Celtics-Magic: Game 2 re-cap

Rajon Rondo is clearly this years MVP of the 2010 NBA Playoffs

Up 2-0 with two games on their home court, are we thinking sweep? Possibly the guy who hacked Paul Pierce’s twitter account thinks so, especially by writing, “Anybody got a BROOM?”

At times this game reminded everyone of those heated Celtics-Piston rivals from the 80’s. Even moments of last night’s game felt like the Pacer-Celtics contests from the early part of this new millennium. Although, any fan can take away the fact or idea that these two teams are starting to not like one another.

Take for example the Rondo whiplash in the first quarter. How about when Dwight Howard elbowed Pierce in the face? Even Kendrick Perkins, Rasheed Wallace and Kevin Garnett looked somewhat upset when the referees would call fouls against them too.

Don’t take this the wrong way, but seriously, how awful is the officiating in this league? Between two games against the Magic, as well as all six against the Cavaliers, the NBA loves their franchise faces. You know, Dwight Howard and LeBron James are what make this league the NBA, but giving them so much leeway is just wrong.

Dwight Howard had 4 of the 25-team fouls. Vince Carter also had 4 too. Getting these two star players into foul trouble was just one of the reasons the Celtics captured Game 2. Yet, the contributions from Howard and Carter, 46 points combined, were helpful, but not enough. Even the amount of missed field goals was a problem, as the Magic shot 28-71 (39.4%) from the field. This is a plus for the Boston Celtics, holding a powerful shooting team to a small margin.

As for the Boston Celtics, the play of Rajon Rondo continues to impress myself, as well as the rest of Celtics Nation. His leadership, as well as Jeff Van Gundy referral to Jason Varitek (Boston Red Sox catcher), is so true by the leadership he is displaying. Not only has Rondo improved his communication on the court, but also his shooting. Following a clutch Kevin Garnett turnaround jumper to regain the lead, 91-90, it was Rondo’s clutch two-pointer, which gave the Celtics a 3-point lead.

The Celtics have this series in their hand and need to continue playing aggressive defense, but also, team-basketball. If Rondo continues to cause problems for Orlando on Saturday, consider Game 3 and 4 the possible end to the 2009 Eastern Conference Champions.

A Successful 2010 Playoffs for the Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics has made the most of the 2010 Playoff Run

It has been quite an odd end to this NBA season. Everyone back in February or March had to assume the Boston Celtics were just too darn old and didn’t have the legs to last against the younger Orlando, Cleveland and Atlanta squads. Although, here they are in the Eastern Conference Finals, as well as three wins away from possibly punching their ticket to another NBA Final appearance, which would be their second trip in three years. Yet, do they even stand a chance against the Magic? I say, yes they do.

Before predicting a score or a possible series sweep, lets consider this entire playoff run, as well as understand the question, what has been the key to making the Green and White so successful.

Miami vs. Boston: This was the perfect matchup that the Celtics needed to boost their crowd’s confidence, as well as the teams too. Yes, the Celtics looked tired and not the squad that had won an NBA Championship in 2008 over rival Los Angles Lakers, but seriously, playing against Miami was the perfect opponent in the opening round.

Having a healthy Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen’s shooting and leadership of Paul Pierce still in place, the Celtics rolled over the Heat in Games 1 and 2 at the Garden.

In Miami, the Celtics resorted back to their old ways of playing sloppy basketball and not showing any sign of true teamwork. Clearly they were fortunate enough to have “The Truth,” Paul Pierce, notch a game winner at the buzzer to make the series, 3 games to none (3-0). If Pierce hadn’t sunk the final shot, Miami would have figured out a way to win this 2-game home stand easily and force the series to a 2-2 tie.

D-Wade talked to his hand here and during game 4 against the Celtics

In Game 4, it was again an aging Celtics team that looked tired and restless. Garnett was the only player that brought back images of an aging Bill Russell from the 1969 NBA playoffs. His fight and swagger kept the game close, but it was D-Wade and his “magical hand” that kept the Heat alive for only a day and a half. It was clearly a monumental day for Wade, but also just one of those games that hurt every member of Celtics Nation. Clearly Garnett was the reason behind leading this squad to victory in Game 5, which is why they had defeated the Heat, 4 games to 1 and was ready to take on the best team, Cleveland.

Cleveland vs. Boston: The Cleveland Cavaliers on paper are scary, horrifying and cause nightmares for opposing teams and coaches. Excluding the “King,” (LeBron James), the roster consists of key guys, such as Mo Williams, Shaq, Antawn Jamison, Anthony Parker, Anderson Varejao, and Delonte West. This team seemed over powering and possibly a squad that could challenge any country or the entire NBA Western Conference, but before booking hotel reservations for a Kobe-LeBron Championship, they had to keep their attention locked on round 2 against Boston.

Simply, two players emerged from this series as key players. One was Rajon Rondo, a Boston Celtics guard that received a great deal of criticism last year for showing up late or acting immature toward his teammates and coaches. Rondo’s play had to have caused chaotic excitement on Causeway Street, (street outside the Garden) following Game 6, but overall, his leadership surely wasn’t questioned throughout this entire series.

The other player was Mo Williams. His leadership and energy were clearly what kept Cleveland and Boston in a dogfight during the first four games. Williams would be an important asset in Games 5 and 6 too, especially since LeBron seemed bothered by his elbow or lack of headline news surrounding trade rumors.

Forget LeBron, this entire series belonged to Mo Williams and Rajon Rondo. The play of both guards were highlighted greatly throughout this match-up, but in the end, the Celtics prevailed as the better team. Were they lucky to win? Who knows! It just seemed after four interesting games, (1-4); the Celtics had an easy path to victory during Games 5 & 6.

Orlando vs. Boston: Orlando is probably the best team remaining, but not that good of a squad compared the Celtics.

Following Game 1 this past Sunday, the Celtics just seem to be the better team. They have more veteran leadership and experience compared to Dwight Howard and Vince Carter. The Celtics know what it takes to win, which is stopping Dwight Howard in the paint, slowing down Vince Carter and containing every three-point attempt. Also, from re-examining Game 1, it just seemed the Celtics played better defense too, which needs to continue tonight, as well as throughout the rest of the entire series.

Defense wins championships, which we learned two years ago when the Celtics de-railed the Detroit Piston, which were far more a better team than the 2010 Orlando Magic.

If the Celtics are to win this evening, which I believe they will, then how can you not think the Celtics could possibly close this out in Boston on Saturday and Monday? I like the Celtics to win this series in 5 or 6 games, but I am thinking 6 is the better number.

Garnett and Rondo have been major factors for the Celtics this spring

The Success: All in all, the reason the Celtics have been so successful is because of their defense and leadership. Garnett has been an incredibly important asset, but also Rondo and Tony Allen too. Don’t forget about Sheed, which varies at time, but also Pierce and Ray Allen. If Kendrick and Big Baby Davis can keep themselves from losing their emotions, they too can contribute in the appropriate way to add to this success.

The Celtics are clearly bound for possibly the 18th NBA Title in Franchise history, but need to continue playing defense, team-basketball, as well as working together. If all three of these things occur tonight and the remainder of this series, then the Celtics will once again be crowned the 2010 Eastern Conference Champions.

A Weekend of Rivalries: Which One Is The Best this Weekend?

It is in fact Friday, which means the weekend can begin! This one should be a fun one, especially how this evening kicks-off a triple-header of games for the local hometown of Boston, Massachusetts.

Lets have good old Noontime break these down into different categories and help you decide, which is the best contest to watch.

The Matchups: Red Sox-Yankees (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), Flyers-Bruins (Friday) and Cavaliers-Celtics (Friday and Sunday).

Oldest Rivalry: Hands down… Boston vs. New York.

Celtics-Cavaliers will be fun to watch, especially if LeBron's elbow is okay!

Most Enjoyable Rivalry: For me, being a basketball guy, I am going to say the Cavaliers-Celtics. This isn’t a rivalry that compares to Lakers-Celtics, but ever since LeBron has turned Cleveland into an NBA city, this rivalry has been exciting.

Also, who doesn’t love the fact that a few old guys, such as Garnett, Allen, Pierce, Wallace and Finley can compete against Shaq, LeBron and Mo Williams? I think this one is the most enjoyable of all three contests this weekend, especially since I will be in attendance for Game 4 on Sunday, will be Cavaliers-Celtics.

Lets Talk History: Every die-hard sports fan knows that indeed, Sox-Yankees is possibly the greatest and oldest rivalry in the books. Trust me, ever since Boston let go of the Babe, the Hub, as never been the same. Ruth helped the Yankees turn into a baseball dynasty, which led to multiple years of dramatic finishes for the Sox that never resulted hoisting their sixth championship, until the year 2004.

Tonight, I never get too amped or excited when the Yankees and Sox meet, especially still this early in the season. Of course, it’s Sox-Yankees, but its not truly their time until late September and early October. Besides, we know that the best time to watch these two clubs go at it is during the fall when they compete for World Series glory.

A Good Story: I think it would be an awesome story to read tomorrow about how the Boston Bruins, a team that suffered from injuries and an identity problem all season, closes out their semi-final round series this evening against the Flyers in Philadelphia. Now that the Bruins are hurting again, a little rest would be exactly what the doctor ordered.

The Edge: Again, I am a basketball guy, but as of recently, I have thoroughly enjoyed watching playoff hockey, so if you are in need of a good dose of sports this evening, I suggest, Bruins-Flyers to begin your evening.

If The Bruins play "Big-Bad Bruins Hockey" They will Sweep the Flyers!

Predictions: The Yankees are coming in on a 4-game winning streak, but so are the Sox too. I like the Sox to win at least 1 game, but feel the Yankees will take 2 out of 3 this weekend, which will extend their series lead to 4-1.

As for the Bruins, their injuries scare me, which makes me think they will lose Game 4, but rebound at home on Monday and take the series in 5. If they get out to an early lead, as well as continue their physical play, then they sweep the Flyers this evening.

Lastly, Celtics will win Games 3 and 4, which will make them 13-1 against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Boston in the playoffs.

The Joy in Predicting Sports

Joe Namath said the Jets would win! He Even Predicted It too!

In life, nothing is scripted, everything is just…. Well I would say the word “just.” We can’t tell the future or answer the question, “Will I get an ‘A’ on this Science project,” but we can have fun by making a little wager or gamble once in a while, right?

I am talking about predictions people… predictions!

Who doesn’t enjoy making a prediction? Who loves stating to opposing team’s fans, “My team is better than your team?” That is a prediction, especially a BOLD one too!

This past week, a Noontime Sports fan asked me, “What will the score of the Bruins game be tonight”, approached me?

I paused, thought for a few seconds and responded, “4-2 or 2-1.”

My friend smiled and exclaimed, “Lets see if you are right again!”

What this friend is alluding to is how I predicted the Boston Bruins-Philadelphia Flyers Game 2 of the Semi-Final round score correctly.

Being the savvy cool guy that I am, I wrote on my Facebook wall, “The Bruins will win, 3-2 this evening.”

It wasn’t exactly in those words, but I also predicted that the Boston Celtics would even their second round series with “Team Bron Bron,” (Cleveland Cavaliers) and the Red Sox would lose their fourth game in a row after a lousy weekend performance in Baltimore.

My prediction result… (Drum Roll Please!) …. Two out of Three of the games  were correct!

In sports, we always have to make predictions, otherwise, why watch, right? Who doesn’t love calling their friends before the big game and screeching over the phone the following:

“MY TEAM IS GOING TO WIN. WOOO!!”

I love doing that to my friends, especially since some of the teams I choose to support or root for these days aren’t always favored or the best.

For example, it is rather tough being a Dallas Cowboys fan in the Northeast and having everyone tell me, “Tony Romo is AWFUL!” Yet, I keep predicting that better days for him and the Dallas Cowboys are coming. Besides, didn’t 2009 prove anything or support my prediction?

Predictions are what make games fun, right sports fans?

Come on, the famous prediction that we always joke about is the one with Joe Namath in 1969 prior to the Super Bowl III kick-off against the highly favored Baltimore Colts. His statement was just the first of many to allow the sports media world to learn to listen to what the athletes say off the field, not just on it or in the locker room.

How about a few years ago when Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Anthony Smith immediately predicted victory against the undefeated New England Patriots. He explained to the media, “Yeah, we goin’ to win.” His comments were perfect bulletin board material for Coach Belichick and the rest of his New England Patriots. End result … Patriots win by a score of 34-13.

Yet, what Smith and Namath have in common is the boldness to strike up a conversation and cause drama in the sports world. Come on people, we all love hearing these crazy and bizarre comments? Or am I just being crazy by writing that predictions are important in sports?

How about those sports writers that decide every year who will win the American League East, isn’t that fun?

How about those that Tweet on their Twitter accounts that their team is better than the other one?

You see, predictions are fun. I know that I maybe riding a hot streak with some recent predictions, but I do need to own up to saying that the Patriots were going to win the Super Bowl this past season. Yeah… that didn’t happen, but again, predictions are fun and what make sports truly entertaining.

So, why don’t you make a prediction. Facebook it or Tweet it, as well as pick up that phone and call your father. Once you make a bold prediction, you won’t want to stop.