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A mulligan in basketball and blogging?

May 9, 2009
Yup. Just out of reach all night.

Yup. Just out of reach all night.

I am going to allow my frustrations from tonight’s game get the best of me and write a semi-angry post.
For all you loyal readers (110+ each day: thank you repeat offenders and tell all of your friends), I don’t think I do the usual fan ranting and go blowing things out of proportion anytime my team loses. After a loss, I think about the game… sleep on it… and then I’m in a better mind frame to analyze the game. Not tonight. This post is coming minutes after Game 3.

Magic 117, Celts 96.
After watching this game, I realized that I’d rather have the following 7 things happen to me instead bearing witness to what happened tonight:

  • Have David Beckham take a kick to the-spot-that-must-not-be-named.
  • Have a 12 hour play-date with Sasha Vujacic.
  • Go 12 rounds with Mike Tyson sans boxing gloves or SWAT teams.
  • Have Bernard Madoff manage my portfolio.
  • Let Michael Jackson babysit my children.
  • Share a spoon with a swine flu patient.
  • Have JK Rowling change the ending of Book 7 and just do away with Harry as the final horcrux.
If we are without Perk in Game 4, House will have to hook and flip Dwight. A lot.

If we are without Perk in Game 4, House will have to hook and flip Dwight. A lot.

I’m still angry about a handful of things. I don’t want to rip on him too badly because he’s outplayed Howard in his first 2 games, but he couldn’t get any advantageous positioning to keep Dwight away from the hoop to reduce any offensive or defensive production. Out of frustration, Perk did make one big mistake that could really put this series in jeopardy: with 10:15 to go in the 4th, Perk threw an elbow at Michael Pietrus’ throat/chest. This immediately drew a flagrant 1, but after looking at the play again… there is a chance the folks doling out 1-game suspensions might want to hand one to Perk, too. If Perk is suspended for game 4, who on earth is going to guard Dwight Howard? Of course we have a shot of beating the Magic without Perk, but how many things have to go right for the Celts and have to go wrong for the Magic for that to happen? I don’t want to think about Perk being suspended because it turns my anger into fear. Our lack of offensive rhythm. We looked like like cars on i-95 during rush-hour traffic: it was stop-go, stop-go, stop-go, but no one was going anywhere. The Celts had too many loose possessions where they were forced into terrible shots. The Magic weren’t playing stellar defense, we just couldn’t get into any flow. We had too many iso plays for Rondo, Pierce, and Ray. It honestly felt like they just took turns trying to take over the game instead of playing team ball. Incredibly, incredibly frustrating to watch. By the way, all 12 players had a negative +/- rating tonight: Perk and Rondo were both -20. Ouch. There wasn’t any consistent offensive production (except maybe Eddie: 6-7 FG). Ray Allen: what the hell is going on? 3-13 FG? 0-5 3pt? Paul Pierce: His bright spot tonight was being aggressive enough to penetrate and draw fouls: 14-14 from the stripe. 6-15 from the field otherwise… Where can we get the bulk of our scoring if not here? Our foul trouble disrupted the flow the game and allowed guys like Rashard Lewis and Hedo to attack our bigs in the paint. Perk had 5, Baby had 5, Scal had 5. Finally, we didn’t not capitalize. For a veteran team with the heart and soul of a champion and the GRIT to win, we were stupid with the ball at critical moments. We had the lead down to 7 with 11 minutes to go in the 4th. What happened 4 minutes later? The Magic pulled ahead by 16. Our focus was only there in sprinkles tonight. In the first half, the ball bounced in between 4 green jerseys and Dwight made a b-line BACK to get the ball after already transitioning. Also in the first half, Perk makes a behind the head/shoulder inbounds pass after a Magic basket to Rondo, and Anthony Johnson steals the ball at snail’s pace.

If we are without Perk in Game 4, Pierce will have to knee Dwight in the junk. A lot.

If we are without Perk in Game 4, Pierce will have to knee Dwight in the junk. A lot.

I don’t even know. Where are our heads? Why are we so freakin’ inconsistent? One night we look like we can take Cleveland deep in the ECF, the next we look like we couldn’t beat the the Elder Choice Retirement Housing Intramural Team.

Ok. Now I take my mulligan with this post: time to be positive.
We will win Game 4 because we have to. There is a stark contrast between the focus and intensity (focus + intensity = GRIT) of this team when their backs are pinned against the wall. With the possibility of Perk getting handed a 1-game suspension (maybe I’m overreacting out of fear), their backs might be drilled against the wall.
The problem is that championship teams keep this GRIT for an entire series. The Magic don’t have what it takes to beat the Cavs or the Lakers or really even the Celtics. They are beating the Celtics because the 2 games that they’ve won this series have been due to the Celts giving up these games.

Game 4 has to be about one possession at a time, and having the confidence to execute both offensively and defensively. I know it’s easier said than done, but the Celts have and can make it look easy.

Since I’ve taken my mulligan with this post, it’s time the Celts take their mulligan in this series: rebound and go take Game 4.

Endnote  •  I hate Stan van Gundy. Are the Nuggets playing the best basketball in the West? Chris G seems to think so… and I seem to agree.

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