By Kevin Henkin
It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these so it’s time to roll out the rolling observations, Full Court Press-style. I’m at the Celtics game against Dallas on a generally rare early Sunday afternoon tilt (although there a couple more of these coming up in the next month). Dallas is almost always a frisky opponent for Boston, even though they typically take a laisssez-faire approach to defense and feature a star player who brags about smoking dope during radio interviews. Onto the game…
With sudden daylight, Kendrick Perkins takes a wide open 15 footer along the baseline. Hmm. Despite the fact that he missed, I still feel like I just spotted a unicorn.
Wow. Dallas seems to be exerting some genuine effort on defense, which I suppose is a reflection of Rick Carlisle’s instilled attitude.
Thus far, Paul Pierce has been having some problems on defense against Josh Howard. He responds by going at Howard hard on the other end of the floor, getting Howard up in the air on a fake and converting on a lay-up in the absence of any help defense.
On the next possession, Pierce hits on open three. Josh Howard was so far away that Pierce could have flossed his teeth and read a 5,000 word Bill Simmons article and still had time to get the shot off uncontested. Maybe I spoke a little too soon about the vaunted Dallas defense.
Garnett intercepts an inbounds pass from Dirk Nowitzki and goes for a quick slam before drawing the foul. Nowitzki raises his hand dejectedly to accept the foul, which seems sort of obvious considering he was the only Dallas player within thirty feet of the play. The big German is capable of many things on a basketball court but playing effective defense against the likes of Kevin Garnett does not appear to be one of them.
During a break in play, the Jumbotron shows Lucky the Leprechaun spraying the entire contents of a silly string canister onto an unsuspecting fan wearing a Mavericks jersey. The Dallas fan seems to take it in stride but it makes me wonder if Lucky ever pauses before spraying certain fans with pink silly string, thinking to himself, “Hmm, that guy in the Marbury jersey looks like a serial killer. Maybe I’ll stick with the fat guy in the next section wearing the Renaldo Balkman authentic.”
Brian Scalabrine enters the game at the 1:42 mark to a hero’s welcome. He even wipes his hands on the bottom of his sneakers a la vintage Larry Bird, which is pretty cool in a spoofy sort of way. Ten second later he sinks an open three pointer, prompting a Dallas timeout with the score 31-17 in favor of Boston. I’m thinking the Big Three are going to play limited minutes in this one.
Rondo hits a contested 18 footer with two second left in the quarter, bringing the score to 38-23 for the frame. 38 points? How embarrassing, even by Dallas standards. For the quarter, Garnett and Ray Allen have 11 points apiece while Pierce has 8. Boston is shooting 67% with no turnovers. Dallas meanwhile is shooting 40%.
Early on, Dirk Nowitzki takes about seven steps on his way to converting a layup through traffic. No call. The NBA: Where Blatant Superstar Treatment Happens.
Rondo hits another jumper. I’m going to keep mentioning this whenever it happens because if it continues, it’s going to seriously screw up opposing defense game plans.
Scalabrine hits another open three, bringing the score to 56-31, prompting yet another Dallas “calm down” time out at the 6:50 mark. For what it’s worth, this is the best ball movement I’ve seen with three bench players on the floor all season. God bless this Dallas defense.
Holy crap. The Jumbotron just showed Nomar Garciaparra sitting courtside with Lou Merloni. The Boston crowd at first seems unsure what to do before giving him a classy cheer. There’s nothing quite like two World Series titles in four years to help a fan base put aside some mixed ill feelings.
The Jumbotron also shows Lenny Clarke sitting courtside. Like Garciaparra, he gives a friendly wave to the crowd. I’m suddenly nervous. I hope this doesn’t mean that the rest of the Celtics’ season is about to be canceled.
Rondo just hit another jumper. Keep counting.
Eddie House just sank his second consecutive three, officially bringing Boston their first 30 point lead of the day at 64-33. I’m pretty sure that if this was a little league game, Rick Carlisle would just forfeit.
End of the half score is 74-47, which is about as ugly a palindrome as you’ll ever see in this league.
I keep waiting for Jason Kidd to get to the line so I can see whether he still blows kisses before he shoots. Hey, if he’s still blowing kisses to his now ex-wife, he’s clearly a better man than I.
Jason Terry gets a little gabby with Kevin Garnett after being called for a foul away from the play. He looks ridiculous acting tough with Garnett. For what it’s worth, Terry has always struck me as a punk, in a Nate Robinson sort of way.
I think at this point, both teams have scored baskets in each of their last ten possessions. What with the 30 point lead and all (90-60 at the halfway mark of the quarter), I think it’s safe to say folks won’t be showing film of this half at any defense clinics.
To their credit, Dallas continues to work extremely hard on the offensive end. After all, the opposing defense has softened and there are stat sheets to be padded.
Dallas has the lead down to 25. Honestly, if there were another 8 or 9 quarters left to play, I swear the Mavericks could get right back in this thing.
Yet another Eddie House three boosts the Boston lead up to 103-78 by the end of the quarter, which means the Celtics were able to achieve their season scoring average in three quarters. Nice day at the office for the starters, who can obviously expect to sit for the remaining 12 minutes.
The Boston lineup consists of House, Scalabrine, Glen Davis, Gabe Pruitt and Bill Walker. Patrick O’Bryant seems to take the slight in stride but Leon Powe looks confused. Meanwhile, Dallas continues playing Nowitzki, Kidd, Howard, Terry and Brandon Bass. Carlisle is clearly giving them the “bad dog” treatment.
Patrick O’Bryant and Leon Powe enter the game at around the 8 minute mark, officially signaling the end of the Doc Rivers mind games for the day.
Eddie House sinks another two consecutive threes, bringing the score to 118-89 and another Dallas timeout. Gino gets rolled out on the Jumbotron, which a multitude of fans take as permission to leave. Hey, at least they showed up, which is more that can be said for the Dallas Mavericks today.
Game over. Final score 124-100, and it wasn’t even that close. What else is there left to say except: Update the record to 37-9 and bring on the Sacramento Kings.