Saturday, November 3, 2012

Are wins really always more important than stats?

Early in the 3rd quarter of Friday night's home opener the Celtics trailed the Bucks by twenty, 55-35.  I pointed up at the Garden scoreboard and said "Rondo only has 3 assists.  His streak might end."  The Boston point guard has had 10 or more assists in 26 straight games (the 6th longest such streak in NBA history; here's the all-time list from my esteemed colleague @StatsAdam).  Shortly after that I got annoyed when Rondo took a jump shot, "You can't get assists by shooting!"  To this my buddy replied "You're too worried about stats.  All that matters is wins and a championship."

Despite the ugly loss, Rondo managed to top 10 assists.
Well, the C's lost, but Rondo ended up with 11 assists.  Obviously I wish Boston had won, but I was excited to see his streak continue (although a few of the assists in the 4th quarter were a bit questionable, and definitely the product of a home town scorekeeper aware of the situation).  And to be honest, if given the choice, I'm not sure I would have traded the streak ending for a victory.

I know that sounds ridiculous, and luckily I don't think Rajon or any of the other players would agree with me. But in the long run, I think whether or not the Celtics won last night will have zero effect on the final outcome of the season.  If they don't win the title, nobody's going to be blaming it on a loss in game #2.

But you can't have a championship every year, and the stats do matter.  Near record streaks are fun to watch, and part of the entertainment of sports.   Your team won't win all the time, so it makes for a better fan experience when there's other things besides victories that are important.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The difference between "less" and "fewer"

The word "less" is misused all the time.  In movies and TV shows, sports broadcasts, commercials, the news; everywhere.  It really irritates me (my mom is going to love this post, as a child she repeatedly drilled the proper usage of the word into my brain), and when I saw a Presidential candidate make the mistake I decided it was worth writing about:

Sorry TBS.
This clip was from the second debate.  Romney should have said "fewer jobs" (although he could have said "less debt").  The rule is, if it's something you can count, you say fewer.  One of the most common misuses is with the word "calories."  Something can't have "less calories," it has "fewer calories."  Although it can have less fat, but also fewer grams of fat.  Check out my recent post "Anorexic Margarita" for the proper usage of both words.

Is this funny?  Useful?  Does it just make me sound pretentious?  I'm not sure, and I have no idea what category to put it in.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

The L.A. Lakers have lost 12 straight games

I don't know what's wrong either, Kobe.
I'm sure I'll regret writing this come spring time.  And obviously I understand the exhibition games are irrelevant.  But for now it's amusing to bask in the recent failures of the Celtics longtime rivals.

At the end of last season Kobe and Co. lost their final 2 playoff games.  Amazingly they went 0-8 in the preseason.  And now they have dropped their first 2 contests to start the regular season.  By my calculations 2 + 8 + 2 = 12.

I've always been of the opinion that Dwight Howard is overrated.  And last week I predicted that their coach, Mike Brown, would be the first one fired this year in the Western Conference (when they hired him I thought it was a bad idea; the entirety of his resume was "guy who happened to be the Cavs coach while they had Lebron").  So far, so good.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Awesome Old Song of the Week Halloween Edition: "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon

I'm pretty pumped about this choice for today.  It's not just the obvious Thriller or Monster Mash; I legitimately love this song and would have gotten around to picking it sometime anyway.

Werewolves of London has a number of ridiculous and funny lines, one of my favorites being "I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic's; And his hair was perfect."  In fact, Warren Zevon's 1978 lyrics are so bizarre that the song's wikipedia page doesn't even attempt to figure them out.

And in typical pop music fashion, a few years ago Kid Rock stole the background beat for his hit All Summer Long.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

It's Opening Night

There are only four players who will suit up for the Celtics tonight that were in green for the Eastern Conference Finals against Miami last spring.  Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, and Brandon Bass.  The practically nonexistent bench that produced just two points in Game 7 has been upgraded enormously; with the likes of Jason Terry, Jeff Green, and Jared Sullinger.

Read my complete game preview at


Monday, October 29, 2012

Choose Your Own Adventure: Hurricane Sandy

For a while now I've been looking for a good reason to mention "Choose Your Own Adventure" books in a post; you know, just because.  So with people all over the east coast sitting at home today waiting for the power to go out, it seemed like as good a time as any.

185 of them published from 1979-1998
If you'd like to read about what preparations were going on last year when Hurricane Irene was coming, click here.  If you're more interested in a sarcastic take on Irene, and the storm the year before that (which both turned out to be busts around here), go to this page.  If you're curious about my crazy idea of how technology should be able to stop natural disasters before they hit, jump back to 9/2/11.  If you'd just like to be distracted and entertained (for both sports fans and not), read here to learn about which concessions the Fenway Park vendors probably like selling the most.  Or, if you'd like to know what it's like outside along the water in Boston right now, continue on to the next paragraph.

2:44 pm - There's some light rain.  It's windy.  Really windy.  An empty beer can flew by me, bouncing along 5 feet into the air down the sidewalk.  Below is a video clip of what's happening at the beach.  It's very loud, and there's lots of sand blowing around everywhere.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Observations from the Celtics "open practice"

Just a few hours before they boarded a plane to Miami for opening night on Tuesday, the Celtics held their annual "open practice" at the Garden.  Here's some of the highlights:

- If you didn't already know, Kevin Garnett is a crazy person.  And I mean that in a good way, his level of intensitiy is off the charts.  At one point during a drill he badly missed a jumper from the top of the key, hitting just the backboard and side of the rim.  Garnett was so upset with himself that when the whistle blew he threw the ball about 30 feet up into the air, narrowly missing Paul Pierce's head on the way back down.

- Jason Terry is a lot of fun.  Before the scrimmage started he told one side of the building to root for the green team, and the other to cheer for the white team.  This got the fans much more involved.  I was sitting in the "white" half, and the crowd around me chanted "de-fense" and jokingly booed Pierce (in green) on the free throw line at the end of the game:

- Before things got started, rookie Jared Sullinger introduced all the players.  The crowd got pretty fired up for this; and loud.  You may want to turn your volume down before watching:

That's Sullinger, #7 below.  The last time I was at a practice in the Garden was back in March, when the Final Four teams were there.  Coincidentally, I also took a picture of Sullinger as an Ohio Sate Buckeye standing in almost exactly the same spot.


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