The fourth quarter of tonight’s Celtics-Jazz affair evolved into Semih Erden’s audition for the Slam Dunk Contest, and so I spent the second half remembering when Francisco Elson called Kevin Garnett gay.
“That’s a cheap shot by a low-class type player,” Elson said after Garnett hit Elson’s nads, way back in the 2004 Western Conference playoffs. “You don’t do that. That’s gay on his part. I told him that he was gay, too, for touching me in my private parts.”
At which time Garnett may or may not have responded, “You are cancerous to your team and our league.”
Elson later apologized to the gay and lesbian community for his comment, but Garnett never apologized for his part in the altercation. In classic Garnett fashion, he demeaned Elson by calling Elson a nobody.
“I really couldn’t care less about what they’re saying over there,” Garnett said. “I don’t even know half those guys’ names. I’m just focused on winning this game and moving on.”
How Garnett really wanted to end the previous quote: …And if that one guy whose name I don’t know — Francisco Elson — lets his scrotum get in the way of me winning this game, that God damn scrotum is going to get bruised.
Before I have even more fun with a seven-year old story, on to tonight’s game. This was the type of game that can only be enjoyable if you’re A) a huge Celtics fan, B) a huge Celtics fan who loves watching hideous blowouts, or C) Semih Erden’s mother. The Jazz forgot to show up, and I’m pretty sure Deron Williams thought the game had a 10:00 p.m. start. Either that, or he spent layup lines drinking, getting high and/or drinking while getting high. Williams is, according to a bunch of people who know basketball, the NBA’s best point guard. Tonight, he was also miserable.
For the C’s, Paul Pierce again efficiently demonstrated his late-career efficiency, with 20 points on eight shots. Back when Pierce was young and tried to play one-on-five during every fourth quarter, I would have called you a liar if you told me, “Paul Pierce will one day find almost all his offense completely in the flow of the game.” But here it is, year 2011, and Pierce operates with the efficiency of a “golden gun.” You know, the fictional weapon in James Bond movies and video games that kills with only one shot.
The most telling stat of the night goes to the plus/minuses of Boston’s point guards. Rajon Rondo, who contributed one of his “I’m going to make the right play every time down the court” nights, notched a +29. Nate Robinson, whose night was typified by a two-on-one fast break which ended in Nate’s contested shot getting blocked, notched a -5. Nate actually shot well tonight, for the first time in, oh, about a decade or so. But there’s a reason he was the only Celtics player with a negative plus/minus. As Tommy Heinsohn put it, “Boy, all of a sudden they get into attack mode when Rondo’s in there.” In other words, the Celtics offense looks miles better when Rondo’s on the court.
Kevin Garnett’s contributions were glorious, Glen Davis continued to prove he’s infinitely better as a sixth man, and Marquis Daniels helped out in very “Marquis Daniels” ways. Ray Allen missed short more times than he has in the last couple months combined, but still completed a four-point play. Von Wafer put back a tip-slam that meant absolutely nothing but looked really, really good. And the Celtics registered 31 assists on 37 shots. The ball movement was hot potato-ing.
And Erden, Semih? For the second time since Jermaine O’Neal’s injury, Erden played better than O’Neal has in any game all season. Keep on trucking, Big Turk.
As for Al Jefferson’s return to the Garden, the former Celtic missed ten shots. On the bright side, he did make one. On an even brighter side, for Big Al and his Utah teammates, tonight’s game is over. Mercifully, the thorough ass-kicking couldn’t extend any longer than 48 minutes.