Since the great Quarantine started back in March there has obviously been no sports and no NBA basketball to watch. It’s been awful and depressing for those of us that are die-hard hoops fans. Our only salvation has been the throwback clips that get posted to social media on a daily basis. Of those, the main ones I keep seeing are Larry Bird highlight reels, basically the same ones posted day after day.
I’m not salty about it, I love Larry Bird. But if you grew up a Celtics fan like me, Larry Bird highlights were like my Lion King or Little Mermaid. I’ve watched them a million times and while they never get old, it’s still the same stuff I’ve been watching since the mid 90’s.
That’s why I thought this clip of Larry Bird’s best fights would be a good change of pace from the highlight reels we have been inundated with on the daily. There’s been a lot of talk lately about how the 90’s were so much tougher than today’s game due to the “Last Dance” documentary about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, but the rough stuff that went on then looks like paddycake compared to how the NBA got down in the 80’s. And as this video shows, Larry Bird was not only one of the greatest, but one of the toughest SOB’s to ever play. The “Hick from French Lick” didn’t take no shit from anyone.
P.S. — Just in case you watched that and are craving some more NBA fights, here’s a video featuring some of the best of all time.
The Boston Celtics have had yet another one of their tumultuous weeks, a trend that seems to have followed them this entire season. It goes 1-2 great weeks of basketball, followed by a few bad losses and a negative sound-bite that gets blown out of proportion and leaves everyone coming up with zany conspiracy theories regarding the future of this team.
At the beginning of the year when this first started, it was almost comical to say that this team wouldn’t figure it out and contend for the Eastern Conference Title. But now, as we close in on the All-Star break and things seem to still be in turmoil, well let’s just say it’s not looking great. It was well put by ESPN’s Jackie McMullan when she said the following on the Brian Windhorst Hoop Collective Podcast
“There is something wrong with this team, It’s too late in the season to keep saying they’re going to figure it out. The chemistry is bad. The vibe is bad. And it’s not getting better” – Jackie MacMullan via Brian Windhorst and the Hoop Collective Podcast
Clearly, things haven’t gone as predicted this season but even to the sourest critics of this team, it can’t be ruled out that we might just very well still end up seeing the Celtics in the NBA Finals come June. In the eyes of many NBA analysts, they are still, in fact, the favorites in the East.
There’s one other team that has been getting some new chatter that they might actually be the frontrunners now, and that is the Philadelphia 76ers. With the recent addition of Tobias Harris to their starting five, the Sixers have pretty much told the rest of the conference that they are all in on this season. It’s NBA Finals or bust for them.
It’s what makes tonight’s matchup in Philadelphia so intriguing. It will be the first time this new look Sixers’ team will matchup against the team that has been their nemesis in the East over the past 2 seasons. Boston took them down 4-1 in last year’s Eastern Conference Semi-finals and have taken both games so far this season.
We all know Kyrie Irving will be out with a knee injury, but it still looks to be a major statement game for the Celtics, for better or worse.
If the Celtics can go into Philadelphia and beat this newly formed “Phantastic 5” (lame nickname) that they have formed in Philly, it could be a giant momentum shift for this team. In fact, if I were a betting man, I would almost surely bet the Celtics in this game. Only for the simple reason that almost every time they have suffered a string of losses against sub-par teams, they usually back it up with an impressive victory over a real contender. It’s almost like it’s part of this team’s DNA and what makes them so insanely frustrating to watch at times.
It won’t be an easy task; the Sixers have had two impressive victories since they formed this new team. An impressive win over the 2nd seeded Nuggets, and a blow-out win over the LA Lakers who just beat the Celtics with a buzzer beater less than a week ago.
Another thing to factor in, the “we don’t need Kyrie Irving” talk will become deafening if the Celtics can come away with a win tonight. I’m certainly not of the camp that supports that theory, especially when he goes out the other night vs the LA Clippers and the Celtics blow a 28-point lead. But it will go a long way in supporting the narrative that this team plays better overall without him on the floor and which is another reason I feel a win in Philadelphia tonight is imminent. This team seems to attract turmoil, and while a win tonight will be great, it will add a whole new layer to that department.
Simply put though, if the Celtics can withstand Philadelphia’s best shot tonight and leave with a win, it will be hard to not keep them as a favorite still in the East. While every top team in the conference like the Bucks, Raptors, and Sixers all got better, it still feels like its inevitably the Celtics conference to lose. And if they do end up losing, I don’t believe it will be because they are outmatched by anyone. It will be because they end up beating themselves.
Unless your a sports fan that lives on the planet Pluto or has no internet access, than all you have heard about for the last 48-72 hours is endless trade rumors surrounding Anthony Davis.
AD to the Lakers Confirmed!! No wait, actually Celtics will be getting him this offseason! Oh actually maybe he’ll go to the Knicks. Wait again, maybe he’s going to the Bucks and him and Giannis will combine superpowers and turn into an NBA version of Thanos from those dumb Avengers movies.
Goddammit, I’m so fucking sick of it. I get that AD is an amazing talent. I get that he is probably the best player to be on the trade block since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the 70s. I get that whatever team gets him will have a real shot at an NBA title for years to come. It’s just brain-numbing and unbearable to listen to this shit for days on end, I don’t know if I can make it to next Thursday’s trade deadline without drinking a bottle of anti-freeze.
I get that AD is being painted as the villain in this scenario. But as much as he’s got some responsibility in this, the majority of my annoyance is geared towards his agent Rich Paul aka LeBron James’ puppet toy.
I mean did anyone really expect anything different when Davis signed with Klutch Sports? If you did you’re stupid. This has been the plan since LeBron was even considering the Los Angeles Lakers. Did you really think he would be satisfied with being on a sub-par Laker team with no extraordinary talent around him for long? Of course not.
This news was dropped on a Monday morning so it could control the news cycle for days on end. That was no coincidence, nothing LeBron James or Rich Paul is involved in is done without methodical precision.
I love that the NBA has become a league controlled by the players. It’s mostly a positive thing that other leagues like the NFL and MLB could certainly learn from. But when we get to a point where your best players are taking advantage of that to completely circumvent any rules that are put in place to protect small market teams or provide a fair trade market, than maybe it’s time for the league to step in.
I mean when Rich Paul, one of LeBron’s best friends became an agent, did they really expect anything different? Stuff like this was bound to happen. In the old days, many agents had companies or agencies they would have to answer to for pissing off other teams in the league like this. Rich Paul doesn’t care, at the end of the day he answers to LeBron, regardless of how much he might claim otherwise.
All I ask is we stop the charade and ridiculous news cycle. AD is going to end up in LA one way or another. And you know what? Good. I hope he goes there and realizes quickly that he fucked up. It’s never gonna be LeBron’s fault if they don’t win. Nope, that blame will fall squarely on the shoulders of Davis. Before he knows it, he’ll be subjected to the subtle tweets or post game interviews that will be filled of LeBron throwing shade his way.
He won’t get any of the credit if they win either, that’s all going to LeBron. He’ll be acclaimed as the greatest player ever for winning a championship on three different teams, while people will say AD never could have won without him.
So have fun with that Mr. Anthony Davis. I get you don’t want to be a Pelican for life. It’s understandable. But maybe don’t utilize the media to accomplish that in the most obnoxious fashion possible. You don’t strike me as someone that wants to be hated, but your joining the one polarizing player and team that will almost assure that to be the outcome. Have fun.
Last night in the TD Garden it was Greek Heritage Night, maybe not the best of timing when the Greek Freak himself in Giannis Antetokounmpo is coming to town.
The Celtics started hot coming out with a 10-1 run to start the game, but it was all Bucks from there with Milwaukee defeating Boston 120-107. Giannis went for 30 pts and seemed to get to the basket at will, something that has become almost a formality for the 6’11 Greek god.
You could argue that wasn’t what did the Celtics in though, Giannis is always going to get his. Rather it was the Celtics inability to slow down the rest of the Bucks and especially from the 3pt line. The Bucks shot 40 percent from three on the night, but it was a flurry of deep shots that exploded the Bucks lead to 20 points in the 2nd quarter, a lead that resulted in being too insurmountable to come back from.
The Celtics on the other hand were forced to play small ball with Al Horford, Aron Baynes and Marcus Morris all out with injury. It didn’t bode well against the top rebounding team in the league in the Bucks and they were destroyed on the glass 55-36. When you play small ball you better make your threes and that certainly wasn’t the case. The Celts shot 10-34 from deep for a dismal 29 percent on the night. The live and die by the 3 motto was certainly in full effect last night with the Celtics living by the latter.
There were some flashes of good play in the second half, but when you get down big to a good team like the Celtics did tonight you can’t expect them to let you back in it. This isn’t the same Bucks team that Boston beat last year in the first round of the playoffs, they along with Giannis are much improved and are proving they can compete with anyone on any court this season.
Jaylen Brown provided some of the only encouraging moments tonight in a losing effort. His 21 Points in 30 minutes off the bench seemed to be the only spark plug the Celtics had. Brown who has struggled so far this season seemed to get going in an expanded role tonight. It would lead you to believe that he is a player that needs to get more minutes to garner more production. With Gordon Hayward still struggling to look comfortable on the floor and provide sufficient production, it may be time for Jaylen to step into and expanded role and keeping Hayward on the bench.
It was widely reported late last night after the game that there was a closed-door meeting in the Celtics locker room after last night’s debacle. There is no doubt it was a heated discussion in there and details were scarce about what was discussed. Kyrie Irving provided some insight when interviewed afterwards and said that “there is a lot of selfish play going on.”
You must agree with Kyrie’s sentiment and it has been clear that this team has strayed from the squad that was moving the ball around effectively during the recent 8- game win streak. The iso-ball that this team can fall into at times like we saw tonight is almost like a death sentence. It almost always ensures a stagnant offense and hinders the ability to get multiple players involved.
The Celtics get back at it Sunday night vs the Hornets, for their sake and that of the Celtics faithful we hope this closed locker room conversation can be a turning point in this season. I understand this team needs to get healthy, but they need to keep winning games in the meantime. I’ve heard cries that it won’t matter if we are healthy come the playoffs. While this may be true, this team is at a real risk of falling out of the race for the 1 or 2 seed in the East if things don’t turn around quickly. You can say that doesn’t matter, but don’t forget that until game 7 of the ECF last year this team didn’t lose a home playoff game. Homecourt advantage matters, especially in Boston.
This Celtics team is certainly at a serious turning point in this season. With Christmas in a few days, the “real” NBA season (as in the part where guys start taking it seriously) is about to start. This team will either come together and have us forgetting these early season troubles, or they could go down as one of the most wasted collection of talent we’ve seen in recent NBA history. For the sake of Celtics fans, we sure hope it’s not the latter.
If you’ve been watching any Boston Celtics basketball over the past week or so, you would be hard to miss the 6’10 240 lb athletic freak Robert Williams making plays all over the floor.
Utilizing his 7 foot 5 inch wingspan he’s been blocking shots, snatching rebounds from the top of the backboard and throwing down thunderous alley-oop slams. While it’s clear his offensive game is lacking with him being such a raw young talent, we have seen him make up for that with hustle plays like diving on the floor and chasing down blocks. The 27th pick in last June’s NBA draft is starting to live up to the potential we had dreamed about when the Celtics made that pick. Despite reports coming out that he had some issues with maturity and behavior while starring in college for the Texas A&M Aggies, trader Danny elected to take a shot on the 20-year-old. Before those reports, Williams had been slated as a lottery pick in the minds of many.
Williams was a defensive force in college over his time there, averaging an absurd 2.6 block per game and pulling down 9.2 rebounds per. He was twice named SEC Defensive Player of the Year, one for each season he was in school. His freakish athletic ability enabled him to get easy baskets and shot 62 percent from the field and averaged 10.6 PPG.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens has been forced to play Williams a little more than he may have wanted at this point in the year due to the fact that Al Horford and Aron Baynes have both missed time with injuries recently. While still looking inexperienced at times, it’s clear that he is a competitor and has provided big minutes.
One of the traits that has me the most impressed so far with Williams is his ability to quickly get off the floor for a block or rebound. He is so quick off his feet and when you add that to his absurd vertical leap of 40 inches and it starts opening eyes. That ability to get off the ground in a hurry reminds me of how Dennis Rodman used to be able to do that and consistently be the first person to the ball. Another modern-day NBA comparison for Williams is the Houston Rockets Clint Capela, another freakish athlete who played an essential role on Houston’s late playoff run last season.
While gaining popularity for his play lately, he also has garnered some attention for his somewhat strange and comical nickname “Time Lord.” A nickname he was ironically given on twitter after he was drafted because he missed his initial phone call with the team and then missed a flight to Boston for the first day of practice. It wasn’t exactly a great start for those that were skeptical of the pick, but those issues have seemed to have subsided and we haven’t heard of any other time difficulties since then. Despite that the nick name seems to have stuck
Nonetheless, “Time Lord” may be one of my favorite NBA nicknames I have heard in a quite a while. I would expect to see Williams continue to get more minutes as the season progresses. Not only will he provide a spark for this team on a nightly basis, but will help take some minutes off Baynes and Horford and enable the Celtics to keep them healthy and fresh down the stretch of the season.
Williams has a way to grow and will need to improve on the offensive side of the ball, but for now he certainly fits right in on a team that loves to pride themselves for their hustle and defense like the Celtics do. If he keeps this up we may soon be viewing him as a steal of this draft and no doubt have other GM’s across the league wishing it was them who was the “Time Lord” so they could travel back in time.