Tag Archives: The Truth

The Celtics vs. Major League

As we found out finally and officially on Sunday, the Celtics are not that good. They’re old, injured and can’t play at a high level for 48 minutes. I know that sounds cliché and, as a graduate of the Kelly Dwyer School of “God I Hate It When Lazy Clichés Come True,” it pains me to even term it that way.

Anyway, I found a bunch of parallels between the Celtics and the Cleveland Indians from the movie Major League. The one similarity that will not come true is the Celtics actually overcoming anything to win in the end … but a lot of other things are uncanny.

Here’s a taste:

The Cleveland Indians team in Major League was a ragtag bunch put together for one sole purpose: losing. And losing bad enough so that their owner could break her lease with the city and move the team to sunny Florida. It was only once the players learned of her sinister plot that they were able to put it all together and start winning.

They needed an external wake-up call to motivate them to win.

Now, I personally don’t have much faith in this Celtics team. But if ever there was a wake-up call in this year’s NBA, it’s losing to the Nets. At home. Convincingly.

Will that be enough to help Boston hold off Father Time and magically rebuild the ligaments in KG’s knee? Probably not. I think the Celtics are a clear step behind the three legitimate contenders in the East (Cleveland, Atlanta and Orlando).

But this Celtics team, which I think at least within our little NBA internet world is now being counted out as a title contender, does bare a striking resemblance to my favorite fake baseball team.

Head over to Hardwood Paroxysm to check out the rest.

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Stuff I Read and Enjoyed … Featuring What the Lakers are Reading

[Given the ongoing inactivity around here pertaining to anything going on in the actual season, I’m begrudgingly going to start doing a recurring “Stuff I Read” column just to keep you abreast on the NBA-related posts that are worth your time.]

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1. Phil Jackson Buys Books for His Lakers Players

Every year around this time, the Zen Master famously gives everyone on his team a book. Perhaps it’s just to ensure they all read at least one during the year or maybe it really is to teach them savvy lessons about basketball and life. Most likely, it’s closer to how Eric Freeman puts it in his FreeDarko breakdown of this year’s reading list:

He considers the player’s personality and needs, and makes a decision based on all available factors. It’s one of the clearest reminders that he’s a coach who respects and values his players as people, not just basketball players.

Eric breaks down the significance of most of the selection, but here’s the full list of the books Phil handed out, which was originally made public by his girlfriend and daughter of the Lakers owner Jeanie Buss on her Twitter account:

Kobe Bryant – Montana 1948 by Larry Watson
Pau Gasol – 2666 by Roberto Bolano
Ron Artest - Sacred Hoops by Phil Jackson
Lamar Odom – The Right Mistake by Walter Mosley
Andrew Bynum – Six Easy Pieces by Walter Mosley
Derek Fisher – Soul on Ice by Eldridge Cleaver
Shannon Brown – Dreams from My Frather by Barack Obama
Luke Walton – The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey
Jordan Farmar – Makes Me Wanna Holler by Nathan McCall
Josh Powell – The Souls of Black Folks by W.E.B. Du Bois
Sasha Vujacic – Reservation Blues by Sherman Slexie
Adam Morrison – Che: A Graphic Biography by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon
DJ Mbenga – Monster: An Autobiography of an LA Gang Member by Sanyika Shakur (aka Monster Kody)

Gotta love Phil giving Mbenga a book by a gangbanger. And the Zen Master giving Artest a book that he himself wrote? That’s just great. I once had a college philosophy professor hand out essays he wrote and published as assignments. This was like right after we finished reading Plato’s Republic and a bunch of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas stuff. Then he’s all “now lets move on to some stuff by me for next week.” He was a notable and well-respected modern philosopher and his stuff was ultimately good and worth reading/discussing, but I just remember being “Umm … aren’t we a little pretentious and self-important.” I’m not sure what my point was here. Probably don’t have one aside from, yeah, enjoy Sacred Hoops, Ronnie, even if you think Phil is a weirdo for giving you his own book. It’s pretty good.

2. Samuel Dalembert Speaks After Returning from Haiti

In my real job, I’ve spent much of the past six years in that field reading, writing and thinking about natural disasters and disaster response. So this whole Haitian tragedy has really kicked my ass. Keenly knowing that anyone not saved withing the first 36-48 hours post-event is probably dead sucks, and realizing even before it happens that the logistical challenges of coordinating relief in a country as desolate and infrastructure-less — or anywhere, really — are going to lead to one giant, multi-organizational clusterfuck really weighs on the psyche.

On the other hand, the outpouring of humanity and caring after the even is always encouraging to see and — in a tiny, tiny way — helps. Henry Abbott of TrueHoop broke down Samuel Dalemberts’ … well … breakdown after he returned from Haiti. (Skeets has video.) For those that don’t know, Samuel is from Port-au-Prince and he, along with Dwyane and Alonzo, has been leading the impressive aid efforts being conducted by the NBA. There was also a nice, public, Bill Clinton-led fundraising effort last night in Madison Square Garden that will end up giving at least $500,000. This, of course, all pales in comparison to the Hope For Haiti efforts last night, which featured pretty much every A-list celeb who isn’t an asshole. At this point, if you still haven’t given at least $10 to relief in a country ravaged by what is truly both a natural and man-made disaster, I probably don’t want you reading this blog. (Just text “Haiti” to 90999 and $10 will go to the Red Cross and be added to your next mobile bill.)

Paul Pierce also wrote some really interesting stuff about the nature of tragedy, talking about how his life changed after he was stabbed and how things like Haiti and Katrina, while disasters he “can’t even fathom,” also provide opportunities “to grow and learn.”

After my experience, I was really appreciative of the care I received at Tufts Medical Center. Because I had minimally invasive surgery, I was able to get back on the court a month later, so I worked with them and we opened the Paul Pierce Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery and I sit on the hospital’s Board of Governors.”

You wish you didn’t have to learn that way. But it could happen to anybody. You say to yourself, “I wish I was a little more cautious.” But you don’t know. Who knows? Who knows when an earthquake is going to hit? Who knows when a tsunami’s going to hit? Who knows when something tragic might happen? Who knows?

All you can do is learn from it and do whatever you can. In Haiti’s case, please offer as much help as possible.

Some of the better stuff you’ll ever see written by a pro athlete. Just one more reason why Paul Pierce is my third or fourth favorite player in the NBA.

3. LeBron vs. Kobe On a Hundred Thousand Triliion

LeBron is the best player in the league and it’s not remotely close. And even if you for some reason don’t feel that way, the whole conversation is beyond exhausted. No one is switching sides and, honestly, who really gives a shit? They’re both amazing. That’s pretty much what Zach Harper is saying here in his HP column “Is There a Huckleberry?” which is based on Tombstone — much like most religions should be. (Shoals had another take that I actually didn’t bother to read, but it’s Shoals, so I’m guessing it’s at least decent, presuming you care to read about Kobe/LeBron — which I decidedly do not.)

Seven & Seven

It’s Sunday afternoon and the world is poised for one of the better days in recent NBA Playoffs memory.

Rockets/Lakers.

Celtics/Magicians.

All the garbage that’s been written so far is now meaningless. All the banter is worthless. Are the Lakers too soft? Are they too arrogant? Are they too lazy? Are the Rockets better without Tracy? Are they even good without Yao? Are Shane and Ron the worst match up for Kobe?

Your opinions on these questions no longer matter. In about an hour, fiction becomes fact.

Unfortunately, it’s really hard to see a rag-tag squad of over-achieving Rockets led by Ron Artest waltzing into Staples Center and beating a team with so much basketball talent. Kobe, Pau, Lamar, Trevor and (I guess) Bynum should really have no problems beating Ron, Von, Aaron, Shane and Scola. Generally, the NBA is the most just of all the sports leagues in that the best team almost always wins in a seven-game series. Injuries and momentum-fueled runs (e.g., the Warriors over the Mavs) do alter this on occassion, but the “better team” wins way more in the NBA than the NFL or MLB. Throw in the fact that the Lakers have the best two players in the series in Mamba and the Spaniard, and you have to expect LA to pull this one out at home — especially after Kobe refocused himself yesterday by spending his whole Saturday evening watching four straight airings of Kobe Doin’ Work.

Celtics/Magic is much more interesting (yet, paradoxically, the game that interests me less) in the sense that we really have no idea which team is better. With Paul, Ray and Rajon, the Cs have the pedigree of Playoff success while Orlando has exactly zero proven, ready-for-primetime players. Then again, Truth looks run down until the final five minutes of every game and the Boston frontcourt is shakier than Vin Baker in the morning. Will Dwight go 20/20 again? Will Rashard be aggressive? Will the Turkism Michael Jordan stick his patented dagger threes? Will Rafer slap or kiss anyone’s head?

In reality, none of us know what’s about to happen. And this is exactly what we’ve been hoping for while watching the NBA all year.

A Game 7 is the best thing in sports.

And, today, we get two.

Enjoy.

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Great Moments in Facial Hair History: Vol. XII

John Salmons must have had a very conflicted Tuesday evening. One on hand, he repeatedly got torched down the stretch by Paul Pierce, who decided to drill pull-up jumper after pull-up jumper in the fourth quarter and overtime after realizing that Bulls coach Vinny of the Black has a learning disability and thus was not going to send a double team at him. But on the other hand, John probably looked in the mirror at some point after the game and saw this fantastic face growth while Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” started playing inside his head.

Moral of the story: Win some, lose some.

Therefore, this Great Moment is dedicated to the man we in the NBA Twitterverse have affectionately begun calling Fish Sticks. And, yes, by “we” I mean “me.”

And in mildly related Bulls news, this is my favorite cartoon thus far from the Garbage Time-All Stars.

“There are two kinds of people in this world that go around beardless—boys and women—and I am neither one.” – traditional Greek saying (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

“There are two kinds of people in this world that go around beardless—boys and women—and I am neither one.” – traditional Greek saying (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

Bulls vs. Celtics’ 100% Natural Good-Time NBA Playoff Solution

This series has easily been the best of the First Round and after that double-overtime extravaganza yesterday, you really can’t ask two teams to provide better entertainment.

Game 1 featured Derrick Rose’s national breakout, which to those of us who have been salivating over the dude all season was just great to watch. Game 2 featured Ray Allen’s game-winning trey with two seconds remaining, which to those of us who love all-time great jumpshooters and were saddened by his gross 1/12 shooting display the previous game was just great to watch. Game 3 was apparently a blowout, which to those of us who missed the game because we were off at a horrible business conference and were hoping we didn’t miss anything too fantastic was just great to hear.

Then came Game 4.

I don’t want to make too too much of this since the first great game of the Playoffs each year is always overblown because people forget how great the previous year’s Playoffs were (not to mention the fact that aside from the Orlando/Philly series, LA/Utah Game 3 and NO/Denver Game 3, this year’s First Round has been fairly whatever), but that right there was one helluva basketball game.

Given the world we live in today, most of the discussion about yesterday’s game will undoubtedly center around asking why Doc Rivers didn’t foul John Salmons when the Celtics were up by three before Ben Gordon drilled that dagger or why no one could make a clutch free-throw (though, even in a hyper-critical climate of people discussing sports on TV like it’s the Cuban Missile Crisis, I’m sure the sloppy analysts paid to break down the game will still fail to mention Big Baby’s borderline tackle of Joakim Noah on the “screen” that set Jesus Shuttlesworth free prior to that huge three at the end of regulation).

But round these parts, we would much rather just praise the game’s greatness. There are too few spectacular Playoff games to waste our fan energy on nit-picking every little flaw or second guess every decision. Theoretically, we watch basketball — and all sports — because we enjoy them. So, to me, it seems counterproductive to only sit around talking about all the stuff we didn’t enjoy after the game is over. Alas, that’s what most people want to do.

But round here we say fuck that.

Round here we talk about the Rondo vs. Rose mano-a-mano duel that kicked off the 4th Quarter. Round here we talk about Ben Gordon, who just when you don’t think he could possibly be any dumber after turning the ball over trying to go one-on-two for no real reason while freelancing outside of the offense (best Twitter line of the entire game: “@the_tigercub I suddenly want to spit into Ben Gordon’s cereal.” ) completely redeems himself with a game-tying three to send the game into a second overtime. Round here we talk about Paul Pierce overcoming some serious ballhandling issues and general poor play to stick a few patented daggers late in the fourth. Round here we talk about Ty Thomas making some of the best and worst plays you’ll ever see on back-t0-back possessions as if he’s deliberately trying to force his inclusion into the Gerald Wallace/Josh Smith section in the second edition of Free Darko Presents the Macrophenomenal Basketball Almanac. (I never write the proper review of this that I had intended, but trading these guys $15.64 for the right to own this book is one of the better moves any basketball fan can make this year.) Round here we talk about Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo again — what an epic shootout that was. (My in-game tweet from the time “@BothTeamsPlayed Can these other eight irrelevant players just got off the court please?”)

And round here, we watch clutch shots again. (via Hoop Doctors)

Enjoy. (Or at least try to.)