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Now We Know Where Glen “Big Baby” Davis Gets His Nickname From

The Celtics were crushing the Blazers by 25 points on Friday night, so Doc Rivers decided to give his starters some rest and bring in the second line. That 25 point lead suddenly became just an 11 point lead with around six minutes left in the game, meaning the Celtics starters had to go back into the game. Kevin Garnett was none too pleased to have his replacements blow the lead and chewed them out for it. Glen “Big Baby” Davis is one of those second-teamers, and he didn’t take the tongue lashing too well. Check it out for yourself:

Man, I’ve seen athletes cry out of excitement when they’ve won, but I can’t remember the last time I saw one cry because he was verbally abused. I truly feel bad for Big Baby if he’s that sensitive. Who would’ve thought a beastly man standing 6’9″ and weighing nearly 300 pounds could have such thin skin? Video via You Been Blinded.

UPDATE: JS in the comments brings to our attention another crying incident — Manny Wright with the Dolphins thanks to Nick Saban.

Ray Allen Never Had to Take Last Shot

I remember what a big deal ESPN, and others, had made of the issue once Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were acquired to team alongside Paul Pierce. If it ever came down to a last second shot, which of the three players would take it? In an ESPN interview during the season, KG and Pierce both said Ray would. Looks like that never even became an issue for them. Nor did three stars/one ball, too many personalities, or any of those other pre-season criticisms.

One thing I really liked about the Celtics this year was how team-oriented they were. Not only did they constantly send that message to the media, but they also acted it. They talked about being selfless, not caring about awards, and how their only goal was to win. Their team motto was ubuntu, which is an African philosophy to describe a person who is not threatened that others are able and good. That’s exactly how the Big Three embraced each other, not looking at one another like competition, but as pieces that would complete a team puzzle. It’s not often that big-name acquisitions click like this, but these guys, not to mention many others on the team, completely meshed.

Another aspect I really enjoyed about this team is that they went wire-to-wire. They were the best team the entire season, proving themselves to be the class of the Eastern Conference, and NBA. All those people who said their regular season success would go to waste now have to eat their words. I have long expressed how much credence I give to the regular season in any sport. In fact, one reason why I dislike March Madness is because it throws away the importance of the other four months of the season. I like seeing teams that work hard in the regular season get rewarded for their efforts during the playoffs.

A few more thoughts on the Celtics winning the title …

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All of a Sudden Doc Rivers Is a Genius

I love how this stuff works sometimes. Last year Doc Rivers was the guy who deserved to be canned after his team did the nosedive into last place like they had a two-ton anchor attached to them. You even had guys like Ryan Gomes all but admitting they were tanking. Many people were calling for Doc’s head — it was nuts. The guy had no players, especially when you consider his big gun, the Finals MVP, Paul Pierce, was hurt. But all those sicko results-oriented freaks just look at the bottom line and say the team was the worst in the league so the coach deserves to be gone. I can’t tell you which people did 180s from saying he should be fired to praising the guy, but I can tell you I didn’t jump on Doc as a poor coach, giving him leeway because he had no players.

Now, in ’07-’08, he gets KG, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce comes back healthy, and all of a sudden it’s a different story. Basketball, because it’s only a five player game and because it’s easy for one player to take over and dominant, makes it tough for a coach to look good when he doesn’t have good players. At the same point, it can make a decent, or even a bad coach look good. Doc wasn’t a bad coach because his team was bad last year, and he’s not a great coach because his team was great this year. He’s obviously a good coach who needed the proper tools to deliver the goods — just like pretty much any other coach would. So just remember all the chants you heard for Doc’s head last year when you hear all the great stuff about him this year. Do you really think he suddenly became a genius over the offseason? Doubtful. It’s the players, for the most part, that define the coach. Not the other way around.

Refs Screwing the Lakers?

Another significant playoff game gone by, another critical performance by the referees. I didn’t have the sound on while watching the game so I have no idea what was and wasn’t said by the commentary team, but there was no question that the boxscore painted a clear picture of free throw disparity between the two teams. Now let’s not make a mistake about things here — we heard a similar argument all throughout the playoffs. Wasn’t the same thing said about the Lakers/Jazz series? Wasn’t there a no-call on Derek Fisher against Brent Barry in the Conference Finals? The home team usually gets the calls in the playoffs it’s said, and Game 2 would fit in with that idea. Just ask Lakers coach Phil Jackson:

“I’m more struck by the fact that Leon Powe gets more foul shots than our whole team does in (Powe’s) 14 minutes of play,” Jackson said, even mispronouncing the Celtic forward’s name to add insult to his 13-10 free throw edge. “That’s ridiculous.

“You can’t play from a deficit like that; that we had in that half, 19-2 in the first half. I’ve never seen a game like that in all these years I’ve coached in the Finals. Unbelievable.”

One thing I would say is that there’s an inherent problem with analyzing the final free throw margin. Usually the team that’s ahead in the 4th quarter will wind up shooting 10 more free throws in the game just over the last few minutes, and the home team is typically ahead. So is it the home team getting the calls, or is it home court that perpetuates this situation? I think the 19-2 figure tells us the answer — the calls were unbalanced in this case. Here’s another thing: most people and media members are quick to act after seeing one side of a series. You can’t react or judge a series until you’ve seen each team play at home. When the Celtics are getting blown out by 20 points in Games 3 and 4, which is bound to happen, it will be a different tone. One thing that won’t change however, is that the Celtics have home court advantage. Maybe those four at the Garden will make the difference. We’ll wait and see.

Mike Bibby Calls Out Celtics Fans

After getting run out of the building on Sunday by the East’s top-seeded Celtics, the Hawks didn’t have much going for them. Mike Bibby’s boys were embarrassed, so he had to save face somehow. He elected to do so by getting off this blast on Celtics fans:

“They were kind of loud in the beginning, but a lot of those fans are bandwagon jumpers trying to get on this now. I played here last year, too (with the Sacramento Kings), and I didn’t see three-quarters of them. They’re for the team now and they might get a little rowdy, but that’s about it.

Fair-weather fans?

“You could say that,” [Bibby] said. “I remember them having bags over their heads. It’s a different look. I guess that’s what happens when you win.”

It’s amazing how much things change in only a year. The Celtics go from being an embarrassment getting criticized for trying to tank to becoming the top team in the league. Though Bibby is right in saying that all the fans weren’t there before, I’m not sure I would call them bandwagon fans. I have been quite explicit about saying you shouldn’t support a team if you don’t believe in the management, ownership, or the direction they’re going. I wouldn’t have shown up at Celtics games to watch that crap team last year, but once they acquired KG and Ray, I woulda been buying tickets. Fair weather? I’d go with practical. Fair weather fans are the Rockies fans who showed up only in October though it was the same team all year, or the Hornets fans in April though it was the same team winning games back in December. Now let’s see Bibby’s Hawks get a win — that’s really what he should be worried about.

Kevin Garnett Doesn’t Deny He Tanked

One of the big stories floating around on Tuesday was the comment from Timberwolves owner, Glen Taylor, who said Kevin Garnett tanked down the stretch last season. Taylor went out of his way to specify that it wasn’t the entire team, but rather solely KG, who was tanking towards the end of the year, by not playing in the last five games. Well, obviously with his head focused squarely on the matter at hand — the Houston Rockets and their 22-game winning streak — KG wasn’t digging for NBA headlines during the day. So when he was interviewed after the game by TNT’s David Aldridge, he hadn’t heard about Taylor’s comments. When told by Aldridge what Taylor had said, here was Garnett’s response:

I’m in Boston, I care less what Glen Taylor thinks of Kevin Garnett. Right now, huge win for us. That’s nonsense. I don’t even know why he would bring that up …”

Now I’m not going to say that Garnett’s response was an indictment, but I will say I’m surprised he didn’t defend himself against the charges by Taylor. I would have expected something to the effect of: “I played there my whole career, gave it my all, took them to the playoffs … I always worked hard there.” Sure, KG was more or less ambushed by Aldridge about the matter, but I’m still surprised that he didn’t outright deny the tanking charge. That seems to me like it would have been the natural reaction if it were the case.

Celtics Already Breaking Down?

Is this the typical overreaction of a fan or what? The Celtics lose one game out of like 50, and you have losers on the internet already pondering whether or not they’ve broken down. Well guess what? That’s me right there for you. The Celtics are now 29-4 after losing to the Bobcats Wednesday night. That’s their first loss to a non-marquee team. Falling to LeBron, the Pistons, and the Magic is acceptable — those are the East’s elite. But the Bobcats? What’s that all about?

I know Boston won twice last month without Ray Allen, but man, doesn’t the alarm go off a bit after they dropped this one? That’s what was always said — the Celtics have a great 1-2-3 combo, but after that their depth is limited. Sure, their supporting cast has played well this year, but it was only a matter of time before one of their big guys broke down ruining the running triumvirate (yeah, that’s assonance AND alliteration for you in the same sentence, baby). I know, I know, it’s only one game. Still, I’m already worried that this could be an indication of how fragile the window for Boston’s success is this year. Would be shame to see them fall because of injury and I have a feeling the losses will start coming in more frequently from here on out.

(photo courtesy AP/Charles Krupa)