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It’s safe to say that the Boston Celtics of the 1950s and 1960s were the greatest dynasty in American professional sports. One could try to make arguments for other teams in other sports, but in terms of pure extended dominance, it’s tough to argue against eight consecutive championships and 11 titles in 13 seasons.

It’s also tough to argue against any two players being more vital to those victories than Bill Russell and Bob Cousy. But despite their brilliant dynamic on the court, their relationship beyond basketball is something a little more complicated.

Both aspects of the Cousy/Russell link are explored in Gary Pomerantz’s new book “The Last Pass: Cousy, Russell, and What Matters in the End” (Penguin Press, $28). Built around a years-long series of interviews with Cousy, the book explores the history of that dynastic time in Celtics history and examines an NBA that might have disappeared forever had Cousy and Russell not come along, all while also looking at issues of race in a particularly tumultuous time in our society.

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

Every life features moments that can change everything. There are some choices whose effects will reverberate throughout the rest of our lifetimes, coloring every subsequent experience and largely defining the kind of person that history will judge us to be.

And so it is that with great humility and great hope, I, Allen Adams, must once again declare myself eligible for the draft. Sorry – drafts.

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
Wednesday, 29 November 2017 13:01

Celtics Check-in – First Quarter

It has taken me a while, but I’m starting to come around on the NBA.

Published in Sports
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