Boston Celtics

Thanks to Stephanie G. for today's pic.

The Cleveland Craboliers: On paper, Cleveland's talent level is off the charts, particularly after the additions of Shaq, Anthony Parker and Jamario Moon. They got to open the season at home, where they lost only twice last season. Less than seven minutes into the first quarter, Shaq hit his third consecutive field goal to put the Crabs up 21-7. They earned (if you want to call it that) a 32-26 advantage at the line and scored 20 points off Boston's 14 turnovers. And, of course, King Crab himself was (as always) scary good (38 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 steals, 4 blocks).

I guess what I'm trying to say is: the Crabs had every reason to win this game. Only...they didn't. Meanwhile, Boston ended an 11-game losing streak in Cleveland (including playoff games) and "snapped a 16-game skid by visiting teams in games between the Eastern powers who figure to meet again sometime in May or June." Yeah, I know. Who keeps track of this stuff?

Anyway, the Celtics showed once again that offensive firepower -- however awesome, again, on paper -- can and will wilt under furious defensive pressure. The Boston D held the Cleveland O to 41 percent shooting, in part because Mike Brown didn't add many new wrinkles to his generic "Give LeBron the ball and let everybody watch" offense set, unless you count occasionally posting Shaq as a new wrinkle. Speaking of the Big Geritol...

Shaq: He looked unstoppable in the first quarter and finished with a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds). But from the second quarter on, the Celtics got away with single coverage as Kendrick Perkins simply pushed the Big Creaky off his sweet spots and forced him, as Doug Collins put it, "to make shots." Which he didn't, going 1-for-5 in the second half and missing both of his free throws. But that wasn't the worst of it. They Celtics turned him into the Big Defensive Liability in the closing minutes, putting Shaq into pick-and-roll situations and watching him fail to cover. As a result of the Big Slow Poke deficiencies, Paul Pierce got open for a couple clutch buckets that helped boil the Crabs.

Quick quiz: From Stephanie G.: "Quick: name a C/PF combo slower than Shaq/Big Z. Any year will do."

The Cleveland bench: The preseason talk that wasn't about Shaq and LeBron was about how freaky deep the Crabs are. Well, Boston's reserve corps outscored Cleveland's pine riders 26-10. In fact, Rasheed Wallace (12 points, 3-for-6 from downtown) outscored the Crabs' bench by himself. By game's end, the Cleveland reserves had more fouls (7) than field goals (3-for-11).

The Big Excuse Machine: Said Shaq: "We'd like to start off 1-0, but there are 100 games left. We'll be fine. I've been on teams that started 0-1, 0-5, 5-0, 10-0. Nothing matters unless you win the whole thing." Everybody remember that if the Crabs don't win the whole thing.

Shelden Williams: Teams don't usually let former fifth overall draft picks (as Williams was for the Hawks in 2006) just walk away. But Atlanta did, and for good reason. This kid has a debilitating case of Kwame Hands. Seriously, I haven't seen that many good passes go careening off a player's hands since John Stockton was feeding Greg Ostertag back in the late 90s. Does Shelden pre-soak his hands in Crisco before games? It sure seemed like it.

Update! Rajon Rondo: I almost forgot about how he got crab-blocked last night. Don't be bringing that weak, one-handed, cotton candy stuff, Rajon.

Fun with box scores: Basketbawful reader Murcy says: " thinks Woody Allen is on the Celtics."

woody allen

The Dallas Mavericks: Last season, the Washington Wizards were an NBA-worst 6-35 on the road. That didn't matter last night, as they smacked down the Mavs in Dallas by a score of 102-91. The Mavericks have now lost two straight season openers and three of their last four.

Der Blond Bombermeister scored a game-high 34 points but, as so often seems to be the case, didn't get the support he needed. Outside of Nowiztki, the Dallas O blew chucks, as the Mavs shot 39 percent as a team. Note that, excluding Jason Kidd (who had 6 dimes), the Dallas starters registered one lonely assist.

Shawn Marion: He had 16 points and 7 rebounds, but I find it interesting that the Mavs were -17 points when he was on the floor. Let's keep an eye on this.

Jason Kidd, super-dramatic quote machine: "[Nowitzki] would be dead by Christmas if we're going to let him be the offense. Our team defense stunk. We didn't rebound the ball well. Everything we're supposed to do well was a no-show tonight."

The Houston Rockets: I'll give them points for scrappiness, but if last night's 96-87 loss is any indication, the Rockets may end up leading the league in hard-fought losses this season. I mean, can you really expect better than 37 percent shooting from a group of roleplayers? Speaking of which...

Tracy McGrady: Knee-Mac is still in absentia due to recovery from microfracture surgery. I would now like a show of hands from everybody who's surprised about this. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

The Blazers Butterfingers: Portland might have won by 20+ points if they'd been able to hold on to the rock. The Blazers committed 26 turnovers, which is the most lost balls they've had since the 2007-08 season. On that subject...

Greg Oden: The big fella didn't do much scoring (2 points, 1-for-3), but he helped dominate with 12 boards and 5 blocks. Of course, he offset some of that good play by bobbling the ball away a game-high 7 times. I guess, like Shelden Williams, he had a case of the Kwame Hands. He also had, not surprisingly, 5 fouls.

The Los Angeles Clippers: What can you say? They are who we thought they were, you know?

You should have run, Blake. You should have run.

Amazingly, the Clips actually could have won this game had they not committed 20 turnovers (including 9 in the first quarter), thereby giving the Lakers 24 bonus points. That's kind of a big deal in a seven-point loss. Said Baron Davis: "We really felt we could've won this game. If you take away a lot of mistakes that we made at the end of the first quarter and all the turnovers we had, it would've been a different ballgame." Speaking of Davis...

Baron Davis: Get ready to be shocked. I'm serious. Get ready. Okay, are you ready. Here goes: Baron is hurt already. Good luck finding the socks that just got blown off your feet. Speaking of feet, B-Dizzle has a bruised right foot, which might explain the 1-for-10 shooting. How much did the Clippers spend on this guy again...? Oh, right: $65 million for five years.

Ron Artest's offense: Crazy Pills went 3-for-10 from the field, 1-for-5 from beyond the arc, and 3-for-7 from the line. Maybe he should spend more time at shooting practice and less time at the barber shop.

Artest hair

Here's a closer look, courtesy of Dan B.

more artest hari

Ron-Ron did have a game-high plus-minus score of +14 though. Does that make him the Lakers' MVP? On the other end of the spectrum was...

Luke Walton: In three minutes of lacktion (0-for-1, 1 steal), the Son of Walton managed to earn himself a team-worst plus-minus score of -8. Good thing Mitch Kupchak locked this kid up for five years at the low, low price of only $30 million back in the summer of '07. But at least he's not:

Adam Morrison: DNP-CD. 'Nuff said.


General 'bawfulry: From Wild Yams:

Despite the win, if I was a Celtics fan I'd be a bit worried for one reason alone: KG doesn't look good at all. It might be just rust though, that's definitely plausible. But it didn't look like KG's timing was off, it looked to me like he had hardly any of his athleticism and explosiveness out there. I had to keep reminding myself to watch what he was doing because for long stretches he was just... invisible. Boston's so loaded that they'll be able to hide whatever shortcomings KG might have (if he's indeed gonna continue to play like this), but against Orlando or LA/SA in the playoffs, they're gonna need him to be what he used to be if they want to have a chance to win.

If I was a Cleveland fan I'd be plain worried cause that team doesn't look to be good enough to be considered one of the 5 "true contenders" this year. It's the same ol' story: LeBron and a bunch of minnies. Shaq looks to be a really, really poor fit for that team, and Mike Brown is totally clueless about what to do (which is why once again the offense is to give it to LeBron at the top of the key and let him create everything). Orlando and Boston will lay treadmarks all over the Cavs if this is all they've got.

The Lakers looked either disinterested or just out of sorts due to the ring ceremony (or Artest's hair or Odom's new bride or take your pick). LA's bench was plain awful tonight, though that'll probably change a bit when Gasol comes back and Odom is a reserve again. Nevertheless, as I said after the first preseason game, if Artest is gonna be that unselfish and Bynum is gonna be that dominant, it's gonna be very, very hard to beat this Laker team. As always though, it was against the Clippers so take it all with a grain of salt. Too bad due to the uber-cushy Laker schedule to start the year, it's really gonna be a while before we'll get to see what they're made of (unless they collapse, that is, then we'll know they're just way overrated).

Greg Oden -- 26 minutes, 2 points, 5 fouls, 7 turnovers. Combined with the Vanilla Godzilla and LaMarcus "5 years/$70m" Aldridge, the supposedly imposing Blazer frontline was only able to score 15 points combined against a miniscule Houston frontline of Chuck Hayes, Luis Scola and Carl Landry.

Wasn't Dallas supposed to be much improved this year?

Lacktion report (by Chris):

The opening tip-off has arrived, so bring out the awful Craig Sager suits! Get paranoid over labor unrest! Conjure all the rumors of King Crab signing in Brooklyn come summer 2010! And don't forget figuring out which team honcho will be out on the street in 15 months, via that person's unlucky acceptance of the Coach of the Year award! But of course, in order for this to be officially another year in the life of the Association...

we've gotta have lacktion, and luckily some of the usual suspects were available to aim as low as they possibly could. Again.

So let's focus on our only honorees for October 27th...

Wizards-Mavs: Washington's Javale McGee kicks off this season of lacktion with his tribute to the unemployed plumber from the Peachtree State, taking a 42-second moment of silence (on the scoresheet) to put down the very first Mario of the year. Helping the Wizards out in their winning effort was Dominic McGuire, who fouled twice for a +2 suck differential in 2:20.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Blogger Dan B. said...
Watching the Lakers get their championship rings was painful. (And boring. Didn't they see the Pittsburgh Penguins opening night? THAT is how you introduce a championship winning team at the home opener. Not to mention the Stanley Cup is the best trophy in sports.) However, it was all worth it to see the look on Adam Morrison's face when he was the first Laker to jog out to shake Commish Stern's hand and get his oversized ring. It took me five solid minutes to recover from laughing at that.

Anonymous jollyrench said...
I think the Shaq/Lebron combo is nice, it just needs some gametime experience. Shaq got some easy points when the guy guarding him shifted over to stack the defense and Lebron hit him with a pass. Once the D started to respect that, it was easier for Lebron to drive because the big man had to stick to Shaq.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I disagree with WY. Sure Garnett missed a dunk and a chance for an alley but he was not invisible. Boston doesnt need him to be 04 Garnett at all anyway. He had a double double and 3 blocks and really the way he scores the ball is not with athleticism. Hes a jumpshooter. That and the fact that he is not in game shape yet combined to form whatever you saw last night. He will get better.

Blogger DumbGenius said...
Quiz response:

does this count?
“I knew it was time to retire when I was driving down the lane and got called for a three-second violation.”
--Johnny Kerr, former NBA player and coach

* Blake Griffin's thoughts:
"so if i sign with the lakers after two years, i could still ball in LA. i wouldn't have to sell my house, move or get used to a new city or anything. hell i already know where the best parking spot is around here. gotta ask about ron's barber"

Blogger Lord Kerrance said...
Welcome back WOTN!

It's going to be a disappointing year for the east. The Cavs are regressing, Boston feels shaky, and Orlando will get to the Finals by default.

By the way, what's the expiry date on the whole King Crab/Craboliers thing?

Word Verification is "blech". Almost as though Google knew what I was thinking.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
That Celtics cartoon picture is amazing. Major props to whoever created it.

Boy it is great to have the regular season going and Worst of the Night back in action!

"Good luck finding the socks that just got blown off your feet."


Blogger 49er16 said...
@Dan B- I'm sure Malone, Stockton, Barkley, and Ewing also thought it was funny............

Also I had to stare at that Oden stat line to comphrehend it. He was having a bad case of Kwame Hands if he lead the game in turnovers. On the plus side though, Oden committ a foul until the 2nd quarter. Baby steps for the guy.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Ray Allen's real name is Walter Ray Allen.

Blogger Cortez said...
Finally, the season is upon us!

Don't overlook the shout out to Mike Chatfield in Ron-Ron's exquisite hair carvings.

And King "Crab" kicked off the season yapping about another Crab-o-rific dribbling violation that was an obvious violation.

"Ray Allen's real name is Walter Ray Allen."

What he said.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Neither a fan of the Celtics nor comic books, but holy crap that picture is amazing.

Blogger chris said...
I'd like to thank JaVale McGee for being the first to press the Start button for a Mario this year, thus guaranteeing that our season has started with some sweet sweet lacktion!

Blogger chris said...
Oh, and, if the Crabs keep playing this way, Shaq will be 1000% wrong in stating "there's 100 games left", because they'll be out of the playoffs at Game 96 or so again!

Blogger clicc916 said...
Quiz response...

How about Greg Ostertag and Brad Miller of the 2004-05 Kings?

Blogger chris said...
Is it me, or was KG much more noticeable when he was busy cussing at the opposition with a suit on?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Got take exception to the bawful blazers frontline. They were only half bawful in being totally inept on offense. On defense, they did dominate Hayes, Scola and Landry. Odenbilla combined for 22 Rebs and 7 blocks in 42 minutes while holding Hayes, Scola and Landry to 7 of 24 shooting (29%).

Might of been a better a game for all if the frontlines never crossed half court.

Blogger LA Huey said...
how long 'til cleveland's section of craigslist gets flooded with offers to off mike brown?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Fun With Box Scores.....Ray Allen: Real name is Walter. Hence you get W. Allen in the box score.

Blogger chris said...
I sent Bawful this in screenshot form but it bears repeating: I didn't know "Injured Reserve" had become an official position, until David Andersen of the Rockets apparently introduced this last night:

Anonymous drbearclaw said...
Good to see this again!

Quiz response

Haven't seen them play yet but potentially Randolph and Gasol/Thabeet

Anonymous Barry said...
It's good to see the WotN back.

Mad props to Wallace's fro.

No Lacktion roundup for last night?

Also, I'd like to throw the 2003-2004 Timberwolves combo of Oliver Miller and Ervin Johnson into the ring.

Blogger GC2 said...
So great to have the NBA back, and the worst of back.


Blogger chris said...
Bleedingheartpessimist: I can fix that right now. :D

Blogger Wild Yams said...
A great read as always, Mr. Bawful, and welcome back to the regular season :) I'd like to echo what Cortez said about Ron Artest giving a shout out to Mike Chatfield in his hair.

I hope Mike Brown goes more often with that Big Z/Shaq combo on the floor together this year. That was truly amazing to watch. I really hope Brown uses that against Orlando so we can watch one of those guys chase Rashard Lewis around (once he returns from suspension, of course).

Where's the daily Kobe mention? He did go 11-26 last night, and that's fairly bawful.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Mike Brown for COY again! Those plays he drew up where Lebron took the ball at midcourt and then jacked up 3s in KGs face without even looking for someone to pass to were pure genius!

Blogger Clifton said...
The REAL David Andersen

Clicking on the link in the box score takes you to the wrong profile, but his profile accessible from Houston's roster has last night's stats on it.

Anonymous cardrunners said...
I think this will be the season that tells us a lot about whether Greg Oden turns into an elite center in the league, or if he is another injury plagued Sam Bowie type of guy.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Quiz answer - I'm assuming that they have to be "starters..."

1)Oliver Miller and Terry Mills from the 94-95 Pistons? That was pretty awful...

2)Big Country Bryant Reeves and Anthony Avent from the 95-96 Vancouver Grizzlies? Woof.

3)Luc Longley and Toni Kukoc. The best talent among this list but damn they were slow...

Unfortunately, Sam Perkins always had some respectable speed at PF (Kemp usually), so he couldn't make the list.

Blogger Buck Nasty said...
BIG COUNTRY. I love you BadDave, only you.

On the Clips: Looks like another one of those "they could be good but...*insert injuries/poor excuse from coach here*" years.

The worst part was A: I had to wake up extremely early, so I couldn't see the late game past the third quarter and
B: Baron Davis is who we thought he was. Kaman played well, and there were flasehs from everyone.

Could we get replay of Baron Davis misshandling two easy passes in the backcourt for turnovers.

He dropped one from Kaman out of bounds, and another on a side inbounds that got ripped and dunked by Farmar, I believe. Pathetic.

WV: Poned - Dallas got poned by The Wiz Kids.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Poke my eyes out now if TNT starts showing Odoms new wife every play Tony Parker style. I hate watching the Lakers already, but I only hope their relationship is kaput before playoff time.

Anonymous kazam92 said...
Loved the celtic pic. Also was beaten to point out Ray Allen's first name is Walter. As for the Slowest PF/C duo uh... Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph ring any bells?

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I'm pretty sure Shaq/Ilgauskas are slower than Curry/Randolph, believe it or not.

Anonymous DKH said...
How long until Cleveland fires their coach, hires someone decent, and experiences the biggest dead coach bounce ever?

At least, with this roster, they shouldn't be that bad. Maybe Delonte West eventually coming back will key them. Mo Williams also needs to realize that the season has started.

Anonymous DKH said...
Also, can I nominate NBA scheduling for a worst-of? There are an even number of teams in the league; I don't see any reason that four teams (Celtics, Cavs, Rockets, Clippers) should have to start the season on back-to-backs against fresh teams. Cavs and Rockets even have to play the second one on the road.

Blogger lordhenry said...
So everyone thought Shaq was the answer in cleveland. I've maintained, as have many, that Shaq horrible pick and roll defense would not help the Cavs beat the Magic, who are primarily a pick and roll team. Celtics don't use a lot of P&R, but they did expose the fact that Shaq is too slow to help out adequately on defense. I thought the Celtics looked pretty good and if 12 and 10 is all they get from KG that should be plenty, especially if they continue to get production from sheed and the bench. IMO, the Cavs are not on the Celtics level, and more games probably will not change that.

Blogger chris said...
DKH: Don't forget the EPIC roadtrip the Clippers are taking...from one hallway to another at Staples Center!111!11!

Imagine the jet lag of less than 1 second as a result of such exhaustive travel, after their closely-fought road game against...uh...their co-tenants.

Blogger Wild Yams said...
FYI the Lakers and Clips have their own locker rooms at Staples Center, they don't switch for home and road games. Each team has their own locker room and then there is also a third locker room for real road teams. Yes, the Lakers room is bigger than the Clips'.

Blogger Roger Williams said...
In fairness to that box score, #20's proper name is Walter Ray Allen, so "W. Allen" is entirely appropriate, even if nobody in their right mind calls him Walter.