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Blogcat's Take, 1/10


Ahhhhhh…Ummmmmmmm…Huh.  I’m speechless.  I need to go on autopilot and throw out a bunch of random sports clichés while I try to recover from my shock: “At the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, the last time I checked, that’s why you play the game, it is what it is, I don’t believe in moral victories, TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT ME TO DO!” 
 
Phew!  Okay, I’m back.
 
Last night’s victory over Boston in Boston was the equivalent of Barack Obama losing the New Hampshire primary…to Dennis Kucinich.  Where to start?  How about Paul Pierce’s comment afterward: “It was one of Charlotte's best games.”  Yes it was, Paul, in the same way that “Come On Eileen” was “one of” Dexys Midnight Runners’ best songs.  In fact, I might be going out on a limb here, but I’d argue that it was the best game we've played this year (narrowly edging out that victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in November).
 
It’s sad and petty of me, but you know what made it even better?  Listening to Tommy Heinsohn descend into madness.  In the span of 2 hours or so, he turned into Colonel Kurtz.  It’s almost mean-spirited, because when the Celtics get creamed, Heinsohn becomes something of a sympathetic monster—you almost feel like you’re laughing at a handicapped guy.  Tommy blamed the refs (specifically Ken Mauer), Ray Allen’s injury, Glen “Big Baby” Davis’s injury, and—laughably—the Celtics’ three off-days for their loss.  Pretty much everything but Jessica Simpson was responsible for this one, according to poor Tommy.  The only credit he’d give to the other side went to Nazr Mohammed, of all people, although even this was delivered in classic Heinsohnian fashion: he actually had to ask play-by-play Mike Gorman who this “kid” was, despite the fact that Mohammed is 30 and playing in his tenth season.  Tommy also capped off a memorable night with the gem, “Jeff McInnis hasn’t played an inch of defense!”  Um, is that like the "inch of respect" we all apparently owe Roger Clemens?  I said a few days ago that unlike Red Kerr, Tommy at least uses words in his commentary—but I didn’t go so far as to say those words made any sense.
 
Anyway, as much fun as it is poking fun at Tommy, it’s even more fun to bask in the glow of two straight victories.  And on that note, let’s not underestimate the significance of crushing the Nets just one night prior.  As much as the Bobcats drive me crazy, I would still rather root for them over teams like the Nets.  As crappy as they are, I’ve never, EVER seen our Bobcats put forth a garbage effort like the Nets did on Tuesday.  By far the most interested looking guy for New Jersey was poor Lawrence Frank.  Even scarier for NJ?  The second-most energetic guy was Josh Boone.  Hey, what happened to Nenad Kristic?  Has anyone heard from him?  And what about Marcus Williams?  He didn’t get caught stealing computers out of the Nets' HR department or something, did he?  As for those on the court, Vince Carter was at his sulkiest, and even better for us, he shot about as well as that kid bursting from the kitchen in Pulp Fiction: Carter made an abhorrent 5-of-15 field goals. 
 
Still, given the way we’ve played, the Nets victory was impossible to enjoy until the very end.  I kept waiting for the Wile E. Coyote moment, which I was pretty sure had happened with about 4 minutes to go in the third.  Gerald Wallace drove home an alley-oop to put us up by 19, New Jersey called a timeout, and right on schedule, there it was: McInnis doing a playful little pirouette by the bench right before they cut to commercial.  That’s it, I thought, there’s the smile, we’re screwed.  Sure enough, right off the timeout, Richard Jefferson made an unopposed dunk, Mohammed turned it over, and Bostjan Nachbar drilled a 3-pointer.  But that was it.  After Jason Collins hit a free throw, we pretty much traded baskets from there on out. 
 
“We hadn't had a chance to have one of those kind (sic) of games all year long, really,” Coach Sam Vincent said after the game.  I’m not quite sure what he meant by that—isn’t every game a chance to have one of those kinds of games?  Also, in a perfect world, I really wish that Michael Jordan having any sort of contact with the players—as he apparently did prior to this game—wouldn’t be so newsworthy.  I mean, seriously, isn’t this what he’s supposed to be doing?  It reminds me of that headline from The Onion a few weeks back, that one that went something like, “George Bush Makes Surprise Visit to Work.”  But whatever, I’m really in no mood to complain…
 
Onto Boston, and man, that crowd was rocking.  Is this how they normally sound?  Maybe I’ve just gotten used to all those ghost-town home games we’ve had, but they were like the Soviet crowd at the Balboa-Drago fight.  Once again, there was no way I was stupid enough to start get excited—no matter how long we stayed in this one.  Paul Pierce was capable of beating us all by himself last year, forget about having KG and Jesus S. by his side.  Plus, Rajon Rondo is a walking optical illusion.  He’s listed as 6’-1”, 171, but I swear that’s +/- six inches depending on the camera angle.  And even when we’re able to contain a team’s stars, we have this tremendous knack for allowing journeymen to put up legendary numbers.  That’s why, in the second quarter, I was not in the least bit surprised to see a lineup of Eddie House, Brian Scalabrine, Tony Allen, James Posey and Scott Pollard (who, in a remarkably short period of time, went from looking like a gutter punk to one of my uncles) giving us all we could handle, stretching out a 4-point lead to 9.
 
Thank goodness they put Garnett and Pierce back in!  Otherwise, we probably would have lost.  Instead, Nazr was illmatic under the hoop, scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 boards (of course, in the twisted mind of Coach Vincent, this probably means he’s now destined to spend the next two weeks on the bench).  Meanwhile, Gerald Wallace lately seems as confused about how to score as he is about how to wear his hair.  Fortunately, everything he tries seems to be falling: drives, mid-range jumpers, 3-pointers.  But the man of the night (and of the past several) was J-Rich, who can miss all the free throws he wants as long as he keeps putting up 34, 9, and 64%.  I don’t want to go overboard, but if we keep this up, 15 wins for the year won’t seem like such a pipe dream…         




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