- Kendrick Perkins targets early February for his return. “To me, I feel like I need about a month-and-a-half [to be playoff-ready],” he said.
- Paul Pierce was rated #19 in Slam Online’s player rankings. This sentence from the column had me dying laughing: “It’s also entirely possible Chris Bosh still has to fit the hotel room bed with rubber sheets the night before playing against Kevin Garnett.”
- GMs give Boston a 100% chance to win the Atlantic, an 18.5% chance to win the East, and a 3.7% chance to win a championship. They say Ray Allen is the league’s purest shooter and Rajon Rondo the best on-the-ball perimeter defender and best defender in the passing lanes. Actually, the entire Celtics team dominated the defensive rankings. Also, more votes.
- John from Red’s Army strongly believes Shaq should come off the bench. I happen to agree, for this reason: Shaq, against second string defenses, can still get buckets.
- Brian Scalabrine on why Tom Thibodeau wanted him in Chicago: “He knows that he can count on me.”
- Kobe Bryant’s the reason we had a recession.
- If Andrew Bynum has one more major knee surgery, his minutes will likely be limited for the rest of his career.
- Jersey advertising has the potential to save the NBA from a lockout. Seriously. English Premier League soccer teams made $155 million off jersey advertising last season. My thoughts? Why the hell not? The basketball will be the same, even if the Boston Celtics become the Armani Jeans Celtics. On second thought… the Armani Jeans Celtics?
- Adrian Wojnarowski on the passing of the torch in Miami: “Opening night of the preseason, Wade was pushed to the side and everyone saw they could leave him the captain, the spokesman, the last man introduced to the laser light show. They could leave everything in place for Dwyane Wade except for the fact that the Miami Heat no longer belong to him. A force of nature showed on the shores of Biscayne Bay, grabbed the ball and never looked back. Maybe this is still D-Wade’s city and franchise, but this is LeBron James’ team now. King James doesn’t do deferential.”
- I’m pretty sure I could score 10 points per game in the NBA if I had low-post lessons from Hakeem Olajuwon. Hakeem’s forgotten more post moves than most players ever learn. Which makes the thought of him teaching Dwight Howard positively frightening.
Posts tagged: Hakeem Olajuwon
The Utah Jazz came out of halftime like a midsummer California forest fire: Flaming hot and viciously destructive.
Before you could say Mehmet Okur, a five-point halftime lead for the Boston Celtics had turned into a 10-point deficit, and a very winnable game was suddenly headed to the ‘L’ column. The final score would be even worse, 110-97.
Just before halftime, the Celtics had seemed headed for their fifth straight impressive win. A Ray Allen three-bomb put the Celtics up 12, and they were threatening to break the game wide open. Just when it seemed they might put the Jazz away for good, the Celtics took their foot off the gas and allowed the Jazz right back into the game. The 12-point lead disintegrated to five by the intermission, and the table was set for Utah’s second-half onslaught.
For the Celtics, it was a disappointing loss, but far from the end of the world. A 3-0 road trip would have been delicious, but 2-1 is nothing to be ashamed of. Beating the Jazz in Utah is exceedingly tough, but beating them in Utah when Okur plays like Reggie Miller, Hakeem Olajuwon and Dennis Rodman all rolled into one is next to impossible. Ohkur was everywhere, blocking shots, snatching rebounds, and draining three-pointers from all angles.
The Celtics looked like a team ready to fly home and embark on a six-game homestand, while the Jazz looked like a team thirstily trying to defend its homecourt. In the end, that was the difference. It wasn’t that Utah was a better team, or that they have more talent, but simply that they wanted it more. It was that simple. Had Boston kept the turnovers to a minimum in a sloppy first half, Utah might have faced an insurmountable halftime deficit. But they didn’t, and they didn’t.
I’ve spent half a season urging Boston to find the heart to exert effort throughout every play of each game, but tonight was the most excusable loss Boston has had in awhile. I don’t want to let them off the hook after another second-half meltdown, but this one was understandable. On the last leg of a road trip, playing a very good Utah team in a hostile environment, with a six-game road trip waiting on the horizon, it all added up to a second half devoid of any energy. I don’t condone it, but I can see why it happened.
If the Celtics don’t bring their hardhats and lunchpails on Wednesday, though, there’s something wrong. Playing a Nuggets team that all but bent the Celtics over and spanked them last time the two teams met, the Celtics should be out for blood. It should help that it’s in the Garden, but playing at home hasn’t always been a good sign this season.
After seeing the Jazz play the Celtics like a fiddle in the final 24 minutes of tonight’s game, spectators might think this was another night the Celtics got overrun by a better opponent. I wouldn’t read too much into the loss, though. It was one game, and one game only. Really, it was one half and one half only. The Celtics live to play another day.
The next time the Celtics take the court, they should thank their lucky stars they don’t have to play Mehmet Miller Olajuwon Rodman Okur. He’s a killer.
- Doc Rivers was tossed out of the game with a minute or so left after receiving his second technical foul, and mockingly applauded the referee after his dismissal.
- Ray Allen led the Celtics with 15 points. Paul Pierce, the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week, scored only 11 on 3-13 shooting.