Archive for March, 2009

Garnett Out
March 31, 2009

Kevin Garnett is out indefinitely. As we 1st told you last Friday night on SportsCenter 5, The Celtics were thinking very seriously of shutting Garnett down for the rest of the regular season and today Doc Rivers used that exact same terminology saying “We are shutting him down” saying Garnett will not play at least the next 3 games with the remote possibility of playing a couple of games the last week of the season. That, unfortunately, is the best case scenario.

Garnett, who played parts of 4 games after missing 13 games because of a strained muscle behind his right knee, has just not healed and in fact was not close to 100% in the 4 games  he did play.

The Celtics have 7 games remaining in the regular season season- 2 this week-Charlotte on Wed and Atlanta on Friday, 2 next week-Wed vs NJ & Fri vs Miami. The Miami game is a possibility for Garnett. The Celtics follow that up with a game at Cleveland on Sunday April 12th, and then stay on the road for a game Tues the 14th @Philly before finishing the regular season the very next night vs Washington.

That last game against Washington would be the most realistic possibility of Garnett suiting up for a regular season game as a mini tune up for the playoffs which would start the next weekend.

-MD

No Garnett, No Problem
March 30, 2009

For the 2nd straight game and 16th in the last 20, Kevin Garnett was not in uniform but last night KG was not needed because last night the opponent was the lowly Oklahoma City Thunder.

So when will we again see KG? When should we again see KG? When is the next time we really need to see KG? Those are the questions Celtics management is asking themselves. The biggest challenge in answering those questions is KG himself.

The Celts would like to just shut him down for another week or 2 just to make sure that he will be ready for the playoffs. KG is itching to get back and I mean really itching. Now he is smart enough to understand the long range goal here but when he is able to play, he wants to play-Really wants to play, and KG is able to play but not the way that KG really likes to play, so the tough decision.

Sit him and just tell him he has earned a weeks vacation and then reassess next week. Just 7 games remain in the regular season. Take off the 2 games this week. They have 5 days in between this Friday’s game against Atlanta and next Wednesday’s game against New Jersey (which will be a little like last night’s 18 pt win over Okl City,aka-easy).

I’d say let Garnett play in 2 or 3 of their final 4 games as a warm-up (their last 2 are back to back and he should not play in one of those). The he would have 2 or 3 practice days before the 1st round of the playoffs (probably Detroit or Philly) which should be alot easier than last years 7 game series against Atlanta.

March Madness
March 27, 2009

Color me unimpressed with Pittsburgh. I know I’m biased (Syracuse alum) but they were on cruise control last night and with a couple of different bounces, Xavier would have shocked the world.

It didn’t help that neither team could shoot a lick, both under 30% in the second half. And DeJuan Blair needs to do 2 things: make layups and stop fouling on every rebound attempt. Sooner or later, the referees are going to blow the whistle for his constant pushing and shoving in the paint. This is basketball, not rugby.

If they play like they did last night, the Panthers will get run off the floor by Villanova. Oh wait, they already did, in January. And I don’t expect the result of this game to be any different if you look at how Villanova dismantled Duke last night.

The Blue Devils were completely overmatched from the get-go, as Scottie Reynolds dominated from the outside, and Dante Cunningham cleaned the glass down low. Duke looked tenative and didn’t attack the hoop (it didn’t help that Gerald Henderson and Jon Scheyer were a horrendous 4-32 from the field).

And then there’s the mystery of Greg Paulus, probably the second most hated player in the nation (behind ‘Cuse’s Eric Devendorf). Paulus started nearly every game over the last three years, becoming infamous for his hustle, constant hand clapping and cheering, and solid outside shooting. And suddenly, the team captain is benched by Coach K in favor of getting “more athletic.”

Now, Duke had a pretty good year, so it’s hard to second guess. But with two off-guard/small forward types running the show last night, Duke looked completely lost on offense. By the time Paulus got into the game, it was already a blowout and he had no chance to make an impact. I’m not saying he definitely would have changed things, but don’t you have to take a chance that his heart and experience could have kept Duke in the game early in the second half?

So now we have an all-Big East regional final – Pittsburgh (and the strangely-under-represented Oakland Zoo) and Villanova (who has TONS of fans in town, packing all four floors of the Greatest Bar before and after the game). Tip is set for 7:05 Saturday night. I think Reynolds and Cunningham are better – and want it more – than Fields and Blair.

Prediction: Villanova 72 Pittsburgh 64

Now let’s go Orange!

-SI

p.s. Cheap Plug Alert: the slideshow from last night is up.

Should Celtics fans worry?
March 26, 2009

The Celtics, after last night losing to the Magic in Orlando, are in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference. This means that, if the season ended today, the Celtics would have home court advantage in the playoffs for just their 1st round series (unlike last year when they enjoyed home court advantage in all 4 of their playoff series).

So can the Celtics actually win a playoff series when they don’t have home court advantage and would have to play a 7th game (if a series went that far) on the road?

1st of all-after looking at the 2 teams remaining schedules, I believe that the Celtics will pass Orlando in the final 9 games of the regular season (11 for Orlando) and regain 2nd place to secure home court advantage. But, even if the Celtics don’t pass Orlando- they can beat the Magic without home court advantage. Kendrick Perkins is one of the few NBA centers who is as physical as Dwight Howard (I know Howard had 24 pts and 21 rebs last night but that was with very little help from Garnett who played just 16 minutes).

Now what about LeBron and the Cavs. They are a very legitimate concern because they have virtually locked up home court advantage. So can the Celtics win a playoff game on the road in Cleveland where they have not won in over 2 years. I’m not sure if they can but I can tell you when they need to do it -Game 1 or 2.

While a Celts-Cavs playoff series would still be a month and half away, trust me, both teams are already preparing or it so we might as well.

-MD

Schilling, Garnett and NCAA
March 23, 2009

Curt, we hardly knew you. Or was it that we knew too much about you since you couldn’t stop talking. Whatever the case, you and your clutch pitching will be missed and remembered forever by Red Sox fans.

Schilling came here in 2004 and immediately delivered on his promise to help break the 86 year drought by continuing his clutch post season pitching performances…oh yah he won 21 games during the regular season as well. He delivered. Now, he did have plenty of help in ’04 from Manny and Oritz and Pedro and Derrick Lowe and Dave Roberts, but he beat the Yankees in Yankee stadium in a game 6 that will never ever be forgotten, something about a bloody sock.

In ’07 his post season ERA was even better than ’04, going 3-0 and helping the Red Sox to their 2nd World title in 4 years. But Schilling was so much bigger than just a baseball player. He had the courage to speak his mind no matter how much or little was on his mind. He even called out a local sportswriter calling him lazy amongst a number of things. Didn’t matter-Schilling delivered on the field, especially on the field in the Post season where he was 11-2 with 3 World Titles (yah he even helped bring the Diamondbacks a title which may be a bigger achievement than the the Red Sox…the Diamondbacks!, he did beat the Yankees in that WS)

Curt, we’ll miss you. Personally I will never forget that conditioning run he attempted at the beginning of  ’07. Schilling never pretended that he was a finely tuned athlete. He knew how to pitch and outsmart his opponents. He is a lost breed.

Bring on Garnett. How great is it to watch Kevin Garnett and the intensity he brings to a basketball game? He played just under 32 minutes total in the 2 Celtics games over the weekend yet there was no more important player. He stands alone, like Schilling did for the uniqueness they bring to their team and sport. Really- Garnett is one of a kind. He actually gave Rondo a light slap on the bench during saturday night’s win and that was after lifting up assitant coach Armand Hill near the end of Friday night’s big win at San Antonio. For anyone who loves compeition (or just winning) It is GREAT to see him back.

NCAA Tournament- Does Wake Forest have the worst coach in the NCAA tournament? All that talent and they get beat by Cleveland State?? C’mon. …Yes, I had Wake to get to the finals so they killed me, but that certainly does not cloud my judgement. OK, maybe a little.  And if you don’t believe my talent evaluation, just watch this years NBA draft and watch how many of Wake’s players go in the 1st round. 

-MD

Garnett and Allen possible for tonight
March 20, 2009

Celtics Coach Doc Rivers, after watching Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen at this mornings shootaround in San Antonio, will make a decision just before game time tonight in San Antonio on each players availability.

Garnett has missed a month where the team has gone 7-7 (including the game in which he was injured) with a strained muscle behind his right knee. Ray Allen missed wednesday night’s game against Miami with a hyperextended elbow he suffered the night before in Chicago.

We will update you when there is any definitive information.

-MD

Big Baby back tonight, Ray Allen questionable
March 18, 2009

Big Baby will be back in uniform tonight while Ray Allen will give it a go in warm-ups to see if his hyper extended elbow is healthy enough to give it a go tonight. The bad news is that the Celtics still will only have 3 big men to virtually play 2 positions- Glen Davis, Kendrick Perkins, and Mikki Moore because Leon Powe will not be available for tonight’s game against the Miami Heat after bumping his knee last night.

So, in his 1st game back after missing the last 4 games, look for Big Baby to start tonight. Rondo will be playing with a less than 100% ankle which he re-sprained last night.

Celtics fans better come prepared tonight because the injury depleted Celtics will need them.

-MD

A Day with Dwayne Wade
March 17, 2009

Today I talked to Miami Heat guard and MVP candidate Dwayne Wade, the NBA’s leading scorer, who has been in town since Sunday night.

I asked Wade if he has been to any sights around Boston. Quickly he said no. Instead he has watched alot of ESPN including his own highlights, as well as their coverage of the NCAA tournament. He also said that he has spent alot of time in the whirlpool and the pool at the Four Seasons. He and his teammates actually walked to their practice today right down the street at Emerson. He said that last year they took a bus to practice, a bus ride that could not have taken longer than 20 seconds, seriously. Wade said they complained about that so this year they walked, and complained again because it was cold. Showing that he really does “get it”, he then said- “but then again, that’s what we do, complain”.  Wade said that no fans bothered him or booed him as he walked the streets of Boston.

I asked him if he was going out to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. Again he said no altho he heard that Boston knows how to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.

Wade also spoke about his position in the MVP balloting saying, “I am honored to be thought of in the same context with Kobe and LeBron”. Wade also spoke  about his concern for his alma mater Marquette’s chances in the NCAA tournament against Utah State. He also admitted that his own Marquette team was given quite a scare by Holy Cross.

This is a guy who gets it and would look great in a Celtics uniform. He is a free agent in the summer of 2010.

-MD

Stick To Your Day Job Coach
March 13, 2009

This YouTube clip of Charlie Weis and Bill Belichick joining Bon Jovi last night for a performance of “Wanted Dead Or Alive” at a charity function is burning up the internet… there’s a reason these guys are football coaches! Word is Bon Jovi offered $50,000 to charity for the coaches to get up there and croon.

Rondo is back, Bruins, and Greatest College game ever?
March 13, 2009

Rajon Rondo just pronounced himself into tonight’s line-up against Memphis even tho Doc Rivers had minutes before said that Rondo is “probable”. Rondo told me that while he is not 100%, nobody else is either and he feels good enough to play. He said that he feels better than he did when he finished last Friday’s game against the Cavaliers after he had sprained his ankle earlier in that game.

Rondo’s insertion into tonight’s line-up will be a big boost to the Celts who are still waiting for the return of Glen Davis who will be another 2 games, Kevin Garnett who may be another 3, Brian Scalabrine who will be another 2 weeks and Tony Allen who will return soon after that.

A much needed win by the Bruins Thursday night should coax some of the die hard B’s fans off the Tobin Bridge (and off hold on the talk radio phone lines), but… it would have been nicer to see the Bruins thoroughly overwhelm Ottawa for the entire 60 minutes.  But as Shawn Thornton said before the game “let’s even grind out some ugly wins if that’s what it takes to get us back on the winnig track”.

Now, only the true (sick?) fans (me) stayed up for last night’s epic 6 overtime game between UConn and Syracuse. After a near classic finish in regulation that saw a winning Syracuse hoop at the buzzer disallowed as it was shot a tenth of a second late. After that, anything and everything went thur 6 overtimes.

Quite frankly, as the game went on, I was not surprised to see it continue and continue thru overtime after overtime. It was that type of game. After not trailing for the last 8:24 of regulation, Syracuse never led thru the 1st 5 overtimes. Not Once. That’s over 25 minutes of trailing or being tied, which is exactly what they were after regulation and 5 straight overtimes.

We will have more on this tonight at 6 as well. …and not that I am a betting man but if i was, I think I’d put the house on West Virginia over Syracuse.

-MD