Sunday, November 26, 2017

Lonzo Ball is (Somewhat) Overrated - Celtics Recap

"You want to see the Lakers?" I asked G incredulously when he said that he wanted his Christmas Present to be the Celtics game against the Lakers.

"Yeah, Dad.  I want to see Lonzo Ball"  Now I know that Ball was one of G's favorite rookies, but it was odd to me that he wanted to focus on someone who was such a high profile reality star.  If I had a dollar every time that G showed me a scene from "Ball in the Family" on Facebook Live, I would have several dollars.

Saw this look a lot after turnovers
I suppose that I had interest in seeing this train wreck play basketball.  Between his ugly shot, his even uglier mug and the possibility that his Father Lavar would create a scene in the hallowed Garden, my interest was actually pretty high.  (Unfortunately, we learned later that Lavar was in China with his younger son LiAngelo - is that his name - so theatrics was not in the cards for us here in Boston).

While the Celtic were in the midst of a great nine game winning streak after starting the season 0-2 in the aftermath of the Gordon Heyward's broken ankle, we discovered Al Horford was going to miss the game, and Jayson Tatum was also gimpy.  This game, which at the beginning of the year would have been a 30 point blowout, it was possible that the Lakers could make a run.  It would have to be the Kyrie show for us to win.

8pm, Boston MA.  The Garden seemed electric on this otherwise sleepy Wednesday night.  The fans were anxious, just like us to get a look at the Lakers' savior.  And as he was warming up pregame, I told C that he missed 10 shots in a row.  C was unimpressed with my skepticism.

"I've seen him make three in a row" C retorted.  Maybe I was distracted by all of the booing.  Even during warm ups the crowd was booing Ball every time he touched the ball and cheered every time he clanged a three hard off of the iron.  I swear that I still had not seen him make a shot...and it appeared this huge guy in a gold baseball hat agreed as he was yelling at Ball about 10 feet away from us.

The booing continued every time Ball touched the ball.  As the team's point guard, the booing was incessant.  I don't understand all of the hate, but this definitely took  a toll on the young Lakers as the Celtics jumped out to a 33-16 First Quarter lead.  Even the guy in the golden baseball hat was having a good time.

And then with the Second Quarter, the Celtics started going cold.  Tatum left the game in after two rotations halfway through the quarter and the Lakers were starting to heat up - even Ball and his crappy looking shot was banging them home.

Eventually, the Celtics started pulling away and won the game 107-96.  It really was closer than that.  Ball finished with 9 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists.  He also had 4 blocks and 2 turnovers.  Not a bad game, but G then goes after the game. 

"I think I wanted Dennis Smith, Jr.'s jersey for Christmas."

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Could the Dodgers and Astros World Series Be the Best Since 1986?

Hey, I get it.  Last years world series was really good.  And the Cubs broke its 500 year world series drought.  2014 was also good as the San Francisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals in 7 games.  The 1997 World Series and the 1992 World Series had exciting back and forth games. Kirk Gibson gave us one of the most iconic moments in World Series history with his Game 1 walk off home run off Dennis Eckersley that everyone keeps talking about 30 years later.  John Lackey, Edgar Renteria, Kirby Puckett, Joe Carter and Jack Morris are all World Series heroes.

Verlander looking distraught.
But if the 2017 World Series goes to 7 games, The Dodgers and the Astros may have the best combination of Game 7 heroics, back and forth games and heroes since the 1986 World Series. They may also have the most slicked up, juiced baseballs in history. Bruce Hurst was the best pitcher outshining Roger Clemens and Dwight Gooden.  The Mets came back from 2 runs down in Game 6 and 3 runs down in Game 7 to win the Series.  While I am partial to Red Sox World Series, the 1986 World Series is my favorite Series of all time, perhaps until this year.

Game 1 finally saw Clayton Kershaw break out of his "David Prician" post season slump.  What does "David Prician" mean?  What if I told you it means the same thing as "Chris Salian" and "Rick Porcellian."

Game 2 featured 4 home runs from the 9th inning on as Carlos Correia, Jose Altuve, George Springer and Yasiel Puig all connected to tie the game or take the lead.

Game 3 was not the most memorable game...well unless you count the questionable racial epithet thrown at Yu Darvish by Yuli Garriel (See you Game 6 net year Yuli!!)

Game 4 Saw the Dodgers break away in the 6th inning with an extra base hit barrage in the 9th inning while Dodgers' pitcher Ale Wood was taken out of the game after giving up one hit (Home Run) in 5 and two thirds innings.

Game 5 was considered one of the best games ever played.  The Astros came back from a 4-0 deficit against Clayton Kershaw.  The Astros also came back from a 7-4 deficit later in the game.  Not to be outdone, The Dodgers came back with 3 runs to tie the game 12-12 in the 9th inning.

What will Game 6 bring tonight on Halloween (DLG requires me to bring up Halloween and I'm writing this blog).  Verlander is going for his first World Series title to go with his Hall of Fame Career.  The Dodgers counter with curveball specialist (and Red Sox cast off) Rich Hill, who is trying to make the ultimate comeback.

And the home runs shall fly.  Dodgers 7, Astros 5.  See you tomorrow for Game 7.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Kyrie Irving Era Has Begun and LeBron James Can't Stand It

Of course LeBron James had to make it about himself during the Kyrie story.

"Oh my knee!" James weasels as the camera shutters are furiously fighting for his attention.  "Oh I don't think I can play until I decide that the attention is squarely focused on me, then I can play."  James can't fool me with his inside voice.  This is not Irving's homecoming as much as it is James'

Who cares if its Kyrie Irving's first game in Cleveland since the big trade?  LeBron still wants to show Irving the car keys that he's missing out on.  And just to make a loss a little more plausible, James' faking of an injury is such a LeBron move.  I'm just surprised it wasn't "cramps."  Nevertheless, James wants Irving to know that he is still the little brother on the Cavs' Court.   

But let's get back to Kyrie.  Is Boston demonstrably better after the trade?  The answer is no, unless you count the fact that Isaiah Thomas is out until January with his hip pain so we wouldn't have had a point guard for the first 4 months of the season.  Imagine Derrick Rose in a Celtics uniform?  I know I'm glad I don't have to.  In a star-driven league, though, the Celtics have risen to the top of the Eastern Conference - hurdling over the Cavs because of the trade.  While the Celtics bench was blown up in order to sign Gordon Hayward and make room for Kyrie Irving, and Tyrion had many highlights in the past two years, the starting 5 has markedly improved and, at the end of the day, that is what matters when its not about the team, it's about how well your best three players can share the rock.  Let's face it, an imp and a deep bench was not going to get the Celtics anywhere except a blowout in Game 4, 5, 6 or 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.  Something had to be done and Danny fished out a gold mine in what would have been a lost year.

But now with the resurgent Big 3 (Trademark pending), the Celtics are poised to jump over the LeBrons and fight the Western Conference Champions.  And tonight is the start of the new Era in Celtics' basketball.  Let's go the live blog.

Kyrie with First 2 points of the season?
And of course Kyrie scores the first two points of the season (although you wouldn't know it by the TNT scorekeeper who had the following scores in the first 2 minutes of the game.

Cavs 2-0
Celtics 6-0
Tied 4-4
Celtics 4-3

What? I don't know what's going on.  The announcers have it right.  This seems like the start of an All Star Game.

And just like that, the Celtics' season is all but over.  I hope Gordon Hayward is OK.  That sucks.


Monday, September 25, 2017

NFL Protests - Aren't We All Losing?

Yesterday marked a sharp turn in the Colin Kaepernick saga.  Whereas just a couple of weeks ago only a handful of players were taking a knee or showing some sort of support for those who were, this past weekend showed teams around the league kneeling, sitting, interlocking arms or even not showing up for the National Anthem.  Spurred on by President Donald Trump's call to "fire" all of those who dare protest the singing of the national anthem, players and teams decided to protest in unity.  I personally will not forget the very awkward way that Tom Brady decided to show unity - interlocking his left arm and putting his right hand over his heart.

I guess we have to put aside the obvious pandering that went into President Trump's call to "Fire" anybody (Remember the Apprentice?) when he made his speech in front of a pro-Trump crowd and talk about the issue.  Really, does anyone win in this situation?

Players and Teams

I understand the players' right to protest racial inequality.  I really do.  I may not experience it first hand since I know and like most of the cops I interact with, but many men of color - particularly black men - have had much different experiences with the police.

The men of vast wealth have chosen an easy way out though, right?  Taking a knee during the National Anthem is an easy way out in my humble opinion.  It is 2 minutes out of their lives once a week.  How about taking some of that vast wealth and return it to the community?  How about becoming a role model and instead of paying lip service to a serious cause, actually try and make a difference.

Maybe many of the players who are protesting are giving back to their community, but that work is being completely overshadowed by suspensions and arrests of high profile football players.  Ezekiel Elliot, Joe Mixon, Michael Oher, Pacman Jones and Darrelle Revis have all been arrested or suspended by the league in the last 6 months.  And these were the players I remember or who were caught.  Jesus, even that scumbag Aaron Hernandez is still in the news.  Now it was CTE that made him do it!  Or maybe it was the rampant drug use and the friends who he associated himself with.  Even that Giants kicker is still making headlines.  Unfortunately, I don't have any anecdotes of players doing good in the community.

And the teams - or the owners more specifically - are not much better.  Most (but not all) came out with statements that were pro-player denouncing President Trump remarks.  Many of these owners donated 7 figures to Trump activities over the past year.  You know how I was talking about paying lip service?  Well, I wonder how many of these same owners will continue to donate to Trump activities next year or in 2020? 

Conservatives and President Trump

I guess free speech is only free if it is the kind of speech that you want to hear.  I'm conservative, and I tolerate liberal viewpoints (Hey, I read Gawker websites and CNN, you know) because listening to these viewpoints might allow me to understand positions better (so I can shoot them down), permit me to change my mind on some issues and generally gives me comfort that viewpoints are also free.

But the change in presidency has given fringe groups and ultra conservatives a voice.  Free speech is only free speech if it agrees with your viewpoint, according to these wing nuts.  I remember when President Bush decried the burning of the American Flag back in the late 80's and early 90's.  While burning the American Flag is legal, many conservatives wanted to make it illegal. The same rationale was brought up.  Why disrespect our military and police by burning the flag, they said.  I really don't see it.  Our military and police fight so we can exercise these rights.  And they know this going in.  I just can't help but think that it is pandering to a voter base.  And just the fact that I think this (and not that this is a real issue) is troubling, no?

President Trump still needs to do something about Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, North Korea, Russia, Radical Islamic Terrorism.  But yet he is focused on this issue.  I recognize that he is pandering to his voter base by dealing with this issue (and its an easy issue to deal with that panders to his base), but not walking back his statements is a little crazy.  We live in crazy times, though.

My thoughts?  I don't care if a player sits or stands for the National Anthem.  Unless it affects me, I don't care about anyone else's exercise of their free speech.

Now let's play ball and get back to protesting the Patriots atrocious Defense.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Conor McGregor Thoughts

When we first invited up tot New Hampshire for the weekend, the first thing that i told my buddy was that i would bring the beer and he would get the fight.  The Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor fight.  I was excited for the fight, for the first time I was excited for a fight since perhaps Mike Tyson was a relevant fighter.  It didn't matter that McGregor was going to get KILLED, it was the show that i was excited for. Would McGregor get disqualified for kick boxing?  Would Dana White get in the ring to stop the fight?  Would Floyd Mayweather have to pay his taxes literally in the ring?

Hold me closer tiny dancer
It did not give me a good feeling for the fight watching the lead up tot he fight.  Quite honestly, McGregor looked like he had no power behind his punches.  He looked awkward in the ring when he couldn't use his legs or submission holds.  Even though Mayweather was not a knockout artist, I didn't think this fight would go more than 3 or 4 rounds.  McGregor would tire out and Mayweather would connect a couple of punches and the fight would be over.  At least I didn't pay for the fight!

And the boys were a little ho hum about the fight.  They were more interested in tubing and wake boarding on the lake than they were in the fight itself.  G said to me sleepily that he thought Mayweather would win.  C said Mayweather too, but he is a front runner, so....DLG really had no opinion as she looked up when I asked her who she liked in the fight.  Int he small sample, no one liked McGregor.  Not a big surprise, really.  Maybe if I get them out on the boat, they will have more of an appetite for the fight.

No can do.  While we were waiting anxiously for the three undercard fights to end, the kids were on their phones and playing ping pong.  Come on!!

When the fight did start, the adults were in the upstairs TV and the teenagers were in the downstairs TV.  We had about 40 people at one point watching this fight.  Even though Mom and I both fell asleep at certain points waiting for the 12:30am fight to begin, we were both interested once McGregor wont he first couple of rounds.  He even countered with an uppercut that seemed to have stung Mayweather.  Hmm.

As the fight grew a little older though, Mcgregor looked like he was starting to tire.  Even old bones Mayweather perked up and started taking on the attack.  Ultimately, it was enough to get the TKO in the 10th round, about 6 rounds longer than I thought.

Mayweather would have won his bet.  But not by too much.  Can we you say rematch?