How the Eastern Conference Finals were lost and looking ahead

As shots clanked off the front of the rim, as sweat poured off their elder brows, a few things became obvious in what may have been the end of an era, and the beginning of another.  As talented, determined and Hall-bound as they were, the 2012 Boston Celtics were simply not as good as the Miami Heat.

As a strictly impartial observer, I have ridden the Miami Heat bandwagon all season long.  It just seemed like the natural progression of things.  While this team is still flawed, with two of the planet’s three most talented players, the Heat have taken a page out of the Jordan-Pippen playbook and presented a duo too difficult to defend.  That’s my stance and I’m sticking to it.

I got to watch some of the Heat-Celtics Game Seven, not as much as I would have liked considering I was working, but I did manage to watch the replay I so wisely DVRed.

Here are a few things that stood out…

Boston’s bench scored only two points that night, those coming from Ryan Hollins, mid-way through the second quarter.  Despite shortened season and immeasurable will, the Celtics’ elder statesmen were absolutely gassed by the time the final minutes of their season came to pass.  That’s no excuse, that’s just reality.

Despite his coaching acumen, Doc Rivers’ decision to play Brandon Bass on LeBron James probably backfired.  Not that anyone can, but there was no way Bass could guard James on the perimeter.  As a result, James made him pay. Read more here…

Where do the Boston Celtics go from here?

Now that the Boston Celtics, a franchise donning seventeen World Championship banners from the rafters of  T.D. Garden, has been officially eliminated from any further play this season, it is time to review and prognosticate on where they were in December and who will be with them going into next season.

The NBA lockout prior to the beginning of the 21011-2012 season hurt many teams. However it had worse of an impact on the Boston Celtic players more than most of the other teams in the NBA save for the Spurs and maybe the Lakers, due mainly to some of the aging stars on this storied franchise; Ray Allen turns 37 next month, Kevin Garnett 36,  Paul Pierce 34.

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said that KG and Pierce both did not begin the season in ‘basketball’ shape and it took a while for the two of them to shake of their collective rust. After their loss on opening day against the N.Y. Knicks, the Celtics went 4-8 over their next 12. The rust on their so called ‘big three’ was beginning to show.

Read more here…

Heat Fan stabbed a Celtics fan after Game 6

LeBon JamesThings got way out of hand when a Miami Heat fan went Jason Voorhees after the Game 6.

Boston Police are searching for a Miami Heat fan accused of stabbing a Celtics fan after Thursday night’s game.

Witnesses say a group of Miami Heat and Celtics fans poured into an alleyway by the TD Garden and one of the Heat fans stabbed a Celtics fan with a switch blade-like knife.

Witnesses told police that two groups of about six people starting arguing over the outcome of Thursday night’s game when the suspect, who was wearing Miami Heat clothing, pulled out a large knife and stabbed the victim.

I am not surprised by this mainly because I see the type of raw emotion that comes out of people during and after these games every single day.

And that is just online.

As someone who has been to many sporting events and seen my share of fights break out, the combination of alcohol and people way too invested in their teams lead to these type of altercations.

It should never get to the point of fighting, shooting and stabbing, but just be aware when you are at these events everyone isn’t as sane as you.

It is quite possible the man who just defending himself from Celtics fans who were salty over the loss.  It could have went either way, but the point is be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Some people just hate their lives and have no problem killing you over a game, so please be safe.

Be sure to check out other great articles at BlackSportsOnline

Mickael Pietrus: Player spotlight

mickael_pietrusThe player spotlight for this week is Mickael Pietrus of the Boston Celtics. Born February 7, 1982 (30), he is from Guadeloupe, a Caribbean island that is a part of France. He also has an older brother Florent Piétrus that also plays pro basketball.

Pietrus, was drafted by the Golden State Warriors with the 11th pick of the 2003 NBA Draft. The same draft that headlined Lebron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. (How fitting) He was known as Air France overseas and had quite a bit of success with his french team ÉB Pau-Orthez winning French Championships in 2001 and 2003.

Pietrus played in Golden State for five seasons where he averaged… (Statistics provided by Wikipedia) Read more here…

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2003–04 Golden State 53 22 14.1 .416 .333 .693 2.2 .5 .6 .2 5.3
2004–05 Golden State 67 3 20.0 .427 .344 .698 2.8 1.2 .7 .3 9.5
2005–06 Golden State 52 18 22.7 .404 .318 .608 3.1 .8 .6 .2 9.3
2006–07 Golden State 72 38 26.9 .488 .388 .648 4.5 .9 .7 .8 11.1
2007–08 Golden State 66 16 19.9 .439 .361 .673 3.7 .7 1.0 .6 7.2

Knicks’ Stoudemire taking notes from Kevin Garnett?

Amare_stoudemireAmare Stoudemire was in Miami for tuesday nights game against the Boston Celtics. He happened to get lucky that night, he watched the team that put him out the playoffs get handed a bitter loss. Perhaps it was Stoudemire enjoying a game of basketball or it could have been a bittersweet moment for him. Either way he was out and it looks like he was having fun.  Read More…

What’s wrong with the Miami Heat?

The Miami Heat are in big trouble. Not only are they on the verge of being eliminated from the NBA playoffs by the Boston Celtics but they are on the verge of being dismantled.

After losing Game 5 at home last night, the Heat have been subject to even more scrutiny than usual and no one is safe.

Most of the criticism has been aimed at head coach Erik Spoelstra. There is no doubt that he has made mistakes and has been out coached. Not playing Chris Bosh down the stretch in the fourth quarter might have sealed his fate. Even if Bosh wasn’t 100% you still have to put him out there to give yourself a chance to win. Like most of his team, he seems to fold under pressure. I can’t tell if he is infecting the team or they are infecting him. No matter what happens, Coach Spo will probably not be back next season. But you can’t blame everything on him.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade deserve some blame, too. Both of them will disappear for stretches at a time. LeBron has always had a weak psyche. When the team is winning he is the first one out there posing and preening for the cameras but when they are losing he sulks and seemingly gives up. He’s like the bully who finally gets punched in the mouth and runs off crying. The whole team is like that. Read more here…

Celtics Fans will be wearing Tim Donaghy masks tonight

Tim Donaghy Mask

One radio station wants to take the questionable officiating in this year’s NBA playoffs to another level. While it’s nothing but a publicity stunt to bring traffic to the radio show, they have a point. Five technical fouls were called on the Boston Celtics during Game 1, but none against the Miami Heat. Twenty-five technical fouls on opponents of the Miami Heat in the postseason vs. only seven on the Miami Heat themselves.

From the Toucher & Rich show, Dwyane Wade shoulder tackling Darren Collison without getting ejected. Dexter Pittman violently elbowing a guy in the throat and winking at his bench but still being allowed to stay in the game.

Five technicals on the Boston Celtics during Game 1, none against the Heat. Doc Rivers saying, “Come on, Ed” and getting a technical. Paul Pierce fouling out while LeBron James is whistled for just two fouls.

Lebron shooting 24 free throws in Game 2, while the entire Celtics team shot 29 and the Miami Heat shot 47. Forty-seven!

With the game tied, Rajon Rondo getting slapped in the face by Dwyane Wade, with no call. Wade karate-kicking Kevin Garnett, with a foul called on Garnett.

Let’s face it, folks: the fix is in. So let David Stern know how you feel on national television tonight by wearing your very own TIM DONAGHY MASK.

Just print it out, cut along the lines, and wear it proudly at tonight’s Celtics game!!!

 

Sights, sounds and emotions from Celtics-Heat Game Two

After watching LeBron go for 32 in Game One and seeing both he and Wade combine for 197 points in their final three games against the Pacers (that’s good!), the four hour drive from Tampa to Miami left me wondering what we were in store for Tuesday night.  A 40-point performance?  Fifty, perhaps?  Certainly Boston’s defense wouldn’t allow that to happen.  But we’re slowly learning that anything is possible when Wade and James step on the floor.

Regardless of the outcome, two things were certain.  Miami did not want to let Boston back in the series and Kid Sheraton and I would be regular customers at the arena bar.

As it turned out, someone did score forty Tuesday night, but he wasn’t wearing a Miami uniform.

The Heat came out sluggish, shooting 25% from the floor for most of the first half, simultaneously allowing Boston to score at will.  Wade was even held scoreless until the final seconds of the first half.  Were it not for Miami’s role players, Udonis Haslem, Mike Miller, Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers, Boston’s double-digit, first-half lead would have been much larger.  Still the white-clad Miami crowd remained positive.

Chalmers led Miami with 14 points at intermission.  His counterpart at point guard, Rajon Rondo, was having the game of his life, finishing the first half with 22.  Boston led by seven heading into the locker room.

Read more here…

NBA Eastern Conference Finals: Heat v Celtics

Rajon RondoIt’ll be the last time I say this. I am a Celtics fan. Despite any possible biased feelings, Boston has no shot in this series. I’ll dissect the ins and outs of this matchup, but there’s only one reason I need to count the Celtics out. Avery Bradley’s out of this series and will be out for a part of next season due to his dislocated left shoulder.

(2) Miami Heat vs (4) Boston Celtics

Bradley means the world to the Celtics. He’s known for his defense, and rightfully so. He’s one of the top perimeter defenders in the NBA, and he’s only 21 years old. For Doc Rivers, Bradley was the one person he could count on to shut down the best player, or at least slow down a superstar on an opposing team. Bradley wasn’t the only reason Boston ranked first in many defensive categories this season, but he was a major part of it. To let Rondo not be forced to defend the best perimeter player on the opposing team, it allowed him to somewhat freelance defensively, which led to high steal and rebound totals.

Read More Here…

 

An ode to Kevin Garnett

Kevin GarnettI’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now, to pay tribute to Kevin Garnett, in-arguably one of the best players of his generation.Let’s say you had to describe Kevin Garnett to someone who had never before watched a basketball game, yet laid eyes on him for the first time.  What words would you use?  Would frightening be one of them?  Intense?  Driven?  One-of-a-kind?  All of those would be appropriate since after all, Garnett helped redefine the modern game in a number of ways.  He was one of the first of this generation to come straight out of high school, make an impact, in a small market and warrant big money, Garnett money. Was he a center?  Certainly not.  At 6’11”, he was tall enough but he couldn’t have weighed more than a buck-eighty five.  Was he a power forward?  Again, too frail.  Was he a small forward?  Nah, too tall.  So what was he, other than a freak of nature? Read more here…

The next great NBA rivalry may be upon us

Magic versus Bird, Russell versus Chamberlain, Jordan versus everybody else.  These are the rivalries that molded the National Basketball Association into what it is today.  It’s why so many fans resented LeBron when he decided he’d rather play with his best friend instead of eking it out on his own. But fear not, NBA fans.  We may be on the verge of another great rivalry.  If franchise owners play their cards right, these two teams could dominate the league for years to come. I’m not talking LeBron versus Kobe.  That’s a Finals matchup we have yet to see. It can’t be LeBron-Carmelo.  Even though they entered the league in the same year, LeBron is showing us he’s a far more dominant player. Read more here…

Don’t count the Boston Celtics out in the Eastern Conference

Boston Celtics v Miami Heat

The Boston Celtics have beaten the Eastern Conference favorite Miami Heat twice in the span of 10 days and have sent a message that is loud and clear to the rest of the NBA; don’t count us out yet.

After starting the first half of the lockout shortened season with a 15-17 record, the Boston Celtics have turned things around and are now one of the hottest teams in the league.  Since the all-star weekend, Boston has posted 18 wins to only seven losses giving them the third best record in the NBA since the break behind the San Antonio Spurs and the Chicago Bulls.  As the NBA playoffs approach, Celtic fans have to be wondering if their team can return to the Finals.  The answer to that question is yes and here is why.

As mentioned previously two of Boston’s wins during the second half of the season have come against the Miami Heat.  Losers of 5 of their last 10, the Heat are slumping and steadily losing ground on the Eastern conference leading Bulls.  If the Heat can’t pull things together prior to the playoffs, an early exit may be in order for LeBron James and company.

The Bulls have problems of their own.  Despite having the best record in the NBA, defending league MVP Derrick Rose has been sidelined with nagging injuries throughout the season.  Rose has missed 23 of Chicago’s 58 games this season.  Although the Bulls have stood tall above the rest of the league in his absence, his presence will be a must in the later playoff rounds.  Chicago has been great during the regular season but don’t expect them to go deep in the playoffs without a healthy No. 1.

So with the Heat slumping and the Bulls hurting the way to the NBA Finals could be paved for the Celtics.  Doc Rivers has done an exceptional job with this team and should make some noise in the Coach of the Year balloting.  Kevin Garnett has been playing like the KJ of yesteryear while Paul Pierce and Ray Allen remain very solid.  Throw Rajon Rondo in the fold, who is capable of exploding at any time, and the Celtics still have a very formidable lineup that has gotten hot at the right time.

The key for Boston throughout the playoffs will be to keep the series’ short and avoid game seven’s.  Shorter series’ equates to more rest and a fresher Boston team will be a dangerous one; especially if the Heat and Bulls aren’t playing up to par.

If the Celtics can advance through the East and get to the Finals it will make the third appearance for their Big three.  After beating the Los Angeles Lakers and then losing to them two years later, Boston appears hungry for a return trip and the opportunity to bring home the organization’s 18th title.

Follow Aaron on Twitter @Da_Bear_Truth

Boston Celtics streaking at the right time

Boston Celtics 3

Boston Celtics 3At the end of the first-half of the NBA season the Boston Celtics where 15-17 sitting at 8th place in the Eastern Conference. Everyone was saying the Celtics are to old, worn out from this tough season schedule, and that GM Danny Ainge should trade away part of the big three. The Celtics did not just look tired, they looked hopeless, but Boston has silenced doubters now.

Man, how things have changed in the last 21 games. Boston has gone a stunning 15-6 against a strong schedule and minimal rest. Who do we give credit for this remarkable turn around? Doc Rivers has pulled off some nice feats as a coach, but these last 21 games have been something else. Kevin Garnett is starting to look like the animal that joined the team in 2007, and also Rajon Rondo has been completely uncontrollable.

Hats off to Doc Rivers for taking this Celtics team and getting them to play playoff basketball at just the right moment. The of the Celtics getting into the playoffs was even at risk. Now Doc has them sitting at top of the Atlantic Division currently sitting on fourth overall in the East. Doc has had to go through so much this season. Injuries have hit the C’s so hard this year. With everyone in the starting lineup missing games this year. The lockout shortened season cramped 66 games in the span of 4 months, causing teams like Boston to struggle. Doc has picked up and resurrected this lifeless team to what some people think to be as a legitimate playoff contender.

The Big Ticket has been huge these last games. Since Kevin Garnett has played center the Celtics and him have been surging. Kevin Garnett is playing as the intense monster he has been for the Celtics in recent years. He will be turning 36 in just over a month and is getting sustainably better during the most physically demanding season the league has had. He is putting up stats almost as good as the year he finished third in MVP voting which was 2008. Kevin is using the media calling him old and having no gas left as motivation, as if the most intense player in the league needs more things to get motivated about. I have no clue how Garnett is pulling of these numbers, but he is doing this at just the right time and hopefully can continue this in the playoffs.

Rajon Rondo was in numerous trade talks before the trade deadline even though Danny Ainge send he was not on the table. Since then Rondo has showed why he is the best PG in the league. Rondo has been getting over 10 assists in the last 14 games and 14 assists during the Miami Heat’s worst loss of the season. Rajon has been finding open teammates constantly and driving in at will. Despite all of the rumors that Danny Ainge was going to trade him, Rondo has shown why he should never be traded under any circumstance. Rondo has been a triple double threat every single time he has walked on to a basketball court and come playoff time that should be no different.

From Doc Rivers, KG, or Rajon Rondo, the Celtics have been on a tear overall, not to mention to emergence of Avery Bradley, Boston has been looking as strong as they have the last 21 games then we have seen in awhile. Come late April though how will Boston’s undersized and small lineup far against the Eastern Conference’s elite for a 7 game series? Time will tell, but I would not be surprised if we do not see the Celtics in the Conference Finals.

Morgan Grimmett is a NBA writer for The Sports Blitz and can be contacted at MGrimmett@SportsBlitz.com or on Twitter @Morgan_Grimmett

NBA supreme court: Magic Johnson’s junior hook beats Boston

Magic Johnson

Magic JohnsonIt was Game 4 of the 1987 NBA Finals. Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers led the series 2-1  against NBA rival Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics. If the Lakers could win the pivotal game in Boston they would take a commanding series lead. If the Celtics won, the series would be tied at two games a piece and they would be right back in it.

After the Celtics jumped out to a 16 point second half lead the Lakers came storming back.

The outcome on the game was still undecided with five seconds remaining in the 4th quarter and the Lakers trailing 105-106. It was Lakers’ ball and what happened next was pure Magic. Lakers lengedary broadcaster Chick Hearn made the call.

The Lakers took a 107-106 lead on Magic’s “junior hook.” It was a baby version of the famed hook shot of teammate Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

Larry Bird would miss a desperation shot as time expired in Game 4 giving the Lakers the win. L.A. would go on to win the series in six.

Follow Aaron on Twitter @Da_Bear_Truth

Elite NBA teams win on the road

Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook

It’s no secret that in the NBA, in order to be an elite team-you have to win on the road. The Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, and the San Antonio Spurs have a few things in common: these teams all have aging veterans, these teams have won 8 of the last 10 championships; and they all have losing records on the road so far this season.

Wait a minute! Losing road records for the most dominant teams in recent memory? How can this be? How can teams that are used to winning games at home and on the road all of sudden be losing on the road? The shortened season is definitely a contributing factor. Every team is playing games more frequently to make up for the condensed season. So when older teams play this type of schedule, the fluidity of games takes its toll. This is why we’re seeing older teams like the Lakers, Celtics and Spurs struggling right now on the road.

There was a time when the aforementioned teams were elite. Elite in the sense that they were virtually unbeatable at home and that same trend continued on the road. Any decent team in this league can win games on their home court. In fact, most average teams can manage to win in front of their home crowd. However, championships aren’t won by decent or average teams, they’re won by elite teams. And those same elite teams have the ability to walk onto someone else’s floor and beat them like they’re playing at home have historically been winners.

The Lakers along with the Celtics and Spurs used to be in that category. They used to have swagger when they stepped onto someone else’s floor. And why not? Most of the time there were more fans cheering for them than the home team. However, now it looks like the paradigm has shifted. The Oklahoma City Thunder and the Chicago Bulls both have the league’s best road records. 12-5 and 14-6 respectfully. They also fall into the elite team category as well. Something the Lakers, Celtics, and Spurs used to have.

Terrance Shumake is a featured journalist for TSB and follow him on twitter @tmshumake