Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pre-All-Star Game thoughts

Tonight's MLB All-Star game led me to have a few thoughts to post.

- The last year in Yankee Stadium brings (hopefully) a memorable night with lots of old-timers like the night in Fenway a few years back.

- the notion of the winning team giving their league home field advantage in the World Series needs to stop. Coupled with the managers desire to play everybody it conflicts and contrasts the desire to win. Need to go back to best record at end of regular season gives homefield advantage, or, best interleague record (league overall) provides the home field advantage (AL soundly has beaten NL this year I believe).

- I read at that the ticket prices are extremely high for all of the events including the fanfest events. Shame on MLB. Perhaps with so much revenue coming in, they could give the players a huge pot of $$$ to the winning team to divide. That could go a long way to making them fight to win it

- If I have to hear about A-Rods pending divorce during the telecast I may puke. Enough.

- here is the starting lineup

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Len Bias revisited

With last week marking the 22 year anniversary of the death of basketball star Len Bias, I was going to do a post and discuss the world of basketball and how it "could have been", particularily for the Celtics.

Yesterday espn.com put out an article on his death and focused more about the impact of it, how his mother has been speaking to schools etc. and less about the basketball impact.

It is a very interesting article and I recommend reading it : click here

This, for me, is one of those moments in life when you remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news. While not as globally important as the space shuttle disaster or the Sadam Hussein capture (amoung others) , it still stands out for me.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Miscellaneous Tuesday Thoughts

Overall the sports scene is in a 'tween mode right now. NBA finals are complete (did I mention the Celtics won?) and MLB is heading into the All-Star timeframe soon.

Some miscellaneous things to discuss:

Interleague play in MLB, good or bad, done right or done wrong? The obvious example of how it is bad is the injury to Wang for the Yankees. Their top pitcher is out for 2-4 months because he injured himself running the bases during an interleague game. Now NL pitchers run (potentially) every game they pitch so what is the big deal? The big deal is that for the number of games the AL teams have to play in NL parks, it isn't worth it to practice hitting, baserunning for the pitchers. If you accept that it is here to stay (read:revenue) then what can be done to improve it?

Do you have it play on AL rules only in all parks? That could give the AL an advantage as their rosters are built to have a DH included and the NL teams would be inserting a less than equal offensive player as their DH. There is no other solution unfortunately to make it "fair" and reduce injury possibilities for players playing by rules not expected of them for 130+ games in the schedule.

The only other solution would be to make both leagues play by the same rules all season, either DH or no DH. This would be so radical that "slow moving" Bud would never go there on his watch.

So in the end, there will be no changes, things will remain the same and discussions from those in charge will be about how nothing is broken. Whatever.

This past weekend there was coverage of the US Olympic Trials on tv. Have to admit we watched some at home. My youngest daughters were very interested in the gymnastic trials. Some diving interested them too but the interest really was in gymnastics. This is the first time we discussed the Olympics at home and I am sure we will watch quite a bit come August. Having an international family (3 of 5 kids adopted from SE Asia) we have the possibility of rooting for other countries other than the US.

Here is a quick movie file to watch, funny :

Friday, June 20, 2008

Get your DVR's ready - RedSox honor Celtics tonight

The RedSox will honor the Celtics tonight before the game with the Cardinals. The cross-team commeradarie has been great the last few years and tonight there will be a significant love-fest on display.


great pictures from parade

from www.boston.com


Red commercial

Schilling to have surgery

Curt Schilling announced on WEEI's Dennis and Callahan show today that he is having season ending (possibly career ending as well) surgery on his shoulder.

Interesting how this ended after all the intrigue and fights over how to handle the shoulder in the offseason.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

6/18/08 Celtics Stole the Ball!

Celtics Stole the Ball!

Finally. Three and a half to four full quarters of the stiffling defense that gave them 66 regular season wins.

Finally. All three amigos playing well in the same game.

Finally. Huge contribution from Rondo after everybody wondering if they would have to close it out with House/Cassell down the stretch.

Defense wins in all four major sports (yes I'm including hockey as a major sport). The Celtics have the best defense since the Pistons' days back in the early 90's. Possibly the best team defense ever.

Who knew Pierce could be a stopper before these playoffs began? Not me. Amazing.

I thought Perkins would have an impact and he did. He didn't score much, didn't show up on the stat sheet much, but he had a few tough rebounds, put a heavy body on the bigs from LA and had a significant block in the 2nd quarter during the big first run. Having him in the rotation improved the play of PJ and Powe as expected. We even got to see Big Baby go end to end for a dunk in the 4th. Very cool.

18 steals is amazing. The Lakers had to wonder if there were 7 Celtics on the court at all times. Anytime the Lakers would go in the air to pass, the Celtics blocked all the passing lanes. Was truly enjoyable to watch a defensive game of beauty. It all started with Rondo's defense. This guy could get scary good if he develops offense to go with his athletic skills.

Garnett didn't go out with a whimper but with a bang. He made foul shots, he made jumpers, he rebounded, he passed well, he did his best MJ hang in the air (did he come down before shooting?) longer than the defense for a 3 point play move. Best case scenario to remove the lingering doubts. He did what he needed to in a big game.

Ray Ray's shooting was so dismall in the Atlanta and Cleveland series there was serious doubt whether they could win without his scoring. Talk about big time shooting, all series he drained open and contested 3's. The aggressive move that got him a trip to the locker room was his way of keeping the defense honest.

Pierce didn't score big last night. Didn't need to. He missed a bunch of shots early but made up for it with passing. Clearly the MVP of the series and deserves all the adulation he is getting. Repeat next year and join the Parthenon of Celtic greats.

Doc Rivers - much has been written and said about him out-coaching Phil Jackson this series. Was it even close? Those "wired" segments on tv showed Phil offering less than inspiring speeches for the camera while Doc was constantly pulling at the hearts of the Celtics and correcting any malaise that slipped in. I was one of those that was not a huge fan of Doc's prior to these playoffs. He did have some odd choices in the earlier rounds but all is forgiven now. He was brilliant during the finals.

Kobe - wow, imagine being the best in the world/planet and believing it and hearing it all the time...now imagine not being good enough to lead your team (picked by most everybody to win) to victory. I admit, I am a Kobe hater. Has little to do with his legal troubles in the past. Has little to do with the claims (of others) of being MJ's equal. I "hate" Kobe for what he is relative to why I have disliked the NBA the last 10+ years. He is the poster child of a spoiled, incredibly talented athlete that is from the "I" generation. How in the world does he not DEMAND the ball every time down the court in the third quarter? Defense too intense? Guess what, you just smashed the comparisions to MJ. Name a team that ever took MJ out of a game or series, ever? Prediction, Lakers don't make it to the finals next year. Bynum? Yep, very nice talent, never played a game that mattered in his life. The western conference is tough, other teams will be ready to get to the finals too.

22 years is a long time, next year is not out of the question to repeat. Intensity is the key (and resigning Posey). I think there is a good chance to get to the finals again in the East and with KG and company, perhaps they rule the basketball world again next year.

Finally. The end (hopefully/rightfully) of Kobe/MJ comparisions. Forever (please?).

Go Celtics!

photos from AP, espn, boston globe and other sources

6/17/08 Game 6, the clincher

Game 6 - the clincher

Should not be a big surprise- I believe the Celtics win tonight and wrap up the title.

While I haven't heard if Perkins will be playing, I think Doc needs Big Baby in the game either way to eat up some fouls and occupy space and rebound. PJ Brown is effective but you can't live and die with him out there.

How about -go big- on the lakers, go with Ray, Pierce and KG plus PJ AND Big Baby. Make the Lakers match up with you instead of you worrying about them. I would love to see that lineup for a few minutes and pound it inside on mismatches. Lots of nice picks for Ray to get free too.

On ESPN.com today (daily dime) is this offering on KG:

Garnett is like Kobe Bryant in that his greatest asset is also his weakness. In Kobe's case, it's his fearless attitude that instills a belief he can do the impossible -- so he tries it. Garnett has a tremendous inner drive. Except he doesn't know how to tone it down. Watching Garnett do a TV interview on Saturday, he looked just as intense as when he steps on the court. You know how blenders have different settings like whip and puree? Garnett has only one button: ice crusher. Imagine what he'll be like as the end of the series draws closer.

Very interesting take on KG, probably the most accurate assessment I've seen. If KG doesn't come up big tonight, at home, there will be a game 7. Doesn't matter if Pierce goes for 35. KG is the key tonight.

What is up with the travel screw-ups. I heard they were going to fly out Sunday night originally, then it got moved to Monday morning, then trouble with the plane and they didn't land until late last night. Not a good omen.

Perkins playing would be a big boost to the team. Everybody writes that he is a tremendously tough player, plays through a lot , etc. I need to see it tonight.

Prediction : Celtics 92 Lakers 86

As always, read Bill Simmons on espn.com http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/080617

6/16/08 US Open Sunday/Monday

US Open - Sunday/Monday

Sunday's 4th round of the US Open was fun to watch as a lead in to the Celtics/Lakers game.

I watched a good bit on Saturday as well but really wanted Westwood to hit his putt (assuming Tiger would) to make it a threesome today in the playoff. He missed and of course tons is being written about Tiger today.

I get it, the knee. He is mis-hitting more shots than normal for Tiger. It almost makes him human. I fully expect Tiger to win by 3 or 4 today. He smells the blood in the water and will take it home.

Somewhere previously in this blog, I wrote of cheering for somebody else other than Tiger and got an earful from a few of you as well as my wife. I have no shame saying I was rooting for Rocco yesterday. Very likable and a good story to boot. He played solid but just could not hit a mid-range putt yesterday. Rocco's gee-golly this is great attitude and the "I knew he was going to make it" quote after Tiger hit it sort of imply's he is in envy mode for today's round. I hope not. With Tiger and his knee vulnerable, I hope Rocco plays solid and puts the pressure on.

BTW - my leaderboard from ESPN didn't go low enough, where did Phil end up? Maybe Phil and KG can get together for a few laughs, compare chokes.

6/15/08 Game 5 Preview

Game 5 preview

It was announced today the Perkins will not play tonight and Leon Powe will start in his place.

Even though Perk hasn't had many moments this series after a great series against Detroit, he adds a toughness element that will be missed.

Obviously much media play has been made about how this series is over, perfect for what LA needs to be thinking. They will play the backs up against the wall theme all night and by my prediction into Tuesday in Boston for game 6.

Intensity will be huge for both teams, look for lots of 3's by the Lakers, putting pressure on the Celtics to come from behind again. This time, unfortunately they will fall short

Prediction : Lakers 98 Celtics 92

6/13/08 What can you say?

What can you say?

The full range of emotions watching that game last night.

Complete anger in the first half. If I had millions to waste I could see where the remote or some object would have made it into the tv. I kept hoping they would get that ugly 24 point deficit down to 15 by halftime. Then they make their run and get it to 12 only to have a mini-Laker run bump it up to 18 at halftime.

First half observations:

Lamar Odom - when did they trade for this guy and who was wearing that uniform the first 3 games? This was a completely different player than the Celtics had seen prior to last night. He was the difference maker in the first half.

Kobe - all the talk of how he likes to get everybody involved in the first half then get his offense in the 2nd half seems to be what went on in the 1st half last night. Finding open shooters at every possession.

Pierce - continuation of game 3, we are in trouble

Garnett- trying too hard, can't hit a shot again, uh-oh

Allen - only one that has been consistent, getting some touches but not enough

Rondo- slipping all over the court, is it because he is running/stopping differently due to the ankle? Not effective.

House - wow, looks very afraid in 1st half, misses all his shots (I think)

Now the Lakers, up 18 at halftime, at home, should have opened the 3rd quarter the way they did the first. Nope, we saw early in the 3rd the Celtics play very cautious and smart offensively while you could tell the defense was much tighter. Big change was Pierce on Kobe. I like the job Ray has done guarding Kobe but the job Pierce did on him in the 2nd half was terrific. You could tell at every turn, Kobe was looking at the refs about the bumps and denying Pierce was doing.

Throughout the 3rd, I was thinking if they could only get it to 9 at the end of the quarter that would allow a chance. To actually hold the high flying Lakers to 15 points and cut the lead all the way to 2 was amazing. I'll admit, I kept waiting for a mini-Laker run to bump it back to the 9 or 10 I previously was hoping for. It never came.

Now the substitutions of Posey (18 points) and House made all the sense in the world. If Perkins doesn't do whatever he did to his shoulder does Doc go small? Dunno...

The 3rd quarter and part of the 4th was Pierce being Pierce finally (again) and controlling the flow offensively. The shots the Celtics got were open 3's or a drive to the hoop.

Play of the game/series? The one on one block by Pierce on Kobe's post fade-away! I want to watch that on youtube forever.

Some of the reverse layups Pierce and Allen made were impossible. The three point play on the reverse by Pierce was amazing, how did he get the touch on that to go in? Same for the first reverse by Allen.

Wonder why Odom didn't play in the 2nd half (sarcasm alert). 180 degree change from the first half, this guy played invisible in the 2nd half. Useless.

The 4th quarter was very exciting, the Celtics maintained the defensive intensity, started mixing it up with Garnett getting some looks and Posey and House still contributing big.

How does Ray Allen, with the clock winding down, get by one defender and go all the way to the rim in a 3 point game?

Truth be told, both teams are flawed. The NBA finals has seen better teams most years but as the Lakers are finding out, if your biggest flaw is defense, that will prevent you from winning against a good team.

More to come later as I continue to digest what I saw.

(here is another clip from BombayTV CLICK ON IT TO PLAY)

6/12/08 Game 4 Tonight

Game 4 tonight!

Most sportswriters, bloggers, analysts, and experts generally agree the defining moment of this series is going to happen tonight in game 4. Typically people believe or say game 5 is the pivital game in a 7 game series...and it will be if the Lakers win tonight. It seems to me that the tone of the series is currently as if it is tied up. It almost seems that by winning Tuesday night the Lakers have climbed back even and that tonight's game would decide the winner.

Hard to imagine that the Celtics won't play better. Obviously Rondo's ankle will impact that game. I have read opinions that the Celtics could be better off because Kobe won't be able to leave Rondo to go double with House or Cassell in. BS, the speed and energy and extra rebounding Rondo does is all worth it and makes them better. I think the Celtics will play the inside out game all night. Look for Garnett to get most of the early looks and foul shots as he moves to the hoop. Perkins, Brown and Powe will all have significant impact inside.

Prediction: Celtics 94 Lakers 90

(here is a little something I prepared, the site that hosts it is cool, check it out sometime CLICK ON IT TO PLAY)

6/11/08 Game 3 Recap

Game 3 recap

As expected, the Lakers came out very aggressive, attacking the rim. They out hustled, out attacked the Celtics throughout the first half and had 7 point leads multiple times.

Their aggressiveness offensively was half the story. In my opinion, more importantly, they switched up Kobe to play D on Paul Pierce whenever possible. No longer did Pierce have open looks, no longer did he have the ability to drive around defenders. Pierce had a horrible night, in all aspects. Horrible. No other way to say it. Kobe gets some credit as I mentioned. However, superstars are supposed to elevate other parts of their games when shots aren't falling, right? I cannot think of a single aspect of Pierce's game last night that I can say, "yeah, he did ok rebounding, or passing, or defense, or hustle"...none of the above from the Captain last night.

I have been extremely impressed prior to last night with Pierce in the last month. I was not a huge fan, never have been. I admit it. This playoff season though made me a believer in the man and player. Last night took something off that new image. Game 4 will go a long way towards my impression of Paul Pierce.

Kevin Garnett had a miserable night as well. He scored some finally in the 4th quarter but his game for 3 quarters was just as bad as Pierce's. When 2 out of 3 (of the big 3) fail, the team cannot hope to win.

6/10/08 Refs announced for tonight

Refs announced for Game 3 in LA

The quote below is from a reader/poster on boston.com pertaining to the announcement of who the 3 refs are for tonights's game 3 (Joey Crawford ,Bennett Salvatore, and Mark Wunderlich)

With the history of these three characters how do they get this game? Two of the worst calls in playoff memory are owned by Salvatore and Wunderlich.
Is this a setup by Stearn so that when this game is handed to LA to extend the series, and of course inflate the $$$ income he can again apologize for the terrible calls? With of course a wink!. Early in the 2nd game Kobe, not my favorite rapist, was being mauled by the C's and got nary a call. Leon was at the line all night. We know that will be reversed in LA, Pierce will get mauled and not a call his way. Kobe will feel a gentle breeze and shoot two. Why play 7. One game on a neutral court like the Super Bowl. It looks like some of these officials actually believe that thousand of fans spend big bux on tickets and travel and hotels and food to come only to watch them perform.
Perhaps we need a Senate investigation[call Spector quick] as to why it is rare for a visiting team to
win on the road in the playoffs? Same players, same ball, same game, same
rules [ooops maybe not]. Bag job? Yup..bag job

Gotta love passionate fans.

But it does beg the question, how and why are these refs getting an odd game gig in the finals (odd games are the most important swing games in 7 game series)

As always, Bill Simmons will get a few laughs tomorrow when his game 3 recap comes out, here is his article following game 2, very good read : Click here

6/10/08 Game 3 Preview

Game 3 Preview

Tonight's game 3 of the NBA finals has most everybody believing the Lakers will win, off of better play, better (home court) officiating, and the will of the crowd. All of these factors very likely will contribute to the outcome of the game. The Lakers haven't played great, specifically on defense, and, as ESPN writer John Hollinger writes, their shot selection


Hollinger concludes through the math on shot selection that the Lakers were choosing/settling for long range 2 point attempts significantly more often than the Celtics. He states that the shot in the lane or near the hoop and the 3 pointer are more desirable. I can't disagree but context has to be considered as well. He mentions KG and his tendency to take the 19 footer (2 pointer) as his primary shot. That is one example of a good long range jumper that muddies the water a bit. The biggest point of his article comes from mentioning the foul shooting discrepancy between the teams. If it is assumed that most foul shot attempts come from a close in shot attempt, then the Celtics show even a greater lead in "good" shot attempts through 2 games. Interesting to see if this changes in game 3 tonight.

Going further down the page (linked above) to Daily Dime #2, there is discussion about the comments Mark Jackson was making on the telecast Sunday about Paul Pierce being the most explosive offensive player in Celtic history. Give me a break. Talk about revisionist history. Mark Jackson was a rookie in 87-88 season, as Bird and the Celtics started to decline. Through his career, he faced only the Bird that was constantly sidelined with back problems, foot problems and other ailments of the style of play he demonstrated his whole career. Lets look at the components of offense and see how Pierce and Bird match up


Long Range 3pointers: Both players can and do hit 3 pointers at any point, call it even

Post up: Both players can post up defenders, but the abilities and variety of moves that Bird used gives him an edge up over Pierce. An entire offense was built around Bird's posting up and options off of it.

Driving to the hoop: Bird used his shooting ability to fake the shot and begin his drives. Pierce goes more one on one and muscles his way in. Both are/were effective, Bird's drives often resulted in a teammate dunk vs. Pierce often gets to the line for 2 foul shots. Both have good use of left hands to help free up opportunities.

Moving without the ball: Save for Reggie Miller, nobody in the history of the game has been as good as Bird in this offensive category. The announces like to talk a bit about Ray Allen and Rip Hamilton (last series) as some of the best, and they are, but Bird and Miller were so far ahead of everybody else in this category. While Pierce uses picks to create space he doesn't use that space to his advantage, often the defender is given time to recover before Pierce makes his move to the hoop.

Offensive Rebounding: This is a category that often is overlooked. It is a huge part of what made Bird elite. His anticipation of where the ball would bounce off the rim would allow him to get to it or tip it to a teammate. Pierce isn't a real factor on the boards.

Perhaps Jackson would have been more accurate if his comment was more about the power driving moves Pierce does. Clearly he has a knack for making a play in traffic and getting to the rim area while getting fouled. I don't think that is what Jackson was saying though, I think he got caught up in the moment of watching a current player and overstating his relation to others in history.

Back to tonight- energy, specifically on defense can keep the Celtics in this. If they are close down the stretch, it could be a great opportunity for the Celtics to steal one in LA.

BTW - in the same article (linked above) check out the Curt Schilling blog excerpt. Schilling was sitting next to the bench (LA) in game 2, he offers up what I assumed already, that Kobe hasn't grown up and everything to him is the fault of another player. Read and enjoy.

Prediction: Lakers 104 Celtics 92

6/9/08 Up 2-0 after blowout (?)

Up 2-0 after blowout?

The Garden was rockin', everybody including the announcers were talking about game 3 in LA Tuesday. Lakers kept hitting shots and the Celtics would hold the ball and wait until the shot clock went under 10 and then have a bad or no shot.

Kept wondering what Doc was doing, maybe PJ Brown and Powe needed to get off the bench again, after all, it was on their watch that the lead ballooned to 24.

Here is the box score, I haven't seen a +/- stat in basketball but assume it is team differential while player is on the floor. Take a look at KG and Posey:

A win is a win, I like the way Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, obviously PJ Brown and Leon Powe played. Rondo played good enough too, missed too many foul shots (team missed 11) but ran the offense and was very active defensively.

Powe was a beast tonight, no offense to Doc for not playing him against Detroit much, but this guy should start in a couple of years.

On to LA, up 2-0, steal at least one there and finish at home. I like the chances, although the Lakers will thrive with the support of the crowd, much the way the Celtics did these two games.

BTW - loved the piece on ESPN about how split Bill Walton is on who to cheer for, please, baby Walton might be a nice piece for a team out of the playoffs, but is he a contributor to a championship team? Don't think so. 38 points for Laker Eastern Europeans tonight (see post after game 1)

6/6/08 NBA Finals - Game 1 and beyond

NBA finals - game 1 and beyond

Bob Ryan, Boston Globe icon and basketball expert, started his column after the game last night with a warning.

"Don't get cocky. Resist the urge to fire off that sarcastic e-mail to your old college roommate currently residing in Reseda. Just appreciate the fact that the championship of the world's greatest basketball league is once again being played in this town and that your Celtics are now one step closer to title No. 17."

It is one game, "Don't get cocky" is great advice. It is tough not to. Everybody outside of the 617 or 508 area codes has picked the Lakers in 5 or 6 games. When I was preparing to sit and watch the game I tried to ready myself for a game 1 upset just in case. I was ready with the "you need to win at least one road game in the finals anyway to ensure victory so losing one game at home is no big deal" speech.

On to the game:

The first quarter was a little boring, I thought the little interview with Phil Jackson was a good one, I liked the comment about how both teams were feeling it out and getting over any anxiety they might have had. That perfectly described the first quarter. Not a great quarter but easily forgotten in the magnitude of the series.

The first half I would describe as a win for the Celtics despite being down 5 at halftime. In my opinion, they did not play a great half, they rebounded for crap and all the loose balls went the Lakers way. As long as the lead did not expand right away in the 2nd half I was confident that it would be a close game and the Celtics could pull it out.

Nobody could have anticipated the injury/return of Pierce and the impact on the game. Saw a quote from "Phil the Manipulator" where he implied maybe it wasn't that bad an injury in the first place, almost suggesting some theatrics were being used. Gotta hand it to him, he can sound convincing no matter what rubbish comes out of his mouth.

In the 2nd half, the Celtics defense (Phil will say the Lakers just missed shots) and rebounding took over. One shot and heading the other way is the best way to win playoff games. All the loose balls that the Lakers were getting in the 1st half were now the Celtics.

I wish Garnett had even one of McHale's good low post moves to get to the rim. I tire of seeing him with his back to the basket fake to his right, go left and fade away. I know it is unstoppable but I would rather see him punish the defenders.

"Don't get cocky"

Tough to do. Besides Koby, and Pau, who are we supposed to fear? Who in the rotation has big game capability? Fischer will get 15+ with open looks because of double teams, not a problem. Odom? Let him get his from jump shots, not a problem. I have a long standing theory I just made up, if your rotation of players has more than one caucasian European player in it, you aren't tough enough to win a title.

Good pitching beats good hitting in baseball playoffs.

Good defense wins championships in the NBA.

4/14/08 The Masters, just another major?

Masters- just another Major?

Let me begin with a statement - I thouroughly enjoyed watching the Masters this week. I started with some of the par 3 contest on Wednesday, a little bit of Thursday's and Friday's rounds, then almost all of Saturday and Sunday. Gotta love tivo or whatever brand dvr I have, makes it so much easier.

Ok, now the crazy proclomation - Has the Masters become just another Major tournament? One (1) of the things about the Masters that is near the top of the list for me as to why it is one of the top sporting events each year is the ability to separate itself from the US Open, the British, any other tournament during the year by having the back 9 on Sunday be drama filled. I'm not talking about the drama yesterday. I was waiting for the Tom Petty backdrop of "Free Falling". That is US Open ground, "let's see who can survive?"

The Masters is supposed to be about shot making, putt making and the ability for a hot player to make a charge late on Sunday. The added distance, added trees (and yesterday, the weather) make it much more difficult for anybody to charge on Sunday.

I don't want the winner to score -20, Immelman's -8 is very good all things considered, but the course would not let anybody threaten him. You can say it was the competition, that they did not have what it takes this week to push to the top. Have you watched these guys golf recently? They are collectively the best ball strikers and shot makers in the world. I would venture a guess that the 20th best player today would consistently beat all but the best 2 or 3 from 25 years ago.

I kept hoping, waiting for somebody to make the charge...still waiting.

75, 72, 72, 77, 72, 72, 78 these are the Sunday scores for the top 7 finishers, some pretty decent names go along with those scores, Woods, Cink, Mickelson, Harrington along with some new blood, Immelman, Snedeker, Flesch.

Where was the charge early in the day by a Mickelson, Singh, Casey, Goosen?

Self proclaimed all time great Ian Poulter showed us something on the weekend...all talk, go put your pink outfit back on, get a little more mouse in your hair in case next year there is reason to show you on the weekend coverage!

I am very content with the outcome, a new winner with potential to have a great record in the majors going forward. A likeable guy.

I just wish there was more drama on Sunday, otherwise it becomes just another major...

11/17/07 Cornbread vs. Legend

so a faithful read posted this on another post but it is worthy of its own thread

Hey Steve I heard this comment and thought of you being a big Bird fan.

The buzz up here in the sports talk radio arena is a comment that Cedric Maxwell made after the Celtics 3rd win of the season. Forgive me if someone knows the exact quote but it went something like this "Kevin Garnett is the second best Celtic to wear the uniform behind only Russell". And he went on to add that he thought Oljauwon and Dirk Nowitzki were and are better all around players than Bird was on both ends of the court.

A reporter caught up with Bird and told him the Garnett comment that Maxwell made and his reply was "ya that's ok he quit on us and I'm sure he'll quit on him (Garnett) as the season goes".

I'm not sure if you caught any of this or if even made any waves down there, but the topic has opened up a whole can of worms as far as who is the greatest and in which oreder do they fall. Most of the sports host feel Bird is second behind Russell which I feel is right. It's hard to compare with the whole center/forward argument, but if you have to assign them a number Russell then Bird in my book.

Here's a dumb question. Any thoughts on this????


ok, first off, no, I had not heard this. Assuming the quote is actually a quote (real), then there has to be significantly more to their relationship than anybody ever knew. Doesn't Max do the TV or something for the Celtics? Maxwell is regarded as the reason they won the championship in 81 ("climb on my back...") and I never knew of animosity between Bird and Maxwell. If Maxwell indeed is part of the Celtics broadcast team, then it really is interesting that he is making quotes that are anti-homerish. Olajuwan is hard to compare as you mention (center vs. forward) but to say Nowitzki is better than Bird was is ridiculous.

Larry's (on left) and Nowitzki (on right) stats per 40 minutes played
excluding of course any decreases for declining years for Nowitzki, which hasn't happened yet):

Just for a look, here is the same chart with Garnett and others added in. My opinion of Garnett is fast changing and I was curious about his stats:

I am shocked and disappointed by Maxwell's statement. I wish I knew the scoop. Will try investigating further but if you hear anything else, let me know here.

Maxwell is dead to me now.

here is some stuff I found on this "feud"


a quote from a poster in that forum : Cedric maxwell is on a sports talk show in Charlotte off and on during the summer. The host is Billy Packer's kid. Decent show unless Maxwell is on. i have heard him say on many occasions he carried Lary Bird and refers to the 81 championship mvp as proof. He stirred up a ton of shit by playing the race card during the Vick incident. IMHO he is an ass.


After thinking through the potential counter arguements amoung any group of player comparisions, I come to realize something about the NBA that differs from say, MLB.

When comparing my heroes, Bird, McHale, DJ etc. to players before them, I was countered with the argument of "the game is different, you need to compare them against their contemporaries"...

That argument was based on the assumption that the basketball of the 80's was better than the basketball of the 60's. Fair enough statement I believe.

Comparing someone today to the 80's though is the inverse of that. Basketeball today is worse off than the 80's. I am not talking about fan appeal although it translates to that as well.

I am talking about the skills of basketball. Today's player has tremendous physical skills and would rank higher than any previous era no doubt. The basketball skills outside of physical jumping abilities etc. are declined compared to prior generations. Not the case when comparing 80's to 60's though. Big differnce.

While the escalated money has a part in decline in skills, so must the Me/Now generation that has ESPN and video games and instant gratification through the internet for any information. I don't think there is as much practicing of fundamentals as there used to.

Take Michael Jordan. At the time of his peak period, he was easily the most physically gifted basketball player in the NBA. What made him the greatest ever, he practiced fundamentals and merged that with his physical prowess.

How many of todays greats do that?