Showing posts with label Boston Celtics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Boston Celtics. Show all posts

Monday, May 31, 2010

The NBA Really Isn't the Revenge League Anymore


The problem with this piece of sports writing is that it lacks a command of history:



The Boston Celtics would probably prefer you not refer to the 2010 NBA Finals as a rubber match. After all, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Magic in last year's title round; Orlando simply topped Boston along the way.
Sure, the Celtics beat the Lakers in 2008 and Los Angeles rebounded to win a crown of its own in 2009. But as the teams prepare to meet in this year's championship series, it would seem the only team eager to settle the score is the Lakers.
After Saturday's Game 6 triumph over the Suns to secure the Western Conference crown, Los Angeles players immediately tried to squash the revenge talk, but it's hard to buy what they're selling.
"The challenge is to win the championship," Kobe Bryant said. "The Celtics are in the way. They feel the same way about us."
True, both teams probably couldn't care less how they end up with the Larry O'Brien trophy. But both sides are sure to be amped because of the rivalry between the teams.
But Los Angeles can't possibly suggest that it won't have extra motivation given the way the 2008 Finals unfolded.
As ESPN.com's J.A. Adande wrote in Sunday's Daily Dime, the one thing Bryant hasn't done in his decorated Lakers career is top the rival Celtics on the league's biggest stage. His Lakers legacy could forever be tainted as "the guy who couldn't beat the Celtics."
First of all, who cares? I mean, really.
Do you think there is a "rivalry" between these two clubs? They're both stocked with free agents who haven't played with their respective teams for more than a handful of seasons. Bryant and Paul Pierce have history with their franchises. Most of the other players, not so much. So, this is nothing like the days of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
Second, many of these players never had their rivalry start at the college level. Bryant and Kevin Garnett--no college. That's lame, but I had to slip in something here at number two.
Third, the NBA has driven commentary and trash talking and the things that make great rivalries out of the game. It's true that a $10,000 fine for talking about the officials can really nail a guy making $12 million a season in shorts, and really cause him to curtail his criticisms. But if someone like, I don't know, Rasheed Wallace, were to go in front of the cameras and say "I'm going to make Gasol scream and cry like the manchild that he is, and when I dunk on him, his world will shatter to pieces and he may--he may--urinate all over himself with mortal fear," they'd suspend him.
That's what makes a rivalry--the trash talking. The smack talking, if I may extend the metaphor.
And that's exactly what the NBA has squeezed out of the game.
So, there's no "rivalry" here. There are just two teams trying to win in the playoffs. These players will show up and play hard if it is within their grasp. But they're not going to go where they need to go to start a real rivalry with another team. Many of these players don't plan on playing where they're playing right now in a couple of years--why offend a future teammate, coach, or franchise?


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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cowboy Up, Big Baby


Glen "Big Baby" Davis had an altercation with a fan in Detroit last night:
A jeering fan called Glen "Big Baby" Davis a "fat boy" and told him to lose some weight. Davis responded with an expletive. "We know what happened, and that's unacceptable," Rivers said. "It's tough when the fans are yelling that stuff at you, but you have to be stronger than that."
Had Davis gone into the stands, it would have been all over the news. Fortunately, he's a little smarter than that, but cursing at fans is nothing new. When you're on the road, and your nickname is "Big Baby," I don't see an upside to bickering with fans.

It does prove the point that NBA players are simply not allowed to be fat. It's a cardinal sin to be fat in the National Hockey League. Everywhere else? Eh, as long as you can play, who cares?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Now THAT'S Talking Smack


Is there anyone more candid than Rasheed Wallace?
The way Rasheed Wallace sees it, his latest technical foul call was a flop.

The Boston Celtics big man said Friday night that Raptors forward Hedo Turkoglu duped the referees into giving Wallace his fifth technical of the season by flopping.

“They’ve got to know that he’s a (darn) flopper. That’s all Turkododo do,” Wallace said after the Celtics beat the Raptors 116-103. “Flopping shouldn’t get you nowhere. He acts like I shot him.

“That’s not basketball, man. That’s not defense. That’s garbage, what it is. I’m glad I don’t have too much of it left.”

Commissioner David Stern has complained about flopping because it’s a way to fool the officials, but the league has been unable to find a way to punish or prevent it.

Wallace is the NBA’s career leader with 296 technicals and 29 ejections, according to STATS LLC. But he said some of it is because of his reputation and lack of status in the league.

“Let the Golden Child (LeBron James) do that, or one of the NBA Without Border kids do that, it’s all fine and dandy,” he said.

“This game is watered down, watered down with all that flopping. They’re setting rules on us to the point where you’re taunting if you dunk on somebody. Paul dunked it and then he didn’t say nothing, but it’s a tech.”

Cue the phony outrage of a thousand bad sports writers who will write about how Wallace is a cancer and a bad, bad player.

Actually, Rasheed Wallace has just spoken more truth about the National Basketball Association than any player has in ten years. The game is watered down. The game is corporate-oriented towards international players at the expense of the roots of the game. And it is not worth watching. I haven't watched more than a handful of games, and the bad shooting and dogging it on defense made me abandon several games, none of which even involved the Knicks.