Sunday, December 21, 2014

Awesome Old (Christmas) Song of the Week: "Winter Wonderland" by the Eurythmics

Winter Wonderland was first written in 1934.  According to Wikipedia, over 200 artists have recorded it in the last 80 years.  The Eurythmics version was released on the 1987 album "A Very Special Christmas," a record I consider the gold-standard for pop Christmas music.

Also, I always thought the Eurythmics were an 80s girl band led by Annie Lennox.  I just discovered that it was actually a duo consisting of her and a guy named David. A. Stewart (pictured).  That just seems weird to me.  "Eurythmics" is a pretty feminine sounding word.



Saturday, December 20, 2014

The only Celtics jersey I've ever owned

I first became a Celtics season ticket holder in the summer of 2007.  It was just after they had traded for Ray Allen, but a few days before they acquired Kevin Garnett--pretty much the best possible timing, maybe the smartest decision of my life actually.

After being terrible for years Boston was offering half-price tickets that offseason in designated "player" sections (the deal went away as soon as the Garnett trade happened).  Included in the package was a free jersey of that player.  Each section was named for lesser-known Celtics that the team was trying to promote.  Our's was Gerald Green.

However, Green was one of the five guys shipped off to Minnesota for Garnett, so we were given a different jersey instead: No. 9, Rajon Rondo.

Over the course of that 2007-08 title-winning season, Rondo became my favorite player.  In fact, I still vividly remember the exact moment when I knew for sure, on March 5, 2008 against the Detroit Pistons.

I'm not quite as sad by Rondo's departure as I expected to be.  I think it's because the version of Rondo I became so infatuated with has been gone for some time now.  While he still had his moments, Rondo hasn't been the same guy since he tore his ACL in January of 2013.  The loss of Garnett and Paul Pierce that offseason clearly didn't help.  Rondo's talents just haven't shined through on this current unspectacular ballclub.

Having said that, there's still a 100 percent chance I am going to cry when he comes back to town with the Mavericks in two weeks.

I wanted to do a tribute blog today with links to all the times I've raved about Rondo in the past.  But then I remembered I already did that, on the day last winter when he returned from his injury.  Take a look, it represents some of Rondo's best work in a Celtics uniform.

From yesterday: My pragmatic and unemotional Rajon Rondo thoughts (I'll save the emotional ones for tomorrow)

UPDATE:

In his debut with Dallas there were clearly glimpses of the old Rondo:



Friday, December 19, 2014

My pragmatic and unemotional Rajon Rondo thoughts (I'll save the emotional ones for tomorrow)

- It appears as though the Celtics did not get very much in return for Rajon Rondo.  I'm confused what the rush was to deal him so quickly.  Why not wait a bit and see what other options become available?  It makes me wonder if there's something else going on here we don't know about.

- As far as where Rondo ended up, I'm actually a little excited to see him in Dallas.  I've always been a fan of Dirk Nowitzki, and Rondo might be the perfect piece to make the Mavs contenders this season.

- If he immediately reverts back to 2012 All-Star Rondo, I'm not sure if I'll be annoyed that guy disappeared in Boston, or just happy to see him again.  Rondo hasn't been his old self lately with the Celtics.  He's afraid to shoot the ball, turns it over too much, and doesn't come up with big plays in key moments.  I've got a feeling having a top-notch roster around him again is going to make a huge difference.

- I am thoroughly unexcited for the Jameer Nelson era at point guard.

- Part of me is worried that the Celtics will be better now.  As talented a player as Rondo is, I really don't think he was helping Boston much this year.  I'd honestly be shocked if they're any worse the rest of the season without him.

- On Wednesday night when the trade rumors got serious I decided to write an article for Hoops Habit on The 10 Best Stat Lines of Rajon Rondo's Career.  Take a look, he had some pretty amazing games in his time with the Celtics.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

When did Kelly Olynyk discover dunking?!

In watching Kelly Olynyk play for the Celtics this season, I'm constantly frustrated by how he never seems to take the ball hard to the rim.  He often shoots fall-aways and scoop shots rather than attacking the basket.  I seriously think Olynyk sometimes forgets how tall he is and doesn't realize he's one of the biggest guys on the floor.

In a post I wrote for CelticsLife the other day about his career-high 30-point game, I captioned the photo "Olynyk's patented 'I'm 7 feet tall but I shoot the ball from 3 feet below the basket' finger role."

And then all of a sudden last night he did this:



And this:



And this as well:


My mind was blown a little bit.

Olynyk is also red-hot right now--his last two games he's scored a combined 45 points while shooting 18-for-25 (72%) from the floor. And yes, It's a bit weird for Kelly Olynyk to be the subject of this blog two days in a row.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Was somebody hacking CSNNE's Celtics broadcast on Monday?

In the midst of Kelly Olynyk's career-high 30 points in the Celtics win over the lowly Sixers on Monday, something very odd happened during the CSNNE broadcast.  While airing a replay of an Olynyk dunk, a strange yellow image briefly appeared on the lower right corner of the screen:


I don't know what that is, but I have a guess at what it might be.  Was it the work of a disgruntled employee playing a practical joke?  A slightly deranged internet hacker messing with the broadcast (maybe one of those total idiot or sneaky-genius Miller Lite ad people)?

No, it was just a telestrating attempt gone wrong, as color commentator Cedric Maxwell said he loved the pass that set up the dunk, and tried to highlight it with a heart.  At least I think it's a heart...

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It's weird how your eyes and mind can play tricks on you

The following logo appeared on the bottom of this web page for a long, long time.  At least a year, probably closer to two:


Only now was it brought to my attention that it says "yetserday," not "yesterday." The funny thing is I showed the picture to several people before I even used it in the first place.  And a lot of others have clearly seen it since.  A whole bunch of readers have probably even clicked on it many times over (feel free to admit as much in the comment section if you like).

I have an avid and loyal staff of proofreaders who point out typos for me.  How did this one get by?  I guess it makes me feel better that I'm not the only one who never saw it?  It's clearly some sort of bizarre optical illusion that the brain doesn't want to notice.  Here's the new version.



Monday, December 15, 2014

It's been 14 years since an AFC East team finished with a better record than the Patriots

The New England Patriots clinched another AFC East title yesterday.  Here are some things you've probably heard already:

- It's their sixth straight division championship, 11th in 12 years, and 12th in 14 years.
- They've had a winning record for 14 straight seasons (the Pats are the only NFL team to finish over .500 every year this millennium).

What isn't mentioned enough is how the Patriots did in those other two non-division-title-winning seasons:

- In 2008 the Pats went 11-5 (without Tom Brady) and tied for the division lead with Miami.  But New England lost on tiebreakers, and became the first NFL team to ever go 11-5 and not make the playoffs.
- In 2002 the Patriots were 9-7, putting them in a three-way tie atop the division with the Dolphins and Jets.  New York won it on tiebreakers.

The last time the Patriots didn't end the season with the most (or tied for the most) wins in the AFC East was 14 years ago, in 2000.  This season also marks the 11th consecutive division championship won by a healthy Brady.

What makes the above photo from Sunday so great is the fact that one of the key plays in New England's 41-13 victory over Miami was a 17-yard run by Brady:



Back in late October Brady said he was going to become more mobile--and he has.

According to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston, the 17-yard scamper was the third-longest of Brady's career and the longest since 2007.  There's also this:


UPDATE: I've been informed that Brady did have the longest run in a game at least once before--a 15-yard rush vs. the Jets on December 22, 2002.


Here are the previous versions of this piece from each of the last three years (as far back as LucidSportsFan.com goes): 2013, 2012, 2011

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