Posts Tagged ‘Boston Celtics’

Well, we’re about 20 games into the abbreviated post-2011 lockout season of the NBA. Thus far, ratings are up, excitement is evident and injuries are building up (they always DO after a lockout). Outside of the obvious big storylines (Miami Heat as the favorites, Lakers vs. Clippers is relevant now, where is Dwight Howard going), I figured I’d look at 10 things you may or may not have noticed, considered or thought about.

 

The Atlanta Hawks have been one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference this season.

1. Atlanta, Indiana & Philadelphia are surprise power teams in the Eastern Conference (so far) – It’s true. Take a look at the top 5 spots in the East – these team occupy spots 3-5. And if you’re telling me you thought that would be the case before the season began and you’re NOT a fan of any of those teams, I’m calling you a liar. The obvious retort anyone can offer – it’s the Eastern Conference. It’s been weak for well over a decade. This is true, but you have to still play your schedule, and thus far, these teams are winning. Atlanta has even beat Chicago, Miami and Portland; and Indiana boasts wins over the Lakers and Chicago (Philly has been beating up on weaker teams). Just under one-third of the season has been played, so there’s still time for things to getter better or worse for all 3 squads – but the fact they’re all currently doing better than New York, Boston and Orlando has to be noticed and applauded.

 

2. Kobe Bryant truly may not be human – No, really. Forget the fact that regardless of the same doubters and haters who come out the woodwork yearly, this guy proves himself to be amongst the absolute best in the game. Forget that he’s killing the league in his 16th season. I don’t think people understand how insane it is that he’s playing with his wrist injury. And doing it well. By comparison, Rajon Rondo hasn’t been able to play in 5 games, and can’t even shoot or dribble consistently. And he doesn’t have torn ligaments that should require surgery. Luol Deng has an injury like Kobe’s, but not as severe – on his left hand. His non-shooting hand. He requires surgery (as Kobe was supposed to get), and he’s been missing games too.

Kobe hasn’t missed a single game. Compare this to the injuries he’s played through over the years – he once separated his shoulder and shot left-handed for a number of games, to good effect at that – and the only thing I can come up with is this dude is one of those mutants we see in the X-Men universe. That’s the only explanation for a guy who routinely plays with injuries that sideline every other NBA player for weeks and months.

 

The common denominator in terms of all the problems with the Knicks' play? Mike D'Antoni.

3. Mike D’Antoni SUCKS – I’ve gotten to the point in sports where hearing certain opinions about things lets me know the difference between people who really watch the sport and those who let ESPN tell them how things are. The “Knicks/’Melo/Amar’e sucks!” opinions are an example of this. No, there’s nothing wrong with any of those players on that team. They are who they are, and WHAT they are. In particular, Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler were all extremely successful for their previous teams – you’re telling me they got together and just became terrible? That they inexplicably have no idea how to play together?

All of those guys knew how to play during Olympic try-outs and on those squads. Every other superstar pairing over the past few years doesn’t seem to have issues working out the gate – Lakers, Celtics, Heat, Clippers this year, etc. What gives? It’s the coach.

It would take me too long to spell it all out – that’s an article in and of itself. If you’re interested in understanding how it’s the coach, there’s a pretty good article I’ve read that echoes what I’ve thought for a long time about D’Antoni here. But it’s NOT the players – a good coach would have this team near the top of the East, easy. And non-knowledgeable Knicks fans are running out of excuses – you can’t even say Denver is winning with the Knicks’ old players, because 2 of those players are already gone from the team (Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler), one gets limited minutes (Timofey Mozgov) and the other is putting up Carmelo-esque numbers at times ever since he began playing for a good coach (George Karl).

And for anyone who was riding the “It’s ‘Melo’s fault” train – remind me – how have the Knicks been doing without Mr. Anthony??

Oh.

Place the blame where it belongs – coaching and inept management.

 

4. Chris Bosh and Kevin Love are under-the-radar BEASTS – Yup. They sure are. Look at their numbers – Kevin Love gives you 25 points, 14 rebounds and a steal and is shooting 41% from three – and he’s a power forward. Bosh’s numbers are 22 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, a block, 55% overall from the field and 33% from three – again, at the power forward position. Those numbers increased when Dwayne Wade was been out of the Heat lineup – he averaged 27 points without his all-star 2-guard.

Neither man is flashy nor do they consistently provide the ESPN Top Ten highlights casual viewers crave. They suffer from Tim Duncan syndrome – they provide steady, consistent production, and are huge assets – but get overshadowed by the highlight-driven, guard-led highlight packages. But make no mistake about it – they are playing out of this world, and are they keys to their teams success. That’s right – I just called Bosh the key to Miami’s success over LeBron AND Wade. Because if he’s a totally unstoppable beast in the playoffs with those guys doing their thing?? Who gon’ stop them?? Well – it’s possible. But not highly likely…

 

5. David Stern is completely full of hot, steaming CACA – Okay, you already knew this. I’m sure I’m surprising exactly no one with that declaration. However, I’m specifically referring to a little something the little bastard said after he traded Chauncey Billups and Chris Paul to the Clippers…wait – what’s that, you say? Chauncey Billups was picked up in free agency, not in a trade? Uh-huh – sure. YOU believe that if you want. Most NBA insiders certainly don’t – and Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski referenced the shadiness all the way back in December (read that article here).

Back to what The Runt Who Would Be King said: “Tonight’s transaction is better

David Stern - or as Laker fans like to call him - @#$%^&*!!!

for the Hornets than the transaction that I did not sign off on four days ago.” Really? Okay – let’s look at the facts. The New Orleans Hornets are currently fighting the Charlotte Bobcats to see who can be the absolute worst team in the league. You’re telling me that the pieces they got in that trade are better than Kevin Martin (currently averaging 20 points per game), 6th Man Of The Year Lamar Odom, Luis Scola (15 points, 6 rebounds) and Goran Dragic?? In fairness, SG Eric Gordon has been hurt – but Gordon IS injury-prone. So you know that going in.

And to add to what a farce this trade was – the Hornets are currently shopping center Chris Kaman (whom was one of the players acquired) for a trade. He’s not even playing any longer.

No one who knows ball could rationally  compare the pieces in those trades and think the Hornets did better with the second one. Oh, they got the Minnesota Timberwolves’ unprotected #1 pick as well too, right? That should be worth something – except the T-Wolves are flirting with a .500 record. Oops – that supposedly valuable pick might not even wind up being a lottery pick. So Houston’s 1st round draft pick might wind up being only a few spots away from that pick. Essentially, they have the same value.

Yup. Stern is a shiester. And the excuse of not wanting Chris Paul to go to a big market – um, he still winded up in L.A., as I’ve pointed out before. That was jealous owners (Michael Jordan, Dan Gilbert and Mark Cuban, amongst others) not wanting him to go to the Lakers. And that’s just wackness. But make no mistake – Stern is full of more manure than even you possibly could imagine. He’s the Dung Beetle of sports commissioners. And that’s saying a lot.

 

Being the greatest NBA player of all time hasn't helped Jordan when it comes to running a team. At all.

6. The Charlotte Bobcats SUCK, and I love it – No offense to my North Carolina readers. But after being one of the biggest reasons FOR the lockout happening and the length of it, in addition to crying like a little b***h when the Lakers made the (rescinded) trade for Chris Paul, I’m very happy to see Michael Jordan have to watch his team stink it up every night. He had 2 top draft picks, and they’re doing absolutely nothing in terms of stopping the suckitude in Charlotte. Stephen Jackson, Emeka Okafor, Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton and Gerald Wallace are just some of the good players that His Douchey-ness Airness couldn’t figure out how to get wins with. I’ve never really liked the guy as a person, but of course I respect him as the game’s greatest player. But after his crabbiness in the past few months…I will take great joy in seeing things he’s involved with FAIL. As I’m currently doing – happily.

 

7. Ricky Rubio Is The Real Deal – we were all waiting to see if he could live up to the hype, and most of us figured “no”. Um…have you watched this kid play?? 11 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds and steals – off the bench?? Wow. And the questions about whether he can shoot – he sure looks like he’s shooting on an NBA level to me, seeing as his 3-point percentage is at 35% and overall FG% is 37. And he can still improve.

This kid has Steve Nash Jr. written all over him.

 

8. Injuries Are Piling Up – So far this year, Derrick Rose, Dwayne Wade, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Dirk Nowtizki, Carmelo Anthony, Steve Nash, LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Al Horford, Zach Randolph, Deron Williams and Stephen Curry have all missed significant time due to injuries. And that’s just the superstars’ whose names came to me off the top of the head – there’s a gazillion non-superstar players with injuries.

The lockout, outside of being completely unnecessary and idiotic, is killing players in the injury department. Nice job, owners. Putzes.

 

9. The West Is Still The Best – Don’t believe me? 10 out of 16 teams in the Western Conference have records over .500. In the East? That number dips to just 6 teams. And in the East, pretty much everyone acknowledges it comes down to Chicago and Miami for who comes out of the conference. The West? Claim can be made for OKC, San Antonio, Dallas, Portland, Denver and both L.A. teams. That’s a lot of options, and a lot of competition.

I have no idea when The East will rise again. But it hasn’t been the better conference since the 90s – and even if you go back then, both conferences were really competitive. So I actually can’t even remember when the East was demonstratively better than the West…if you’re only comparing teams and not Finals wins.

News of the Boston Celtics' demise has been greatly exaggerated.

10. The Boston Celtics can beat The Miami Heat in a 7-game playoff series – I’m just saying. I figured I’d put this here so I can be held to that…as I’ve said it and been told I’m crazy to think so. Boston got out to a slow start, but look at them lately…they’re gelling, and looking pretty damned competitive. Dare I say it – they’re starting to look good. And this isn’t a team meant to get an impressive regular season record – this is a team made to make a run in the playoffs. And that’s all they want to do – make the playoffs. When I look at the players, matchups, coaching, etc. – call it a hunch, call it intuition – I just see Boston being able to pull the upset off. I know people will disagree and call them old, etc. – remember. Boston 2 years ago made LeBron James crawl in a shell and completely give up.

All I’m saying – I can see an upset happening if a healthy Boston team faces Miami. Remember I said it.

As always, feedback is highly encouraged and sought out. What do you think? Agree or disagree? Things to add? I’d love to see it. And don’t forget to spread the word – have your friends and family add the blog on Facebook and subscribe to get e-mail updates for new posts when they go up.

As always…Shoot, Pass, Quibble!

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