By Matt Richardson
Oh my God.
I need to say it one more time, just to achieve some closure on the twenty-five other times I shouted the phrase during Tuesday night’s turnover-infested crapfest. On the obvious plus side, at least the Celtics won the crapfest. Imagine what the Cleveland fans must have been thinking in the wake of that three hour mind-numbing marathon. First they have to live in Cleveland, and now this. It all seems pretty unfair.
On any other given night, I’m thinking that LeBron James could probably shoot better than 2-18 coming off a leg amputation. Therefore, you’ve got to give credit where credit in due in Boston’s effort to keep King James in check and to hold the Cavaliers to 30% shooting overall. Boston’s own 42% shooting looked downright Artis Gilmore-esque in comparison.
Giving equal credit to the other side, the rotation of the Cavalier bigs makes it very difficult for teams to score inside the paint. Even so, I can’t shake the idea that the Celtics would have scored 15 more points in this game if it weren’t for all those unforced turnovers. Anyway, here are some other thoughts that I’ve complied on the game, some of the in-game commercials and on the series in general:
It was the Rajon Rondo show in the first quarter, capped off by him patiently setting up Posey’s fall away trey with only seconds remaining. This was after Tony Allen defied 12-1 odds by not dribbling the ball out of bounds prior to getting it to Rondo. It was an excellent overall performance by Rondo so I was left wondering why he ended up playing only played 30 minutes. He was not in early foul trouble and only finished the game with 3 fouls. Leading me to…
Sam Cassell. We’ll start with the bad, because I must acknowledge that in Game One it was outweighed by the good. In the second quarter, Boston descended into what I affectionately call The Sam Cassell Quicksand Offense. During that span, I wrote down “Can we please put Rondo back in?” That was followed by Cassell’s face rake flagrant foul (oops) on LeBron. After that, Rondo returned, immediately pushed the pace, set up Garnett for an easy lay-up and then scored on the next possession.
While acknowledging that Cassell’s shooting in the fourth quarter helped to win the game, I still come away feeling that whenever he is in there, it instantly becomes “The Sam Cassell Show”. Apparently, however, Mike Fratello and Sam share the same agent because Fratello lovingly referred to Cassell as a “shotmaker” throughout the contest.
One final note on Sam: I love the way he shoots free throws. He just steps up to the line, takes a couple of dribbles and lets it go. No muss, no fuss, no blown kisses or secret messages to the kids. He just grips it and rips it, baby. Conversely, every time I see Paul Pierce contorting his body in preparation for a foul shot, I cringe.
A quick aside on Mike Brown: If I’m the Cleveland Cavaliers, I’m not looking for a coach who has color coordinated designer eyeglass frames. Picking those out just seems like wasted time, and I won’t even draw the obvious Belichick comparison. I know the NBA has higher sartorial expectations of its coaches. Obviously baseball and football are in a different game-day category and hockey is a distant third due to the preponderance bad haircuts and polyester. Regardless, Brown’s carefully selected eyewear just seems like a bit too much attention paid to a trivial detail. What color are the frames if he wears a blue suit? Does he match the frames to the suit or to the belt and shoes? Does he have cordovan colored frames? What’s the rule on frame color shades after Labor Day?
Here’s a brief recap of the third quarter, taken directly from my notes:
7:55 3rd Quarter: This game sucks. Score: 45-44
6:40 3rd Quarter: Fouls on the last four possessions and counting.
It’s at this point that I begin to pay more attention to the non-game action.
First, we are presented with the Dodge’s new Journey crossover vehicle. I think I understand the whole crossover thing. The U.S. automakers are correct to shift their focus away from their gas guzzling monster SUV’s. That said, it seems like Dodge built this entire ad campaign around the fact that you can store stuff under the seats. When was the last time you were packing the car and found yourself at an impasse because you couldn’t find room to pack away that extension cord? “Hmm. If only there was room for this small item UNDER THE PASSENGER SEAT, THEN ALL OF MY TROUBLES WOULD BE SOLVED!!” Um, call me crazy but can’t you just put all of that stuff, you know, in the trunk? And unless you spend a majority of your free time picnicking, camping, or drunk driving, is an in-floor cooler really going to influence your buying decision? It reminds of when Pontiac built the Aztek and the ad campaign focused on the ability to set up a tent in the cargo area. I think Pontiac sold 7 Azteks.
Also, the Old Spice deodorant commercial has been driving me crazy. It’s the one with the guy sliding all the way around third and into home while talking about Old Spice? During his seemingly endless slide, he brags about how Old Spice is THE game-winning grand slam, break away dunk, shorthanded goal, straight arm tackle of deodorants. Straight arm tackle? I need some further explanation on this. I know what a straight arm is, and I know what a tackle is, but I’m not quite sure what the combination of those two things might be. Does Pepper Johnson teach this technique? Did Brian Bosworth try to straight arm tackle Bo Jackson? Doesn’t anybody read the ad copy before it goes into production? And what about the actor? He certainly looks the part of the beer league softballer who takes it all just a little too seriously. Can’t he speak up so he doesn’t sound like a moron in the ad?
The intense action in the fourth quarter eventually drew me back into the game. The end of the game has been dissected enough already so I’ll instead leave you with these important questions to ponder:
Who the hell is Bill Engvall? The ads for his show seem to presume that we should all be deeply familiar with his work by now. And is it really true that all of the highest rated shows in cable history are on TNT? Don’t other cable shows like Orange County Choppers or Dangerous Catch give TNT a run for their money? Thankfully, for tonight anyway, the Arbitrary Gods of Broadcasting Rights have given us the choice to switch back to Mike and Tommy. Until then…