So Bawful asked me to fill in for him today, so I thought I’d go with one of my famous live-blog posts for the marquis match-up of the weekend – Lakers / Celtics. I didn’t get involved in watching full time until 4:12 left in the first quarter but, saw a bit before that:
Don’t know the moment of the game, but Ray Allen was just called for his second foul. He was essentially called for allowing Kobe Bryant to hit him with a forearm shiver. I am reminded of last year’s game 7, and then further reminded of a recent Sports Illustrated article that analyzed the elements that go into home-court advantage, essentially concluding that umpires and referees are actually the most significant variable in creating home-court advantage. I found this revelation to be obvious, depressing, depressingly obvious and obviously depressing.
4:12 left – Kendrick Perkins is indignant about being called for a foul. Replay shows he pushed Bynum out of the way, thus proving his ability to be oblivious and ignorant has also healed up nicely.
3:56 – Garnett with a high release off the glass over Odom
3:39 – Bynum with a big rebound put back off miss.
3:12 – Odom responds with a fast break layup past Garnett.
Bos – 18-14 – I feel like no lead, no matter how large, will feel safe after last year’s game 7.
It appears Shaq brought his mother to make sure the crowd would be nice to him. When asked if she cares he’s in Celtic green, she apparently replied “I’m just glad he’s working.” Aw, mom. Just as lovable.
Mike Breen stat curses the C’s, calling them the “best shooting team in the NBA,” which may be true, but can only mean the C’s will stink up the joint.
True to form, Rondo misses a jumper at 1:52.
1:00 – Marquis Daniels misses lame looking 8-footer. He’s looked anemic every time I’ve seen him lately.
:25 – Breen asks Mark Jackson (MJ) about why Ron Artest hasn’t been as effective this year. Jackson says Ron Artest is looking “more healthier” than he did earlier in the season. He’s a professional broadcaster. No, really. And you know what? MJ is more worse at it than he was last season.
11:23 – Nate Robinson puts in an off-balance three-pointer.
10:53 – Ray Allen for three. He could do damage to the Lakers in this game if he gets hot. They’d better call him for his third foul soon.
10:37 – Gasol with a pretty lefty hook.
10:25 – Nate Robinson jab-steps and hits fall-away jumper. The athleticism he’s showing takes some sting out of losing Eddie House for him. Though House looked good in the day’s earlier game – Heat / Thunder – in which he nailed a cold-blooded dagger three and a couple of ice-the-game free throws. Nate’s going to have to play real good for me to lose my man-crush on House – minus the foolish "big balls" dance he did after the three of course. C’mon Eddie! You’re better than that!
9:50 – Allen with a leg-kick 8-foot jumper. They really need to call a foul on him and get him off the floor. He’s dangerous.
Bos 34-25 – For some reason, the bigger this lead gets, the more nervous I get. Post-traumatic stress disorder, anyone?
8:05 - Breen mentions that Ray Allen is always the first player to the stadium. Apparently, he didn’t listen to pregame commentary, in which Jon Barry informed us all that Kobe was actually at Staples before Ray Allen for this game. Way to research, Breeny.
6:47 – Matt Damon is shown in the first row, wearing a winter cap with a green Red Sox “B.” Completely off-the-mark clothing aside, I love Damon’s public in-your-face Boston love, even though he’s technically just another overpaid celebrity who sits in the first row of Laker games. Shout out to Matty Ice 2.
Insert affiliation-based caption here: Celtic fans: Awesomest. Celebrity. Ever. Laker fans (In retard voice): "Iiiii'm Matt Dammonn!"
6:34 – Garnett takes a shot to the head from Gasol. Play stops, but no foul is called. Garnett calmly walks to Joe Crawford with his skull dripping lots of blood and says something very calmly to Crawford. If I got to choose, I would hope it was: “This development would seem to be an absolutely perfect microcosm of the incompetence of NBA officiating, don’t you think?”
Alas, the replay shows that Gasol’s elbow was without a doubt inadvertent. The blood on Garnett’s head, however, begs to differ. But NBA officiating still sucks anyway. So there.
Hints of Staples Center boos as an injured Garnett quietly goes to the locker room. Garnett has actually seemed surprisingly not insane for this game; maybe he's just letting his feet do the talking. Next up is a shot of Jack Nicholson, with Jeff Van Gundy (JVG) talking about how Nicholson owns glasses that match every one of his suits, followed then by Pierce splayed on the floor at 6:21...and though Pierce clearly flopped, my L.A. dislike has reached a high for the game thus far. Please show Matt Damon again to make me feel better!
Celebrity Crap 1: They just showed Damon again, yay. Maybe in 30 years, he’ll be the Boston version of Jack Nicholson. In years past, they used to force Jack to sit in the third balcony of the Boston Garden – even for the Finals! It was always hilarious to see him up there, being treated like shit. LA, however, has an enormous priority conundrum – Matt Damon is a celebrity, but is also a Boston fan. So what should LA do? Kiss his celebrity ass, or treat his Boston-loving ass like poo? Should be interesting to see how that plays out in years to come if Damon’s career slides.
Anyway, the shot of Damon is followed by shots of George Lopez and Jimmy Kimmel, which makes me wonder “The always-present Nicholson notwithstanding, there MUST be more famous LA fan celebrities you can show than THAT.”
5:14 – Garnett returns with a bandage on his head. I had no idea they manufactured actual “KG-sized” band-aids.
Don't worry. None of my irrational prison rage leaked out.
4:24 – KG hits a jumper. C’s - 42-36
3:23 – Inexplicable foul call on Gasol for being pushed by Shaq. After some slo-mo replays, Breen indicates the foul was changed to Artest, who was literally standing on his own, 20 feet away. Van Gundy correctly points out Artest “wasn’t even in the vicinity.” NBA refs continue to dazzle. Maybe we should put an asterisk next to EVERY NBA champion from now on?
C’s – 42-41
After two big rebounds, Kobe hits a 3. Lakers on a 13-2 run. Lakers 44-42.
2:01 – Kobe fakes, gets Shaq in the air, gets a foul call, and gives Shaq what Mark Jackson calls a “Remember me buddy?” look.
Ass. (Also pictured: Ray Allen / Shaquille O'Neill)
1:26 – Rondo lets Fisher breeze by him for a second time in egregiously bad fashion, resulting in a Gasol make from the baseline. I thought Rondo was a lot younger than Fisher…? His defense wouldn’t indicate this.
19.9 – Joe Crawford calls a double technical on Artest and Perkins. Crawford's "I rule over all of you turds" look reminds me of the Celtics / Suns game two days before when Doc Rivers screamed to Steve Javie, who had just ejected him, “It’s not about YOU, it’s about the GAME!”
1.4 – Kobe makes a nice move to the basket and gets a foul call. Odom gives what is, according to JVG, an “I can’t believe how good you are” look at Kobe. JVG follows by saying, “I’d rather watch Kobe miss than most other players make.” Agreed, Jeff. I would too. I’ll take a miss any day. A late whistle coming a full second after imaginary contact, no, but a miss, yes.
0.7 – Odom is called for hitting Big Baby on the arm on a desperation final half court shot. Dumb move. This moment is followed by some great quote-machine items. First by Mark Jackson: “Lamar Odom is a high-IQ guy, basketball-wise, but...” Yes, Mark, be sure you include the term “basketball-wise” in that statement. Then JVG follows with this beautiful nugget, giving wonderful insight into the state of NBA officiating: “You don’t find too many officials, even with contact, that will make those calls, but I think that’s the right call.” JVG night as well have said “Boy refs really suck, don’t they?”
Big baby makes 2 of 3.
Halftime – Lakers 54 – 50
Halftime interview – Kobe stays classy San Diego, saying Lamar Odom will be on Sportscenter’s “Not Top Ten” for fouling Big Baby before the half. Not everyone is as good as you, Kobe. I’m surprised I need to tell you this. I thought you knew that better than anyone.
11:27 – Kobe sticks a 3. Lakers 57-50
I'm noticing Garnett’s head bandage is exactly the same color as the Staples floor. It looks like someone put a hole in his head (Insert “Yeah, I’D like to put a hole in his head” joke here, Laker fans.)
9:33 – Pierce with a strong left hand finish after driving around a hobbled Artest, foul by Bynum. Artest leaves, appearing to have a left knee issue.
9:20 - Shaq gets his fifth foul on a “shoulda let them play” call. Gasol gave the push away as well. Should have been a no-call.
8:46 – Pierce 3-pointer. Celtics 61-59. Pierce already has 25.
7:26 – Rondo throws up a jumper with no hesitation – and air balls it. At least he tossed it up with...confidence?
6:39 – Another pierce three, after great inside out pass from Perkins. Pierce has the last 10 C’s points.
5:28 – Odom busy giving Kobe the “I can’t believe how good you are” look. Unfortunately, Kobe chooses to pass to him at the time, and Odom proceeds to botch the play completely.
Pierce layup puts C’s up 68-62. Pierce has 14 points in the quarter. Lakers getting a taste of how it would be to play the Celtics missing RonRon. This play is reshown in slo-mo to highlight Luke Walton’s crappy (not scrappy) defense.
3:48 – After a Fisher steal and breakaway, Ran Allen called for a foul on a play where there was clearly no contact. Mark Jackson inadvertently insults NBA officiating once again, oblivious to his own irony: “That’s not contact by Ray Allen, but Derek Fisher does such a great job of making it look like a sniper shot him.” It’s amazing how many different, creative ways commentators are managing to talk about God-awful NBA officiating . JVG, once again, the voice of reason: “Joey Crawford on that play had a bad angle, and Fisher, as a renowned flopper deserves no benefit of the doubt on [one of] those dives into somebody’s body. That was a missed call.” I love you, JVG. Not as much as I love Matt Damon, but take what you can get.
3:32 – Fisher proves JVG right as he gets the refs to call Perkins on a moving pick. Mark Jackson confirms his support of the dark arts: “We’re in Hollywood, ladies and gentlemen. Give Derek Fisher an Oscar.” JVG wonders aloud how Crawford can repeatedly fall for the same head snap / arm throw night in, night out: “The guy’s been around for like 25 years!” Breen replies with an I’m-not-paid-to-give-an-insightful-opinion giggle.
2:38 – Kobe 3-pointer makes it 72-70, Celtics. Then he gives a little nod that makes me want to punch him, even though if I met him in person, I know I’d be all: “Hi Mr. Bryant, could you sign my T-shirt?”
We are treated to a slow-motion montage of the various Derek Fisher flops from just this quarter. I’m considering remaking my You’ve been Ginobili’d video to You’ve been Fisher’d.
Celebrity Crap 2: Adam Sandler is promoting his latest crap movie. How do I know it's crap? It's an Adam Sandler movie, and it isn't "Happy Gilmore 2." His comment: “I can’t tell you what it’s about, but I showed it to Kevin Garnett and he laughed so hard he split his head open.” This man hasn’t been funny in years, and has a billion dollars. Life is not fair. And he’s a Knicks fan. Doesn’t even care who wins, which is almost more annoying than if he were a Laker fan. Favorite Adam-Sandler-is-secretly-a-dick comment: “The movie’s funny. Aniston’s in it (call her Jennifer Aniston, you ass), these two people next to us are in it…(his co-stars are sitting next to him and he won’t even name them…I know time is short, Adam, but name your co-stars, especially when we care way more about one of them – Hello Brooklyn Decker – than you. The female commentator plays right along, ignoring the existence of Adam Sandler’s less-famous co-stars. LA's most plentiful export? Self-aggrandizing a-holes.)
Why you will ignore this man's new movie: It's not 1996.
1.6 – Rondo says “Take that, Derek Fisher” and draws a charge call on Bryant with some floppery theatre of his own.
11:22 – Ray Allen three. Celtics 80-74. We get a nice slo-mo replay of Steve Blake’s bad defense (a.k.a. Luke Walton treatment).
Breen betrays that he’s never played any level of basketball, commenting that he can’t understand why the Celtics shot so poorly in Phoenix and so well here. They were on the second half of a back-to-back, Mike. Go read a novel and have a brandy, nerd.
9:12 – Rondo wants a foul on Blake, then flops a second later to create one. JVG says: “He fell down.” Annoyingly, Mark Jackson says: “Thank you,” as if he’s been saying meaningful, logical things about the sins of flopping during the game…which, of course, he hasn’t. Maybe I should do a "You've been Rondo'd." Oh wait, that's been done, more than once, and was the inspiration for my Ginobili video. Duh.
The Breen of Irony: “We’ve had a lot of calls sold very well here this afternoon.” Again, has Breen’s boss told him to never point out bullshit when he sees it? Or does he really not see it?
Kobe deciding “It’s time to put the kids to bed,” according to MJ. Cuts Celtic lead to 4.
4:02 – Rondo alley oop to Garnett makes it Celtics 98-87.
2:55 – Big Baby draws a legit offensive foul. 101-89.
1:29 – Garnett to Rondo for layup.
Awesome Commercial alert: People from the future being incorporated into old high-school / college footage of current NBA players. The latest features Steve Nash. I bow before whomever came up with this concept.
True to the formula, Kobe tried to take over, and this did not benefit the Lakers. He scored 41, and the Lakers lost. They have lost 4 of the last 5 when Kobe scores over 35. So if Phil Jackson benched Kobe for the whole game, would the Lakers have won? He should try that.
109-93 – Very deceptive final score. It was way closer than that. And Artest wasn’t at full strength. The teams showed me they are still essentially neck and neck, and I wouldn’t be remotely shocked to see the Lakers win the next meeting in Boston.
With Jack sitting up in the third balcony, hopefully.
Worst of the Weekend bonus:
I had a family obligation on Friday night, and missed the second half of the Celtics-Suns game. I DVR'd it, but then accidentally saw the final score and decided to blow off watching the second half. Then, tonight, when there was nothing good on TV, including a Golden State / Utah game (yawn), I watched the recorded second half of Celtics / Suns, figuring: - I could enjoy me a little Steve Nash magic, and - Even a stale Celtics game where I know they lost is better than anything else I could watch. And boy was I right. Why, oh why, does Kevin Garnett make it so difficult to like him? A furtive nut shot? Really? And then to give that astonished "Who me?" look when you know you just jabbed a guy in the nutsack AND undercut his legs at the same time...Christ, you're making Bruce Bowen's foot defense look downright timid.