Benti and Sully review 2010 and take a quick peak into 2011
Archive for December, 2010
Because the Boston Celtics didn’t have enough problems on their plate with injuries to point guards Rajon Rondo and Delonte West, the Celtics added another one to the list. This one is a big one and it is causing a serious case of Deja Vu in circles of Boston Celtics fans.
In 2009, Kevin Garnett went up for a lob pass from Paul Pierce in a game in Utah. He came down awkwardly, barely played the rest of the season, and had not been the same until this season. In 2010, Kevin Garnett went up for a dunk against the Detroit Pistons in Detroit, came down awkwardly on his leg, left the game and was not seen for the rest of the day.
Never mind the fact that Kevin Garnett is playing his best basketball since the 2007-2008 championship season, this is a potential huge loss for the Boston Celtics. What is more worrisome is the fact that everything is playing out just like it did in 2009. Garnett had an MRI today and the results reveal a muscle injury that will likely keep him out two weeks. In 2009, when Garnett went down, KG was only expected to miss two or three weeks. He went on to miss most of the rest of the season including the entire play-offs. Just like in 2009, Celtics coach Doc Rivers is optimistic about a quick return for Kevin Garnett, forgetting the fact that this injury caused him to miss most of the second half of the 2009 season. It’s all adding up to something I would like to file under “not good” concerning the Celtics.
Kevin Garnett’s play (15/10 on the season) has been one of the reasons that the Boston Celtics have accelerated to the top of the Eastern Conference in the first half of the season. He is playing with an energy and enthusiasm not seen since the championship season and is part of the reason the Celtics have one of the top defenses in the entire NBA. Losing KG for an extended period of time would be a major loss for the Celtics, and that is an understatement. While Paul Pierce may be the Alpha Dog and Rajon Rondo is the floor general, KG is the cog that makes the defense work. He is the most energetic defender and the smartest defender. He knows how to defend almost any situation and he is one of those players that makes the entire unit better just for being on the floor. Sure, the Celtics should be able to weather the storm with Glen Davis at power forward if KG ONLY misses two or three weeks, but does anyone actually think that KG is only going to miss two or three weeks? Celtics fans have lived through this nightmare before, and trust us, we know EXACTLY how this will play out. KG will return in three weeks, only play about 20 minutes a game, look slow and hurt, hit the injury list again and then tease Celtics fans with rumors about when he is going to return. It’s going to be terrible.
Somehow through this I was able to find two “on the bright side” things.
Number one: At least this injury is happening now and not in February. The injury was so detrimental back in 2009 because it came so late in the season. KG had zero time to work his way back into shape. Sure, that team quickly became one of my favorite teams to watch on TV because they had the “Nobody believes in us” factor, but having a healthy KG that year could have been the difference between the NBA Finals and a second round exit against the Orlando Magic. This injury coming in December gives KG time to recover and hopefully get ready for playoff time.
Number two: If KG is going to miss A LOT of significant time, it gives the opportunity for the Celtics to go out and find a big-man instead of hoping to find gold in a buyout guy like Mikki Morre (ewww). If they determine that KG is going to miss most of the rest of the season (not inconceivable unfortunately) they may be able to put a package together to get a replacement four.
For now. The Celtics need to keep this ship afloat. Paul Pierce is going to have to carry more of the load on both sides of the ball just like he did in 2009 and Glen Davis going to have to step in and step up just like he did in 2009. The team without Kevin Garnett is good enough to keep up with the Eastern Conference, but the key is for KG to get healthy. Without him, it will be extremely difficult to repeat as champs of the Eastern Conference, let alone contend for the title.
Besides all the on-field stuff of the NFL’s week 16 such as the Patriots clinching home-field advantage, the New York Giants imploding and the New Orleans Saints saying “Hey? Remember us? We’re still the champs”, the biggest news of the weekend may have come from off the field. On Sunday around 11AM Eastern Time, the NFL announced that they would postpone the scheduled Sunday night game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings in Philadelphia. The reason for the postponement was ridiculous for the NFL’s standards. It wasn’t as if a roof caved in on Philadelphia’s stadium considering Lincoln Financial Field is an open air stadium. No, the reason for the postponement was fear of a snowstorm that was set to blast the East Coast from New England down to Northern Virginia.
This is the same sport that once played a game called the ice bowl that had a wind chill of -48 degrees at game time. This is the same sport that once staged one of its most memorable playoff games against the back drop of a New England Nor’eastern. What was going on with the NFL? Were they really that scared of snow to postpone a game especially considering at the time of the postponement there wasn’t a single flake of snow on the ground?
Was the NFL (egads) succumbing to the pussification of America?
(DUN, DUN, DUN!)
In reality, we should have seen this one coming a mile a way. The National Football League has been softer than a bounty this season. They have consistently fined players for hits that weren’t even flagged on the field of play, changed it’s rules concerning what are legal hits or not half-way through the season, fail to implement a program to teach its players how to tackle properly (my biggest pet peeve) and fine and penalize players and teams for excessive celebrations, god forbid someone have their feelings hurt. The NFL postponing a game because of snow shouldn’t come as a surprise considering how the NFL has operated this year, but it certainly is soft as shit.
A lot of people are against the NFL’s decision. Players involved in the game including Eagles receiver Desean Jackson and Vikings tight-end Visanthe Shiancoe have expressed how much they wanted to play the game on Sunday. (As an aside, if the player who is most likely to be affected by the snow, in this case Jackson, wants to play the game, maybe the NFL should play the damn game). Philadelphia newspapers columnists, notably the Daily News’ Will Bunch, thought the game should have been played. Finally, the cause against the pussification of America finally got help from someone involved in America, former Philadelphia Mayor and current Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell expressed his feelings about the way the game was handled.
“We’ve become a nation of wusses. The Chinese are kicking our butt in everything,” he added. “If this was in China do you think the Chinese would have called off the game? People would have been marching down to the stadium, they would have walked and they would have been doing calculus on the way down.”
Just for the fact that it uses that awesome and hilarious Chinese analogy, Ed Rendell is completely correct in his statements. Everything is all connected. It’s like giving trophies to everyone in T-Ball and becoming super political correct. It’s all along the same line. Back in the 60′s and 70′s, the players and fans would have toughed it out, made their way to the stadium and watched what probably would have been one of the most memorable games of the year. Hell, there was more snow on the ground for the “Tuck Rule” game then there was at 8:00 PM on Sunday in Philadelphia (according to my sources). If the NFL postponed games back in 2001, the Tuck Rule game would have never happened. I’d hate to see the NFL go the route that the rest of America is going, but a guy from Philadelphia is actually right. Hey there is a first time for everything.
The best part is Ed Rendell went on to ESPN’s First Take this morning and was interviewed with Michael Smith about his issues with the postponement. To say that Rendell was ready for the interview, and that Michael Smith was ill-prepared for the interview is quite an understatement. The best moment comes when Rendell lists off the fact that there was snow at 11:00 AM and barely any snow at 8:00 PM. When Michael Smith mentions how logistically don’t they have to make the call at 11:00 AM, Rendell simply says “No” and points to baseball when it comes to a sport postponing games so close to game time. Michael Smith’s “Damn, he’s right” reaction is priceless. He calls out the NFL for being greedy and that the move was predicated on money and makes a fantastic point about the 2014 Super Bowl. The whole video is on the ESPN link I gave and should be on Youtube within the day or so. It’s a pretty awesome interview.
The best part about the whole situation is this. Finally, someone involved in American politics understands the issue in America. The postponing of a National Football League game for anything less than a natural disaster is just another type of thing that needs to stop in America. Not only did the NFL rob us of a potential classic football game, they also softened America for the world to see.
It was a Festivus miracle.
On Thursday, December 23rd, the Boston Bruins finally came out to play a full 60 minute hockey game when they took on the Atlanta Thrashers at the TD Garden. For a while, Bruins fans have been looking for a sign that this team was going in the right direction. We wanted the tough as nails Bruins team of 2008-2009 and not the lazy and soft Bruins team of 2009-2010. We knew they had the talent, they just needed to show the fire. From the opening whistle when Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves against Eric Boulton, Bruins fans knew that we just finally had a game we could look back on this season as the turnaround similar to “The Stars Game” in 2008-2009. They won 4-1 with Thornton, the Bruins tough-guy, even lighting the lamp twice.
This game, however, will most likely be remembered for the brawl near the end of the third period. If you missed it, the video of the brawl leads this post. In short, Milan Lucic was skating up the ice and Thrashers defense-men Freddy Meyer went in high at his head. Andrew Ference went after Meyer and a dance ensued on the ice. In the middle of the melee, Lucic threw a punch at Meyer and was given a game misconduct. The fight continued including the likes of Marc Savard and Nathan Horton, and everyone wondered what would be the fate of Milan Lucic.
Well Lucic had his meeting with the NHL brass, and they determined that his punishment would be a $3,500 fine. While a lot of people thought a suspension was coming, the NHL made the right decision here.
Look, I’m not defending a sucker-punch. Milan Lucic was wrong in throwing one in the middle of a brawl. The thing is that the fight wasn’t started by Lucic. This wasn’t a situation where he just went after someone for the hell of it and the NHL knows this. Meyer came at his head on the previous play and Lucic was clearly pissed off about it. It doesn’t make him right in the situation, but it doesn’t make Freddy Meyer right either. Unlike a league like the NFL, the NHL understands that shit happens in their games. Slap Lucic with a fine and move on with the situation, especially considering Lucic is a first time offender.
This also isn’t a situation with a guy like Philadelphia’s Scott Hartnell or Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta. These type of players throw cheap checks, run away when someone challenges them to go in front of a referee, and then throws another cheap hit towards a player when a ref isn’t looking. Lucic doesn’t throw cheap checks and this punch was thrown in front of a ref. He didn’t give a FUCK. Don’t compare Lucic to a Hartnell of Kaleta because he is not even close to being on their level of cheapness.
Here’s where this gets fun. This upcoming Thursday, in the land of the empty seats, the Bruins travel down to the dirty South to play the Atlanta Thrashers in a re-match. It will be interesting to see how the Bruins react when the Thrashers go after Lucic, Ference, and everyone else involved in the brawl.
I can’t wait.