|One more round didn't end so well for Rocky. Will my Celtics opinion end up as bad this movie? I'd say that's highly likely...|
Back in college, we used to take our food very seriously. Now, I don’t know what the dining hall situation was like at your school, but it was absolutely brutal at Grace College. Half the time, the food was barely recognizable, much less edible! Most people suffered through and found ways to jam fork fulls of toxic waste down their throats…not me. You see, I’m the pickiest person in the world. Literally. No question. I’m afraid of mayonnaise, I can’t mix foods together, I won’t eat any form of pasta, I despise onions, I have a general fear of “squishy” foods…honestly, it really is quite debilitating. Given this, you can imagine how difficult it was to make through two years of borderline starvation (upper classmen housing had kitchens…thank God). There were many days when the food selections were so bad that I would simply get a pop and watch my friends choke down their meals. I did the math and calculated that each meal scan cost about $6, thus creating the “$6 pop” meal days. I’m completely serious when I tell you I would walk into the dining hall, take a quick tour of the food lines, nearly throw up in my mouth, and loudly proclaim “$6 POP!” to all who could hear. Miserable…
However, there were a few glorious days every few weeks when the dining hall would serve something fantastic. At least, it seemed fantastic to us at the time. Sometimes it was wings, sometimes it was General’s chicken, sometimes it was something as simple as grilled cheese sandwiches; whatever it may have been, if it was good then we loaded up. I can still vividly remember chicken wing day during the 2nd semester of my freshman year. Three friends and I literally overflowed an entire lunch tray with leftover chicken bones. WE FILLED UP AN ENTIRE LUNCH TRAY! A BIG LUNCH TRAY!
Of course, as one could expect after gorging themselves on low quality chicken wings, we felt like we were going to die. Yes, we had committed “foodicide.” Now, foodicide is a word you’re probably unfamiliar with. It was created during my freshman year by podcast regular Casey Richey. Casey lived in the room across from my mine and quickly became one of my best friends. If there’s one person out there who loves food as much as I, it’s definitely Casey. Over the course of our four years in college, Casey and I committed foodicide countless dozens of times. Of course, we’ve grown up, gotten married, and had kids. We no longer delve into such juvenile acts…
…until this past weekend. Now, I can’t speak for Casey’s actions this past weekend. I’ve mentioned before how he’s infinitely more responsible than I, so perhaps he was able to control himself before committing foodicide. Honestly, I wouldn’t have any clue since I was practically dead from the mass quantities of garbage I was putting into my system.
Wendy’s - Dinner
Steak and Shake - 2nd Dinner
Hacienda (three things of chips and salsa) - Lunch/Dinner
Bag of hot chips and an Amp - Late night snack
Northside BBQ (giant platter of BBQ briscuit) - Lunch
Buffalo Wild Wings - 2nd Lunch/Dinner
Bowl of chili - Dinner
Add in large quantities of chips and pop to that by the way. So, yeah…I pretty much have felt like death since Saturday afternoon. Actually, I still kinda feel rough. Good thing there’s basketball tonight!
Short story made long, foodicide is probably about as dumb as Colin Cowherd (more below)! Yet, it’s probably not the dumbest decision I made this weekend. You see, while foodicide is an excellent way of killing your body for a significant period of time, you usually bounce back in a few days. Unfortunately, the decision I made will likely kill me for an entire sports season. I’m almost ashamed to admit I somehow managed to convince myself the Boston Celtics have one last championship run in them, thus committing that worst of sports sins; Sports Delusionicide.
Before you start killing me, please hear me out. I try hard to be realistic and I honestly think I do a pretty good job. Sure, bias and subjective opinion are bound to work their way in to create wildly unrealistic expectations, but isn’t that the case with everyone? Can you find me one person who can totally keep personal bias out of their sports worldview? Didn’t think so. Still, the horrible thing about this is I know I’ll be let down. I know I’ll be in the exact same place I am now; sad and frustrated. Yet, here I am. I’ve wrestled with this opinion since the clock hit zeros on Game 5 and I’ve gone back and forth several times. Somehow, someway, I’ve convinced myself that Boston has one last run in them.
First of all, I’ll preface this entire thing by saying this; in no way do I believe Boston is the “favorite” going into next year. My delusions aside, many of the same issues that undermined this current team will still be there next year. We are old! We struggle with health! That’s only going to get worse, not better. Looking at the landscape of the NBA, it’s crystal clear that the next generation is taking over. The Chicago Bulls, the Miami Heat, and the Oklahoma City Thunder are all in a position to cement themselves as the cream of the crop for the next decade (note: I’m highly skeptical of Memphis’ staying power). Narrowing the focus to just next year only muddies the picture. Dallas has never looked better. The Lakers are still dangerous and should have a renewed focus. Orlando, if they don’t trade Howard, could potentially add an important piece. Atlanta, if they don’t trade Josh Smith, took an important step this year. Memphis, if they retain Marc Gasol, could be for real. San Antonio could potentially have one last run in them. I mean, look at all these good teams! The league is very competitive right now, and we haven’t even touched on potentially dangerous up and coming teams like the Knicks, Pacers, 76ers, Nuggets, and Clippers (yes, I said it)!
There’s no doubt, Boston will have to overcome a lot in order to mount one last run at a title. In addition to the growing level of competition, they have a lot of internal issues to take care of. By the playoffs, the frontcourt had become a huge problem. The trade of Kendrick Perkins and the injury to Shaq left us woefully undersized and depleted. Jermaine O’Neal did a surprisingly good job of holding up, but he’s simply not able to carry the load anymore. In addition, the bench had become a major problem. Big Baby had been a huge sparkplug off the bench for the past several years, but his tragic death in February left a huge void. The old Big Baby had a knack for being around the ball and making key plays down the stretch. The guy running around in the Big Baby costume during the playoffs had a knack for not boxing out and missing layups. Overall though, the offense was the biggest problem. We played excellent defense in Games 4 and 5, but simply couldn’t muster enough offense to put those games away. Perhaps it was age, perhaps it was injury; whatever it was, our key players couldn’t create enough offense to play with Miami.
These are not minor problems! Frontcourt, bench play, offense…those are vital parts of a championship team! Still, there’s definite hope for the Boston Celtics. Let’s get this clear right now; the Miami series was not a blowout. Many people want to say Miami cleaned Boston’s clock, but it just isn’t true. The truth is we weren’t far from a Boston 3-2 series lead with Game 6 in Boston. The Celtics held late double digit leads in both Games 4 and 5. Rondo missed an easy layup to seal Game 4 and Boston blew a ten point fourth quarter lead to drop Game 5. Oh yeah, don’t forget that our best player was playing with one arm because Wade tried to break him in half! Again, I’m not making excuses, because Miami was better than us, but you can’t tell me the series wouldn’t be different if Rondo hadn’t injured his elbow. No matter what anyone else tries to tell you, Rondo is the best player on the Boston Celtics and he is the catalyst for the entire team. Our defensive pressure suffered when he went down, our offensive penetration suffered when he went down, our transition offense suffered when he went down, and our rebounding suffered when he went down. We need Rondo to succeed! We probably would have lost the series anyways, but it would have been in seven games, not five.
With this in mind, is it so ridiculous that I think Boston has one more in them? Doc Rivers is coming back, the Big Three are all coming back, and Rondo will be healthy. That alone is worth a lot of wins! Obviously a lot will depend on the tweaks Danny Ainge is able to make to the roster, but there are opportunities out there to improve the team. Delonte West MUST be brought back to provide a scoring punch off the bench and major decisions need to be made in regards to Big Baby (unrestricted) and Jeff Green (restricted). While Baby definitely hurt his value with his playoff performance (or lack thereof), his overall resume will warrant a lot of interest. After all, Drew Gooden received the full mid level exception last year…DREW FREAKING GOODEN! A sign and trade involving one or both players could land some young talent, possibly even some legit size. Bringing back Krstic (and actually playing him) and working in Avery Bradley (or trading him) are also viable options. Personally, I think Jeff Green could land a pretty solid haul. For some reason, teams love him! As I’ve said way too many times before, I don’t, and it was pretty clear he didn’t fit in well with this current group. Trades involving Green/Baby/Bradley and even our first round pick, along with one or two veteran minimum signings would give us the opportunity to restock our bench. The wildcard in all this is Jermaine O’Neal. He has one year left on his mid-level exception deal, but there are rumors that he is considering hanging them up. That would give Boston the flexibility to either deal his highly valuable contract or take another shot with the mid-level exception. Either way, there’s a ton of value out there for Boston!
So that’s where we are. I’ve rationalized the five game loss, I’ve dismissed several solid evidences to the contrary, and I’ve convinced myself it’s all going to be OK. You’re probably sitting there muttering to yourself about how dumb I am right now…and you’d be right. Here’s the thing; I’ve tried endlessly to give in and declare them dead. In all honesty, my intention was to sit down Monday and write the “Boston Celtics Funeral” piece. Somewhere along the way, I let this crazy idea into my mind. As Leonardo Di Caprio said, an idea is the most resilient parasite. Resilient…highly contagious. And yes, I’ve likely locked away the truth somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind. And so, instead of writing the Celtics Funeral, I’m writing the Celtics Resurrection. Do I feel good about that? No, I feel embarrassed, sad, angry…but somehow excited at the same time; excited because I’m all in, because I believe. I have committed Sports Delusionicide…let’s hope I’m not on a ledge thinking about committing another form of “icide” next May.
Here’s some other quick thoughts while I’m ranting and raving:
*Colin Cowherd reached a whole new level of stupid today! He was talking about how dumb the “rigged lottery” theory is and his evidence statement was, “if the lottery was rigged then the Clippers would have won!” Umm…THE CLIPPERS DID WIN YOU IDIOT! THEY GAVE THEIR PICK TO CLEVELAND FOR MO WILLIAMS! THAT PICK WON! Seriously, I nearly burst a blood vessel from yelling at my radio. Does he not follow the NBA or something? How dumb can you get?
*The lottery is not rigged no matter what anyone says. Yeah, they got these “interesting” storylines the last two years, but don’t they always figure out ways to manufacture stupid storylines anyways?
*Note to David Kahn: Perhaps you should blame your teams failures on your decision to draft three point guards in one draft and then trade the only good one away (Ty Lawson) before the draft even ended. Then again, I guess it’s hard to understand how you could possibly fail when Darko starts for your team.
*Wow Dirk! The more I watch, the more I realize just how wrong I was about Dallas. Their ball movement and shot selection is so impressive. They’re not as talented overall as OKC, but Dirk is the best player in the game right now and the whole is much better than the individual parts. As much as I love OKC, I find myself cheering for Dallas simply because I want Dirk to get his ring. He’s received a lot of unfair criticism for Dallas’ lack of postseason success. While many think Rick Carlisle is crazy for his “Top Ten All-Time” claim, I’m not one of them. No, I don’t think he’s top ten, but I think he’s definitely top twenty. If you have some spare time, go look at his efficiency ratings and his Win Shares. He’s through the roof!
*On the other hand, it’s hard for me root against Kevin Durant. His performance in Game 7 last Sunday was extremely impressive. It’s one thing to put up big numbers in the regular season; it’s another thing entirely to put your team on your back in a Game 7. Perhaps they aren’t ready to overtake a strong, veteran team like Dallas yet, but now we know Durant has that type of clutch performance in him.
*Did I mention Colin Cowherd was an idiot?
*Cleveland can’t even win when they win! Sure, it’s nice for them to win the lottery, but this is seriously a garbage draft. There is, however, one player I feel really good about; Derrick Williams. Unfortunately, Cleveland seems intent on taking Kyrie Irving. Maybe Irving will turn into the next Chris Paul, but I highly doubt it. Such a shame to get the first overall pick and end up with Kyle Lowry. Plenty more on the draft later.
*My wife caught wind of my comments on the Cinco de Mayo podcast. She was cool about it…after staring a hole directly through my brain. Don’t worry, she quickly found there was nothing there.
*I’m looking for ideas for more things to write or talk about on podcasts. The summer months are coming, which means nothing but baseball. So basically the most boring sports news season of the year. If you have anything you want to read about or hear discussed, please email me or leave a comment and I’ll put it on my list.