Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Weird stats on the streaky C's

With 5:33 to go at the Garden last night, I watched people start streaming towards the exits.  Houston had just taken a ten point lead, 80-70.  But then the Celtics turned up the defense, and held the Rockets to just 4 points in the last five and a half minutes, while sending the game to overtime.  Amazingly they even forced 24 second violations on consecutive posessions with 3:27 to go.  How often do you see that?  The biggest play of the game that nobody is talking about today was a TERRIBLE loose ball foul committed by Samuel Dalembert with 56 seconds left.  At the time the Rockets were still in control with an 82-79 lead.  But as KG pulled down a rebound, Dalembert went over the back, and all of a sudden it was just a one point game with no time off the clock (I hate the rule that a loose ball foul under one hoop leads to free throws on the other end.  But in this case, I'll take it), paving the way for Ray's huge 3.

After back to back OT wins, Boston heads to Philly with a chance to take over first place in the Atlantic Division, an idea that seemed crazy just one week ago (when they trailed the Sixers by 4 games).  The Celtics are 5-5 on the second night of back to back's this year, but they are 5-0 at home, and 0-5 on the road.  In the midst of their wildly inconsistent season, only 6 of 37 games played have not been part of either a winning or losing streak of 3 games or more.  I need to set up a LucidSportsFan research department, but lacking that I asked Celtics radio play by play man Sean Grande, who confirmed that Boston is the only team in the league with a pair of both 5 game winning and losing streaks.  None have extended beyond five games though, so the trends suggest that the they are due for a loss to the Sixers tonight.

I've got a feeling the old guys are going to surprise us.  When it looked as if the C's were about to fall to the Knicks on Sunday, my buddy turned to me and said "These are the games they used to win."   But they pulled that one out, and then last night they gutted out another with suffocating defense late in the 4th quarter, reminiscent of 2008 (and the fact that they managed to beat Houston despite being out rebounded 57-38 is particularly impressive).  I'm hoping they've turned a corner.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What's wrong with reenacting scenes from "Platoon" with Charlie Sheen?

Directv has a series of commercials running right now that tell you all the bad stuff that might happen if you keep watching regular cable television, instead of switching over to their service.  They explain how one thing leads to another, and eventually you end up in an ugly situation.  Obviously I understand why it's no good to have a grandson with a dog collar.  But this other one has me a little bit confused:

What's the problem with reenacting scenes from Platoon with Charlie Sheen?  You lost me on that one Directv; I think that sounds like a pretty good time.  I'm fairly sure if you asked the average American if that's something they'd do given the opportunity, more often than not they would say yes.

Also, take advantage of the new Facebook "Like" and Twitter "Follow" buttons below.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Man, Celtics-Knicks games are NUTS!

When I left the Garden back on Feb. 3rd, I was certain that the Celts/Knicks game I had just witnessed was the most entertaining of the year so far (Boston won 91-89).  And then Sunday happened.  As Paul Pierce pulled up for that off balance three with seven seconds left, I figured it had no chance, and that the game was over.  But somehow it rattled in, the building exploded, and the home team went on to pull out a victory in overtime.  Boston and New York have now played three times this season, the first two decided by just one basket, and Sunday's OT thriller by a score of 115-111.  The Celtics have never lost to the Knicks in Boston during the "New Big Three" era.  They are now 12-0 at home vs New York since 2006.

Rajon Rondo put up the greatest triple double the league has seen in 44 years; and it happened just two games after his previous triple double added his name to a short list of all time Celtics greats.  It was Rondo's 4th of the season in just 26 games played (he missed 10 due to injury).  The entire rest of the NBA has 6 triple doubles combined!  Maybe I should create a "Rajonmeter" (similar to the Tebometer) that would measure what percentage of the total triple doubles in the league are owned by Rondo.  Right now it would stand at 40%.

Lost among the exploits of Pierce and Rondo on Sunday, was Kevin Garnett's 18 points and 10 rebounds.  That's now 6 straight games that KG has scored 18 or more, something he hadn't done since March of 2008.

And finally, I can't leave out my impression of Jeremy Lin.  A little over a week ago I predicted that Lin was due to struggle in upcoming games against some of the better point guards in the league.  Rondo obviously destroyed him statistically (18 PTS, 17 REB, 20 AST, 4 TO vs 14 PTS, 4 REB, 5 AST, 6 TO), but I also noticed tendencies from Lin which confirm my belief that he doesn't have the skill set to be a successful NBA point guard.  He frequently picks up his dribble and drives into the lane (while covering the ball like an NFL running back), then is forced to make extremely difficult shots or passes because he is trapped with nothing else to do.  When they work, it looks spectacular; but on the other hand, you often see something like this:

Sunday, March 4, 2012

How much information do you need to provide to buy socks?

The other day I stepped into a Payless shoe store to buy some black socks.  I grabbed a package off the rack and walked up to the register.  It cost $6.99 for six pairs, a pretty good buy I think.  As I pulled a twenty out of my pocket the guy behind the counter said "Can I have your zip code?"  No big deal, I know they like to do research on where their customers come from.  Then he said "Phone number?"  I was slightly put off, but again I thought maybe they just want to know what area codes are shopping in the store, so I told him.  Now here's a transcript of the rest of the conversation:

Payless guy: "Name?"
Me: "Um...(long pause) Mark?"
Payless guy: "Last name?"
Me: "Vandeusen (getting irritated, still holding out the twenty dollar bill)."
Payless guy: "Address?"
Me: "Why do you need all of this (while glaring at him like he's lost his mind)?"
Payless guy: "They want to send you coupons.  You can just give me your email address."
Me: "No, I don't want to do any of that (probably now looking like I want to stab him)."

Finally he took my cash and I left.  Here's what I don't get: It's not like I was buying a 72 inch flat screen at Best Buy.  It's freaking PAYLESS.  I don't think anything in the store even costs more than $30.  And don't they have a permanent buy one get one 50% off sale?  Do they really think I want their coupons; in the mail no less?  That's like ten times worse than the Trader Joes Flyer.  And I was paying cash, for one $7 item.  The next time a guy buys a drink from me at the bar, when he holds out his money I'm going to ask him for his name and address.  We'll see how well that goes over.

Recently I wrote a post ripping a Wall Street Journal article entitled "How Waiters Read Your Table" because I thought everything in it was just common sense.  Maybe I was wrong.  Maybe I am giving humanity too much credit.  Because this Payless guy was clearly not reading me at all.  The whole interaction made me feel a lot like Jonah Hill in The 40 Year Old Virgin:

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The LucidSportsFan expansion continues...

My services have been requested for another website,  The really cool thing about this one is that the creator is a published author who has interview tons of Celtics players and coaches over the years.  Take a look, it's pretty impressive stuff.  The site is trying to get more in tune with the current team and it's fans, so they've recruited me to write for them.

Having said that, here's a couple of stats from Friday night's win over New Jersey that jumped out to me: Kevin Garnett's 20 points marked the 5th straight game he's netted 18 or more, his best scoring run in five years.  And with the exception of the garbage time 4th against the Nets, the C's have strung together seven consecutive quarters of 25 points or more, a nice run for a team lacking consistency and only averaging 90.2 ppg.

On another note, last September I wrote a post saying that I need a LucidSportsFan logo.  It was a little bit serious, but mostly joking.  Well, now I definitely do; for real.  Ideas, suggestions, and offers to help are welcome, and would be greatly appreciated.  Somehow it has to convey all the stuff I said in that post, most of which is well represented in the profile pic of my facebook fan page The logos on the left side of the page for the other sites I write for are a good frame of reference.  It's a challenge for sure.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "Escapade" by Janet Jackson. Also, today is a big day.

Escapade was a Billboard #1 in early 1990.  It was off of Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation album, which is definitely one of my top 10 all time favorite cassettes that I ever owned.  Plus, "escapade" is just a really cool word.  Without looking it up, I'm guessing the definition is "a mini-vacation/adventure that is of a slightly bad-ass or rebelious nature."

This picture is from her "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" video, which came oh so close to being picked today instead.

Also, today, Thursday, March 2nd, 2012, is the one year anniversary of the creation of this blog.  It's come a long way since day 1.  Do you know what that means?  I have written and posted something on this site for 366 (yeah leap day) consecutive days.  No vacations.  No calling in sick.  I'm like Cal Ripken.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

C's more likely to win the division or miss the playoffs?

For the second night in a row the Celtics knocked off the team immediately behind them in the Eastern Conference playoff standings (first the Cavs on Tuesday, then the Bucks on Wednesday).  And even though Boston is tied with New York for the 7th/8th playoff spots, they're now 3.5 games ahead of both Cleveland and Milwaukee, but only 3 games behind Philly for the Atlantic Division lead and the 3rd seed in the East (with 2 of their next 4 games against the Knicks and Sixers).

On Wednesday against the Bucks Garnett filled in at center and looked as good as he has all year, putting up a season high 25 points, and 10 rebounds.  It marked the first time since the 2008 Championship season that he's scored 18 or more points in four straight games.  He also went 4-4 from the free throw line in the last 14 seconds to ice the game (for the season he's shooting a career high 86% FT, second best on the team to Ray's 92%).  With Jermaine O'Neal out, Brandon Bass took over Garnett's power forward spot.  I love this lineup, and I really hope Doc keeps going with it.  If KG can outplay Dwight Howard in back to back games, I'm pretty sure he can hold his own at center against the rest of the Eastern Conference.  After going 1-5 in the previous six games that Bass missed, the C's are now 2-0 since his return.  Obviously I'm not saying that's the reason they lost five in a row, but I do think there's a slight correlation.

On Tuesday night in Cleveland Rondo was held scoreless with five turnovers (although he did have 11 assists.  I'd be surprised if Pierce and Rondo had ever combined for 5 more assists than points in a game before; Paul had 12 pts and 6 ast).  But on Wednesday Rajon responded with his 3rd triple-double of the season (15 pts, 11 reb, 10 ast).  That's two more than anyone else in the league, and three more than Lebron, Wade, Kobe, Durant, and a whole bunch of other superstars combined.  And check out this stat that ESPN was nice enough to throw out there on Sportscenter last night:

Wow.  That is some list.  I REALLY hope they don't trade Rondo.  My official plea to Danny Ainge is coming soon.  Oh, and back to the title of this post, I still think they can win the division.

Back to homepage