I love basketball, but enough is enough. There should be a rule: no hoop after Memorial Day.
Leftover thoughts from the NBA playoffs:
- There is no question that the Lakers disgraced themselves and the game of basketball by putting a 42-cent stamp on the affair and heading to the post office at some point in Game 6. The only debate is just when they decided to do so.
Some think it was as early as the 38-29 juncture in the second quarter. That's when James Posey and Eddie House hit those back-to-back threes. Is it possible? I thought they were still at least partially in it mentally at the half. After all, they had chopped a 24-point deficit in the fourth quarter of Game 2 to two in just 7:22.
All right, they didn't show much life in the third quarter. The closest they got it was 23 (67-44), which is when Rondo came up with that acrobatic 3-point play, and then it was O-V-E-R.
But how about demonstrating some pride? How about not leaving Ray Allen open enough to recite the Gettysburg Address, set his feet, count to 10 and fire on those three threes he hit within 1:52 in the fourth? I expected Phil Jackson to call a timeout at that point and say, "Look, guys, we're going to lose, but you're not going to embarrass yourselves, me, the organization and the NBA by playing like pigs." Instead, he sat there to watch things get worse and worse, until it finally peaked at 43 (129-86).
The Celtics should have won by 25, but there was no reason for them have won by 39, other than the LA surrender.
Now I've been told that Big Chief Triangle did air them out at halftime. But whether he did or didn't, the general impression I got from the second half was that he had washed his hands of them. I do feel he came into the Finals with a contempt for the Celtics and a sense of entitlement. Sitting on that high chair (he has serious back and hip problems) is symbolic, as well as practical. He doth gazeth down on the rest of the NBA as if he were occupying a throne. He is more the Emperor of Laker basketball, rather than coach of the team.
Did Doc "out-coach" him? I don't believe in that stuff. Doc did what was best for his team, and it obviously worked out very well. But the Lakers got no real emotional support that I could see from their coach.
- There are those among us who remain confused about how the Celtics had so much trouble with Atlanta and Cleveland while finding life much easier with Detroit and LA.
Allow me to explain.
The two most purely athletic teams in the 16-team tournament known as the NBA playoffs were Atlanta and Philadelphia. The Celtics brass knew Atlanta was going to be a problem. They knew that aggressive young players such as Josh Smith, Al Horford, Josh Childress and even old friend Joe Johnson would have the running and jumping edge over the Celtics. Once the series shifted to Atlanta, and the crowd got into it, the Celtics needed to respond, or else. You saw what happened -- the "or else."
The Celtics were in their first series together and they just did not handle it well. You can definitely thank the Hoop God that Game 7 was in Boston. The Hawks were overwhelmed by the experience. I would have no trouble believing that Josh Smith peed in his pants. He was beyond awful. They were all bad, but he was spectacularly so. He will learn from this. I'm putting him down for 30 when the teams first meet next year, and I don't care where the game is.
I said right then and there that this athleticism gap would become less and less of a problem as the playoffs progressed, and that if the Celtics were to wind up playing San Antonio, they would have a distinct edge.
OK, Cleveland. One word will suffice: LeBron. Yeah, they did a nice job on him, but the road thing persisted. You saw Game 7. If Pierce doesn't pull a Larry, it would have been over right then and there.
Detroit? It was nice that Chauncey got hurt early and was never really himself. Also, nice Game 6, Rasheed.
LA, as we know, was the NBA's first 6-game sweep.
- Quiz Time. One of these things is not like the other:
A. Bill Russell
B. Dave Cowens
C. Kendrick Perkins
D. Robert Parish
The answer is B, Dave Cowens. He's the only redhead.
Nah, just kidding.
The answer is C, Kendrick Perkins. Those are the four starting centers on the 17 Celtics championship teams. The other three have all won multiple titles (Russell 11, Parish 3, Cowens 2), and, oh yeah, the other three all have their numbers retired and, oh yeah, the other three are all in the Hall of Fame.
Not to intimidate you, kid, or anything ...
- My thanks to some astute readers who have noted that in my list of presidential administrations under which the Celtics have won a championship I neglected the presidency of Gerald Ford. When the Celtics won the 1976 title the Leader of the Free World was indeed the old Michigan gridiron star.
- It is time for the lobbying firm of Garnett, Pierce & Allen, which was so successful in its attempt to woo the estimable Mr. P. J. Brown into the fold, to swing into action again, this time to persuade James Posey that his services are both desired and required if the Celtics hope to repeat as NBA champions.
Wyc should have them the company credit card and send them out to Grill 23, Abe & Louie's, Legal Seafood, Santarpio's, or wherever Number 41 wants to go. There they wine and dine him and cajole him and, if necessary, beg him to stay for at least another year. Danny Ainge is already on record as saying the team couldn't have won without him, and who among us didn't already know that?
This is one time we didn't have to wind up calling the Better Business Bureau to complain about a product. This guy was the flip side of all that. He was everything he was supposed to be. Do not tell me he wasn't in Kobe's head.
Danny's right. If they come back next year without James Posey they ain't winnin'.
- We saw the future of LA point guard play with Jordan Farmar. They can go one more year with Derek Fisher, max, and then they must turn it over to the kid. He's got serious game, combining a nice ability to get to the hoop with 3-point range. And I just like the way he carries himself, too: confident, but not cocky.
- Leon Powe will never be an All-Star, and perhaps not even a starter (although I wouldn't bet against that). But he is going to be a guy who will win somebody a lot of games over the next 10 years, and I sure hope it's the Celtics. He takes it to the hoop as hard as any 6-fot-8 (or whatever he is) guy I've seen in years. He has an outstanding knack of getting his hands on just about any rebound within six feet of him. And he just flat-out brings it 24/7/365. His 14-minute, 21-point outburst in Game 2 was one of the great playoff highlights of the entire 2008 postseason, and I'm not just talking games involving the Celtics.
- Rajon Rondo doesn't hit those back-to-back threes in Game 5 of the Cleveland series when the Celtics were trailing by 14, at home, and we may not be having this conversation.
- There is a hyphenated word to sum up players such as Lamar Odom; that is to say, talented players who alternately excite and frustrate you, sometimes in the same period. That hyphenated word is coach-killer.
- I'd be kinda curious to know what those 27 members of the Spanish media who were covering the NBA Finals were writing and saying about Pau Gasol after Game 6.
- I know how some of you roll your eyes when scribes start tossing around the numbers, but I feel compelled to report that the Celtics' dominance in periods two and three of the Finals was startling. As you may have heard, the Celtics won all but one of the third periods, the only one taken by LA being Game 5 (24-18). But the Celtics also were vastly superior in the second quarter, aka the Subs On Parade.
Boston won the second period in Game 2, 34-25, the second period in Game 3, 25-17; the second period in Game 4, 31-15; and the second period in Game 6, 31-25.
Their combined margin in the combined second and third periods of all games was 319-249.
In case you're interested.
- Now that Wyc Grousbeck has won, he can put that hideous green pinstriped suit on eBay.
- RIP, Joe Massoni, the Gino Guy.