Thursday, May 7, 2009

House on Fire, Tempers Rise Out West, GIVE ME MY LEAGUE BACK!!!

As Coach expected the Boston Celtics responded with a game 2 win last night to even their best of seven second round series at 1-1 with the Orlando Magic. While the Celtics are still the champs this team has become so unpredictable mainly because of injuries which we have been hearing about for weeks. Last night Eddie House and Rajon Rondo were the key ingredients that dismantled the Magic. It is very simple, with Garnett out next season (yes coach has given up hope that KG is not coming through that door until the fall) the Celtics have to outscore people, which means running and being the aggressors. It starts with Rondo. When he attacks and penetrates they are a different team and he is a different player. Then guys like House and Ray Allen especially thrive in transition and knock out the 3 ball. Last night was a perfect example.

A few points about this series:
*While the Celtics were definitely a bit fatigued when game one came around it was their focus and lack of 1st half intensity that lost the game, not being tired.

*Kendrick Perkins is handling Dwight Howard pretty well. Howard is going to get a certain amount of rebounds each night, there is nothing you can do about it. What you must limit are his touches within seven feet of the hoop and limit his offensive rebound opportunities. The man of course is going to be in double digits in defensive rebounds unless the Celtics just don't miss.

*The Celtics back court is KEY in the series. Rondo, Allen, House and Marbury should be able to destroy Orlando's thin and slow back court.

*Paul Pierce is well rested as the Celtics go on the road to Orlando, he only played 16 minutes in game 2, scary if you are the Magic.

*Rafer Alston slapping Ed House in the head was one of the dumbest things I have seen a player do when getting their ass kicked in a long time. You have now fired up the champs and the Hot House even more so for their trip to Disney World. BRILLIANT!!!

Last night out west the Lakers evened things up with the Rockets at 1-1 as Kobe Bryant took matters into his own hands delivering 40 points. While Kobe's scoring was of course huge for the Lakers it was the escalating physical play in his match-up with Ron Artest that needs to be discussed along with the actions of Derek Fisher and the officiating decisions. The Kobe Artest match-up has the potential to be more than just memorable. These are two of the most unique players we have ever seen who play to their strengths and will never ever give in. The Kobe elbow to Artest's throat on a box out in the 4th quarter prompted Artest to charge Kobe and lead to his ejection. Was it an intentional dirty play by KB24? I don't think so, but have you ever been elbowed, punched or kicked in the throat? Coach has, and that shit not only hurts but it is scary as all hell. I can't fault Artest for that reaction, he simply was going to send a very clear message that he will not allow that again from Kobe, can you blame him? Now the question I have is this: if that were Shane Battier, Chauncey Billups or Brandon Roy who got caught with an elbow and then charged Kobe the way Artest did would they be thrown out? I think not. I think Artest was a victim of his own history last night which is too bad because he is playing great basketball.

Derek Fisher was also shown the door last night as he jacked up Luis Scola as Scola was setting a ball screen on him. Fisher obviously wanted to send a message that the Lakers were not going to be pushed around by the Rockets but for Fish to do it in such a manner on an open court pick and roll situation was some what foolish. I don't happen to agree with the ejection as that was a flagrant foul level one at worst.

That leads me to say this: GIVE ME MY LEAGUE BACK!!! The style of play, aggression and trash talking should not be dictated by the fact that there is more tv and internet coverage than ever before. It is ridiculous. DO I want guys to get hurt? NO. Do I want to see cheap shots? Hell No. But a clean hard foul is a clean hard foul. When 2 big, strong, explosive athletic bodies met in mid air and one is trying to yam on the others head in front of 20,000 people in person and millions watching the guy defending the hoop, his team and his city is going to make some body contact from time to time. As long as it is without intent to injure and there is a play being made on the ball then it should be accepted as part of the game.

Some of the best postseason basketball we have seen in the past 25-30 years involved very physical competitive play. The Celtics battles with Philly, LA and Detroit were second to none throughout the 80's. The Bulls battling the Bad Boys for 4 straight years and finally breaking through in 1991 was unreal. The Knick battles with the Bulls, Heat and Pacers were fierce.

Obviously as a Celtics fan the Coach loves how hard his team plays. This Lakers Rockets series has the potential to be a great one, I just hope the officials and the league are able to keep the players on the court for what could be a classic seven game battle.

One last thing: I know Lebron is the MVP, Congrats Thy King, but having the Celtics and Lakers play on the same night is not cool. I know the Cavs have the best record but Boston v Orlando and Houston v LA are going to be the best 2nd round matchups, why not market the Cavs and Lakers on the same night? King at 8, Kobe at 10:30? Of course the Coach is looking out for himself on this one.

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