I ONCE CUT MY ARM,
AND THE NBA DRIBBLED OUT
2012-2013 REGULAR SEASON
2011-2012 REGULAR SEASON
(these aren't all basketball specific)
So, with all the talk about an Orlando Cleveland rematch, we instead get the aging Boston Celtics with Rajon Rondo, vs. the Orlando Magic with Jameer Nelson. I’m excited for the PG match-up, but there’s a lot to love about this series, which just finished the first quarter as I inhaled Chipotle.
First off, we have the coaching match-up.
Stan Van Gundy as always rubbed me the wrong way, with his only redeeming quality being a doppelganger for ubiquitous porn star Ron Jeremy, and his brother, who is a wildly entertaining announcer (I hope he resists the urge to coach again just so I can listen to him call games for ABC and ESPN next year). That being said, he’s a loudmouth, a__hole that constantly bitches about how undervalued Howard is, and how no one gives his team the same amount of attention as the Lakers, Spurs, Cavs and Celtics. He’s also a notorious complainer on the court. He just always seems to have chip on his shoulder and the shtick is wearing thin.
Doc Rivers always seemed over-matched. He even seemed like he might be a deterrent for the ‘08 Celtics, when they went on to win the title over Kobe’s Lakers. That being said, I kind of like him. I haven’t been giving him the hand jobs the Boston and national media do (mainly because he is extremely personable), but he’s probably the best coach in the league out of timeouts. Watch as Boston always has an excellent play drawn up out of timeouts, which is a good indicator that the team trusts the coach, and coach is excellent in terms of X’s & O’s. He’s also humble enough to stay the fuck outta Tom Thibodeau’s way when it comes to their defensive alignments. He’s grown into one of the best coaches in the league, and with Allen, Garnett, and Pierce giving him respect, the rest of the team follows.
Rajon Rondo vs. Jameer Nelson
Next, we have the match-up I’m most excited about. Rajon Rondo and Jameer Nelson. Nelson has been playing well, but I have to give Rondo the edge. He outplayed the MVP in the Cleveland series, and with the big three getting older, he’s become Boston’s best player. I have to say, that Nelson can drain 3’s, drive to the hole, and get other people involved. Rondo’s jump shot still gives me fits of disgust, and his FT shooting is still atrocious for a PG, but he can rebound better than any guard in the league, and his passing is superb. Nelson can obviously shoot better, but for every other aspect of a PG’s game, Rondo is superior.
Vince Carter/Matt Barnes/Mickael Pietrus vs. Paul Pierce/Tony Allen/Ray Allen
No one, especially fans of the Celtics, could have predicted the series Tony Allen had against Cleveland. He played great defense on Lebron, and hit a number of stunning lay-ups and dunks (including the best dunk of the playoffs against Jamison). He’s the early favorite for MVP Finals MVP (hah)…Paul Pierce definitely disappeared in a few games against Cleveland which is what allowed Tony Allen to get his minutes. I blame Pierce’s tendency unlucky stretch of foul trouble against the NBA’s poster child. Pierce is in the downside of his career, but when a lot of Celtics were injured this season, he carried them. He’s also one of the best clutch playoff performers in the league right now, and definitely someone who can create his own shot at crunch time and win a game with no time on clock. He will play more and better against Orlando because…Vice Carter is a joke as a player and defender.
A supremely talented, malcontent who stopped trying in Toronto, played with such little enthusiasm in New Jersey that Kidd wanted out, and basically became Derrick Coleman 2.0. He’s the answer to the question, who got the least out of his talent? Vince Carter. I sometimes think he could’ve been the best player in the league over the last decade, and instead he’s played on crappy teams because he never gave a crap and he’ll probably never make the Hall of Fame. There will come a point in this series, when Orlando needs Vince to come up with some big points, and maybe he’ll stop jacking up 3’s long enough to drive to the basket, get clobbered by Garnett or Perkins, and take 20 minutes to get up off the court. He will be done, and will nurse that injury for the remainder of the series. An Orlando fan will inevitably challenge him to a fight outside of Amway, and he’ll prolly get his ass beat. He has the least amount of heart of any player in the NBA, and I’m including retired alcoholic Vin Baker.
Matt Barnes, plays hard, pisses Kobe off, and can hit an occasional 3 point basket. He’s the Bruce Bowen of this Orlando team, with an ability to piss people off (mostly Kobe), but also make the extra pass, hit a 3 when he needs to, sometimes shut a player down. He also has some of the best tattoo work of anyone in the NBA. He’s a great teammate, but prolly 30% the offensive threat that Vinsanity is. The main reason he matters, is he’s married to the only married woman on NBA Wives.
Ray Allen is the most underrated player in the league right now. As someone that was rooting for Cleveland to win that last series (I have a sick obsession with all things LBJ), I can say that every time Allen came off a pick on the wing with a microsecond of time before the defender got there, he hit the shot 75% of the time. Or at least, that’s what it seemed like. He broke Cleveland’s back in game 5, and did so at other points in that series. He’s still one of the best players in the league at scoring the basketball, and not a half-bad defender. Him and Pierce are also two guys the Celtics possess that have the balls, experience, and talent to take and make last second shots.
Mickael Pietrus, the French juggernaut of a 3 point shooter. I remember him primarily from the Cleveland series last year, when he hit a big three whenever Cleveland looked like they were getting back in the series. He’s another shooter that Orlando uses when anyone converges on the big fella down low.
Rashard Lewis vs. Kevin Garnett
I’m not sure these two will match up against each other, but they might, and it makes it easier for me to get through these match-ups before game one concludes. Garnett actually looks healthy? He’s running the court pretty well, and hitting that 10-19 foot jumper pretty much every time. He’s even rebounding and attempting to fill the lane again. I don’t know if he’s healthy again, or just gutting out his performances, but if you’re a Boston fan, you must be excited.
Rashard Lewis always strikes me as having a little Vince Carter in him, but he played so well last year at playoff time, I can’t write him off. He’s a threat from beyond the arc, and can get his own shot against single coverage. He’s a great player, but they forget about him a lot on Orlando. So much so, that you wonder if he’s really ever going to be a focal point of Orlando’s system. He definitely is a shooter you can’t leave to defend the last guy on this list.
Dwight Howard vs. Kendrick Perkins
Garnett might get some time against Superman (I just watched the halftime segment where Dwight Howard interviews himself as Clark Kent and Superman and I vomited a little in my mouth). Howard IS an awesome physical specimen, and one of the best defensive players in the history of the game. He alters every shot in the paint when he’s on the floor. All that being said, he’s not a great offensive player (anyone that compares him to Bill Russell in this regard should be ignored and maybe even punched for being a moron and knowing nothing about the greatest winner of all time). He has some OK moves around the basket, but the majority of his points come from put-backs, lobs, and from just being around the basket a lot. Also, his free throws rival Shaq in their ineptitude, and Van Gundy has taken him out of close games because of the free throw issues. Newsflash to SVG, he’ll never be an MVP because he can’t take over a game offensively and he gets into foul trouble A LOT!
Kendrick Perkins resembles, both in appearance and demeanor, Big Foot of the Canadian winter land. He’s a big, somewhat lumbering oaf of a man, that provides the Celtics exactly what they need. No more, no less. Some interior toughness (he always seems to be in some shit with opposing big men), rebounding, the ability to catch a pass and dunk it, and some OK free throw shooting (certainly better than Dwight Howard). He’s not spectacular, but he fits in their system.
I have been writing too much during game 1, so I’m gonna say the bench play is about even. Orland has JJ “I write poetry and came from Duke but I’m such a good shooter it doesn’t matter” Reddick, Jason “White Chocolate himself—sticking around the league longer than anyone expected” Williams, Marcin “a starter on any other team and a rare 7 footer than can move and understands the game” Gortat, Adonal “are you fuckin’ kidding me?” Foyle, and Ryan Anderson the necessary Orlando strokey white guy in his first year out of Cali.
For Boston we have Glen “I’ll always call you Big Baby” Davis, Marquis “I’ll prolly carry a gun into a strip club one more time” Daniels, Michael “hanging on for one more title” Finley, Nate “So this is what a winning franchise is like” Robinson, Tony “Who” Gaffney, Rasheed “who probably deserves his own fuckin’ tumblr site called: Sheed isms” Wallace, Shelden “My eyes are really far apart and I’m married to a better basketball player in Candace Parker” Williams, and my personal favorite, a guy that played a lot last year because of injuries and a crappy roster Brian “Scals” Scalebrine—the teams resident ginger.
My pick? Boston in 6. I think they’re a playing better right now, and after Orlando swept the first two rounds of the playoffs, they have the look of Cleveland’s team last year, in that they didn’t really run into any obstacles to prepare them for Boston. Also, I just hate Stan Van Gundy too much to root for Orlando OR pick them.