Before you read this, please promise me one thing: Promise me you won’t ever, ever let me go to another NBDL game.
I live right next to Springfield, where there is a new NBDL team, and tonight was opening night. It seemed like fun, plus my friend bought me tickets for free, so I decided to go. After all, it was professional basketball. How bad could it be?
The answer? Pretty. F—ing. Bad. By the time we left, with eight minutes still left in the game, the Springfield Armor were losing 92-58, and I still wasn’t sure how they’d even scored 58 points. It was so bad that my brother and I had conversations during the game like this one:
Tommy (my brother): How many points do you think you could score if you played in this game?
Me: Probably 15-20. I’m a better shooter than any of these guys, and they don’t exactly contest shots. If I played the full 48 minutes, I’d have at least 15 or 20.
Tommy: Yeah, that sounds about right. I was thinking the same thing.
And we were dead serious! Meanwhile, I’m the same guy who quit my division three basketball team after not getting any minutes whatsoever. And my team was one of division three’s worst programs. I’m not exactly what you would call a super-talented player. But I was convinced — and, frankly, still am — that I could have score 15 or 20 points if I played the full game. Even though the Armor had only scored 58 through 40 or so minutes.
Honestly, the most talented player in the gym wasn’t even a player. (And, surprisingly, it wasn’t Armor coach Dee Brown either.) Nope. It was the guy who participated in one of the shooting contests during a timeout. In the contest, he had to sink three foul-line jumpers and three three-pointers in a minute in order to get the prize, whatever the prize was. He made his first five shots, leaving him with half a minute to make the final shot.
Since I’m telling you the story, you know he ended up making the last shot, but listen to how he did it: Instead of shooting with half a minute left and getting a few chances to win the prize, he waited until the clock ran all the way down, leaving himself with one pressure-filled NBA three-pointer to collect his bounty. Needless to say, he canned it. And, with that sixth made shot, he had made more field goals during a one-minute contest than the Armor did in the entire second half. The NBDL: Where a random fan picked out of the crowd being better than the home team’s players happens.
Now that you know just how bad the level of play was, you can imagine how excited I was to get back to the Celtics game. (Which I had DVR’ed.) Think about how hyped I must have been to get back when I kept getting tweets like “The Celtics are shooting 83%. Not in the first four minutes of the game. Nope, it’s almost halftime.”, “Paul Pierce just crammed on Chris Bosh’s head.”, and “The Celtics are threatening to break their record for highest single-game field goal percentage.” I couldn’t wait to get back and get the horrible taste of the NBDL out of my mouth.
I knew the Celtics had won by the time I got back, but I had to see for myself and decide what I thought about this one. Here is what I came up with, a running diary of my thoughts as I watched the game:
Dunks happen, offensive fouls happen, and trash talk happens, Triano, but you don’t have to make it worse by getting into a shouting match with Rasheed after it. Just shut up and coach your team. It’s your defense, not Pierce’s dunk, that was bullshit. If you want to argue Pierce should have toned it down a little, I agree, but it’s not the coach’s place to do something about it. The referees called a technical foul, and the coach should just let bygones be bygones. There is no need for a coach to ever get into a shouting match with an opposing player. Not over a little taunting, at least.
I’m sure there are some other wild statistics from this one, but I have yet to unearth them. Just know it was an unorthodox game with some blistering shooting, and that the Celtics had no problems putting Toronto away once they put it into first gear in the third quarter.