I'm no Phi Beta Cappuccino.
I thought I knew something about this game. I was wrong. I did not even come close to realizing how great Kevin Garnett is.
All through the summer Sean Grande TOLD us how great Garnett was. He TOLD us we didn't understand, that we had to watch him play day in and day out. He TOLD us about the metahuman intensity. But did we listen? No we did not. We were too busy watching the Red Sox, drinking delicious icy beverages, going on picnics, and partaking of other carefree warm weather frivolities. I shake my head.
Back to the point— I've watched plenty of Garnett over his career, but apparently not enough to realize just how furiously he plays, how well he passes, or even how dominant a rebounder he is.
I'm dumb. I'm no Magna Cum Latte.
Garnett is great, however let's not take it too far. I didn't hear it but apparently Cedric Maxwell said Garnett was better than Larry Bird. Huh? What the hey? I remember a couple of years ago Max said Nowitzki was better than Bird.
I don't know if Maxwell was kidding, needling Larry, or serious. All I do know is this: If the statement was serious, it was SO incorrect. And if the statement was a joke, it was a bad one. You DO NOT poke Larry Bird. You just don't. It's a bad move on so many levels.
I don't know who despises Jamaal Tinsley more, Celtic fans or (judging by their half-empty arena) Pacer fans. That wallop on the Pierce's head by the pathological point guard was ill-advised as it sent Mr. Truth on a rampage of vengeance which ended any Indiana hopes for a victory.
What I found fascinating about that sequence were Paul's push ups. Instead of emotionally reacting to Tinsley's cheap shot, Paul threw himself on to the free throw line and did a couple of push ups to calm himself down.
Later he said this unusual tactic came out of a preseason conversation with Kevin Garnett. Apparently Paul was upset about an incident in the Knicks game, and Garnett told him to do whatever it took to gain control of himself— do some push ups, blow off some steam, and move on. So Pierce literally did. As Doc Rivers said postgame (from Steve Bulpett's article in the Herald), ""This is such an emotional game," he said. "I know you remember the whole playoff thing, so he was doing everything he could to control his emotions. That to me is what he was doing. He wasn’t trying to put on a show, (but) it’s the strangest damn thing I’ve ever seen."
I was impressed. It takes a lot to turn a dirty play like that into positive energy. It shows incredible self control and maturity, and more importantly it bodes very well for this team come playoff time.
I don't want to diminish the legitimate concerns many Celtic onlookers have about the big three's big minutes. In fact I don't really want to talk about it at all since I think that's premature. Instead I just want to say that this reminds me of the 1980's when Celtic fans saw so few losses that they used to get down when the team simply did not win the way they expected.
This is great! Undefeated. Best team in the league (yes). And the issue is style points. I love it.
5) Danny the Drafter
The Celtics would have taken Yi. Danny avoided admitting as much but Doc said it. Yi looks great. The alternate universe resulting from keeping the 5th pick would have been rewarding too. Jefferson/Yi /Pierce (or whoever they might have traded Paul for) would have been fun to watch for many years. Maybe not as great as what Pierce/Allen/Garnett have shown, but that would be good path to travel too.
The moral of the story is, when you have a gifted GM you have confidence and a real future.
6) The Building Fear of the Unbelievers
The Celtics won't win because the big 3 are too old.
The Celtics won't win because they need time to gel.
The Celtics won't win because they won't share the ball.
The Celtics won't win because their defense is terrible (Ha, my favorite— best in the league terrible.)
The Celtics won't win because of their coach.
The Celtics won't win because of Rondo and Perkins.
The Celtics won't win because they have no bench.
The Celtics won't win because Pierce, Allen, and Garnett came from losing teams.
Now frustrated pagans who fear of the Green are running to deeper fallback positions: "The Celtics won't CONTINUE to win. They've had an easy schedule."
Please. The combined record of the Celtics' opponents has been seriously damaged because Boston has beaten every one of them. Obviously this pace can't continue indefinitely but the team hasn't even hit its stride yet in terms of how well they can play. This is exciting. Perhaps even darned exciting.
Watching the Pacers brought on a few unpleasant flashbacks. To put it mildly I never liked the three point offense, though I did notice the Pacers shooting was much less reliant on the three pointer than expected.
Still it brought back a memory: When the OB Celtics were shooting endlessly from downtown, Tommy Heinsohn, high priest of the running game, hated it. He never said so but early on when he broadcast those games, he often sighed and remarked, "Live by the three, die by the three."
That only lasted a very brief period and was soon amended to, "Live by the three. (Shrug) Live by the three."
I think Tommy likes Jim OBrien personally and didn't want to criticize his philosophy too much. Anyway, sorry to bring it up at all.
8) Swagger Update
I notice some folks haven't got this swagger thing completely mastered yet. In pregame threads on various Celtic forums, many people are expressing a bit of dismay at certain match ups. Ease your troubled mind. Yes the Celtics will lose now and then but personally I go into every game KNOWING they're going to win. There's no place for doubts this season. Thinking championship is the first step to getting one.
9) A Suggestion
On the home game broadcasts when they do tight crowd shots I often ask myself, "I wonder if that guy posts online. Maybe I know him from RealGM or Celticsblog."
Here's what I think should happen (Please don't tell me it's not realistic.) During fan close-ups Comcast should put a graphic onscreen revealing the person's online screen name. Great idea huh?
You could look at the television and say, "Hey there's johnnybanner17! There's piercedanny! There's maineceltsguy! I know him. I know that guy!! Hmm, I didn't think he'd look like that."
Wouldn't that be entertaining?
Earlier I spoke about an alternate universe. Often I think THIS is actually the alternate universe. I read the standings and see the Celtics on top of the league. I mean how did this happen? They were 24-58 last season.
Somebody must know- what's the all time record for greatest increase in wins from one season to the next? Because whatever it is that record is in serious jeopardy.
Bonus thing) Since the beginning of preseason, with all 5 starters playing the Celtics are 11-0.