Chris Bosh walks into a bar…

Chris Bosh with CP3's MVP Precious

We wants the Preciouses!

The NBA All-Star Game is the most significant, insignificant event in the sporting world.  Defense isn’t played until the middle of the 4th quarter, players consistently travel and the outcome of the game is meaningless – except for the individual players themselves. It’s really just a 48-minute highlight reel. Something for the fans, but really pissing contest for the NBA elite. And with so much talent on one court, the rules are simple: perform at the highest level, or get posterized.

While CP3 deservedly won the MVP this All-Star game, this weekend’s big winner was unequivocally Kyrie Irving – quite possibly Cleveland’s next chosen one. As Reggie Miller said during the 3pt competition, “This kid is trying to take over the league”.

The Irving show continued on Sunday night when his barrage of dunks, lighting-fast crossovers, and no-look alley-oop passes showed off every facet of his game, including what kind of damage he could do with another superstar on his roster (Lebron comes back to Cleveland in 2014? You never know…). And let’s not forget his ankle-breaking moves on Brandon Knight a couple nights before:

But using Knight as an example, not everyone chosen to participate in the All-Star weekend leaves looking like a true baller. In fact, for every highlight reel, there is a winner and loser. And last night’s biggest loser was the infamously-flappable CHRIS BOSH (said in a Miami announcer’s voice). As if playing the third-wheel to Miami’s super-star duo wasn’t bad enough, Sunday night Chris Bosh showed all “217 countries and or provinces watching” (according to David Stern at least) that he was the worst.

It began with a last-minute start to the replace the injured point guard Rajon Rondo, which wasn’t too surprising seeing as Spoelstra was coaching. He figured he’d do what he always does: sit back and let Lebron and Wade make the decisions.

But most likely in an effort to bolster Bosh’s fragile ego without sacrificing a “W” in a meaningless game, passes kept coming his way, passes he was all too willing to hoist up from deep that often sailed over the rim like the Siberian comet, completely untouched until finally hitting the court with a pathetic thump. Even his mid-range jump game didn’t fare any better, as this KG mimicry air-balled out of bounds, wide-left. Somewhere Billy Cundiff just raised a glass…

But the real embarrassment came when the Mighty Bosh got “nutmegged” twice – once by All-Star MVP Chris Paul and soon thereafter by Tony Parker. For those of you not familiar with the term “nutmegging,” it is used by soccer players when you dribble the ball between the defender’s two legs. While you hardly ever see a basketball nutmeg in NBA games, it’s a common sight in pickup games and serves only one purpose – to humiliate your defender for calling that last foul. It looks a little something like this:

Bosh Nutmeg

Now I get that no one really plays defense in the All-Star game until the 4th quarter, but Bosh was his own worst enemy here. Defending basics 101: A) Don’t square up on a driving player B) Take away the angle, not the player C) Close your goddamn legs, you’re losing friends. Bosh was in no position to move with his half-split on, and basically left enough room for Chris Tucker to dribble underneath him. Some plays later, Tony Parker did the same exact thing, taking advantage of those wide open Bostrich legs. Here are both plays, plus commentary from Chris Paul afterwards:

All Bosh could do after the Parker nutmeg was throw a gangly arm to Tony’s chest and foul him out of bounds, basically violating the unspoken rule of no-fouling in the first half of the All-Star Game. Dick move, Bosh. Even more dickish than your uncontested two handed jam that you felt warranted hanging on the rim for two seconds. One thousand one…one thousand BOO!

And as if the hangover from the Drunk Chris Bosh Sh*t Show wasn’t enough, today Lil Wayne released a video explaining his hatred for the Miami Heat, why he’s been banned from all NBA games, and to add insult to injury, that he “f*cked Chris Bosh’s wife” at his performance in Houston last night (video).

Poor Chris Bosh. One really is the loneliest number…


The Gruesome Twosome

kg_pick_pierce_300350Life is impermanence. Less than a year ago (going back to my last post), the Celtics were one defensive guard (Avery Bradley) from going to the finals. There was still hope, after the LBJ beat-down, that the next year, with Green and Bradley returning and key re-signs to anchor Boston’s veteran core, that next season looked bright.

Even when Jesus ShuttlesWorth took his talents to Long Beach, it seemed alright. Boston did the smart thing and let KG and PP  take it easy on their knees, put roll players around Rondo and let El Generalissimo coordinate the attack. After all, he is the “Engine that stirs the drink”…or at least he was.

Since then, the Celtics have gone 4 – 0 without “The Clinic” dishing out dimes and working the paint like he was a miniature version of Dr. J. While I’m happy to see them rebound, I have to face facts: they are clearly a better team with Rondo then without. Let’s not forget a 6 game losing streak proceeded their Rondo-less 4 game win streak. Do you believe in the almighty Law of Averages?

Losing Sullinger – Boston’s “too-good-to-be-true” rookie, rebounding stud who looked destined to wear Mean Green for a long time – just twisted the knife in further. But to be a Boston sports fan is to suffer. Adversity is our middle name. With a playoff berth still very much possible, the only question left to ask is: “Ok, so what next?”

I would like to believe that Fab Melo will step up and that Wilcox will be able to expand his role from glass clean up duty and fast break alley-oops, but to what end? Without KG on the floor our defense collapses. Now, without Paul Pierce our offense can only score on fast breaks. Even a C’s team that makes into the playoffs wont be able to beat the Heat at those role playing positions (where usually only 8 men get all the minutes). Their team, with the exception of Wade and Lebron ARE ALL roll players (sorry Bosh). How do we stop a super-star duo in the primes of their careers?

We turn to their aging predecessors and test to see if age beats beauty (still love the beard, Pierce!). We let the KG and Truth High Pick and Roll Show become a standard of their offense. KG is a mismatch nightmare. If you play him soft he’ll drain16-20 ft jumpers all day, if you play him to aggressively he’ll work you in the paint. Paul Pierce right now is seemingly the only Celtic starter that can create his own shot and thrives from the high guard spot either using the step-back three or his lefty fade.

In the past four games, I’ve seen a lot of this play as Pierce has been the primary ball handler, and KG has been Mr. Clutch in the 4th. So I say, turn them lose. You look at how valuable these two guys are to the C’s and you look at their contract situations and it’s a no brainer. It’s this year or never again. So with all this trade-deadline talk that will likely amount to nothing, I say give Pierce and KG their wishes. Let them have one more shot at the title and THEN let them retire as Celtics.

As a fan, I want to see this not only because of all these guys have given to the cause, but because secretly, I think that this Gruesome Twosome has a chance for just one last dance.

Kicking Bass

Brandon Bass DunkThere better be an NBA Playoffs BIG commercial for Brandon Bass ready to air in time for Game 6 in Philly. I’ll make it myself if I have to.

I don’t know what play they’d use (take your pick from the 3rd Quarter last night), but I’d personally go with this one, with the text “They might be the big three, but when the ball finds me, I know where to put it”:

And yes, for those of you looking closely enough at the bench’s reaction, there was yet another Keyon “Fighting Irish” Dooling “flexing” display (a term coined by his celebratory culprit-in-crime, Marquis Daniels). For more on the growing Boston Bench phenomenon of “flexing”, here’s an explanation (and awesome gif) straight from the leprechaun’s mouth.

Thanks to that Bass-kicking display, the Celtics are up 3-2 going into Philly, with confidence that anyone on the team can step up, impose his will and dominate a game to close out the series. Even the rookie Gregg Stiemsma had a fantastic game, blocking, pulling down boards and connecting with Rondo on the pick and roll.

That’s because the Celtics are playing like a well-oiled machine blending young, high energy players with older, craftier veterans. Rondo is the engine that stirs the drink, or whatever Chuck said…

When I watched the game last night, I heard Chris Webber talk about two Boston huddles that apparently got them fired up (Bass especially) and pushed them to take the lead. By all accounts it was battle-cry and a reminder that this team is a dangerous, mean, green monster. I’m not sure what Doc said, but I’m sure it was awe-inspiring. Some of that fire and brimstone, old-school, epic sh*t.  When and if that speech goes public, I want a copy of it so I can listen to it on my morning commute.

It was so motivational, in fact, that C-Webb couldn’t contain his jubilation, bringing back my personal favorite cheer, aka the “Futbol Announcer,” “Rondooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo” in the 4th Quarter:

It’s just so much fun to watch this Celtics team right now mainly because they are the ultimate 2nd half team. How they overcome deficits and execute when it counts. How on any given night they defer to the guy with the hot hand, and let him carry them. That’s because they play together, lock down on D and find the open man. Last night Bass was the open man and boy did he make the 76ers pay for it.

And like a true Celtics player, he had these choice words to say during the post-game interview:

“When you’re on a team with a guy like [Rajon] Rondo, the ball just happens to find you.”

I’m glad Bass said that. Even when last night HE was the man. Because, not to belittle his 27 point accomplishment, but his comment was spot-on. Bass was hungry, so Rondo kept feeding him – and that 18 point appetite saved the C’s.

You Won’t Like Me When I’m Angry

Kevin Garnett is the HulkThe worst thing you can do is give a Celtics great another reason to win. Because it awakens the Garden’s very own Green Monsters, turning Kevin Garnett into a one man wrecking crew, Rondo into a triple double machine (tied with Lebron in playoffs), and Pierce, well, into “The Motha*#$&ing Truth” (hey Shaq said it).

Simply put, the Celtics morph into mini-Hulks when the words and elbows start flying. So word for the wise, Don’t piss them off. Right Larry?

The Celtics are the pinnacle of basketball professionalism, from Russell to Bird to Pierce and Garnett. When you perform at such a high level (that I’ll admit borders on psychosis), you are locked in, focused and willing to do just about whatever it takes to win. 17 Banners hang in the Garden because this is the Celtics Way. And no one epitomizes it more than Kevin “Still The Big Ticket” Garnett.

When KG has this look on his face, you are in for trouble.

Sometimes I see this look in Garnett’s eyes, usually around the last 3 minutes of the 4th Quarter: The game is close, Garnett is sucking down wind and raining sweat. He looks spent. Then right before the inbounds pass, reset. His posture changes, he stops heaving and that look creeps up on his face. It’s probably the scariest thing you will ever see on a basketball court (or honestly in real life). It’s a death stare. Like looking into the teeth of a Great White. Woe is f*&%ing you, guy. You just poked the bear.

So why would you give KG a reason? Other than the fact that this is his last year and shot at another ring. You don’t think that motivates him enough? Why call out one of basketball’s best for being old? Why call him dirty? Crazy? Yes. Absolutely. But dirty? That’s just ignorant. And then you say he’s old? I don’t know many old guys that can put up 28 pts, 14 rebounds, 5 blocks and 3 steals in a playoff game. KG plays the game the way it is supposed to be played. Last night was a reminder.

So when Michael Gearon Jr., co-owner of the Hawks, took pot shots at KG and his illustrious career, he ruined any chance his team had at advancing into the semis. Yep. This loss is on Jr. Sorry dad.

Calling KG “old” and “dirty” is a personal affront to all that KG has accomplished, and thus, KG had to remind Gearon just who he was messing with, carrying the C’s en route to another playoff series win. Way to turn Bruce Banner into the Hulk, dingus. Here’s the press conference interview after the game:

Keep the insults coming and C’s may just have the last laugh.

Rajon Rondo: The Darkhorse MVP

Just hear me out before you write me off as crazy. I know there are better players in the league–that’s not what this is about. MVP. Most. Valuable. Player. The acronym has to mean something.

Last year it did. D-Rose won the MVP not because he was better than Durant or Lebron, but because he did more for his team. Without him they were a pretender. With him, a contender. That’s where Rajon Rondo comes in.

Yes they are very different players, but their value as point guards and directors of the offense is the same. Last year Rose carried the Bulls to a fantastic record and playoff bid, only to be steam rolled by Miami in five. He put up a valiant effort in the face of tough odds–thus solidifying him as the MVP. It’s not just stat lines and dunks, it’s W’s that are created by the will of a single player.

I get it. Chicago last year was a better team than the C’s this year. The Celtics are just a shell of their former champion selves, and as much as it pains me to say this, it looks near impossible for any team other than Miami to make it out of the Eastern Conference Finals (unless Dwight Howard dons the highly unlikely mean Green). Teams like this years C’s don’t usually have a player nominated for MVP. But when you look around the league for one player who absolutely carries his team and puts them in playoff contention, I see two guys: Rajon Rondo and Kevin Love. And I’m not from Minnesnowta.

I watched this game, right at the heels of Rondo’s NY Knicks triple double game and it amazed me. He was everywhere on the court. D-Wills 57 pts. went unnoticed, Linsanity died and Magic Johnson finally acknowledge the greatness of Rondo. For Magic had never put in a stat-stuffing performance this impressive:

Here are some other names I’m gonna throw your way to prove just how ridiculously good (and undervalued) Rondo is: Jason Kidd. Wilt Chamberlin. Oscar Robertson.

What do they all have in common? They, along with Rondo are the ONLY players EVER to record more than 15 pts 15 rebounds and 20 assists. Rondo did that last week (he had two triple doubles in a two game period).

Kidd and Oscar are 4 inches taller than Rondo btw, and well Wilt was a giant among men. That’s not just skill and mad ups. That’s the will of a champion. And in case y’all were counting Rondo still has 1 ring more than Lebron James, Chris Paul and Kevin Durant do combined. JUST SAYIN’

I’ll be the first person to admit to you that Lebron James is the greatest basketball player in the NBA and that Durant could evolve into a better scorer than MJ (so what you want to fight about it?). But MVP is about VALUE. Value to your team. OKC and Miami would make the playoffs every year without Lebron or Durant. Boston this year, not so much…

When Rondo is at his best, the Celtics go on 6 game win streaks. When he’s injured or not 100%, they go on 6 game losing streaks. He is the barometer for the C’s because he is the most important player on a franchise trying to recreate itself. He does everything, which is what the C’s desperately need now. And yet they want to trade him?

That’s because he’s the only one worth a damn. It’s counter-intutive but yeah who wants Paul Pierce or KG for the next two years? I hope the Truth retires a lifelong Celtic, but you can’t beat gravity. Just ask Shaq.

Rondo is the future, unless Ainge really has lost it, and trades him laterally for another PG. It wouldn’t surprise me and honestly I can’t wait for the trade deadline next week to pass. I want to remind people that he’s 24 years old. Imagine this guy once he develops his jump shot game and adds 3 pt range. Splish. Splash. Sploosh.

If the Celts take the Atlantic and manage to claw their way into a dog fight against Miami or Chicago, you can bet your ass it’ll be because he puts up triple doubles in playoff games. I just hope his back holds up under the weight of this franchise long enough to hear chants of “MVP” rain down in the Garden.

Oh the Lin-Sanity

LinsanityWhen Yao Ming retired from the NBA, China’s influence among the sport of Basketball began to wane substantially. That was, until Lin-sanity swept the league. Now everyone is talking about the former Harvard Star and Taiwanese native, who has carried the previously slumping New York Knicks to four straight wins with him starting at point guard.

The question everyone is asking is “can he keep this up?” Will Lin be able to put up these gaudy numbers on a nightly basis? Will he be able to adjust to the return of superstar Knick teammates Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony? Well after watching him drop 38 points on the Lakers (and burning Kobe) at Madison Square Garden the other night, I gotta say, Lin can ball. Just watch this replay:

好球!Great field vision, silky-smooth jumper and the guy can move on the court. Sure he’s no Rajon Rondo, but it’s nice to finally see a guard representing China ball. But how did Jeremy get from being cut by other NBA backup squads, to starting for the Knicks? Here’s the story of Lin’s unexpected rise into the NBA.

The Legend of Lin

Jeremy Shu-How Lin or 林書豪 (Lín Shūháo) was born on August 23, 1988. Lin grew up playing basketbal in Northern California. In his 2005-06 senior year, Lin captained Palo Alto High School to a 32–1 record and upset nationally ranked Mater Dei, 51–47, for the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Division II state title.He was named first-team All-State and Northern California Division II Player of the Year ending his senior year averaging 15.1 points, 7.1 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 5.0 steals.

After receiving no athletic scholarship offers out of high school and being undrafted out of college, the Harvard University graduate reached a partially guaranteed contract deal with his hometown Golden State Warriors.

But stuck in one of the NBA’s best back courts sharing time with superstar guards like Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis, Lin’s chances to play were all but gone unless facing some garbage time at the end of games. Coaches tried to boost Lin’s confidence, creating a rule that “he could not be fouled in practice” so as to boost his confidence and “swagger”. It didn’t work out well and soon Lin was a free agent following the 2011 lockout.

The Knicks claimed Lin off of waivers in December of 2011, as a backup guard. Little attention was paid to Lin as super star players Stoudemire and Anthony dominated Knicks headlines. But then when the Knicks began losing (yay!) and Carmelo and Stoudemire imploded on their teams, it was time for a fresh breath of air on the court. Lin, not one to waste a golden opportunity, picked up the ball and ran with it. Since then he hasn’t looked back. Now he’s on the cover of ESPN, the talk of the twitter community and has been accepted as New York’s favorite son. Everyone loves an underdog story.

Time will tell if he can keep it up, but from this die-hard Celtic fan, I gotta say, ”加油,Jeremy”. Sometimes the best ballers are right under your nose, warming the bench, waiting for their chance to shine. Shine on, 朋友 and bring excitement and enthusiasm back to Chinese fans. With each win, the Lin-sanity grows.

I’ve got a Love that Keeps me Waiting: NBA

A few weeks ago, the prospects of having ANY kind of NBA season seemed slim to none. I’ll admit it, I had given up. I cursed David Stern’s name regularly and began entertaining the idea of becoming a Bruins fan to pass the time.

All I wanted for Christmas was the NBA, but Scrooge McStern and his fellow 1% of the 1%ers had other plans. The Celtics shot at another title appeared lost. Basketball would roll on, but not the NBA:

Then a few days ago I get a text at 7am saying something I figured impossible. Most good news doesn’t come that early but this bolted me outta bed. I hop-stepped over to my laptop and typed in E-S-P ….Hallelujah!!! The NBA was back.

Somehow someway (owners folding mostly) I got my Christmas wish. I was literally as excited as this guy (if you want to hear 5 new tracks from the Black Keys upcoming album “el camino”, click here):

Lets not dwell upon the fact that it will be a truncated season (66 games) or that we should have had 54 days of basketball before the Christmas day triple header tips off.

Lets not dwell on the fact that owners still got more than they should have and that mid-level players are screwed. It’s the NBA. It’s good f**king enough. I’m a lonely boy and I’m sick of waiting.

So gents, we’re back into the swing of things. Start researching players, teams and free agents (it’s gonna get wild real quick), start up a fantasy basketball league (my favorite kind of fantasy league), and most importantly, find some good people, couches and bars with flatscreen tvs to post up at. You’ve waited so long. Be patient. It’s just 24 more days and counting.

In the meantime, watch Lebron James wreck sh*t on the football field and be thankful Kevin Durant didn’t try out for the NFL:

Top Ten Reasons to Hate David Stern

Well it’s pretty much official. Bye, bye regular NBA season. Most likely, bye, bye any kind of season at all. David Stern doesn’t want you to have professional basketball.

Sure, he’ll be fine (see Reason #6) he’s done this before (see Reason #3). Much like the GOPs prospect for 2011, he wants the NBA to fail, so next year he can swoop in, pick up the broken pieces, and charge more to put them back together (TARP-TARP-TARP). Screw the fans, screw the players and employees, Gordon Gecko aint got shit on David Stern.

And for that, we salute you (kind of). Here’s a toast to the douchebags…Top Ten Reasons to Hate David Stern:

Reason #10:

Because he went to an Ivy-League Law School (Columbia)…what a dick.

Reason #9:

Because he supported moving The Seattle SuperSonics to Oklahoma city. One of the largest markets to the smallest. A storied franchise crumbles for reasons fans cannot believe. He did have a buddy on the OKC board tho…

Reason #8:

Because of the “Envelope-gate” 1985 Draft. His “random” method of drawing 7 last place teams out of a tumbler was exposed when the first pick of the draft became lodged in a corner and the NY Knicks (the team with the largest market) “miraculously” got #1. Basketball is a business, people?

Reason #7:

Because he’s only receiving “one dollar” as a salary this year to help with the lockout. That’s one dollar more than he’s worth.

Reason #6:

Because Stern earned and estimated $23 million dollars last season (and that’s just on the books). Again see Reason #7.

Reason #5:

Because the Lakers have finally started to suck, and yet Kobe gets another year to rest up his knee while the Celtics start their own shuffleboard league. I guess this is a rebuilding year…

Reason #4:

Because Stern was directly responsible for the expansion of 7 teams (Hornets, Timberwolves, Raptors, Bobcats, Grizzlies, Magic and Heat), the first four of which are still “hemorrhaging” money and are a large reason why owners are demanding more money (to recoup their losses). This is simple greed, expanding into market when times were good, then putting the squeeze on employees when their portfolios dip. Sound like anything else happening with unions, say in the midwest…

Reason #3:

Because this is the fourth time an NBA lockout has happened under his watch. Yes, fourth: 95, 96, 98-99 and 2011-present.. In 16 years. That’s means that 25% of the time, under Stern’s watchful eye, there wasn’t an NBA season. Great business management. Usually when you don’t get your work in/create a product, you get the axe. He got a salary bump each time.

Reason #2:

Because he’s a dirty liar. Stephen A Smith looks ready to punch him (now that would make for one hell of an interview):

Reason #1:

Because we love this sport and David Stern does not. America needs basketball in this recession, not talks of how to divide billions of dollars up between people who already have way more than their fair share.

Since when is a sport a business, anyway? I mean jebus, you give me 100 million and say invest this prudently, and you think I’m going to put my long-term investment into a business where the durability of a 7-foot man’s knee is the difference between profit and losses? Hell no. Click here to read a very interesting article about the “Psychic Benefits” of owning a sports team on Grantland.

Maybe these owners and Stern are just bad at what they do. Maybe it’s time for some young blood and a new approach to the business side of the NBA. In countries around the world, the game is becoming more and more popular (1.4 billion people in China are down). If anything, this should be an expansion year, with 8-12 regular season games being played worldwide to expand the product and viewer base.

I’d like to say this is about the 99% vs. the 1%, but it isn’t. I’m sure you can bet that most NBA players prefer a flat tax or 9-9-9, but that might just be because of Herman Cain’s hilarious video:

Still, they deserve a (more than) fair break, and that’s what this is about. They put their bodies and livelihoods on the court, while the NBA execs sit in luxury boxes and mull their bottom line. To the owners it’s just a game. To players it’s everything. I guess my point is: don’t hate the player(s), hate the game.

Quote of the week: “We smoked it all.”

Rasheed Wallace is no role model. Sure I’m bitter as a Celts fan. I expected more out of him in ’09-’10, and even with a great (losing) effort in game 7, he didn’t do much else over the course of the playoffs. Analysts called him a cancer to the team, but that’s a little too far. Lets just say he was providing the smoke.

So when Oregon Ducks cornerback Cliff Harris was pulled over for driving 118 mph on a suspended license with marijuana smoke billowing from the car, he did something stupid. He channelled the ‘Sheed.

The officer asked if he had any marijuana in the car and he said outright:

“We smoked it all”. Textbook Rasheed Wallace who has used this line on a number of police officers over the course of his (pseudo) illustrious career (Donte Stallworth has also plead the 1/8th). The cops then searched the car and confirmed Harris’s statement. Here’s the video footage from the dashboard cam:

“What do you have on your finger, is that the Pac-10 ring?” For the record, he passed the field sobriety test. Still an idiot for driving 118 with a suspended license, but that’s not what’s got people talking.

Harris, the Ducks star CB (top 10 ranked) was driving with fellow starting QB Darron Thomas, yet Thomas received no charges as a passenger or for his involvement. Harris, however has been suspended indefinitely, not because of the speeding violation or license issue, but because of admitting to smoking pot. I wont get into how ridiculous that is, but NCAA takes nonsense like that seriously (see previous post on NCAA, Student Athletes and Prostitution).

What it comes down to, unfortunately, is that by admitting to smoking, instead of playing mum,  Harris got himself suspended. That’s what you get for using a Wallace line. DAMN YOU RASHEED!