Friday, November 10, 2006

Stop the Presses! Celtics beat Bobcats!

I have to say, I am not feeling this Celtic team at all. The only
reason the C's even made it to overtime was Paul Pierce deciding to
take over down the stretch and make 4 straight hoops to build a lead
with 1:30 remaining. That cushion was quickly eclipsed and then the
C's played for overtime, winning on a last second shot.

Also too, for someone as highly touted as Rajon Rondo has been in the
local media, how the hell does he get a DNP-CD last night? Somebody
explain this to me. Unless Rondo did something that warranted a
benching (late for shoot around, grabbed a dancer's ass, etc.). This
just says to me that the C's have a lot of young, decent players.
Great role players, but no legit NBA starters to make you better.

It's going to be a long season.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Other Reviews are in on Hakim Warrick

From the Sportsguy's latest list-o-rama on the first week of the NBA:

4. Hakim Warrick
Wait, so an excellent college player with big-game experience went a
few spots too low in the NBA draft and turned out to be a good pro?
You're kidding!!! This never happens!!!! I can't believe it!!!!!

I was so high on this guy, and he's starting to show why he's a legit
NBA player. Maybe when he's a free agent Boston can sign him, and
then Gerald Green can carry his bags. If Green is still in the league
by then.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The end of the one finger era

Remind me again why Danny Ainge took Gerald Green over Hakim Warick, a
blue chipper with championship credentials? Was it because Green had
one finger? WAs it because the Celtics needed somebody who could dunk
in warmups like Kedrick Brown could? I can understand that, but
really, Green played 2 minutes last night. It's his second year. He
should be earning more court time if he's any good. Especially on a
team like the Celtics who don't have much talent beyond Paul Pierce.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

2006-2007: Eastern Conference Preview

Once again the East gained the NBA title. It can't be said that the
East is the top conference from top to bottom, but it has to be said
that the best teams in the East are easily as good as the top teams in
the West. And the East keeps getting great draft picks, so the
conference should continue it's rise back to balancing out the East.

1. Shaq-fu delivered on his promise to bring a title to Miami. But
really it was the continued development of the new-Jordan, Dwayne
Wade, that brought the title to Miami. Wade continued to amaze in the
playoffs. He started hitting threes. He developed a bank shot
seemingly out of nowhere. Only Kirck Hinrich was ablet to contain him
at all as Wade could just will a basket whenever Miami needed. Unlike
the year before, Reilley didn't tweak this roster at all. I like
that. The only troubles are that Shaq probably packed on a few pounds
in the offseason, and Wade recently admitted to being tired after
going through the Finals and playing in the FIBA world championships.
He's bascially had no time off. If he or Shaq are worn down at
playoff time, all bets are off with this top dog status.

2. Detroit Pistons - This is still a team to be reckoned with, but
they lost their heart and soul in Ben Wallace. Hopefully this means
that Rasheed Wallace will take the time to reaquaint himself with the
area below the foul line. He should because he's an unbelievable post
player with so many moves he can't be stopped if he doesn't want to.
They still remain one of the best perimeter teams in the NBA with Rip
and Chauncey holding down the back court as well. I like their
chances of being in the Eastern Conference finals this year.

3. Chicago Bulls - They had a big offseason in getting Tyrus Thomas,
an animal with hops and defensive ability but little offensive game,
and Big Ben. Ben is slipping a bit, but he fits in with the team
oriented hard-nosed brand of basketball that these Bulls play. There
are no outsized egos. Kirck Hinrich is as unselfish as they come at
the point and he can score when needed and proved against the Miami
Heat that he's one of the leagues best perimeter defenders (the only
person to even remotely contain Wade). Now, add to all this that the
Bulls also own the Knicks pick this year, which will likely be a
lottery pick and you can see why the future is bright in Chi-town for
years. I still think they're a little too unseasoned to make a
serious run at the Finals as some have predicted, but that will depend
on how stellar Ben still is and what Thomas can give them.

4. Cleveland Cavaliers - The King James era is now in full effect.
James willed his team to a nice defeat of the Wizards and nearly of
the Pistons, giving them all they could handle. Still this team is
quite a bit flawed as James doens't have a lot of help on the
perimeter. They're still lacking the elusive floor spacing shooter
(The Butler isn't it) and the low post game could use some work. Big
Z clogs the lane and doesn't bring enough post D. Sideshow Bob brings
great energy and proved in the playoffs that he's not affraid to step
up. But really, this is not a team that's ready to compete with the
big dogs. But look for James to have another great season and maybe
even an MVP season if Cleveland wins 50+ games and he can reprise his
incredible 30-6-6 season, or dare I say, improve on it.

5. New Jersey Nets - I think New Jersey had a great offseason. They
got lucky in the draft with Marcus Williams falling to them at 21.
Now they have a respectible back up to Jason Kidd who can likely
handle a Princeton-type offense. Kidd should be able to save
something for the playoffs. Richard Jefferson should be healthier.
And of course, the biggest thing is that this is a contract year for
Vince Carter. Look for him to have monster production and do a lot of
stupid fake motorcycle revving.

6. Indiana Pacers- Okay. This probably shouldn't happen. This team
is a mess. Stephen Jackson is blazing guns at strip joints not long
after taking part in the NBA melee at the Palace. But they brought Al
Harrington back into the fold to play a complimentary role to J.
O'Neal. I like that front court combo a lot. Carlisle remains a
great coach so I see them getting to the playoffs and then not making
much noise there.

7. Washington Wizards - Gilbert Arenas is the craziest player in the
league. He's very talented, but his team will never be great because
he dominates the ball. He single-handedly shuts down the beautiful
Princeton-style offense because he's not talented enough to run it.
And it's a shame because they have the kind of wing players you need
to run it. Antwan Jamison and Caron Butler can both shoot it, score
down low, and move without the ball. They can also handle the rock a
bit too, so there's no excuse for this team to not be running a motion
offense. But hey, Gilbert's got to get his and continue to prove that
everybody underrates him, from the NBA, to team USA. The problem is,
we all know exactly what he is.

8. Milwaukee - Michael Redd proved more than worthy of his contract.
Andrew Bogut showed that he's going to be a commodity in this league
and because he can run the floor, the Bucks should be able to continue
their transformation into an uptempo team. There's a lot to like
about this team. So get some fried cheese, a $1 PBR, and tuck in
Milwaukee. This is the team to follow until the Packers can resurrect

Welcome to the Lottery (order not important)

Boston Celtics - Let's see. They brought in a point guard with an ego
and posse bigger than most in the NBA. Oh, he likes guns too. Did I
mention he may be implicated in ordering a shooting? And hey,
remember Tony Allen? He's implicated in a shooting too. What are
the other problems with this team? Well the biggest one is that they
have one legitimate NBA starter (any guesses who that is?). The
problem is that everybody else is either over the hill (Wally World,
Theo Ratliff) or entirely promise with no chance of becoming much
better (West, Jefferson, Green, Rondo, Telfair, Allen, Powe, Dickau).
Danny has built a great team for March Madness, but the problem is
that this is the NBA. Paul will continue to put up MVP type numbers,
work hard, fight off nagging injuries, and the result will still be
the same. Welcome to the lottery. Oh did I mention that the Celtics
raised ticket prices for a non-playoff team and have committed the
ultimate sin of getting a dance squad. Needless to say you won't find
me at any Celtics games anytime soon. Larry Bird is rolling over in
his grave.

Atlanta Hawks - What's that? Marvin Williams totally sucks? You mean
a guy who couldn't get off the bench in college shouldn't have been
the overall number one pick? Oh, he's got a broken hand right now?
Chris Paul is a future halll of famer? Nice job Atlanta. At least
Josh Smith is turning into a Kirelenko of the East. Joe Johnson
worked out okay, but he didn't translate into more wins. This team is
a total mess. Oh, they also drafted too much nerve tonic Griffey (aka
Shelden Willams), and he looks like a total bust. What a total mess.
Well, maybe they can land Ogden in the next draft.

New York Knicks - This should end Isiah Thomas' run as doing anything
in the NBA. He ruined the CBA, he ruined some pretty good Indiana
teams with some horrible coaching, and he help drive the Knicks into
what will be at least another ten years of nothingness. The biggest
NBA market will have no team for ten years. That hurts. Oh yeah,
Thomas shipped multiple lottery picks to the Bulls for Curry, who has
heart problems, and immeadiately rediscovered the buffet line after
getting his big money contract. Great.

Orlando Magic - Grant is the past. Dwight Howard is the current and
future. He is a total monster on the boards and keeps getting more
tricks in his offensive bag of tricks. Jameer Nelson proved to be a
great improvement over Francis. The only thing I question is using a
lottery pick on JJ Redick. They could have picked him up three years
from now for bargain basement prices. Well, unless DAnny Ainge is
still a GM. He would have given Reddick a 10 year max money contract
for being white.

Charlotte Bobcats - I wanted to put them in the playoffs, but it's not
time yet. They are testing my firmly held belief that drafting
college blue chippers and proven Madness commoditites is the way to
go. They've got 4 NCAA champs on the roster and added to that Adam
Morrison. This reminds me of the route the Bulls started taking a few
years ago. If they get a good coach, I think they're going to be in a
very good place soon. Plus, Gerald Wallace averaged 2+ spg and 2+ bpg
last year. That's simply amazing from your two guard. But they're
still too young, and Morrison is going to take a year or two to adjust
to the NBA, much like Dirk did.

Toronto Raptors - The good: Chris Bosh is a great power forward and
is young. He wants to be in Toronto. TJ ford could be Nash-lite.
Brian Collangelo has a proven track record as an NBA GM. The bad:
Well, Ford hasn't really lasted a whole season yet, and after Bosh,
the pickings are little bit thin as far as talent goes. Sam Mitchell
doesn't seem to be a totally stable coach. And that Italian player
they drafted is a ways off. But there's hope on the horizon.

Philadelphia 76ers - They couldn't unload Iverson this offseason.
Their attempt to make one more good run at it with Webber and Iverson
backfired miserably. Their stuck with surly and overpaid players and
aren't going to do anything this year. I think it will be a miracle
if they make the playoffs. I've also got the over/under at 3 bust for
pot this year for C.Webb. But his posse will take the blame. God,
it's great to be in the NBA.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

2006-2007: Western Conference Preivew

The East took the title again for the the second time in three years.
While overall it's not the stronger conference, it does have some of
the stronger teams. That has to do with a few things. One. The Big
Aristotle came home to the East where he belongs. That helps. Two.
D Wade apparently went down to the crossroads and sold his soul to get
every call in the NBA finals. Worked for Robert Johnson and Eric
Clapton, so I guess I'm okay with it. Thirdly, Eastern teams have
been drafting okay because of high slots. But don't get me started on
Danny Ainge. Anyway, on with the Western Conference Preview.

1. San Antonio - My old rule was that as long as Shaq is breathing,
his team is the number one threat for the title. My new rule is that
as long as Timmy, Now! is anchoring the 4 spot, his team is a
legitimate threat for the title every year. His game is so sound and
so unselfish. It's a joy to watch and a reason that everybody who
hates on the NBA should just shut up. Even Larry Bird admitted to
hating bank shots. Tim Duncan lives by the bank shot. That's the
most purist move in the game. Plus he boxes out, hustles on defense,
and rubs guys head. Big. Manu should be healthier, Le Petit Point
gets better every year (though you can knock him around to intimidate
him), and Pop finds a way to work in veterans and Euro picks. Last
year almost worked wiht the Finley experiment (it was close versuses
Dallas) so I think this year shakes out okay.

2. Dallas. I think what dissappointed me most about these guys was
that Jason Terry dissappeared in the finals. He had been bigger than
Dirk. More than made up for an absent Nash. Come finals time though,
he looked a little scared. Dirk raised his game consistently, but the
referees and Cubans coxswain routine wore thin. Dalls choked and
combined with a seriously atrocious officating performance, they lost
the finals after going up 2-0. Almost unthinkable. So why aren't
they number one? Timmy is healthy. Last year his ankle was hurting.
Should be good this year. And Timmy is better than Dirk. That's how
it works.

3. Phoenix. How's your microfracture treating you Amare? Really?
You could Tomhawk on Megatron if needed? Okay. Even with Nash's back
spasms I'll give you the three spot. Thanks. [This prediction is null
and void if Amare cannot raise his game again. I heard Diaw got fat
off his contract this offseason, literally and figuratively. I will
concede that it may take Amare a while to come back so regular season
struggles may be present, but I think good things will happen in the
playoffs if Amare is right by then]

4. L.A. Lakers. The Zen Master worked his magic again and somehow
the surly and undertalented Lakers blew a big lead in their series
against Phoenix. I put that squarely on Kobe. But Phil's coaching
helped get them this far. And though he's only a rookie, I like the
addition of Famar. Odom should be more familiar with the triangle,
and perhaps they can get some Jordan-Pippen style action going with
Lamar initiating much of the triangle. Also too, maybe Kwame is
getting better.

5. Houston Rockets - Welcome to clutch city Bonzi. No player had a
bigger playoffs than Bonzi, as he decided to wake up and earn a new
contract with a few weeks of work. It didn't pay off. Too many teams
have been burned by Bonzi at this point. Sacto let him go and Houston
got him for $2.1 million with a player option for next year. This
means Bonzi has one year to earn himself basically his last big fat
contract. He's going to play, and he's going to play hard all year.
I like that for Houston. They have a potent trio of players, and if
they stay healthy, they should be in the mix for some good things this

6. Utah Jazz - These guys have been fooling me for a while. But I
love the all around game of AK47. Deron Williams started to step up
at the PG position towards the end of last year too. And Deron spent
the offseason working out with John Stockon and learning from him.
That's a great sign about the young fella, he's willing to work and
learn, and learning from maybe the greatest pure point of all time is
a nice opportunity. And Boozer, well, maybe he's ready to start
playing up to that contract that at one point he earned. And finally,
I find it hard to believe that a Jerry Sloan coached team could miss
the playoffs again. I won't accept it.

7. Los Angeles Clippers - This was a very nice offseason for the
Clippers. They brought in Tim Thomas. They didn't ship out Corey
Maggette (yet). They weren't in the lottery for the first time since,
umm, I don't remember. Why am I not putting this team higher then?
They did go to the conference semi-finals after all. I think that stems
from the fact that they have two extremely fragile point guards. Sam
Cassell is a leader par excellence and an outstanding point guard.
Wherever he goes, winning happens. But he's getting up there in years
and it seems unlikely he'll be able to hold together for the whole
year. So I think the playoffs will happen, but the Clips will need to
rest Sam for a significant stretch during the regular season. And who
backs him up? Well that crazy kid that everyone keeps comparing to
Magic Johnson, Shaun Livingston. Let's forget for a minute that this
kid has thrown 12 sick passes in his lifetime to garner this mention.
He has yet to play an NBA season. And he's not even the sole point
guard. He's lithe and that means injury. I seriously doubt his
toughness as well. So without a reliable point, I think the Clips
will struggle during the regular season. Come playoff time, things
may be different.

8. Sacramento - Okay, so their new coach just got a DUI. Will there
be extreme moral outrage over the DUI of a middle-aged white guy?
Just wondering how WEEI will treat that one. Maybe it hits a little
too close to the bone. So here's the thing about this team. The
coach is an unproven commodity, but the talent is here to be a very
good team. Bibby, Honky, Artest, Abdur-Rahim, and most importantly
Vitaly Potapenko. The thing is, the Kings contending days are well in
the rear view mirror. They'll be competitive and give good show, but
they're not causing major damage in the playoffs. Just scaring a team
or two. Especially with Artest on the floor.


Sub playoff teams -

NO/Okc Hornets - Chris Paul led this resurgent team. He's a brilliant
young point guard, and worth seeing play. They brought in Peja to
shore up the offensive attack, but Byron Scott likes defense, and I
don't see Peja playing much of that. Plus, when clutch time arrives,
Peja can be found clutching his man-purse. Not much worth saying
after that.

Memphis Grizzlies - I'm not totally sure what the logo was up to this
offseason. He brought in Stoudemire (a bad test away from a
suspension), he brought back Stromile Swift in the process of getting
rid of the franchises blue collar guy, Shane Battier. I like the
drafting of Rudy Gay who is supremely talented, but his attitude and
will to win have to be questioned. These guys always make the first
round and get wiped out. Gasol is the new Garnett in that respect.

Minnesota T'wolves - The Big Ticket wasn't shipped out of town, and
I'm not sure why. He's a great player, but he's got a lackluster
supporting cast. I think Randy Foye was a nice draft pick, but he's
not really going to contribute a whole lot. Mike James is an erratic
point guard. IF you like score first PGs with a propensity for TOs,
well he's your man. There's a reason James hasn't stuck with a team
in this league yet. And he doesn't exactly boost your winning like
Sammy Cassell does. So it's another season of frustration for Garnett
and another season of speculating when he'll get traded and when
McHale will finally be shown the door on his horrible GM career.

Portland - I'm not sure what's going on here. They've drafted some
character guys, but have Randolph and Darius Miles locked up, so what
does it matter? The team is a wreck, and some of their draft picks
aren't panning out. This is going to get ugly before it gets any

Seattle - Hey, do you want a 7' prospect? How about the last few
Seattle drafts: Johan Petro, Robert Swift, Mouhamed Sene. I think I
could do a better job. And now one of the more rabid sports markets
in the country is going to lose the team to an OKC conglomurate
because the Starbucks owner is a big pussy, expecting the citizens of
Seattle to pay for his desired new stadium. Wisely, they passed up
the chance to give millions to a billionaire.

Golden State - New coach. New players. Old players. Whatever.
They're going to suck. They always suck. Can Nellie re-instate
RunTMC? Is it too late?

Denver Nuggets - I really like George Karl. I really like Carmello
Anthony. But something seems foul in the Rockies. Karl is already
wearing out his welcome and some of the players on this team just
don't seem to gel all that well. I think they might be the 8th
playoff team if Melo has a great season, but I'm not expecting a lot
out of this bunch because the whole team just doesn't strike me as
that great. Boykins, Andre Miller, Mr. Glass, Nene ($60 million,
enjoy that Denver), a fat Veshon Lenard. Whatever, not really buying

Friday, October 13, 2006

Danny Ainge loves him some white boys

Welcome to the club Luke. Grab some pine down there by Veal, Raef,
and Wally World. How long before Danny trades Rondo and Tony Allen
for Swift and Nick Collison? Not long I'd say.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Doc Rivers one of Big Ben's Favorite Coaches

Well, we know the players certainly love Doc, but here's the quote
from an piece:

Wallace mentioned Jim Lynam, Doc Rivers, Rick Carlisle and Larry Brown
as the favorite coaches he has played for, going on to say Skiles
reminds him of Brown because he does not play favorites and sees
himself as a teacher at both ends of the floor.

The gist of the piece is that Ben Wallace does not like Flip Saunders
one bit. Hard to see how a coach could piss off a guy whose entire
game is based on hustle and heart, but he did it. I've always viewed
Flip as a decent coach (and the Pistons hot start last year certainly
boosted that opinion) and his many playoff failures in Minnesota as
being a product of not having enough talent beside KG (Kevin McHale's
fault naturally), but to hear Big Ben complain about Flip certainly
changes my opinion a little bit. Hard to say what went wrong between
these guys and maybe more will come out as camps and preaseason
begins, but how does Joe Dumars go with Flip given what Wallace has
said and the fact that he left the team? Maybe Flip and Joe save a
little face because Wallace left for more money in Chicago, but I
suspect that Flip has to be on the hot seat from the moment the first
ball is tipped.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Who wants Baklava

Great, now we're losing to totally gay European guys who do ring around the rosey after the game. Charles Barkley is rolling over in his grave.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Running of Da Bulls: Offseason Edition

The Bullls are clearly the biggest movers and shakers of this early
offseason. They grabbed arguably the best player in the NBA draft
(using the Knicks pick no less, thank you Isiah) in Tyrus Thomas and
then secured another young athletic swingman in Thabo Sefolosha in a
trade with Philadelphia. Supposedly this draft went exactly as John
Paxson wanted it to, which is always a good indication. However,
Thomas was a freshman, and not necessairily the leader of the breakout
LSU team he was on, that was Big Baby. So Thomas isn't quite like
Carmelo Anthony was, a sure shot can't miss draft pick.

Then came the somewhat shocking move of Ben Wallace coming over to the
Bulls from Detroit as a free agent. Wallace was kind of the archetype
of what those Detroit teams were about. All grit, hard work, and
defense. I guess the money was the big thing, and Wallace seemed to
have some issues with Flip last summer. I'm sure the Pistons felt
that $15 million a year is a little too much for a banger who is
turning 32 this offseason. Basically this move equates to trading
away a young and injury prone defensively minded center for an older
and dependable defensive minded center. And this is what is a little
confusing about the move. Chandler is a huge shot blocker and
rebounder when he's on the floor (granted, not as much as he should
be) due to his length and athleticism. Chandler had no offensive game
to speak of, but neither does Ben Wallace. What the Bulls have lacked
is a low post scoring threat akin to Curry. As horrible as Curry was
defensively, he knew how to handle himself in the half court on the
offensive end. Curry was adept at rolling to the hoop and his great
hands combined with his ability to finish strong and with other
offensive moves made him a great pick and roll partner for Heinrich to
work off of. Perhaps Thomas can fill this roll, but Ben Wallace
certainly cannot.

The next rumored move (rumored only because it cannot become official
until after July 12th) is a trade of Chandler for P.J. Brown and J.R.
Smith. Brown I can understand because he brings another veteran
presence to a team of young players, and is somebody who can help
mentor Tyrus Thomas. Additionally, his salary comes off the books at
the end of the year. J.R. Smith is more puzzling because he does not
seem to be a mentally strong player. If he couldn't handle playing
for Byron Scott, it's very unlikely he'll see the light of day under
Scott Skiles. So perhaps they'll move him in another trade.

And that is the latest rumor. Supposedly the Bulls are working to
acquire Chris Wilcox from Seattle. Wilcox is a restricted free agent,
so the Bulls can tender him an offer but Seattle can then match it and
keep him. From all appearances Seattle wants to keep Wilcox, but is
balking at his asking price of 6 years and $60 million dollars. And
the Sonics are right to balk at that. I think Wilcox is a very good
player who can still get better (I was very high on him coming out of
Maryland a few years ago, and had hoped that the Bulls or Celts would
get him back then), but that kind of money would be too much for a
player has shown decent play for only one year. I'm not totally
conviced they need Wilcox though. With Nocionni, Thomas, Brown,
Wallace, and at least Allen (perhaps Songalia and Harrington as well)
the frontcourt is awfully crowded to start with. I'm not totally
sure how Wilcox would fit into that mix. He's a great rebounder and
has decent offensive talent, but if the Bullls are committed to
playing the young Thomas, then Wilcox would seem to be uneeded.

The Bulls offseason has certainly kicked off in an exciting fashion.
I'm not totally convinced this is going to yield big dividends in the
in column though. The Bulls lead the league in field goal % allowed
last year, and it netted them a 41-41 record. They certainly gave
Miami their biggest test in the eastern conference playoffs, but what
was glaringly missing from their game at times was offense. None of
the offseason moves so far seem to address that particular weakness.
The Bulls will certainly be one of the better, if not the best,
defensive teams in the league again. And Wallace should be enough of
an imporvement in the middle to lead the Bulls to around 50 wins. But
what after that? I think a lot of teams feel that the NBA title is up
for grabs, so some aggresive moves are all that may be required to get
a title here and now. And seeing Miami win a title this year with the
likes of Antoine Walker et al. certainly gives credence to that line
of thinking. But without a Dwayne Wade or a Shaq, that road is
awfully tough. And the way the game is called now, you need guys who
can really press the defense at the offensive end. That's not
exactly the way the Bulls are built right now. At the very least
though, the Bulls have to be considered legitimate threats to
challenge for a title.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Celtics Draft Scenarios: 2006

So what were the 2005-2006 Boston Celtics? A weird collection of
talent that came and went on the trade conveyer belt. Some of the
young players started to live up to their promise (Perk and West come
to mind) and some didn't (Big Al). Ricky Davis was sent packing along
with Blount (yipee!) which brought us Wally World. Wally proved
likeable, but not much else in my opinion. The trade was all about
getting rid of Blount and making frontline room for Perk and Big Al.
Room that Ryan Gomes clawed his way into, which was great. Pierce
delivered a stellar all around performance, again leading the team in
almost every statistical category. The Celtics then sport a lineup
with one superstar, a fading high quality player, and lots of up and
comers? What will the Celtics do on draft night? Nobody knows. But
I'm going to think about the players that I wouldn't mind seeing the
Celtics draft, assuming there is no trade in the works for Jermaine
O'Neal or Kevin Garnett (or the preposterous Iverson rumor). Last
year I did this and the player I really wanted the Celtics to get,
Hakim Warick, was available. The C's took a pass and got old 4 finger
Green. The Logo took Warick. This year there aren't as many obvious
prospects to me and the draft order seems highly to change. But this
is who I would love to see fall to the Celtics at #7:

1. Marcus Williams - This guy is the best pure point guard available.
And while Connecticutt proved to be a bunch of too-cool-for-school
slackers in the tournament, Williams was busy raising his game. They
wouldn't have made it to the elite eight without Williams all around
game of penetration, scoring, and dishing. This guy could easily hold
down the position for years. Rondo is the other player I hear bandied
about, but he's a scorer that people would try to make into a PG. And
that always works. Williams I think is the best player in this draft,
and could very well fall to the C's at #7.

2. Kyle Lowry - Again, another point guard. He may be a bit of a
reach at #7 because he's a little smaller and doesn't score all that
great, but he is a very good playmaker. He's less attractive because
when paired with Delonte it would make for a very small backcourt.
But still, I think the C's need a point guard as Delonte isn't it,
Dickau most definitely isn't it, and Orien? Well, you get the

3. Tyrus Thomas - He's going higer than this, but what kills me about
this is that Hakim Warick was this guy last year, but with more
polish. A freak athlete with long arms, he could become a Shawn
Marion type player, and we could all use a guy like that.

4. Pittsnogle - Don't laugh. He's a center with deep shooting range
who is not afraid to get on the boards. Some of his biggest plays
have come in the clutch during the tourney, something that has to be
respected. With Raef getting older we could use another center to
pair with Perk. Snoggle woudl give the C's a different look as he's
more offensive than defense minded. Plus he has some totally boss
tatoos. I will not accept it if Ainge has Snoggle Available in either
late first round or the second round and doesn't pull the trigger.

5. Adam Morrison - Sure he cried when UCLA turned the tables on them
in the tourney before the game was over. Sure he's got Diabetes and
wears an insulin pump. But he has a nice offensive game. He can move
without the ball and get his shot do to his size and craftiness. He's
no Larry bird, but he does rock a sweet mustache. But I severly doubt
he'll fall to the Celtics at #7. Larry Bird is eyeing Morrison, and I
think this is a good sign.

6. Ruddy Gay - There's definitely a chance he'll be here. Gay would
be a future pick becuase right now the backcourt is too crowded for
him to contribute. The biggest problem though is that he looks
disinterested on the court a lot during college. Connecticutt should
have won the tourney this year, and Gay should have been their king.
But he settled for jumpers and slacked on defense. The upside on Gay
is huge, but the downside is a sulker who doesn't work. Would the C's
be the right environment to get more out of him? Maybe so with the
scrappers they have on this team currently. And of course, if Wally
gets injured (we won't even consider Pierce getting hurt. It just
doesn't happen) Gay could step up in the second scorer mold and
provide decent minutes at the 3, where the Celtics have nobody.

7. David Noel - a second round pick on him would be great. He was
the team leader of a UNC team that greatly over achieved last year
considering the number of rooks they had on board. He would look
great at the three spot as a solid defender and a player to fill lanes
and get hustle points off the offensive glass. He could be a real
asset and a player whom I think shows signs of getting better as he
goes along. I'm thinking of him as a Josh Howard type player. He may
surprise the right team that gets him.

8. Mike Gansey - Another WVU Mountaineer who is tough as nails and a
great shooter. He more than anyone reminds me of DAnny Ainge. And I
think he's better than Danny Ainge ever was, without being as much of
a pest. He could easily play the two or the three. Another player he
is reminicent of is Jeff Hornaceck, and maybe a slightly bigger
Michael Redd. The kidd can stroke it and shows no fear when the game
is on the line. I think that's a pretty good quality. Plus he's
white, which would make Danny happy.

That's just a minor shopping list. There aren't a lot of stand out
players in this draft, but I felt that way about last years draft a
little bit too. Hopefully Danny will do right. He has a decent track
record with the draft. It's the other half of the GM position that
could use some polish.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Keep Michael out of the front office

So if we know anything about MJ, it's that he doesn't necessairly have
the best eye, or the patience for talent development. He drafted
Kwame Brown. He traded Richard Hamilton. He got fired from the
Washington Wizards, thank you very much.

Now that His Airness is once again part and parcel of an NBA team,
joining up with the Charlotte Bobcats, we have to wonder what his
influence on the draft and the management of the team will be. The
rumor is that he's all about Brandon Roy. I think Roy is a good
player too. But the MJ endorsement is sometimes the kiss of death.

For instance, he has tabbed such notables as Darius Miles and Quentin
Richardson for his Jordan Brand (Nike) apparel line. I'm just not
sure I would trust MJ with important decisions like these, that's all.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Avery Johnson's Cherry

Here's the things that puzzled me a little about Avery's calls down the stretch:

1. Hack-a-Shaq used once. Shaq 1-2 (with a lane violation, so actually 1-3). Then dissappeared after and let Wade hit shots.

2. No defense thought up for the Wade iso at the top of the key. I realize Wade is a good player, but you've got to force him to give up the ball. The play where he went behind the back and Payton hit the three was awfully casual, and I think the Heat were fortunate. More of that should have been done. I would much rather have Walker or Payton with the ball in their hands than Wade. But that's just me. Maybe bring Haslem's man up. Leave the center in the pivot and just hack if either Shaq or Haslem get it. Neither are good foul shooters.

3. The last play was a little too conservative. But I can blame Terry too. Should have given the ball back to Howard, and I'm sure that was talked about in the huddle.

4. The timeout.

Now what did Dallas need to do better?

1. Nowitzki missed the second free throw. Second time in the finals he's missed cluctch.

2. Umm. Keep finding Howard on screens. The iso on terry was good for a while, and bought a dunk for Dampier at the end that could have won the game.

3. Pay the referees more than Miami does. Wade got to the line a little bit too much. Every ticky-tack on Wade was called. Not many ticky's were c alled on the other end.

What was good?

1. Avery's last play to get Dampier a dunk was sweet.

2. Wade was totally sweet, despite getting a very favorable deal from the refs. It was so beneficial it was amazing when the Refs didn't blow a whistle in his benefit.

3. Payton hitting clutch shots? This is unreal. A big three in regulation. A big lay-in in OT (high, high off the glass).

4. Diggler's HUGE shot in OT over Shaq after Terry and Howard look scared. I'd say he's looking for freedom.

5. The refs not letting the Miami shot clock operators get away with any funny business this game.

6. Wade hitting his free throws, even if undeserved.

What was sour?

1. Howard blowing two free throws in OT. Ouch. Hadn't missed all game. Kid's not quite ready.

2. Refs. Not sure what the FT tally is, but I think it's at least 2-1. Granted there were a few hack-a-Shaq's, but those were a minor component.

3. Players trying to twist Dirk's ankles on FT attempts. It's subtle. But it's still dirty. Posey in particular is a champion of this. Bruce Bowen may have pioneered the move (and is a major reason why he has drawn the ire of several premier swing players in the league).

4. Showing Shaqs wife. She's not even that hot anymore. It's south beach ABC. If you must point the cameras at the crowd, more bimbo action.

5. Wade bailed out with 1.9 left, after putting on a sweet dribbling show.

6. DAllas for not clobbering wade if they're going to get a foul called.

7. Avery Johnson signalling like an idiot to call a timeout and then getting angry when Howard did. This is strictly Avery's fault. He was arguing for two timeouts after he called it. I don't think so. I can't emphasize how dumb this was by Avery. He was jumping around like a chicken with his head cut off asking for a timeout and not knowing he had one timeout, not two.

8. And in closing, Mark Cuban wearing a Suckhouse jersey. Nice job kid billionare.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The artist formerly known as Shaq

This is the look Shaq saw most of the night. Two seven footers preventing him from even thinking about offense, and chumps like Antoine Walker standing out beyond the three point arc waiting to brick a three, or turn it over on a drive. This lead to Shaqs lowest output in the finals of his career of only 5 points. The new story of this is going to be, "yeesh, when did Shaq get old on us?". He put up some solid performances before this, including the throw back 26-16 in the Detroit series. He also protected the paint a lot better in the Eastern playoffs. But now he's got to deal with more height and more quickness and the creakiness is showing badly. He can't do anything about Dirk when he drives to the tin, and Mavericks have multiple players who can all finish around the basket better than most players the Heat faced in the East. In addition, O'Neal is shooting free throws worse than at any time in his career. And when he was frustrated by the Dallas defense last night, it was sad to watch him forcing up shots with no hope of going in.

The standard comeback rules apply here. After a blowout the humiliated team usually comes back strong. But this Dallas team is more talented, and troubling for Miami, has the confidence and the know-how to get the job done. Miami needs to win the next three games at home to have any hope in this series, and I just don't see that happening. Especially with Udonis Haslem getting injured.

So with this series we will bid Shaq adieu. He'll play for a few more years to be sure. And the Heat will go deep into the playoffs with Wade carrying much of the load. But the days of Diesel dominance are definitely over.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Cleveland's chutzpah

I am impressed that Cleveland was able to hang in there with the Pistons tonight. Rasheed made the full out ass whooping guarantee and it kind of blew up in his face. A nice victory, but LBJ needs to hit some free throws. He also missed a lot of shots. This was more about decent team defense on Cleveland's part and bad offense on the Pistons part.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The First Round?

Humping over a first round victory is just not cool. LeBron has so much to learn about winning.

Friday, April 21, 2006

The Least, with one Beast: The Eastern Conference Playoffs 2006

I thought the East was going to improve substantially this year. I pegged Milwaukee as a better than .500 team because it seemed that with TJ Ford back, Bogut and Magloire added to the front line, and Bobby Simmons brought in as a jack of all trades to replace the Master of the dunk, Dr. Desmond, they had the makings of a good team. Plus I thought for a little while Artest was going to fly straight and help make Indy into the contender everyone keeps predicting before the season. And I thought Larry Brown might make something positive happen in New York. Wrong, wrong, wrong. That's neither here nor there, and at least I predicted that every Central Division team would be in the playoffs. I just didn't see them being this bad.

Round 1:

Detroit vs. Milwaukee - Good experience for Milwaukee, but really a waste of Detroits time. The only way any of these games are even close is if Detroit plays flat and not full out. I think Ben Wallace was making sure that didn't happen when he sat out of a game a few weeks ago. Detroit 4-0.

Cleveland vs. Washington - I think the Wiz made due nicely considering they lost Larry Hughes. They replaced him well with Caron Butler. Arenas and Jamison continue to score but a strong post presence is missing from this team, both defensively and offensively. And for my money Arenas is just too selfish with the ball to get his team very far. On the flip side, Lebron is coming into his own rapidly. And the addition of Flip Murray has been a good one. He's not afraid to take tough shots, and he's hitting them. Something that wasn't happening before. But Cleveland lacks a perimeter defender who can handle arenas, and that's a problem. And granted, Cleveland has no playoff experience, but then Washington barely has any. I think Cleveland takes this in a sloppy and not entertaining series (I expect to see lots of iso and missed shots, not 100+point games). Cavs, 4-1.

New Jersey vs. Indianna - The Nets have quitely become one of the better teams in the East. And it's all because of Jason Kidd. Sure, Vince has decided to play for pay again, but it's because he's in the mix with a great playmaker and totally unselfish superstar who takes the heat and doesn't get a ton of the limelight or credit. Now Vince gets to pose and preen after acrobatic dunks that are superbly set up by Kidd. Jefferson is back strong after his injury too. And Kristic is proving to be a passable center, with Collins providing adequate relief. Indiana has been a mess all year. Artest. Then O'Neal's injury. And the foreign guard they signed Jaskuaoulkj;lkj, hasn't exactly panned out. Peja has played well since coming over, but we all know how he responds in the playoffs. I don't feel like Indy has the confidence to get it done, and New Jersey is just playing so well right now. Nets, 4-0.

Miami vs. Chicago - Chi-town limped into the playoffs with a sub .500 record and Philly sinking like a lead balloon. The loss of Eddy Curry proved to be very large for this team. Granted, he wasn't the main man, but he provided interior scoring that is completely absent now. And they also lost Antonio Davis. Sure he was aging, but he set a solid example on the court and played hard nosed basketball that Skiles loves. Now the Bulls have Chandler and Luke Schenshur (rookie out of wake) for a front line. The Diesel is going to pick his teeth with these two. And Wade is just going to be too much. This series could be a good tune up for Miami and boost their confidence for the showdown with New Jersey. Heat 4-0.

Round 2 -

Cleveland vs. Detroit - You know what Cleveland can't do? They cannot beat Detroit. The Pistons are a team, the Cavs are a sembelance of a team. The Pistons rotate and switch on defense better than any other team and force you into sets and shots you don't want to take. The Cavs have had difficulty running offense against teams that aren't that talented defensively. This is where Lebron learns a hard lesson about winning in the NBA. Pistons 4-0.

New Jersey vs. Miami - This has all the makings of a great series. We know Shaq can absolutely kill Jersey inside. The question is, will Miami get him the ball, and will he tire of taking all the shots? It's hard to say if Jefferson or Vince can stay with Wade. Vince is definitely not known for defense, but RJ has some skill and maybe his size could bother wade a little bit. But what I like about New Jersey is their break. Shaq is slow, and some of the other guys on the team like Antoine, Jason Williams, and James Posey don't transition well. This is where New Jersey is going to have to get their scores. But unlike those other Jersey teams that made the finals, this team can do somethings in the half court. Vince and Jefferson can create, and they won't have Martin clanging shots off the back of the iron anymore. And Kidd always seems to find a way to score when it counts. That said, Shaq and Wade are the two best players in this series. Riles is the best coach. I like Miami's chances here. Heat 4-2.

Conference Finals -

Miami vs. Detroit - This is what we've been expecting since last year. The Heat were minutes away from beating Detroit at home in game 7, but Wade's bruised ribs and Shaqs injuries were just too much. Shaq is leaner this year which bodes well for him staying healthy for this series. And Wade is healthy too, but he's so gung-ho when he plays, he's a risk to get injured on a constant basis. While many people have criticized Reilly for breaking up last years team, I think people overlook that an important core is still intact. Wade, Shaq, and Haslem form a nice nucleus. And Jason Williams is an upgrade over Damon Jones at the point, plus Jones routine was getting old fast. I'm not sure Antoine has worked out well for them, and everytime I see them, he can't even hit a three pointer when he's wide open. He must be shooting around 20% from three. But that core is still there. The big question is Alonzo Mourning. When Shaq was out, he was a beast. Blocking around 5 shots a game, ripping rebounds, and all that. If they get that Mourning, I think Miami can prevail. But that's a big if. This Detroit team plays freerer on the offensive end, and I think that's made them better. Not many defending conference champs come out and improve their W-L record substantially. Larry was suffocating these guys a little bit, and distracting them too. With that gone, Detroit seems focused on the prize. Detroit 4-3 (in what should be a great series. Close games, tight finishes).

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Playoffs 2006: Western Conference

The West has shown once again that it is the superior conference. I thought the East took a step up last year and was poised to do so again this year, but it was not so. Look at how many sub .500 teams are in the Eastern conference playoffs vs. in the West. That said, the best team is probably in the East, and the West may be up for grabs in a big way.

Round 1:

San Antonio vs. Sacto - Sacramento is back in and the addition of Artest has proven to be very big for them. I would have automatically put the Spurs over these guys easy, but Tim Duncan has been hurt all year. He's proven himself a warrior though. Lesser men would have taken a month or two off to heal, but Timmy just put his head down and balled tough. And while his offense was a bit off, his defense has been tight and he's just finding ways to win even when hurt, the mark of a truly great player. His team has home advantage throughout. In the end nobody matches up very good with Timmy and I think Bruce Bowen can quickly throw Artest off his game. And I'm not sure Artest is quick enough to neurtalize Ginobli. All signs point to a Spurs Victory here. I'm thinking 4-1 Spurs. And who knows maybe

Dallas vs. Memphis - An injustice that the Mavs are a four seed here. Pau Gasol has been stepping up this year in a big way, and the Logo did good by brining in seasoned vets like Eddy Jones, Bobby Jackson, and yes Damon Stoudemire. Mike Miller coming off the bench has been a nice addition too. On the Dallas side, Dirk is once again Dirk. And his running mates have gotten better. Josh Howard has raised his game, Diop is playing good minutes at center, and Terry is more than making up for the dissapearance of Van Exel's big shots down the stretch. I think in the end it's going to come down to the coaching. And I just don't trust the Czar. Dallas 4-2.

Clippers vs. Denver - It's a friggin' miracle. The Clips are back in the playoffs. So how come Dunleavy isn't getting any praise? Well because mostly it can be attributed to Sam Cassell. He's a winner everywhere he goes. Granted, he eventually is too tough to put up with, but the guy can ball and he hits back breaker shots. Elton Brand is a load on the block and Mobley provides ample offense in a hurry. Magette is a good slasher, but has been hobbled by injury. For Denver Melo is playing the best ball of his young career. He's lethal in crunch time now too. Right now, he's the absolute best at dagger shots (granted the record is short). Ruben Patterson brings good wing defense and Denver will need it considering that Maggette is such a good slasher. Kenyon Martin should be able to handle Brand pretty well. His offense is atrocious, but his D is still pretty firece. And of course, Mr. Glass is ready to put up a few 20 rebound 6 block efforts at Center. He should score a bit too seeing as he's facing the human spazz, Kaman. In the end, I think this is going to come down to two things. Coaching (advantage Denver) and playoff experience. Mobley and Cassell have it, but the young Clips have never been. I'm not sure they're ready for primetime yet. Denver 4-1.

Phoenix vs. La Lakers - The Lakers are becoming a hot pick to upset Phoenix in the first round. Kobe is unstoppable, clearly, and he's got the better coach, but Phoenix has a floor coach. And the horses to run all day on LA. If this were the old days of best of five I would give LA a chance. But best of seven is a long series for an undermanned and less talented squad. Phoenix, 4-1 (Well, unless Odom decides to play his heart out. Not a given).

Round 2.

San Antonio vs. Dallas - This could be the Western Conference finals. The best thing for Dallas is that Timmy is hurt leaving Dirk to run hog wild. Dallas has more players at every position and finally has some guys playing some defense too (credit to Avery for changing the mindset of this team). But this is the Spurs right? And even hurt, Timmy finds a way to get it done. Ginobli brings another level in the playoffs. And Pops is a great coach. Plus I see Robert Horry is still rocking a Spurs uniform. He's done nothing all year, meaning he's ready to tear opponents hearts out now. Plus, I don't think anybody on Dallas can contain Tony Parker. Spurs 4-2.

Denver vs. Phoenix - This is tougher for me to call. I think Phoenix lacks depth, but they have two bona fide All stars in Marion and Nash. And Diaw has emerged as a good foil to most big men. In the end they look like very similar teams. Except, I can't shake the feeling that without Amare, the playoffs are going to be a lot tougher for the Suns. Karl is going to have a scheme ready to contain Nash, and Patterson will be able to check Marion a little bit. I'm surprised I'm saying this, but I like Denver here. 4-3 in a hard fought series.

Round 3, conference finals - San Antonio vs. Denver. This isn't even close. San Antonio in a walk, 4-1. Denver needs more personel before they're ready to unseat the champs.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Why Most NBA Coaches are Wimps

Last night I took in most of the Celtics game versus the Washington Wizards. It was a pretty well played game with a lot to like from both sides. For the Celtics Ryan Gomes put up a monster first half and a game overall and continues to impress as a second round rookie. Wally World abused Washington's small lineup by continually posting up and scoring over Antonio Daniels, and Big Al looked great going against Jamison on the low block (until he began wincing after a dunk that is). For the Wizards they had to be pleased to see their new big three of Arenas, Jamison, and Butler clicking very well and to see Antonio Daniels attacking the rim. The game went to overtime where the two superstars Arenas and Pierce took over.

With under a minute remaining the Celtics drew up a nice play that had Oriene Green taking the inbounds pass while both Wally and Pierce came off screens from down on the block for what would be open jump shots. Pierce got wide open had a great look at a three which he shot perfectly. The Celtics now lead by one.

Washington attempts to inbound the ball at half-court and is clearly only going to Areanas. They can't get it in within five seconds and are forced to use their last timeout. Notable on the play is that Pierce jumped out and overplayed Arenas, denying him the ball, but the subsequent rotations left Jamison open by the hoop for what would be an open score. But clearly the play was only to go to Arenas. No other option on the play. Washington then puts the ball into Arenas' hands and he dribbles his way to a short jumper that he cashes to give the Wizards a one point lead with 14 seconds remaining. The Wizards fans go crazy and things seem good for their chances to win. Just play solid defense and they'll escape with another close win over the Celtics.

Doc Rivers decides during the timeout to just give the ball to his superstar, much like Washington did on their previous possesion. Pierce gets the ball at the top of the three point arc, holds it and then prepares to dribble his way to a last second shot. Washington wisely doubles Pierce and forces him to dribble furiously to get off his shot. Pierce finds a sliver of daylight and as he's fading back and listing to his left, he releases an incredibly difficult shot just before time expires. It hits nothing but net. The Cetlics win. Pierce begins the typical chest pounding and at Tony Allen's insistance pops his Jersey. Nevermind that these are two of the lesser teams in the Eastern Conference and that the Celtics aren't even in playoff contention. Everyone on the Boston side of things is happy. Rivers is out on the court beaming at his superstar and pumping his fist. Just like Doc planned it, right? (See the play here:

Not exactly. I don't think Doc imagined the shot Pierce took would be that difficult, but he should have. And Eddie Jordan probably should have envisioned that the Celtics would do everything they could to deny Arenas the ball on their last possesion. And this drives me crazy. Coaches tense up and draw in the reins in the closing seconds of close games. I think this gives them an automatic excuse if their team loses the game. For example, if Pierces shot misses Doc can say they got the ball into their best player and hoped that he could create by either drawing a double team or hitting a tough shot and what more can you ask for? The coach is blameless. On the play where Pierce took an open shot off a screen there's a lot that can go wrong. First your giving the ball to a rookie point guard. Second, what if Pierce doesn't get a proper screen? What if the passer gives Pierce a bad pass? That's a risky play in the NBA coaches world. He could take the fall for the loss if something goes wrong with the play. The same thing for Eddie Jordan. Had he drawn up other options besides Arenas in their last possession perhaps Jamison would have been spoted underneath for the much easier wide open shot. Eddie Jordan runs a fairly nice variant of the Princeton offense and to see his team reduced to standing and watching Arenas pound the ball at the end of games is shame. The same for the Celtics. Pierce is almost a perfect jump shooter when open. And after coming off a screen, the defender is at a disadvantage. He's running at Pierce and is susceptible to a quick up fake. Pierce can then either take the open shot, fake his man and drive towards the hoop for a closer shot, or fake drive and kick to another open defender after the defense overcompensates. Instead after a timeout you give the defense the advantage by just giving Pierce the ball. They can send their double, set things up and know how they're going to rotate. Only a tremendous play is going to beat them. And guys like Pierce can deliver those plays. Just not all the time.

Watch almost any NBA play and you'll see the same thing. Isolation play for the superstar at the end of the game. Only Detroit and San Antonio come to mind as teams that don't follow this strategy. And it's a shame. Excellent players are almost unstoppable when open. If only the coaches weren't afraid to take a little heat, the average NBA fan would be treated to exciting ends to games on a regular basis. Instead we're left with the false drama of isolation plays that don't often work.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Paul Pierce's Outstanding Season

It's been a while since I've posted anything here and a lot of that has to do with the fact that the Celtics really stink this year (the Bulls too). The NBA has been interesting overall for sure, but the local malaise is tough.

But I was thinking a lot about Paul Pierce lately because he's been having monster games, and mostly in losing efforts. The consensus at home and at large is that Pierce is having his best season as a pro, and I don't disagree. Which makes it all the more frustrating to see the Celtics lose inspite of those efforts. As an example, I went to the Phoenix game last week and naturally the Celtics were getting dusted handily by the Suns at the half. Pierce exploded for 20 points in the third quarter and single handedly got the C's back into the game. And it was just that. His enthusiasm and emotion were infectious on the court. The things you don't see on TV that you can see at a game make a difference. On one play when Delonte crashed to the hoop and drew a foul, Pierce was loving it and trying to psyche up the crowd. In the huddle during timeouts he was vocal and talking to the young guys (though Scalabrine was all over the white board. I guess that's where his basketball IQ comes through. Thanks Danny.). I was thoroughly impressed. And I was one who was advocating for trading Pierce this offseason to truly get the team going young. But now I'm glad they didn't trade him.

And this all got me to thinking about my favorite Celtics players. The legends were all a little before my time. They were great, but I only watched the tale end of the dynasty. Only saw Bird gritting through back injuries and producing minor heroics and still lighting up the Garden. My real first favorite player with the C's was with Reggie. Reggie's cool manner on the court and his old school scoring style won me over instantly. He was great. I bought his jersey at the first Celtics game I ever went to (at the Garden against O'Neal and the Magic). It was great. And Reggie died early leaving us asking what if? Well I think I can say that Pierce has supplanted Reggie in every single way and yet may never be as beloved by the C's fans. Maybe that's because Reggie played so closely with and was directly connected to The Team or maybe that's because Reggie wasn't the man long enough for his flaws to be dissected endlessly by the fans and media. It's hard to say. But I feel lucky getting a guy like Pierce on the C's. He's a pleasure to watch play and he's only gotten better over time. I'm glad the Celtics didn't trade him because it almost seems impossible that they could get value for him. And without Pierce, the Celtics would be truly unwatchable.