From time to time, I need to get a few of things off of my chest…this is the second installment…
With under a minute left in last night’s Celtics/Nets game at the Garden, an unnecessary (but not egregious) extracurricular push by Kris “challenging public persona” Humphries to Kevin Garnett’s airborne shot continuation body provoked a Rajon Rondo reaction that ultimately results in the question of “how many games?” rather than “will he be suspended?” The tweetbookosphere has erupted with varying opinions of whether Rondo’s audience set (a NBA no no) scrum was justified as sticking up for his big brother teammate KG or a completely superfluous overreaction that will only cost the Celtics further harm (especially if Rondo is missing multiple games – a strong likelihood). As a viewer watching live at home, my initial reaction was an adrenaline burst (honestly, when was the last time the Celtics had this kind of altercation, Ralph Sampson’s bullying of Jerry Sichting in ’86?) and a desire to understand the flurry of activity that all happened so fast. In this understanding lies my ultimate take: when a player excessively goes after a Celtic, Rondo will react (I have seen him do this push thing before). I can see both sides of why this is acceptable, but most of the time, the result may be at worse a harmless technical while openly acknowledging that Rondo has his teammates back. After the dozens of replays, I think Rondo had a normal Rondo reaction. KG was on the floor. Kris Humphries was the reason, and Rondo was going to let him know about it. It would have all been over, but unfortunately, the former Ms. Kardashian (what a bizarre chapter looking back) tried to grab the Celtics floor leader in a push lock, fought back, and finally maintained a strong hold for way too long and in the wrong location (into the audience). It was an overreaction to a reasonable reaction that in some cases (as was the case last night) could have dire consequences for Rondo and the Celtics. Rondo took this risk (as he often does) to defend KG and last night things just got out of hand. If the NBA comes down with a 3 or 5 game mandatory rest, it is what it is. Rondo took a hard foul to the audience, but my hope is that they review his track record of reasonable teammate defender (Tommy Heinsohn rightfully applauded this, sorry Ric Bucher, I don’t agree with you) and give him a little leeway. At 8-7 and with a defense that seems to be all out of sorts when KG is on the bench, this is a critical time for Celtics Nation. Let us hope that Rondo’s absence is as short-lived as possible…
The 2012 NBA training camp experience has begun, preseason games start in a couple of days, and the NBA is alive and well in October (in contrast to last year when the lockout had forced a dead and sickly designation). As is evident from my week 4 NFL picks (ouch, although some I can defend), the Association is my first, second, and fourth major professional sport jam (the third: THE CHALLENGE as you may have surmised from my weekly treatises).
So what’s been shaking? Let’s kick it…
• Marc Stein released his first preseason power rankings this week and has the Celtics 6th behind the revamped Clippers. Besides this tough moment for Marc Stein, he does an admirable job, especially acknowledging the Bobcats as the 58th of 30 professional teams (I kid).
• Dwight Howard wants to play in the Lakers opener ahead of schedule, Andrew Bynum has to sit for a few weeks in Philly, Chauncey and Avery may be a while, Janeero Pargo is back (!!!!) in the league because John Wall is out, and Vince Carter may be injured.
• Paul Pierce has a beautiful view from his hotel room in Istanbul.
• Darko is going to be so much fun…
• The talk out of the Celtics camp is phenomenal. Doc is bringing back ubuntu, Rondo thinks this Celtics team is more talented than 2008, Pierce wants to remain a Celtic well beyond his playing career, and KG lost Ray’s phone number and is taking the bigs under his wing. Can you feel it???? Oh yeah…
• Jessica Camerato of CSNNE.com did an amazing job with this piece on the retired Keyon Dooling. It is a must read.
• Ricky Rubio has an unexpected reason for appreciating a Michael Beasley-less locker room in Minnesota this season.
• This pretty much sums up why Rajon Rondo is my favorite player in a generation.
And finally, set your dvrs so you don’t miss the first Celtics preseason game of their European trip on NBA TV at 2:00 PM on Friday!
Things are beginning to heat up in Celtics/NBA land…in case you missed it…
– Jason Terry has to step on the court in Celtics uniform, but he already gets what it means to be a Celtic. Flipping Terry for Ray could be a stroke of genius. Although there is some skill replication, Terry, as a Celtic in 2012-2013, will be hungrier, a better ball-handler, more comfortable offensively as the anchor of a unit, and a better locker room presence.
– It’s a good thing that Jason Terry is Jason Terry because Bradley could be a out a while to start the season. The blessing in disguise could be the fast-tracked acclimation of Courtney Lee, Terry, and Jeff Green who should all see more playing time with Bradley out.
– The Bucks found refuge for Marquis Daniels. In retrospect, what a bizarre Celtics career he had.
– ESPN’s NBA rank experiment, now in year two, is an exhausting and at times tedious countdown of every single player in the NBA as voted upon by too many bloggers. I would take it all more seriously if they created a super committee (say WoJo, Bob Ryan, Bill Simmons, Rich Bucher, Marc Stein, and Steve Kerr) and streamlined the process a little bit. Instead, over what feels like six months, days were spent on a very unnecessary portion of the league and when you get to quality players, it is hard to tell what it all means without knowing who is ahead of them. Celtic fans will be happy to know that yesterday Rondo’s position was revealed to be no. 12, ahead of Tony Parker and Steve Nash, but behind DWade, Deron Williams, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Kobe, and DRose. I could see Rondo making the leap over DWade (aging slightly), Deron (ech), and DRose (the injury could set him back) into the top 10. It is mind-blowing to think that Rajon Rondo is a top 10 player in this league, but I think we are on the cusp of that realization. Wow.
– Old Celtic frenemy, Rasheed Wallace, is thinking about joining some other old-timers in the New York Knick Front-court. His stalwart game 7 performance against the Lakers in 2010 (even the running out of gas part at the end), will always give me a reluctant smile about his time in Boston. Most intriguing about this potential move to NYC is that at 38, he would be only the fourth oldest player on the roster behind Jason Kidd (39), Kurt Thomas (39), and Marcus Camby (38). I love everything about this.
The Celtics preseason begins in few weeks in Europe on October 5. Let us hope this European trip is like this European trip in 2007 when the pillars for a Championship team were built. Ubuntu!