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We are back in the Whinery after a few days sans kiddos.  CavWife and I flew the coop to visit with a search committee, and I met with the elders.  The kids got to stay home with a friend of ours.  They did very well.  She was a bit sad Friday night.  He was clingy before we left Friday morning, but we were able to slip away, and heading into our friend’s pool was distracting enough for him.

We flew up Friday afternoon.  We had a slight delay in our flight departure time.  A mere 20 minutes or something.  Oddly, it continued to say “On Time” even a few minutes after our departure time came and went.

A few members of the committee picked us up at the airport and drove us to town.  We were free to have dinner on our own, so we got a recommendation for a local establishment.  It was a very nice place.  We ate outside and enjoyed some of the local sights, and sounds (particularly the motorcycles).  Then we took a spin to see some of the local geography.  We located the YMCA (since CavWife is certified for spinning, and in process to be certified for step- and has a class 2x/week at the local Y), the movie theatre, library …  We also drove through some subdivisions near the church.  We aren’t sure if they will be in our price range, though.  The area looked far more beautiful than it did in March.

Exhausted, we crashed at the hotel.  We were up early the next morning, as I met with the Session all morning.  One of them saw my post on Adam Again, and gifted me with his copy of 10 Songs by Adam Again.  It got a good listen this morning!  Quite thankful.  Hmmm, I wonder if he has Outdoor Elvis by the Swirling Eddies….  Great to ponder having elders who have actually listened to some of the obscure bands I enjoy.  CavWife got a tour of the area by a committee member and talked about some of the pragmatic stuff about living in that community.

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No, this is not my prediction.  Boston.com ran a NBA 2K8 simulated series.  The Celtics took Game 1, but lost Game 2.  In LA, they lost 2 of 3.  But back in Boston they prevailed both times to win their 17th banner, and keep Phil Jackson from surpassing Red for the most titles by a coach.

Now we have to watch and see what REALLY happens.  Go Celts!

Update: ESPN used NBA Live, and the Lakers won in 7.  ESPN has been pro-Lakers all week, so this just adds to the pile-on.

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I was ready to lose my mind during much of the first half of Game 5 between the Celtics and Pistons.  Horrible, horrible calls.  The inconsistency was maddening.  I still can’t believe they called a flagrant foul on P.J. Brown, but one was not called on Billups for taking a shot at Perkins’ head on his break away.  And so was the Celtics inability to hang on to the ball.  It was not looking good for my boys in Green to be sure.

But they regained their composure.  Perkins was a beast: pulling down rebounds, blocking shot and pouring in shots (18 pts. 16 boards 2 blocks, 2 steals).  Ray Allen finally came to life, draining 3-pointers (5-6, 29 pts).  And all this was not a second too soon as ‘Sheed started hitting from behind the arc too.

In the 3rd period the Celtics defense was cranked up a notch as they created turnovers to open up a double-digit lead.  I find Rick Hamilton to be quite annoying.  He consistently over-reacts in the attempt to draw a foul.  Antics like this is part of why Brent Barry didn’t draw a foul at the end of Game 5 of the Lakers-Spurs series.  He didn’t over-react (flop).  They need to start penalizing the floppers.

In the 4th quarter, the Celtics began to settle for the 3-pointer and the Pistons slowly began to close the gap.  It was a 1 point game with 1:05 to go.  Ray Allen hit a 2 to get a 3 point lead.  Billups missed a lay up, and KG missed a too-long jumper at the buzzer.  But Stuckey hit 2 FTs to pull within a point with 8.2 seconds left.  This is just too close for my liking.  So the Pistons put Ray Allen to the line to hit 2.  Stuckey returned to the line (good strategy, boring basketball), and he missed his first FT forcing the Celtics to guard that glass.  But he hit the FT instead.  Garnett was the next Celtic to head to the line, and hit bothto ice the game.

KG rebounded from a sub-par Game 4 for 33 pts and 7 rebounds.  It was barely enough for Gino to dance to the Bee Gees (seriously, a new tradition is needed).

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I heard the analysts and commentators.  They seemed to forget that despite their lousy road record in the playoffs, they had a great road record during the regular season.  They seemed to forget that they Pistons have not defended their home court in the playoffs this year.  They pronounced the Celtics D-E-A-D.

Hmmmm, the Celtics took Game 3 in Detroit to regain home court advantage.  They had a double digit lead most of the game.  Their bench players played some good basketball.  They played defense.  They won 94-80 even though Paul Pierce (11 points) and Ray Allen (14 on 5-16 shooting) didn’t have much offensive impact.  Perkins had a very good game, hitting his first 6 shots to pick up a double-double.  Garnett had 22 pts, 13 rebounds & 6 assists to lead the Celtics.

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Paul looks much happier after this game.  LeBron, not so much.  He quickly left the court, seemingly not congratulating anyone.  Not quite good sportsmanship.

Both Pierce and LeBron had great offensive games.  Pierce gave most of Celtics’ nation a minor heart attack when he took a tumble just before half time with an injured ankle.  It didn’t seem to bother him much as he continued to knock down shots on his way to a 41 point performance.  It was about time he dominated.  But LeBron had 45 in a losing cause- similar to the classic battle between Larry Bird and ‘Nique back in ’86.

The surprise of the game was the play of P.J. Brown.  He’d looked just plain ugly in previous games.  Many of his shots looked ugly, but they went in.  He played some good defense and grabbed some key rebounds.

Eddie House also played some significant minutes.  This time he took the place of Ray Allen, who spent much of the 4th quarter on the bench.  That had to hurt him.

There were some very bad calls, and non-calls.  Not as many as in Game 6, but enough to make me wonder if the Celtics would be able to pull it out.  LeBron abused Pierce at least twice without a whistle.  One was when he tipped the ball out of his hands and then held onto his jersey.  No call on that, ball out of bound … turnover.  Another time LeBron pushed Pierce down to create another spurious turnover.  I’m beginning to wonder if LeBron can actually commit a foul (or be called for traveling).  At least Jordon won a title before he got all the calls (or is that just a figment of my imagination).  LeBron James is a great player, he doesn’t need help. 

Rather than the usual lopsided FT totals, the Celtics only took 1 fewer FT.  I can’t quite figure out how they call these games.  But thankfully we have home court advantage all the way through in this league that creates such an obvious home court advantage that has little/nothing to do with how players play.  I just want a little consistency.  Am I asking too much?  Apparently.

Now we get to face the Pistons.  Which Pistons team will show up?  They seem like Jekyll and Hyde.

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This about expresses it for me.  “What???? Are you stinkin’ kidding?!”  I saw a few things:

1. Inability to keep Cleveland off the offensive boards.  This gave Cleveland too many 2nd chance points.

2. Inability to take care of the ball, particularly under pressure- leading to easy buckets.

3. Horrible officiating.  They made bad calls against both teams, but the sheer number of calls went against the Celtics.  LeBron took more FTs than the whole Celtics team.  It was free throws that kept Cleveland in the game in the first half before they went on that run to end the half.

4. Doc was smart to play House, dumb to play Davis.  House kept the Celtics in the game replacing a tentative Rondo (all those horrible whistles don’t help a guy be aggressive though).  I lost track of the number of times Big Baby was blocked underneath, or at least seemed unable to finish under the hoop.  Where was Powe?  Just because Davis played well in Game 5 doesn’t mean he’s going to play well in Game 6.

These are not the Celtics of my youth, so I don’t care about what Celtic teams of the past have done when up 2-0 in a series.  Irrelevant because Russell, Hondo, Bird etc. are not playing on this team.  Yeah, these guys have pretty much dominated at home.  So why can’t they dominate on the road?  Is it the officiating?  Are they replaced by look-alikes who can’t play?

Defensively, we can’t pay attention to the little change of direction LeBron makes while driving to the rim.  If you move your feet, it WILL be a blocking foul.  If you STAY PUT and he creates contact above the circle- it is a charge.  That move alone was killing us.

 

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Considering Game 7


I had to do some pre-marital counseling after church today, so I didn’t get home until after 2 pm.  Well, the game was basically OVER.  I came home to see Rondo lying on the court after having been thrown down by his good friend, Marvin Williams.  With friends like that….

I feel almost as good as KG.  Maybe the utter demolition of the Hawks will quiet some of the whiners and complainers, doubters and deniers.  This is an excellent team.  I didn’t see a bunch of heartless slackers in Atlanta, like some people claim.  I saw guys who weren’t allowed to compete due to the constant refrain of the ref’s whistle.

Now it is Cleveland, and more whistle-blowing.  But if they play this kind of stifling defense, they should prevail though it may take 7 games again.

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