So what Celtics team are we going to see? The fired-up young guns of game one who ran circles around the Pacers or the half-court hosers who gave up easy lay-ups and missed easy lay-ups and shot wild three point attempts from in game two?
Doc Rivers will no doubt be trying to ascertain the same as the Celtics head to Indiana having dropped not only game two of their first round series, but have given away home court advantage in what has become a best of five series. Although Ricky Davis shot horribly, Antoine Walker was off his game, and Paul Pierce disappeared at the end of the game, game two falls on the shoulders of Doc Rivers for giving up on the bomb squad way too early in the game. Game two was a chance to force feed the youngsters a lesson on bucking up in the face of adversity. Of course things were not as easy as they were in game one: Indiana was ready for the Celtics and eager to disarm the bomb squad. (I have been calling the second team of the Celtics the bomb squad for their ability to come into a game and defuse any momentum the opposing team has been able to create. I do not think the media has picked up on it yet, but hopefully they will before the end of the first round. People love rooting for units and teams with nicknames.)
Rivers left Marcus Banks, Al Jefferson, Kendrick Perkins, Tony Allen, and Delonte West on the bench for far too long, and almost exclusively on the bench for the second half. Of course they were not going to go off on a 20-2 run or anything, but can anyone deny that Walker, Davis, or Pierce were not suffering form heavy legs in the last five minutes of the game when they could not hit one shot that could have buried Indiana? Pierce, Walker, and Davis are going to win or lose the game, but give them enough time on the bench to be strong at the end of the game. Let the bomb squad do their thing and at minimum run the leg strength out of the Pacer starters.
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RED SOX – THE AGE OF ACCOUNTABILITY:
May first is officially the day the honeymoon ends for the 2005 Boston Red Sox. No more excuses of Curt Schilling and Wade Miller not being ready to pitch, no more crap about integrating the newcomers, no more whining about playing the Yankees so many times in the first weeks of the season. From this point forward the notice is served that there will be no more series lost to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. No more implosions by the bullpen. No more nagging injuries slowing down the hitters.
The residual feel-good hangover leftover from the 2004 playoffs will officially have worn off. The dropped pop-ups by Manny in left field will not be tolerated any longer. David Ortiz had better perform when he is put at first base or stop complaining about being the full-time designated hitter. Kevin Millar had better shake off his early season power slump because Jay Payton is no Gabe Kapler, Payton is a full-time starter who is going to steal at-bats all season long from anyone not strong enough to hold him off.
It is finally a new season, with all the trappings of 2004 behind the Sox now. So they better start performing, because I think Theo has an itchy trigger finger.
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PATRIOTS – STAYING GLENN FREE?
Is Aaron Glenn on his way to Foxboro? Rumor has it that the Patriots are one of three teams interested in acquiring the veteran cornerback who is likely to be released in the next few days by the Houston Texans. Aaron Glenn previously spent many a year with the New York Jets, and I fondly remember him sparring with Drew Bledsoe at the old Foxboro Stadium during the Tuna Bowl. The Tuna Bowl featured Bill Parcells as Jets coach for his first game against the Patriots after deserting the team at the super bowl. Despite the presence of a pumped and jacked Pete Carroll on the sidelines, the Patriots somehow managed to defeat the Jets on an Indian summer Sunday night game in what was arguably the beginning of the anti-Jets feelings that I have since passed on to my son.
Alas, Parcells is rumored to have the inside track on acquiring Glenn and reuniting him (at least on the practice field) with former nemeses Drew Bledsoe and Terry Glenn. Glenn versus Glenn; those were the end of the bad old days. Belichick returned the favor by spurning the Tuna and resigning as HC of the NYJ and leaving his old pal the Tuna grasping straws as the Jets went from dominant team to playoff hanger-on. Pete Carroll is now pumped and jacked to be the two-time defending national champion in the NCAA at USC. Except for the Jets who got stuck with Happy Herm, everything worked out quite well.
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Do they still play hockey in Boston? Wow, that joke just is not funny anymore. The only thing owners and players can agree upon is that they have dug their own graves for the sport. If this lockout-strike bologna lasts past October the league may as well go back to the original six.
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