Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Anything Worse Would Be The Knicks

We don't often see the Celtics on the friendly side of a blowout, but it turns out this rarest of occurrences is characterized primarily by lots and lots of Wally Szczerbiak hyper high-fiving. So yes, indeed, tonight we saw plenty of them as the Celtics bested the only team in the league that regularly challenges them for the title of "most gutless." Boston ran and got easy baskets, scoring 71 points in the first half alone, and ended up with 123, or roughly one point for every clumsy reference to the NCAA tournament made by Mike Gorman.

The Knicks, it turns out, are a disaster on a scale normally reserved for the description of ill fated NASA missions. The Marbury/Francis thing is a joke, and Eddie Curry does nothing but justify all of the tasteless "heart probems" puns that some of us more insensitive types have been known to make, repeat, and laugh at. Actually he had 20/8, but he might as well not even be on the floor. What is most bizarre about this team, though, is that all of these former stars and huge talents now just seem so completely anonymous and unremarkable. It's not just that they suck as a team, but each of the individual players seems to have turned into a shitty carbon copy of the next. There is no personality, no distinction, just an endless rotation of players with similar skills and abilities who all seem to have given up long ago. It is incredible to think that we saw $120 million on the floor and the only players that made any kind of impression were Quentyl Woods and David Lee.

But this is not Knicks Doom.

As a Celtics fan it was a difficult game to get anything out of outside of the simple fact that the Celtics are not as bad as the Knicks. Yay. But it was good to see them execute their offense and score all those easy baskets they're supposed to score when Doc Rivers remembers that Danny's "vision" supposedly involved the development of a running game. That this was accomplished largely in the face of defensive indifference is well worth remembering before anyone gets all excited.

We did have a couple moments that were fairly illuminating, if only for how weird this team is - 1) In a cutesy-pooh hall-of-fame nominee moment, we watched as Pierce and Wally kept deferring to the other over who was going to shoot a technical free throw, with Pierce finally convincing Wally to take it, who of course sunk it, while the George and Martha-esque Steve Francis and Jalen Rose looked on with secret envy, seething resentment and quietly breaking hearts. Or so I will pretend. 2) Brian Scalabrine passionately arguing a call with 4:45 left in the game and the Celtics up 37. The quintessential Tommy Point moment. Truly.

On the player side of things, Pierce was solid with 22, Gerald Green had a sick dunk and a nice clock beating 20-footer, and Wally, as mentioned, had a lot of high fives. The bench was okay, but it didn't really matter. Of course, Delonte was a cuddly lil' floor general, even in garbage time when lesser cuddly types would give up and play sloppy, but noooooooooo, Delonte was barking orders and making this young Celtics squad work, and goddammit, that's why he's so fucking wonderful...

So yeah, it was a total blowout. Just goes to prove that even at the bottom of the barrel there is always something beneath you.

Player of the Game - Ryan Gomes. Ryan set the tone early against Curry and Malik Rose, and had a great night overall with 15/13, which is only fitting when one considers that his heavy reliance on smarts and hustle presents him as something of the ultimate anti-Knick. But in a game like this, everyone looks good, so Ryan shouldn't display this award too prominently on his mantle.

Hamcock - Tony Allen. Not only has Tony temporarily lost his title as "Most Likely to embarrass the organization" (to TFTF), but tonight he pissed off the brave few of us who sat through garbage time waiting to see Gerald Green get some fucking points, and instead had to watch Tony "old news" Allen hog the ball. Apparently Tony didn't receive the "no one gives a fuck about you anymore" fax, and so Gerald got basically frozen out in the extended garbage time of the 4th quarter, even after he'd had a productive first half. It's kind of funny watching Gerald dutifully toss the ball into Perk and then scurry away to the corner 3 point line, and kind of sad when you see him never get the ball back.

Quote of the Night - "The all glazed-over team," Mike Gorman describing the Knicks. Heinsohn kept trying to work in comments about the Knicks "eyes misting over" but Gorman nailed it with this far more pithy appellation. Perhaps we can include this with our end of the year "All Gentle" and "All Might Be Gay" teams. It was a solid broadcast night, Tommy's streak of fairly chilled-out games continues, even if we heard him bitch a little about the calls and admit that he didn't want "justice," he simply wanted the calls to go in the Celtics favor. This recap cannot be complete without mentioning that there was some strange, under-explained halftime ceremony featuring a collection of former NBA players that included Heinsohn, Dolph Shayes, Harry "the Horse" Gallatin and Rod Strickland(!). I still have no fucking idea what links these guys together, and they never said why during the broadcast. The REAL All-Glazed Over Team.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


Give it away, give it away

A classic loss that contained all the elements of what we know now as "the story of 2005/2006." The mentally anemic Celtics blew a double digit lead in the fourth and gift wrapped the Bulls a one game swing in their quest for the final playoff spot in the East. In a contest that supposedly "meant something" (ie - vague playoff hopes), the Celtics smiled and giggled like a bunch of chicks at the mall, and then choked once the game got close.

It didn't take a mystic to predict that the Celtics would implode, but more surprising was how shitty the Bulls looked for most of the game. They are a fascinating team in that sense - loaded with talent at almost every position, yet they don't really seem all that good. Perhaps it's a function of their youth, or the lack of an identifiable focal point, but I'm thinking they'll be the easiest out in the history of the playoffs should they eke their way into them.

On the (Celtics) player side of things, Perk was probably the only one who came out of this with his dignity intact - his line was great 8/14, 5 blocks, but more importantly he returned to the "difference maker" form that made his entire pre-injury/pre-Gomes season such a cool story. Wally yet again couldn't hit outside shots, but scored via his wince-inducing white-guy drives. Gomes was solid, Inmate 42 was his usual mixture of okay-ness and insanity, and Scalabrine was actually tolerable. Several tittypoints were awarded to the always lamentable Orien Greene who kept jacking up three pointers (all misses) in the first half, while the mysterious upside known as Gerald Green stood alone, wide open and touch free. The second unit should just run some plays for Gerald, because in this season of figuring out roles and "developing" players, I think we already know we don't want Orien Greene taking those shots.

So it was a fitting final chapter for the fiction known as "the Celtics playoff hopes," and one that leaves us uncertain of what can possibly be gained from watching these pussies play out the rest of the season. In the words of David Mamet, "it's going to be what it's going to be."

Player of the Game - Tyson Chandler. I'm no fan of Tyson and his wildly vacillating on-court effectiveness, but the Big-disappointment stuffed Pierce twice in the fourth quarter, including the drive with 33 seconds left that would have tied the game. Also, more importantly to our concerns, he gave a fine post-game interview with Greg Dickerson wherein his surprising eloquence and general friendliness completely belied his on-court semi-psycho persona. All-Gentle Team nominee? Not with the lovably infected teeth of Mike Olawakandi in the way, but perhaps Tyson could one day parlay his charm into a gig as a sideline reporter or a broadcaster. Tyson's "Chickens of Success"? You read it here first.

Hamcock - Paul Pierce. The "Greatest Offensive Celtic of All-Time" was positively Bird-like in crunch time as he missed his final four shots, three of which were actually important - a rushed 18 footer with the game tied, a one-on-four drive that was stuffed by Tyson Chandler down 2, and a bricked three pointer down 4 (which was only redeemed by Delonte West getting the offensive rebound). Even Heinsohn was muttering, CelticsDoom-like, about his shot selection.

Quote of the Night - "Scalabrine's supposed to be really smart." Tommy Heinsohn. On the heels of this blog's 2000+ word savaging of Tommy's grotesque homer-ism (and other things), our man in the broadcast "booth" unleashed a withering critique on (the red-head!) Scalabrine's penchant for "lumbering two-step drives" that always seem to resolve themselves as offensive fouls. Wow, Tommy providing actual critical analysis of a Celtic player, it was like Chauncey Billups leaving his feet all over again. On the topic of the broadcast, Tommy and Gorman seem to have achieved detente in their ongoing war over ref-baiting, and the past two broadcasts have been much more pleasant to sit through (if you can just ignore Gorman's capitulation to the forces of evil with his "Paul Pierce is having a Bird-like season" stupidity). Bonus points to Tommy for criticizing Perk's overzealous put-back dunk by stating, "all he needs to do is finger it easily." Indeed, gentlemen, indeed.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Tommy Points-less

"We are what we pretend to be" – Kurt Vonnegut, “Mother Night.”


Tommy Heinsohn has every right to trade in on his own legacy for a steady job and the slight adoration of Celtics fans suffering through 15 years of horse latitudes, and if that was all he was and all he did, no one would have any problem with him. It is problematic, however, when he attempts to sully the legacy of the last truly great Celtic in an effort to prostitute a losing team to a disgruntled fanbase and burnish his own fading relevance.

For those who don’t know anything about this, here’s the general idea – Tommy Heinsohn, Celtics broadcaster, went to the Boston Herald proclaiming that Paul Pierce is a better “offensive player” than Larry Bird. His comments come at a point in the Celtics season when they are facing the reality of not making the playoffs, and with fan interest yet again fading away. It is not something that came out of the blue, he made essentially the same comments a few weeks ago during a broadcast, but they have caused something of an uproar on both sides of the argument, and thus we feel the need to weigh in.

Part I – A History of (Logical) Violence

Tommy Heinsohn’s public persona has evolved over the past 20 years from a likeable “homer” with a deceptively astute basketball mind, into a hack and an egotistical windbag who uses his soapbox on FSN to stroke ownership and repaint his version of Celtics history. As such, he is far more engaged in the process of promoting “Heinsohn the Broadcast Legend” than he is with providing accurate or even interesting commentary about the team. This is something we have all kind of come to expect and even find vaguely likeable, or at very least, comfortably familiar. Heinsohn’s distortions often just fade into the background, allowing his occasional funny/charming moments to surface as always-welcomed nuggets of nostalgia. Compared to the excessively dry (or ridiculously hyper-masculine) tropes of modern basketball broadcasting, Tommy’s nonsense stands in relief as some kind of nod to a past that probably never even existed.

For those who follow this team way to closely, however it has always been apparent that Heinsohn has at least a small bit of resentment for the Celtics teams of the 80’s, probably because they overshadowed the 70’s championship teams that Heinsohn coached, the teams which to this day remain the most uncelebrated era of the team’s history.

More importantly, however, the 1980’s teams simply didn’t NEED Tommy Heinsohn. They were great, they were fun to watch, and they were intrinsically entertaining. They also had Johnny Most as the superfan-broadcaster, Bob Cousy as resident legend/expert, and the most relevant games (Finals) broadcast on national television (as an aside, it is telling that it is only on FSN promos you’ll see the Sportschannel camera angle and Gorman’s call from Game 5 against the Pistons in 1987 when Bird stole the ball. Everywhere else you’ll see CBS’s shot and hear Johnny Most)

The point is, Tommy Heinsohn wasn’t so inseparably woven into the fabric of the Celtics viewing experience as he today. He was a sideman in a much bigger show, a show that centered on Larry Bird, the Boston Garden and the then relevant notion of “Celtics Pride.” In that context he was likeable but hardly vital. He rooted openly for the Celtics, yes, but he was occasionally critical, hardly an apologist, and maintained enough national credibility to serve as a CBS playoff broadcaster.

It was in the years that followed, the years wherein the Celtics fanbase dwindled, their luck ran out, ownership lost focus, and, most importantly, Johnny Most died, that Tommy reinvented himself as The Ultimate Homer. In this role, Tommy eventually realized that the most imposing obstacle to fans appreciating the “current” team was the legacy of success it competed with and constantly fell short against. If people were to remain interested in the mediocre present, then the past would need to be demystified. At the same time, the new fans, the younger ones who barely remembered Bird or the 80’s, were more able to be indoctrinated by funny Tommy as he bitched about the referees, compared rookies to JoJo White and other players they had never heard of, and eventually, consummated his cult-of-personality with the creation of “Tommy Points.”

Through it all, we heard the exaggeration and the wild comparisons - some bordering on egregiously stupid, some actually interesting. Rick Pitino was bringing back “old fashioned Celtics basketball,” Ron Mercer reminded him of Sam Jones, Al Jefferson has more moves at his age than Kevin McHale. These kinds of things were viewed as harmless, because they evoked hopefully hyperbole more than any kind of actual critique. They were the enthusiastic encouragement of the old guard, unafraid to compare the legacy of the old with the potential of the new.

But in this Bird/Pierce comparison, it is as if Heinsohn has finally abandoned all pretense of reason and is now actively burning down the remains of Celtics legacy in order to pimp “his” team of today. No longer is it potential or promise, but now Heinsohn wants you to believe that a two-month hot streak from Pierce demands his coronation with the true greats, ie – he implies that on some level what you’re seeing now is better than what you believe was the best you ever saw. And Heinshon the basketball mind can justify Heinshon-the-Shill’s comments with the way he parses the words (“offensive player”) to leave room for whatever it is that you the fan still treasures in your memories of Larry Bird and the 80’s Celtics. Unfortunately, 3 MVP’s, 3 championships, six 60+ win seasons, and a fuckload of shared memories need a lot more room than Tommy’s half-assed qualification.

But this leads us to the key question, what exactly does Heinsohn mean when he says that Paul Pierce is a superior “offensive player?”

Part II – Highly Offensive Player

The basic argument espoused by Heinsohn is that Pierce’s offensive technique is more varied, more explosive and thus, more potent than Larry Bird’s. Pierce is able to score in different ways than Larry, thus he is “better.” The numbers will never be able to solve this argument, but they are certainly interesting.

Over the course of his 13 seasons in the NBA, Larry Bird averaged 24.3 points a game, including two seasons averaging 28 ppg, one where he went for 29.9. His career shooting percentage is .496, career free throw percentage is .886, .376 from the 3 point line. During the insane 87-88 season, he averaged 29.9 ppg and shot .527 from the floor.

Paul Pierce over the course of 8 seasons (we will, for the sake of this argument, freeze his statistics for this year at this point and call it an 8th “full” season) has averaged 23.4 ppg with a career shooting average of .440, career free throw percentage of .791, and .358 from the 3 point line. Like Bird, he has had 4 seasons where he eclipsed the 25 ppg scoring average. Where Pierce has a most obvious advantage is in free throw shooting, as he has averaged 6.3 makes and 8.0 attempts a game, vs. Bird’s 4.4 and 5.0. Pierce’s 8 attempts a game rank 2nd all time for the squad behind Ed Macauley (who Tommy is likely to one day compare to Orien Greene).

Comparing other offensive stats, the most glaring differential is in assists – Bird averaged 6.3 for his career while Pierce to this point has averaged 3.8. This is even more interesting when one considers that both players average 3.1 turnovers a game.

In terms of “offensive explosions,” Bird has the advantage. Bird has the single game Celtics scoring record with 60 pts, and went for 50 or more 4 times (3 of which occurred during his first 8 seasons). Pierce’s career high is 50, and that is the sole time he accomplished that benchmark.

Examining all of this, a fairly clear picture emerges – both players can score, but Bird was a better shooter, more efficient, and made his team better. A streaky shooter, Pierce is far more effective at getting to the rim and drawing fouls, and is more of a volume scorer than a playmaker.

So again, what makes a superior “offensive player”? Is it the guy who scores more points, is it the guy who shoots better, is it the guy who makes his team better? Unfortunately for Heinsohn’s thesis, as of this date, Bird still outpaces Pierce in every single one of these categories. This doesn’t even bring in the whole issue of clutch shooting, of offensive intangibles, or of leadership. Again, this is where Bird is not only better than Pierce, but where he was better than anyone in his era not named Magic Johnson. And maybe that’s a better way to look at it, because as Celtics fans, we all harbor the kinds of suspicions about our idols that are natural by-products of over-familiarity. So ask yourself this, is Paul Pierce a better offensive player than Magic Johnson? I think most would agree that it’s idiocy to even ask the question.

In that same sense, are we to assume that Dominique Wilkins is a better offensive player than Bird because his scoring numbers were slightly higher during the period they were both in the league together? It’s a valid question, not only because Pierce’s numbers correspond more closely to Dominique’s, but also because it begs the question, if we want to consider player A better the player B, but B was a winner and A wasn’t, what does this mean? There is no doubt to me that Wilkins was a much better scorer than Bird, but Bird was the much better “offensive player” because he won, he hit more clutch shots, and he made his teammates better. If, as most would probably agree, Bird is better than Dominique (who nonetheless has one of the most underrated legacies in all of sport), than there’s no fucking way that Pierce even enters the conversation.

Unfortunately, the “winning” thing plays into the argument, often expressed by Pierce-lovers, that “Larry played with Hall of Famers and Pierce plays with inferior NBDL-level talent.” This is very, very, very debatable, because it presupposes that Bird’s legacy as a winner relies more on the later part of his career more than the beginning. But if you look at the numbers, Bird was successful with pretty much any kind of supporting cast, and just as importantly, he transformed his supporting cast into great players.

1) The 1978-1979 team that finished 29-53 and the 1979-1980 team that went 61-21 and lost to the 76’ers in the conference Finals were essentially the same team. The only significant differences were Larry Bird instead of Bob McAdoo, and Bill Fitch as coach instead of Dave Cowens. But each team’s core was basically Cedric Maxwell, Tiny Archibald, Dave Cowens, Rick Robey and Chris Ford. It is not a stretch to say that Bird essentially accounted for a 32 game swing.
2) The 1987-1988 team went 57-25. The next year was Bird’s injury year where he played 6 games, and that team, with HOF’ers McHale and Parish, went 42-40. Not even the 1st post-Jordan Bulls had such a fall off.

Part III – Senility and the case for memory

Ultimately, those who remember Bird will dismiss Heinsohn as being an idiot or a shill (Bill Simmons has already dismissed him as “old” ie – senile), and the younger fans will accept in varying degrees the idea that one cannot compare two players who ultimately play a very different game (both in style and in era). These younger fans, however, don’t have the access to the memories of a tougher, more competitive league that Bird thrived in as one of its two greatest winners (I consider Bird and Magic’s league to be the pre-expansion, pre-Jordan-as-winner league that existed between 80-88, comprising the two best teams of its time, the 86 Celtics and 87 Lakers). Because of this, these fans will not have the visceral reaction to having one of the 5 greatest players of ALL TIME compared to the best player on a losing team. It will simply seem, in their minds, unrealistic.

And that is why the comparison is so unfair to Pierce. It only digs up the animosity and doubt that he so successfully quelled this year with a brilliant season. It casts him again in the unfavorable glare of the past, a past which he will never be reconciled with by the fans until he wins a championship or an MVP, two unlikely milestones in his career. It makes us once more resent a present that we are trying hard to appreciate.

The thing is, Bird really did exist, he really was that good and he really made everyone around him better. Even if his legend to some degree exceeds his reality, it is important to let fans hold on to certain memories as sacred. It is the careful balance between honoring its past and constantly reinventing its “now” that makes sports uniquely visceral and historic. So whether Tommy’s comments are ticket-moving marching orders dictated by Wyc, or his own mercenary effort to reassert his place in Celtics lore (in this case, as would-be-kingmaker), it is to his shame that he so willingly pisses all over a legend the rest of us happen to cherish.

To close this far too lengthy argument, I’ll put it simply - throughout the vast majority of Bird’s career he was considered to be one of the top three players in the game. Pierce has made the all-NBA third team twice. No one in their right mind really thinks that Paul Pierce is a better player than Bird, but when Heinsohn throws out these kinds of inflammatory comments, he does in an effort to chisel away at a belief, a legend, which has always marginalized him in the hearts of Celtics fans. That’s why I personally find his words to be despicable and shameless. Not only does Larry Bird’s legacy deserve better, but so does Tommy Heinsohn’s.

(all statistics courtesy of

Monday, March 20, 2006


La La Bland

A characteristic letdown after the Indiana win, tonight the Celtics played dispassionately and got their lethargic asses beat by a Laker team also playing its 3rd game in 4 nights. In an evening that went wanting for any kind of genuine drama or excitement, the relentlessly hyped "Kobe vs. Pierce" matchup turned out to be only a duel of misguided shots and out of control drives, a veritable open exposition for the worst facets of both overrated players. Kobe took a grotesque 39 shots and scored the most underwhelming 43 points of his career, while Pierce was 8-19 (2-8 from 3 point line) and turned the ball over 5 times. And unlike the win in Los Angeles, Ronny Turiaf played no significant role.

The game itself was fairly uninteresting and not worth recounting on a quarter by quarter basis, because outside of a couple runs, the story was basic - the Celtics played bad defense and couldn't hit the outside shot. The Lakers weren't much better, really, but Kobe scored, Odom was effective and Kwame Brown had, for him, a great night. In the end, the Celtics just couldn't get their shit together to overcome the hole they dug in the 1st half, and in the course of a failed comeback they allowed the always mentally fragile Lakers squad to walk out of the TD Banknorth Garden holding the temporary status of "winners."

The only interesting parts of this game were not really related to the score/outcome. There was a bizarre bit of shit talk exchanged between Kwame "Michael Jordan called me a faggot" Brown and Paul Pierce at the end of the second quarter that seemed little more than Kwame trying to shake Phil Jackson's "pussy" appellative (don't worry, you are what you eat Kwame, just ask Greg "Cadillac" Anderson). There were three strange occasions when Kobe Bryant complained to the officials after getting a call in his favor, further adding to his legend as a weirdo. We also saw two twisted ankles, one from Pierce, whose dramatic flops and injury fakery often borders on World Cup-ian in their extravagance, and one from the otherwise stoic Perkins. Both were okay though, so don't you worry.

On the player side of things, tonight saw further positives from Inmate #42 whose 18 points and 4 blocks offset his spastic drives and untimely turnovers. They keep saying he's "got his athleticism back" which is a concept I invite anyone to explain to me. Pierce had a crappy game with lots of ill advised outside shots and a general sense of malaise. Gomes further proved why he's a good player but not our PF of the future (is it possible that he's a better offensive rebounder than a defensive one?). Orien Greene was his usual awful self, Wally was inconsistent, and Gerald Green got his now-expected 4 minutes of meaningless run.

So it was a typical Celtics loss, and one made more disappointing because the specifics of the convoluted Payton trade indicate that we should be hoping for the Lakers to miss the playoffs this year (and thus, a pair of lottery picks for the Celtics), and beating them tonight would have gone some way to making that a reality. Instead, as always, we're fucked. Insert Kobe rape joke here.

Player of the Game - Kwame Brown. Yes, Kwame is a disaster at 8 million a year, but he kind of asserted himself tonight with a solid 11/9/5(!) and looked like he might eventually prove the better "man" in his platoon with Chris Mihm. Unfortunately, his spat with Pierce might lose him his spot on the CelticsDoom "All Gentle" team, this blog's tribute to the soft minded and kind hearted players throughout the league. Kobe had 43 points, as mentioned, but his performance was forced and ugly, and instead of being held in awe, this reporter simply wanted to make Kobe the player/the Japanese beef vs. COBE the COsmic Background radiation Explorer satellite jokes.

Hamcock - Delonte West. The cuddly one looked like total shit again, starting with a blown layup on the second possession of the game and continuing on with lots of the same uninspired post-injury play we've gotten accustomed to. Not all was bad for the Herp, however, because after getting tangled up with Kobe in a 3rd quarter semi-hard-foul situation, the Mamba started cuddling him right there on the the court! Seriously, he was rubbing his head and whispering in his ear, two signs of affection (or precursors to a high profile arrest) that only prove how cutsey-pooh our man Delonte is. Extra bonus information! CelticsDoom is the #1 result (of over 1000) when you Google "Delonte West herpes."

Quote of the Night - "Kobe has these rapier thrusts," Tommy Heinsohn. Either a ghastly malapropism or a moment of true subversion, Heinsohn uttered this gem during the underdiscussed "Tools for hire" segment wherein our man is tasked by the eponymous sponsor to make a pun involving a tool and a key to Celtics victory. That said, it wasn't very clear what "En Garde Kobe" meant, as fencing foils could hardly be considered "tools," but maybe I'm missing something about the entire advertising concept. Nonetheless, any invocation of Mamba and the words "rapier thrusts" is pretty funny. Also, on the topic of the broadcast, tonight featured a much more friendly rapport between Mike and Tommy, who recently have been displaying a level of interpersonal tension on par with a mid-period Ingmar Bergman film. This whole unspoken animosity (stemming from Tommy's insistence on dragging the broadcast down with endless petty complaints about the officiating) blew up last year at the end of the playoffs, a hugely strange moment that defined the phrase "I think we're spending way too much time together." Gorman, in particular, has the tone of an abused spouse who has been taking Yoga classes, feels better about themselves, and envisions a day when they no longer need to deal with that cruel, badgering, unfunny prick who probably smells like hard alcohol and generic-brand salted peanuts. If he explodes on air in a tirade of long simmering resentment and suppressed rage, my sincere hope is that Heinsohn's only response is "now that's a Tommy point!"

Thursday, March 16, 2006


You're So Heat

A strange game wherein the Celtics spent one half of the contest playing near perfect basketball, and one half being crushed by a tide of talent and intensity they could never hope to match. Boston at one point held a 25 point lead and only lost by 3, but in many ways the game seemed lost from the start, as if they were never really in it.

It started off well enough with the Celtics working as a finely tuned machine, running at every opportunity and moving the ball on offense, culminating in the strange statistic of scoring 63 points in the half while still committing three 24 second violations. Pierce's shot was impossibly soft and true, Wally was solid, and at one point they were up 25 points. The second half found the Heat turning up their defensive intensity and waking up Dwyane Wade, and this proved more than enough to dismantle our mentally delicate Boston squad. Pierce went something like 3-12 over this period, while Wade made a series of insane drives and monster 3 point plays that defined the term, "momentum killer." And then Brian Scalabrine came in the game...

So basically the Celtics disintegrated under the first hint of pressure, and the Heat won the all-important poise-battle. It ended up kinda close, Pierce hit an insane three pointer to get it within one, but the Heat hit their free throws and a last second shot by all-time #1 option Orien Greene clanged off the rim, disappointing the 26 or so Celtic fans not watching the NCAA tournament. Like I said, in some ways we were never really in it.

On the player side of things Wally had by far his best game as a Celtic, scoring 30 points, shooting very well and generally making one feel optimistic about his role as second option. CudDelonte had his best game since coming back from his groin injury, but he made a couple horrible decisions late in the game that even prompted the corporate zombie known as Steve Kerr to ask the tough questions. Gomes returned to our good graces with a manly effort, Pierce was monstrous and then not, Jefferson was dismal, Perk got schooled by Shaq.

Not a horrible loss, but not one that would make you change your opinion about this team if your opinion to begin with was that they are not particularly good. But at least we didn't have to listen to Heinsohn.

Player of the Game - Dwyane Wade. Yes, the predictable choice, but he chopped the Celtics apart like cheap flank steak in the second half and hit all his free throws to the tune of the home crowd chanting "MVP, MVP." In other words, a man excelling at his profession while still in the bloom of youth, reveling in the many freedoms afforded by great wealth and fame. He tithes 10% of all his earnings, apparently, which is totally old school (like, 5th century style) and fascinates me to no end. Make CelticsDoom yr new religion Dwyane, we could use the cash.

Hamcock - Al Jefferson. Well, it's getting to the point I think where we should shut down Raef and just run Al out there every night until he learns how to play basketball. He's such a fuck-up sometimes, and tonight was one of those nights where even his post moves abandoned him, and he threw up some embarrassing nonsense against Shaq and the lamentable idiot called Alonzo Mourning. Speaking of Alonzo, he and Wally are front runners for making the CelticsDoom "All Way-Too Intense Team" 2006. But that's for later.

Quote of the Night - "Shaquille O'Neal blows the slam!" Marv Albert. Title of an NBA-themed gay porn movie, or Marv Albert dialing it up to MAX on the intensity meter a mere minute into the game? Just the latter, but on the topic of the broadcast, I find it surprising that as the national cable home of the NBA the best TNT can trot out is the utterly chemistry free tandem of Marv Albert and Steve "I'm A Boring Fuc" Kerr. Sounding like they just made each other's acquaintance waiting in the line to the men's room, they provided almost zero insight throughout a generally bumpy call. Meanwhile, the embalmed remains of Craig Sager roamed the floor with a ghastly toupee and dead man's clothes, seeking, I would imagine, the blood of the living and copy for his in-game voice overs. Greg Dickerson, look upon thy future and weep.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Grizzly, man

A grim march through four quarters of NBA basketball played at its most un-entertaining, this one was a good old fashioned slog that left the viewer feeling as if they were being throttled by slow moving hammers. The Celtics were flat and uninspired and seemed as though they were afflicted by some kind of deep and un-abating confusion, while the Grizzlies played their brand of methodical slow-ball and took the victory like a brainy teenager dominating his weary friends in a ten hour game of Risk.

Unlike Risk, however, where the random distribution of territories and even allocation of armies gives everyone a chance, this one was never in doubt. The Celtics starters could get nothing going on offense and the bench played its usual role in further confusing the issue. The ultra-loveable Raef/Gomes frontcourt was badly exposed on the boards against the Gasol/Tsakalidis frontline which punished and humiliated them all night. As the game progressed it was clear that the Grizzlies were not exactly executing at a level that brought to mind the term "Swiss Watch," but the Celtics were so cold, and so willing to settle for jumpshots, that it became a simple matter of allowing the passage of time to create more distance between the two scores.

The most interesting development in this brutal morass was during the second quarter when the following stunning development occurred - Pierce took an ill advised drive down the lane and fell hard to the ground, Wally simply watched it happen and walked away, not making any move to help The Captain to his feet. Trouble in (post trade) paradise? Aren't we the cuddly happy team that always helps each other in every single thing? We have suspected that Pierce might not be the biggest Wally booster on the planet, and this seemed highly out character for Mr. SzczHyperTeamGuy. Smoke = fire. Stay tuned.

On the player side of things, we had a major crash and burn for the heroes of the recent "oh wait we don't totally suck" run. Cuddly Delonte was ineffective for the 2nd game in a row, Pierce was shut down, and Raef had a classic Blount-ian 10/3 line as starting center. Even worse was Gomes who couldn't rebound when needed (although he led the team with 6, but believe me, he wasn’t rebounding well) and couldn't get his crucial 10 foot jumper to fall. Al Jefferson occasionally tried to inject energy into the proceedings, but mostly looked borderline retarded and, fittingly, fouled out in 12 minutes. Orien Greene looked as if trying to play while emulating the handicap of the recently deceased Miss Deaf Texas. The only good news, Perk eventually seemed to get on track on offense.

Player of the Game – Jake Tsakalidis. Granted, playing a full game against Raef LaFrentz gives any big man the opportunity to work on their Moses Malone impersonation, but this heretofore uncelebrated Rustavi really kicked ass. More importantly, with his gaunt face twisted by strange bone angles and odd red blotches, he strongly resembles a character from the Sin City comic books, or one of those HP Lovecraft monsters that makes all those who gaze upon them go insane. This could go a long way to explaining Tommy Heinsohn’s upcoming quote.

Hamcock - Ryan Gomes. Ryan’s suckiness tonight was shared by many on the squad, but we award him because his (and Al Jefferson’s) inept play led directly to a Brian Scalaburine sighting, as our fave honkey stiff dug out 10 minutes of garbage time and excelled. Prior to that we witnessed a classic “little thing,” as Gerald Green walked off the court after missing a quarter ending last second three pointer, there was Scalaburine, first out of the pack, encouraging the lad and saying “great shot, great shot,” and, as I imagine it, “Didja hear, CelticsDoom made you quote of the night the other game, that means they like you!” Look for Scal to play 500 zillion minutes next game.

Quote of the Night - "They bore you to death," Tommy Heinsohn on the inner workings of a Mike Fratello coached team. The best part of this was not a minute after Tommy made this claim, he started in on his mind numbing "how many times has Pierce gotten to the line tonight?" idiocy that had Gorman audibly gritting his teeth. Irony, Tommy? Or simply providing an example of how it's done by an old pro? He kind of made up for it later by saying that Orien was playing a game of "Dog, dog, who's got the bone?" a bit of surreal nonsense that evoked likeable senility rather than the stubborn blather of a iron willed patriarch who refuses to die. Also, he at one point christened Memphis “the Jazz Capitol of America,” and prattled on about many the "diet drinks" that threatened to spill on him. I gotta get me a radio one of these days.

Friday, March 10, 2006


Jack Sikma Would Be Proud

Tonight we witnessed the end of the magical ride. The Celtics were fully exposed as a weak interior team that cannot win unless Paul Pierce is on fire and the shots are falling from the outside. This may not be the end of the Celtics playoff ambitions for this year, but it speaks volumes about where we really are as a team. The reeling Bucks came in and got the win they needed, while the loosey-goosey Celtics giggled and ass-grabbed their way very nearly out of the postseason.

For a game with theoretically a lot riding on its outcome, it was sloppy and largely free of intensity or passion. For large stretches the Celtics forgot entirely about ball movement and took the first shot they saw, while the Bucks plugged away with no real urgency, content to keep it a tied game with 4 minutes left. Pierce then tried to take over and recreate his recent heroics but just looked godawful. He tossed up a few bad shots and culminated with a total choke job at the free throw line when he bricked the 1st of three free throws that together would have tied up the game. What killed the Celtics most, however, was that they played like sickly children on the boards and gave the Bucks far too many second chance opportunities.

On the player side of things, Gomes came back down to earth with 12/5, and generally got manhandled on the glass by Bogut and Magliore. Al Jefferson had a solid game in the first half and got progressively iffy as the game went on. Tony Allen appeared to regain some of his absent athleticism, but still gave his classic "1/2 man 1/2 brain damaged wolverine" effort. As always, Orien Greene gave me a classic headache.

Player of the Game - Andrew Bogut. Simply because at one point I heard someone yell, "let's go mates" in a sick Australian accent and I want to believe it was him being picked up by the courtside microphones. That's so cool. As far as his game is concerned, I'd be ripshit if I held the #1 pick in the draft and this slightly more skilled Scott Pollard was all I had to show for it, but he played decent (11/10) and helped the Bucks dominate the glass.

Hamcock - Brian Scalabrine. It was tempting to hit Pierce with it for his last minute follies, but I present it yet again to Scalaburine for what had to be one of the top 10 most remarkable plays of the season. At one point in the 4th quarter, he pulled down a defensive rebound but unable to control his bloated frame, he barreled over Orien Greene and knocked him into the front row, and as he himself started to fall TJ Ford stole the ball and went to the rim. Unbelievable. He's so destructive to the Celtics that I wouldn't be surprised if he had something to do with all that bad coke reaching the virgin nostrils of Len Bias. Ohhhhhh, tasteless. Sorry. Let's move on.

Quote of the Night - "Thank you," Gerald Green. In what has to be a first in the history of the league, cameras caught Gerald Green uttering these two simple words to the normally anonymous kid handing him a paper cup full of Gatorade. What, is he trying to win Celtic Cutsey Pooh of the Year from Delonte West? Sorry pal, Delonte the Spongebob Squarepants hugger is a future 1st ballot Cutsey Pooh Hall of Famer. Is he vying for inclusion on the CelticsDoom "All Gentle Team"? Sorry, Mike Olawakandi is still ahead of you. Anyway, no word on whether Gentle Gerald says "thank you" to those menaced by his aggressive attack mastiffs.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Ups and Downs - March Edition

It’s been awhile since we trotted out the Up and Down meter for guidance, but the Celtics’ recent winning ways have cast doubt and confusion amongst the remains of the CelticsDoom staff, and it seemed a good time to assess things through its incorruptible lens. Three for today. Perhaps more tomorrow.

DOWN – Trading Paul Pierce
UP – Keeping Paul Pierce forever and ever and ever

Yes, this magic season of rebirth has reached critical mass, and Pierce has accumulated so much goodwill in the minds of soft-hearted Celtics fans that he could pretty much spend the next 21 games wallowing in his own feces in the middle of the TD Banknorth parquet and there would still be a sizeable number of people comparing him to Larry Bird demanding we sign him ASAP to a Ray Allen type extension. The problem with all this happy-crappy stuff is that Pierce has been playing out of his mind all season, but the team still sucked ass until the improbable heroics of Ryan Gomes and, to a lesser degree, Delonte West, transformed us from “hateful underachievers” into “likeable kinda-.500 team.” Re-signing him obviously commits us to building around him - a well known road that leads to the 8th seed and the emotional-debtors prison of NBA marginalia. Trading him is a roll of the dice that leads us through fire and uncertainty and many, many losses, but could ultimately be the only chance at climbing back into the land of champions.

UP – Ryan Gomes
DOWN – Everything you thought you loved in this world before Ryan Gomes became a starter

Gomes is the story of the post-trade Celtics, a fairy tale from nowhere that has come to dominate the conversation of our immediate future. It is the story of an unlikely hero buried on the bench by a naked emperor (Doc) and tormented by the ugliest of all stepsisters (Scalaburine), until injuries to his two other, far less wicked stepsisters, put him into the big time he had deserved all along. Midnight will at some point strike and that majestic carriage of endless promise will transform into a pumpkin of solid NBA role player, but fuck it, he’s proving once again that a smart four year college player can make a much more lasting impact than an impossibly talented, yet dumb, high school man-child. Think of him as Shane Battier without the haughty pretense.

UP – Regretting the loss of Marcus Banks
DOWN – Regretting the loss of Ricky Davis

This one is mysterious to me, but sure enough, fickle Celtics fans have abandoned all memory of Ricky and seem content to tolerate Wally “Wounded Knee” Szczerbiak, even as he shoots a lusty 5-17 and aggravates all within line of sight with his passionate scowls and spastic high-fives. While Wally has yet to become a Grousbeck hard-on fan fave ticket shifter, it’s still astounding that most Celtics fans have made willing purchase of the post-trade shitfucking from Celtics PR sources about how Ricky was a problem and a malcontent. Granted, I believe many of these things, but Ricky was the face of the franchise during the Great Uncertainty of Summer-Winter ’05, and it’s sad to see him so readily dispatched in the hearts of the fans. Marcus, on the other hand, grows all the more epic in his absence, most notably with his mighty inclusion into the 24-36 Wolves starting lineup. “…his destiny as a good player on a bad team.” Yup, it’s finally come true.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


Bullet Points

I missed the first half of this game, so instead of a full recap I'll just make a few Bullet points. Haha, get it?

Quote of the Night - "...which has hurt in some critical ball handling moments," Mike Gorman on the topic of Orien Greene's inability to reliably hold, dribble or pass the basketball. The immature among us found this far more interesting as a Brokeback Mountain-esque double entendre, a common broadcast theme which Gorman's hyper-earnest-ness plays right into. I can only imagine that Oriene's general (and underdiscussed) clumsiness would extend to the realm of ball handling in all of its iterations, but to get to the point of causing hurt, that's simply remarkable. Way to go, O!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Notes to the Academy

In honor of tonight’s probable loss against the Wizards, I would like to once more plug the Wizznut, who is the finest and funniest basketball blogger ever. For obscure August Strindberg jokes and flat out weirdness, no one beats the work of the pseudononymous Darvin and Dana Ham. Catch the Bacon.

In other news, Peter May had a piece in the Globe arguing for what most of us here have been saying all along – tank the season and get lower in the lottery. Whether or not this draft is deep or not, which is open to much debate, it would behoove us to get a stab at picking up some decent talent, rather than narrowly miss the playoffs and get a crappy late lottery pick. The more minutes Gomes, Green, Perk and Al Jefferson get on the floor from here on out, the less painful the process of finding a rotation will be next season. Yes, much of this seems obvious, but remember there are those who think that with a healthy Wally Z, we can go deep in the playoffs.

Coc has been off the hot seat of late, which goes to show what a handful of wins can do after everyone has written you off as a shameful embarrassment. The fascinating story, and one which this blog will attempt to delve into in greater detail at a later date, is how a GM handpicked his dream coach, and then had to trade away a third of the team simply to get “his guy” to play the players they had supposedly agreed were going to be developed. Doc is almost a fair/decent coach now by default, simply because he has no choice but to shorten up the rotation and make everyone hew to their role. This highly disturbing for those of us who were counting on Doc taking a bow at the end of the season.

Bonus Coverage – due to an unforeseen ISP software meltdown over the weekend, this bit of priceless wimsy regarding the Indiana game was nearly lost to the caprice of the internet gods. We present to you here for your consideration. “But Celticsdoom,” you might ask, “What’s the point of journalism four days after the fact? Do you think you’re H.L Menken and people will want to read your opinions on issues long ago decided?” Oh no, no, no, not at all. This, bon amis, is merely to Fill Up Space…

A squeaker against the remains of a team once known as the Indiana Pacers, but nonetheless an enjoyable game and a good win. Both teams displayed a level of commitment to defense similar to, say, Tom Sizemore’s commitment to sobriety, and so it came down to the wire in one of those deals where the last team to score wins the game. In tonight’s case, it was a banked in Paul Pierce 3-pointer that did the job.

These Pacers are a vastly different enterprise than even the decimated squad that humiliated us last year in the playoffs. Peja and Stephen Jackson form an uneasy Pierce/Wally-esque duo, while marginal players such as Fred Jones and David Harrison fade in and out of the game to varying degrees of effectiveness. It's a testament to Carlisle that any of this translates into winning basketball, but one cannot help but get the feeling that even with a healthy Jermaine O'Neal, the Pacers have jumped the shark big-time.

The Celtics, on the other hand, continued a series of strong games on the offensive end of the court. Lots of ball movement in the first half, and outside of a disastrous bench-induced meltdown in the 3rd quarter, they kept things close simply by continuing to score. The 4th quarter found them pulling ahead momentum wise with a couple great defensive plays by Delonte West and Pierce that led to layups on the other end.

On the player side of things, Paul Pierce had a 30 point night, and although he slew the Pacers with a bank shot 3 and some great mid-range game, he still lapsed into some bad decision making in the 4th quarter that made this reporter nervous. Delonte was great, Gomes was huge, and Raef continued his stealth-rebirth. The bench demonstrated its usual collection of grotesque and fascinating examples of how not to play the game, including a total choke job by Orien Greene at the free throw line, missing two big ones after making a great effort to grab a key offensive rebound. But I guess since we won, so I shouldn't bitch. Orien did, however, provide a great broadcast moment in the first half when Tommy unleashed some classic blather: "One dribble and Orien can go up as strong or stronger than 90% of the guards in the league." Uhhm, okay.

Player of the Game - Raef LaFrentz. Raef's post-Blount rebirth has been a great story for those of us who appreciate his professionalism and somewhat limited contributions, but tonight was some serious above and beyond shit that saw our fave honkey kinda-stiff come through with an impressive statistical oddity of 11/11/7. Raef and Gomes bring a similar chilled out, unforced game to the floor that has been key to this recent 8 game turnaround, and both are making a valid argument for staying together in the starting lineup when Perk and Al get back.

Hamcock - Wally Szczerbiak. Shut him down. He can't shoot and he's just killing us out there. I assume the dude's knee is what's what as far as his plummeting production is concerned, so if we're really not going to be super-competitive anyway, we might as well shut him down and get him ready to go for next November. I like Wally, I truly do, but it's just sad to watch.

Quote of the Night - "Paul Pierce says you're the next Usher!" Greg Dickerson interviewing Chris Brown. The worst yet in the ongoing series known as "Greg Dickerson - my career is a desperate embarrassment." Tonight found our man attempting to make journalistic kissy-face with this lamest of all noveau RnB "stars," the musically forgettable and forgettably named Chris Brown. The convergence of two guys who will most likely no longer be working in their respective fields in three years made this a particularly laughable display, but I suppose it's par for the course when considering the mediocrity magnet that is the TD Banknorth Garden. Speaking of, bonus points to the cameramen for locating a possibly drunken Donny "I'm the unfamous" Wahlberg, Celtics superfan, mugging for the cameras during a timeout. Sadly, one is forced to assume that if Donny is at the game, then pre-production on Saw III has stalled.

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