time to panic?

19 03 2009

Well it looks like the Boston Celtics are stumbling their way to the end of the season. They’re still going to end up with one of the best records in the NBA, they currently have a 50 – 18 record and they can probably manage 60 wins and the 2nd or 3rd seed in the East but not too long ago this team looked like they were going to easily win 65+ games. The reason is pretty obvious for the slump: injuries. They’ve got way too many injuries to key players.

The most notable of course is Kevin Garnett. I remember a few weeks back when he first got injured and the team won a few games the PTI crew posed the question that the Celtics were better without him. Uh, I guess you can see the answer now. Without KG the Celtics are not the same – his stats might be down but he is the emotional centre and lynchpin of the defence. Also he gets you about 18 ppg. Without KG too much pressure falls on Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to score.

For today’s game against the Miami Heat, Celtics Blog listed the Celtics injuries as:

Tony Allen (thumb) out
Kevin Garnett (knee) out
Brian Scalabrine (head) out
Glen Davis (ankle) day to day
Eddie House (ankle/heel) probable
Ray Allen (elbow) questionable
Rajon Rondo (ankle) questionable
Leon Powe (knee) questionable
Paul Pierce (flu-like symptoms)  probable

That’s pretty much your defending champions right there. Ouch. The only starter not on that list is Kendrick Perkins.

I’ve been reading stuff about how they wouldn’t mind losing a few games now if everyone is fit for the playoffs. It kinda suggests that Celtics fans shouldn’t panic. That’s all well and good but other than KG, which of the players is being kept out to rest up? Rajan Rondo is playing with a sprained ankle, Scalabrine is possibly out for the season and worse, Paul Pierce is having to play extended minutes. My point is, there is no guarantee any of those guys are going to be 100% fit for the playoffs and with the way the season is going they’re more than likely going to suffer more injuries.

Maybe it is a time to get worried. I know the Celtics are good enough but are they healthy enough?





starbury=iago

6 03 2009

This post on the Onion is hilarious – Stephon Marbury as a Shakespearian villain. As long as it’s not like a prophecy or anything. Because that would be bad, very bad.





saying “yes” to Starbury

4 03 2009

Way back at the beginning of the season I wrote a post titled: Just say “No!” to Starbury. I argued that Stephon Marbury has a caustic personality and that I hoped my teams wouldn’t sign him. And of course last week the Celtics finally signed him. My feelings are ambivalent on this one. I still believe he will be a problematic personality and ultimately will harm this team in some way but I have a sneaking suspicion that it won’t be this year. Next year he’ll be a problem, without a doubt but this year he’ll be looking to redeem himself somewhat.

Besides, the Celtics really need him. Mikki Moore, who they also signed, isn’t the answer – he’s a garbage time player, too erratic to really help. Starbury though, he can be a game changer. He can score, distribute, hit the big shot and play defence when necessary. We don’t need him to score 20 a game, we need him to score 8 or 9 at a clutch moment. We can’t always expect Allen and Pierce to do it all. I also think he can play with Rondo and take the pressure off him as a playmaker. Look at the way Maurice Williams and Delonte West play together for the Cavs – both can be playmakers and scorers and they take the pressure off LeBron to do everything.

But all this is based on potential. Stephon Marbury has the potential to redeem himself and be known as the guy who helped the Celtics win back-to-back championships. But he needs to want it. He needs to be the perfect citizen. I’m hoping he does.





Fave vs Fave – the Trail Blazers vs Celtics

6 12 2008

Well that was brutal. I’d circled today’s NBA game on ESPN as one of the few must see games. It featured my beloved Celtics up against the Trail Blazers, the team which is swiftly becoming my favourite out west (if only because the Timberwolves are so awful and we never get to see their games anymore). It shaped as a good-un, the Celtics were riding a 10 game win streak, the Blazers a 6 game streak.

In the end it was no contest, the Celtics handed out a beat down, and even a late game rally by the Blazers couldn’t disguise the gulf between the two teams. The Celtics displayed the swagger and intimidation they’ve earned as NBA champs while the Blazers showed just how far they have to go to be considered one of the truly elite teams.

Despite the beat down I still really enjoyed the game – it’s one thing to follow a team through boxscores and recaps, and quite another to watch them play. It showed me a few things:

  • KG is still the man though he seems to be settling for too many jumpshots, get on the block man!
  • The Celtics really love to trash talk and it was almost embarrassing watching the Trail Blazers try to answer back. Ultimately that seemed to take the Blazers out of their game.
  • Rajan Rondo is really really good this year, not quite in Tony Parker’s class offensively, but a superb defender and rebounder nonetheless.
  • I’ve realised that I have a man crush on Leon Powe. I just love watching him play.  
  • Despite the way the Lakers and Cavaliers are playing I’d still favour the Celtics in a series against them. The Lakers are too soft, the Celtics will just bully them like they do all finesse teams. The Cavaliers will have to play at the peak of their powers to match the Celtics and I don’t know if they could do that for seven games.
  • The Celtics are playing brilliant team basketball and that’s what’s beating teams at the moment. They really make the extra pass and rarely are they outhustled.
  • The Blazers are still really young. They need to acquire a hard nosed veteran to play alongside Oden and Aldridge. Can you imagine how much better they’d be with Garnett or Duncan in their ears?
  • The Blazers have the potential to be really really exciting. Against lesser teams they’ll rack up the points, especially with Rudy Fernandez and Travis Outlaw off the bench.  
  • Greg Oden is still figuring out how to play the game at the pro level though I firmly believe he’ll be fine by the end of the season (assuming he stays healthy)
  • The Trail Blazers need a point guard. How good would they be with someone like Calderon or Nash? The starter, Steve Blake, is a solid back up but they need more of a floor general out there. I know the excellent Brandon Roy does a lot of the ball handling for them but it would probably be a good idea to investigate the options out there.




normal transmission resumed…

29 10 2008

It was weird not posting yesterday. It was of course the first after I completed my mammoth NBA season preview. I meant to do other posts last week but I came down with an icky throat infection over the previous weekend and I ended up taking most of the week off sick. I don’t think I’ve been this sick this often since I caught campylobacter a few years back. As a result of that nasty little bug I was sick for at least 1 week of every month for almost 9 months until work gave me 2 weeks paid leave to come right. It worked and I was fine, until this year.

And of course being ill meant no writing 😦 I had been making good progress on the revisions to the novel to that point so it kinda sucked that I got sick. Anyway, enough moping. I’m back into the revisions and I’m ploughing my way through the meat of the novel. It’s got good shape and there is a truly epic feel to the narrative which is good. One of the plotlines that I was iffy about is better than I remembered as well which is a pleasant surprise. I just need to fix up those opening chapters.

Technically I DID do some writing while I was sick. I worked with K on some television pitches so we’ve got fingers crossed that at least one of them gets some development money. Of course there are probably another 50 proposals in the pile the producers have to wade through so the odds are … what did Han say? “Never tell me the odds!” I feel like that. Toes are crossed anyway.

Anyway in the next few days I’ll be posting a review of NBA Live 09 and of course there will be more NBA posts. Today’s tipoff (Celtics won their first game!) and tomorrow I will get to see my first game of the year with the San Antonio Spurs versus the Phoenix Suns. Can’t wait!





NBA Season Preview Index

3 10 2008

Atlantic Division Previews:

Boston Celtics Season Preview

Philadelphia 76ers Season Preview

Toronto Raptors Season Preview

New York Knicks Season Preview

New Jersey Nets Season Preview

Northwest Division Previews:

Utah Jazz Season Preview

Portland Trail Blazers Season Preview

Denver Nuggets Season Preview

Minnesota Timberwolves Season Preview

Oklahoma City Thunder Season Preview

Central Division Previews:

Cleveland Cavaliers Season Preview

Detroit Pistons Season Preview

Chicago Bulls Season Preview

Milwaukee Bucks Season Preview

Indiana Pacers Season Preview

Pacific Division Previews:

LA Lakers Season Preview

Phoenix Suns Season Preview

Golden State Warriors Season Preview

LA Clippers Season Preview

Sacramento Kings Season Preview

South East Division Previews:

Orlando Magic Season Preview

Miami Heat Season Preview

Atlanta Hawks Season Preview

Washington Wizards Season Preview

Charlotte Bobcats Season Preview

South West Division Previews:

New Orleans Hornets Season Preview

San Antonio Spurs Season Preview

Houston Rockets Season Preview

Dallas Mavericks Season Preview

Memphis Grizzlies Season Preview





Just say “No!” to Starbury

24 09 2008

It seems that the basketballer formerly known as “Starbury” is about to be waived by the New York Knicks. My first thought was cool, now the Celtics or T Wolves can sign him. My second thought was, please don’t sign him.

Throughout his career Stephen Marbury has teased us with his potential greatness. He has the talent and body to be a Hall of Famer, as reflected in his max contracts over the years, yet he seemingly has the maturity of a 4 year old. He was involved in that sleazy Isiah Thomas sexual harassment law suit and even his cousin has written a book about his selfishness.

I remember being gutted when he quit on KG all those years ago in Minnesota. It felt to me like he was tossing away the chance to be the next Stockton-to-Malone. The Timberwolves compensated for the loss of Marbury by obtaining Terrell Brandon but while he was an All Star he wasn’t Starbury.

Marbury seems to have a caustic personality that infests the whole team. He’s been a cancer everywhere he’s been, never more illustrated than when he left Phoenix and they immediately made the playoffs. Hell, the Knicks are prepared to pay him over $20 million to not show up! Now if the Knicks are worried about his personality screwing up their chemistry then you know Marbury is trouble.

I have no doubt that Starbury’s going to end up somewhere. I just hope it isn’t with my teams.