Saturday, October 6, 2012

2012 Boston Celtics Prediction

I realize this is my second "predictions" post in 3 days.  But the NBA preseason has just begun, and since the other sites I write for are asking, I'm going to give it to them.

2012 Celtics headed to Europe for the first preseason game.
A year ago I guessed the Celtics would go 37-29, and they did two games better.  A lot of the same factors come into play when speculating on how the team will finish this year.  Boston is a well coached veteran squad that knows exactly what they are capable of.  They will not feel the need to try to prove themselves during the regular season.

And as we saw last spring, come playoff time Doc will choose health and rest over home court advantage if necessary.  I'm sure we'd all probably like to see Coach Rivers sacrifice a win or two here and there in order to give some extra rest to Pierce and Garnett along the way as well.  Although recent history and past numbers indicate that may not actually happen.

I do believe the Celtics will win what is sure to be an improved Atlantic Division (the Knicks, Nets, and Sixers all have legitimate division title aspirations).  My guess is this Boston team is probably capable of winning around 57-58 games, but could still accomplish what they want with 47 or 48.  Final prediction?  52-30.  In the post season I expect to see the C's again battling the Heat for the conference title, and the right to face either LA or OKC in the Finals.  I can't get my heart and my head to agree on who wins though, so I'll leave it at that.  I guess it's a battle between "Lucid" and "Fan."

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Magical Interweb

I remember the first time in elementary school when we had to give "oral reports."  I want to say it was in third grade, which for me was 1985.  The topic was a famous person of your own choosing.  I have a vivid memory of one kid in my class doing his on Wilt Chamberlain, and closing the "speech" by saying "He is still playing today for the Los Angeles Lakers."

Immediately I was sure that wasn't true (perhaps it was the first indication that this was the right field for me).  At 8 years old my NBA expertise was minimal, but I definitely knew about the Lakers and their rivalry with Boston.  I was certain that Wilt Chamberlain was not a part of it, and that he hadn't played in the NBA in a long time (in fact he retired in 1973).

How cool was microfiche?
So how was it possible this kid said something that had been false for 12 years?  Because at the time you had to go to the library, look through the card catalog, find a book, read it, take notes, and then report them.  The book he used as his source from the Willard School library was published in the early 1970's.

When I got a little older and started writing "research reports" I was exposed to an amazing thing called "microfiche."  It consisted of tiny photographs of newspaper articles on film that could be viewed with a machine which was basically a microscope hooked up to a monitor.  There was still a lot of leg work to be done, but now you had access to much more and current information beyond just the books in the library.

In college our library had a subscription to something called LexisNexis, which was sort of a predecessor to Google.  It was a giant database of news articles online, but in order to use it you often had to wait in line to get on one of the few computers that had it.

So what is my point here, other than sounding like an old man?  If you're a kid in school these days, writing a research report (or finding out pretty much anything you want to) has got to be incredibly easy, pretty much a joke compared to what it used to be.  You can probably do most of the work on your iphone while you're outside on the playground during recess.  I'd love to hear from parents and teachers any sort of insight you might have in this regard.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

My AL East prediction was dead on; almost.

Back on Opening Day of this season I wrote a post in which I predicted the American League East's final standings.  I speculated that three teams in the division would win between 90-93 games.  As it turned out, the Rays won 90, the Orioles 93, and the Yankees 95, outdoing my guess by just two games.  Here's a direct quote from April 5th:

"My guess is that Boston, New York, and Tampa will each finish with roughly 90-93 wins... so it definitely seems likely that everything will come down to the final days of the season."
But as I go back and read that now I realize there is one little typo.  Hey it happens sometimes, doesn't have much in the budget for editing, and occasionally things slip through the cracks.  In this case, the word "Boston" was mistakenly substituted for the word "Baltimore."  Oh well.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bike Texting is NOT the Only Danger Here

This time it's actually not your fault, Bobby.
The Boston media is going to have a field day with this Bobby Valentine "fell off his bike reading a text from Pedroia" incident, which was first reported by the New York Times.

The obvious angle is that it's a perfect metaphor for the Red Sox season, and a fitting end to the year. Parents and school teachers can use it as a humorous safety lesson about the perils of texting while biking or driving. But I think most people will overlook an essential ingredient at the heart of this story.  Here's a quote from the Times article in which I have underlined the key element:

"On the wet, slippery path, Valentine was reading a text on his phone from Dustin Pedroia, the Red Sox second baseman, and riding his bicycle. When he looked up, he had to swerve to avoid the umbrellas of two French tourists walking in front of him. The bike skidded, and he lost his balance and went careening head over pedals down the side of the hill by the road."

Equally as hazardous as the texting while biking are the umbrellas, most likely being carried by people paying no attention to their surroundings.  On another note, doesn't that seem like a couple fairly poorly written sentences for the New York Times?


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Awesome Old Song of the Week: "Waterfalls" by TLC

It's been about 17 years since the height of TLC's popularity, and at this point in time they may be best remembered for the life and death of group member Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes.  In 1994 she burnt down the mansion that she lived in with NFL star Andre Rison (a wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons), and then in 2002 she died in a car accident after losing control of her sports car and running off the road.

Waterfalls was the trio's biggest hit, from the summer of 1995.  Interesting anecdote; Cee-Lo Green performed background vocals on the track.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Is it time for a Sanchez-ometer?

Sanchez has given us several Tebow-esque performances.
Tim Tebow threw his first pass of the year yesterday, a week later than I predicted.  Surprisingly he was able to complete it, leaving his success rate for the season at a very impressive 100%.  Unfortunately the 1-1 performance didn't do much for his career completion percentage (aka the Tebometer), which is still only 47.5%.

But the Jets backup QB can take solace in the fact that starter Mark Sanchez is doing his best to emulate Tebow's level of accuracy so far this year.  Over the last three games Sanchez has completed just 44 of 101 passes, and for the season 63 of 128; or 49%.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

I hate killing the clock instead of trying to score, but I like what Tom Brady has to say.

Undrafted rookie Brandon Bolden had 137 yards and a TD.
Two weeks ago I wrote a post expressing my concerns about the lack of aggression displayed by the Patriots offense.  You'd think they would go out the window after a 52-28 win in which New England became just the second team in NFL history to have a pair of 100 yard rushers and a pair of 100 yard receivers on the same day.  Their 45 second half points were also the most in any NFL game since 1972.

But in the first half they trailed 14-7, and the way the Pats handled their final possession was troubling to me.  With 1:11 to go they had a 1st and 10 on their own 4 yard line.  Ridley ran for 9 yards, then again for 5 yards, and New England let the clock run out.  If you've got an offense capable of scoring 6 straight touchdowns in one of the most prolific halves the league has seen in 40 years, why not try to put up some points in that situation?  Even after the two rushing plays they still had close to 30 seconds left, plenty of time to throw the ball downfield a few times.  How do you not at least take a shot?

I have a fundamental issue with this in football; when teams kneel down and kill the clock on their own side of the field at the end of the half.  I don't care how much time is left, or how far you have to go.  Unless you are literally throwing the ball out of your own end zone, I think on any given play there is always a greater chance that the offense is going to score than the defense.  If anyone out there can actually come up with data to suggest otherwise, please enlighten me.

On a totally unrelated note, Brady said something pretty funny after his rushing touchdown was upheld.  If you can't make it out from the video, check out my post on Cosby Sweaters.


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