Wake up with the Celtics  and your daily dose of Irish Coffee ‘¦
Five randomly selected people will get the chance to compete against Nate Robinson  in Pop-A-Shot at Modell’s Sporting Goods in Saugus on Tuesday at 5:15 p.m. Now, I have a million legendary Pop-A-Shot stories, so I’ll spare you and give you just one:
While I was a student at Boston University, there was a guy at The Sports Depot challenging anybody and everybody to Pop-A-Shot. If he won, you had to buy him a shot. He beat a few people, and he took a few shots.
Once people caught onto the fact that he was a Pop-A-Shot Shark, he started betting everyone he could beat them left-handed. He beat a few more people, and he took a few more shots — but his game never wavered.
After a while, everybody pretty much gave up on trying to beat him, so he started giving everyone 20-point cushions. He got a few more takers, beat them and took more shots. Yet, he always put up 100 points a minute.
And he never lost.
Based on the shots consumed and point spread offered to his opponents, it was the greatest shooting display I’ve ever seen. Not to mention I saw the same guy doing the same thing a year later at the Beacon Hill Pub.
All I’m saying is, if this guy shows up in Saugus, Robinson has no chance. So, without further ado, I give you the top five Pop-A-Shot performances on YouTube …
1. THE WORLD RECORD: Jay Kletecka is right where I picture the Pop-A-Shot world record-holder to be: In his mother’s basement. I do enjoy how he calmly drains 166 straight and has no reaction when he finally misses.
2. THE RUNNER-UP: My favorite part about this video is how the guy waiting next in line watches the whole thing, never flinches and steps up to his turn like he’s going to sink 128 in a row, too.
3. THE OCTOPUS: Whoever posted this video pretty much said it best when he wrote, “As a tallish American who takes pride in his Pop-A-Shot game, I thought I would wander into this tiny Taiwanese arcade and be quite a spectacle with my amazing abilities. I was so absurdly wrong — but didn’t realize it until after I finished my round and saw this octopus-like man firing shots at such an absurd rate.”
4. KOBE BRYANT  vs. RICARDO THE BUSBOY: I love how it seems like Kobe is doing pretty good, and then Ricardo destroys him despite Kobe’s best attempt to both cheat and intimidate him.
5. THE 4-YEAR-OLD: This kid must dominate the youth circuit, although I’ve gotta call him out for standing on a wooden box and jumping over the line on pretty much every one of his 114 shots. You’re better than that, kid. I know it; you know it. When I was 4, I’m pretty sure I made 125 legitimately.
RAJON RONDO : BEFORE & AFTER
I hate to say “I told you so,” but I told you so — stating a case  for resting Rajon Rondo in Wednesday’s Irish Coffee. Later that afternoon, Danny Ainge confirmed what many thought: Despite his statements to the contrary, Rondo would not play against the Hawks on Thursday.
Watching Rondo, there’s no doubt he was a step slower since he revealed the first of his growing list of injuries (the plantar fasciitis) after beating the Bulls in overtime on Nov. 5. Since then, of course, he tweaked his hamstring on Nov. 19 and sprained his ankle against the Knicks on Wednesday.
Just to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me, I decided to take a look at Rondo’s numbers from his torrid start to the plantar fasciitis revelation to the hamstring pull. Here’s how it looked (team record in parentheses & best production in italics):
- 10/26-11/5 (5-1): 15.5 assists, 11.3 points, 10.0 field-goal attempts, 5.5 rebounds, 4.0 turnovers, 2.8 steals and 2.3 free-throw attempts
- 11/7-11/17 (4-2): 13.0 assists, 11.0 points, 9.7 field-goal attempts, 4.2 rebounds, 3.3 turnovers, 2.2 steals and 2.7 free-throw attempts
- 11/19-12/15 (12-1): 13.0 assists, 11.1 points, 9.1 field-goal attempts, 4.0 rebounds, 4.9 turnovers, 2.0 steals and 0.9 free-throw attempts
Now, five quick observations from a quick glance at the numbers:
- Since we found out about the plantar fasciitis, his production had dropped significantly.
- However, the Celtics as a team have been better since Rondo’s hamstring tweak than before it (Rondo even missed 5 of the 12 games).
- Since the hamstring injury, Rondo had been committing significantly more turnovers.
- Rondo’s steal numbers have dipped, too, signifying a drop in his defensive presence.
- As the injuries piled up, the field-goal and free-throw attempts declined, confirming what my eyes had already told me: Rondo hadn’t been as aggressive since his hot start.
Which all brings me to this conclusion: A two-week hiatus for Rondo is just what the doctor ordered. Rondo was an MVP candidate before the injuries surfaced; since then, he hasn’t been. It’s that simple. Now, which one do you think the Celtics want entering the playoffs?
NBA ALL-STAR VOTING
The NBA released its first update  for the All-Star Game voting, and it’s an impressive showing for the Celtics. There are Leprachauns everywhere. Fans’ votes determine the starting five (2 forwards, 2 guards & a center) for both conferences, and the coaches fill the remaining slots.
While the actual voting ends on Jan. 17, here’s how the starting fives would look if it ended today (votes in parentheses):
- Dwight Howard  (611,561)
- LeBron James  (607,994)
- Dwyane Wade  (570,489)
- Rajon Rondo (497,141)
- Kevin Garnett  (456,111)
- Kobe Bryant (722,682)
- Kevin Durant  (470, 881)
- Yao Ming  (430,984)
- Pau Gasol  (390,808)
- Chris Paul  (386,649)
Meanwhile, Shaquille O’Neal  ranks second among Eastern Conference centers with 241,782 votes while Ray Allen  (235,9770 and Paul Pierce  (235,107) each rank fourth among guards and forwards, respectively. No other team comes that close to voting their starting five in the game.
Oh, and if the Celtics still have the best record in the East on Jan. 31, Doc Rivers  would be the coach. So, if the Celtics start losing a bunch of games come mid-January, you can blame Doc for wanting a vacation.
When I think holiday classical music, I obviously think of Shaquille O’Neal. Naturally, Keith Lockhart did, too, as Shaq will conduct the annual Holiday Pops at Symphony Hall in Boston on Dec. 20.
Possible music selections: “Shaq the Halls,” “Shaq! The Herald Angels Sing,” “Jingle Bell Shaq,” “Shaq-a-Claus is Coming to Town” and “All I Want for Christmas is Shaq.”
(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach  on Twitter.)