Can the Celtics Win Again?

The Celtics have been my favorite sports team since I can remember. Yes, the B’s, Pat’s, and Sox are obviously right up there, too. But I have always seen the Green and White above all. I love their history, from Red Auerbach and Bill Russell, to the original big 3 (Bird, Parish, Mchale), to the new big 3 and everything in between. That being said, I do not remember the last time that I was this excited for the Celtics season to start. With the Pat’s barely sneaking by, the NHL in a lockout, and the Sox not playing last season (I’m pretending that’s what happened), I cannot wait.

In my opinion, this is the most talented team that we have had since the Bird era. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that we are as deep as the Russell team (Pictured Below) that had 9 future Hall of Famers on their roster in the 1962-63 season. Needless-to-say, they won a championship that season. That was their 5th in a row, eventually setting the record with 8 in a row. But we are solid. Continue reading

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Are the Celts Better Than 2008?

Although it is impossible to predict the NBA season already, I think it is safe to say that the team that Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers assembled this summer could be the best one that we have seen in at least 4 years, maybe even longer. Sure, we lost the best shooter the game has ever seen and KG and Pierce are that much older, but we brought in the perfect kind of players to fit into our system. Pierce averaged roughly the same PPG last season (19.4) as the year we won it in 2008 (19.6). Garnett’s numbers are significantly different and he is not feared by every player breaking through the lane anymore, but he is still a leader on this veteran team.

In 2008, Leon Powe  and James Posey were arguably our best bench players, both averaging about 7.5 PPG. I am willing to bet that Jeff Green, Jason Terry and Courtney Lee will all average above 10, or close to it. And with their amount of energy, experience, and Lee’s outstanding defense, they will be one of the most feared guard groups in the league, especially once Bradley is back.

There is one other major difference between the then-and-now teams, and that is Rajon Rondo. He averaged 10.6 PPG, 5.1 APG, and 4.2 RPG in the 07-08 Season.  Last year, he averaged 11.9 PPG, 11.7 APG, and 4.8 RPG. He has also developed into one of the best point guards in the league and a leader on a team that is mostly older than he.

Chris Wilcox is a solid bench player who was having a great season before getting injured. Jared Sullinger will play right away, and Brandon Bass will pick up right where he left off last season (12.5 PPG, 6.2 RPG). Not to mention Christmas, Joseph, Fab, Collins, and Smith who have all had great summer sessions and are prepared to fight for the last few spots. Plus we signed Darko Milicic who is 7’1. For those of you who don’t know him, he was selected #2 in the 2003 draft behind LeBron but ahead of Melo, Bosh, and Wade. Talk about a great pick up by the Pistons…

Although we have clearly re-fueled our roster, other teams have also gotten better. The Heat are obviously the team to beat, the Lakers had a huge summer trading for Howard and picking up Nash, and the Thunder are one year more experienced. The Spurs are always good and our division just got tougher with the new Brooklyn Nets. For anyone who thinks the Knicks are finally going to be good are mistaken. It should be an interesting season, as long as we can stay healthy for a change.

NBA Round Up

Jeremy Lin

The Knicks have until 11:59 tonight to match the Rockets offer to new sensation Jeremy Lin. Many Imagefans would probably say that New York would be crazy not to sign Lin after last season, but there’s a lot more to the story. They were ready to match the $25.1 million offer until they saw that the third year offer was worth $14.8 million. This would mean that they would have been over the line for the luxury tax and would have to pay an excess of $43 million dollars for the 2014-15 season. This isn’t bad for Lin seeing as he made under $800k last year.

The Knicks have now signed Raymond Felton who was part of a deal that brought Carmelo Anthony to New York just a few seasons ago.  So it seems as though Lin will be going back to the team that only kept him around for two weeks of training camp last season.

Howard talks Getting Annoying

There has been speculation that Dwight Howard’s agent and the Lakers have been talking about a trade that would bring the big man to Los Angeles, while Andrew Bynum goes to Houston, and Orlando gets some young players and picks.  However, Howard said that he would only sign with the Nets for a long term contract, so that might change the Lakers minds.

Jason Kidd fitting in in The Big Apple

ImageAfter leaving Dallas where he could probably drive around in fields and not be seen, Jason Kidd has been charged with refusing a breathalyzer at the scene of a crash and failure to stop, just days after being traded to the New York Knicks. His escalade hit a telephone pole and ended up in the woods. Probably should have called for a cab and paid the 10 bucks after you just inked a deal for over $10 million.

The Mavericks Sign Mayo

O.J. Mayo, who averaged 12.6 PPG off the bench last season with the Grizzlies, has signed a contract with the Mavs. He will most likely be the starting Shooting Guard for them, seeing as he averaged over 17 points in both seasons as a starter before moving to the bench the last two seasons.  If not, he can have Jason Terry’s old role as the sixth man now that Terry has signed with the Celtics.

Shaq Weighs In

It is impossible to not be compared to Shaq if you are Dwight Howard.  First off you took his nickname “Superman”, and now you’re trying to leave Orlando for a bigger market team.  Sure, Howard is the best center in a league that has seen the center position go with the wind.  Who does he really have to compete with? Jermaine O’neal, Andrew Bynum?  He has averaged 18.7 points in his career.  Shaq averaged 23.7 and most of his lows were when he was injured or like a hundred years old.  He also went against Olajuwan, Ewing, Mutombo, Robinson, & Mourning.

Howard will surely be a hall of famer, there’s no doubt about that, he is a great player.  It is scary for the Orlando Magic to have to try to start from scratch if Howard does leave.  He has given his agent permission to discuss deals with the Nets, Lakers, and the Mavs.  I can understand why the Magic’s owner said he wouldn’t want to trade his franchise player, but why not get something for him?  I know it  is tough because he will most likely not sign an extension with any sub-par team, but at the very least you can get a fill in and get some draft picks.

Even Shaq has said that it would be a ‘travesty’ to lose Dwight, and they don’t really like each other.  He thinks Orlando should try their best to entice him to stay by offering him the max contract, and bringing in players around him.  Jameer Nelson & Reddick cannot win you championships as your #2 in this league, it’s too tough now.  Plus, Orlando can offer him the biggest deal due to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.  If he goes to a new team, he will not be able to make as much until his contract is re-negotiated down the road.  I wouldn’t want to play for your Oompa Loompa coach either, but at least you are they key player on a playoff-contending team, with the assets to bring in even more help.

Signs of Life on Causeway

At this point I don’t think anyone knows what to say about the Celtics. Two weeks ago they were heading straight to the grave. But maybe we spoke too soon. Showing signs of life, the C’s picked up their third straight win last night, beating the Magic 91-83 in dramatic fashion. With Pierce leading the way, the Celtics overcame a 27 point deficit to hand the Magic an even more embarrassing loss than earlier this week’s 31 point massacre. E’Twaun Moore was huge off the bench, putting in 16 of his own, including a clutch three pointer down the stretch. He’s been my pick since day one. The kid has a big future in the NBA, just give him some time to develop. Oh, and in case you forgot, this turnaround has been without Rondo and Allen, making it even more confusing as to what’s going on with the Celts! By the way, congrats to Ray and his wife for welcoming in their fourth son, Wystan Ryan Allen, Wednesday night.

Anyways, the team has talent. That’s been obvious since day one. The surprise came when the talent didn’t mesh during games. The Celts have showed signs of brilliance, but seemed to struggle in finishing games out down the stretch. Granted, digging yourself a 27 point hole isn’t great either, but have they turned it around? Two weeks ago they would have fought back to within a few points, had the momentum on their side, and then with 5 minutes left let the fire go out and lose by double digits, letting us all down. We knew they were a better team than they were showing us. It’s still early in the short season but if anything, the past three games have given hope to Celtics fans. Maybe the flame is still burning on Causeway Street.

Jersey’s Newest Problem (as if they didn’t have enough)

Just when you think things may be turning around for the New Jersey Nets, one of their best players goes down.  Brook Lopez is now sidelined with a broken foot, and will be out until at least February, probably even longer.  This could be deadly to the Nets, who seemed to be the front runner in acquiring Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic.  Unless the Magic actually do hold out until after the all-star game that they are hosting to avoid an awkward return of a certain all-star, shortly after they have traded him.  Lopez was the centerpiece of this trade, and hopefully they can still make it work, so he doesn’t go to that yellow and purple team in Los Angeles.

As much as I would hate a Deron Williams-Dwight Howard duo in the Atlantic Division with the Celtics, I would rather see them win it than see the Lakers tie Boston’s record of 17 championships, and I hate Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, and dislike greatly Kobe Bryant (hate is a strong word for a player of his caliber… reminds me of rapist version of Derek Jeter).

Free Agency

Free agency drama continues. It looks like the Lakers might be back in the hunt for Chris Paul, because the Hornets (owned by the league) are asking for 4 players and a pick from the Clippers, and they do not think it is worth it.  They have a young team built for the future and wanted to keep most of that intact, rather than having just two players (Paul, Griffin).  Most likely, he will not end up with the Lakers because the Hornets want a younger team, one that only the Clippers can help them out with.  However, if the Clippers give away rising star Eric Gordon and a first round pick (from the Timberwolves so most likely a top 10 pick), it will be near impossible to resign Chris Paul after the season.  They need someone else to attract him other than high-flying Blake Griffin.

Ever since Dwight Howard said he would only play for the Magic, Lakers, Mavericks, or Nets, many trade rumors have settled down.  Until yesterday, when the Nets started to push heavily to get the big man to the Dirty Jerz.

On a quieter note, the Denver Nuggets re-signed Nene, the #1 free agent of this lockout-shortened season (Remember, Paul and Howard aren’t free agents yet).

 

Pre-Free Agents

The NBA is basically revolving around Chris Paul and Dwight Howard right now and where they will end up, either before the season (12 days away) or during the season.  Neither the Hornets or the Magic are willing to lose their stars after this season without getting something in return.  Negotiations have re-opened between the Clippers of Los Angeles and the Hornets, to send Chris Paul to LA.  The Clips have also won a waiver bid on Chauncey Billups.  Although Billups has gone on record to say that he will not report to any training camp of a team that is not in direct contention for a championship this season, so we will see how that goes.

The Orlando Magic and Dwight Howard may be able to stay together if they can show that they want to make the Magic a legitimate championship contender by signing more stars around him, such as Billups.  Might be kinda tough to get him away from the Clippers because they are looking to become the new number one team in LA with their young team.  They think that they can overcome the old age of Kobe, Gasol, and Fisher, and constantly injured Andrew Bynum (now that they lost Lamar Kardashian).  Even without Chris Paul, they are young and Mo Williams, Gordon, and Blake Griffin could spend a lot of years there.  But can they compete for a title? Could they even win their division?

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

With Christmas right around the corner, the NBA is definitely back. You can’t change the channel or put on the news without hearing something about basketball. It’s great. Unfortunately, as we wait for training camps to open, most of the news has been just rumors. Regardless, it keeps everyone on their toes so here’s some more.

20111209-134749.jpgLet’s start off close to home. It looks like the C’s have sent Big Baby to Orlando for Brandon Bass in a sign-and-trade. I liked Baby because of the vibes he brought, but let’s be honest. The guy is not a great player. He’s far too inconsistent. I hate to say it but I remember times where I’d find myself yelling “NOOO” when he went to shoot. On the other hand, Bass is young, up and coming threat that can shoot the ball better, rebound, and is all around more athletic than Baby. The Celts definitely came out on top of this deal.

With all the hype of the Lakers wanting Howard once the Paul deal was finished, this one kind of slipped through the cracks. Last night, Dwight Howard met with the Nets without the Magic knowing. Because his current team did not know, the meeting was in violation of the NBA’s tampering rules. Results of the meeting were to have Howard ask Orlando to trade him to the Nets Friday morning. We’ll see how that works out for Superman. The Magic, instead, may be filing tampering charges against the Nets and Rockets. Whoops.

Stern Being Stern

How awesome is the ScoreCenter app? An absolute must have for any smartphone. Anyways, last night I got a notification that Chris Paul was heading to LA. Not exactly what Boston fans wanted to hear. Not to mention they made it happen without getting rid of Bynum. Lookout Howard. Within 20 minutes, I got another notification saying the trade had hit a snag. Come to find out, big bad David Stern stepped in after several NBA owners complained vigorously about the trade. The cause of the problem: The NBA-owned Hornets presenting a conflict of interest. After all, did we not just miss two months of basketball due to issues of “making teams more equal”?

Well today is a new day. And with this new day comes an appeal from all three teams involved in the Chris Paul trade to reverse Sterns decision. One of the NBA’s spokesman said that the deal was blocked for “basketball reasons”. Sure…and the Indianapolis Colts will make the playoffs. The NBA found themselves in a sticky situation and Stern’s just trying to cover the tracks. Good try. The league is making a mockery of itself right now and it’s getting pretty pathetic. Either way, if the trade does end up going through, I’m not concerned. The Lakers are giving up two big names and the hopes of Howard following suit are getting slim. I guess we’ll just have to wait to see how things turn out in the next week or so.