10 Things

1) Orlando

Have you been reading the Orlando box scores?  The faint of heart should probably move to the next paragraph because what I'm about to tell you is something so disturbing that it may cause irreversible trauma: Stan Van Gundy has recently been playing his main guys close to 40 minutes per game!  Shocking but true. 

This is the most outrageously reckless act I have ever heard of.  Is he insane?  Doesn't the Magic coach realize that playing key players long minutes in consecutive games is incredibly dangerous?  Doesn't Coach Van Gundy realize that playing starters for (gasp!) 39 minutes can cause an explosive chain reaction that could obliterate virtually all life from the face of the Earth? 

It's happened before.  Remember Vincent Price?  Remember Charlton Heston?

Please Stan Van Gundy.  Keep us safe.  Rest your starters.  Play Pat Garrity.  (Oh yeah, the Magic DID win those two games against top teams.

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2) Rivalry

Orlando and Boston had a nice little contest the other night.  It almost made me remember how furious a REAL rivalry can feel- because this is no such thing.  It was just a contested game.  At various times in history the Celtics have had authentic rivalries with opponents like the Knicks, Sixers and the evil Lakers.   Those games were so intense it made you have a physical reaction for days before and days after.  If the Celtics won everyone felt euphoric.  If they lost, all you felt was a focused desire for revenge.  The vile bitterness built and built and lasted for years.  What lighthearted fun.

I bring this up because I realize that younger Greeniacs have never experienced the powerful emotions of a true rivalry.  That's because they've never seen great Celtic basketball.  Oh maybe people thought they felt some mild emotion aimed at New Jersey a few years ago or with Indiana a while before that; but those weren't rivalries— that was just a couple of clubs accidentally bumping into each other.

When the real thing comes along, you'll know it.


3) Stan n' Pat

Orlando does look very good .  They've got the monster in the middle and stingers on the wings.  They're well coached too.  Don't get too attached to Stan Van Gundy though.  If the Magic ever do look like they're serious title contenders, won't Pat Riley somehow try to chloroform Stan and steal his job again?  What's that you say, Bodyfat Pat can't do it this time?   Perhaps not, but if I were Mr. Van Gundy I'd hire some husky ex-mercenary bodyguards from the Happiest Place On Earth just in case.


4)  The History of Film

Bear with me on this one. 
In the 19th century two rich guys who were also horse racing aficionados had a disagreement.  One of them claimed that while racing there were times when all four of a thoroughbred's hooves left the ground at the same time.  The other rich guy said this was impossible.  Basically they argued over whether horses ever flew.  So they made a sizable wager. 

How to prove it?  They found an enterprising photographer who set up a series of still cameras at ground level along the sidelines of a racetrack.  He attached fragile invisible wires across the track from each camera.  When the horses galloped by they tripped the wires and created a series of photos.  When these photos were viewed in sequence they revealed that horses did at times completely leave the ground.  Horses did fly.

I was reminded of all his while watching Ray Allen move around the court.  He seems to glide just like those horses- wisely expending energy.  At times his feet seem like they're barely touching the floor. 


5) Sixth Man

Speaking of Ray Allen— my inner rotation manager (do you have one of those?) keeps suggesting that Ray ought to be this team's 6th man. 

The reasons:
It would cut down the potentially catastrophic planet-killing minutes problem.
It would bring enormous firepower off the bench while still leaving the starters with plenty of ammo.
It works really well in San Antonio with Ginobili.
If Havlicek and McHale could do it, why not Ray?
You would still end the game with the big 3 on the floor.

Who would start?  House, Tony Allen or Posey?  Probably Posey.    Eh, I go back and forth on this.  Maybe it's crazy. 

...actually since this idea is coming from a voice in my head, it likely is crazy and therefore should be treated with powerful prescription drugs made by giant pharmaceutical companies.   It's our new national tradition- just say "No" to drugs and "Yes" to medication.  God bless America.

Wait, did I get off topic?  I'll fix that with a little thought about Sherpas:


6)  Sherpas

Celtic TV Ratings are up.  There's lots more local and national coverage, more ticket sales, more buzz.   But when times were dark (like say the last few years) who was watching the team?  Who was keeping the flame burning?  You were!  Yes I do mean you- anyone reading this now -the hardcore greenhearts.  

You're like Sherpas; those dedicated guys that walk up Mt. Everest lugging someone else's gear.  Anyone who stuck by this franchise when times were hard should be congratulated.  If anything great happens this season, you deserve it.  How the hell did you ever walk up that enormous mountain?   No matter what else happens, be sure to fully enjoy this season.  You deserve it, you hearty bunch of Tenzing Norgays.


7)  Kevin n' Paul

I really like the postgame dual press conferences hosted by Garnett and Pierce.  Talking to reporters is obligatory so they take on the task together.  It makes for a fun dynamic as the two pass questions back and forth.  I've heard Garnett isn't crazy about talking to the esteemed fourth estate after games and this twin presser is the result.  Good entertainment. 

Funny though— for someone who supposedly doesn't like such things, Kevin Garnett is great at it.  His way of thinking and speaking is fascinating.


8) 36

Many pointed out after I asked last week that it was the 1997-98 San Antonio Spurs who had the greatest increase in wins from one season to the next.  36.  They were led by David Robinson who had returned from missing the most of the previous year with injury and rookie (ugh) Tim Duncan.

There's an enchanted symmetry going on here.  Wouldn't it be fitting if this Celtics team went 61-21 and broke the record?

Wait, don't answer yet.  There's more:  Doc Rivers' career coaching record going into this season was 273-312, or 39 games under .500.  A 61-21 record would make him 334-333. 

It just seems so meant-to-be. 

9) Rondo crunching revisited

This summer I wrote a thing about Rondo's rising shooting ability.  Though he was barely over 40% last season in fg%, once he got regular minutes and started, he shot 47.3%.  A steep upward trend.  This year he's in the high 50's.  

I'm glad the Celtics have not yet gotten a vet point.  It gives Rondo a chance to grow more quickly.  He's more than the future at point.  He's the point right now.  If they want to get Cassell or someone like that at the trade deadline, great.  In the meantime let Rondo continue to grow.

Unexpected: Rondo's defense which was his trademark has been uneven so far though.  He tries to angle his man off too much and go for the steal instead of staying in front of the guy.  It's easily correctible, and Doc pointed it out this week so the mistake is being fixed as we speak. 

Soon everyone will pay for doubting Rondo.  Oh how they will pay.

10)  Golden State

Another 20 point win.  Another night of great defense.  Another night of great offense.  Another night of great rebounding.  Everything is right with the world.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody.
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