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Posts Tagged ‘Boston Celtics’


Who’d of thought he’d be such a huge loss?

Since I can’t find my copy of Four Views of the Book of Revelation in order to cover the 3rd view, I’ll consider sports. I’ve been meaning to work on this post for a few weeks, but haven’t had the free time and mental space. You may think I still don’t have the mental space for it.

I want to consider a similarity between the Boston Red Sox and the Boston Celtics: injuries. The point being how injuries have derailed the last few seasons for both teams. Sports teams are really fragile things. There are times when teams can survive and even thrive during a rash of injuries. The Green Bay Packers did this to win the Superbowl in 2011. Those instances are rare. Most often, the depth of a team is tried and then depleted. Hopes vanish and dreams are squashed.

The Celtics won the NBA title in 2008 and seemed poised to win a few more before the New Big Three fell apart. But injuries have continually derailed that hope, and Celtics fans are disappointed. In 2009 it was Kevin Garnett’s various injuries that left them depleted. Without him they nearly beat the Magic to advance in the playoffs, but it was not to be. A healthy KG, and the Celtics go to the Finals. The next year, KG was not healthy, but was playing. They made it to the Finals against the Lakers. Then, in Game 6, Perkins blew out his knee. His presence in that abysmal Game 7, the film of which should be burned for the sake of both teams, may have made a significant difference. We won’t know. But the Lakers did triumph.

Then there was last year. KG was healthy, but there was the big trade that sent Perkins packing for 2 players. He was still not right, but the emotional toll on the team seemed too big. Both O’Neals had injury problems. Until the playoffs. They put it together after their late season skid. They made it to the conference finals against the arrogant Miami Heat who hope to win 7-8 titles in their imaginations (Father, may it not even be one- oppose the proud!). In a painful moment caught on film, D-Wade pulled down Rondo while falling. Really cheap play, and their series this season against the Pacers shows they are inclined toward the cheap plays. Rondo’s dislocated elbow sunk the Celtics. He valiantly tried to play, but with only one functioning arm, his defense was a liability. That moment dashed the Celtics hopes.

We felt his pain.

The Red Sox are in a similar state of affairs. They won the World Series in 2007. Despite injuries to Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell, the Red Sox made it all the way to the AL Championship against new rivals the Rays in their first ever play off appearance. Beckett pitched, but was a shell of himself. So close, but they fell in 7 to the Rays who would get handled easily in the World Series. Oh, for a healthy Beckett or Lowell. Just one would have tipped the scales enough. Just one.

2009 was just a mess for the Red Sox. It is a blur of injuries in the last few months that sunk a promising season. I have erased it from my memory.

2010 looked so promising. In the opening weeks they lost Ellsbury and Mike Cameron for essentially the season. Beltre not only provided power to the line up but single-handedly destroyed the outfield.  The only remaining starting outfielder was J.D. Drew, and we all know he’s good for a few trips to the DL. Daniel Nava and Darnell McDonald came out of nowhere to provide some spark. But then the injuries began to mount up- Youkilis, Pedroia, Martinez. So many injuries to key players- there were done. D-O-N-E.

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I have a few free minutes, here are a few thoughts:

  • Some media members are wondering why the Cardinals have a new manager already and the Red Sox don’t. When you lose your GM in the middle of things, it slows down the process a wee bit.
  • You mean his mouth closes?

    Who should be the new manager of the Red Sox? They had each candidate do interviews. In a market like Boston, known for aggressive media, this is an important consideration. Mackanin came off like Robert California from the Office. His playing both sides approach sounded to me like smoke and mirrors. Lovullo came across as the most secure and relaxed of the bunch. I was greatly disappointed when he left for Toronto with Farrell.  I would welcome him back, but I don’t think it will go that way. Sandy Alomar Jr. will probably become a very good manager one day- I just don’t think it will be in Boston.  Reading about Sveum, I think he should be the choice.  I don’t hold the whole 3rd base coach thing against him. Send ’em In Kim would be a different story. But I appreciated his approach, including defensive positioning. I see that as one of the things Tampa does really well. Their defenders are seldom out of position.  The last 2 years the Red Sox have not seemed in position very often except for Pedroia. He understand what each coach should do, since he’s done it all. He coached guys well. I share the hunch that he’ll be the guy unless the Cubs strike first. If so, Lovullo would probably make a great choice.

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Unlike all the paid professionals, I’ve had a little more time to digest the NBA Draft.  Of course, that doesn’t mean my analysis is any better.  I didn’t spend hours investigating all the potential draft picks.  I’ve been a bit busy with a job and kids.  I’d look at the usual sites and see the mock drafts.

I had a meeting in Phoenix the night of the draft.  So I had to hit the DVR to record the draft for me.  So, when I got home I raced through 4 1/2 hours of draft coverage in record time.  I got to skip over the over-analysis, particularly of players/teams I was not interested in learning about.

There is one thing I do know.  If I were the Cavaliers, I would have picked Derrick Williams instead of Irving.  It saddens me to see a guy who played like 3 games get picked #1.  Williams has displayed a willingness to develop as a player.  He’s got more than “upside”, but shown an ability to tap that potential.  In my opinion he is farther ahead of the other PFs than Irving is ahead of the other PGs.  Just my opinion.  The Cavs would have avoided unrealistic expectations on an untested PG, and could have gotten at worst the 2nd best PG in the draft to go with the best big man in the draft.

I was a bit surprised by all the of the foreign players taken in the first round.  It was part weak college year and part Nowitzski effect.  Lots of unpronounceable names.  I wouldn’t mind if Nikola Vucevic had fallen to the Celtics.  He had some time to develop at USC and played against American players.  He’s been developing his potential.  I appreciated the Morris brothers being picked, in order, within 5 minutes of each other.  Just one of those interesting personal stories.

I was relatively excited with the Celtics drafted Marshon Brooks, the ‘prolific’ scorer out of Providence College.  That was until the analysts said something about him not playing a lick of defense.  Sounded like a wasted pick right then and there.  I knew he wouldn’t get off the bench if he didn’t play defense no matter how many points he can score.

Our Two Boilermakers

So, I was among the many Celtics’ fans who breathed a huge sigh of relief when the trade with New Jersey was announced.  This might be part of why New Jersey has stunk for quite some time.  First, they wasted a draft pick moving up to get a guy that would have fallen to them a few picks later.  Second, he doesn’t play defense and you won’t win unless you play defense.

The Celtics ended up with the very thin, but wiry strong, JaJuan Johnson.  He played 4 seasons at Purdue, improving each year, to become their player with the most career wins.  He plays defense, blocks shots, gets rebounds (though I’d prefer if he got more of them), and can score.  He’s sort of the antithesis of Big Baby- thin, able to jump & block shots.  He will be expected to contribute soon if not right away.

It was interesting that Steve Bulpett has changed his mind on the subject of JaJuan.  He was fairly unimpressed.  But then a trusted scout called him.  This guy, who apparently has a very impressive track record, believes that JaJuan can help the Celtics now.  He was surprised that he fell to the Celtics, and sees him as a great replacement for Kendrick Perkins (who was not that great of a rebounder either).

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I was pretty young during the Bruins’ hey-day.  Too young to remember it or enjoy it.  My dad took me to a few games at the Garden when I was a kid.  I love watching hockey live- TV?  Only during the playoffs.  During my adult life, they have been an exercise in frustration.  The times they made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, they really looked over matched.  Since Cam Neely retired, they have been mired in mediocrity.  Anytime they had a star, they had nothing around him.  Eventually they would trade him for a bag of dry, crusty bread.

Last year I thought they had a chance.  Then Krejci went down and the Flyers took a series they had no chance in before that.  I can’t stand the Flyers, they ruined the Bruins’ chances too many times by injuring key players.

I was not sure how good this year’s Bruins were.  I seemed to have always checked the headlines when they were struggling.  Savard’s concussion was a bit of a blow.  They just didn’t look strong heading into the playoffs.

And they didn’t start strong.  Down 0-2 to the despised Canadians, it didn’t look good.  Amazingly they came back to take the series and advance to play … the Flyers.  It was a time of redemption.  This year’s series against them was what last year’s was supposed to be- a sweep.  That felt really good.

On to Tampa Bay.  The Lightening were not a good match up for the Bruins.  That was probably the toughest series the Bruins had.  It really could have gone either way.  The 7th and deciding game was full of great hockey.

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When We See This Again

It is incomprehensible that the Bruins are still playing and the Celtics are done.  Both the Celtics and Patriots were sent packing earlier than expected, and the Red Sox can’t seem to break .500.  The Bruins?  They just defeated long-time foes the Canadians and Broadstreet Bullies (who derailed the last few seasons for the Bruins by putting key players out of commission).

So what went wrong with the Celtics’ season?  Lots of things actually.  Danny Ainge, in a WEEI interview today, admitted that one of the key mistakes he made was letting Tony Allen leave for Memphis.  There he has found more playing time (now that Rudy Gay got hurt) and they are still playing though not for long.  That was an important decision, and they could have used Tony to defend the Heat on the perimeter.  While Tony has issues, he was an important piece for the last few seasons.

Instead of Tony, they initially relied on Marquis Daniels to spell Paul Pierce.  This probably wasn’t the wisest thing since he was injured much of the previous season.  He actually played very well, until the injury that ended his season.  The stage was set for a perfect storm.

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Yes, I’m about a week late on this.  But I wanted the dust to settle instead of having a knee-jerk reaction to the trades made by the Boston Celtics.

You have to keep the context in mind to understand what went down.

  • The Celtics had no available roster spots available.
  • The Celtics were over the salary cap.  The new CBA may have a hard cap, we’ll have to see.
  • The Celtics have been crushed with injuries.  They had been able to weather the injury storm okay until Marquis Daniels was injured.  There was no legitimate back-up for Paul Pierce.  The aging Paul Pierce who has been enduring some less serious injuries.
  • Kendrick Perkins had rejected a contract extension offer by the Celtics.  He didn’t want an unreasonable amount of money, but it was more than the Celtics could commit.

This put Danny Ainge into a difficult position.  He had to find some suitable replacements, particularly for Daniels.  This set up the perfect storm for 3 trades that reduced salary and opened up some roster spots while also providing 2 healthy players at key spots- center and small forward.  They also picked up a few draft picks as they look to the future.

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Bulls "star" Will Perdue

After worship on Sunday, I was heading home for Community Group.  I decided to put the radio on.  The local ESPN affiliate was airing the Heat-Thunder game.  Former Bulls’ player Will Perdue was providing color commentary.  As time was running out in a quarter Kevin Durant was fouled on a shot.

“I couldn’t stand that as a player.”

Huh?  Perdue described the play in which the foul was called on Joel Anthony.  Joel was reportedly not even near Durant.  But LeBron James was and actually committed the foul.  But according to Perdue, the refs probably didn’t want LeBron in foul trouble.  It was up to the unimportant Joel Anthony to take one for the team and not dispute the foul (I’m guessing any ref can identify LeBron).

He then told a story about this first year in the league.

“We were playing Boston and Michael was guarding Bird.  The whistle blew and Michael told me to raise my hand because I committed the foul.”

Guys like Will, and Joel, are expendable.  They are expected to be scapegoats at times.  They take the foul for the star either by claiming they did it (I’m not sure how anyone could possibly confuse Michael and Perdue), or by the refs calling it on someone else.

I can’t stand it when the stars sit with foul trouble.  But I am not for refs calling the fouls on someone else.  Nor am I for cheating by protecting the star by another player claiming they committed the foul.  But what surprised me is that Will Perdue actually admitted this happens.  If he’s not fired or suspended, I’ll be surprised.

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