by Ben Collins
– There are some young, crazy hooligans (or, uh, kids) with the thickest of Boston accents that you’ll ever come across arguing on the train. One kid’s argument is that that the Celtics have a 100% winning percentage and they’re not yet inebriated enough to forget the concept of numbers. Which leads to this beautiful sentence:
“How ah you oh-fah-oh and less than 100%?” Someone then tries to divide 0 from 0, but doesn’t know his own answer, so they give up on it. This ends it: “The numbah zero was developed by the Myans.” Too correct for this conversation. Sorry, pal.
– By the way, here’s how you can differentiate between those who actually have Boston accents and those throwing it on for the effect of gruffness (at least I assume that’s why you’d throw on this awful thing – it slips out of me sometimes and squelch it down quick, like a fly in Mike Tyson’s apartment). Listen for words that actually end in ‘uh,’ If they add an ‘r’ from nowhere, like ‘idear’ instead of ‘idea,’ then it’s the real deal. These kids were authentic.
– I have this idea: I think the press loves Doc Rivers (who we are sending our condolences to today for the death of his Dad, by the way) because they think in these halls before the game, when he’s forced to chat with the media for five or six minutes, he will think of something strikingly important and it will be partially their doing. Doc is engaging and says things like, “I hadn’t thought of that.” He had thought of that, guys, he’s trying to say he likes your question. Anyways, that’s at least part of why he gets some immunity over here. He makes the press part of it.
– Doc tells us that Scot Pollard let him know this pre-game. “I’ll try not to screw up too much.” Hey kids, do drugs!
– Coach ends the press conference with the phrase “it’s a loss,” referring to Red Auerbach. I thought I was the only one who caught this, but EVERYONE jumps on him about it, so he changes his last sentence to something about winning.
– On the way over to the press dinner, Jacoby Ellsbury and Tim Wakefield are standing with the Red Sox Championship Trophy. So, so pretty. So so so so pretty.
– When I sit down, Gilbert is taking turnaround fadeaway 37-footers. He’s draining them, but he’s still taking them, you know?
– My God, this place is loud from a Jumbotron presentation.
– Manny Delcarmen and Jon Lester are here, too, parading around this trophy like it’s the cure for everything bad in the world. (And it kind of is here, but let’s not get poetic.)
– This crowd is very bad at Sweet Caroline, but I guess it’s just because they’re not bored by this team and they’re genuinely paying attention. Weird, huh?
– They do this right. They start off the intros with a video, concluded by Garnett screaming on the jumbotron and fireworks. This is like pro wrestling. But I like it.
– KG is introduced and he instills this deep cheer, loud and filled with brusqueness. It’s like every male fan in that building knows him, heard his rally cry and screamed in agreement. Think every other scene in the movie 300.
– They unveil the floor as “The Red Auerbach Parquet,” which apparently wasn’t done a year ago. But it gets to Paul Pierce big time. He chokes up before the game when he addresses the crowd.
– This is Paul Pierce, who has been passive for three straight years: “You guys have been with us through the good times and the bad times, and it’s time to turn this team around.” Here’s his puncher’s chance. Finally.
– It’s like a barroom with all this leftover smoke in here from the fireworks
– They gave out 20,000 green towels, which just gives the refs a little more incentive to call this game fairly if they don’t want six or seven on the court by the end of this game.
– There’s an impromptu (impromptu!) Let’s Go Celtics chant! What is this, 1986?
– Tip goes to Gilbert and he is booed mercilessly for his Internet guarantee. This is like that time that I was promised a free iPhone by that nice lady in the banner above Sam’s Myspace page. Liar!
– KG’s first shot bricks off back iron, barely grazing the rim. Look: a nervous 30-year-old, 11-year NBA veteran.
– We’re exactly 34 seconds into the game and Scot Pollard is already waving to someone in the stands. For what it’s worth, he’s rocking the relatively-normal-but-still-crazy-on-anyone-else hipster/mountain man look, like if Williamsburg was blown away to Vermont in a horrible tornado of fashion.
– Allen and Pierce miss their first shots, too, so the Big 3 is collectively 0-for-3 and a fan is already yelling at Doc to “go inside.”
– Arenas tosses up an airball on his first shot of the game and, man, is he hearing it. You’d think he was a bad person or something. No such luck.
– We’re two minutes in and there’s still a heavy, heavy buzz. This is what I think a ManU game would sound like if you cut the crowd in half and threw them in an arena. You know, minus all the flag burning and the anti-gay epithets.
– KG drops the first Celtics points of the season on a pair of free throws.
– Gilbert looks a little bit stronger this year. He obviously wasn’t in the gym 24 hours a day (and I have the Xbox Live logs to prove it), but he’ll have a bit of an easier time taking contact this year.
– A straight up Kendrick Perkins block on Brendan Haywood and each Wizard starter has already missed a shot.
– KG nails a jumper then gets up slowly on a Caron Butler hipcheck, turning this place into a library very quickly. He’s good.
– Little Jordan-over-Ehlo by Pierce to get the C’s on the board. 8-3 C’s.
– The fans want a three second call. Add that to the list of things I haven’ heard unironically at a Celtics game in five years.
– Another loud “Gil-bert” chant in the “Dar-yl” tradition, and he misses a free throw. It’s getting to him.
– Haywood gets position on Perk, makes him pay with a dunk, then swats him into the third row on the other end. The C’s need some front court depth pretty badly.
– DeShawn Stevenson, with two hands, from two. 11-10 Wizards.
– Paul Pierece is out with three minutes left in the first and non one just went to buy a pretzel. Reality? REALITY!? WHERE ARE YOU!?
– Ray Allen back-to-back counters Arenas’ back-to-back, 21-18 Celtics. Just wait until KG gets going.
– Scalabrine’s mock applause gets the loudest cheer of the night.
– Players I’m shocked that made active rosters: Celtics – Big Baby Davis. Wizards: Roger “Free Agent, Free” Mason, Oleksiy Pecherov (whose boat finally docked), Dominic McGuire and Nick Young (whose efforts to get the ball in the basket in the preseason was like a parent trying to get a Hannah Montana ticket).
– Comical lineup of the century (Pollard, Scalabrine, Eddie House) is negated by threatening superstars (KG, Allen).
– Darius Songaila, Arvydas-like from the post, sees an open Arenas on the cut. 23-20.
– A fan says to Gilbert, “You’re goin’ down! I guarantee it.” O.K. What does your guarantee imply, exactly? If you’re wrong – if he doesn’t “go down” – then what does he get to do? Heckle you? Punch you? Sometimes dunk tanks solve pretty much everything.
– Pierce drains a 3 and has 12 on 5/7 shooting early.
– Everyone touches the ball for the Celtics, including a hustle play from Pierce and Scal that ends in a House 3. 35-24 Celtics and a standing O brings them into a timeout.
– Lil’ Phunk, 3-5-year-olds, are dancing to Soulja Boy and references to Supermanning that ho are not bleeped out. Hooray society!
– Another natural Arenas airball. This is like PortlandX2.
– Rajon Rondo just hit a jumpshot. Drinks on me!
– Pierce just hit back to back jumpers. He has 19.
– There are some Patriots here tonight and they’re third-string sports stars here. And they’re undefeated. What a city.
– This got out of hand quickly. 54-34 Celtics after a Rondo fastbreak goaltending call. No one’s in foul trouble except Perk and Scal, but that’s just called Natural Selection. Life is good and I’m getting ready for the chip selection in the press room at halftime.
– Gilbert has another inexcusable turnover – it’s one of those passes to no one that has his team shaking his head – and he’s not happy about it.
– Ray Ray hits a buzzer beating 3 on a play that doesn’t make it past the three-point line anyway. Who needs offensive flow anyway?
– Eddie Jordan must have had access to drugs at halftime because they’re doubling down on Kendrick Perkins on the touch. Eddie just can’t get off the Internet, I guess.
– Another Gilbert Sucks chant, but now it’s just rubbing it in, guys.
– Perk has no idea what a pumpfake is.
– Rondo-to-KG for a lay-in makes it a 69-42 game and the Wizards just can’t shoot the ball. The team is 0/11 from 3 and Arenas is 2/11 from the field. He needs to stop saying this stuff on the Internet. He’s the only person in the NBA who gets in his own head.
– This is the third time Rondo goes freely to the hoop on a broken play. He has 10, eight on layups.
– KG and Haywood are getting chip because Brendan just climbed over KG for a noisy dunk. (POSTGAME: KG on Haywood. “I don’t know. He never was (much of a talker) before. Maybe he was excited to be there, too.” Awesome.)
– Nick Young is in the game everybody! And he’s running the point?
– A Garnett buzzer-beating 2 puts the Celtics up 78-54 and gives him a mini-scream. End this please.
– There’s this jumbotron video of Big Baby, with his crazy eyes in six different directions, telling us that it’s the 4th quarter (we know) and that we should all stand up (naah).
– I smell a rally. The C’s have no starters in but Pierce, so the Wizards cut it to 16 on a Butler J.
– Here come KG and Ray Ray. Nevermind.
– Eddie House is angry about being taken out in game one.
– This is awesome: The previous “guarantee heckler” from before tells Gilbert to smile for the camera during a Celtics free throw. He does. The heckler tells him he’s gonna lose anyway.
– Well, thank God he smiled for the camera because Gilbert just got served a facial from KG. The crowd is oohing and awing at the second replay.
– Nice Scalabrine dribble-drive. There. Those words are on paper.
– One last Gilbert chant as he exits to the bench for the night,
– KG is still in for reasons unbeknownst to everyone, but he just picked up his 20th rebound. Sweet Lord, look at his line: 22-20-5-3-3. I guess I should get used to this.
– Pierce leaves the court grasped in a KG headlock, in a little-brother-you-did-it-I-knew-we-could sort of way. If that makes any sense at all.
– Pierce: “We had to get through it, put our bullet-proof vests on.” Oooooh, too soon? Wait, no, that’s his call.
– KG: “Tonight was rockin’. I’d never heard it like that in a regular season game and I probably won’t again.” Well, did you see the reaction the Red Sox got? You win, it gets louder around here. Always.