Posted 2012/04/30 By Benti
The Patriots made Dont'a Hightower their second pick first round selection in the 2012 NFL draft
The three day monstrosity known as the NFL draft has come and gone and one of the teams that made the most noise on draft day were the New England Patriots. They didn’t make any surprising picks, they didn’t make a major trade for a player and they didn’t grab a guy in the top ten. Yet, the New England Patriots made a ton of noise in the draft for something they never do. The Patriots never chase players, they don’t trade up and they are more than willing to trade down in the draft for more draft picks and to take more players at better “value”.
This year, however, the draft changed. With player’s rookie salaries becoming more and more similar to an NBA slotting style system, the fear of drafting high in the first round and paying an exorbitant amount of money for unproven commodities has come and gone. While the Patriots use to move down to get players they saw as just as skilled as top-round picks for less cash, they no longer had to deal with that.
In typical Patriots fashion, the Patriots played chess while everyone else was playing checkers. It seemed all the other teams were trying to adopt the Patriots’ way of doing things and trading down for greater value, the Patriots switched it up and shocked everyone (except for me) by trading up in the NFL draft to grab impact players that they needed in order to make another run for the Vince Lombardi trophy.
Was every move a touchdown? No, but it never is with every draft. Here’s what I thought:
After the jump, grading the Patriots’ draft: Read the remainder of this entry »
Posted 2012/04/30 By Benti
Not shocked, at all. Rondo bumped an official and you can’t do that.
Frankly, I’m not all that discouraged about Game 2 because of this. Rondo wasn’t the reason we nearly came close to stealing that game on Sunday night. It was simply the fact the Celtics played with greater defensive intensity after the first quarter. The Celtics lost because the Hawks were lights out in the first and key players like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett simply didn’t make shots. I’m confident Avery Bradley can play point-guard Tuesday night and that those two will hit their shots.
UPDATE: Guess it’s like super official now?
Posted 2012/04/29 By Benti
Rajon Rondo was ejected late in Game 1 and will likely miss Game 2
Thoughts I thought while coming up with excuses for how Rajon Rondo can avoid suspension in Game 2 but ultimately not coming up with anything.
- The Boston Celtics didn’t deserve to win that basketball game based on their offensive performance, pun intended. It was rare tonight that the Celtics appeared to have cohesive flow to their offense and they paid dearly for it. They shot 39% from the field, didn’t hit a single three ball, and just didn’t look right on offense. And yet, they could have won this basketball game and given their defensive performance after the first quarter of this game, maybe they should have. They forced the Atlanta Hawks into bad shots, trapped and pressured the ball all over the court and forced the Hawks to commit numerous turnovers. Josh Smith may have finished with 22/18, but I can’t remember a single good shot that he took all game and same with Joe Johnson. Really, what launched the Hawks was their three point shooting. They finished with 7 on 20 shots including 4 from Kirk Heinrich. That’s why this loss stings a little bit. The Celtics played so bad, and still could have won this game. They now face an uphill battle in Game 2.
- Celtics really missed Ray Allen tonight. All I have to do is point to that 0-11 three point stats to illustrate that, but it goes deeper than that. The Celtics could have used him in the corner for threes and just his offensive production in general. Would he have come off the bench tonight? Probably, but only because Avery Bradley is playing fantastic defense and just being a god-damned pest. It doesn’t change that fact that the Celtics got a grand-total of four point from the bench tonight. That’s simply not getting it done.
- If Kevin Garnett (and Brandon Bass to a lesser extent) play that bad on the offensive end again, the Celtics will get swept. Rondo was awesome at driving the lane all night and distributing to the two of them for open shots. They returned the favor by clanking a good chunk of them off the rim. together they were 11-26 from the field which doesn’t look that bad, until you remember that KG was 4-6 in the fourth quarter and 4-13 for the rest of the game. Their ability to spread the floor is the Celtics most important asset besides their defense.
Questions I still have
- Are Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson going to cancel each other out this series? My guess is yes. They both bother each other defensively and force each other into taking awful shots. You know what that means? Paul Pierce isn’t going to be the reason the Celtics win this series and same to the Hawks with Joe Johnson. If one of them does go off in a game, it will likely mean the other is performing similarly because of less defensive exertion.
- Will Rajon Rondo get suspended? Um, yes. The NBA rulebook states “Any player… guilty of intentional physical contact w/official shall automatically be suspended without pay for one game.” As I tweeted after the game, there are only two possible things that could prevent a suspension. One, the league could argue that playoff emotions got the best of him. By the way, that argument NEVER works, no matter how bad that call was, and I’m on the record of saying that it was EGREGIOUSLY bad. The second argument could be that he tripped. Hey, if I tripped while throwing my body at someone, I would use that argument too. Basically, the chances of Rondo avoiding a suspension is “not fucking likely”.
- How do the Celtics win Game 2? It’s simple really. Ray Allen needs come back or Keyon Dooling or Mickael Pietrus need to do their best impression of him off the bench. Avery Bradley has to create in addition to being a force defensively and KG and Brandon Bass can’t be that bad again. Really, defensively, the Celtics were impressive from the second quarter on. If they keep doing that, they should be fine on that end. They just need to put the orange ball into the cylinder basket. After tonight’s game, that might be easier said then done.
Posted 2012/04/29 By Benti
It's finally time to accept that this is the last go around for the Celtics Core 4
I’m probably the only person that would call this Celtics season “awkward”. Maybe that’s because for the past two years I have been actively predicting at the end of each of those seasons that the current set-up of the Boston Celtics had a closed window. They weren’t untalented, simply poorly crafted. Their stars could not play night in and night out at one-hundred percent intensity on their aging legs, their best player was an offensive liability, and their bench was borderline damaging to any potential success they could have.
For me, it all boiled over after last year’s second round loss to the Miami Heat. With the Celtics looking completely out-matched against a player (Lebron James) and team (Miami Heat) they always beat, and Celtics coach Doc Rivers honestly contemplating retirement, it was hard not to think that it was the end of this particular era in Celtics history.
This has been some of the most fun as a sports fan that I as a Celtics fan have experienced. It’s always the best things that have to come to an end. We have cheered, we have cried, we have had moments where we run our living rooms in pure joy and moments where we have walked down to the beach and wonder what the hell just happened. At no point (well except maybe Game 7 of the NBA Finals) have I ever thought this wasn’t fun.
Ultimately, I will remember the Big Three as the toughest sonovabitches in the NBA. They carried themselves as champions in every game they played and took losing personally. I will never forget the Kevin Garnett primal scream after a huge defensive stop, the Ray Allen “I am on and nothing you can do can stop me” face after hitting a huge three in a game and the Paul Pierce “I am the captain and I will put this team on my back to win” moments where we were reminded why we loved this Celtics team.
After the jump, prepping for the Eastern Conference Playoffs
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