Daily Noontime – November 1, 2011

Julian Edelman is in trouble with the law, and most likely the New England Patriots too!

Happy Tuesday to everyone, and welcome into yet another edition of the Daily Noontime! Oh – it’s also November – Rabbit, Rabbit! 

Headlines: 

* According to reports on Tuesday morning, New England Patriots wide receiver and punt returner Julian Edelman was arrested for assault and battery.

* The Kansas City Chiefs rallied late Monday evening to defeat the San Diego Chargers, and forced a three-way tie for first place in the AFC West.

* Apparently the Oakland Raiders are interested in signing former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

* Good news for Atlanta Falcons fans, rookie wide receiver Julio Jones returned to practice, and could be in the line-up on Sunday.

* More news is being leaked about Shaquille O’Neal‘s new book, which is due out in November, and one of the biggest topics was his relationship with Kobe Bryant.

* The NBA Lockout continues, but according to a recent Yahoo! Sports report, Players Association president Derek Fisher denied trying to cut a side deal with the league.

Games to Watch: 

* Ottawa at Boston (NHL) – 7:00pm eastern 

* Tampa Bay at Carolina (NHL) – 7:00pm eastern 

* Anaheim at Washington (NHL) – 7:30pm eastern 

Video of the Day: 

It’s the day after Halloween, and yes, we have a leftover treat – a video about Red Sox pitcher John Lackey, enjoy! 

Should We Blame President Obama for Rajon Rondo’s Shooting Woes?

Did President Obama really insult Rajon Rondo's shooting ability?

By Matt Noonan 

As American citizens, it’s quite easy to point fingers at the President of the United States, especially if it’s Barack Obama, however, some sports fans might want to reconsider why we’re blaming the commander and chief, who apparently “destroyed” Rajon Rondo’s shooting ability this past spring.

It’s not totally certain that Obama is the reason for Rondo’s poor shooting statistics with the Boston Celtics in March or April, but it’s quite possible that America’s leader stated something that affected the point guard, right?

Yet, how could one’s words derail an athlete? Seriously, how?

Well, according to multiple reports on Wednesday morning, as well as a portion of Shaquille O’Neal’s memoir with ESPNBoston.com columnist Jackie MacMullan, which is scheduled to debut on November 15, the Big Shamrock regaled the tale of the Green and White’s encounter with President Obama at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts this past March.

Slam Online’s Tzvi Twersky reported the story, as well as discovered the following excerpt from the book:

In early March some of the guys went to the museum of Fine Arts for a fund-raiser and got to hang with President Barack Obama. Everyone was a little bit in awe. The President turns to Ray, points at Rondo, and says, “Hey, Ray, why don’t you teach this kid how to shoot?” Everyone starts laughing.

KG told me he saw the look on Rondo’s face and the kid was devastated, embarrassed. Dissed by the President, even though I’m sure Obama didn’t mean any harm. Rondo smiled and went along with all of it, but KG told me he could see it in his eyes. It bothered Rondo. It killed him

The next day Rondo shot the ball horribly. He stopped taking shots after that. He’s so sensitive. I think it was a real jolt to hear the outside perception of a basketball fan who happens to be the President of the United States. It messed with his mind. I’m sure of it.

So, with this being the case, one might have to wonder, should we indeed blame Obama for Rondo’s shooting woes? Again, how can one person impact a player’s shooting ability? Obama is indeed a true basketball supporter, however, it just seems rather bizarre that we’re all pointing the finger at him.

* Information for this specific post was also gathered from Kelly Dwyer‘s report on  Yahoo! Sports

Daily Noontime – July 15, 2011

There's light at the end of the tunnel for the NFL!

It’s officially Friday, which means… the weekend, right? OK… OK… enough questions, let’s get this Daily Noontime Delivered, so here’s the headlines and news of the day, enjoy! 

Headlines: 

* Good news NFL fans, apparently both sides are close to reaching an agreement on a new CBA (collective bargaining agreement).

* According to a recent poll, Forbes Magazine announced on Thursday that the Washington Redskins are the “4th-most valuable sports franchise,” which isn’t too much of a surprise, right?

* Finally, Pittsburgh Steelers James Harrison feels bad for his comments and remarks toward the NFL, as well as commissioner Roger Goodell, yet, not all of it.

* It’s official, Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz will be suspended for four games due to his altercation with Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher, Kevin Gregg, who will also serve some time too.

* Former Boston Celtics center Shaquille O’Neal signed a deal with TNT to be a broadcaster for the upcoming NBA season. This should be exciting television, so don’t miss it!

* Mark your calendars baseball fans, as the Brockton Rox get set to sell the worlds most expensive hot dog on Saturday July 23.

Games to Watch: 

* Florida at Chicago Cubs (MLB) – 2:20pm eastern 

* New York Yankees at Toronto (MLB) – 7:07pm eastern 

* Boston at Tampa Bay (MLB) – 7:10pm eastern 

* Texas at Seattle (MLB) – 10:10pm eastern 

Video of the Day: 

James Harrison loves to talk, but also, hit! 

NBA Draft: Boston Celtics Round 1 – JaJuan Johnson

The Boston Celtics acquired in a trade from the New Jersey Nets, JaJuan Johnson.

By Matt Noonan 

How it Happened: With the 27th pick in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft, the New Jersey Nets selected JaJuan Johnson, forward/center from Purdue University. Although, due to a previous trade, the Boston Celtics retained the rights of Johnson in exchange for their 25th pick, which was Marshon Brooks, guard from Providence College

What it Means: The Celtics needed to draft a “big man.” Shaquille O’Neal retired this past spring and who knows how much gas remains in Jermaine O’Neal‘s tank, but Johnson will help the Green and Whit with his size. Johnson, who is six-feet-ten-inches and 221 pounds will certainly play a factor down low, as well as on defense.

How will Johnson Impact the Celtics: In his final year with Purdue, Johnson averaged 35.4 minutes, 20.5 points and 8.6 rebounds. Johnson improved dramatically from his freshman to senior year, so hopefully that’s a sign for things to come. Also, he won, as well as received numerous awards over his four years with the Boilermakers.

“[He] led Purdue in scoring 20 times, rebounds 24 times, blocks 31 times, steals 10 times and assists once during the season” (according to Purdue Athletics website).

Overall Grade: I’d say he is a sold “B/B+.” The All-American has plenty of room to grow, but expect his game to improve under the guidance of head coach Doc Rivers.

Noonan: Saying So Long to the Shaq We Know and Love

Shaq was not just an athlete, but a celebrity we loved!

By Matt Noonan 

It’s finally set in, but seriously, no Shaquille O’Neal in 2011, are you serious?

That’s right, Shaq’s days are numbered, toast and yes, he won’t be playing for any NBA team the next few years. Instead, he’ll be sitting back, relaxing, possibly pursuing a Masters and maybe, shooting the sequel to Kazaam?

Although, while the NBA will indeed miss O’Neal, fans shouldn’t worry too much because the athletic celebrity will continue to make noise, I promise.

He’s been in movies, mentioned in songs, hosted Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards, as well as been spotted at a variety of Hollywood parties and events.

Remember when he was a police officer in Miami?

How about when he joined the Phoenix Suns and ESPN did a spoof on him and cactuses?

Remember when he joined the Cleveland Cavaliers and promised to “win a ring for the King” (LeBron James)? Yep, that didn’t happen, luckily.

Shaq’s presence on and off the court is what makes the gentle giant so loveable and enjoyable. Yet, how many athletes or celebrities can be compared to Shaquille O’Neal? Seriously, who are other athletes that can be measured up to Shaq’s status?

The first one that comes to mind is Peyton Manning. Who didn’t enjoy Manning’s various Saturday Night Live montages? Didn’t you like watching him play football with the young kids of New York or attempting to hotwire/breaking into a car? What about his hysterical Direct-TV commercials, aren’t those laugh out loud funny?

Terrell Owens is another athletic celebrity that many Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers fans despise, but have enjoyed witnessing outside of the NFL. Owens is most remembered for the Monday Night Football clip, where he is seen with a cast member from Desperate Housewives, who dropped her towel and flailed into his arms naked. He has also taken part in celebrity basketball games, as well as appeared on the show, Pro’s vs. Joe’s and much more.

Deion Sanders, Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky have all embraced the celebrity life in various ways, but overall, they’re not Shaq.

Shaq is unique and cannot be replicated or cloned. He’s someone very special to the sports world and certainly he’ll be missed.

O’Neal walks away with four NBA championships, three Finals MVP’s, as well as other awards and unfortunately, he didn’t help the Boston Celtics capture Banner 18, but that doesn’t matter because he’ll always be loved.

Daily Noontime – June 2, 2011

Was Game 1 between Boston and Vancouver a classic?

Happy Thursday friends and welcome to the Daily Noontime! Here’s today’s news and headlines, so enjoy! 

Headlines: 

* Game 1 of the NHL Stanley Cup was a classic, but in the end, Vancouver won and beat Boston, 1-0.

* After watching the Stanley Cup, what exactly did the Bruins do wrong? Well, they just didn’t score, which is why they allowed the Canucks to win Game 1.

* Wednesday was an interesting day for the Boston Celtics and NBA, as Shaquille O’Neal officially announced his retirement.

* Good news for the Minnesota Timberwolves, they’ve officially reached an agreement with Ricky Rubio.

* The Chicago White Sox left Boston Wednesday after winning three-games in a row against the Boston Red Sox. How sweep was that?

Games to Watch: 

* Dallas at Miami (NBA Finals – Game 2) 9:00pm eastern

Video of the Day: 

Time to say SO LONG to Shaq! 

Miami Beats Celtics, Advances to Eastern Conference Finals

The Heat only needed five games, but beat Boston on Wednesday, 97-87.

By Matt Noonan

Remember Game 7 of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Los Angles Lakers in 2010? What happened during the final four minutes in regulation?

Well, in case you forgot, the Boston Celtics ran out of gas and allowed the Los Angles Lakers to comeback and win their 16th NBA Championship. Although, on Wednesday, it was as if Boston was reliving the nightmare, but this time, LeBron James was playing the role of Kobe Bryant.

The Miami Heat tore apart the aging Celtics in Game 5, as well as punched their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2006 with a convincing 97-87 win. James finished the game with 33 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while his partner in crime, Dwyane Wade added 34 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals.

As for Boston, they watched Ray Allen lead the Celtics with 18 points, while Kevin Garnett added 15 points and collected 11 rebounds. Also, the Celtics received some additional help from their bench during the third and fourth quarter, as Delonte West finished the game with 10 points and Jeff Green added an additional nine points.  

Although, while this loss is certainly painful, it’s pretty easy to state, we saw this coming.

Against the New York Knicks in the opening round of the NBA playoffs, the Celtics displayed their age and tired legs, but were able to sneak past a banged up squad that didn’t even have a healthy Amare Stoudemire. Boston got lucky by sweeping the Knickerbockers in four games, but knew that Miami wasn’t going to be an easy foe.

Miami immediately took control in Game 1, which set the tone for the entire series. The Heat ended up winning the first two games, but lost to Boston in Game 3 at the TD Garden. However, they bounced back two days later and then won again.

The Celtics also witnessed their major contributors, such as Rajon Rondo, Shaquille O’Neal, Paul Pierce, Allen and West either sustain injuries or re-aggravate their ailing bones and muscles.

Boston will now head into the off-season with a lot of questions, such as; will Doc Rivers return to the bench next season as the head coach? What should the Celtics do with Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal? What battled tested free agent veterans can the Celtics scoop up? Also, can the “Big-3” win one more championship?

There certainly is a lot that has to happen if Boston wants to return to the NBA Championship, but after losing to LeBron James and the Miami Heat, I’d say, it’s time to sit back and reflect on the past season.

Indeed, it was a fun run, but certainly not the finish the Celtics and their fans expected, but hey, this is what makes sports so enjoyable, right?

Rondo, Celtics Win Game 3, 97-81

By Matt Noonan

Rajon Rondo inked his name in Boston Celtics lore on Saturday, as he not only returned to the game after sustaining a dislocated elbow, but also finished the evening with three rebounds, six points and 11 assists. Sure, his numbers weren’t flattering, but anyone who witnessed his grit and toughness certainly understands that he was a major factor for his teams first win of the series against the Miami Heat.

Besides Rondo’s courageous effort, the Celtics watched their starters and role players step up, score important baskets and deny the Heat second and third offensive opportunities. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce combined for 55 points, 23 rebounds, six assists and four steals.

Jeff Green exhibited the fact that he came to play, as he finished the game with six points, two rebounds and one block. Again, similar to Rondo, his final numbers may have not been flashy, but he definitely impressed the TD Garden crowd that applauded his efforts during the fourth quarter because he fought for rebounds, dove on the floor for loose balls and pretty much did everything head coach Doc Rivers expected him to do.

Finally, the Celtics seemed elated with Shaquille O’Neal’s performance too, as the “Big Shamrock” walked off the court with two points, one assist and one steal.

All in all, the Celtics played terrific team basketball against the Heat and will return to the TD Garden parquet on Monday for Game 4, tip-off is scheduled for 7:00pm eastern.

Celtics Sweep the Knicks, Advance to NBA Playoffs Round II

Kevin Garnett led the Celtics past New York!

By Matt Noonan

The Boston Celtics avoided a possible Game 5 at the TD Garden and brought their broomsticks to Madison Square Garden on Sunday, so they could officially beat the Knicks and move onto round two of the NBA playoffs.

However, was this game totally in their control? That’s certainly debatable, as New York attempted to do whatever they could to remain in contention during all four quarters.

Although, despite their valiant effort and Carmelo Anthony’s attempted comeback, the Celtics ended their first round series with a 101-89 win and officially move onto face either Miami or Philadelphia.

Here are our Noontime Sports notes and reflections from Sunday’s win.

*Consider this series sweep a “NBA omen” for the Celtics, but also, Shaquille O’Neal, who didn’t record a single minute against New York. Will he play against Miami or Philadelphia remains a “hot-button” issue, although, neither the Heat nor Sixers have a solid “big-man” that could certainly challenge the Celtics offense, so if Shaq needs another round of rest, I’d say, let it happen. Danny Ainge acquired the Big Shamrock for one reason, which was so he could win one more championship before he retires, so again, having a few extra days of rest won’t be the worst thing.

*Glen Davis certainly snapped out of his “funk,” as he led the bench with 14 points and recorded five rebounds. Davis is indeed one of their more important role players on the Celtics roster because he is expected to secure multiple rebounds on both offense and defense, as well as tally roughly 10-15 points a game. Don’t consider Davis the next coming of Bill Russell or Robert “The Chief” Parish, but hopefully Sunday’s game was a turning point. Also, expect Davis to continue playing roughly 25-30 minutes in round two.

* Kevin Garnett led the team with 26 points and 10 rebounds, which is great, but also a sign that the “Big Ticket” is slowly transforming himself into postseason form. During the first three games of the series, Garnett scored 36 points and pulled down 35 rebounds, which is indeed, typical Garnett, but can he continue this trend going forward? We shall see, but after watching the way he played against the Knicks, it certainly seems like he is incredibly focused and wants to return to the NBA Finals.

* The Celtics defense appeared stagnant through the first two quarters, but eventually ratcheted up their pressure during the second half. They allowed Carmelo Anthony to score 32 points and Amare Stoudemire 19 points. The Knicks turned the ball over 14 times, but also couldn’t compete with Boston on the defensive glass. The Celtics tallied 44 defensive rebounds, which certainly demonstrated the fact that head coach Doc Rivers must have made some changes at halftime.

* Continuing with the defensive theme, expect Rivers and his coaching staff to make sure his defense is ready for their next opponent. Defense was what helped the Celtics earn Banner 17 in ’08, so if the Celtics want to advance to the Eastern Conference for the third time in four seasons, they better play defense.

* Finally, the Boston Celtics recorded their first playoff series sweep since the 1985-1986 season, when they swept the Chicago Bulls in round one, three games to none.