By Kevin Henkin
Hey, they can’t all be masterpieces. The Friday night game against the Bobcats had “mid-season grind” written all over it. Anyway, I was fortunate to witness the game in person and came away with the following stream-of-consciousness observations as the game progressed:
There’s not much going on before the game so I take the opportunity to thumb through the Bobcats’ Media Guide. On each player, there is a “Personal” section that lists various tidbits. For example, Derek Anderson’s bio notes his charitable partnership with an organization called B.R.I.C.K. (no mention of whether Anderson’s .355 shooting percentage this year played a role in his selection as B.R.I.C.K.’s spokesman). Meanwhile, Othella Harrington’s “favorite pre-game meal is shrimp, fish and fries” (which goes a long way in explaining his, um, girth) and Primoz Brezeec “regularly surfs the internet and reads newspapers (otherwise known as porn) from all around the world”. Hmm. These guys aren’t exactly the 1977 Portland Trailblazers in terms of team personality.
It’s less than four minutes into the game and Garnett is already back on the bench with two fouls. The second whistle came when he had to pick up Jason Richardson from Paul Pierce on a drive. This was after Pierce watched Richardson roll by him like a Kleenex float at a parade. Not a good sign.
The Celtics Dancers arrive on the court during the first time out. Just as predicted by Kate Darnton in her Boston Globe editorial, when little girls in the stands witness the Dancers in action, they immediately stop listening to their fathers, abandon their commitment to studying in school and sneak out to apprentice at the nearest strip club. Oh, the humanity.
Rondo finds Perkins down low with a perfect pass just off the box. Perkins receives the past chest high and immediately dribbles the ball into three defenders and loses possession. Later in the quarter, he converts a tough And 1, lobs a nifty pass over the interior defense to a wide open Pierce and then is the lone hustler down the floor after a Rondo pocket-picking (Rondo rewards him by waiting patiently under the basket and giving him a free bunny jam). By the end of the quarter, he has 11 points and 1 rebound.
Rondo is on fire. He has six assists by the end of the quarter. Maybe Isiah Thomas was right about Rondo’s supreme level of importance to the team. Bear in mind, however, that even a broken clock is right twice a day.
I read in the Bobcats Media Guide that Jason Richardson has a wingspan of 6’11.5’’. This might help explain why Pierce has match-up problems with him.
One of the reasons I enjoy attending games in person is because it’s always fun to watch Tom Thibodeau act like he’s either passing kidney stones or receiving electroshock treatments whenever the Celtics let up an easy basket.
The Celtics blow a fast break and throw the ball away on consecutive possessions. I blame the Dancers for being a needless distraction and destroying the sacred purity of the game. And remember, Red Auerbach agrees with me here, so put that in your pipe and smoke it.
As Paul Pierce launches a killer three at the end of the quarter, P.J. Brown is the first guy on the bench to jump up and give the Hail Mary signal. I like this guy already.
Emeka Okafor just might be the worst foul shooter I’ve ever seen. He genuinely looks cursed from behind the line. It is very bad to steal Jobu’s rum.
It’s Mascot Night at the Garden. The Bruins bear is here, as well as a few other big fuzzy characters I don’t recognize. This probably explains the sell-out.
Four minutes into the third: Jason Richardson 21 points. Paul Pierce, 9.
The refs make what I refer to as an Occam’s Razor call on Kevin Garnett. In other words, if an opposing player inexplicably tumbles out of bounds despite no physical contact, then hell, the nearest Celtic must have been the cause. TWEET! Loose ball foul! Somewhere, Violet Palmer cooks her bacon and eggs and smiles.
It’s generally been a sloppy game thus far. Eight minutes left and the Celtics are up by 9. Seems like they should have put these guys away three hours ago.
Rondo feeds the ball to an open Ray Allen behind the arc for his 15th assist. This eclipses his career high by 3. A monster evening all around for the floor general.
Coming out of a timeout, Garnett stands at center court with his arms raised while The Scorpions blare from the PA. The crowd erupts. It’s a small moment but regardless: What a difference a year makes.
Another timeout. Celtics up by 5 with 2:01 left and there are people actually leaving with their coats. It’s 9:53 p.m. on a Friday night. I don’t understand these people.
Under two minutes to go. Garnett wants the ball, he gets the ball, he sinks the ball from eighteen feet two possessions in a row. Then a steal/breakaway/Ray Allen dunk seals the deal in a game that never should have been this close.
As I mentioned up top, it was truly a mid-season grind game where the much better team put in just enough effort to pull out the ugly win. How many times did we see opposing teams do this to the Celtics last season? A far superior squad like Dallas would come in, play like crap for three and half quarters and then wake up, rub the sleep away from their eyes and stick a fork in the Celtics just when there appeared to be hope. Alas, I can’t say it too many times. It’s nice to be on the other side of such an equation. 45 W’s and counting…