I will tell you this: I am going to miss the Celtics this summer. They put the funk into dysfunctional.
I was so exasperated with Doc Rivers and his erratic underachievers that I was ready to throw in the towel after game three. Of course, they had looked so good in game one, should have won game two, and had the inevitable meltdown and blowout loss in game three that every young team has to have at least once in the playoffs. Also, the suspension of Antoine Walker for a game did give me hope. Big Al on the court, so lock down the women and children because Big Al is hitting the boards hard!
I was glad to see that Rivers finally figured out that having Gary Payton guarding Reggie Miller was the perfect spot for him, because he was going to be wide open anyway, why waste Delonte West, Ricky Davis, or Tony Allen and sap their valuable energy on fighting through illegal screens and moving picks? Paul Pierce finally looked like Paul Pierce of the good old days, driving the lane, playing defense, sticking the open jumper, even running the break to the amazement of all. Now, if he could bottle this game and play like this every night…
So at 2-2, the Celtics and Pacers are in what is essentially a three game series while they wait for Detroit to finish off Philadelphia. The Celtics have to hope to finish this series in six and hope that Iverson and Webber can extend the Pistons to at least six, if not seven games so that Detroit is not fresh and prepared. The Celtics will need all the help they can muster against Detroit, if they do not somehow blow this series and end up at home.
2. RED SOX:
One bad inning is all that kept the Red Sox from having three starters at 3-0. Tim Wakefield, rolling right along against the Rangers, got taken deep and smacked around in one bad inning by Alfonso Soriano and the rest of the Texas Rangers wrecking crew. Like the Orioles, if the Rangers ever get pitching, they will be a load because their mashers can swing the lumber.
Bronson Arroyo, as Kathy would say, looked good as always. He also pitched well to pick up his third win in his sixth start. Arroyo has continued his roll from late last season and through the playoffs and into the regular season in 2005. Arroyo has that knee-buckling curveball that once again demonstrates that the most valuable weapon a pitcher can employ is to change the line of site for the batter and change speeds so as to disrupt the timing of the hitter. Arroyo, with his ability to throw his curveball for a strike at any time in the count, keeps opposing batters off-balance enough with the thought of that big looping curve coming soon that he can sneak his fastball past them when other pitchers who throw hard and straight would never get past a hitter.
Matt Clement struggled initially against the Rangers, giving up some runs early, walking a lot of batters, getting behind in the count, throwing a ton of pitches, and yet somehow left the bases loaded twice and showed a lot of poise in constantly working out of a jam. It was funny to note, as I switched back and forth to the Yankees game on at the same time, that Carl Pavano, who fell to 2-2, showed a complete lack of poise despite overpowering stuff, as he constantly got hit hard when he got into a situation where his teammates were begging for a big out. At the time this winter, I was firmly in the Pavano camp over Clement, but if Clement continues to show his growing maturity on the mound (last year he would have never made it past the third inning, instead he goes six to get the win), the Sox may have actually lucked into the right move (just like missing out on having Hamburger Helper at shortstop).
Now if there was just some way the Red Sox could trade for Javier Vazquez and then pry Nick Johnson away from the Nationals, my dream team would be ever so closer to fruition.
We love Doug. What more can anyone say?
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Finally, Brigs, I am so sorry to break it to you, but D-Lowe obviously loves me the most, as he salvaged a tie for me in fantasy baseball on Sunday afternoon with six solid innings to give me the needed win and lower my ERA & WHIP just enough to let me crawl back into the fray.
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