After sweeping the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals at Orlando, Paul Pierce addressed Boston fans during a live postgame interview as part of the Game 2 telecast on May 18. Pierce said, “we’re coming home to close it out.”
Moments later Pierce could be heard on the same telecast telling Magic fans as he walked back to the locker room, “see ya’ll next year.”
Pierce’s comments were less than prophetic, as the Magic managed to force the series back to Florida with a Game 4 victory in Boston. Orlando then defeated Pierce’s Celtics in Game 5 before the C’s took the series 4-2 with a Game 6 victory in Boston.
Pierce blessed us with similar histrionics Sunday night in the waning moments of the Celtics’ Game 2 win against the Lakers in Los Angeles. Read more…
Following a win over the Lakers last February, Celtics coach Doc Rivers demanded $100 each from Boston’s players, coaching staff, and even team managers. He stuffed the dough in an envelope, and told his team — his entire traveling organization, really — that they can have the money back the next time they play the Lakers inside the Staples Center.
Of course, that was the only regular season game for the Celtics at Staples Center this season so reaching the NBA Finals was the only way the C’s would see the money. Read more…
Tuesday night a Magic fan named Franz Hanning was caught on video heckling longtime NBA referee Joe DeRosa at halftime of the Eastern Conference Finals game between Orlando and the Boston Celtics at Orlando’s Amway Arena.
While Hanning was shouting at DeRosa from behind the halfcourt scorer’s table, the referee shocked the fan by tossing him a basketball. Hanning then immediately, softly tossed the ball back to the referee.
After receiving the ball from Hanning, DeRosa signaled arena security to descend on Hanning as the ref went to the locker room for halftime. Hanning was then reportedly “relocated” to another seat. (It’s not known what DeRosa’s intent was in calling for police to handle the situation.)
The incident is a big story in Orlando today, with local media outlets seeking comment from the NBA and Hanning on the situation. While the league this afternoon would only confirm that it is continuing to “review” the situation, Hanning has released a statement about the incident. A statement which might surprise you.
Sunday night disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy appeared on a podcast hosted by Celtics bloggersNick Gelso and Brandon Paul on BlogTalkRadio.com.
During his two-hour guest appearance, Donaghy was asked the following:
One of the referees I’ve been annoyed with over the years is Bill Kennedy, every time he has a Celtics game I almost know that we’re not getting calls. Is his relationships with Doc Rivers or the Celtics organization as a whole something you know about.
Donaghy’s response to the question was unexpected, to say the least.
That sounds you hear is that confident bubble of pride surrounding the city of Boston bursting — and the city of Cleveland rejoicing — all at once.
“He’s not going to be ready. After watching him practice, there’s no way,” Rivers said. “The way I saw him move today, I don’t know if he’ll be ready.”
The Celtics are still a playoff caliber team without Garnett, but they’re certainly not a squad capable of defending an NBA title. In fact, missing Garnett is precisely the kind of blow that will convince the young Bulls that they can actually steal this first round series if they get lucky with a win in Games 1 or 2. After Garnett went back on the shelf in April, the Celtics still won 10 of 11 games down the stretch. Yet there’s a substantive difference between winning regular season games against teams that may or may not have a postseason future, and winning playoff games against the likes of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.
Sometimes, when we have exciting exhibition baseball games or tight NBA contests, we worry that we’re too focused on winning and losing or on a particular team. We fear we’re losing sight of the most important element of sports: the umpires and referees. Thankfully, two brave men reminded us that we care about the events on the field of play because of them.
First, NBA ref Bill Kennedy established his author-i-tah by ejecting Doc Rivers with less than a minute left in a two-possession game against the Bulls apparently because Rivers wouldn’t turn and face him like a man and actually walked away from confrontation.
We believe the first technical in the third quarter was for sneezing without covering his mouth, though we can’t verify. Tommy Heinsohn and Boston bloggers took it as well as they could.
Then Kenji Johjima was sent packing by the Tossin’ Wendelstedts (youngun’ edition) for leaving his bat at home plate mid-inning after a questionable strike three (and does Hunter know any other kind?). Hunter waited for Kenji to return to the dugout, pointed at the bat a few times like a disappointed paternal figure, and then tossed him casually. Midseason form.
Austin Rivers, son of Celtics coach Doc Rivers, is quite the basketball standout of the Orlando area. So it should please many Gator fans in and around central Florida that the Winter Park product has announced his intentions to play for Billy Donovan’s squad.
Game changer? We were actually thinking more along the lines of diaper changer. Those cubicled kids at ESPN need to cook up some graphics for Red Kerr and Heinsohn if they really want market penetration.
Speaking of unwitting endorsers, Mark Murphy of the BOSTON HERALD reports on the pill popper Dr. Feelgood of the Boston Celtics: Coach Doc Rivers. Read more…