Monday, April 07, 2008

What's Green And Goes Up?

I suppose it’s about time I talk about the Celtics.

(Yeah, I know. The reason why I have about three times as many daily readers now, as I did a year ago at this time, is because I’ve specifically avoided talking about the Celtics. Those people who don’t live in the Boston area, or who actually live outside of North America altogether, have little interest in hearing about my favorite basketball team. Most of my female readers, in particular, have already begun the tuning out process, even as they read this sentence. It doesn’t matter. I can’t help it. I have to talk about the Celtics every so often or else the pressure from keeping it in will build up until I become an axe murderer or maybe even consider voting for Hillary Clinton. It is a public service for me to write about the Celtics. If I don’t, society at large will suffer.

However, in deference to those of you who come here looking for something more than me prattling on about a bunch of pituitary freaks who have found a way to become millionaires via the expedient of putting a rubber ball through a hole, I will intersperse jokes at random throughout what follows. They may not be great jokes, but they should be enough to keep you amused until tomorrow, at which time I’ll be back to my usual of telling you wildly improbable tales concerning my family - many of which are actually true – or talking about the types of topics you’ve come to expect when visiting here, such as why I really like Wheeler & Woolsey, even though all the evidence against such a proposition is truly overwhelming.)

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?

A: To keep his pants up.

OK, the Celtics are currently sitting atop the Atlantic Division of the NBA, having completed the greatest one-year turnaround in the history of professional basketball. Last year, they won 24 games. This year, they are at 61 wins and counting. This is despite their having completely ignored all of the excellent advice I’ve given them, such as keep Al Jefferson and fire Doc Rivers.

Q: Why did the fireman wear red suspenders?

A: He wanted to see time fly.

I have thoroughly enjoyed this Celtic’s season thus far. They have played with a level of determination and heart unseen in these parts since Larry Bird last hung up his sneakers.

(That makes little sense. Do you hang up your sneakers? No, of course not. I suspect Bird never did, either. He might have hung up his shorts, but nobody wants to think about that, so I said sneakers.)

Q: Why did the moron throw the clock out the window?

A: Because it’s so hard to get the cows to squat over those little cartons.

Kevin Garnett is just amazing. In all my years of following sports, I have never seen a more intense ballplayer. Of course, intensity, in and of itself, isn’t enough to win games. Put ME on a basketball court and I could be as intense as Garnett, but it wouldn’t do anyone any good. There has to be talent, too. Garnett has the talent.

The other significant additions this year – Ray Allen, Eddie House, James Posey, “Big Baby” Davis – all have particular skills that make them invaluable to a team. And, when I say, “team,” that’s what I mean. These guys have all sublimated some of their individuality for the betterment of the team as a whole. Davis dives for loose balls and boxes out for rebounds, giving up his body for the common good. House and Posey make the extra pass, or bury the dagger-like three. Ray is Ray. He shoots lights out, in streaks. Leave him alone and it’s money in the bank. In other words, they are what folks from around these parts used to take for granted when watching the Celtics, and the biggest reason why Celtic teams of the past won championships. They are team players. They know their roles and they stick to them.

(And watch Posey before a game. He stands there on the sideline, by the scorer’s table, and gives each of the starters a big bear hug and a pep talk. Once you’ve seen that ritual, you just know this is a real team, and not a collection of talented individuals without any idea concerning the concept.)

Q: Why is cream so much more expensive than milk?

A: Cut off his nose.

The holdovers from last year – Rajon Rondo, Leon Powe, Tony Allen, and Kendrick Perkins – have continued to play the wonderful brand of basketball that made me go so gaga over this team, even while they were leading the league in losses that made you want to throw things through your TV screen. They hustle without let-up. They never quit. They are the heart of this team. They are also the future. And they know how horrible it is to be on a losing team. They will do everything in their power to stop from returning to that situation, now that they’ve tasted winning.

(Whenever one of those four guys enters the game, my heart swells. I was touting them last year, when almost everybody else was calling them bums. In your FACE, almost everybody else!)

Q: How do you stop a dog from smelling?

A: Who cares?

Other players have had limited playing time. P. J. Brown and Sam Cassell are more-or-less insurance policies. They’re here to be plugged into the forward or guard slot, respectively, should Garnett or Rondo be incapacitated. They’re seasoned professionals who will deliver a certain level of performance. Scot Pollard, now out for the season via injury, was the same. Greg Pruitt is a project for the future, and he’ll do fine in the future. Brian Scalabrine is the lost man in all of this. He started a handful of games this year, but now he’s the mop-up. I suspect that’s basically OK by Scal. As long as the team is winning, I think he’s not overly concerned with individual stats. He must be a great guy to be teammates with. He never complains, he always does what’s asked of him, and he never gives less than 100%. God bless him.

Q: If Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton fall out of an airplane, which one will hit the ground first?

A: **SNORT**

Of course, the best story of all is Paul Pierce. He’s in the top 10, in every statistical category, among career Celtics. However, he’s the only one among those legends who has never won a championship. He’s suffered through years of being the lone go-to guy on some pretty bad teams. During that time, he never stopped giving it his best shot. He always played with pride, and he never threw his teammates under the bus. If there were no other reasons why I’d like to see the Celtics win the NBA championship this year, there would still be Pierce. There will not be a happier man in the entire New England region than Paul Pierce, if the Celtics win it all. I want to see him smile from ear-to-ear for about three months.

Q: What’s green and goes up?

A: The Celtics.

Soon, with more better stuff.


Balcony Gal said...

Oh you know I'm one gal who stuck around to read all of this! I'm very much looking forward to Paul Pierce and the boys winning this championship. I'm looking forward to those of you who thought Doc should have been fired biting your tongues for a while, too (hee hee).

The only thing I'm going to add to your well-summed-up player report is that the pasty guy, Scal, sure plays with heart and I hope to see him stick around for a long time. He may not be all that great but when he's with this team he adds the perfectly imperfect piece.

Hoops, anyone?

John-Michael said...

You have just done something that I thought undoable. You have re-energized what I considered a dead enthusiasm for round-ball. All the strutting and attitude flaunting had me so back-turned to the whole NBA thing (starting with the refusal of the O'neil guy to appear with the once-in-history assembly of the games greats). Now (BECAUSE of my damned high regard for YOU [you big galloot]) I am recalling those hours of happy viewing of the guys on the parquet.

Damn! And I haven't had my TV on anything but PBS during round-ball season for so long!

Jules~ said...

I have seen your comment answers in various places and thought I'd come on by to say hi and visit.
I love your post. I had a good laugh. The mis matched jokes were even more funny than the original ones and I even got the bit about Larry Bird and his sneakers/shorts.
Thanks for your humor.

Minnesotablue said...

Hey, I always read you, just don't vote for Hillary

Buck said...

It doesn’t matter. I can’t help it. I have to talk about the Celtics every so often...

Oh, I SO understand! I'll forgive you your Celtics posts, Jim, if you'll reciprocate with my Red Wings posts. I can be insufferable during the playoffs, especially when the Wings advance. Or maybe it's when they don't advance. One or the other. Both, actually.

CrazyCath said...

Jim - you have managed to get me to read about basketball! You swine you! I'm still none the wiser and didn't know it was basketball until after third "joke"!
It was fun finding the punchlines. And I don't mind this sort of post 3 times a year if it stops you voting for Hilary. I hate to make you suicidal!

I didn't understand the stuff on Celtics (I thought you were going to give us some history! You know, REAL Celtics) but the jokes were good. :0)

Suldog said...

Balcony Gal - I knew you'd be all over this! Go Celtics!

John-Michael - I'm glad I could be of service, although I hate to think I'm costing PBS a dedicated viewer. Maybe you could write them and get them to consider showing NBA games during fundraising?

Jules - Thanks for stopping by. I hope I didn't make you think of Larry Bird's shorts for too long.

MinnesotaBlue - Believe me, there is no chance of me voting for Hillary Clinton. That would be like rotting for the Lakers - an abomination in the eyes of The Lord.

Buck - I totally understand your passion for The Wings. With the Bruins making the playoffs this year, for the first time since about 2003, I'd say that I hope they meet in the finals. However, they have to get through Montreal in the first round, and there's about as much chance of that happening as there is of my getting a Pulitzer.

CrazyCath (and anyone else from places like Great Britain) - The funniest thing, and something you're probably not aware of, is that the team name (Celtics) is pronounced "Seltics" around here, and not "Keltics", as is the actual proper pronunciation. Just a helpful hint should you ever be in these parts and wish to show your knowledge of the local sporting environment!