Bird’s Rookie Year – Game 21 vs. the Knicks

Celtics (16-4) vs. Knicks (11-12)
Friday, November 30
Boston Garden

The Celtics entered the final game of the month filled with hope and optimism.  After enduring a 4-10 November in 1978-79 and a 6-7 record in ’77-’78, the C’s looked to end the month strongly.  One of their losses included a one-point set-back at the Spectrum in Philadelphia (where the Sixers were currently in the midst of extending their five-game winning streak over the Bill Walton-less San Diego Clippers, though Joe “Jellybean” Bryant — known nowadays as the father of Kobe Bryant — scored 14 points in the loss), but the other was a defeat at the hands of the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden.  The Celtics allowed an outrageous 18 assists and 22 points to Mike Richardson, while also unable to defend Ray Williams, who dropped 35 points off 12-of-20 shooting back in NYC, but avenged the loss with a 100-97 victory on Causeway Street to polish off the month of November at a 10-2 clip. [Read more…]

Rajon Rondo, The Worst Human Being On The Planet, Or Not?

If you’ve had the unfortunate experience of listening to any sports radio the last few days you now know that Rajon Rondo is a punk, a terrible human being, and essentially responsible for anything bad that may have happened since he’s been alive.

People like Michael Felger, Tony Massarotti, John Dennis and Gerry Callahan hate Rajon Rondo. They call him names, question his motives for passing the ball to his teammates, field calls from lunatics who insist that Rondo yells at his teammates for getting rebounds HE wanted to get so he could pad his stat line (and agree with those callers) and makes statements that if Rondo is the leader of your team, you’re in big trouble.

These people don’t realize that Rajon Rondo is the closest thing the Celtics have ever had to Larry Bird, both in skill and temperament. Rondo is clearly not the shooter Bird was, but his all-around game and ability to see the floor and diagnose the action around him has not seen around these parts since Bird retired. Bird got into scuffles on and off the court, and cost his team at times. A bar fight, in the playoffs? I can’t even imagine the outcry if that happened now.

The fearsome foursome listed above don’t watch a whole lot of the Celtics. Gerry Callahan used to know the game pretty well, but he is now too busy working up his whiny indignation over the Patriots poor sportsmanship to actually digest what’s happening in the game. Michael Felger openly hates the Celtics, and unabashedly trashes them incessantly. Tony Massarotti goes along with anything Felger says, and adds in his own unintelligible, angry rantings to Felger’s amusement. You’ve got Donny Marshall on the CSNNE telecasts taking shots at Rondo, and realize that this guy was very close to Ray Allen, and the whole picture there suddenly becomes clearer.

To them, Rondo is an easy target. People who don’t follow the sport knowledgeably agree with their surface assessments. Rondo is surly. He loses control of his tempter. He can’t shoot very well. Sometimes his intensity isn’t as high as it is at other times. They somehow take his recent streak of double-digit assist games and make it in to a selfish thing, as if it is even possible to selfishly pass the ball to a teammate so they can score. It is typical of sports radio in the this era, and it is terrible.

As with most topics however, they’re off base. I’ve had my moments of frustration with Rondo, even at one point declaring myself “done” with him. I’ve changed my opinion, mostly because I’ve learned more about him and what he does with his teammates behind the scenes, and his ridiculous ability to show up in big games and completely outshine the likes of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

Here’s an example.

An inside look at Rondo: To play with him is to know him – Read this Jessica Camerato feature and contrast it with what you’re told on sports radio all week. Is it even the same guy?

A guy like Christopher L. Gasper clearly only sees the surface. He’s not looking into the backstory stuff like in the Camerato piece. To him, and many others, leadership is only on the court. It’s what they can see. What he’s doing on the court, and most important of all – how he interacts with the media.

The Celtics have a lot of issues right now. Rondo is pretty low on the list, if he is there at all.

Get all the Celtics coverage at CelticsLinks.com.

The Patriots will visit South Florida this weekend for a game with the surprisingly tough Miami Dolphins. Bill Belichick gave as detailed a scouting report on the Dolphins as you’ll read this week – unasked – and it hardly even warranted a mention around here. They notice in Miami though – Belichick breaks down Fins personnel.

This game has been officially designated as a Trap Game. It’s also a Hat and T-Shirt game, as with a win, the Patriots can wrap up the AFC East on the 2nd of December. So which is it?

Debunking myths: Why Patriots won’t be trapped by Miami – Christopher Price isn’t buying the trap game tag, and a few other things about this one.

“It’s great and all that the Patriotsdefense keeps getting turnovers, but you can’t expect to get those every week. If they ever run into a good quarterback, they’re doomed! I know they won, but did you see how many yards (blank) threw for against them last week?! We’re screwed!”

Matt Chatham successfully captures the thinking and cries of the sky-is-falling crowd, and looks at the real important stat – the lack of turnovers by the Patriots offense.

Dont’a Hightower fits in on defense – Jeff Howe has the rookie linebacker already acting like a veteran leader.

Get all the Patriots coverage at PatriotsLinks.com.

MEDIA

Broadcasters found their voices at BC – Chad Finn talks with a number of well-known national broadcasters who got started together at WZBC in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Boston’s Most Cerebral Football Columnist – Alan Segal has a Q&A with Greg A Bedard, who explains his approach to covering the Patriots and NFL.

Media Roundup – My SB Nation media column isn’t up quite yet, but when they do publish it, it will be a look at coverage of baseball’s winter meetings which start on Sunday, and how they’ve evolved into an event worthy of 24/7 coverage.

Correction On Ron Borges

Yesterday, I wrote that Mr. Ron Borges ate dinner at Drew Bledsoe’s house, based on this tweet from Bledsoe:

This claim has since been clarified by Bledsoe:

 

So Mr. Borges didn’t in fact actually eat at Bledsoe’s house. He flew out to the Northwest to visit Bledsoe, but they actually dined in a restaurant.

Our apologies to Mr. Borges. BSMW regrets the error.

Now that we have that out of the way…

Of course, their own words indicates that they had/have a close relationship, and that was the ultimate point all along. I’m also sure that there is no chance that Mr. Borges contacted Bledsoe yesterday and asked him as a favor to change the Tweet.

Mr. Borges can split hairs all he likes (although there are media members – multiple – who INSIST that Mr. Borges was a dinner guest at Bledsoe’s home here years ago) while attempting to muddy the waters, but the larger point remains.

Yes, this is tiresome to go over again, but since Mr. Borges insists on trying to cloud the issue, it needs to be run through again.

That larger point is that Mr. Borges had a close personal relationship with Drew Bledsoe and that when Bill Belichick made the decision to stick with Tom Brady during the 2001 season, after Bledsoe was of the thinking that he would be given the chance to win his job back, Mr. Borges immediately went on the attack against Belichick, and hasn’t stopped since.

Mr. Borges has admitted publicly in the past that he advised Bledsoe on how to confront Belichick on the matter.

From Bledsoe Turned to Borges for Advice…

Michael Felger: How did Belichick lie? What did he say to Drew?
Mr. Borges: What Bledsoe said to him at the original meeting, when he was cleared to practice, and I know this firsthand, for a lot of reasons,
Felger: Why…you were sitting there on the couch?
Mr. Borges: I PREPARED THE GUY TO GO MEET HIM! Quite frankly!

Mr. Borges in the 11/22/2001 Boston Globe:

Why did the normally placid Bledsoe react so angrily this week after Belichick’s announcement that Brady was the starter for the remainder of the season “barring something unforeseen”? Bledsoe’s point of view is reflected in the comments of one source who has personal knowledge of Bledsoe’s thinking on the matter. That person said that Belichick looked Bledsoe “right in the face” and told him he’d get a fair chance. “Face to face . . .” said the source. “Where do you go from there?”

Wait…did Mr. Borges use himself as a source here? He admitted he prepared Bledsoe for this very showdown, so there’s no doubt he would’ve huddled up afterwards to go over how everything went down.

The entire column is shots at Belichick, and contains this all-time classic bit:

Belichick will not be so lucky. He doesn’t have [Jimmy] Johnson’s personality, which can be as jovial and charming as a snake oil salesman’s. Worse, this Patriot team isn’t going to win two Super Bowls any time soon.

Mr. Borges is an angry, increasingly irrelevant man. I’ve wasted enough time on him in the last two days.

Now everyone can get back to vilifying Rajon Rondo.