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Boston Celtics

It’s the Late Show with Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen

When a professional football player reaches the pinnacle of their sport, they usually go to Disney World or Disneyland. But when NBA ballers finally get their giant hands on the Larry O’Brien trophy they have their own special place they like to visit. Uncle Dave’s house.

The Celts’ victory lap started last night as Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen yukked it up with David Letterman. The dynamic duo told Dave that appearing on “The Late Show” is one of the sweeter spoils of winning an NBA title.

Letterman greeted his guests by saying, “Congratulations to both you guys and thank you very much for being here. I know, I mean, it’s crazy that you were in the big celebration and it’s still continuing now, isn’t it? And you’re probably saying to yourselves right now, ‘Why are we here?'”

Allen and Garnett said it was an honor to be on the show. “This’ll solidify when you’ve won something, you’ve got to do Letterman,” said Garnett.

Added Allen: “I think in the 80s when you won a championship, you said, ‘We’re going to Disneyland… In the year 2000, we say, ‘We’re going to David Letterman.”

See, we told ya so.

Oh, and Ray, it’s currently the year 2008.

Links:

[Boston.com]: `Late Show’ with the Celtics
[Celtics Blog]: Allen, KG chat with Letterman

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Boston Celtics

Celtics certify their championship with a beatdown of epic proportions

The Celtics finally completed their 22-year journey back to the NBA championship while Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen all had their careers “certified” as Garnett said during his interview moments after the final buzzer. The 131-92 annihilation of the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 was the most lopsided championship-clinching game in league history, delivering a massive spinning back fist to Kobe Bryant’s legacy as the “next” Michael Jordan. After all, can you imagine Mike ever dropping a Finals-clincher by 39 points?

After the game, fans flocked to the streets to celebrate their 17th banner which sounds like a ton of fun, but is really just confusing, frustrating agony. Just try to enjoy yourself amidst a sea of knuckleheads like this:

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Boston Celtics

Odds and Ends: How well do you know Rajon Rondo?


You’d think Rajon Rondo would have enough on his plate as it is with the bum ankle and The NBA Finals going on and all, but Rondo is no normal man. See, while he’s rehabbing and studying tape, he’s also giving back to all his fans out there. But you better know your random Rondo trivia.

I’m going to challenge you with some trivia – see how much you know about me. Get the answers right and I’ll send you an autographed headband. If a bunch of people get them right then I’ll hit the first three. I’m going to do this every day through the rest of the Finals so if you don’t get the first one right you’ll have another shot.

We’ll start with a high school question. I went to Oak Hill Academy and 2004 I set the school record for most assists in a game with 31. Who’s record did I break?

Get it right and I’m sending you a headband. Hit me back. I’ll holla

In other news…

[The Slanch Report]: Nutty 50 minute brawl at minor league baseball game

[Sportaphile.com]: Vernon Davis grabs some of Flavor Flav’s sloppy seconds

[The World of Isaac]: Fights you’d love to watch over and over and over again

[YardBarker.com]: What do we gotta do to get this kid in the ring with Chris Leben?

[Epic Carnival]: 10 reasons sports should go green

[TMZ.com]: Tommy Lasorda is old and impatient

[MixMakers.net]: Paul Pierce’s special edition jersey hits the shelves

And finally, the evolution of the fist bump.

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Boston Celtics

There can only be one: Magic and Bird style

Game 1 of the NBA Finals was spectacular on Thursday night with the Celtics topping the Lakers by 10 points, 98-88, in Beantown. From Paul Pierce’s four-point play to his injury and heroic comeback to Kobe Bryant’s alley-oop flush late in the third to Kevin Garnett’s monster two-handed dunk off a rebound that basically sealed the victory, there were a whole lot of memorable moments in the series opener. However, there’s no doubt that this was absolutely the best 30 seconds of the night.

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Boston Celtics

Sorry Lakers, but the Leprechauns already have the Finals wrapped up


If you’re one of those people who just hates waiting then, boy, do we have a solution for you. The fellas over at WhatIfSports.com used their massive brain power/computer programs to find out who’s going to win the NBA Finals matchup between the Lakers and Celtics long before either team takes to the court for Game 1 on Thursday night. Other than giving yourself a sports almanac from the future, this is the surest thing going.

We have simulated the NBA Finals between the Celtics and Lakers 10,000 times in order to determine the likelihood of either team winning it all. In the 11th Finals matchup of these two teams, the recently rebuilt Celtics come out on top by winning the series 64% of the time. The most common occurrence is a six game series, where Boston wins it all in its return home after three games in LA.

What follows is an example NBA Finals based on the most common result of those simulations.

GAME 1 Los Angeles 118 @ Boston 115 (OT)
GAME 2 Los Angeles 103 @ Boston 104
GAME 3 Boston 105 @ Los Angeles 95
GAME 4 Boston 89 @ Los Angeles 99
GAME 5 Boston 110 @ Los Angeles 101
GAME 6 Los Angeles 103 @ Boston 107

So, bust out the champagne Beantowners because it’s just a matter of time now. Oh, and in case you were wondering, Kevin Garnett is taking home Finals MVP honors with 20.3 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.7 blocks and 0.8 steals per game.

Links:

[WhatIfSports.com]: NBA Finals Preview

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Boston Celtics

Around the Rim: Boston saves the best for last


1. Through to round two
The Hawks still shocked the world, even if they didn’t shock the world. Nobody expected Atlanta to make it past Game 4, but the Hawks forced a deciding game against the Celtics in Boston on Sunday. Unfortunately, they forgot to show up. The Cs saved their season by destroying the pesky Hawks 99-65, advancing to the second round where they must now face the defending Eastern Conference champions. LeBron James and his Cavaliers have been patiently waiting to see who would survive the David vs. Goliath battle to the bitter end and can now finally game plan for the league’s top trio. Paul Pierce led Boston on Sunday, scoring 22 points, followed by Kevin Garnett’s 18-point, 11-rebound double-double. Ray Allen was subpar, connecting on just 3-of-12 attempts for seven points, but it didn’t even matter in the rout. Boston’s beatdown included a near record performance, holding Atlanta to the second fewest points scored in a Game 7 since the shot clock came into play.

2. Lakers now 5-0 in playoffs

Kobe Bryant’s first MVP reign has yet to become officially official, but that’s not preventing him from making other players bow down. The Jazz felt the wrath of the soon-to-be NBA’s newest king of the mountain yesterday when Bryant dropped 38 points to go with six rebounds and seven assists in a 109-98 series-opening victory for the Lakers. Kobe converted a franchise playoff-record 21 free throws in the contest, missing only two during the entire contest. Game 2 goes down Wednesday night. The Jazz played a decent game except in the second quarter when they were outscored 29-17. Carlos Boozer (15 pts, 14 reb) and Mehmet Okur (21 pts, 19 reb) each recorded a double-double in the loss and Deron Williams dished out nine assists to go with 14 points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Bryant and his buddies. Pau Gasol posted 18 points and 10 rebounds while Lamar Odom scored 16 and grabbed nine boards.

3. Bye-bye Bynum
With a 1-0 lead in the second round of the postseason, everything appears to be ice cream and cherries for the Los Angeles Lakers. Not so fast. The Lakers got some bad news from Andrew Bynum over the weekend when he told the press that a return to action this season is highly unlikely. Many believe Los Angeles needs their true center to compete with some of the West’s forces in the post, but so far, so good for LA. The Lakers have an incredible opportunity to take it all this year, but they have to be concerned about the future. Bynum could be a critical piece to the puzzle over the next five years as the Lakers are primed to be amongst the elite of the league with all their players basically peaking in their careers.

Sunday’s Player of the Day: Kobe Bryant vs. Utah 40 min, 38 pts (FG: 8-16, 3FG: 1-2, FT: 21-23), 6 reb, 7 ast, 1 stl

Buzzer Beater:

Papa John’s Pizza issued an apology to Cleveland and the Cavaliers for making T-shirts with LeBron James’ number and the word “crybaby” under it.

To apologize, Papa John’s will sell Cleveland residents a large, one-topping pizza for 23 cents on Thursday. The 23 is an homage to James’ jersey number. The company also will donate $10,000 to the Cavaliers Youth Fund.

The pizza chain’s T-shirts were featured during the Cavs’ games against the Wizards on Friday in Washington. Wizards fans taunted the Cavs, who won the playoff series that night in Game 6.

The shirts started after James complained about hard fouls, and Wizards center Brendan Haywood called him a crybaby.

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Boston Celtics

The playoffs do strange things to Celtics fans

Have you seen the ads yet? Verizon Wireless just dropped their “Can you hear me now?” ad campaign in favor of “Can you see me now?” One question; is it too late to get the old douche back?

Links:

[Ebaumsworld.com]: What Not to do at a Playoff Game

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Boston Celtics

Around the Rim: Celtics blast past Phoenix


1. Celtics cruise to victory
The Suns were tied with the Celtics at halftime of Wednesday night’s game, but then Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce got nasty. K.G. ripped off 30 points in the contest and Pierce racked up 12 of his 27 points in the final period to give Boston a 117-97 victory. The Cs snapped a two-game losing streak with the win and simultaneously ended Phoenix’s seven-game win streak. Amare Stoudemire finished with a game-high 32 points and Shaquille O’Neal tallied 16 points and seven rebounds, but afterwards reporters only seemed to care about who the big fella favored in the MVP race.

O’Neal won the award in 2000 with Los Angeles before a well-publicized rift with Bryant led the Lakers to split the pair up. Asked who he liked in the MVP race, though, O’Neal said, “The Kobester. He’s an assassin.”

“With LeBron [James] coming in right behind,” O’Neal added. “After that, I really haven’t been paying attention.”

What about Garnett?

“I’m going to have to go with my guy” — Stoudamire — “before him,” O’Neal said. “All day, every day.

2. West is best

A game of can-you-top-this broke out in the final seconds of New Orleans’ trip to Cleveland last night. It started when LeBron James’ layup put the Cavaliers up by a point with 7.7 seconds remaining which appeared to possibly be the game clincher. However, the play only set the stage for Chris Paul to drive into the paint, collapse the defense and find David West for the midrange game-winning jumper with 0.6 seconds left, giving Nawlins a 100-99 victory. Paul was phenomenal once again, scoring 15 points and dishing out 20 assists while Peja Stojakovic tallied 25 points and West got the highlight of the night and 20 points. The game marked the second time this season Paul reached the 20-assist plateau, joining Deron Williams (twice) and Steve Nash as the only players to do so.

3. Sixers strike again
With a 121-99 win over Chicago on Wednesday, Philadelphia claimed its third consecutive victory and its eighth win out of the last 10 games as they continue to move up the standings in the East. Some guy named Lou Williams led the 76ers with a game-high 23 points while Andre Miller just missed a triple-double with nine points, eight rebounds and a season-high 18 assists. The 18 dimes were just three away from tying the franchise record currently held by Maurice Cheeks and Wilt Chamberlain. Believe it or not, but the victory guaranteed this would be the team’s best month of March since 1984 when they were 13-3. Overall, this was the Sixers 19th win in their last 24 games which brought their miserable record of 18-30 to a respectable 37-35.

Wednesday’s Player of the Day: Zydrunas Ilgauskas vs. New Orleans 33 min, 29 pts (FG: 13-19, FT: 3-3), 15 reb, 3 ast, 2 blk

Thursday’s Game to Watch: Dallas (45-26) @ Denver (43-28)
It’s a scary, scary time to be a Mavericks fan. With only 10 games left in their season and their superstar out with an ankle injury, the Mavericks are a mere two games away from completely falling out of the playoff picture. The pressure is on for Dallas because if they can’t pull out a win in Denver where the Nuggets are 28-7 then the cushion shrinks to a single game. And it just so happens that Denver has a little added motivation of its own because they are the team currently on the outside looking in. Some unfortunate team is going to miss the postseason this year and the Nuggets are trying hard to make sure it is not them, winning three consecutive games behind the hot hands of Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony.

Buzzer Beater: “Like Mike, if I could be like Mike. I wannabe, wannabe, wannabe like Mike. Like Mike, if I could be like Mike.”

OK, now don’t try to tell us you weren’t singing along. Since the late 80s, kids have been dreaming of being like Michael Jordan and Carmelo Anthony is no different. Anthony has a long way to go before making his dream come true, but the kid is certainly getting paid like Mike after signing another deal with Nike’s Jordan Brand.

Cal Andrews, vice president of BDA Sports Management, declined to give the terms of the extension but one source put it at just over $60 million for seven years. With royalties, the deal would make him the second highest-paid player behind LeBron James among Nike’s NBA clients, just ahead of Sonics rookie Kevin Durant.

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Boston Celtics

Around the Rim: The streak snappers


1. It’s over!
Despite reeling off a 22-game win streak, questions regarding the Rocket’s legitimacy amongst the league’s elite are still floating around. There are no such questions surrounding Boston. The Celtics put an end to Houston’s record-chasing run in remarkable fashion on Tuesday night, pounding the Rockets in their own gym by 20 points, 94-74. Kevin Garnett finished with a 22-point, 11-rebound double-double while Paul Pierce tallied 20 points as Boston ripped the heart out of its second Texas team in two days. There’s no doubt the Rockets are a lot better off now than they were two months ago, but all it takes now is a little slipup and their two-month tear becomes meaningless as eighth place Golden States sits a mere four games behind. This is indeed the wild, wild West.

2. Detroit outfoxes the fox

We knew the Nuggets were capable of scoring 120 points, but we had no clue Detroit could post 136 in a regulation game! We would say the Pistons had a horrible defensive outing by giving up so many points at home, but, frankly, we can’t get over the fact they blew past the century mark, recording 73 points in the opening half. Richard Hamilton was responsible for 24 while Rasheed Wallace added 21. In all, seven players reached double-digits in the highest four quarter outburst since 1990 when Detroit spanked Orlando 140-109. Of course, Flip Saunders wasn’t surprised by his club’s strange change of pace. He knows first hand how good the Pistons really are.

That’s the thing — we don’t have to play one style,” said Saunders. “We went out and played San Antonio in a grind-it-out game, and this was a little different. We’re not afraid to get out and run. We had 42 assists tonight. That’s a lot of assists.

You’re flipping right it is, Flip! In fact, Denver recorded just two more assists in its 168-116 pounding of Seattle just one game ago.

3. Lakers hold on by their fingernails
The Lakers almost let a 25-point third quarter lead disappear into a puff of smoke, but they held on for a 102-100 victory in Big D. Kobe Bryant finished with 29 points, but only posted nine in the entire second half, allowing the Mavericks to make their dramatic comeback. Dirk Nowitzki recorded 35 points,11 rebounds and five blocks and was crucial down the stretch while Jason Kidd laid an egg with one point on 0-of-3 shooting and seven assists. Los Angeles tied Houston for the conference’s best record by snapping Dallas five-game win streak. Next up for the Mavs is a contest against the Celtics on Thursday night.

Tuesday’s Player of the Day: Dirk Nowitzki vs. Los Angeles Lakers 43 min, 35 pts (FG: 11-23, 3FG: 3-6, FT: 10-12), 11 reb, 1 ast, 5 blk

Wednesday’s Game to Watch: Denver (40-27) @ Philadelphia (33-34)
Normally we reserve this space for the day’s best matchup, but not today. Today we’re talking about practice, uh, we mean Allen Iverson’s return to the city where he became a superstar. For the first time since being traded back in December of 2006, the Answer is heading into Philadelphia wearing a different jersey. Simply seeing Iverson in a Nuggets jersey is still rather shocking, even after all this time, but to see him wear it on the court where he used to electrify the world is going to be odd to say the least. Hopefully you have your earplugs ready because A.I.’s ovation should shake the rafters.

Buzzer Beater: You’d think after all his loyal years of service in Detroit the franchise could at least remember how to spell Rip Hamilton’s name correctly.

Hamilton started the game wearing a jersey that had his last name spelled “Hamiltion,” but changed it during the first quarter.

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Boston Celtics

Around the Rim: Irish eyes are smiling


1. Boston’s bounce back
Despite falling behind by as many as 22 points, the Celtics came roaring back on in San Antonio on St. Patrick’s day to defeat the Spurs 93-91. Boston was without Ray Allen for the second consecutive game, but luckily they had Sam Cassell who was more than willing to step up and hit a huge 3-pointer in the fourth quarter that put the Cs up 89-87. The Spurs almost pulled off a St. Patty’s day miracle when Bruce Bowen stole an inbounds pass with time expiring, but the normally clutch Robert Horry couldn’t connect on a game-winning trey. Kevin Garnett scored 21 points in the gutsy comeback while Rajon Rondo chipped in 20 and Paul Pierce added 22. Manu Ginobili led San Antonio with a game-high 32 points, but it didn’t prevent the Spurs from losing their fourth consecutive game and the sixth in their last seven outings.

2. Orlando isn’t LeBron’s kingdom

Everything looks pretty meager in comparison to Houston’s super streak, but Orlando is stringing together a nice series of victories as well. Thanks to a 64-point second half , the Magic now own the second longest win streak in the league with five consecutive after beating Cleveland 104-90 in the Magic Kingdom. Dwight Howard finished with a solid double-double of 23 points and 13 rebounds despite shooting just 6-of-14 from the field while Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu connected on three 3-pointers apiece as they combined for an additional 38 points. In all, the Magic converted 14 treys and extended their lead over the Cavaliers to 6 ½ games. Cleveland took a five-point advantage into halftime after Orlando started 1-for-9 from the floor. LeBron James finished with 30 points, but got no help from his inside defender as Ben Wallace ended his night with two points and four rebounds in 23 minutes.

3. Green doesn’t look good on everyone
For some strange reason, the Knicks and the Bulls both decided to break out green uniforms last night. Luckily, the basketball gods were as offended by the hideous jerseys as much as we were and sent both clubs home with double-digit losses. The Knicks lost to Indiana 110-98 and the Bulls got drummed 108-97 by the Hornets. Chris Paul was scary good once again as he tallied 37 points and 13 assists in the outing and after the game he got some MVP love from his buddy Tyson Chandler.

It was all Chris Paul,” said Chandler, who finished with eight points. “The little man was all over the floor. It was incredible. It’s one of the best performances I’ve seen from him yet. He, at least to me, made his bid [Monday night] to consider him the MVP.

Monday’s Player of the Day: Chris Paul vs. Chicago 42 min, 37 pts (FG: 15-21, 3FG: 2-3, FT: 5-7), 4 reb, 13 ast, 3 stl

Tuesday’s Game to Watch: Boston (53-13) @ Houston (46-20)
The Rockets might be the hottest team in the last 30-some-odd years with 22 consecutive wins under their belts, but if anyone can teach a thing or two about winning to Houston it is the Celtics. Boston rushed out to a 29-3 record to start the season and they haven’t let go of the NBA’s top mark yet. While the Rockets were able to slip by the West’s best in Los Angeles, the East’s top dog could be too much to overcome, especially if Ray Allen is cleared to play. However, the Rockets have the added benefit of catching the Celtics on the tail end of a back-to-back situation while playing in front of a rabid home crowd in an arena where they are a solid 26-9.

Buzzer Beater: No disrespect to Mike Dunleavy, but he’s no Kobe Bryant or LeBron James. However, when you’re playing against the Knicks, even guys like Dunleavy get to be like Mike. The coach’s son tied his career-high by scoring 36 points in a 110-98 defeat of New York. The Pacers snapped a two-game losing streak behind Dunleavy’s fourth 36-point outburst of the season. The loss dropped New York to 19-48 on the year, meaning the Knicks best player next year will probably be hooping it up this weekend at the NCAA Tournament.