One of the more intense sports debates I’ve had was three years ago about who was better now and who would have the better career: Jacoby Ellsbury or Brett Gardner. While three of us, including one Yankees fan, could agree that Ellsbury was superior, another Yankees fan was convinced that Gardner was the superior player. Fast forward to this offseason, I asked that same guy if he still thought Gardner was the better player to which he responded, “I said he was a better fit for the Yankees team at that time, not that he was a better player.” That situation right there exemplifies one of the annoying habits of many sports fans – revisionist history.
I’ve always wondered if I am guilty of this particularly in circumstances when I’m watching a game. For that reason, I decided to do a Bill Simmons-style running diary of the Celtics and Hawks game. Let’s hit it:
Pregame – Keys to the game for Boston are: i) big minutes and big games out of both Pierce and Garnett; ii) energy from tipoff to buzzer, particularly on defense; and iii) Bradley or Bass need to step up and because Bass feeds off of Rondo, it probably has to be Bradley.
Keys to the game for Atlanta: i) they need to generate more turnovers than game one which will lead to more easy buckets; ii) don’t settle for jump shots; and iii) pressure and tire out Pierce and Bradley.
7:30 – Pierce looks badass during warmups. This is our game.
7:37 – NBATV breaks news that Mickael Pietrus is starting and then Tayshaun Prince spends a few minutes discussing if Pietrus found out in time to maximize his success. This is why I skip the pregame analysis so much. Who the hell else was going to start with Allen and Rondo out? Keyon Dooling or Sasha Pavlovic? Is it a surprise that they would use the same lineup that beat Orlando (with Dwight Howard) and Indiana in the game Allen and Rondo were both out and Pietrus was healthy? Do you think Pietrus was caught off guard that Allen wouldn’t play after missing the last billion games? Idiots.
7:42 – Pierce grabs the opening tips, drives, spins and lays it in. BADASS.
7:43 – Avery Bradley brings it up and the Hawks don’t pressure him. I was reminded that Atlanta’s depth isn’t too much better than Boston’s right now, so trying to wear our Bradley and Pierce with some added pressure might not be a successful strategy.
7:43 – Pierce banks the and-1 shot. BADASS.
7:45 – Pierce hits another jumper. I know Lakers fans hate him, but you can’t deny he’s a big-game player – just like Lebron.
7:45 – Josh Smith takes his second consecutive long jump shot in a row. He could be such a better player if he realized his limitations.
7:46 – Josh Smith misses reverse slam. He could be such a better player if he wasn’t an idiot.
7:50 – Pietrus gets called for a very questionable offensive foul – his third one. With due cause, people complain about NBA referees more than any other sports officials. That foul call is a great reason why. You can’t make that call here considering the circumstances (Boston’s limited depth and a starter with two fouls) unless it’s an obvious foul.
7:59 – STIEMSMA IN YOUR FACE! 17-16, Atlanta.
7:59 – Avery Bradley with a terrific block on Teague’s layup attempt. You watch ESPN, Teague? You don’t challenge Avery Bradley.
8:04 – Another block – by Sasha Pavlovic no less. Celts are playing with great energy right now.
8:04 – Avery Bradley’s terrible decision leads to Josh Smith dunk in transition. The Celtics have to limit the easy points for the Hawks by making good decisions.
8:07 – What a blo… Read more...