I understand Kevin Love was frustrated and who wouldn’t have been. After toiling with Minnesota for six years and now he finally had a chance to not only participate in the playoffs but potentially contribute to winning a championship. But let’s be honest, Kelly Olynyk did not do this intentionally. Many Celtics have come to his defense and said Olynyk doesn’t have a malicious bone in his body. Well I say he doesn’t have an intentional bone in his body. He never intentionally plays defense, never intentionally gets rebounds or boxes out and never intentionally plays with any intensity or physicality. If anything, when Olynyk got tangled up with Love, it was more out of a lack of coordination or just plain frustration. One other note, Olynyk hooked Love’s arm for four seconds before a whistle was blown and if you watch the replay, you can see that Olynyk was steering Love away from the play in hopes that Bradley would grab the loose ball. By the way, if you aren’t a Celtics fan, it would be completely understandable if you didn’t know who Olynyk was.
A few other notes from that game and series. The officiating in Game 4 was horrendous and embarrassing for the league aside from the Olynyk incident. First, after Kendrick Perkins two-fisted Jae Crowder in the face, he walked toward him to initiate a fight and then after they got tangled hit him in the face again. Perkins had been in the game for a grand total of 40 seconds and he turned into Rick Mahorn. A bit player off the bench who sparks an ugly incident and isn’t ejected? What happened to keeping the game under control? If the referees had rightfully ejected Perkins, the J.R. Smith incident wouldn’t have happened and Jae Crowder doesn’t sprain his ACL and the game doesn’t deteriorate. And how could I leave out Isaiah Thomas mugging Lebron James on the inbounds at the end of the game which helped the Celtics force a turnover. Three referees on the court including the one that handed LeBron the ball and nobody saw it? The height of incompetency.
The Spurs-Clippers series has been the best series so far and Game 6 should be a doozy. The Clippers are playing their hearts out but as usual the defending NBA champs find a way to win which is why they are up 3-2. It would be nice just once if after the Clippers lose a close game, if Coach Doc Rivers didn’t blame the officials which has now become an ongoing pattern.
How about Deron Williams? Paul Pierce started the bashing and many other NBA players and media alike piled on before he woke up and dropped 35 points on the Atlanta Hawks in Game 4 to tie the series at 2-2. In his previous three games he was 7-of-26 from the field with a grand total of 18 points. For a guy that has underachieved as badly as he has since arriving in Brooklyn, he would be forgiven by a lot of his naysayers if he led the Nets to upset the Hawks in the series. The Nets, behind a rejuvenated and energized Deron Williams could potentially beat the Wizards in the next round also.
By the way, Pierce in potentially his last hurrah led the Wizards to a quick disaptch and sweep of the Toronto Raptors.
Who would have thought that Rajon Rondo would lead the Mavericks to as many playoff victories as the Celtics earned without him? Rondo will probably be forced to take a one year deal with the Lakers now to show he is not a coach killer or malcontent. With that said, his lack of boundaries, mental and emotional discipline and declining play have cost him potentially 20 to 30 million dollars at least. When a guy can’t even pretend to be a good guy or stay on his best behavior going into his free agent year, that speaks volumes.
As the Celtics head into the offseason, let’s truly assess where they are at. Jae Crowder can play for my team anytime as a sixth man. Thomas is the best guard off the bench that any team has in the NBA. Tyler Zeller is a quality backup center that GM Danny Ainge stole from Cleveland. Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley are a legitimate starting backcourt moving forward, but otherwise this team is still very far away from an NBA championship. Ainge needs to attract two marquee players and a couple of veteran big men for this team to be truly relevant. As Coach Brad Stevens said, it was a blessing to play Cleveland in the first round, because it tells the Celtics where they need to get to. Going from 30 wins to 40 wins is a lot easier than going from 40 to 50 or more.
In the name of Clyde Drexler, what kind of motivational tactics are the Portland Trailblazers using with lines like “We don’t lose to Spanish players”. Portland forward and French player Nicolas Batum took responsibility for the Blazers motivational card within the locker room saying he didn’t mean to insult anyone especially the Memphis Grizzlies Spanish center Marc Gasol. Well, as it turns out, the Grizzlies don’t seem to lose to French players as they are on the verge of knocking out Portland with a 3-1 series lead. By the way, Bob Cousy was the first French player in the NBA. The All-French team. Cousy and Tony Parker in the backcourt, Boris Diaw and Joakim Noah at forwards and the Stifle Tower Rudy Gobert at center.
Here is hoping the Tampa Bay Lightning beat Detroit in the seventh game tonight. The Lightning were 5-0 against Montreal in the regular season and that would be the second round matchup.
I have jumped on the Calgary Flames bandwagon, not just because they sent the Sedin brothers and Alex Burrows on an early vacation, but they are starting to bring back memories of the days of Theo Fleury, Gary Suter, Joe Mullen and Joe Nieuwendyk. The Flames beat Montreal to win their only Stanley Cup in 1989. In the previous 20 seasons, the Flames have missed the playoffs 12 times and been eliminated in the first round seven times. Here is the bad news. Not only do they have to play the Anaheim Ducks in the next round, but Calgary has lost 20 straight games in Anaheim.
Lastly, the St. Louis Blues continue to be a huge playoff disappointment after falling in the first round to the Minnesota Wild. In the four seasons since coach Ken Hitchcock has taken over, the Blues have had 109, 111 and 109 points respectively and the fourth shortened season (NHL lockout in 2012-13) they had 60 which was still third in the Western Conference. They have now lost in the first round three straight years and the fourth year they lost in the second round. In the last 10 years Hitchcock has coached, he has led his teams to a grand total of one playoff series victory.