I'm going public. I'm a Boston sports fan. I know everyone hates the Pats and the Sox. And that hatred is spread to the Celtics. Who knows, maybe there are some Revolution bashers out there. Hey, I can understand the hatred. I hated the Cowboys and the America's Team thing. I get it. If it means anything to you, I hate the Red Sox Nation crap. I like Jerry Remy, the game analyst; I hate Jerry Remy, the shameless huckster of products on his crappy Web site. And dynasties are boring. As I got sick of San Francisco winning Super Bowls, I grew to hate their success. I enjoyed their demise. The Germans have a word for it.
The transference of that hatred to the Celtics is interesting. I think ESPN went overboard with one of their stupid polls, asking people if they want to see Kevin Garnett blow out his knee, but I can see where people would resent Boston's sudden status. It might be a desire to hate everything Boston, but I wonder if any of it has to do with Danny Ainge stumbling into a contending team? While I was happy when the C's acquired Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett, something inside me felt cheated. It was artificial. I've seen the ultimate organization, the Patriots, build a team and create a formula for being competitive in a salary-capped era. Red Sox 2004 was sweet for obvious reasons, but the 2007 team had key contributions from players who came through the farm system. And there's more prospects coming up. Another example of a good organization. I've grown accustomed to this in a sports franchise. Ainge was saying all that stuff about building an organization when he was hired, then he proceeded to bollocks up draft picks, while Doc Rivers couldn't develop the kids. Then one summer, Ainge creates a contending team overnight. Yeah, he gets points for realizing things weren't working as is, and blowing up the rebuild to get KG. But it lacked something.
Those were my thoughts during the summer. After watching them streak to a league-best 17-2 record, I don't care how the team was built. I'm enjoying the success. I had some concerns initially about Paul Pierce relinquishing shots. But as the new Big Three have played for a quarter of the season, Pierce isn't yakking up those stupid shots any more. And he actually looks happy. Pierce often plays with a scowl, but who wouldn't after playing with the ne'er-do-wells he's been saddled with the last few seasons. The national narrative said they were top-heavy with a thin frontcourt and bench, a poor-shooting point guard who had never led a team this talented. I was on board with Rajon Rondo's shooting and the frontcourt, but Eddie House and James Posey are good, veteran role players. And when Tony Allen gets fully healthy, there are plenty of players on the second unit.
After last night's game against Chicago, all those worries should be exorcised. The Bulls were coming off a nice win against Detroit and were looking to make an early statement at home. It was a tight affair that Boston eventually turned into a double-digit lead before the Bulls closed late with an 11-0 run. But Garnett shimmied and shaked, before nailing a money fadeaway to end Chicago's hopes. Rondo was 9-of-13 on the night and is shooting 55 percent from the floor this season. There are some experienced ballhandlers (Ray Allen, Pierce) on the roster, so Rondo may never average eight assists per game, but his 5.1:1.8 A/TO ratio is fine by me. Pierce, on a night when he was 1-of-8, once again led the team in assists with seven and is the team's overall leader in that category with 5.4 per game. His shots and scoring are down, but he willingly gives up the ball these days. When Kendrick Perkins got into early foul trouble, there was Big Baby stepping in with eight points and 12 boards. He's earning himself a spot in the rotation. Conditioning is a factor, but they can run him for 20 minutes a night. And his bulk makes him impossible to move near the basket. Posey added 11 points as Boston's bench outscored the Bulls despite 18 from Andres Nocioni. They get 17.5 points per game from Posey and House in 20 minutes. Throw in the league's best defense in terms of points allowed, and I'm a happy guy. They may not be built in the Belichick way, but I'm having fun.
Bobcats coach Sam Vincent is pleading with his team to give Emeka Okafor the ball more and for Okafor to shoot more. In Charlotte's first game since Vincent's outburst, Okafor took 13 shots and got the line 14 times while the team overall took 17 less 3-pointers. And the 'cats snapped a seven game losing streak. It looks like feeding Okafor, and not taking heaving it from long distance, is the first offensive strategy... It's getting' downright dysfunctional in Miami, but keep an eye on Daequan Cook and Dorell Wright. The small forward du jour is Wright, who scored 19 points and grabbed 17 rebounds in Friday's loss to Golden State. Pat Riley's rotations can swing wildly, but he seems to have hit on a small lineup featuring Udonis Haslem at center along with D-Wade, Cook, Wright and Ricky Davis. The same unit had some success in turning around a deficit against Portland a night earlier. Wright began the season as a starter and it wasn't long before he was out of the rotation. However, now he gets to start with Wade on the floor and that makes a difference. Wright's a good rebounder, but needs to develop consistency as a shooter. Cook is a scorer and is getting regular minutes in the rotation. Riley said he deserves to keep playing and the rookie has four double-digit scoring games since emerging in the rotation six games ago. He bricked a 1-for-8 night against the Warriors on Friday, but he's a scoring threat on a team ranked 28th in the league in points scored... In New Orleans, coach Byron Scott is not enamored of his bench and will give Julian Wright an opportunity. And with injuries to Peja Stojakovic (groin) and Morris Peterson (back), the rookie may need to do more than just hold is own. He's not the shooter that Peja is, so temper your expectations, but he's a skilled player who can move the ball, finish and drive by bigger 3s. His playing time will come at the expense of Rasual Butler. Peterson's back injury gives more playing time to Butler and Jannero Pargo. Butler may start against the taller shooting guards, but he's been struggling from the field... Fred Jones has moved ahead of Mardy Collins and Nate Robinson on the depth chart and is the primary back up to both Jamal Crawford and Stephon Marbury. He's not a great shooter, but can create points off drives, dunks and finishes. He's averaged 35.7 minutes and 12.3 points in the last three games.