Wednesday, May 14, 2008

So, tonight is the pivotal game 5 in the series with Cleveland. If the Celtics don't win, I guess we'll finally see if this team is for real or not. Obviously, they put up a tremendous regular season, but the regular season will have meant nothing if this team doesn't make the NBA Finals. Each year it seems the NBA regular season means less and less because there are at least 12 terrible teams. And now with the epidemic of fire sale trades this season (KG to Boston, Gasol to LA and Shaq to Phoenix) it seems like the bad teams will get worse and the few good teams will get better more quickly. That might make for better playoffs, but it won't make for better basketball.

Should the Cs win tonight, they will be in a strong position in the series, but overall they still have the nagging issue of their inability to win on the road this postseason. I imagine it may have happened at one point in history, but I sincerely doubt a team has managed to win a title without winning at least one game on the road in the playoffs. Theoretically, it's possible as long as the Cs could win every game at home. But what exactly are the odds of that happening?

Say they get past the Cavs, that puts them up against the Pistons. And if they should beat Detroit without winning a game at the Palace, they would go on to face the team that emerges from the Lakers, the Jazz, the Hornets or the Spurs. By the time the playoffs are all said and done if the Cs advance to the Finals without winning on the road they'd have played 21 games on top of the regular season. Throw in the fact that Pierce, KG and Allen aren't really all that young any more (consider the fact that LeBron seems like he's been in the league forever, but he's only 23 then multiply that effect for the Boston Three Party).

And is it really likely that with the playoff savvy veterans in Detroit and San Antonio looming (I'll believe that the NBA won't allow the Spurs to hack and flop their way to yet another disappointing NBA Finals series when it happens) couldn't find a way to win in Boston at least once between the two of them? These teams know every dirty trick in the game today. And they have no silly superstitions about playing basketball the way it ought to be played, so they can either wear down or frustrate the Celtics with tactics that would make Pat Reily's Knicks teams blush.

And if the Cs should lose tonight, they'll be in a world of pain. Not having won on the road and facing elimination in Game Six, we would see a Celtics team that has been hit (for those of you who read this space regularly, you'll remember my fondness for quoting the maxim of the Michael Douglas character from The Ghost and the Darkness that in prize fighting, everybody has a plan until he gets hit). With a suspect coach in Rivers, and three superstars who have had a knack for coming up small when it really matters, would you really be confident that the Celtics would be dangerous with their backs against the wall?

I wouldn't, but then I don't want them to do well as long as Ainge and the boys from Banner 17 are minding the store. In other matters, the NBA is going to suspend play for the 2008-2009 season in the next few days. Since the Benefactor has signed Rick Carlisle to coach the Mavs, it is now officially a foregone conclusion that Mark Cuban will be celebrating the first of many NBA titles this time next year.

Or maybe we'll all remember that Jason Kidd will be a year older, and against everything that seems logical, will be even more of a douche. Dirk Nowitzki will still be some bizarre hybrid of the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz. Josh Howard will still have peaked in 2006. Jason Terry will still be Jason Terry, and Rick Carlisle probably won't have acquired the magic to do what he failed to do in Indiana and Detroit.

In case you needed further proof that Mark Cuban is a douche, read his latest entry on BlogMaverick. He drinks Bud, he listens to Jethro Tull and he ponders how to overthrow Google. Bud is swill. Bud Light is fine, but High Life is so much better than Bud it isn't funny, in fact it makes up for those awful Commissioner of the More Taste League spots. Jethro Tull blows. And I rather imagine his machinations against Google are a bit like the Pinky and the Brain cartoons, except without a super-intelligent leader opposite the dim-witted Benefactor and only accidentally funny.

Finally, I received an interesting comment on my last post. An anonymous reader wanted to know why I haven't been posting on the Red Sox. And I guess, like anything else, I don't have a reason. But I will be picking back up with that in the next week or so, as soon as I have something to say. I was surprised to get that comment, though. I figured most people would be glad I haven't posted on the Red Sox lately. I'm sure it would make a far too successful start to this season even more pleasant, but what do I know?

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