Monday, April 21, 2008

Celts Gear Up For 08 Postseason Run - by Rob Soares

I am pleased to present the first of what I hope will be a great deal of articles by Rob Soares, a die hard Celtics fan and sadly a Red Sox fan as well.

Following the eight-player blockbuster deal that sent Kevin Garnett to Boston in the latter part of this past summer in addition to the pre-acquired Ray Allen during the NBA draft, I think it’s safe to say that the general consensus among Celtics fans heading into the season was still a fairly modest one, with expectations of making the playoffs and hopefully winning a series or two as the new team learned to play together during its first season. However, expectations and hopes rose almost immediately as the Celts started the season off on an 8-game win streak (last NBA team to be defeated), and since then have owned the NBA’s best record throughout the entire season. As the season progressed, more and more positive things started happening for the team that gave fans more and more reason to expect a championship in 2008…KG immediately made the big impact that was expected from him, all season he has put up MVP numbers that have been just slightly below his norm throughout his long career with the T-wolves.
With two other superstars surrounding him, Paul Pierce immediately looked “re-energized” and ready to do whatever he was called upon to do for the team, something he’s done all season long. While it was expected that the big 3 would continue to perform like all-stars and carry the team, it was not as expected that many role-players would come into their own and fill in the gaps off the bench. (Guys like: Glen Davis, Leon Powe, Tony Allen) These guys and the rest of the team would step it up while the team missed KG from January 27 up until the All-Star break, going 7-2 during that span. The Celtics defense, which was the biggest question mark coming into the season, has excelled all season and actually been the C’s forte in 07-08 being the NBA’s best, at least statistically-speaking.

If you look back on all the championship caliber teams throughout NBA history, you’ll find several things in common amongst them. First is a big time scorer and “go-to-guy,” in which the Celtics have a surplus. Secondly is a strong supporting cast and role-players. Players like James Posey, Eddie House, Tony Allen, Leon Powe, etc have fit in and adjusted to their roles on this Celtics team perfectly…a credit to coach Doc Rivers. Thirdly is the aforementioned team defense. Throughout the course of the season, the Celtics have held opponents to 90.2 points per game, a 41.9% field goal percentage, 31.5% from behind the arc and they sport an average point differential of +10.24 ppg…all of which are good for tops in the league. In addition, they allow opponents just 38.92 rebounds per game (2nd in the NBA) and have a +3.06 rebound per game differential (4th). Point: The Celts can play some serious defense, and do it better than the vast majority of teams in the league. The fourth thing you find in many championship teams is team chemistry and experience. The C’s have proven to have team chemistry throughout most if not all 82 games of this season. Experience on the other hand is something they lack, which is huge come playoff time. I don’t mean individual experience of course, having several guys on the roster with over 10 years on their NBA resume, but experience as a team. The Celtics’ +10 point per game differential tells you two things. One is that the Celtics dominated opponents this year (and that they played in the JV league AKA Eastern Conference), and that is certainly a positive thing. But the second thing it screams is that the Celtics really haven’t been tested or challenged a whole lot this year. I know there are more, but I can think of only about 5 or 6 Celts games off the top of my head this season where I was on the edge of my seat with hands covering my mouth, or standing up nearly on top of my T.V. screaming obscenities, or jumping up and down over a critical late-game play sending my downstairs neighbor up-a-knocking (he’s lucky we’re only weeks into Red Sox season). My point is that the Celts will be tested in the playoffs, and often…they won’t have to wait for a Western Conference opponent. Maybe it won’t happen much in the first round, but come conference semi’s and conference finals I fully expect to see many games going down to the wire; this is where lack of playoff experience as a single unit can come into play. Since the C’s do not yet have playoff experience together as a team, we will learn about the composure of the young players who have done their jobs and fulfilled their roles nicely all season, as well as the true coaching ability of Doc Rivers.
There is one last thing that comes to mind when thinking about what championship teams are made of. They can be found in many (maybe not all) championship squads. These are X-factors or make-it-or-break-it factors that sneak in under the radar and play a big roll in a team’s championship run. Kind of like Robert Horry’s ability to hit huge clutch threes for just about every playoff team he’s played for, or a rising star like Daniel Gibson for last year’s Cavaliers who steps up and provides a big boost. So here’s what I come up with when thinking of what the X-factors for the Celtics will be:

1. The play of sophomore point guard Rajon Rondo. No real elaboration needed here. It’s not too hard to see that the performance of Rondo [on both ends of the floor] could be the single most important make-it-or-break-it factor in the Celtics playoff success. If he continues to play like he has for about 85% of the year, the C’s are in real good shape. On the other hand if he does not and is affected by playoff pressure or a lack of experience then their offensive flow is vastly disrupted and it could spell doom for the Celts.

2. Sam Cassell and Eddie House tandem. I’m not exactly sure how often Doc intends to put a unit on the floor that includes these two players, but I feel they compliment each other nicely. The acquisition of Cassell in and of itself is big for more obvious reasons: He brings a great amount of experience and leadership, he can score in bunches, and he is a “true point guard” to back up Rondo…something that Tony Allen and Eddie House are not in my opinion. The part of the Sam Cassell pickup that is less obvious, and that I think can play a big role in the success of the Celtics bench is that he allows Eddie House to play the position where he is the most comfortable and accustomed to...shooting guard. Anybody who didn’t know much about Eddie House prior to him becoming a Boston Celtic now knows that he is a lethal scorer and can be a premier sharpshooter. However throughout the better part of the season, he has been asked to play the role of ball-handler and backing up Rondo at the point guard spot. This is not where House is at his best, and I think it’s partly taken him out of his comfort zone. Having another true point guard in Sam Cassell who can distribute the basketball allows House to roam free on the perimeter and gives the Celtics the option of running him off screens and such, presenting different scoring opportunities. Having Eddie’s shooting ability off the bench is a big asset for the C’s and should be used optimally; His ability to score in bunches can A.) Keep the Celtics from ever falling too far behind in the middle stages of games, and B.) Draw the team closer by closing the gap on a deficit quickly even if they are to fall behind by double-digits.

3. Backup Big Men: Leon Powe and Glen Davis. I love these guys and the effort they show on both ends of the court (although clearly not as much as Tommy Heighnson does). To me these are the two guys who have perhaps over achieved the most for the Celtics this year. They love to dive for a loose ball (Tommy Point!), scrap for offensive rebounds and second-chance points, and are glad to step into the painted area to take a charge. In addition, both of these guys benefit enormously from having a guy named Paul Pierce on the floor with them. Powe and Davis have a tremendous ability to find the open spot down low and free themselves up for an easy pass and layup, and Paul Pierce is all about penetrating to get to the hoop and when he does, he often finds Powe or Davis waiting for the bucket after the double team comes to stop Pierce. These two things go together like lamb & tuna fish (maybe spaghetti & meatball?).
I think most Celtics fans were almost afraid to set expectations so high as to expect an NBA championship in the first year of this new-look team. But with the way this team has played all season and after fans have witnessed the single biggest NBA record turnaround from one season to the next (24-58 to 66-16), it’s hard not to have that “championship or bust” mentality… and why not?

Some of my quick (and very non-professional) predictions:
The Celts drop a game to the youthful Hawks in Atlanta but get by with relative ease winning in five games. I think the Wizards/Cavs series will be a close one and could go either way, but Lebron does his thing and the Cavs come away winners then lose to the Celts in six. Home court advantage should be the difference maker in a Celtics/Pistons series that should be a great one. Celts win game 7 in a very, very rowdy TD BankNorth Garden. The Celtics then meet up with the LA Lakers in a series that will be perfect for the game of basketball and should restore the NBA back to the glory days of the past. I get chills thinking about it…
- Rob Soares

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Good Weather Special!!!

In honor of today's great weather, here are some classic jams for you to enjoy. Ill be trying to coax classmates into going to Newport on a biddy cruise. What, that doesnt sound enticing??

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What the Hell???

Yankees are awful right now. More tomorrow.

*logs off angrily*

AZ Rap City Freestyle 4-8-08

Check out this AZ shit right here, dope new album called Undeniable in stores NOW. Go grab that.

Song of the Day: Binary Star - Glen Close (Classic)

This is a REAL dope song from Binary Star, one of the illest piano samples and loops that I've heard in a while. Give it a listen and then listen to more Binary Star and more One Be Lo

Mets Get Rick Rolled

This is the best thing I've seen in a LONG time. Thank you internet for blessing us with the art of online petitions so that we can Rick Roll underachieving sports teams. If the Bruins lose embarrassingly to the Canadiens this week, I think we might have to Rick Roll them just for losing. Also, does anyone else find it hilarious that Rick Astley is more popular than he has ever been in his storied career. Chalk it up to the World Wide Web.

Burns' Top 10 Teams/Athletes That Need to Be Rick Rolled:

10. Philadelphia Flyers
9. San Antonio Spurs
8. Tiger Woods
7. Shaquille O'neal
6. Boston Red Sox (better than Neil Diamond)
5. San Diego Chargers
4. Toronto Maple Leafs
3. Duke Blue Devils
2. Tim Welsh's ON Demand System - It could be like "Isaiah Thomas' guide to Zone Defense...Welsh clicks on it...."Aint no stranger to know the rules and so do IIIII" Although Welsh would like that too much

1. Indianapolis Colts

UMASS With Another Absurd Display

Saw this on and frankly, I am not the least bit surprised.

Umass is celebrating the fact that they are the 66th best basketball team in the country by selling NIT finalists shirts. Who the hell does this, really? This is the same school that had a riot when their division I-AA team went to the finals of their league. I can understand a Division 1 National Championship guys, but why the hell would you create these shirts. Seriously this is just absurd, can you imagine a "2007 New England Patriots Super Bowl Participants Shirt". How many Memphis Tigers' "2008 Runner Up" are being proudly worn in Tennessee. I wonder if those assclowns from western Mass rioted when Ohio State crushed their dreams of mediocrity during the NIT.

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of visiting UMASS a number of times. Go to the bars there, and if you don't laugh your ass off at the patrons of these fine establishments, you may be socially retarded. Johnny College over here with his pitcher of Miller Lite leaning with it and then rocking with it, Tipsy McStagger falling over the dance floor in a rhythm-less fashion, while grilling your date and chest bumping you. High School All Stars and Gym Class Heroes whose affinity for mid level sports rivals their affinity for hair gel and Growing Up Gotti wardrobes. It's no wonder I wanted to fight half these idiots. And if you purchased one of these shirts, I want to fight you too.

So have fun Umass with your middle of the road athletics, or you can wait for your team to do something of merit before making an ass out of yourself, your university, and your parents. I heard the tennis team is doing well this year. Whats gonna happen when you go to the championships? "FUCKING RAAAAGEEE...did you see that ACE? Shit was Money!!!" Calm down, everyone is laughing at you.

Oh yea, and we're about to take your coach, bitches.

The Immortal Stacey Dash...PICS

Stacey Dash is one of the hottest women on the planet. And shes 42!

The Providence College Mens BBall Program is So Pathetic...

*Crowd yells*


The Providence College Mens BBall program is still trying to find that coach that can lead the Friars back to the promised land. You know a .500 record in the Big East. Ever since the cancer known as Tim Welsh ravaged what should be a good program, people seem to be afraid to coach here, or have anything to do with the program for that matter.

Welsh was fired on March 15, giving me an early birthday present and giving the city of Providence something to talk about while the 2008 baseball season is still in its infancy. The coaching search is going embarrassingly to say the least, as former Friar Jim Larranaga turned down a shitload of money to stay at George Mason, away from the hustle and bustle of the Big East and free from criticism from Friar fans.

The coaching search was further derailed when Brown's Robinson turned down the job to take a coaching position at lovely Oregon State. Really? Oregon? Okay Craig, have fun with the daily rains, terrible climate, and stoner campus. (Okay, the stoner crack was below the belt)

The search has gone so bad...How bad is it?

That we have even considered controversial coach Fran Fraschilla, who got fired from his last two jobs after a run in with players at St. Johns, while at New Mexico his players' GPA's were lower than Joba Chamberlain's ERA. This is like the sports equivalent of going up to a girl at a club, having her reject you, going up to another one, having her reject you, and then saying "fuck it, I'm gonna go talk to that skank over there, see whats up"

So whats next? It seems as if PC is waiting for its dreamgirl, in this case Larry Brown. This signing would both provide a splash in national news while giving Friar fans hope that we can, I dont know, win a Big East Tournament game or two. It's up to Bob Driscoll to make this happen, because we are running out of candidates. Thanks Tim Welsh for making a head coaching position at PC so undesireable. You Suck.

Yankees Just Can't Score Runs...

What the fuck is going on with the New York Yankees? A 4-4 start isnt something to go crazy about just yet, as its only April, but the lack of run support for their starting pitchers is just disgusting. Injuries cant be used as an excuse just yet, there are more than enough great all around hitters (Cano, A Rod, Abreu) to get this lineup going.

What pisses me off the most is how every Yankee fan I know swears that "Pitching wins championships" which I can not disagree with. The Yankees recent postseason woes have been because good pitching beats good hitting. The Yankees for the most part, have been getting good pitching, with their starters keeping them in the game. Ian Kennedy was the only starter to have a "bad" start so far, and even in a losing effort, other pitchers were victimized by "The Bronx Bombers" inability to plate runs. I'm sorry but we should be able to spot the Royals 5 runs before the game starts and still outscore them.

I don't mind winning close games. Most times in the playoffs it is the team that is on the right side of a 3-2, or 2-1 decision that advances to the next round. These type of games test the chemistry and clutch performance of a team. Rattling off a 10-8 victory is great, but letting up 8 runs is not. So far, the Yankees pitching has been as advertised, Wang and Mussina are solid (so far) at the top of the rotation, and young stars Hughes and Kennedy are still learing the nuances of the league.

The Yankees' starters dont have to be Cy Young candidates to be effective. I would say that if you can last 6-7 innings before turning the ball over to middle relief, Joba, then Mo while keeping the team in the game, that is a quality start, something that the Yankees have had this year. Unfortunately, the bats haven't given any run support to help the starters out.

I know its still April, but the Yankees need to get this slump out of their system and start scaring teams with a combination of solid pitching and timely hitting.

Rediculous Freestyle Battle

Ok. Ok. I kinda feel bad laughing at this but that dude Eli has got some RHYMES SON. LOL @ the bisexual bridal shower line. Can you imagine losing in a battle to this cat? Envy better step his game up and come correct next time before Eli embarrasses him again.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Bengals Continue to Prove My Point

Celtics Destroy Pacers, Make History

The Celtics massacred the Indiana Pacers last night 92-77, matching and NBA record for the biggest season-to-season turnaround in terms of wins. This, their 60th win of the season came rather easily, as the Celtics had the advantage early on. The 2007-08 Boston Celtics are an astounding 36 games better than they were last year, when all of us Celtics fans thought that the saving grace for the franchise came in the form of a number 5 draft pick.

This Celtics team is happy about the turnaround, but clearly has their eyes on something else, what matters most you ask? "A championship does," said James Posey, a member of the Miami team that won the 2006 title. "That's what you play for."

Garnett led the way once again with 20 points and 12 rebounds, and Leon Pown continues to impress, coming of the bench to score 14 of his own. While this bench production is fantastic, it could present some coaching problems for Doc Rivers in the playoffs. Coming off the bench are guys like Sam Cassell, Leon Powe, Glen Davis, Eddie House, James Posey, and PJ Brown. Clearly all of these guys won't be as big a part of the rotation as they were all season, or does Doc have the remedy for this problem. We'll just have to wait and see.

Chris Henry in Trouble With The Law...Again

CINCINNATI -- Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry is in trouble again, accused by an 18-year-old man who told police that Henry hit him in the face and broke his car window with a beer bottle.

Henry, 24, was charged with misdemeanor assault and criminal damaging in the Monday incident in Cincinnati. A warrant for his arrest was issued Wednesday, and Henry surrendered, a police spokesman said.

Henry was being held in the Hamilton County jail pending a court appearance Thursday.

The player has had a string of problems with police. He most recently was in court last week after being ticketed for driving with expired Kentucky license plates. He paid $149, according to the Hamilton County Municipal Court records.

Henry, who was arrested four times during a 14-month span, was suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for the first half of last season for repeatedly violating the league's conduct policy.

What is this guy thinking? How the hell can you be a professional athlete and get arrested four times in a little over a year? Just go sit down somewhere until training camp Chris. This further proves my point that the Bengals are still the most pathetic franchise in sports. They had one good year and are falling apart at the seams like the "Bungles" of old. Chad Jackson is openly campaigning to get traded on the NFL network and ESPN almost daily. Grown men are attacking 18 year old teenagers, and the coach must be fed up with all this. I really feel bad for the fans of the Bengals, if there are any left that is.

When players on your own team dont seem to give a damn about the organization, how are the fans supposed to care? The Bengals are destined for mediocrity, and once Chad leaves, forget about any sort of national attention. It is these type of problems that separate the average from the great. Kevin Faulk gets busted for some blunts, who cares? The Bengals love getting arrested, which takes a players focus off of the game and off of his teammates. Keep getting locked up Bengals, you'll be wearing another orange outfit soon enough.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Bruins Still Have Work To Do

The Boston Bruins are taking destiny in their hands tonight as they take on the 4th seeded New Jersey Devils at 7 o'clock. A win tonight, coupled with a Carolina loss will give the Bruins the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, currently scheduled to play the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs and Penguins are tied for first place in the Eastern Conference and the second place finisher will face a hungry Bruins team that has played fairly well, considering the fact that they lost two of their best players, Patrice Bergeron and Andrew Alberts to injuries early on in the season.

The Bruins can not afford to be a one and done team come playoff time. This season was supposed to be different, new coach, new attitude, all that bullshit. I'm not saying I expect the Bruins to even sniff the Stanley Cup this year, but I do expect at least one series victory. This could be a tough task against the Canadiens, who we still havent even beat this season.

Playoff Hockey cant be beat, and it has killed me to watch the last few years and not see the Bruins involved in any kind of playoff matchup. This year I must admit that I am excited at the prospect of the Bruins presenting some interesting matchups for the Eastern Conference playoff teams. Tim Thomas has shown that he can make the big save here and there, but he has been inconsistent throughout his career, and the playoffs is the last place you want to be inconsistent. Marc Savard and Zdeno Chara have been helping out on both sides of the puck, and 19 year old Milan Lucic does it all on the ice.

The Bruins have two more games remaining after the Devils game, taking on the Senators and then the Sabres. Hey, 3 out of 3 ain't bad.

Hillary Has A Secret!!

Clearly, Bill isn't the only Clinton who gets some extracurricular ass on the side. Found this today and had to put it up, hilarious take on Sarah Silverman/Jimmy Kimmel's im F***ing Matt Damon/Ben Affleck/Bagger Vance/Chewbacca video. Check it. NOW!

Yankees Take First Game of Season

The New York Yankees and Melky Cabrera opened up the 2008 season in grand fashion last night, defeating the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2. Cabrera, batting in the ninth spot connected with a sixth inning pitch and put it over the right field wall to give the Yankees the lead. 2 innings earlier, Cabrera demonstrated his speed and tenacity, robbing Lyle Overbay of a sure double, leaping against the centerfield wall to make the spectacular catch. One batter later, Cabrera was forced to race to his right as he threw his glove at the ball and made a tumbling snag.

Chien-Ming Wang came in and did exactly what the Yankees needed him to do, which was go out there and give us 6-7 solid innings. He only surrendered two runs, but did not figure in the decision. Joba Chamberlain came out and fired up the crowd, striking out Frank Thomas to end the 8th, and in the 9th Mariano Rivera came in to slam the door and pick up his first save of the season. Joe Girardi couldn't have been more pleased with his team's effort in the season opener.

"You look forward to this day from the time I signed as manager," he said. "You do all of the preparation up until Spring Training, and all of the preparation during Spring Training, and what all of the coaches did. I saw it pay off tonight.

"I saw a guy scoring from first tonight and running very easily, and I saw guys hitting triples. It's an unbelievable feeling when you actually get to play for real, because that's what you work for."

What we saw was great pitching, opportunistic hitting, and great baserunning, which will lead to great things for this 2008 version of the Yankees.

Tonight the Yankees face the Blue Jays in the second game of the series at Yankee Stadium. Struggling Veteran Mike Mussina will step in for the injured Andy Pettite, who has been pushed back to Saturday. Mussina is hoping to get the season started off on a good note, as he struggled a bit last year. He is a very important member of the Yankees' rotation and will need to get his share of wins for the ball club.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Yankees Opening Night Tonight (7:05)

Mother Nature had other plans for Yankee Stadium on Monday afternoon, turning the house that Ruth built into a house of horrors for the grounds crew members. Working feverishly to get the game in, the umpires called the game after an 85 minute rain delay.

The game against the Toronto Blue Jays has been rescheduled for tonight at 7:05 p.m., however more rain is expected in the city today.

Regardless, the Yankees are excited to begin this 2008 campaign, their first with new skipper Joe Girardi, and last in Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are currently constructing a new Yankee Stadium across the street to be ready for Opening Day 2009. Unquestionably, a great deal of Yankees wanted to play the game yesterday but realized that it wasn't in the cards.

"The fans have always been great -- hopefully they'll come back tomorrow," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said. "Everyone gets excited, and you have butterflies and those kinds of things. You want to get the games under way, and you want to get the first one under your belt. It's disappointing, but we couldn't have played today."

Unfortunately, the Yankees have early season series against teams such as Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, etc, which could provide some more weather problems. Hopefully they can get the first pitch in on time tonight however.

TOR @ NYY 7:05 Pm Wang (0-0) vs. Halladay (0-0)