By Jake Appleman, Ben Collins and Jon Evans
– Coming back to the locker room from warm-ups Smush Parker jokingly laments the lack of alcohol in the team cooler. He then assures everyone that his hairless chest is all the evidence needed to prove he doesn’t drink at all. The Smush Parker sobriety test is now being conducted and Vin Baker has just run out to stock up on Gillette Mach3s.
– After a pregame meal of fish that looked suspiciously like chicken, we head out to the court just as the C’s Dance Squad leaves their locker room.
–During the Celtics’ pregame montage, “Oh Fortuna” from the Carmina Burana blares. I sang this in high school chorus. Trust, there’s nothing that has ever been written in Latin that is more gangsta than “Oh Fortuna”. It’s like The Wire of early 13th century songs. “Semper crescis aut decrescis.” Awesome. I’m getting chills. If you don’t know, now you know…
—You have to give the C’s video team all the credit in the world for getting KG to scream like a maniac at the end of the video montage. This is the greatest pregame intros signature since, “AT 6”6…FROM…NORTH…CAROLINA…” What’s great is that, unlike most pregame theatrics, it really revs the crowd up. I haven’t seen an NBA regular season crowd this loud since MSG in the early 90’s. The fans are giving the Celtics that sixth man that the crowd can be when its vocal powers are utilized properly.
–I can’t fathom how Penny Hardaway couldn’t get #1 from Dorrell Wright. How many dinners would it take?
–In honor of Boston accents, Paul Pierce is now known as “Pal” Pierce.
–D-Wade gets the start, so out goes Penny. Way to crush my dreams, Riles.
–Shaq finishes with one of those rim-rattlers that looks exactly like the logo to his s—tty shoe. Remember, the one that’s sold only at public bathro—uh, I mean Payless?
–Shaquille O’Neal: banking in foul shots without calling glass since 1995. 8-2, Heat.
–Ricky Davis looks pretty schnazzy in the Heat all blacks, I must say. With that in mind, I must admit I’ve been referring to him in my notes as Pretty Ricky for no apparent reason.
–Dwyane Wade: banking in 17-footers without calling glass since 2007. 12-6, Heat.
–Shaq still dwarfs KG. Think about that. But it’s pretty much just KG vs Shaq one-on-one with Pierce and Wade jumping in when the play is broken. The Big Fella has 6 and 3 already. Garnett has eight in six minutes. We’ve got a thrilla on our hands, folks.
– Pretty Ricky knocks down the pull up jumper from 15 feet. 19-18 Boston. It is definitely worth noting the form on his jumper. It’s easy to see on TV that he doesn’t have a traditional follow through, but in person it’s even more jarring. Such a quick release, almost like he’s allergic to the ball.
–Ugh, this Lil’ Phunk thing is so disconcerting. Though it was comforting that there were no players ogling Lil’ Phunk during the 60 second timeouts.
–Ray Allen is airtight on Wade. He’s not getting any jumpers off uncontested. Dude is like paint on a stripper’s body after a night with Aubrey Huff. (More Aubrey Huff jokes? Really?)
–Rondo with an acrobatic rebound and up-and-under over Haslem on the break. As Jake eloquently instructs: ‘He just circumvented Haslem. Write that down.” Crowd is on their feet, Boston up 3 – Miami timeout.
–The opening line in the song the cheerleaders are dancing to is: “Is there anybody out there looking for a party?” Scott Pollard then panned the crowd to see if anyone was saying yes. This happened. A Collins sounds like a Simmons. Only in Boston.
–The Celtics run the play that’s worked all season (Rondo to a posting KG, to Perk making a divecut), but it’s not gonna work tonight because Zo is there to kill it.
–Wait, nope, just worked. 23-16, Celtics.
–Smush Parker rocking the ‘fro! I want that!
–Hey, look! Smush Parker kind of dribbles like I do (almost off his foot fifteen times)! Finally, an NBA player I can relate to.
–Shaq exits so Pollard and Scalabrine can come in and not look as embarrassing. Speaking of Scalabrine it’s worth noting that Scalabrine is the ‘thugnificent’ to Jake’s Riley Freeman. Myles Brown just laughed. I promise.
–Boston opens up the second quarter with Ray Allen, Posey, Scalabrine, Pollard, House. Otherwise known as Jesus and the Shuttlesworths.
–9:54: This Shaq/Scott Pollard matchup is like a fine wine; a fine wine after the wine taster spits it back in the glass.
–7:42: Penny Hardaway and Mark Blount get their signals crossed and Penny throws the ball into the backcourt. I’m with Penny’s frustration on this one; how could he have expected Mark Blount to cut to the basket?
–I just joined the Penny Hardaway for President Facebook group at the end of the First Quarter. Tough decision, too, because there were two other groups that earned some honest consideration: “Penny Hardaway is not dead” and “bow down bitch here comes penny hardaway.”
–Someone in the press up here: “I used to see Ricky Davis shopping at TJ Maxx all the time.” That’s about right. Rock that discounted, returned South Pole merchandise from four years ago, Ricky D!
–Mark Blount gets booed like (Collins did not finish the sentence. Is he leaving the joke for me like J-Kidd to a trailer? Um, ok.) Mark Blount gets booed because he’s Mark Blount. Sometimes it’s easier just to keep it simple.
–James Posey counters Smush Parker trey with one of his own. And I officially need a new pair of pants. 32-31.
–KG back to back jumpers from the top of the key; he’s fed off of Pierce dribble penetration. 39-35 C’s.
–Scott Pollard quoting Anchorman on the jumbotron is legitimately funny. We’re so talking to him afterwards.
–Look, this is why I’m not a D-Wade fan: the ball just slipped out of his hands, so instead of getting back on defense, his first instinct is to fall down. That’s his instinct. To fall down. Just letting you know that.
–Travis Roy in the house and the fans immediately get to their feet. One of the coolest guys alive. If you don’t know his story, click here:
–Penny’s still a pretty good face-up defender.
–Pierce counters Wade on the draw-contact and lay-it-in move. This is the best ballgame the Celtics have seen from another team all season. 42-37.
–Davis and his sofreshandsocleanclean uni hits a three and is immediately countered by the now 2-of-9 Ray Allen. He was in the top-10 in field goal percentage. Hah. 45-40, C’s.
–Rondo cuts through the lane, and KG finds him for an easy two. C’s by 6.
–Jason Williams throws the ball away because it’s loud. This shocks no one.
–The Heat have had some excellent defensive possessions so far tonight, collapsing on penetration late in the shot clock. Shaq’s presence has definitely been felt.
–Boston comes out with a lot of energy after Doc Rivers screams the word “UBUNTU!” very loudly at halftime.
–Riles counters with a quickie timeout and probably calls Jason Williams a word that kind of rhymes with “UBUNTU!” in the huddle.
–Rondo dishes a sweet cross court bounce pass to Perkins for the dunk. The man in the front row with thebakedbeans.com t-shirt is pleased. After checking the website I’m going out on a limb and assuming there is very little talk there about legumes. 56-50 C’s.
–I was just about to ask the reporter next to me, “On a scale of one to ten, how annoying are these chips I’m eating?” But I know the answer is probably a 9, so I’m not asking. Lime & Black Pepper, take me home!
–Shaq baby hook from the days of yore and he’s on par for one those ol’ fashioned monster lines. He has 14 and eight right now. 62-56, Boston.
–The Celtics are running backdoor cuts like it’s Princeton – first to Perk then to Rondo – and the lead is up to eight again.
–Anyone else seeing the obvious correlation between this Lip Gloss song and VERY SPECIFIC SEXUAL INNUENDO. I’m not bashing it or anything – these 3-to-5 years olds in Lil’ Phunk need to hear this song if they want to be popular in middle school, if you know what I mean – but I think it’s pretty clear. This was pretty obvious to me on the first listen, but everyone acts like I just told them the end of the Sixth Sense in 1999.
–Just a beautiful Posey steal, to Rondo back to Posey for a dunk. Yikes. Rondo has seven points, nine dimes and five rebounds and he may be coming into his own tonight. Then Posey for three and it’s 70-59 all of a sudden. This may be one of those Celtics games that gets very uncompetitive very quickly.
–This is also James Posey’s best night as a Celtic. Up-and-under gives the C’s a 13-point lead.
–Two D-Wade assists bring, one on a pretty alley-oop to Davis, end the quarter with the Heat in shouting distance, 76-65.
—Kendrick Perkins and Rajon Rondo have been working very well together tonight, finding each other open on a couple of occasions, catching the Heat off guard (literally) in the process.
—A cheesy poem about James Posey:
It’s all rosy
Circles of Fire
Rings around the Heat
Heat is the absence of cold
Fat man in a little shirt
Defensive crouch, dumps like a trucker
Pat Riley’s hair is a pimp named slickback
Pockets full of Posey
–James Posey is getting a little handsy with D-Wade because he’s seen commercials and he knows how much he likes falling down and getting up.
–A KG baseline jumper, Bird-esque and falling out of bounds, is just horrifying. How do you stop that? 84-69, Celtics.
–Smush Parker tripped over his own ‘fro and sprained his ankle. He will not return, since there is no barber immediately available.
—Another KG jumper. Jake and I agree that is one of the quietest 26 point performances we’ve ever seen.
–James Posey clubs Ricky Davis like a seal in Alaska, prompting a very loud, “NICE!” from some guy in the crowd. This is how Clint Eastwood still makes movies.
–Ricky D then knocks down a very open 2 to make the score 86-76 and the crowd gets audibly nervy. Timeout.
—The Celts roll out the clichéd Hoosiers ‘in my book were going to be winners clap-clap-clap’ clip on the jumbotron. You’d think that: A) Being up by 10 and B) having the JesusTruthTicket, they’d put Gene Hackman on the shelf for a while.
–Shaq picks up a rebound and that’s the first we’ve heard from him since the start of the third quarter. Where the hell has he been? Anyways, Wade just nailed a jumper and Jason Williams took a charge, the lead is down to eight and the Heat are playing four guards and Shaq. These next few possessions are where the game is decided.
–Well, if this is where the game is decided, it’s not looking good for a certain Boston team remaining undefeated. A free Shaq dunk and a Daequan Cook (yep, he’s in the NBA, I guess) layup and this game is down to four for the first time since the second quarter. This prompts an impromptu “let’s go Celtics” chant from probably the smartest sports fans on this Earth. Smartest sports fans in the world? Collins, I’m calling shenanigans on your regional bias.
–300 ON THE JUMBOTRON! They’re gonna play High Fidelity next and make my night, aren’t they?
—Pretty Ricky will likely not be following in JJ Reddick’s footsteps as a coverboy for the better basketball dvds, but no matter, he of the negative follow through nails yet another three. 86-85 Celtics.
–KG IS SO COOL! He dunks on Ricky Davis after the play is called dead, stares him down then intimidates the refs into not calling him for taunting. In fact, he intimidates the refs into calling a ticky-tack off-the-ball foul immediately after that foul. If Hell froze over and I became a Heat fan, I’d be pissed! [Insert generic, obligatory White Hot Eboy reference here.]
–Incidental Hack-a-Shaq and he hits two of three (lane violation), but it’s a tie ballgame, 86 up.
–I guess this is where we find out whose number the Celtics call at the end of a close game. Ray Allen goes at Shaq, who now has five foul and will sit for Haslem. Allen hits them both in a what-did-you-expect fashion.
–RONDO NAILS A JUMPER! RONDO NAILS A JUMPER! CANCER IS CURED! He’s got 9, 10 and 7. The baseline jumper from Rondo is Boston’s first FG in nearly seven minutes. Crowd erupts, Miami timeout, 90-86 C’s. I mean, what are the odds that a 7 minute field goal drought is ended by a Rondo jumper? 47:1?
–We’re standing now, for we have no option as everyone is standing in front of us. It’s gotta go to D-Wade here, he’s in rare form, even if he’s hurt. He has 21 already.
–Wade miss then a pass to no one then a Wade tough layin. Well, we knew it was going to him.
–Haslem steal at midcourt. Cook flys in for the dunk and is fouled by Posey.
–The Heat have the lead! The Heat have the lead!
–Wait, no, he missed the free throw. 90 up.
–Pierce take, but no foul call. This is becoming stream of consciousness and I apologize — the ticker is racing a little here. KG fouls Haslem for pretty much no reason after the rebound. And he’s headed to the line.
–Udonis nails one of two and the Heat have the lead! Seriously this time! 91-90, Heat, 32.7 seconds left. This would be a nailbiter if we weren’t trying to quit that sort of thing.
–Timeout Boston. Miami has been doubling KG, by the way, so they’re probably going to work it down to him and swing it to Allen. Just a guess. I should timestamp this: 10:05 Eastern.
–Pierce in the post for a way-too-easy layup on an Allen pass and jumpstop (I’M PRETTY SURE HE WALKED). Timeout Miami. 92-91 Celtics, 25 seconds left.
–It’s Mrs. Wade’s Little Pookie on an iso up top on Posey. Pookie dribbles out the clock and settles for the top of the key jumper. Brick. Ballgame. 8-0. Note to D-Wade: You get in Chuck’s five by taking the ball hard to the rim on the game’s last possession. Now, we’re not even sure if that was the right option, but at this juncture a VC-esque jumper at the end is no way to establish yourself as more than a pookie-mon.