Groundhog Day Is Early For Celtics

The Celtics once again held a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter on their opponent, yet could not finish the job. This time, it was Kobe Bryant sinking them with a jumper with 7.3 seconds to go, and the Celtics finished their “rivalry week” set of games again Orlando, Atlanta and the Lakers at 0-3.

Julian Benbow has the Celtics upset at a late offensive foul call on Paul Pierce which took away a basket that would’ve given the Celtics a three point lead just prior to Kobe’s shot. Mark Murphy has the Celtics leaving the floor angry after this one. Scott Souza has the Lakers winning a disputed decision on this one. Robert Lee has Kobe doing it once again. Bill Doyle has Paul Pierce and Kobe trading buckets in the closing seconds, but only Kobe’s counted. Jeff Howe has the Celtics unable to finish once again. A. Sherrod Blakely has the Celtics again collapsing down the stretch.

Bob Ryan says that the fans really needed this win to keep their title hopes for this team intact. Steve Bulpett says that the defense is the biggest problem with the Celtics right now. Tim Weisberg says that these losses don’t doom the Celtics chances, but they are a large warning sign. Mike Fine says that these Celtics are too good to be this bad. Jim Fenton has the Celtics looking for answers after a losing January. Paul Flannery says that this reality check might be just what the Celtics need.

Gary Washburn says that the Lakers, and many other teams, are no longer afraid of the outside shooting of Ray Allen, Eddie House or Rasheed Wallace. Michael Muldoon says that Allen is being paid $19 million to make that final shot, and isn’t getting the job done. He also compares this game to the Patriots loss to the Colts this season. Barry Scanlon thinks that the Celtics may need to trade Ray Allen. Peter May says that the Celtics got what they deserved. Rich Levine says that this was much more than just another regular season loss.

Frank Dell’Apa has Rajon Rondo putting on a show yesterday, especially in the second quarter. Jessica Camerato examines the personal rivalry between Paul Pierce and Ron Artest. Chris Forsberg has the Celtics fourth quarter defense again coming up short.

Steve Buckley says that Kobe Bryant just knows how to win. Lenny Megliola has the killer instinct of Kobe dooming the Celtics. Bulpett has Phil Jackson talking about his edgy relationship with Red Auerbach. Lynn Worthy says that the Lakers are better than their title team of a season ago.

Benbow’s notebook has the Celtics staying united and positive as a group. Muldoon’s notebook has the Celtics unhappy with a few calls down the stretch. Murphy’s notebook has Ray Allen coming up short on both ends of the court on the final two possessions of the game. Souza’s notebook has Tony Allen providing a big spark in the second quarter. Lee’s Celtics journal has former URI star Lamar Odom living large in Los Angeles. Doyle’s notebook has Jackson saying that KG isn’t what he used to be. Fenton’s notebook has more on the charge call on Pierce.  Forsberg’s notebook has more reaction from the Celtics on the loss. Blakely’s notebook has the Celtics flunking their test of three big games.

Patriots/NFL

Albert R. Breer says that the Patriots’ games against Indy and New Orleans this season showed the difference between themselves and the real Super Bowl contenders. Jim Donaldson says that even if the Colts win this Super Bowl, the Patriots are still the team of the decade.

Ian R. Rapoport has several Patriots enjoying themselves in the Pro Bowl yesterday. Mike Reiss has some quotes from the Patriot participants. Rapoport checks in with Logan Mankins.

Christopher Price gives us the most underrated moments in Patriots Super Bowl history. Adam Hirshfield says that taking Tim Tebow would be a real stretch for the Patriots.

Adam Kilgore has Bill Belichick and Tom Brady among those on the all-decade team. Rapoport’s notebook has more on the Patriots honored.

Misc

John Tomase is excited about having the storyline of Josh Beckett’s contract looming over the team this season. John Beattie says that it will be tough for Junichi Tazawa to crack the opening day roster for the Red Sox.

Fluto Shinzawa says that the Bruins need to show more heart. Stephen Harris says that the Bruins are making slow progress.

Ken Fang has a look at the Bloomberg Sports Baseball launch.

  • http://www.jonvssports.blogspot.com Jon

    I’m disappointed that Bennett Salvatore left the Gahden without being beaten with a tire iron. C’mon Celtics fans. Get with it.

  • Tony

    The Celtics deserved to lose yesterday (once again, they couldn’t grab the key defensive boards when they had to and they allowed far too many second chances down the stretch).

    HOWEVER, it is now abundantly clear (and has been over the past 10 years, at least) that if the Lakers are in a close game in the final 5 minutes, they’re going to get EVERY call. I thought the traveling call on Rondo, which also erased a key basket with about 2 minutes left, was worse than the push-off they called on Pierce.

    The Lakers are the NBA’s poster boys now, and have been, really, since Phil, Shaq and Kobe all came together for the first time in 1999. The league always protects its poster children.

  • http://www.jonvssports.blogspot.com Jon

    The league has been pulling this crap for years. Remember “Jordan rules”? David Stern is basically a more legitimate Vince McMahon.

  • KingLarry

    Kobe Bryan, star puppeteer has taken his shoe salesman puppets and is branching out to full size NBA referees! He claims he can make a puppet call an offensive foul to throw a game, watch out Siegfried and Roy…Congrats to Beyonce on her 6 Grammy awards! She doesn’t look old enough to be a grammy once never mind six times over…Pastrami on rye, extra pickles…How about this state of the Union speech, Uncle Sam is going to spend 3.8 trillion in 2010, 3.6 trillion covered by my alimony payments…Rabid raccoons are taking over Central Park, whats next squirrels gone nuts? And who could tell either of them from a regular New Yorker…Randy Jackson
    and the Lighting Thieves is the must see movie of 2010, expect a hit from this American Idol…Rack ‘em…Lola Albright you still got it kid…Don’t forget that the Super Bowl is this week, Baltimore Colts taking on the Latter Day Saints. They should have changed that name after the move, there is no Jazz in Utah

  • Angry Old Bastard

    so Tomase is still around?

    • Tony

      Yes, because as Felger told us two years ago, his “walkthrough” story was not incorrect: the semantics of the story were wrong. Since the Pats’ video crew was AT the Superdome during the Rams’ walkthrough, they were MONITORING the walkthrough, even though they didn’t film it. So you see, the story was correct; Tomase just go the semantics wrong, because he wrote that the Pats “filmed” the walkthrough when they actually just MONITORED it.

      Get it?

  • Classless

    I hate Kobe Bryant. I hate every contrived thing about him. That was an absolute dagger to me when the C’s lost yesterday.

    Anyways, despite Pierce clearly pushing off on Artest, that call should not have been made due to the Academy Award winning flopping by Ron Artest. Seriously, be a man Artest. You don’t have to dive dramatically into the stands, like Pierce has Superman’s strength. I also recall a very famous Michael Jordan shot over Bryon Russell going down the same way. The only explanation I get is “..but that’s Michael Jordan”. What the hell does that mean?

    • http://www.jonvssports.blogspot.com Jon

      All NBA fans do is complain about the officials, but no one ever talks about it. It’s hilarious. The sports media thinks people who complain about refs are whiny homers. Well, there are apparently whiny homers in every NBA fan base except for the Fakers, because this has been going on FOR DECADES.

      • Tony

        I tend to agree with the “whiny homers” label for fans who whine about the officiating–in every other league BESIDES the NBA.

        MLB umpires, NHL officials and NFL officials try to get calls right. Sometimes they make mistakes, but they’re honest mistakes (or so it’s assumed anyway).

        The NBA has been the WWE for the better part of a decade now, or even longer. It’s pretty clear to me that the league offices, if not dictating the desirable outcome to the refs, are at least strongly suggesting what kind of outcomes they’d like to see in certain cases.

        Jordan’s Bulls “three-peated” in 1998 in part because the refs helped bail them out against the Pacers in an Eastern Conference Finals series that Chicago should have lost; and then, of course, was the famous “no call” on Jordan’s championship-winning basket against Utah a few weeks later.

        From that, we moved on to the era of Shaq and Kobe, a three-year run which saw LA get every call, even if they didn’t need them the first two years because they were the best team in the NBA. That run culminated with the Sacramento Kings beating the Lakers in 5 games in the 2002 West Finals–only to see the refs single-handedly push the series to a 7th game, which the Kings legitimately gagged away at the free throw line (but the series would have been over in 5 had the refs called it straight).

        From that, we moved on to David Stern refusing to let his arch-nemesis Mark Cuban celebrate an NBA title in 2006 by having his officials put Dwayne Wade on the free throw line about 650 times over the last four games of the NBA Finals series.

        From that, we moved on to the Tim Donaghy gambling scandal, which the NBA has, so far, successfully managed to sweep under the media rug by discrediting Donaghy as a degenerate criminal (which he is)—-this is the same media that treated Matt Walsh as a potential John Dean-like hero prior to his turning up no new videotaping evidence against Belichick and the Patriots in 2008.

        Remember when the Celts won the first two games of the Finals against LA in 2008 and Jackson whined about how Leon “POW” got to the free throw line more than his whole team? We all KNEW that the league would assign Crawford and Salvatore as refs for Game 3 in LA, and lo and behold, they did. By the end of the first quarter I think the C’s had had about 12 fouls called on them.

        The only thing missing from NBA games is the entrance music that they play before the “bad guy” comes flying onto the court and whacks Garnett over the head with a steel chair.

        It’s for this reason that I think I hate the Lakers more than the Yankees, Canadiens, or whomever tries to claim the title as the Patriots’ biggest rival. Those other teams don’t have an entire league apparatus trying to manipulate outcomes for them the way the NBA does for the Lakers (OK, maybe the Colts do when they play at home and a drunken Polian is pistol-whipping Mike Pereira in the press box).

        End of rant (I must say it felt good).

        • Classless

          What an awesome rant!

  • mandb97

    Sorry folks, I can’t blame the refs for this one. Rondo did travel. You can see him dancing because he was amazed he was going to have an easy lane to the hoops. Also, Pierce did push off, what made it look so bad though was that Pierce had stepped on Artest foot.

    What killed the Celtics was twofold. First for some reason the C’s went into a half court game for the last six minutes instead of continuing to be up tempo. Also, Phil Jackson said he pretty much did not bother guarding Rondo during the final three minutes because he knew he would not take any shots. He was right. Rondo made an atrocious baseline pass to Pierce when he could have attempted a 15 foot jumper. As good as Rondo is, he must at least attempt 12 to 17 foot jumpers and be somewhat consistent with the shot or it becomes 4 on 5 down the stretch.

    • http://www.jonvssports.blogspot.com Jon

      It’s true that the Celtics revert to being a jump shooting team at the end of games instead of attacking the basket. It’s true that the shots haven’t been going in.

      But it’s also true that – using Tim Donaghy as an example – the NBA is by a wide margin the worst officiated out of the 4 major sports but receives next to no criticism outside of the fans.

      • mandb97

        I will not argue with your last statement. It definitely is the worst of the four majors.