Thursday, November 09, 2006

Celtics 110, Bobcats 108 (OT)

Two things before performing the grim post-game autopsy:
1) Mark Cuban’s greatness needs to be recognized. Asked by a reporter a few nights ago if he could only save one, who would he rescue from a sinking ship—ingrate ex-employee Don Nelson or arch-nemesis Commissioner David Stern? Cuban answered, “The boat.”
2) It’s been a tough few days for breakups. Reese and Ryan, Brittney and K-Fed, George and Donald…I just want to take a moment to reaffirm my commitment to the Orange and Blue.

On to the game! The bad news is the Bobcats lost to a sub-par team (actually, that’s not really news). The good news? It took Sportscenter’s #1 Top-10 play of the night to make it happen. Delonte West hit a buzzer-beater in overtime to win it for Boston, but the Bobcats essentially lost to Paul Pierce and Wally Szczerbiak. Wally was invisible for two quarters, but during halftime he must have called Mike Miller and gotten some séance tips. He scored 20 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the third quarter, including four straight back-breaking 3-pointers, and finished with 35. Pierce matched Wally’s 35, but did his damage in spurts. In a way Paul was even more frustrating; even when you’re able to deny him the lane, he’ll pull up and toss something long-range as the shot clock expires that violates every shooting fundamental in the book…before swishing. Perhaps only Gilbert Arenas is more maddeningly proficient at this.

This wasn’t exactly a meeting of powerhouses. In the pre-game, color man Adrian Branch euphemistically noted that these teams “match up well against each other”—a nice way of saying they’re equally crappy. The Bobcats are comprised mainly of college all-stars, while the Celtics are a bunch of high-schoolers. Man, this team is young! Al Jefferson, Kendrick Perkins, Sebastian Telfair, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green…it’s funny watching “Old Man” Pierce looking around at all his juvenile teammates like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop. Jefferson’s actually out right now with appendicitis—that says it all. Gomes will probably miss time later with tonsillitis, followed by Telfair with chicken pox, and then Green to get his braces tightened.

We finally got a Primoz Brezec sighting(!); he is still inactive from “fatigue” and also now “dehydration,” but he apparently has recovered sufficiently enough from “exhaustion” to get a courtside seat. They showed him on TV literally as I was deciding between jokingly suspecting him of having East European mob ties or referring to him as the Bobcats’ answer to Carl Pavano.

Almost as conspicuous in his absence was Gerald Wallace. The statsheet says he played 33 minutes, but he only put up 10 points and three assists. I’m telling you, he hasn’t been right since landing on his head last week. He’s been like Maverick in Top Gun just after Goose died—he won’t engage. I’d give anything to get the old G-Dub back, even if it entailed him going 0-20 from the foul line.

Adam Morrison was quiet too—12 points, most of them from the foul line. On his weekly chat, ESPN’s Mark Hollinger actually said that Morrison has been moving “better than he expected.” That, my friends, is a scary thought. Morrison does a lot of things well, but move gracefully is not one of them.

Raymond Felton hurt his back early on and didn’t return—Jesus, who did play?? Oh yeah, Okafor. He was a beast, justifying Elton Brand comparisons with 28 points and 18 rebounds. And Brevin Knight knocked down 7-of-15 for 22 points and also knocked down one Wally Szczerbiak after taking a cheap-shot elbow from him. Watching Wally roll around on the floor in histrionics over a man who’s almost two feet shorter than him, NOW I see why he’s such a favorite of Danny Ainge. I’m so glad the Bobcats held onto Brevin—just think where they’d be right now without him? Probably 0-4 instead of 1-3…

Well, we’ve got the Supersonics on Friday which WON’T be televised, and we’d like to thank News14 for generously announcing so beforehand. I just ponied up for NBA League Pass, so I should be able to get the Seattle broadcast. It’s always fun to see who the other team’s regular announcers are, and I’m secretly hoping for Xavier McDaniel with perhaps a guest appearance from Bridgette Fonda in Singles-era flannel.

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