Thursday, April 20, 2006


Notes From The Final Whimper

And so the Celtics 2005/2006 season came to an end with a truly fitting whimper - a draft-position-jeopardizing victory against the few brave souls on the Miami Heat roster cajoled into taking the court and risking serious injury days before the start of the playoffs. Thanks to them, the thousands of strangely loyal Celtics fans who accounted for yet another sell-out at the TD Banknorth Garden at least got to see a "contest," albeit one without Dwayne Wade or Shaq, the players most of these people undoubtedly were forking over their cash to see. However, much in the way that few ask for refunds when the Allman Brothers Band plays concerts without anyone named "Allman" still in the band, apparently no one was too pissed off about this development, and "fan appreciation night" continued apace.

So yes, this was the bitter end, broadcast to us in HDTV and accompanied by one last dose of grotesque omni-organizational boosterism from Tommy Heinsohn. It has been a tough, ugly season, and one that we will break down in greater detail in the coming days, but simply out of respect to the time we all put in watching this season, it seems appropriate to mark the official end of the game with a recap of sorts.With that in mind, if watching Tony Allen hog the ball and repeatedly drive to the basket is your idea of a good time, tonight paid off handsomely. The Heat played hard for the first half but seemed a bit disjointed playing without 3/5 of their starting lineup, and just gave up once we got a double digit lead. From there on in it was songs in the key of "let's get this the fuck over." As the attention of many fans wandered from the "action" on court, some noticed Pierce sitting on the bench in a pricey pinstripe suit, all full of grins and giggles, undoubtedly looking forward to some serious off-season drinking.

Of course, this being the last game of the season, the broadcast was full of moments of looking back and gazing forward. Heinsohn dusted off his favorite theater metaphor one last time and stated that the beginning of the season "was like rehearsals in New Haven if you were to compare it to a Broadway play." As one who lives quite close to New Haven, I can assure you, no one there knows what the fuck he was talking about. No word on Heinsohn if the end of the season resembled the historic Hartford Circus Fire, another example of popular entertainment gone horrifically awry.

On the player side of thing, tonight marked the probable end to the Celtic careers of Mike Olawakandi and Orien Greene, as well as at least one of the "Future is Now" players relentlessly promo-ed on FSN. We bid them a fond farewell, especially Orien who, as has been noted ad nauseum in these pages, often gave me a headache. Beyond that, Gerald Green, likely sick of being shit on by Coc in the press, barely looked for his shot and ended the season with an unimpressive 8 points. Perk flailed around ineptly and missed what seemed like dozens of easy shots. Raef was godawful, Tony Allen was difficult to watch, and Wally babbled unconvincingly to Greg Dickerson about how excited he was to rehab his knee over the summer. Why do I think these are three things we’ll bear witness to next year as well?

Player of the Game - Dwayne Jones. I'm not sold on this guy being much of anything, but he's had a couple Brandon Hunter-esque games that should make us at least consider he might be a viable end of the bench spare part. Unfortunately, we have like 11 of them already on our team.

Hamcock - Brian Scalabrine. The last Hamcock of the season must go to the man who embodies the very worst of our post-Waltah roster, the 15-million dollar stiff whose greatest contribution to the team is watching "24" with Wally Szczerbiak. Tonight, ironically, he gets the Hamcock for playing well in a game WE WANTED TO LOSE. If this moron playing effectively in this pointless game costs us a chance at Rudy Gay, it will be the most fitting capper to the worst free-agent signing of the Ainge era. To quote my hero(s) the Wizznutzz, “When Scalabrine makes his lumbering move in the paint, he looks like a man emerging from the woods, trying to shake off a pack of raccoons.” Indeed. Hopefully he and Wally have TIVO’d enough crappy episodic television to make it through the summer.

Quote of the Night - "Some things will be the same. Paul Pierce will be here, Gerald Green will be here, Delonte West will be here," Wyc Grousbeck on the future of the Celtics season ticket holder "experience." You heard it, next year is going to be more of the same: Paul Pierce and a bunch of low-talent/high-character second round picks stumbling into the middle of the lottery, only maybe now with cheerleaders and a nicer scoreboard. Yay! As the ghastly tin-eared advertisement now says, "Why settle for the night of your life... when you can have 41 of them?"

Anyway, the end of the season brings with it the general notion of finality and celebration and all that stuff. I want to thank ever single one of you who comment on Celtics Doom for making it such a cool place to talk, vent and laugh. We're all probably the only people on the planet who equally enjoy the Boston Celtics, asshole/taint jokes, and obscure French linguistic philosophy, but goddammit, we found each other. Special thanks to Tittyfuck for inventing the Hamcock this season, an idea which perfectly embodied everything that we here are and the fanboys ain't. So thanks again, and happy off-season to everyone.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Wyc Eats the Soul

A classic late season debacle that found thousands of Boston area fans who forked over good money to watch LeBron James and (too a much lesser extent) Paul Pierce, instead subjected to a grueling paint-by-numbers crap-a-thon between the Celtics and Cavaliers supporting casts. I watched parts of the game, listened to most of it, was enervated by all of it. We’ll have a comprehensive season autopsy in the next few days but for now, a few notes on what we learned from last night:

1) Wyc Grousbeck's favorite player is Paul Pierce! For those of us who thought this season's perpetual PR blow job on Paul couldn't get any more shameless, we were treated to metrosexual-fashion icon/owner Wyc Grousbeck spending the 2nd quarter on the mic with Gorman and Cousy, where he let free with some highly coveted insider info. Are you ready? Paul Pierce is not only a super duper player, but, he is a super-er duper-er human being as well. That’s right, Wyc LOVES Paul because he is a humanitarian millionaire who occasionally visits children hospitals on his off-days, just like Wyc and his “very fortunate” buddies who all got together one swell afternoon and bought a basketball team with their fathers’ money. Thanks Dad(s)! And yes, just so you know, Wyc views the fans as owners. Because… I don’t know, something along the lines that he thought he was an owner when he was a fan and now that he’s a fan he’s… I forgot. It was inspiring though, truly. Nothing like hearing the good news from the King of the Trustafarians after watching 81 shitty basketball games on my own dime. Wyc should know that as a newly christened part owner, I now await a large cheque to link my financial divestment with my emotional one.

2) Delonte West, Accountemps 6th Star Award Winner. In a perfunctory development with all the drama of the Lachey/Simpson divorce, the cuddly one was codified by the good people of Accountemps as fan favorite du jour, joining such distinguished past winners as Bryant Stith and Mark Blount. This thing is supposedly voted in by the fans, but that seems about believable as the "touch of the flu" story we've now heard twice this season to excuse a Tommy Heinsohn absence. Delonte gave an almost completely incomprehensible acceptance speech for this "award," muttering something weird and slurred about “hard work…. Fans…. Work… value.” In my eyes, he’d be player of the year if he’d just grabbed the camera and started chanting "because whoever does, is going to make VP." The real prize, however, was hearing Daddy Wyc proclaim him “second favorite Celtic” of ownership, the kind of praise that has “contract lowball up ahead” written all over it.

3) Also from the mouth of Wyc – “The Celtics are a player away.” Uhh, "maybe" he meant, because uhhh, he leaves that all up to Danny, is what he meant to say. But we learned definitively that what makes Wyc so happy is not the record, not the style of play, but the Character of the team. Yes, he literally said that he cares mostly that the team has a good character. Not “a good character” in the sense a screenwriter might be interested in, but rather that we’re a happy cuddly family of elves and Delontes who love one another dearly and don’t pound our heads on the lockers when our natural sense of competitive drive makes us react poorly to 32 win seasons. In other words, a team with one max contract and a rotating cast of mediocre players fighting for their NBA lives. Yeah! Celtic Pride!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Like Money, Like Envy

At this point in the season, what can one say about a meaningless five point loss to the Pacers? The best I can muster is: it wasn't completely excruciating. We saw lots of offense, a semi-exciting semi-comeback at the end, and numerous Gerald Green highlights. It barely even registered throughout that the Pacers were driving the final stake into the feeble heart known as the Celtics post-season hopes, but they did and now it's official - we're heading to the lottery.

With that in mind, only a chump or a full-on Ainge patsy would take a "lets get this over without anyone getting hurt" game like tonight's seriously enough to write a real recap, so instead I'll focus on what we all tuned in for - Gerald Green. Those with the mental fortitude to tune in and pay attention to a meaningless late season Celtics game were rewarded with more of Gerald's magical ride, as he wound up with not only a career high 22, but many TIVO worthy highlights. These included:

1) An amazing bit of body control as he got fouled going to the rim and gently tossed it in from the side, George Gervin style.
2) An insane dunk on the break from an Orien Greene feed.
3) A more insane alley oop dunk.
4) A 60 ft 3-pointer as the 24 second clock expired.
5) Numerous smooth 18 foot jump shots over the disinterested defense of Stephen Jackson and Peja Stojakovic.

While he kicked ass individually, however, one cannot ignore the fact that the team floundered with him on the floor. This seemed largely due to the fact that in his youthful eagerness to score a shitload of points and prove that he can play, he tends to take quick shots and stifle the team ball movement. Still, at this point in a lost season, it was encouraging enough to see that he was confident, active, and that his outside shooting is scary good. In fact, as much as this team feels like little more than a collection of Paul Pierce, a couple bargain basement 2nd round picks and bunch of overpaid white guys, I think we can at least rightfully claim to have two of the better young outside shooters in the game with Green and Delonte.

So, assuming he's not traded, the question remains: after Gerald comes back down to earth and his minutes diminish, will he eventually develop into a consistent and effective role player? As we have seen this year, with the exception of Al Jefferson, every one of the Celtics young players has gone through a monster stretch like Gerald is on, and has ultimately disappointed - Gomes, Perkins, Delonte and Orien (pre-season) each had a series of games where they seemed like a long term solution at their various positions, but each winds up the season as essentially a question mark.

So while we all know that Gerald will not be putting up 22 a night next season as a 2nd year player off the bench, he seems owed some optimism simply because his athleticism and outside shooting seem special enough that they could probably get him through the rough patches of learning to play against tough NBA defenses keyed to stopping him. Of course, his own defense is a problem, and we might find out that he's dumb like Al Jefferson and implode the minute he's asked to participate more fully in the team defense schemes. Also, his offensive game might simply prove too one-dimensional to work into a cohesive team concept, and there's always that problem of adjusting when the defense finally figures you out.

Of course, this speculation could be entirely moot as Gerald and Al appear to be Bait Numero Uno and Dos in the effort to secure a Pierce-appeasing veteran and momentarily fulfill Wyc's Quixotic quest for instant respectability. If Gerald is traded, look for the inevitable Kedrick Brown comparisons to fly and the Celtics PR to spin an image of him being all jump and no brain. This might be true, but it also might not. For one, I would hope that those fan-pleasing dunks will put enough dollar signs in Grousbeck's eyes that we can keep Gerald in Green long enough to learn for ourselves exactly how good he can be.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Like Saw II, only more pointless

A languid victory in Toronto that did little more than weaken our draft position and prove that even 124-120 games can be boring as fuck. Tonight we saw two teams playing pretty much just to avoid injury, providing the assembled dozens all the intensity of an exhibition and enough sloppiness to include an excruciating 81 free throws (although Toronto went 28-28, which was kind of cool).

As such, this was another game that was hard to really gauge anything from, outside of the fact that even without having to contend with Chris Bosh we could barely beat the fourth worst team in the East. Both teams played something along the lines of Jim O'Brien-ball without the defense, with only Mike James showing any real heart on the Raptors side. At one point the Celtics were up 12 and James almost single handedly accounted for a 13-1 run that got them back in the game. The Celtics shot well, rebounded poorly, and ended up pulling away in the last two minutes on a Ryan Gomes post move against Charlie V that put it into two-possession, make-your-free-throws-and-you-win territory.

On the player side of things, the most noteworthy development was Gerald Green getting, as they say, "a real look," including the last three crunch-time minutes. It was the best he's played all year - active on D, moved without the ball on offense, shot well, pissed off everyone with a last minute dunk, and hit a kinda-pressure-filled free throw that helped win the game. Pierce had a brutal 2-10, 5 turnovers, lots of excessive dribbling, but he went to the line 24 times, and at least that kept Tommy shut up. As far as everyone else, Wally shot well, Raef hit many barely-contested threes, Gomes was solid, and Orien Greene continued to prove that Danny Ainge is wayyyyyy to loose handing out three year deals.

So it was a fairly boring trek through the lower depths of the league's mandatory scheduling requirements. I would be remiss, however, if I did not report the most important development of the evening (indeed, the only thing that really made it worthwhile) - the 4th quarter return of Celtics (semi)Super-Fan Donnie Wahlberg, who announced to us all those six little words we have longed to hear: "I'm going to do Saw 3." Yeah! Donny Wahlberg! That guy's on IMDB!

Player of the Game - Gerald Green. Awwww, I'm being cutesy-pooh, but this was a "I'll want this time back when I die" kind of evening, and Gerald provided the only real interest for the jaded Celtic fan grasping at straws to justify watching the last nine games. That said, as mentioned before, he did look pretty solid, and it remains a wretched example of Coc's stubborn "internal pecking-order rules all" bullshit that he wasn't put out there earlier in the season when we were losing anyway and the second unit clearly needed a scorer.

Hamcock - Kendrick Perkins. In his trumpeted return to the starting lineup, Perk pretty much sucked, providing zero intensity, getting outrebounded by Brian Scalabrine(!) and continuing to turn the ball over like, uhhh, Brian Scalabrine. Worst of all, his subpar play allowed Raef to go for 20/8, all but assuring that L'honkey stiff won't be diagnosed with a mystery ailment for the last eight games in order to let Perk and Al get tons of minutes.

Quote of the Night - "Eric Williams gives Paul Pierce a special hug," Mike Gorman describing a touching encounter at half-court moments before tip off. If anything ever begged for more elucidation in a Celtics broadcast and went wanting, I cannot remember, but unfortunately this encounter occurred off-camera and all we can do is wonder exactly what physical entanglement this "special hug" entailed. Arms slipped under the uni? So-called "eskimo kissing"? A quick finger up the ass? The mind races. Gorman went on to say that it left Pierce "giggling," only heightening the Brokeback Mountain-esque tenor of the imagined proceedings. No word on whether Wally plans to work this "special hug" into his between-free-throw-encouragement repertoire, but we're all hoping Inmate #42 was paying attention, because out in the Yard, sometimes the hug proves mightier than the shiv.

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