year, to a casino in Las Vegas, where  Antoine Walker and Bonzi Wells are playing craps.
Pierce walks up to Antoine, and yells, "'Toine, my man! What's going on?"
Walker looks at him questioningly, before deciding he doesn't know who the hell Pierce is. 
"It's me, 'Toine!  Paul.  The Truth.  We went to the conference finals together, 'Toine!  We beat the Nets in one of the most memorable comebacks ever.  We were the second-best team in the East, 'Toine, and it was almost all because of you and me!"
Walker shakes his head, looks at Wells and starts to laugh.  "The Celtics, in the conference finals?  This guy must be wild.  I've never seen him before in my life, and he's telling me we beat the Nets in one of the most memorable comebacks ever. Ha! Shit, we just went through a 5-45 season. (Editor's note: the lockout.)  We started Eric Riley at center half the time.  (Editor's note: Eric Riley is a real person, and he started 11 games for the '98-'99 Celtics.)  Our backcourt was Kenny Anderson and Ron Mercer, and we had Vitaly Potapenko in the starting lineup too, damnit.  Without a real scoring threat, we couldn't even stay in games, never mind win them.  And this guy's trying to talk about the Conference Finals?  Shit."
Pierce takes another look at Walker and realizes, Wow, he's pretty damn fat.  He wasn't that fat back then, was he?  How'd he get so big?
Then he takes one more look back at Walker and Wells, who are double-fisting cheeseburgers and losing money at a steady rate.  Oh....
Fast forward to the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals...
Future Pierce has seen enough to realize he won't be playing in the 2002 Eastern Conference Finals.  But what he doesn't realize is that the Detroit Pistons, starting Chucky Atkins, Ben Wallace, Jerry Stackhouse, Clifford Robinson and Michael Curry, would be in the Finals.
"Michael Curry?" Pierce asks.  "Starting in the Eastern Conference Finals?"
"I know," responds Clarence. "It surprised me, too.  He averaged a whopping four points per game, and it's not like he was surrounded by a ton of scorers to carry the load.  I would have you keep watching, but I can't handle watching basketball this bad.  You see, this series would have set basketball back a decade... if anyone in the country had actually been interested in watching Michael Curry battle Keith Van Horn. Without your comeback, your heart, and your passion, this was probably the worst Conference Finals series in NBA history."
A flabbergasted Future Pierce is transported through time back into 2009, Christmas Day.  Pierce opens his eyes to see a room full of people wearing Celtics gear and watching the Crhistmas Day games on t.v., only the Celtics aren't who he thought they would be...
Pierce looks to Clarence in shock: "Gerald Green?  Sebastian Telfair?  Brian Scalabrine?  Where are KG and Ray Allen?"
"Without you, neither of those guys wanted to play for Boston.  And, besides, the GM wouldn't have wanted them... what's the point of one star player around a roster full of scrubs?  The Celtics are committed to rebuilding."
"But with Gerald Green and Sebastian Telfiar?" Pierce wondered.  "And who's that 50-year old seven-footer walking around on crutches?"
"Why, that's no 50-year old," explained Clarence. "That's Greg Oden.  The Celtics traded away their first-round draft picks for the next five years to get him, and he's been hurt pretty much ever since."
Wow, thought Pierce. I never thought I was this valuable to the Celtics.  Just look at what would have happened to their organization if I'd never been born.
"See Paul," injected Clarence. "You're the richest man in town.  Remember, no man is a failure who has a ring."
"But Clarence," Pierce said.  "One last question... What in the world is Vinny Del Negro doing in here?"
"When Doc Rivers was fired, the Celtics hired him as their coach."

One more reason I love Kevin Garnett

There are so many reasons I love KG.  He never takes a play off, plays unselfishly, and is willing to sacrifice anything of his own to help his own team win.  (And yeah, that last reason sounds a lot like the second reason, but I couldn't just stop at "unselfish.")

Here's one more reason.

Via the Boston Herald:
Getting Garnett to take a break before exacerbating an injury has proven a difficult task for the Celtics.

“I only know one way to play,” he said. “And since I’ve been able to come into this league, I learned from some gritty veterans in Sam (Mitchell) and Terry Porter. Those guys pushed through a lot of things. I never want to sit or never try to sit during practice. I don’t believe in days off unless the coach gives them to you. So my thing is to work, and that’s what I do when I come to the gym.

“Sometimes you’ve got to listen to your body, and as I get older that’s probably the smarter thing to do. But when I come here, I don’t come here for social reasons. I don’t come here to lollygag or shoot the (expletive) or shoot the breeze. I come here to work. I come here to get something done.”
I don't care what you think about Garnett's on-court antics. I don't care what type of reaction you have when Garnett blocks a shot after the whistle, or when he constantly spews four-letter words in the direction of his opponent...

No matter what, you have to admire the effort, determination, and passion with which he plays every time he steps on that court.

Merry Christmas, everyone.  Or happy holidays.  No matter what you celebrate, enjoy your time at home and appreciate your families and everything you're blessed with.

More evidence Gilbert Arenas is a 'gunner'

Thursday, December 24, 2009

As if taking almost 20 shots a game wasn't enough, Gilbert Arenas has now officially proven to everyone that he is a 'gunner'; he is under investigation for holding a firearm in the Washington Wizards locker room.

Via CSN Washington:
"The Washington Wizards have learned that Gilbert Arenas stored firearms in a locked container in his locker, unloaded and without ammunition. The Wizards organization and Arenas promptly notified the local authorities and the NBA and are cooperating fully with law enforcement during its review of this matter and will have no further comment at this time."
Gilbert had this to say to the Washington Times about the incident:
"It happened like December 10th. Right after my daughter was born. I decided I didn't want the guns in my house and around the kids anymore, so i took them to my lock box at Verizon Center. Then like a week later, I turned them over to team security and told them to hand them over to the police, because I don't want them anymore. I wouldn't have brought them to D.C. had I known the rules. After my daughter was born, I was just like, I don't need these anymore.”
Personally, I think he probably just wanted to hold a gun to Mike Miller's head and force him to get a haircut.  And you know what?  I don't blame him.

(h/t NBA FanHouse)

KG to play tomorrow, Glen Davis might too

Via the Globe:
There were positive developments on the Celtics' front Thursday afternoon, a day after Paul Pierce underwent surgery for an infection in his right knee.

First, Pierce might be able to return sooner than the two weeks originally estimated. Second, Kevin Garnett (right thigh bruise) practiced at full speed and will play against the Orlando Magic Friday. Third, forward Glen Davis (broken right hand) could be activated against the Magic.
Also, Pierce could be back quicker than the originally stated two weeks:
Rivers said Pierce's return was a "guesstimate by a doctor who never played basketball."

"I think it may be shorter than two weeks," Rivers said of Pierce.
Sorry for the short post...

I just played basketball for the first time in about four months. For a guy who used to be a college basketball player, I am in the worst shape in my life and, quite frankly, I suck. Kind of like Glen Davis in today's practice:
Davis, who was injured in a fight with a friend on even of the season-opener, "went through whole practice, he sucked but he didn't injure himself, so that's good," Rivers said.
He'll be fine once he works himself back into game shape, I'm sure. But for now, he's like me...

Fat, out of shape, and not the player he once was.

Reading too far into things? Or the worst news of the day?

I don't want you to think I'm reading too far into things... but the last sentence of the this quote seems ominous to me.

Via The Boston Globe:
“It’s a goal of mine not to have KG play 81 games and to not have Paul Pierce play 81 games,’’ Ainge said yesterday. “And to not play 36 minutes a game for 81 games. That’s not my objective at all, or our organizational objective. KG could have played [Tuesday] night. We look for opportunities to give him time off.

“This has nothing to do with wear and tear, especially in Paul’s situation.’’
Why does he have to qualify it, "Especially in Paul's situation?" Is KG's thigh bruise (wink wink nudge nudge) not just a thigh bruise?

It seems as if KG's injury might be a little more serious than the Celtics are trying to let on. If seeing KG -- semingly out of nowhere -- being forced to sit a game out due to injury didn't sound off the alarms in your head, maybe the insinuation that his injury might have something to do with wear and tear might.

If this were only just a bruise, does Ainge come out and say that the injuries have nothing to do with wear and tear... "especially in Paul's situation"? Shouldn't it be "especially in KG's situation" too? After all, it's only a bruise, damn it!

Or is it something worse?

The Morning Walkthrough: Losing Paul Pierce

The Celtics have gotten rid of their morning walkthrough, but that doesn't mean we have to. Here are a few Celtics links, and maybe even an NBA link or two, to help wake you up and get you focused for the day.

Mark Murphy, Boston Herald - "To compensate for the loss, the Celtics recalled Bill Walker from the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League. When the second-year forward got the call, he was in the middle of a practice in Portland. He may now be part of the patching coach Doc Rivers will have to do to fill in the significant lineup gap left by Pierce. 'Positionally, this is going to fall on people like Billy, Tony (Allen), J.R. (Giddens) and Scal (Brian Scalabrine), but how else we make up for it I really don’t know,' Ainge said. 'We really like the progress (Walker’s) been making in Portland.'"

Joel Brigham, Hoops World - After watching 57 players get selected before him in June's draft, Hudson thought for a while that he might not get selected at all. 'I know I'm fortunate to be here because a lot of the other players were on big high school teams and AAU and had gotten that recognition,' Hudson explained. 'I didn't get that recognition until junior year in college. Before that, they didn't know nothing about me. I just played one year of high school, and then I went to junior college. The difference between me and them is that they've gotten the credit all their life. I haven't. That's why I'm just so very happy to be here.' Where many rookies expect to make the NBA their whole lives, Hudson has had to work for it, and his humble demeanor and grateful personality certainly shows the strength of his character. He's working as hard as anyone, and at 25 years old he's also got the maturity and life experience to know what this opportunity to means. 'He's one of the better rookies that I've had,' Ray Allen said, 'just from the standpoint of talent and the ability to want to get better.'"

Jeff Clark, CelticsBlog - "I'm sure Ainge will continue to monitor the trade market, but once again, he likely won't feel pressured into making any sort of deal that he wouldn't have made in the offseason. If a good deal presents itself, great. Otherwise, they'll go with what they've got. So what have they got left? Well, the most logical guy to step up into the starting lineup is Tony Allen. Pause for a moment and reflect on how insane that statement would have sounded 3 weeks ago. But give Tony credit. He's played solid defense, he's attacked the rim, and he's added needed hustle and athleticism to our bench. He's always played better when he was on the court for longer stretches, and he'll get that opportunity now. Perhaps being surrounded by the starters will limit the mistakes and miscues that he's become famous for."

Frank Dell'Apa. Boston Globe - "'That’s what you have to do - it’s a different preparation,' Wallace said. 'When you’re coming off the bench you’re looking more at the guys that they have coming off the bench. At first, I was more focused on [Tyler] Hansbrough and the guys they have, then I focused on [Roy] Hibbert and [Troy] Murphy and try and do what I can with them. That first half, I’m not going to lie, they were kicking our [butts]. They was beating us to loose balls, getting any shot they wanted, getting layups, fast-break points. They were able to pass it without no pressure, going to any spot on the floor. Doc [Rivers] came in here and chewed us out and we knew what we had to do - go out in the second half and apply pressure. We couldn’t give them easy passes and easy buckets.' Wallace’s technical foul count this season was reduced to nine after he successfully appealed one from a game at Miami Nov. 29. 'No, I’m not happy,' Wallace said of the favorable decision. 'Because there are still some more that, hopefully, they can look at. That was the only one we were talking about and that one got rescinded that fast because of the referee [Bennett Salvatore]. As for the outcome of the others, I know it won’t be no time soon because of the simple fact it’s on the backburner because of the [collective bargaining agreement] meetings and all that stuff. So I’m not worried about it, yet.'"

Brian Robb, CelticsHub - Brian Robb: 'Talk a little bit about Tony Allen. No one in Boston was expecting much out of the guy after an inconsistent past 2 seasons as he seemed to have lost his confidence. I had been a defender of TA up until last year when he forced me to jump off the wagon. This year however, he has been a nice sparkplug off the bench. What have you seen from Tony? Do you think he can keep this up on a consistent basis and still be an asset, even when Marquis Daniels returns from injury?' Mike Gorman: 'Doc has told me, and told Tony that if you defend, and don’t turn the ball over, you will get minutes. I think that’s where Tony is right now. He is the most aggressive defender on the floor when he is in the game. Even though he does find himself sometimes being the psuedo point guard here and there on the floor, he has played through those stretches well thus far, not turning the ball over and making good places. So to go back to your original question, I think it’s an embarrassment of riches for the C’s when Marquis comes back, but I think Marquis is going to take a little bit longer to come back than anyone is expecting. Tony is going to have a lot of time and Big Baby is going to have a lot of time to establish some minutes. Doc is just in a great situation since the team is so deep. There are going to be a lot of guys fighting for playing time.'

Paul Flannery, WEEI - "'[Rajon Rondo] just kills your whole gameplan because you don’t know where he’s going to be,' Murphy said. 'He’s all over the place. He’s taking chances. He just creates havoc out there. He’s tough.' Rondo leads the league in steals, which is part of taking chances and creating havoc, yet he’s doing it while playing 'more solid' as Doc Rivers has pointed out several times. There are no metrics for staying under control both offensively and defensively, but that’s what Rondo is doing this year, while still maintaining his creativity offensively and his gameplan destroying nature defensively. In other words, he’s putting it all together. People will start to notice soon off. Even the other players."

Have a link I might want to look at? Send it my way by email ( or Twitter.

Infectious behavior: How Paul Pierce's knee infection will affect the Celtics

First, news came - out of nowhere, might I add - that Kevin Garnett would miss Tuesday night’s game against Indiana for a bruised thigh, or strategic rest, or whatever it was. Then news came - out of nowhere, might I add - that Paul Pierce would miss up to two weeks with a knee infection. Now, Garnett - who was originally expected to return for the game in Orlando on Christmas Day - is only a “game-time decision” for Friday’s game.

What’s next? Rajon Rondo gets a hernia? Kendrick Perkins gets a severe case of migraine headaches? Ray Allen gets beaten by his wife for his obscenely sexual tweet last night (which he says was written by a hacker)? (Note: Don’t know what the Tweet said? It’s a little too vulgar to post, but let’s just say it had something to do with a tongue and a woman’s private parts.)

Santa Claus came riding into Boston on his reindeers, and with him he brought a slew of injuries and bad luck. Thankfully for Boston, it’s in December rather than June.

No matter what time of the year KG and Pierce go down, though, they will be sorely missed. We already saw the effects of KG missing games during last season’s playoffs; without Garnett, the Celtics can still score in bunches, but they struggle to get stops and they struggle to maintain their energy. Rarely does one player affect a team’s play so drastically, but Garnett is an exceptional player. Even while he struggles to return to his pre-injury form (last season’s injury), Garnett helps the Celtics in so many ways. He’s their sparkplug, their heart and their soul… and it doesn’t hurt that he’s shooting 56.3% from the field.

Still, as much as they miss Garnett when he’s forced to sit, the Celtics will likely miss Paul Pierce even more. You might think I’m wrong, but hear me out: When Garnett goes down, the Celtics can plug four-time All-Star Rasheed Wallace into the lineup. With Pierce down, the Celtics will now likely play long-time scapegoat Tony Allen as starter. (I know Tony is playing very solid basketball of late, but…) With TA in the starting five and Marquis Daniels already on the injured list, the Celtics quality bench is suddenly incredibly thin.

By osmosis, Pierce’s injury will affect just about everyone on the entire team, and here’s how…

Rajon Rondo - At first glance, it might not seem like Rondo will be affected too much by Pierce’s absence; after all, Pierce is a small forward and his sitting won’t affect Rondo’s minutes one bit. But Rondo tends to base his game on his surrounding players; With the Big Three completely healthy and spry, he likes to take a backseat role and direct the offense with pinpoint passing. In last season’s playoffs, without KG, Rondo - by necessity - became more of a scorer. With Pierce in street clothes rather than his uniform, look for Rondo to shoulder more of the scoring load.

Ray Allen - Depending on how Doc decides to divvy out Pierce’s minutes, Ray could be the starter most drastically affected by Pierce’s absence. Simply put, his minutes could skyrocket. If Doc doesn’t give one -- or more -- of the young guys a chance, Ray could be forced to log a ton of minutes. Doc almost always likes to put either Ray or Paul out there with the second unit and now, with Paul recovering from his infection, the burden falls solely to Ray’s shoulders… unless Doc makes the smart decision of keeping Allen’s minutes lower and giving the young guys a shot.

Kendrick Perkins, Shelden Williams - I’m trying to decide how Perkins and Williams will be affected by Pierce’s time off and, well, it’s just not coming to me. Maybe Perk will scowl a little more than usual?

Kevin Garnett - Just like Rondo, KG will have to shoulder a heavier load. Will he be able to on that bum knee of his?

Brian Scalabrine - For the first time this season, Scal will be more than a towel-waver. There’s been talk about Scal possibly starting at small forward, but I’m here to tell you that is NOT a good idea. Can you imagine Scal trying to guard Vince Carter tomorrow? Or even Mickael Pietrus, or Matt Barnes? Because I can’t, and I would never want to.

Tony Allen - Allen stands to gain the most from Pierce’s infection; he’s the player who will probably step into the starting rotation, and he’s the one who will see the biggest boost in minutes. In previous years, the hearing Tony Allen will be relied on heavily would have made me cry for hours. Now, I’m still going to cry… just not for quite so long. Allen has played well recently, and I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt… until, that is, he goes on a turnover rampage at the worst possible time.

J.R. Giddens, Bill Walker, Lester Hudson - One of the young guys will likely see some significant time. Maybe all of them will. At the very least, they should finally get a chance to take their warmup jerseys off.

Eddie House - With Pierce’s injury, Eddie will see an increased role. Now, instead of standing in the corner and shooting threes for 16 minutes a game, he’ll stand in the corner and shoot threes for about 20 minutes a game.

Doc Rivers - Doc's the guy I'm most worried about; I'm pretty sure his neck is going to be sore after two weeks without Pierce. Why his neck? From constantly glancing to his side, looking for a viable option to put in the game. Guess what, Doc? There won't be any.

It's crazy how one simple little knee infection affects so many people.

A new, cheaper 'Option' to purchase Celtics tickets

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

If you’re like me, you get really pissy about StubHub’s ticket prices. I went to an Orlando Magic game a couple years ago, before the Magic were even contenders, and it cost over $1,000 for my family of six to go to a game… and we were in the absolute top row in the entire building.

With that said, Celtics Town is proud and happy to announce our partnership with OptionIt, an innovative ticket company based on cutting prices and increasing ticket flexibility.

Just look at these prices you’d pay for two balcony-level tickets to the C’s January 31 game against the Lakers:

StubHub: $338 OptionIt: $296

Doesn’t it seem like an easy choice? But OptionIt isn’t just about cutting ticket prices; it provides even more benefits than that. Here’s an overview of OptionIt:

How it works
With most ticket places (take StubHub, for example), you buy an overpriced ticket and, if you don’t want to go to the game or for some unforeseen reason can’t make it to the game, you’re screwed. OptionIt, however, provides a unique opportunity to buy an “Option” to go to a game before you have the ticket. Basically, an “Option” is the right to buy a ticket; the ticket is yours as long as you want to buy it… but if you don’t want it, you don’t have to buy it. You have the opportunity to either exercise your “Option” and buy a face value ticket (no markups like StubHub), or sell the “Option” and maybe even make a profit off of it.

Why is it better than other ticket places?
There are many reasons OptionIt is a better choice than other ticket places. Here are but a few:

   Flexibility - Sometimes, you might buy tickets to a game thinking you’re going to go, but something comes up later on and you can’t. With OptionIt, that doesn’t matter. If you can’t go to a game, you can simply sell your “Option,” and you’re never committed to paying the ticket price.

   Convenience - Want to buy an “Option” for face-value tickets to Game Two of the NBA Finals? Seriously, just click here; it’s that easy. With OptionIt, you can buy an “Option” to tickets before they even become available to the general public. Later, you can decide if you want to go to the game and buy the tickets for face value, or if you want to sell your “Option.”

   Price - As I said before, OptionIt is more cost-friendly than ticket vendors. The prices are lower, and more manageable. Plus, by giving you the choice to buy an “Option” now and waiting until later to buy the ticket, you can make two separate, smaller payments rather than paying one lump sum.

   Reliability - As a partner of the Boston Celtics, OptionIt is a secure place to secure tickets. They’re kind of like the Larry Bird of ticket places… They will come through every time you need them.

So go visit OptionIt, and buy an Option for a ticket (or two, or three, or four).

And remember: There are still Options available for the Celtics-Lakers game on January 31.

KG a game-time decision for Orlando Magic game

Via Marc Spears, Yahoo! Sports:
Ainge seemed more optimistic about Kevin Garnett. Garnett didn’t play against the Pacers because of a right thigh bruise, but is a game-time decision for the Celtics’ Christmas Day meeting with the Orlando Magic. Ainge said Garnett, whose 2008-09 season was cut short by a knee injury, was upset about not being cleared to play against Indiana and is itching to return.
This whole strategic rest thing keeps on looking more and more like last year's debacle.  The whole "Will he play?  Won't he play?" saga is eerily similar to last year's playoffs, when it first seemed he'd be back any day... Then they pushed it back a few days, then - before you knew it - KG had missed the entire playoffs and was scheduled for significant off-season surgery.

I hope history isn't repeating itself, and KG is actually as close to returning as the Celtics say. 

Only time will tell.

Who will take over for Paul Pierce?

Paul Pierce is down for a couple weeks: In his stead, who will step up and becomes the Celtics starting small forward? I would write an article about Doc Rivers' dilemma, but I couldn't put it any better than Rich Levine does here:

Actually, I'll still probably write an article about it. But still.

Paul Pierce has 'medical procedure' on knee, out for up to two weeks

The injury floodgates have opened.

Paul Pierce will miss the Celtics' upcoming four-game road trip, and may be sidelined for as many as two weeks, because of a knee problem that required a medical procedure on Wednesday.

Team owner Wyc Grousbeck said Pierce began feeling discomfort in the knee after Tuesday night's victory over Indiana. He described the problem as an infection that required drainage, but said he wouldn't describe the procedure as surgery.
Uh-oh.  More to come later.

A sign that Garnett WAS feeling pretty good

Depending on who you ask, Kevin Garnett either sat out last night's game to heal a bruised thigh or for "strategic rest."  As would be expected after the Celtics completely hid the extent of Garnett's injury last season, Celtics nation is freaking out about Garnett missing the game, and the vagueness of the reason for his absence.  (Strategic rest?  You can do better than that, Danny Ainge.  That sounds more like a power nap than a reason to miss an NBA game.)

How can we trust that Garnett is okay, when they tried to tell us he was okay last season... and then he missed the rest of the season? 

We can't.  And speculation will continue until Garnett comes back and shows his health. 

In the meantime, here's a sign that Garnett was actually feeling pretty well (at least before his latest setback)...

According to Hoop Data, Garnett's shot was blocked six times in this season's first eight games.  Since, he hasn't been blocked once. 

Now, that could be merely a coincidence, but I doubt it.  Garnett was working himself back into shape, getting off the floor more quickly, and moving more swiftly.  He was making progress towards regaining his athleticism, and that's easily evident by the fact that he is no longer getting his shots blocked. 

For awhile, he was laboring to get off the floor, and opponents were able to send his shots right back to where they came from.  But those days were gone, and Garnett had started to turn the corner.

But now a setback (strategic rest, bruise, whatever it may be) has us wondering what the hell happened to KG.  It has us wondering if he'll play against the Magic.  It has us wondering if the Celtics recalled Bill Walker from the D-League as KG insurance.  It has us wondering what the hell strategic rest is.

Most of all, though, his setback has us wondering whether it's just a small hitch in his recovery (the recovery we thought was going so very well), or if it's a sign of bad health that will continue for the rest of the season.

(Thanks go out to Tom Haberstroh, who pointed out this stat on his Twitter account.  If you don't follow him, you should... he works for Hoop Data, used to be a researcher for ESPN, and Tweets some very interesting statistics.)

Ray Allen wants to break Reggie Miller's three-point record

Ray Allen was mired in an almost season-long slump. He was uncharacteristically cold, missing open looks he never, ever misses. So what did he do?

He kept shooting. What else would such a great shooter do? Ray's got a terrific chance of catching Reggie Miller's record for the most career three-pointers in NBA history (2,560 threes), and he hasn't made all those threes by losing confidence in himself or being gunshy.

Now, Allen is shooting 44.6% from threes in the month of December. His jumper is rounding into form, and the threes are once again falling.

And that record? The NBA record for most three-pointers in a career?

Ray would like to break it.

Via the Indy Star:
Allen said he wants to break Miller's record because he doesn't want to have any regrets when he retires.

"Once you retire, you can't do anything because your stats are cemented," Allen said. "It's not like 'Mr. 3000.' You can't come back and get up one more 3. That's what it's all about, trying to do everything I can to stay in great shape and prepare for every shot that may come my way. I think records are really about longevity."

Bill Walker recalled from D-League

Via the Celtics Twitter account:
Bill Walker has been recalled from the Maine Red Claws. Averaged 17.4 ppg and 6.4 rpg over nine games in the D-League.

The Morning (-ish) Walkthrough: I've been hit by a train

Sorry the links are late today; I went to a Christmas party with an open bar and now I feel like I've been hit by Kermit Washington. Anyways, enjoy... I'm badly in need of a little more "strategic rest."

Bob Ryan, Boston Globe - "It was a shocking 57-42 mess at the half, and you couldn’t blame it all on KG’s absence. 'No, no, no, no, no,' Rivers insisted. 'We did that all to ourselves. All I told them at the half was that the defense was awful, the effort was awful. There was no defensive energy. It was just like last year [when Garnett was out]. We had the ability to score. We just couldn’t stop them.' The Pacers were knocking down shots with regularity, many of them open jumpers created in what the NBA likes to refer to as 'early offense' opportunities. The Celtics were lazy. They weren’t getting back on defense, even when they scored. It was that simple. 'It was a walk-it-up game for us, and they were running it down our throats,' Rivers pointed out."

Mark Murphy, Boston Herald - 'It’s just like last year,' Rivers said. 'It’s no different in some ways. When Kevin went out last year, we had the ability to score. We just couldn’t stop people from scoring. And I actually turned to (assistant coach Tom Thibodeau) in the first half and said, ‘Here we go,’ when they started scoring. He’s just such a verbal leader, and honestly, him and (Kendrick Perkins) have such a connection defensively where they cover up for each other and everyone else. And when you take him off the floor you disrupt that.' To be fair, the Celtics would have a difficult time, too, overcoming the loss of Pierce, Allen, Perkins or Rajon Rondo . But they looked particularly sloppy last night, shooting just 38 percent from the floor against a team missing its best player, Danny Granger. 'A lot changes,' Pierce said of a world without Garnett. 'You’re talking about a guy who we play our offense through and our leader on defense. I thought it took a second for us to adjust. What we said at halftime, we said we weren’t talking on defense and usually Kevin leads us in that category as far as talking and being in the spots, having everybody in their spots.'"

Jeff Clark, CelticsBlog - "Now all indications are that Garnett was just pulled from last night's game for "strategic rest." All indications are that the issue is a thigh bruise and not directly related to his knee. Everything sounds on the up and up. I'm 99.9% sure that is all there is to the story. However, there's that thin cloud of doubt that creeps in and will always creep in from now on. And the Celtics know it. There's a reason why Danny Ainge addressed the CSN crew last night instead of just Doc. They know they need to be very careful in how they handle situations like this from now on because they know we didn't appreciate them going "Belichickian" on us last year."

Zach Lowe, Celtics Hub - "Kevin: Not OK! Not OK!! Listen, I get the pro athlete’s code. You come to work, you do your best, you don’t complain about injuries unless they are so bad that you’re actively hurting the team by playing. There’s a machismo to it. We saw this in the tunnel in Utah last season after KG first suffered his injury. He wanted to play, and he was ready to do so despite the pain. But it was just too much. The time for machismo is over. KG is proven his toughness to everyone, dozens of times over. If you’re hurting, tell the freaking team."

Red's Army - "Doc called this one in the pregame. He knew the team was going to come out like it did. And as a coach, you can only do so much. What are you going to do... dig into your bag and find your best Knute Rockne speech for a late December game against the Pacers?"

Celtics wake up from slumber in 2nd half, defeat Pacers 103-94

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Boston Celtics hit the snooze button throughout the first half, but woke up sometime in the middle of the third quarter and won a physical, intense contest over the visiting Indiana Pacers, 103-94.

In my preview of the game, I wrote about why I was nervous for tonight's game, and that was before I knew Kevin Garnett was sitting out with a knee injury. Well, in the first half, Kevin Garnett's enthusiasm and energy was sorely lacking as the Celtics- except for Rajon Rondo, who was everywhere, tipping balls and leading the charge- again came out flat at home.

In the second half, Boston brought the Thibadeau defense, energized by 5 steals from Paul Pierce and 6 from Rajon Rondo. Offensively, Ray Allen had a big game, attacking the basket aggressively on his way to 23 points and 7 rebounds.

Pierce shot horribly for most of the game, missing his first 9 shots, but made key plays late in the 4th quarter to secure the win. Pierce finished the game with 21 points, 12 of them in the pivotal 4th quarter.

Shockingly, NBA-journeyman Earl Watson led the Pacers to a 15-point half time lead with 17 first half points. Without Danny Granger, however, Indiana lacked a go-to-guy and couldn't make the important baskets down the stretch.

Once again the Boston Celtics had trouble defending the hybrid power-forward who can space the floor; in this case, Troy Murphy, who finished with 24 points and 18 rebounds.

The Celtics finished their home stand, moving their record to 22-5, best in the Eastern Conference. Kendrick Perkins added 19 points and 8 rebounds, and provided impressive interior defense in the second half, along with Rasheed Wallace.

Up next?

A delicious Christmas day showdown with the Orlando Magic, complete with holiday food and drink. I'm salivating already. Not sure if it's the thought of revenge against the Magic or the thought of dill dip, kielbasa, and a pint of cold beer. Either way, I'm excited like a kid on Christmas Eve.

KG to miss tonight's game

Uh-oh.  This is something we've all been fearing, all year long...  Kevin Garnett will miss tonight's game.

Via Chris Forsberg's Twitter account:
No KG for the Celtics tonight, according to those outside the building, Ainge said on Comcast TV that it's "strategic rest."

Rasheed Wallace will start in KG's place.
"Strategic rest" sounds more to me like "KG's hurting."  If it was really only strategic rest, don't you think we would have known about it after the last game, rather than a few minutes before tonight's tip-off?

Remember last season, when KG was out for a few games at first, then it was a few more, then suddenly he was out for the whole season?

I hope this isn't the beginning of a horrendous deja vu.

Update (via Mike Petraglia's Twitter account):
Kevin Garnett will miss tonight's game with a right thigh bruise. He is not dressing.
Right thigh bruise doesn't sound too bad, but you never know. 

Pacers shoot for the moon against Celtics

Why am I worried about a home game against a 9-17 team sitting in last place in the Central Division? Because tonight's game has the feeling of a trap game to me, and the Indiana Pacers seem to truly enjoy playing the Celtics.

So, why am I worried about the Indiana Pacers being a trap game? Here's the list :

  • Pacers were the only team to beat the Celtics when they were on the road season
  • Pacers seem to have the Celtics number
  • Celtics looking ahead to the Orlando Magic on Christmas Day
  • Home Game- Celtics have lacked energy all year while playing at TD Bank Garden
  • Pacers ability to push the tempo with Ford, Rush, Dunleavy & Murphy
  • A Spread the floor 4, in this case, Troy Murphy, gives the Celtics trouble, KG struggles to guard all year
  • Indiana Pacers are 10th in the NBA in rebounding, compared to the Boston Celtics, who sit at 27th
Despite all my concern, I'm still predicting a Celtics win. Why? Well, mainly because I'm a total homer and have a vested interest in the Celtics. But here are the basketball reasons:

  • No Danny Granger: Without Granger, the Pacers lose their best player and the only player who can keep both Pierce and Allen honest on the defensive end
  • Pacers only average 19.4 asts/game, 20th in the NBA, and almost 7 below our C's. To beat the Celtics defense, you have to be able to move the ball, especially without your best player.
  • We're still the goddamn Boston Celtics, and our record is 21-5.

Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were teammates in high school

Via Pierce's blog on
Kevin and I actually played together when we were in high school.

He played on my traveling team. I even got to bring him to my home in Inglewood! My AAU coach found Kev and talked him into coming and playing with us. Kevin had heard about me, but he hadn't seen me play at the time.


He came out and stayed with me and my moms. He was with me and he was talking about moving schools and I was trying to get him to come out to Inglewood that next year, because he was moving to South Carolina.

Then when we first established our relationship and it's funny, after that he just jumped ship.
I had no idea they played together before being on the Celtics. I'm really loving this Pierce blog.

If you have any sense of humor, you'll love this video... unless you're from Detroit

Yesterday, I came across an absolutely hysterical YouTube clip of Johnny Most verbally destroying the the Detroit Pistons. People think Tommy Heinsohn is a homer (and he most definitely is), but after watching this clip I don't think anyone could say he's more of a homer than Most. Homer or not (Doh!), just listen to Most and enjoy:

Now, Most's comments are hysterical but, really, the only reason I posted this was so I could call someone "Cornbread" in a post. And here it is: Cedric "Cornbread" Maxwell just isn't as good a radio voice as Johnny Most. Plus, there was that whole thing when Cornbread claimed Dirk Nowitzki was better than Larry Bird, and I just can't seem to forgive him for being so sacreligious.

We miss you, Johnny!

Glen Davis working hard to stay thin(-ish)

The holidays are a time for family, a time for friends, and a time for relaxing.  But, most of all, the holidays are a time for eating.

I've only been home for the holidays for a single day, and already I've gained 15 pounds.  (Note: I think this is an exaggeration but, judging from the size of my gut, it may not be.)  When Christmas comes around, it'll be even worse; then, I'll stuff my face with all the hor'deuvres my aunts and uncles have made.  I'll sit in front of the t.v. and not stop eating for the entire day.

But, no matter how out of shape I get, and everyone else gets, over Christmas, Glen Davis is determined not to.

Via Jessica Camerato, WEEI:
Davis has hired a personal chef to cook nutritional meals this season. He is not limited to a daily caloric intake and keeps the pounds off by following a dedicated workout routine during his rehab. Davis explained to how he has adapted his diet to stay thin without being on the court. (And yes, he can sneak a cookie too.)

A Disciplined Diet: “I’ll eat an egg white omelette topped with a piece of French toast, carbs, protein [for breakfast]. Then I’ll lift, work out, do a lot of cardio. I have proportional meals so now I cut my lunch into half and then I eat it three hours later. I eat the other half three hours later, and I eat dinner, and I work out.”
Maybe next time Davis gets in a fight, he could use the rules of his diet.  He should just punch his friend a little at first, then save the rest of the punch for three hours later. I bet if he did that, he never would have broken his thumb.

The Morning Walkthrough: Paul Pierce, more efficient basketball player and more efficient person

The Celtics have gotten rid of their morning walkthrough, but that doesn't mean we have to. Here are a few Celtics links, and maybe even an NBA link or two, to help wake you up and get you focused for the day.

Mark Murphy, Boston Herald - "'I agree with a lot of what [Doc Rivers] said {about playing with instincts],” Pierce said. “Just go out there and continue to play with my instincts. When I do that I’m a better player.' That’s the new Pierce. Rivers can’t recall the player he first met. 'Oh no, I don’t even know who that is,' Rivers said. 'The one here is amazing, an amazing player. He’s older, he’s more mature, he’s solid - just a solid player. His percentages, everything is better. He’s just a more efficient basketball player. And he’s a more efficient person. I just think you grow up. Early on, I think, he was trying to establish himself, and now he’s just trying to establish his legacy. That’s different. I thought he actually bought in going into the second year. In the middle of that second year it clicked. The problem was that he didn’t have a lot of help around him, and that made it a difficult sell. I remember him even saying, ‘This is good.’ But we needed to take the next step because his frustration level was very high,' Rivers continued. 'So when Kevin and Ray (Allen) came in, it made how he had changed really stand forward.'"

Mark Murphy, Boston Herald - "But six games into [Tony] Allen’s return from ankle surgery, Rivers rarely has felt better about the oft-injured guard’s focus. 'It’s really been every game minus the Chicago game,' Rivers said. 'He’s been terrific. He’s getting into the flow of the offense and taking what they give him, making simple plays, and I think this is his best stretch of simple defense - not the gamble defense - since I’ve had him. (He has) better focus now, accepts his role. He realizes he’s not going to be a 30-point-a-night scorer like every other young guy believes. He just has to stay in that spot. It happened to (Kendrick Perkins) when he was younger. You have a 25-point game and you think, You know what? I am an offensive player, even if those 25 points came off a great pick and roll or another pass.'"

Frank Dell'Apa, Boston Globe - "Tony Allen’s 24 1/2-minute stint against Minnesota was his longest since last season. He had 15 points and no turnovers in his most impressive performance since suffering a thumb injury Feb. 11. Allen missed 22 games because of the thumb injury, then underwent offseason ankle surgery. Allen said he is planning to play against Indiana tonight. 'I didn’t think it was going to take this long,' Allen said of his recovery. 'But I’ll fight through it, I ain’t looking back. [My confidence] was definitely affected last year. I would say, if you look before that injury, I was getting money, I was doing the things that I was supposed to be doing. I think I had 11 [points] against San Antonio, we lost that game, but I did some good things. The next day, in practice, I hurt my thumb and I was out 6-8 weeks. Just look at my track sheet, when I’m out there playing big minutes, I produce. When I’m injured it’s kind of hard for Doc to say I’m going to put this guy out there and he just missed 20-some games, his conditioning is not there, the injury is still lingering. I just have to show Doc I’m healthy and I’m a force out there.'"

A. Sherrod Blakely, CSNNE - "For a guy who has had a number of run-ins with the NBA and its rules, Rasheed Wallace is sure getting a lot of love from the league lately. After the NBA decided to impose no additional fines or suspension following his outburst ( and ejection) from Friday's loss to Philadelphia, has learned that one of Wallace's technical fouls has been rescinded. The one in question came on Nov. 29 at Miami."

Zach Lowe, Celtics Hub - "Nate Robinson made a tremendous hustle play, sprinting the length of the court and pinning Rondo’s lay-in attempt on the glass. Nate turned toward the crowd, celebrating. A nice moment for Nate, only the ball was still in play right behind him. With Nate distracted, Marquis Daniels picked the ball up and laid it in. And that, to me, summed up Nate Robinson’s NBA career: Tons of talent, little understanding of what it means to be a successful NBA player on a successful NBA team. And so I reacted with a combination of anger and nausea when ESPN’s Chris Sheridan reported earlier today that Robinson, who has requested a trade and has veto power over any deal, would accept a trade to Boston. Of course, this doesn’t mean Boston would accept Nate Robinson. But they have the sort of cheap, expiring contracts (such as Tony Allen’s $2.5M expiring deal or the combination of J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker) that could work on the other side of a deal for Robinson. Were that anger and out-of-hand rejection really warranted? I decided to check the numbers and see. What I found surprised me a bit."

Jessica Camerato, WEEI - "Pierce grew up in California as a Lakers fan. No one, however, in purple and gold could top what he learned at home. '[It was] definitely mom. She was always there when I needed something. Not as an athlete but period. I get it from her… I definitely [carry part of her on the court]. Of course she [knows it]. I just got my never-quit attitude from her. My mom didn’t grow up in the best situations, raising three boys by herself, maintaining three jobs just to put food on the table. She didn’t look at adversity as something that would bring her down. She always tried to find a way.'"

Shawn McGrath, North Station Sports - "Ultimately, what matters here is that there’s a line between calling a guy for foul-worthy behavior and going looking for an excuse. [Referee Bill] Kennedy basically as much as said to ‘Sheed, 'go ahead, make my day,' and Wallace did. The prophecy is fulfilled, amor fati, and Rasheed’s Kenobi has now completed NBA Vader’s circle (or vice versa). In an ideal world, Kennedy would have looked the other way on Sheed’s second technical, as his actions (trash talking in the huddle) didn’t have an impact on the game. But in the same ideal world, Sheed wouldn’t have said anything worth Kennedy’s attention to begin with. As fans, we need to accept that Rasheed Wallace and the NBA officials are inextricably linked in an antagonistic relationship with no benefit to either party, and that’s not changing. We can only hope that the next time it costs the Celtics, it’s not enough to sway the momentum of a game, as it was Friday night."

Me, Celtics Town - "But Tony [Allen] is playing well. He's inspiring confidence and, for the first time in a long time, I don't mind it when he's in the game. Am I completely sold on him, yet? No, not at all. He's like the girlfriend who always cheats on you, then goes on her best behavior for a couple weeks. You really like the new her, but you can't trust that she's going to stay faithful to you... you just can't. Really, no matter how long she stays loyal, you'll never completely trust her. You'll always fear a relapse. So that's where I am with Tony Allen right now. I love his recent play and I can't believe the quality of his recent minutes, but I will always, always fear a relapse. My brain is telling me that Tony Allen is still Tony Allen, still likely to make a mistake at the worst possible time. But my heart? It's saying Tony might have finally turned the corner."

Have a link I might want to look at? Send it my way by email ( or Twitter.

Has Tony Allen finally turned the corner?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Visit for high-quality custom-printed tees!What were you like when you were younger?

If you're an adult now, chances are you were probably a whole lot different. You probably did a whole bunch of things you regret, made a whole shit-load of mistakes, and look back at the young person you used to be and shake your head at some of your decisions. (Me? I've done many a stupid thing in life. One of my mistakes? Egging a house. It wasn't the fact that I egged a house that was so stupid; every kid does that once or twice. It's the fact that I got caught. I actually think I'm the only person in the history of the world to ever get caught egging a house. How in the world can you posibly get caught egging a house, you ask? By accidentally leaving your cell phone at the scene of the egging. Damn my small, slippery pockets.)

But everyone grows up, right? You learn from the mistakes of your younger days and grow into an adult. To put it simply, you mature. You go through experiences and they change you, mend you and make you a different person. It's inevitable.

Inevitable, that is, unless it was Tony Allen on a basketball court. Nope, he never changed. He kept making the same mistakes over and over again. He'd throw a dumb turnover, one that most people would learn from, but then he'd do it again the next game. He would drive into traffic continously, making reckless drives into the teeth of the defense that resulted in a charge... then he'd do it again the next game. He would foul a three-point shooter at the worst possible time and then, you guessed it, do it again the next game. Tony never seemed to harness his talent, always following whatever good stretches he had by making plays that would make you scratch your head and wonder what in the world was going through his head. He'd make the same mistakes over and over, and over and over, and over and over. I think he's the only player I've ever wanted to strangle - actually strangle - just because I watched him play basketball.

But is it possible that all that nonsense is merely the old Tony Allen? That the new Tony Allen has finally gone through the inevitable process known as maturation?

Before the season, I wouldn't have thought it possible that TA could mature. If you told me he was going to, it would have been like telling me the Celtics would go 10-72 for the season: I'd look at you, shake my head, maybe laugh a little, then turn and walk away, making sure to remember never to trust another thing that comes out of your mouth as long as I live.

But doesn't he seem to be coming around? As unlikely as it was before the season, Allen is playing like he's finally matured. He's providing solid and consistent minutes off the bench, so much so that I'm starting to let down my guard when he comes into the game. (By letting my guard down, I mean I no longer firmly grasp the sides of my chair so neither of my hands are free when he makes another signature dumb play. Why do I hold the side of the chair so tightly? If I had a free hand, I would probably use it to throw my remote control through the television set, and I don't really feel like paying for a new t.v.) He's letting the game come to him, rather than trying to force his imprint upon it and, for the first time in a long, long time, TA has put together a string of good performances.

He's played so well that when I heard that Nate Robinson wants to become a Celtic, I immediately thought, "I'd like him on the team, he can score and he could help, but I hope the C's don't have to give up Tony Allen to get him." If you'd asked me before the season if I'd ever say that I wanted the Celtics to keep Tony Allen, I would have told you maybe... if I became addicted to heroine and cocaine, and then was hypnotized while on a week-long drug binge. Other than that, I would have thought the answer would be absolutely not.

But Tony is playing well. He's inspiring confidence and, for the first time in a long time, I don't mind it when he's in the game.

Am I completely sold on him, yet? No, not at all. He's like the girlfriend who always cheats on you, then goes on her best behavior for a couple weeks. You really like the new her, but you can't trust that she's going to stay faithful to you... you just can't. Really, no matter how long she stays loyal, you'll never completely trust her. You'll always fear a relapse.

So that's where I am with Tony Allen right now. I love his recent play and I can't believe the quality of his recent minutes, but I will always, always fear a relapse.

My brain is telling me that Tony Allen is still Tony Allen, still likely to make a mistake at the worst possible time.

But my heart? It's saying Tony might have finally turned the corner.

Paul Pierce sets Celtics three-point record in lopsided win

Visit for high-quality custom-printed tees!Paul Pierce made only two of his eight shots…

From inside the three-point arc, that is.

Behind the line, Pierce was a perfect six for six, tying a Celtics record held by Danny Ainge and Walter McCarty for most made three-pointers without a miss. (I wonder how many times Tommy Heinsohn said, “I looove Wallltttahhhh” during that game… Thirty? Forty? Could my estimate even be low?)

Pierce was but one shining light in a game full of Celtics studs. Rajon Rondo returned to form after a game of careless ball-handling against Philly, Kendrick Perkins continued his stellar play, and Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett were both solid. Even Tony Allen came off the bench and played some great minutes. (Side note: Is it going to get to a point where I’m going to have to stop qualifying it whenever Tony Allen plays well? Will I ever stop writing “even” before Tony’s name when I discuss something he did positively? I hate to say it -- actually, as someone with the C’s best interests at heart, I love to say it -- but he’s getting nearer to that point every game. Tony Allen is playing good basketball. And I didn’t even qualify that statement with another one like, “…but I know, as every Celtics fan knows, that he’s due for a huge implosion sometime soon.” For the first time in years, Tony Allen is building our faith in his game. I’m almost starting to enjoy this. Don’t let me down, Tone.)

If you wondered how the Celtics were going to respond to their first loss in a long while, a humbling one to the lowly Sixers, you needed to watch only the opening stanza to get your answer: With fire.

By the end of the first quarter, the only question left to answer was whether Rasheed Wallace would get at least one technical foul. (The answer, if only for tonight… no.)

(Another side note: Rasheed showed no remorse for getting kicked out of Friday night’s game: “If [the referees are] standing right near our huddle trying to stick their ear or nose in there, then yeah, they’re going to hear some stuff. That’s exactly what it was. When have you ever seen somebody - a ref - standing over there that close to our bench during a timeout? You already know what it is. I ain’t tripping.”

Sheed also said simply getting thrown out of a game isn’t going to change him. “I’ll still play my game. I’ll still be me. I ain’t changing my game for nobody. I ain’t changing nothing for nobody.”

In other news, my girlfriend overheard a conversation between me and my buddies, during which I said some very demeaning things about her. I told her if she’s trying to listen to the boys, she’s “going to hear some stuff. That’s exactly what it was. When have you ever seen somebody - a girlfriend - standing over there that close to the boys during guy talk?” Now, she knows what it is, and that I ain’t tripping. I’ll still be me, whether she likes it or not. I ain’t changing nothing for nobody.

In other, other news, I was subsequently dumped.)

Back to the game: Even when the T-Wolves cut the lead to 12 points in the fourth quarter, the game was never in doubt. All Doc Rivers had to do was call a couple starters back into the game and, voila, the lead once again ballooned. No big deal, crisis averted.

The first half was a symphony of beautiful basketball. The C’s were getting stops, pushing the ball in transition, and hitting shots. They were moving the basketball, being aggressive, and everybody was playing well.

The second half was a letdown, but it’s only human nature to take your foot off the gas a little bit after being ahead by 25 points at halftime. I’m not going to get worried because they let a big lead be cut to 12; I’ve got better things to worry about, like the bag of popcorn I burned tonight. Burnt popcorn tastes terrible.

But winning basketball games by 18 points doesn’t. That tastes good. I don’t care if it’s against the Minnesota Timberwolves or an 11-and-under girls AAU team, winning a game by that much is for the better. So I’ll let other people complain about a lackadaisical second half; I’ll just relish in the beauty of the first.

I’ll wait to complain until something worse happens…

Like if Paul Pierce ever misses a three-pointer.


Did I miss anything? As always, yes…

  • If you didn’t see Tony Allen’s unbelievable dunk off Eddie House’s spectacular pass, then you don’t have cable T.V., a computer, or a life. And you need to click here.

  • I love Shelden Williams and hate him all at the same time. I love him because he hustles his ass off every second, including three big-boy offensive rebounds today. I hate him because he can’t do anything but hustle; Shelden is severely limited on a basketball court.

  • Al Jefferson can flat-out score. I would say I wish he were still on the Celtics, but then there’s that whole ‘NBA championship’ thing.

  • You know that saying, “I’m going to defend you so tight that I’ll know what flavor gum you’re chewing”? Well, let’s just say Jonny Flynn definitely doesn’t know what type of gum Rondo chomps on.
  • The second-nicest play from last night's game

    Lost in all the joy of Tony Allen's poster of Corey Brewer was another gorgeous play that had me jumping out of my seat in a fit of excitement.

    That left-handed pass? You've got to be kidding me, Rajon. There's only a couple other guys in the NBA that could have made that pass with the off hand, and I can only think of one: Steve Nash. (Maybe Chris Paul, but I don't see him throwing left-handed dimes too often.)

    So buy the poster of TA's dunk over Brewer and remember that play forever, but don't forget his involvement in the night's second-best play.

    Are Celtics bus trips like this?

    Sing us a song, you're a Brazilian man/  Sing us a song, tonight/  We're all in the mood for a melody, and you've got us feeling alright/

    Now Amare of the Suns is a friend of mine/ Because he always dunks on t.v./ He's quick off the floor and to slam on your head/ And him singing is something to see

    I could go on and on with my Piano Man remix, but I think I'll stop there.  Anyways, watch the Phoenix Suns' latest music video:

    Maybe it's just me, but I can't exactly picture Kendrick Perkins belting out tunes. Maybe Scal is the Celtics' lead singer.

    Anyways, while watching the Suns' video, I realized this: Louis Amundson is a dead ringer for Jay from Jay and Silent Bob...

    (h/t Ball Don't Lie)

    Tony Allen: The Celtics should have given up on me

    It's not often an NBA player says his team should have gotten rid of him.  Actually, I can't recall ever having heard an NBA player say anything like that.  But Tony Allen went on the record today, telling ESPNBoston's Chris Forsberg the Celtics had every reason to cut him loose:
    Allen talked extensively about rebuilding his confidence after all his injury troubles. Asked about the Celtics not giving up on him despite numerous chances to do such, an emphatic Allen responded, "They coulda, shoulda, woulda -- but they didn't."
    Up until, oh, about a week ago, I too was on the "Get Tony Allen the hell out of Boston" bandwagon (sorry, newcomers - standing room only).  But Allen's recent play has started to change my mind; Allen has (shockingly)  been solid and consistent. 

    It's looking more and more like a good thing the Celtics never got rid of Tony Allen.

    But he was right...

    They coulda, shoulda, woulda.

    Throwing some dimes: Krypto-Nate wants to be a Celtic

    Once in a while, someone else's article catches my eye. Sometimes, it's because the article is so spot-on I wish I'd written it myself. Other times, it's because the article enlightens me with something I never knew. Still other times, it's because I disagree with whatever's written. No matter what the reason, I dish it off to another writer to make his/her point. You know, throwing some dimes.

    Robinson does want out, and a source close to the Robinson camp tells there's one place the former slam-dunk champion would truly like to land if a trade can be worked out: Boston.

    If that can't happen, Robinson wants a buyout, believing he will be able to sign with one of the top contending teams in the league, including the Lakers, Cleveland and Orlando -- the thinking being that he can provide the instant offensive boost for any of those teams that he once provided for the Knicks.

    Sunday night's 98-94 victory against Charlotte marked the ninth consecutive DNP-CD for Robinson, whose tension-filled relationship with D'Antoni has reached a tipping point. The Knicks have gone 6-3 since D'Antoni removed Robinson from the rotation -- a point D'Antoni repeatedly used in his own defense in addressing the matter prior to the game -- and Robinson's camp has made the decision to go public with its displeasure, formally requesting a trade while letting the media know it was doing so.

    But a couple of problems exist in regard to Robinson's demanding a trade:

    • Robinson has the right to veto any trade (because he would be forfeiting his Larry Bird rights by accepting a trade), and as unhappy as he is, at the end of the day he'd rather sulk at the end of the bench in New York than battle Wayne Ellington for spot minutes in Minnesota. One source close to the Knicks said the list of teams that Robinson would accept a trade to could be described as "slim and/or none."
    I wouldn't mind Nate if the Celtics didn't have to give up much to get him.  He's super-athletic, he can score, and by the looks of it he wants to win (or at least be traded to a very cushy situation). 

    But, it'd be very tough to pair Eddie House in the backcourt with Nate; they wouldn't be able to guard a soul.  Also, Nate must be some type of behavioral problem for such a talented player to go through such a long string of DNP's.  So if the Celtics give up next to nothing for Nate, I'm all for it.  But if they have to give up Marquis Daniels, as Sheridan later hypothesizes, my answer would be, "No.  Absolutely not."
    Is it possible that group film study, NFL style, is not as big a part of NBA culture as some of us (myself included) think it is? It must vary from coach to coach, right?

    Whatever the case, my favorite tidbit from the Globe’s rightfully sunny recap of the C’s-Wolves beat down is this:
    Celtics coach Doc Rivers said he also told Pierce, who scored only nine points in Friday night’s loss to the Sixers, to get back to his instincts instead of trying to figure out ways to get everyone involved. The team watched film after the loss — a rarity during the regular season — and Rivers put together a sequence of all the uncontested shots.

    “There were a lot of them,” Rivers said. “It was good for them to see.”

    It’s unclear from the context if Rivers was showing uncontested shots that Pierce passed up or uncontested shots the C’s defense yielded to Philly. Either way, the line that caught my eye was “a rarity during the regular season.”

    Wanna throw your own dime, and get someone's article recognized? Email me at or follow me on Twitter.

    The Morning Walkthrough: Kendrick Perkins is a thief... in a good way

    The Celtics have gotten rid of their morning walkthrough, but that doesn't mean we have to. Here are a few Celtics links, and maybe even an NBA link or two, to help wake you up and get you focused for the day.

    Steve Bulpett, Boston Herald - "Watching Perkins roll out an arsenal of moves far more lethal than what he had when Jefferson was around these parts, Jefferson might have been moved to ask, 'Who are you and what have you done with the Perk I knew?' But Al has been paying attention. 'We were just talking about that last night, how well he’s been playing and how his confidence has gone up on the offensive end,' Jefferson said. 'The way he keeps playing, I think he has a chance to make the All-Star Game. I actually do see him a lot because (the Celtics) always play on a day we don’t play and I watch them every chance I get. To me, he had a quiet night, compared to the games I have seen him play.' And some of the Celtic’s moves may seem a bit familiar. 'I stole a lot of stuff from him,' said Perkins, who made 7-of-10 shots while Jefferson was hitting 9-of-18. 'The pump fake I do? That’s from him.'"

    Dan Duggan, Boston Herald - "'Actually I kind of surprised myself. I wanted to lay it up, but I saw him running so hard, so I just had to finish,' Allen said. 'I was pretty happy after that. It actually motivated me throughout the game.' It’s the type of play the Celtics have come to expect from Allen, who missed the first 20 games of the season while recovering from offseason surgery on his right ankle. 'Tony was phenomenal,' coach Doc Rivers said. 'He’s been terrific. He’s just doing the things we need him to do. This is the best stretch that we’ve had him, as far as with this group of guys, where he’s playing his role.'"

    Frank Dell'Apa, Boston Globe - "Rajon Rondo had 13 points and 15 assists in the Celtics’ 122-104 victory over Minnesota last night. But Rondo was regretting one of those assists after being informed that Paul Pierce had a chance to break a team record for 3-pointers without a miss. 'I had no idea, I didn’t know he shot 6 for 6 until I saw him do an interview,' Rondo said. 'You know, I looked him off on one, too. The skip pass to Ray [Allen], Paul said he was open, too. He made sure he told me that right after.' Pierce became the first Celtic to convert six 3-pointers without a miss in a home game. He tied a team record for threes without a miss in any game established by Danny Ainge at Utah Jan. 4, 1988, and Walter McCarty at Toronto Nov. 2, 1999."

    Chris Forsberg, ESPNBoston - "'Well, first of all I didn’t think [House] was athletic enough to get to the ball," said Rivers. "So the fact that he got to the ball, I was shocked. And then he made a play once he got to the ball -- it was pretty spectacular. It was great. I was happy because it was a great defensive play.' Allen, who registered season-highs with 15 points (5-of-8 shooting) and 24 minutes, couldn't believe how the play unfolded, either. 'That was random -- a transition play, Eddie got a tip on the ball, defensively, chased it down to me and I was just running the lane for the fast break and we got the bucket,' explained Allen, who said he initially didn't intend to go for the jam. 'Actually, I kind of surprised myself. I wanted to lay it up and I saw [Brewer] running so hard, so I just finished, had to finish.'"

    Frank Dell'Apa, Boston Globe - "'I told him he needs to get back to just playing on his instincts,’ coach Doc Rivers said of Pierce. 'I thought he was trying to get everybody involved, which you want him to do, too. But I think our three really instinctive players are Kevin [Garnett], [Rajon] Rondo, and Paul. You always have to remind them, just be an instinctive player, you have great instincts. Those three guys, you just want them to play. And their instincts do everything for them.’"

    Jimmy Toscano, CelticsBlog - "'He's been huge man,' Pierce said of Allen, 'just his energy and what he's been able to bring especially with Marquis [Daniels] out because he's a guy who can come in and slash, score, and also what he's best known for is his defense. He comes in right away and he gets a steal and a fast break layup to start the game off when he gets in the game. Kendrick Perkins was matched up with his old friend Al Jefferson tonight. Perkins finished the night with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Jefferson recorded 20 points and 11 rebounds. 'Perk [Kendrick Perkins] is getting better and better every game,' said the Timberwolves' Al Jefferson. 'If he keeps playing the way he's playing, he's going to get a big contract. He's a great defensive player, always has been... Plus his offensive game is getting better.'"

    Have a link I might want to look at? Send it my way by email ( or Twitter.