|12.08.08 at 7:09 am ET|
Nine years ago today, one of the most infamous NBA careers came to an end. On December 8, 1999, Houston Rockets forward Charles Barkley tore the tendon in his left quadricep away from his kneecap on an attempted blocked shot against the Philadelphia 76ers. Ironically, he played half of his 16-season career with the Sixers. Even though Barkley made one last appearance in the Rockets final game of the regular season on April 19, 2000, he held a press conference following the game on December 8 to thank his former teammates, commemorating the end of his career. The 11-time All-Star and NBA Hall of Famer ranks sixth all-time in offensive rebounds and left the game with a career average of 22.1 points and 11.7 rebounds.
Also on this date, then-Los Angeles Laker Shaquille O’Neal broke a 40-year-old NBA record for missing all of his 11 free throw attempts against the Seattle SuperSonics. The previous record had been held by Wilt Chamberlain, who missed all of his 10 free throw attempts in 1960.
|12.06.08 at 11:44 am ET|
Last season, in their run to their 17th NBA title, the Celtics went from potential to prolific, winning 66 games in the regular season. This season, they are going from hype to historic, as in no team in NBA history has ever followed up an 18-2 start one season with a 19-2 opening the next… until now. What’s scary about the Green Machine’s is they honestly believe they have yet to play a complete game. Friday night, the best offensive rebounding team in the NBA came to town with a 16-4 mark and a six-game winning streak. They hadn’t lost to an Eastern Conference team. They had lost just twice in 16 games when holding their opponent under 100 points. Still not enough to overcome the Celtics, who overwhelmed them with a 21-0 run. The Celtics are all on the same page, preaching the same message, we’re playing well but there’s a lot of season remaining and a lot to play for. Just take a listen.
|12.05.08 at 10:16 pm ET|
‘I hope he doesn’t think we’re making fun of him,’ the man in the bright orange wig said. ‘We’re actually rooting for him. From what I hear, he takes it the wrong way.’
Jamie and Liz are two of Brian Scalabrine’s biggest fans. On Friday night the couple drove down from Portland, Maine to catch their favorite Boston Celtic in action against the Portland Trail Blazers.
‘We’re trying to start a fan club for Brian Scalabrine,’ Jamie said. ‘He’s the underdog, we love him.’
Scal’s Pals was inspired by Sal’s Pals, baseball player Sal Fasano’s fan club. It was Jamie who first became a fan of Scal — ‘Pretty much since he came to Boston, I would say’ — and his appreciation had an infectious impact on his girlfriend.
‘I started dating Jamie about a year ago and he got me into the Celtics,’ Liz said. ‘We’ve been Scal’s Pals ever since.’
The couple chose to express their enthusiasm by transforming into red-heads for the evening.
‘No this is all real,’ Jamie tried to pass off as the truth. ‘I just got a bad haircut.’
Liz and Jamie hope their cheering isn’t misinterpreted as mocking. True, there are those who chant ‘Scal-a-bri-ne’ as an instigation but it’s all love coming from these two.
‘Absolutely,’ Jamie said of cheering. ‘But that’s in respect. (Pauses) That’s not, that’s not to make fun of him.’
So what would the pair say if they ever met Scal?
‘I’d say, Boston loves you,’ said Jamie.
Liz quickly added, ‘I’d say, Maine loves you.’
A Message from Scal: ‘I want to thank all the people out there, especially the Scal’s Pals. Listen to 107.3 at 8 o’clock on Monday morning. I’m going to be hosting a show. Tell them to call in and talk to Scal themselves.’
|12.05.08 at 10:03 pm ET|
The Celtics came into the week with three games in five days; two against up and coming teams, and one against the only team that beat them soundly. If it was a test, they passed it easily with blowout wins over Orlando, Indiana and Portland.
The Celtics haven’t just been beating teams, they’ve been dominating them. It’s to the point that the bench’s recent inability to hold 20-point leads in the fourth quarter is the only criticism anyone can make (well, that and a few too many turnovers).
Still, there were lessons to be learned this week, and almost all of them are positive ones for the defending champs. Read the rest of this entry »
|12.05.08 at 9:55 pm ET|
Greg Oden scored 5 points in his Boston debut en route to a 93-78 Celtics victory over the Trail Blazers. Oden’s only two field goals came in the first seven minutes of the game. He hit a single free throw late in the fourth quarter.
‘They’re the World Champions, and we wanted to see where we are at right now,” Oden said. “We can tell that we’re not there. Everybody will see that we lost by 15, but we were down by 20 the whole entire fourth quarter. That’s just not where we’re at yet. Those guys are still the World Champions, and we’re still working and getting better each day.’
The Celtics led a balanced attack, with Ray Alen scoring a game-high 19 points. The starting five combined for 76 points and Leon Powe added 14 off the bench. They were more proud of holding the Trail Blazers to 78 points than scoring 93.
‘Our strength right now is the defense,” Kevin Garnett said. “We’ve embraced it and that’s what we hang our hat on every night. We know that in order for us to be the team that we want to be we have to play that. I think for the most part we’ve been consistent with it. It’s definitely our foundation right now.’
The Celtics will take on the Indiana Pacers on Sunday in Indy. Friday’s win (19-2) ties them with the best record through 21 games. Paul Pierce is seven points away from surpassing Kevin McHale as the Celtics fourth all-time leading scorer.
|12.05.08 at 8:07 pm ET|
This final quarter should be a showcase of the reserves. Entering the final 12 up by 25, there’s no use for Doc Rivers to exhaust the starters. Ray Allen is still on the court for a least a few more minutes with Scal, Leon Powe, Eddie House, and Glen Davis. LaMarcus Aldridge, Joel Przybilla, Travis Outlaw, Sergio Rodriguez, and Rudy Fernandez are playing for the Trail Blazers.
- With seven minutes to go in the game, it’s important to point out that Greg Oden has 4 points and has not scored since a slam dunk at 5:42 in the first quarter.
- So much for rest. The Trail Blazers cut the lead to 13 and all of the Celtics starters are going back in. KG called them into a huddle during a timeout and Tony Allen pulled Ray aside for a moment. There’s a video set to “In the Air Tonight,” Garnett’s favorite song, and he’s bouncing to the music while Perk and Ray look up at the Jumbotron.
- Vegas Summer League MVP Jerryd Bayless is on the court for the Trail Blazers. The rookie may not see a lot of minutes this season but his summer performance is definitely worth taking a look at.
- Oden fouled out. The crowd is on his feet taunting him like he did something wrong to the Celtics. Let’s just remember that Oden was a piece of their championship run.
- In lieu of Scalabrine a Donnie Wahlberg chant has randomly been started. Welcome back.
- Crowd’s clearing out with 1:30 left.
|12.05.08 at 7:28 pm ET|
A couple of thoughts on the first half. Portland zoned up a few times, which is something the Blazers are known for. The results were not all that successful. First, they failed to identify Eddie House as a shooter and he buried a wide-open jumper. Then they gave up an easy dunk by Leon Powe, which is exactly what a zone is supposed to prevent. On top of that the Blazers got nailed with two Defensive 3 Seconds technicals for their trouble.
Seven minutes, four points, two rebounds, two fouls and one technical for Greg Oden, which is vaguely disappointing for those of us who want to see what the kid can do. The Blazers were 6-for-19 in the second quarter and 0-for-5 from 3-point range. They’re one of the better shooting teams in the league, so don’t expect that to continue.
Very workmanlike effort from the C’s. Everyone’s contributing, the defense has been sound, etc. What will the second half have in store? Let’s find out… Read the rest of this entry »