Farewell June 2013

Normally, I embrace the month of June.  In fact, it is my favorite month of the year.  Summer begins, warm weather, trips to the beach, hell my birthday is in June.  However; June 2013 was simply awful for a Boston sports fan.  I, myself, can’t wait until Monday morning when I can turn the calendar to July.

Since I started blogging (even dating back to the McKeon and the Mongoose days), as a Boston sports fan, I have primarily been able to write about successes, champions, and legendary athletes. Boston fans have seen two World Series’ trophies, four Lombardi trophies, 1 Stanley Cup, and 1 Larry O’Brien trophy.  We have also seen three out of the four teams we root for lose more than one championship game or series.  None of that pain or disappointment comes close to what Boston fans have endured over the month of June.  Where do I even begin?

Aaron Hernandez

The most notable detrimental event in June is Aaron Hernandez being charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd.  Sure as a Patriotsap_aaron_hernandez_mi_130728_16x9_992 fan this bothers me.  But as a human being it down right pisses me off.  I hold true to the belief set forth by Robert DeNiro’s character, Lorenzo, in A Bronx Tale. “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.”  That is just what Hernandez is, wasted talent.  This kid was given everything out of the womb from a physical standpoint.  Bill Walton would refer to him as “the biggest winner of the genetic lottery known to man.”  Hernandez is 6’1, built out of granite, and has amazing agility.  He was given everything: A full scholarship to the University of Florida, drafted by the best organization in the NFL, to play with the best quarterback in the history of the NFL, and as of last August given a sizable contract.

In life, all Hernandez had to do was stay in shape.  Everything was given to him.  He never pulled an all nighter trying to finish a term paper in college.  He never had to sit in a cubicle hearing a boss drone on about TPS reports. Hell the guy probably never had to clean his house or even take out the garbage.  He was living the American Dream; being paid millions of dollars to play a game. And he blew it all.

I have to wonder when it will all hit Aaron.  He will no longer enjoy his mansion in North Attleboro.  He will no longer be able to eat at 5 star restaurants.  He will never hear the roar of 60,000 fans cheering as he catches a pass from Tom Brady.  It is all gone.

Boston Bruins

Back in the middle of May, the Boston Bruins pulled off an improbable comeback over the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.  Down 4-1 with eight minutes left, the Bruins came from behind to shock the world and advance to the second round against the New York Rangers.  The Bruins skated past the Rangers in 5 games setting up a date with the powerhouse Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Final.  Most experts believed the Bruins would have a hard time beating the Penguins because of their offensive juggernaut. The Bruins proved all the naysayers wrong, owning the Penguins in 4 games.

The Bruins advanced to play the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final.  The Bruins looked to be a team of destiny.  The Andrew Shawmiracle comeback over the Leafs, the dismantling of the Rangers, and sweeping the Penguins.  Gregory Campbell helped kill off a penalty for 1 minute skating on a broken leg.  All the plots to the beautiful story line were in place.

The Bruins came to Boston down 3-2 for Game 6. Milan Lucic scored a goal late in the third period.  It looked as though the Bruins, the improbable Bruins, would force a Game 7 in Chicago.  The with 1:15 left in the game, Brian Bickell beat Tuukka Rask to tie the game.  17 seconds later, Dave Bolland beat Rask to put the Blackhawks ahead and bring the Cup back to Chicago.  I will not attempt to get fancy in describing my feelings as these events unfolded on June 24 (the night before my birthday).  The Bickell goal felt like a wild mule kicked me square in the genitals.  The Bolland goal felt like I lost those genitals 17 seconds later.

After the Bruins were able to shock the Maple Leafs, I was convinced they were going to win the Stanley Cup.  They destroyed the Rangers resulting in John Tortorella receiving a pink slip.  Their win over the Penguins cemented my belief the Cup was coming home to Boston.  Then I sat there on my couch on June 24, watching Andrew Shaw lift the Cup over his head on the TD Garden ice.

How can that be?

Boston Celtics

I made a promise to myself I would not watch a single second of the NBA Final because I did not want to give David Stern his much desired television rating.  My problem, however, is my access to Twitter.  Tuesday, June 18, the Spurs were 5 seconds away from beating LeBron James and the Miami Heat for the NBA title.  My twitter feed blew up.  I could not resist temptation.  I had to tune in to see the sad faces of LeBron, Wade, and Bosh.  I even had my tweet all lined up.  Not 6, Not 5, Not 4, Not 3, Not 2!  1!  I tuned into the game just in time to see Chris Bosh tip a rebound out to Ray Allen, yes Ray Allen above all people, bury a three from the corner to send the game into overtime.  Why did it have to be Ray Allen?  Former member of The Big Three.  The guy who left town to take less money because he did not want to play in Boston in anymore.  The guy who abandoned Pierce and Garnett to go play with the Celtics’ biggest rival.  Why did it have to be Judas Shuttlesworth?

As we all know the Heat went on to beat the Spurs and win their second straight NBA title.

On the local front, the Celtics traded Doc Rivers to the Clippers for a 1st round draft pick.  I am yet to determine how I feel about NBA Finals Game 6: Los Angeles Lakers v Boston Celticsthis. The beef between Bill Simmons and Rivers further complicates things.  I have long been a fan of Doc Rivers.  I am on the fence about Simmons.  Some days I like him, most days I find him wildly annoying.  As it stands now, I find myself being annoyed with Doc Rivers.  He essentially asked out-of-town because he did not want to be apart of a rebuild.  Knowing he did not want to be apart of a rebuild, he had no problem signing a 5 year contract for $35 million last season.  Obviously KG and Pierce would not be around for those 5 years.  He obviously knew a rebuild was happening.  Instead of owning up to him quitting on the current Celtics, he has made many excuses as to what went down between he and Danny Ainge leading up to this trade.

There is a lot of Ray Allen in Doc Rivers.  The both feel the need to be liked by the fans.  They can’t handle the fact Boston fans may be upset with them.  Ultimately, I am glad the Celtics received compensation for Rivers.  But the bottom line is Rivers did quit on the Celtics and he is currently trying to protect his reputation with Celtics fans by saying it was not his idea to leave town.

After Rivers asked to be dealt to the Clippers, the writing was on the wall Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett would be moved as well. Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce Believe it or not, I have mixed emotions about this one.  Paul Pierce has been a Boston Celtic since I was 13 years old.  I can’t remember what the Celtics were like without him.  I remember when he slipped to the 10th pick in the 1998 draft.  I was ecstatic,  That ecstasy lived on for the last 15 years.  Anyone who knows me, knows I will argue Pierce is a top five player over the course of his career.  Seeing him don a Brooklyn Nets uniform will be difficult.  Seeing him be coached by Jason Kidd will blow my mind.  It is not hard to forget the Nets were Celtic rivals in the early 2000’s.  Right at the center of that rivalry? Paul Pierce and Jason Kidd.

Seeing Kevin Garnett go will be difficult as well.  I remember working as a camp counselor the summer of 2007 when Garnett was traded to the Celtics.  I walked around the camp with a radio, listening to WEEI, as the trade talks heated up.  Garnett brought an unparalleled intensity to Boston.  It was impossible not to get fired up along with him when you were at the Garden.  Credit Garnett for getting that building as loud as it got most nights.  Without Garnett, there is no Banner 17 hanging from the rafters.

#34 will hang from those same rafters one day.  I hope #5 does as well.  They were great Celtics.  Great isn’t even the word.  There are no words to describe Pierce and Garnett.  Their last move as Celtics?  Bringing home three first round picks to help rebuild the franchise.  It does not get any better than that.   Damn it, I hope they knock off the Heat next year.

June was an awful month in Boston. July 2013, I welcome you with open arms.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF


Scottie’s Recap: Celtics Survive Wizards Again

The Washington Wizards took the Celtics to overtime on the Celtics home floor.  That should never happen. The Celtics won 100-
94. The Wizards have given the Celtics all they could handle in two meetings and that is without Nene and John Wall.  The Celtics played like they were waiting for the Wizards to say “oh you’re the Boston Celtics, we don’t belong on the same floor as you, so we will just quit now.”  Every time the Celtics hit a big shot, the Wizards ran right down the court and answered within seconds.  Give the Wizards credit.  They are a scrappy bunch of no names.  Thankfully, the Celtics don’t see them again until April 7, 2013.

What more can I say about Kevin Garnett?  He is quickly approaching a point in my mind where I will be forced to go out and buy his jersey.  For one grown man to go out and buy another grown man’s jersey, that’s the highest praise I can give.  Garnett was the only reason to watch the game tonight.  His defense remains the best in league.  Without Garnett, the Celtics play zero defense.  The difference between when he is on the floor and on the bench is night and day.  His intensity is paramount to the Celtics success.

All that praise, being given, I am concerned about his minutes.  The Celtics are going into a stretch where they will play 3 games in four days.  Garnett played 35 minutes tonight.  I expect him to play no more than 25 in each of the three games coming up.  Doc has the depth to give Garnett a rest.  The problem is the Celtics are so damn flat when he is sitting down.

Chris Wilcox was awesome in just 4 minutes tonight.  His 4 minutes breathed some life into the Celts.  He had 6 points, 2 rebounds, and a block.  I love the way he runs the floor with Rondo.  He was great last year in his role as “energy guy” before going down with his heart ailment.  I would obviously like to see him get more than 4 minutes but Doc has to tread lightly with Wilcox’s health issues.

Ok, I am going to say this.  Call me a homer, call me a Green Teamer, call me whatever you please.  Rajon Rondo is the best point guard in the NBA.  I have gone back and forth on this one for the last 3 years but I can now say it with total certainty.  He is turning a 10 assist night into an average night.  He has developed a jump shot, which was always his only weakness.  He is also hitting his free throws.  Rondo is the best floor general in the game.  I know it is only 4 games into the season, but if Rondo isn’t starting the All Star Game, I am going to be angry.

I am willing to ignore the first 3 games of the season and say Jason Terry’s career as a Celtic started tonight.  Terry lived up to his off-season words, and was the offensive spark off the bench the Celtics have been missing for the last few years.  I could do without the Jet run after every three he hits however.  I wish he would save that for the big plays.  A couple of times tonight, he had the opportunity to blow the roof off of the Garden with a big 3, but wasn’t able to hit.  I am sure we will see plenty of big shots out of him over the course of the season.  Jet had 16 points in 32 minutes.

Brandon Bass is a rock solid basketball player.  He rebounds, he hits open shots, and is a good free throw shooter.  I was glad to see Doc give him minutes at the end of the game.  Usually he is on the bench in crunch time.  He is another guy that would be able to alleviate Garnett’s minutes.  I will always remember the minutes Bass gave the Celtics against the Heat in last year’s playoffs.  I am huge Brandon Bass fan, the man can play.  Off the bench tonight, Bass played 33 minutes had 11 points and 7 rebounds.

The 76ers come to Boston on Friday night without Andrew Bynum.  They beat the Hornets rather handily tonight 77-62.


I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF




The Not-So Rapid Reaction- Celtics Lose 120-107

Last night, after Miami put on the finishing touches of a 120-107 opening night win against my beloved Boston Celtics, I really wanted to sit down and hammer away all my thoughts on to this blog.  Truth be told, I am getting old and I fell asleep after the game.  It is likely better that way, as I have had time to organize my thoughts and not publish my patented knee jerk reaction that I am famous for.  I would like to continue this type of post but any faithful reader of NTCF knows our promises usually ring hollow.  I will simply take it game by game.  So without further adieu, here is my thoughts following last night’s game.

I will spare everyone the tired “Ray Allen is my ex-girlfriend from high school” analogy.  Whatever the case may be, he didn’t want to play in Boston anymore.  He wanted to live tax-free in Miami, play golf on his off days, and ride the coat tails of LeBron James and get another ring before he called it a career.  Boston fans have been “betrayed” before.  No doubt it stings a little bit more when a fan favorite decides to go play for your most bitter rival.  See Damon, Johnny. I admit, I had a sense of rage seeing him don a Miami Heat uniform.  I was happy that KG ignored him when he thought during the game was the perfect time to try to clear the air and get some “daps.”  Yes, it did hurt to see Ray pour in 19 points on 5-7 shooting and 2-3 from long range.What hurt more than his stats, however, were the times when the Celtics needed a bucket and couldn’t get one.  Because it was those times over the last 5 years that Doc could draw up a play to free up Ray Ray and he would bury a jump shot.   That is what I will miss most about Ray Allen.

Maybe the emotion was too much for the Celtics last night.  Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry were awful for the most apart.  Garnett has been known to get himself so psyched up that he can’t produce.  Last night was one of those nights.  Maybe it was the ring ceremony prior to the game, maybe it was the national spotlight, maybe it was playing against a former brother, maybe it was everything combined but KG was largely ineffective last night.  I also believe that Jason Terry was caught up in the moment of trying to hard to be better than Ray Allen.  He was all over the floor and not in a good way.  His shots were out of rhythm and his defense was sorely lacking.  I found myself very concerned about Terry.  He is not a true point guard and  I am not sure how his game is going to translate when being asked to bring the ball up the floor, something he is not accustomed to doing.

Jeff Green was a no-show last night as well.  I am willing to give him a free pass at the start of this season though.  He is coming back from open-heart surgery.  At this point last year, he was probably thinking that he would never play again.  Believe it or not, life is more important than sports.  I think Jeff was a bit emotional last night and wasn’t able to get into the game.  I am excited to have him back this season and I look forward to having him play with a full training camp under his belt with the Celtics.  Once the chemistry is established he will be essential to the team’s success.

What I took away most from last night’s game was how much I now loathe Dwayne Wade.  Every time he takes the ball to the basket and loses it he stops and stares down the ref.  He has become the biggest (insert derogatory slang term for the female reproductive organ here) in the NBA.  He has the audacity to call Rajon Rondo a punk after the game last night.  This is the same guy who dislocated Rondo’s elbow with a cheap shot 2 years ago in the playoffs.  This is the same guy that bridged Darren Collison last season.  This is no longer the guy that had the awesome commercial, “I fall down 7 times and stand up 8.”   It also drives me crazy that refs allow him to use his off-hand to stiff arm his defender when he drives to the basket.  It was probably the most pivotal play in the playoffs last year and it happened again last night.  At this time last year, I despised LeBron James.  After what LeBron did in Game 6 last year, I…I… (gulp) respect him.  Now, my hatred, my disdain, my insurmountable intense dislike is toward Dwayne Wade.

I am really hoping Doc lets Jared Sullinger play.  My one qualm with Doc Rivers is his knack for not letting rookies play.  Sullinger will be needed this season.  He will be needed to give Garnett rest.  He will be needed in the front court.  He is a large part of the future of the Boston Celtics.  Doc played him 8 minutes last night.  I understand there may have been matchup problems for him but I sincerely hope that Doc sets aside his policy about giving rookies minutes, and he lets the kid play.

I came away from last night’s game realizing the Boston Celtics-Miami Heat rivalry has surpassed the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry in my eyes.  The reason for that is two-fold.  1) The Red Sox are largely irrelevant right now and will be until they straighten out their operation. 2) LeBron has been public enemy #1 for the Celtics since the Big 3 arrived in Boston.  Now one of the members of the original Big 3 have joined forces with the enemy.  The Celtics are the only team in the NBA that have, can, and will take the Heat to 7 games in a playoff series.

Next up for the Celtics: Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis bring the Milwaukee Bucks into Boston on Friday November 2.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

Eulogizing the 2010-2011 Boston Celtics

Writing a eulogy is never an easy experience.  No one likes to write about death, particularly about the death of someone or something they love. In the sports world, it happens once a year per team that you follow.  Am I being overdramatic? No.  This season (and every season for that matter) the Boston Celtics were frequently invited into my living room, I frequently checked up on them via various information devices, to the tune of 91 games this year.  The season ended last week as LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and the rest of the Miami Heat ousted the Celtics in 5 games in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.  This piece has taken me a long time to write because, as with any type of mourning, time heals.

I remember the early months of the season when Rajon Rondo averaged about 15 assists a game.  I remember the first half of the season when I advocated Glen Davis for the Sixth Man of the Year award.  I remember enjoying Shaq’s time in Boston, going to Harvard Square posing as a statue and composing the Boston Pops.  I remember thoroughly enjoying Nate Robinson’s videos from the preseason where he would play various pranks on Shaq.  I enjoyed watching the development of Semih Erden.  I was remember laughing at the reports of Delonte West and Von Wafer getting into a fist fight in a 2-2 pickup game.  I especially remember Ray Allen burying his record-breaking three pointer against the Lakers at home.

The Celtics had to deal with the injury bug as they never had their preseason roster fully intact.  Delonte West, Shaq, Jermaine O’Neal, Rajon Rondo, Kendrick Perkins, and Kevin Garnett all missed time with injuries.  As a matter of fact none of the aforementioned group of players ever played in the same game.  But even with those injury troubles the Celtics still held onto the top seed in the East and were always close to San Antonio for the best record in all the NBA.  The Celtics dismantled the Heat in each of their matchups (until the regular season when the Celtics were trying to get healthy for the playoffs).

What will forever define the 2010-2011 Boston Celtics can simply be referred to as “The Trade.”  At the trade deadline Danny Ainge broke up a majority of the roster and effectively broke down the chemistry that made the Celtics one of the toughest teams in the NBA. He traded away big man Kendrick Perkins and spark providing Nate Robinson for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic.  He sold Marquis Daniels to the Sacramento Kings.  He moved Luke Harangody and Semih Erden to the Cleveland Cavs for draft picks.  He brought in Troy Murphy, Carlos Arroyo, and Sasha Pavlovic.

Ainge defended himself saying that the Celtics would not have been able to resign Perkins.  He defended himself by saying they needed a wing that would give Paul Pierce and Ray Allen much-needed rest down the stretch.  He defended the deal by saying the Celtics would need some offense from a big man to spread the floor.  He defended himself by saying he wanted to rebuild for the future while trying to make the team better in the present as well.  He defended himself by saying the Celtics were 19-3 in games that Shaq played in over 20 minutes.

As it turned out, Shaq was unable to get healthy the second half of the season.  The Celtics sorely missed Perkins, an inside presence that would have teamed nicely with Jermaine O’Neal in the playoffs.  Doc Rivers never really trusted Jeff Green with substantial minutes, thus never giving Pierce and Allen the rest they needed.  The Celtics were never able to garner any semblance of chemistry with their brand new roster. Going into the playoffs, it is fair to say everyone knew they were in deep trouble.

They quickly dispatched the Knicks, who were going through injury and chemistry issues themselves.  They then faced the Heat in the most anticipated playoff series in recent memory.  In that series the Celtics failed to execute their offense.  Rajon Rondo went down with one of the grossest injuries I have seen since the Willis McGahee injury when he was at Miami.  Yet, Rondo mustered the courage to play through his dislocated elbow and lead the Celtics to a Game 3 victory.  Kevin Garnett laid one of the biggest eggs in playoff history in Game 4 and was only “ok” in Game 5.  Ray Allen would never see the ball the rest of the series. The next two games the Celtics would fail to show up in the final two minutes of each game as the Heat outplayed them.

Some will complain about the referee’s and the preferential treatment to Dwayne Wade and LeBron James.  Some will point to how dirty of a player Dwayne Wade became in this series.  Others will point to the injuries of the Celtics and how thin their roster actually was.  The bottom line? The Celtics did not finish ball games.  Whether it was fatigue that comes with age, miscommunication, or lack of chemistry the Celtics couldn’t withstand the Heat. And that was all she wrote.

Looking ahead to the rebirth of the Celtics, also known as the 2011-2012 season, there are a lot of question marks.  One thing must be certain in my eyes: Glen Davis has worn a Celtics uniform for the last time.  Everyone fell in love with the hustle and energy Davis provided.  Once upon a time Glen Davis took charges, dove for loose balls, and hit an occasional jump shot.  Then somewhere around the midpoint of the season, he fell in love with himself, forgot how to pass, forgot how to box out, and forgot that he was surrounded by Hall of Fame talent.  The first positive going into the 2011-2012 season: Glen Davis is “Gone Baby Gone.”The other positive going into the 2011-2012 season.  Head Coach Doc Rivers signed on for a five-year extension.  This will keep stability in the organization.

The Celtics need to add a big man and a name that has been popping up that I am intrigued by is DeAndre Jordan.  The kid is 23 years old, averaged 7 points and 7 rebounds, and is 6’11 250.  He can fill the role that was left behind when Perk went to Oklahoma City.  I would also like to see the Celtics expand Jeff Green’s role and get him 30 minutes a game.  Watching him and Rondo on a fast break will be must see TV.  I would also like to see the Celtics bring back Delonte West.

The Boston Celtics 2010-2011 season is in the books.  They were the third best team in the Eastern Conference.  They were a trade that should not have happened away from potentially being better. I refuse to believe the proverbial window that was opened by Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett is closed.  This team will be back and in contention next season. They are too competitive, too talented, and have too much pride for this to be the end of an era. Until next season let the Celtics rest, and let’s move onto rooting the Bruins on in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the Red Sox in their season as well.

I can be followed on Twitter at ScottieNTCF

How Sweep It Is!

Believe it or not I actually do have a social life to attend to once in a great while.  Because of the social life, I was unable to post about the games over the weekend.  In case you missed it (and I doubt you did) here is a mini recap of the weekend.  And what a great weekend it was for Boston sports.

Celtics Bust Out Brooms in NY

In Game Three of the first round series between the Celtics and Knicks, the only competition on the court was between Ray Allen and Paul Pierce in who could hit the most three pointers and have the most points.  Pierce had 38 points hitting 6 of his 8 threes and Ray-Ray had 32 points hitting 8 of his eleven threes.  Rajon Rondo was able to run around the court at will and posted a triple double with 15 points 11 rebounds and 20 assists.

Game Four saw the Celtics lead throughout the game before putting on the finishing touches on a 101-89 victory being the only team in the NBA to sweep the first round this year.  Garnett led the way in Game 4 with 26 points and 10 rebounds.  If you missed either of these two games, you didn’t miss much as the Celtics dominated right from the opening tap to the final buzzer.

In hindsight this series ended when Chauncey Billups went down with a knee injury at the end of Game 1.  Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudimire never looked to be on the same page.  Toney Douglas was no match for Rajon Rondo.  Landry Fields laid perhaps the biggest egg in the history of postseason sports.  This was a guy that was a first team all rookie and he stunk the place up in all 4 games.  The Celtics will wait for the Heat to polish off the 76ers before starting round two.  The extra time off will provide the aging roster with some rest and also buy time for Shaq to get healthy.

Horton Hears a Who: Bruins Lead Series 3-2

Nathan Horton scored 11 minutes into the second overtime of Game 5 to put the Bruins one win away from advancing to the second round.  At this time last week, the idea of the Bruins making it out of the opening round was a joke.  But over the last three games they have played with heart and that is all you need to win in playoff hockey.  Michael Ryder continued his great play with the save of his career bailing out an out of position Tim Thomas in the first period of the game.

Speaking of Thomas, the man stood on his head in Game 5 with 44 saves.  Chief among those saves was a vintage Thomas move of sliding across the crease saving a one timer on a 2 on 1 break in overtime.  How he saved that puck, I have no idea.  All I know is the my heart was in my throat.  Radio personality Michael Felger has been asking when Tim Thomas was going to steal a game in the playoffs.  He got his answer with Thomas’ legendary effort in Game 5.

Lastly, how stupid is Max Pacioretty?  The man loves his Twitter account like no other.  This time he took to tweeting a derogatory remark about Brad Marchand’s nose.  Marchand responded by being the third star of the game and playing with as much energy and hustle as anyone could ask for.  Pacioretty has already promoted enough bulletin board material for the Bruins, and he just doesn’t seem to get the message.  There will be nothing better than the Bruins winning the series Tuesday night in Montreal in front of 28,000 screaming Canadien fans.

Sox Shut Down Angels

Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lackey both shut out the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend combing on 16 innings without giving up a run. The Sox now have a five game winning streak going and are showing everyone they are in fact who everyone thought they were going into the season.  In the last nine games, the starting rotation has an ERA of 0.88.

Carl Crawford also hit his first home run as a member of the Red Sox and has shown signs of coming out of his season opening funk.  Once Crawford gets going, and he will, watch out.  The Red Sox will be unbeatable.  Mark my words. The Red Sox can keep their winning ways going as they will travel to Baltimore and open up a three game set on Tuesday.

All in all it was a great weekend in Boston sports.  Let’s hope the run extends into late June!

I can be followed on Twitter @ ScottieNTCF

Celtics Win Despite Melo’s Heroics

After Game One, I bashed Carmelo Anthony for essentially losing the game for the Knicks.  He apparently read my post and took the Knicks on his shoulders in Game Two.  Melo put up video game stats tonight. 42 points, 17 rebounds, and 6 assists.  But it wasn’t enough to beat the Celtics, as Boston will head to New York Friday with a 2-0 series lead after beating the Knicks 96-93.  Rajon Rondo had 30 points and 7 assists for the Celtics.

The Knicks were already undermanned going into the game with Chauncey Billups in a suit on the bench after getting hurt in Game One.  Amare Stoudimire played just 18 minutes and didn’t return in the second half because of back spasms.  Apparently, putting the Knicks on his back in Game One was detrimental to his health.

The Celtics started out with Rondo driving to the basket over and over again making the game look like a personal lay up line.  At one point in the game Celtics announcer Mike Gorman said, “The Celtics could win this game by 25 if they wanted to.”  Carmelo Anthony wouldn’t let that happen as he put on a playoff performance that will remembered for years to come.  But just like when Jordan dropped 63 on the Celtics, it wasn’t enough.

Kevin Garnett was awful for the first 47 minutes of the game.  But in the last-minute he bullied Jared Jeffries in the post with 13 seconds left to put the Celtics up by one.  Then the 2nd place vote getter for Defensive Player of the Year stole the ball from Jeffries with 4 seconds left sealing the win for the Celtics.

The Celtics head to New York on Friday with a 2-0 lead.  But there are concerns with this team in a big picture view.  The bench was lousy tonight.  They were fortunate to not have to deal with Amare Stoudimire.  They were also fortunate that Landry Fields and Bill Walker are way in over their heads in this playoff series.  If the Celtics are to close out the Knicks, they will need to focus on playing a complete 48 minutes.  Here is the plus minus stats for the bench players of the Celtics: Delonte -4, Krstic -5, Green -7, and Davis -11.  The Heat and Bulls will take advantage of that.

. Until Friday, when the Madison Square Garden is sure to be raucous, the Celtics have a 2-0 series lead.  The y took care of business at home.  Now let’s see what they will do on the road.  A win is a win and they are now 14 away from Banner 18.

The State of the Celtics 2011 Version

Last year at this time, I had pretty much written off the Celtics on the eve of their first playoff game.  Going into the playoffs they were slow, aging, and overall not interested in basketball.  Then they flipped the switch and had a magnificent run to the Finals where they were two and half minutes and a Kendrick Perkins injury away from winning the NBA Championship.

This year going into the playoffs, many people in Boston aren’t high on them again.  Some still say they aren’t getting any younger (again).  Some say the late season Kendrick Perkins trade messed with their chemistry and depleted their front line.  Others say they don’t have that tough interior defense that Perk provided.  With Shaq’s health a major question many don’t believe the Celtics can go far with Jermaine O’ Neal and Nenad Krstic playing the center position.  Most troubling to me, is Rajon Rondo has looked ordinary the last 2 months of the season.

The Celtics will open their 2011 second season against Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks.  There is no doubt that this is the most exciting first round playoff matchup in the East.  unfortunately, I am not interested in the Celtics having a tough first round opponent.  I have major concerns about how physical the matchup will be.  The March 21st matchup between these two teams was literally a bloodbath.  While I think the Celtics will handle the Knicks in six games, I am not as confident in what will happen after the Knicks series.  In all likelihood the Celtics will play the Heat in round two.

The Celtics will be forced to put Kevin Garnett on Amare Stoudimire.  Fortunately for the Celtics, the Knicks don’t have any other big man who could hurt them on the offensive end.   Jermaine O’ Neal, Kristic, and even Glen Davis should be able to handle Ronny Turiaf.

Chauncey Billups is a mixed bag these days.  While Rondo should be able to blow by him without any problems time and time again, Billups is a proven winner and has the ability to hit the big shots in crunch time.  I will be interested to see if “Playoff Rondo” shows up early and inserts his will upon the game.  Remember it wasn’t all that long ago when Celtic fans claimed they would NOT trade Rondo for Derrick Rose straight up.

The X-Factor in this series in my opinion is  Toney Douglas.  Douglas comes off the bench for the Knicks and has the ability to put up 12 points before you can say what college he went to (Florida State).  I would have to believe he would be Delonte West’s assignment and Delonte has been and is banged up right now. Landry Fields also concerns me.  I expect Carmelo and Amare to get their buckets.  But if the Celtics aren’t able to contain their supporting cast, they will be in trouble.

To quote the great Jim Ross, this will no doubt be a slobberknocker.  The Celtics have the playoff experience.  The Big Three have never lost an Eastern Conference playoff series.  For that trend to continue, they will have to be even better than they have in years past.  The road to the NBA Finals starts Sunday and it is filled with land mines.  The Celtics will have to be better than they have in years past to get there.  If they are, they will get to the Finals.  If not, they could be out as early as the second round.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF