Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Celtics Tankometer rises as "injuries" pile up

The Celtics recently completed an impressive "reverse sweep" of the three worst teams in the Western Conference, dropping successive games in LA (Lakers), Sacramento, and Utah (Boston is now 0-13 on the road vs the West this season, with only games in New Orleans and Dallas remaining to avoid going winless).  They followed that up with a home victory over the Hawks; but Atlanta is in a free fall, losing 10 of their last 11.

Gerald Wallace is likely out for the season with a torn meniscus in his knee.  Avery Bradley's sprained ankle isn't getting better.  Vitor Faverani is contemplating knee surgery and may be done for the year as well.  Kelly Olynyk sprained his big toe and missed the Hawks game, and is expected sit again tonight vs the Pacers.  Jared Sullinger has been held out of Boston's last three contests after suffering a mild concussion.  If Sullinger doesn't suit up for the C's this evening, here's what their bench will consist of against Indiana:

- undrafted rookie point guard Phil Pressey
- recent D-League call up Chris Johnson
- even more recent D-League call up Chris Babb
- forgotten big man Joel Anthony, who averaged 3.4 PPG for the Heat two years ago


When so many guys don't play it's very easy to lose a lot of games without actually trying to lose them.  The Celtics could have added a legitimate NBA player to replace Wallace, but they went with Babb instead.  So well done on the tank front in that department.  Still, they have zero chance of catching the Sixers, who's tanking is officially out of hand.

  Complete history of the Tankometer

Friday, February 28, 2014

Kevin Youkilis will play paintball with you for the bargain price of $3,600

I probably had at least 6 of
Stanley's '87 Topps card. 
There's a website called "Thuzio" that allows (mostly) retired athletes to try to make a buck by selling themselves out for whatever they are willing to do.  If you're a Red Sox fan who can't afford to pay over three and a half grand to shoot paintballs with Youk, how about lunch with 1980's middle reliever Bob Stanley for a mere $625?  Still too much?  Why not book former Iowa Hawkeye and the #19 overall pick in 1993, one-time Celtic Acie Earl to attend you fantasy draft for just $250.  Or if you're really pinching pennies you can get Jeff Feagles (who punted for the Patriots in 1988 and '89) to send you a tweet for $200 even.

After perusing the site for about ten minutes I think the best deal I found was the opportunity to play a pick-up game with Antoine Walker for $2,500.  When eventually gets bought out for $10 mil by Disney/ABC/ESPN I'm totally doing that.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Celtics will finally be stuck wearing sleeves. Ugh.

A little over a year ago the Golden State Warriors announced that they would wear sleeved jerseys on occasion.  When this happened my immediate reaction was "Man, I hope the Celtics never do that."  Every team who played on Christmas Day this season also wore sleeved jerseys, but when Boston traded Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett the previous summer the league decided to pull the C's from their annual December 25th lineup (even though a Celtics uniform was created).  This year's All-Star game featured more of the same, but no Boston players were in it.

But now news has broken that the Celtics (and Bulls) will in fact be wearing uniforms with sleeves on St. Patricks Day (pictured).  Boston plays in Dallas that night, I may have to boycott watching.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Have you heard of "Crashed Ice"?

According to Wikipedia, Crashed Ice has been in existence since 2001, although I first learned of it a few nights ago.  I saw a tweet from Fox Sports 1 that got me intrigued, so I flipped on the channel and watched it for a few minutes.

Officially the sport is called "downhill ice cross."  It reminds me of one of my all-time favorite video games, Super Off Road, but instead of trucks driving over a dirt course it's guys skating on ice.

Putting it on TV right after the winter Olympics is definitely a good way to maximize its potential popularity.  But while it looks totally nuts, I didn't stick with it beyond one 30 second race; the novelty wore off pretty quickly.  My guess is it'll have about the same long-term impact as "Slam Ball."

Unless of course downhill ice cross can somehow find it's way into the winter Olympics... If snowboard cross can, why not this?  Maybe it's my ticket to PyeongChang in 2018?  I wonder how difficult it would be to build a Crashed Ice track in the Cayman Islands?

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Are the Philadelphia 76ers having the worst month in NBA history?

Rookie Michael Carter-Williams is the only guy left.
I've been following the Celtics efforts to get a top pick in the draft via the Tankometer, but it's the Philadelphia 76ers who are taking tanking to new levels of epic proportions.  First they decided to hold their lottery pick Nerlens Noel out for the entire year before the season even started, then they dealt away Evan Turner, Spencer Hawes, and Lavoy Allen at last week's trade deadline, while receiving next to nothing in return.

But what I really want to focus on is their on-court performance.  Philly's defense is atrocious, allowing a league high 111 points per game, over five points more than the Lakers' second worst 105.9 PPG.  The Sixers have held their opponents under 100 points on just six occasions all season, and none during their current 11 game losing streak (which would be 15 if it weren't for a Turner buzzer beater in Boston).  During the streak they have been outscored by a ridiculous average margin of 20.3 points per game, (117.4 to 97.1).

A week and a half ago the 76ers trailed the Clippers by a score of 89-33 at one point, eventually falling 123-78.  They followed that up by dropping a 123-80 decision to the Warriors the very next night.  But at least those were road games against good teams.  Last night the Sixers hosted the Bucks, owners of an NBA worst 10-45 record.  Philly fell behind 73-44 at halftime, eventually losing 130-110.

On Wednesday the 76ers play a home game against the Orlando Magic (17-41), who have the league's third worst record after Milwaukee (now 11-45) and Philadelphia (15-42).  If the Sixers get pummeled once again, you'd have to think their winless February would be considered one of the worst months in NBA history (if you have the means to acquire the actual data on this, please let me know!).


Monday, February 24, 2014

My experience at the bar that inspired "Cheers"

I've probably walked by the Bull and Finch Pub at least 1000 times in my life (often ending up in the photos of tourists standing in front of the "Cheers" sign), but I'd never once been inside it.  On the way home from work the other night I was hungry, it was pouring rain, and I figured what the hell, I'll give it a shot.

I ordered a "Coach's Club Sandwich," which was about as good as I expected it to be.  Sitting to my left were a pair of Canadian girls who wanted to known if the bar looked the same as it did in the show.  In the corner were three twenty-something's from Connecticut who sort of acted like they had never been in a city before.  To my right a European couple asked the bartender if he "had any schnapps?"  They didn't appear to care what flavor.

  When I paid my bill with a Red Sox credit card the guy looked at me in disbelief and said "Are you from here?"  He then became very eager to start a conversation with a local about baseball.  I felt a bit sympathetic for him, he probably averages 10% tips.

I went to the bathroom before I left, and was surprised to find a little souvenir store crammed into the hallway.  A women reading a book sat there on the off chance that one of the 12 people in the place might want to buy a "Cheers" t-shirt.

I think I would have really enjoyed the Bull and Finch Pub circa-1980, but today it seems like a sad and lonely place forced to live off the fame of a TV show that went off the air 20 years ago.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Jason Collins inspired Awesome Old Song of the Week: "Free to Be... You and Me"

Back on April 29th of last year former Celtic Jason Collins announced that he is gay.  He's hasn't been in the NBA since, but today he signed with the Brooklyn Nets (reuniting him with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and a number of other old teammates).  Tonight he will be the first openly gay athlete to ever take the floor/field/ice in one of the four major American professional sports.

Is it Jackie Robinson, no (although like Robinson it's again Brooklyn; that's cool).  But it is the closest thing we've had in a long, long time.  I'd love some suggestions for something similar to compare this to, either in sports or society as a whole.  

In honor of this historic day I'm choosing the title song from a record (yes, an actual record) that I must have listened to 1000 times over the course of my childhood.  "Free to Be... You and Me."

My mom is going to love this blog.

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