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Wednesday, 28 November 2018 14:09

Celtics Check-In 2018 – First Quarter

I’ll freely admit to being something of a late adopter when it comes to the NBA. As a general sports fan, I was always aware of the NBA, but my interest never really went that deep – I was primarily and baseball and football man.

But recent years have shown me just how fun the game of basketball can be. And when the hometown team just happens to feature a mess of exceptional talent, well … it’s easy to get excited. However, this year’s squad hasn’t managed to proper utilize that talent to meet the loft expectations placed on them.

Obviously, we weren’t going to get a repeat of last year’s start; 16-game winning streaks don’t grow on trees. But we all though this team would be better than 11-10 at the season’s one-quarter mark. It’s not a terrible record, but at just above .500, they currently sit sixth in the Eastern Conference. They’ll get better, but when?

Let’s check in.

Published in Sports

The Boston Celtics took fans on a heck of a ride last year, advancing to within one game of winning the Eastern Conference and heading to the NBA Finals for the first time in nearly a decade. Poor shooting on their home floor kept them from being the first team to keep LeBron James out of the Finals since … the Boston Celtics in 2010.

The 2017-18 Celtics arrived earlier than expected despite losing one big-ticket free agent acquisition (Gordon Hayward) five minutes into the first game of the season and the other (Kyrie Irving) with 20 games left. Yet with neither of their mega-talent additions on the floor, Boston still made the conference finals thanks primarily to huge leaps by youngsters Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and the deceptive low-key excellence of Al Horford.

That team won 55 games and was the top seed in the East … and this latest incarnation is almost certainly going to be better. Maybe a lot better.

Published in Sports
Monday, 02 July 2018 15:44

Ball don’t lie – ‘Uncle Drew’

Sometimes, you see a movie trailer and think “That looks terrible.” Other times, you see a trailer and think “I’d like to see that.” And every once in a while – rarely, but it happens – you get one that makes you think “That looks terrible. I’d like to see that.”

“Uncle Drew” very much falls into that third category.

The film – based solely on a character played by Kyrie Irving for a handful of Pepsi commercials wherein Irving would don a bunch of old-age makeup and prosthetics and proceed to humiliate people on various basketball courts. Pretty funny bit for a couple of minutes, sure - but for 90? With a Space Jam-esque collection of NBA players making up a significant portion of the supporting cast? Obviously, it was going to be terrible.

And even more obviously, it was going to delight me.

Published in Movies

There were rumors of potential paradigm-shifting fireworks from the Boston Celtics on draft night, but instead, Danny Ainge had a relatively quiet evening. All that happened was that a potentially lottery-level talent dropped into their laps at the back end of the first round.

The Celtics selected Robert Williams III, a 6’ 10” big man, out of Texas A&M with the 27th overall pick. The power forward, who will likely play small-ball center in the scheme of C’s coach Brad Stevens, was considered by many to be a high-level talent – potentially top-10 talent – but personal maturity questions led him to drop, which in turn led to Boston happily scooping him up.

Published in Sports

The NBA has reached the playoffs, so the regular season is already in the rearview mirror. Teams are thinking of nothing more than making the Finals and winning a championship.

But while the regular season awards won’t be announced for weeks, the voting is still fresh. And while predicting the winners of these awards is largely a fool’s errand, well … everybody plays the fool.

Here are some thoughts on who might be hoisting the hardware:

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 04 April 2018 12:40

Basketball hall names 2018 class

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has announced the inductees for its 2018 class.

This year sees a trio of point guards making the cut – Jason Kidd, Steve Nash and Maurice Cheeks – along with Ray Allen, Grant Hill, WNBA great Tina Thompson and a handful of others. The class will be officially inducted into the Hall this September.

Let’s take a closer look at the more prominent members of the class of 2018.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 21 February 2018 11:50

Basketball Hall of Fame announces finalists

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has announced the finalists for its 2018 class.

The list includes players notable for their performance in both the collegiate and professional ranks - Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Ray Allen, Grant Hill, Chris Webber and Maurice Cheeks. There are also some names from the coaching ranks (Lefty Drisell, Rudy Tomjanovich and Kim Mulkey), a pair of greats from the women’s game (Katie Smith and Tina Thompson) and a longtime NBA official (Hugh Evans). The Wayland Baptist University squad from the mid-1950s is the lone team finalist.

The official class of inductees – all those from the list who receive 75 percent of the vote from the 24-person honors committee – will be announced during the NCAA Final Four.

While these are all worthy nominees, the lion’s share of the attention is likely going to land on the pair of point guards at the top.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 21 February 2018 11:47

Celtics Check-in – Third Quarter

It shouldn’t be any sort of surprise that the Celtics have cooled off considerably since their blazing hot start to the season. This was never going to be a team that demonstrated that kind of dominance over the course of an entire year; the inevitable regression plus the elevation of performance by other teams has changed the dynamic of the conference considerably.

Going into the All-Star break – the NBA season’s “midway point” even though it’s essentially three-quarters over - Boston’s record sat at 40-19. It’s a solid record, though they’ve been overtaken for the Eastern Conference lead by the surging Toronto Raptors and have a reenergized Cleveland Cavaliers quad nipping at their heels.

The Celtics have been decidedly meh since the season’s actual midpoint – they’ve managed a .500 record (a notch below that, really). They’ve maintained their defensive strength (albeit not to the extremes of their early season performance), but their offense has dipped significantly. There’s no reason to panic – we knew that this team wasn’t going to win 60 – but there are some causes for concern.

Still, this is a very good team. They’re well-coached and are led by an elite talent. No one is going to want to face this group in the playoffs.

Let’s check in.

Published in Sports
Tuesday, 23 January 2018 23:24

LeBron crosses 30K point threshold

LeBron has passed yet another marker on his journey toward basketball immortality.

With a basket at the end of the first quarter in a game against the San Antonio Spurs on Jan. 24, the Cleveland Cavaliers small forward became the seventh NBA player to score at least 30,000 career points. It’s rarified air – the names above him read like a who’s who of the game’s greats. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Dirk Nowitzki (the only other active player to have crossed that threshold).

He is also the youngest to do so by more than a year, reaching the mark at 33 years, 24 days; the previous fastest to 30K was Bryant at 34 years, 104 days. His relative youth – as well as the fact that he continues to perform at the highest level – means that he has a real shot at continuing to climb the list.

Maybe even all the way to the top.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 10 January 2018 14:07

Celtics Check-In – Halftime

I’ll freely admit that it’s shameful that it has taken me this long to start writing about the Celtics. As someone so attuned to the comings and goings of other New England teams and writing regular features on the Patriots and Red Sox, it’s weird that the C’s have gotten short shrift.

So call me a bandwagon-jumper if you wish – you wouldn’t be wrong – but I’m definitely paying more attention to Boston basketball than I have in nearly a decade.

Obviously, it’s a lot more fun to write about a good team. And with a 33-10 record as of press time – a record that gives them the second-best winning percentage in all of basketball and a spot at the very top of the Eastern Conference – there’s no disputing that these Celtics are very good.

Yes, the team has cooled down after their blazing hot beginnings, but there’s nothing wrong with a stretch of 15-6 following their 18-4 start. As we go to press, they’re riding a six-game winning streak. Again – a VERY good team.

Let’s check in.

Published in Sports
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