Archive for January, 2010

Celtics-Lakers
January 31, 2010

So can the Celtics beat the Lakers?

Before the Celtics began this tough 3 game weekend against 3 of the best 5 teams in the league my son and I came to a unanimous decision- the Celtics would win just one of the 3 games. We were leaning strongly toward thursday night’s game in Orlando. We should have been right after watching them blow a 14 pt 3rd quarter lead. Knowing what an awful matchup the Hawks are for the Celtics, our 2nd choice was beating the Lakers. But the way the Celtics have been playing, can they actually beat the Lakers?

All of the Lakers worst memories from the 2008 finals are going to be rekindled today. And most of those bad memories come from being out muscled, not being tough as the Celtics. The Celtics come into todays game with a chip on their shoulder, having lost their last 2 games and with a little something to prove. The murmurs are out there that father time is catching up with the Celtics, quickly. Will 14 year veteran Kevin Garnett ever be 100%? 34 year old Ray Allen doesn’t have the lift in his jump shot. 33 year old Paul Pierce has some games where he looks like he has played almost 1,000 games.

Today, the Celtics manage to put all of those doubts behind them. Timing is everything in life and today the timing is bad for the Lakers and good for the Celtics. It’s not going to be easy but the Lakers Paul Gasol is going to be looking for the nearest whirlpool after playing against Kendrick Perkins. And no one loves playing against the Lakers than L-A native Paul Pierce and when Pierce plays well it opens up alot of opportunities for Ray Allen. The Lakers Derrick Fisher cannot guard Rajon Rondo. Oh, Ron Artest will frustrate Paul Pierce a little, but if Pierce can stay patient he is going to like todays outcome.

-MD

Celtics in trouble?
January 29, 2010

No, I’m not overreacting to one loss but I am looking at the whole picture here and right now it is blurry because of the health of Kevin Garnett.

If Kevin Garnett doesn’t get healthier, the Celtics have no chance of winning a championship. Do I think he will get better-Yes. Do I think he’ll get healthy enough to be able to win a title-I have very serious doubts.

Last night’s loss to Orlando was painful but it also brought out Garnett’s lack of mobility on the game’s final defensive play which was a lay-up by Rshard Lewis who Garnett was (supposed to be) guarding. Painful indeed.

This whole Garnett deal -return from off season surgery, is painful (no pun intended) because no one tries harder but as hard as Garnett tries, right now he is just not physically able. I put him at about 80% which is still just about as good or better than anyone else, but not the dominant Garnett that the Celtics need to win a championship.

To make matters worse, this is a guy who the Celtics are committed to for 20 million dollars a year for 2 seasons after this one. That is alot of money for a guy who is not 100%. The Celtics certainly understand the long term picture so expect Garnett to get some more time off this season to try and get this leg healthy.

In the meantime the Celtics can win alot of games, like they did last year, with Big Baby and now Rasheed filling in. So let’s go, give KG some rest here and there and hope that he can regain most of the strength in his left leg.

-MD

Bob Halloran: Marathon Man (Part II)
January 28, 2010

(note: Bob is going to provide weekly diaries as he prepares for the Boston Marathon. We’ll provide links to all of the previous posts in each new one, or you can click on the Boston Marathon tag below.)

Read Part I here.

Training for the Boston Marathon creates enough mood swings to make you believe you’re going through man-opause. One day I’m convinced I can do this. I’m exhilarated and happy! The next day I’m struggling to get through a five miler. I’m despondent and grumpy. All I can say is, I wasn’t ready for the bad days.

I figured once I ran ten miles it would be safe to say that I can run ten miles. Next week, I’ll run 11 or 12, and I’ll keep running further as the marathon gets closer and I continue to get in better and better shape. It made sense at the time. Heck, it still makes sense, but it’s a load of hooey (clean blog here). There are bad days in training – days when you’re legs are tired, the hills are tougher, you get winded easily, or your mind is weak. I have never experienced that before.

Sure, there are bad days on the golf course or the tennis courts, but that’s all about coordination or concentration. I assumed fitness was different. For instance, I’ve been lifting weights off and on since college. I don’t lift to body build or bulk up. I’m just looking to maintain a certain lack of fatness that I’m comfortable with. And it doesn’t matter if I’ve had two hours of sleep or nine cups of coffee, I lift the same amounts every time. Sometimes the bench workout can be a little more strenuous, but I do my lifts of 12, 8, 6, and 4 with increasing weight – every time. The same is true with the curls and rows, and whatever else I choose to do on a given day.

But weight lifting is all about short bursts. No matter how tired you are, you can certainly do two or three more reps. Your body remembers what it can do, and it just does it. Maybe it’s because I’m not pushing myself that hard to begin with, but when it comes to the running, I most definitely am.

Plus, running is all about long and sustained efforts. Even when you think, “I’ve only got a mile to go” – that’s a mile! That’s not two or three more steps. It’s more like 15-hundred more steps. That’s when the calculator in my head starts to prey on my resolve. It’s like one of those little devils that sit on your shoulder and mock you, or tempt you to quit.

“Well done, Bob. You just ran ten miles,” the little devil says. “Now, sit down and rest. Drink your water. Relax. Feel better? Now get up and run 16 more miles. That’s the marathon, baby. It’s the impossible times two-and-a-half, plus that extra mile. You, old man, are never going to make it. Have another donut.”

That’s about where I am today. I struggled Monday with the five miles, and no, I don’t believe the rain had anything to do with it. And I fared a little better today with my 7.4 miles. But on Saturday, I’m supposed to do them both. My first 12 miler, and not to be self-defeating, but I don’t see how it’s possible. I mean, I’ll make it. If I have to walk a portion of it, I’ll make it. But my goal is to RUN the marathon. I don’t want to walk across. I guess I’ll take what I can get, but I really want to run the whole way.

On the bright side, I’ve still got 11 weeks of training, and I get to eat everything I want. Seriously, you start running 25 to 40 miles a week, you can eat everything in the house. It’s a nice perk.

Just Call Him “Glen”
January 28, 2010

Looks like Celtics forward Glen Davis has come to his senses and decided to go without a nickname for the foreseeable future. Here is what the former “Big Baby” posted this morning on his Twitter account, @GlenDavisNBA:

“Thanks to everybody for all the great suggestions. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. If people want to call me Big Baby like Shaq does that’s cool. But really, I’m just Glen Davis—not uno-uno or anything else. I’d rather let my play on the court be what I am known for, not some nickname. So feel free to call me Glen.”

Rondo, Pierce To Be Named All-Star Reserves
January 28, 2010

Sources with knowledge of the results tell SportsCenter 5 that Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo will be named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team later today.

The coaches vote for the reserves. It will be Rondo’s first All-Star appearance. He is averaging 14.2 points per game, 9.7 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.5 steals at the halfway point of the season (41 games).

Captain Paul Pierce will also be named to the team. Forward Kevin Garnett was voted a starter by the fans.

Yahoo! Sports has obtained the complete list of reserves, which will be announced tonight during TNT’s NBA coverage.

Brady and the Bruins
January 25, 2010

Tom Brady made an appearance this afternoon at the Tobin Community Center in Boston to deliver a check for $30,000. on behalf of Smart Water because they agreed to donate $5,000. for every game Brady was not sacked

Brady told us that none of his injuries (finger, knee, shoulder) would require surgery. He also told us that he watched the 2 Conference championship games but would not commit to picking a winner. He did say that both the Saints and the Colts deserve to be there because they play so tough.

I also took a trip this morning to the Bruins practice, the slumping Bruins practice. They appear a bit rudderless, looking for a break and a win. I think they will turn it around. They are not nearly as bad as they have been playing recently. Marc Savard was back practicing and his return to the line-up on Friday night at Buffalo should help. But will it help enough to give them a win against a pretty good Sabres team.

-MD

Garden Jinx over and Colts-Saints
January 25, 2010

Finally, the Celtics friday night ended the garden losing streak (barely-overtime win) that had extended to 8 straight losses including all local teams. Unfortunately The Bruins began another one on Saturday with their 5th straight home loss but the Blazers(Lacrosse) reversed it on Saturday night with their 1st home win of the year. The Celtics can extend that to 2 straight tonight against the Clippers.

Super Bowl 44- Peyton Manning against Drew Brees. Love Drew Brees but you cannot deny Manning’s greatness (in case you forgot he has won 4 MVP’s)…have to think about this one for a little while and will give you my thoughts as the big game approaches.

-MD

Bob Halloran: Marathon Man (Part I)
January 24, 2010

(note: Bob is going to provide weekly diaries as he prepares for the Boston Marathon. We’ll provide links to all of the previous posts in each new one, or you can click on the Boston Marathon tag below.)

If you’re interested in hearing about the mind set of a rookie marathon runner, what happens during training physically, and about the many mood swings that mess with the first-timer’s confidence – welcome to my blog. About three weeks ago, I ran ten miles on a treadmill at the gym and decided I could start to seriously train to run in, and most importantly finish, the Boston Marathon. Yes, at the age of 46, I finally am that crazy.

I’ve always wanted to run a marathon, mostly because I hate running. I ran as a youngster to stay in shape for soccer and tennis, and I’ve run off and on as an adult, so that I can eat more than I should without getting too fat. So, I’ve flirted with the idea of increasing my three and four mile runs to a point where I could think about running a marathon. But then I’d grab a can of cashews and sit back down on the couch. For some reason, this time was different. And I’m glad. I’m extremely nervous, but mostly glad. And I don’t hate to run quite as much as I used to. So, there’s that.

As I train, I’ve discovered the loneliness of the long distance runner allows for a lot of extra thinking. And as I recently developed blisters on my feet so big and puffy it feels like I’m running on bubble wrap, I was reminded of something my friend and colleague, Ron Borges, told me when I was writing “Irish Thunder” about Lowell boxer Micky Ward.

Ron told the story of Micky getting hit so hard in a fight that a hole opened up in his bottom lip that you could stick your finger through. Ron’s line was something like, “Micky could brush his teeth without opening his mouth”. Now, the cut happened midway through the fight, and Micky just kept going. Oblivious to the pain, he was able to fight on and eventually win. But just a few minutes later when he was in the locker room, Micky took a drink of water from a bottle and immediately cried out in pain. Ron explained that when Micky was in the ring, his mind took over his pain sensors. In that environment, he could ignore what would make a normal person cringe and give up. But outside the ring, Micky was normal and the bottle hurt his boo boo a lot.

Fast forward to me – which is what this blog is all about after all. I started noticing the blisters around the four mile mark of my first ten mile run. They didn’t really hurt. The sensation was similar to when you poke your finger into an area of sunburned skin. Not painful. Nothing to worry about. I’m a tough guy – like a boxer. Yeah, that’s right. I’m a lot like a boxer. I do all the road work, but I skip the part where you get hit a lot.

But it was after the run that I thought about what Ron had said. Mr. Macho here had a little trouble taking his socks off. And when I went into the shower, I walked like I was going across hot coals and whimpered a little when the hot water hit my feet. But you can’t skip any days during training, so the blisters get worse before they get better. Now, I can’t wait for my calluses to arrive. I’ve never said that before. And I’ve never meant anything more.

– Bob

Garden Jinx II
January 22, 2010

With the Bruins loss last night, let’s now count up where the Garden losing streak stands. Let’s see, that’s 4 straight losses at home for the Bruins, 3 straight for the Celtics, 1 for Boston’s entry in the MLL-the Blazers.

Now we could take this a step further. You could include all local teams in local venues, so throw in the Patriots home playoff loss AND the Redox last playoff loss at Fenway, that’s 10 straight losses by home teams in local venues.

The local teams just can not be this bad, can they? Are local fans just not bringing it like they used to to give the teams the home court advantage they deserve? Or is the solution as simple as just playing a little better and a little harder?

The Celtics tonight have a chance to put an end to this losing streak when they host the Portland Trailblazers. But This will be no easy task as the Trailblazers have the 5th best record in the West. But tonight should mark the return of Kevin Garnett who has missed the Celtics last 10 games. Is putting an end to this losing streak as easy as adding arguably the most intense and competitive player in his sport? We’ll see .

-MD

Celtics-What’s wrong?
January 21, 2010

Celtics Chief Danny Ainge knew what he was getting when he signed Rasheed Wallace, but somehow he probably thought that the Celtics could bring out the best in him more often that had been his norm. So much for wishful thinking.

Now, Rasheed is far from the Celtics only problem but his lackadaisical play on defense seems to be infectious, which makes Doc Rivers sick to his stomach.

Last night’s loss to Detroit, the Celtics 3rd straight loss is yet another example of the Celtics problems continuing and even getting worse, certainly not getting better. They look very tired, uninspired, apathetic.

I know that it is only the regular season but the Celtics are developing some bad habits, habits that they need to turn around if they are going to contend for a championship. Right now they are not close to that.

Kevin Garnett returns to the lineup Friday night. The intensity he brings will help, a lot, but he is not 100% so he cannot dominate like he used to. Will he bring out the best in Rasheed. Celtics fans can only hope.

MD