Sunday, June 22, 2008

Celtics Win #17: The World Bleeds Green Once Again

For the unprecedented 17th time.

The Boston Celtics are the NBA (National Basketball Association) Champions.

And they made it look easy this past week with a resounding 131-92 drubbing of their rivals—The Los Angeles Lakers—in game six of the 2007-2008 NBA Finals.

But that wasn’t always the case.

Longtime Boston Celtics beat writer Peter May shared that at the start of the 2007-2008 NBA season, Celtics’ Head Coach Glenn “Doc” Rivers urged his stalwarts—specifically team captain Paul Pierce and newly acquired NBA All-Stars Walter Ray Allen, Jr. and Kevin “KG” Garnett—of the importance of “seizing the moment” as “the can’t afford to wait” (since they are getting up their in age and opportunities to win a championship are few and far between). Rivers added that the talented trio need to play with a sense of urgency and liken their situation to being their “one and only chance to win.”

Rivers, 46, sold them on the concept of defense and Garnett was the first one to follow his lead—eventually ending the season as the league’s top defensive player—the first of his decorated career.

And that wasn’t all.

An exodus of more than half their players from the 2006-2007 NBA season in order to acquire Garnett from the Minnesota Timberwolves and Allen from the Seattle Supersonics posed to be yet another challenged to the 24-win club.

By the time the season started, the green and white has nine new faces on board—the aforementioned Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, free agents James Posey, Eddie House, Scot Pollard, rookies Glenn “Big Baby” Davis, Gabe Pruitt, and returnees Tony Allen, Kendrick Perkins, Leon Powe, Brian Scalabrine (whom some sources have said, has the same basketball IQ as the legendary Michael Jordan), Rajon Rondo, and the Captain Paul Pierce. Before the close of the regular season, The “C’s” added two more faces, 15-year veteran P.J. Brown and guard Sam Cassell.

Cohesion and lack of bench strength were points brought up by critics all season long and despite a 66-16 season—successfully securing home court advantage throughout the playoffs and the NBA Finals. It was the largest single season turnaround in NBA history, yet the critics still kept on talking.

It didn’t help that their journey to the NBA Finals was a rocky one.

The young 8th seed Atlanta Hawks (37-45) brought the Celtics to 7 games in the first round. LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers (45-37) also pushed the Celtics to the distance in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals (and if it were not for Paul Pierce’s 41 points—who knows how that may have turned out). As for the Eastern Conference Finals, well, that series went six grueling games against the cohesive Detroit Pistons (59-23).

The Celtics went 10-1 at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts and 2-8 on the road for the duration of the playoffs. Doc Rivers put it best when he said, “that's why the regular season is so important. We fought for it all year” (Pertaining to home court advantage).

Onward to the NBA Finals.

After winning the first two games at home and stealing one of the next three at the Staples Center—The Boston Celtics were on the cusp of greatness—an unprecedented 17th World Championship.

By halftime of Game 6, the outcome had already been decided as the Lakers seemingly lost the fight in them.

58-35 at the end of two—A twenty three-point deficit.

The Celtics were running on all cylinders, led by their injured point guard Rajon Rondo, who finished with a stat line that Jason Kidd would be envious off (21 points, eight assists, seven rebounds, six steals, and only a single turnover in just under 32 minutes of action).

Ray Allen also recovered from a first-half eye injury to finish with 26 points (7-9 from downtown). Associated Press Sports Writer Howard Ulman added that Allen also set a record “for most 3-pointers made in a finals series with 22. The previous mark of 17 was set by Dan Majerle with Phoenix in 1993 and matched by Derek Harper with New York in 1994. Allen’s seven 3-pointers also tied the finals record shared by Houston’s Kenny Smith and Chicago’s Scottie Pippen.”

The Celtics juggernaut didn’t end there as Kevin Garnett tied Allen for game high honors with 26 points and 14 rebounds. James Posey (whom Pierce considers “invaluable”) finished with 11 points (perfect from the field, including 3-3 from downtown) three steals, and a block. And who can forget the performance of Paul Pierce (17 points and 10 assists) thought the series.

In the end, it was only fitting that the Celtics Captain be named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Finals as he had certainly endured a lot of heartaches over the last 10 years in a Celtics uniform.

With a title now safely under his belt, those days are certainly over.

17 banners. Jersey Numbers #1, #2, #3, #6, #10, #14, #15, #16, #17, #18, #19, #21, #22, #23, #24, #25, #31, #32, #33, #35 and #00 also hang from the rafters.

Could #34 be that far behind?


- The Celtics played an NBA record 26th post-season game when they stepped on the Red Auerbach Parquet Floor for Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Associated Press Sports Writer Howard Ulman wrote:

- The Celtics’ 39-point margin in Tuesday night’s championship clinching win is the largest in a decisive NBA finals game.

- In fact, Boston now has four of the six biggest margins in games that clinched titles. The Lakers have the other two in championships won while they were in Minneapolis. The previous biggest winning margin in such games was 33 points by Boston on April 25, 1965, when it beat the Los Angeles Lakers 129-96.

- Boston’s 52 baskets from 3-point range erased the finals mark of 51 set by San Antonio in 2005.

- The Celtics also put on a record-setting defensive performance Tuesday with 18 steals, eclipsing the single-game finals mark set by Golden State against Washington in 1975.

- The Lakers put their own stamp on the record book, despite being crushed in the decisive game. League MVP Kobe Bryant’s 16 steals in the series tied the mark held by some pretty special players—Julius Erving, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Dwyane Wade.

- And Boston broke its own NBA record for most championships with 17. The Lakers are second with 14.

Associated Press Sports Writer Jimmy Golen added:

- The Celtics joined the 1975 Golden State Warriors and the ‘77 Trail Blazers as the only teams to win it all a year after missing the playoffs.

The Champs on Letterman

The next night on The David Letterman Show, guests Walter Ray Allen, Jr. and Kevin Garnett shared:

“How you feeling, champ?” Ray Allen asked KG.

“I feel good,” Garnett replied. “How you feeling, champ?”

Said Allen, “Oh, I’m doing good.”

And with that, the world is right again…

Thursday, June 19, 2008

UFC Wired: Featuring Tyson Griffin vs. Frankie "The Answer" Edgar

Been wanting to post this for quite some time now.

UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) Wired over at the Balls network is one show that I really look forward to (in lieu of WWE, which is no longer carried by our cable service provider). Unlike its pay-per-view counterpart, UFC Wired focuses on highlights of three different fights from past UFC tournaments.

One evening, I caught the second match in UFC Wired (originally aired on UFC 67: All or Nothing) that featured a couple of unfamiliar yet unbeaten 155 lbs. fighters— Tyson Griffin (8-0 MMA record) and Frankie "The Answer" Edgar (UFC Debut).

The match was scheduled for three rounds and these guys were lightning quick—throwing one counter after another. By the third round, an Edgar kick lands where no man should be hit and Griffin goes down temporarily.

To make matter’s worse, referee Steve Mazzagatti seemed to be insensitive to Griffin’s plight and calls for the match to continue. With forty seconds remaining, Griffin catches a break and catches Edgar (who at this time is way ahead on points) with a kneebar!

It was awesome! The crowd was pumped! And I really thought that with the way Griffin was twisting and pulling Edgar’s knee in a direction it was never supposed to go…I thought he would concede and submit. But Edgar didn’t relent as he punched and gritted it out until the clock read 0:00.

Edgar could barely put any weight on his battered leg (which he fortunately didn’t dislocate or tear any major ligaments while under the pressure of the 40-second long kneebar) as the split decision was awarded to him at the conclusion of the match.

Wow huh?

Immediately after the match, I went online to try to find a video that I could post here over multiply. Alas, since the lightweight fighters were relative unknowns, there wasn’t any. This “blow-by-blow” report by JB Lederman is the closets I got.


411's UFC: Wired Report (03.30.08)

Posted by JB Lederman

UFC Wired, (aired 3/30/08)

Welcome to the inaugural edition of UFC: Wired Recap, wherein I review, repeat, and reiterate a recap show.

Joe Rogan welcomes us to the show. Rogan is incapable of letting his arms hang at his sides, have you noticed? Always flexing the biceps. On tap tonight are three exciting fights: Drew McFedries vs. Alessio Sakara, Tyson Griffin vs. Frankie Edgar, and Jon Fitch vs. Luigi Fioravanti.

Second fight (155 lbs): Tyson Griffin (8-0 MMA record) vs. Frankie "The Answer" Edgar (and man with two first names.


Battle of the undefeated lightweights! If you asked "The Answer" what the fastest animal in the world is, he would say "the cheetah." Griffin looks really big for a '55 pounder, with a huge trunk. Rogan weirdly says that if Griffin were a girl, he'd have a "badunkadunk." Is that the right way to spell that? Edgar looks in great shape.

Round One:

Standup to start. Edgar stays in the pocket and moves well. Griffin looks a bit more clunky. In a neat move, Edgar fakes a shot, pulls up and lands a left uppercut. He catches a leg kick and takes Griffin down. Griffin tries a guillotine, but Edgar transitions to side control. Rogan notes that a guy would not tap out to a guillotine in side control "unless he really sucks." Griffin works to his feet and tries a double-leg on Edgar. Both men scramble and transition with neither getting the better of the other. Both back to their feet and they exchange again in the center of the ring. Interesting sequence when Edgar tries a Superman punch, Griffin counters with a knee, and Edgar is so fast that he grabs the leg and takes Griffin down again. Edgar is in Griffin's guard. Not much damage being done. Both men back to their feet. The previous Superman punch/knee sequence is repeated but without the takedown. The round ends with both men exchanging on their feet.

Round Two:

Griffin lands an uppercut that sends Edgar into the cage, though it was almost more of a push with a closed hand than a damaging strike. Edgar looking for a hip toss. He is warned for grabbing the fence. Both men on their feet as they separate. The speed of the fight is slowing from the torrid pace of the first round. Edgar catches a leg kick and turns it into a takedown. He is in Griffin's guard. Griffin is looking for a kimura. Edgar transitions to Griffin's back and is landing hammerfists. Both men stand up. Griffin tries three consecutive leg kicks. One lands, one is checked, and the third knocks Edgar off his feet! Edgar stands up. He catches another leg kick and takes Griffin down again. They scramble, and Griffin again looks for the kimura. Scramble again and Tyson now has Edgar's back. He tries a suplex but ends up dragging Edgar down instead. Edgar scrambles to the mounted position! He is landing some shots. Griffin gives up his back. The round ends with Edgar in Griffin's half guard, landing punches as the crown cheers.

Round Three:

Both men look exhausted. Griffin is now throwing arm punches with no real power. They accidentally butt heads, no damage done. The pace has slowed considerably. Edgar tries a knee and the top of his foot connects with Griffin's groin! He grimaces in pain as the insensitive jerk Mazzagatti says, "Fight on!" Does he not have man parts? Edgar now pressing and trying to take advantage! Griffin fights him off and seems to have recovered. The round is nearly over as Edgar lands a double-leg and takes Griffin's back. Griffin rolls through for a kneebar! It is sunk in deep. Edgar will not tap! Griffin traps his foot under the arm for even more leverage and cranks! Edgar still not tapping! He lands hammerfists to Griffin's thigh as the round ends. What a fight! Buffer announces the winner.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Gilbert Arenas and the Agent Zero Manila Tour (July 5-8, 2008)

Saw a poster in Glorietta today promoting the upcoming July trip of former Golden State Warrior and current NBA free agent Gilbert Arenas, Jr. (Gil opted out of his current deal with the Washington Wizards last June 9, 2008).

Gil is slated for some appearances as well as promoting his new Adidas shoes called "The Black President" and "Hibachi."

Arenas leaves a cool $12.8 million on the table (his projected salary for the 2008-09 season) in hopes of a more lucrative six-year deal (that could net him as much as an estimated $106 to $114 million dollars).

Let's hope Gil’s knee (he has had multiple surgeries on his left knee) holds up and whomever he does end up signing up with get their money’s worth.

Now lets look forward to Agent Zero’s trip to Philippine soil.