by Lang Whitaker

My favorite team wears a different jersey every night. Each time I watch any sporting event, my favorite team has a totally different group of players on the floor. My team has a new coach for each game, usually some guy under fire or barely hanging on to his job, that look of desperation in his eyes. Generally speaking, my team doesn’t have maniacal fans, instead usually a small group of die-hards hanging on for their sporting lives.

Of course, I have my favorite teams (Hawks, Braves, Falcons, Man United), the teams I absolutely support no matter the circumstances. (Yes, United. I’m allowed to cheer for one team that has money.)

But loyalty aside, on any given night, in any given sport, I root for the underdog, the team that has less chance of winning. Maybe it’s the thrill of the gamble or an appreciation for the downtrodden, but it’s in me, something I can’t control.

I suppose that’s why I’ve been pulling for the Boston Celtics the last few weeks. I have every reason to hate them with every fiber of my being. They drilled my Hawks every year when I was growing up. Last year they knocked us out of the Playoffs, and they’ve spent the better part of the last two seasons woofing and barking and being generally unlikable to almost everyone except Celtics fans.

But tonight I found myself rooting for Boston to pull the win out, to pull out that Championship swagger from wherever it’s been hiding the last few years. It’s partly because they’ve added Stephon, and I’d like to see him have a chance to win in the Playoffs. (Funny that he’s finally surrounded by players with talent and a coach who knows what he’s doing and Steph’s the one so out of sync right now.) Mostly, it’s that now the Celtics are now the underdog. I’m finding out via conversing on Twitter with people like Celtics Blog and Red’s Army that Celtics fans can be rational, thoughtful people. (Well, at least two of them.) And I hate to see the defending champs wounded, not at full strength.

Don’t get me wrong: If the Celtics were playing the Hawks tonight, I’d hope that the Hawks humiliated them. If they were at full strength, all of this would be a moot point.

kgyellingBut for now, Kevin Garnett is much harder to hate when he’s wearing a suit.

All that said, the Celtics went shot-for-shot with Ben Gordon last night, and at the end of the night, Ray Allen saved the day and even the series at 1. We’ll have notes from that posted soon.

Um, is anyone still upset that I named Tony Parker to my third-team All-NBA? After the Mavs won Game One going away, the Spurs came back and picked the Mavs apart. Tony Parker went over, around and through Jason Kidd like he was a speedhump, finishing with 38 points and 8 assists in just 34 minutes. The Spurs and Mavs are now tied at 1, as well, and I’m sure we’ll have more detailed notes from that series posted soon, too.

Throughout the Playoffs, when I’m able to, at least, I’m going to try and do a quick post-game post here in The Links, to shake out all your postgame talk.

Oh, and how about Mike Fratello noting that when Drew Gooden was a rookie in Memphis, “they” wanted him to be a small forward, when he was really more of a power forward. Who was “they”? Hubie Brown! Hubie was Drew’s coach…until they traded him at the deadline to Orlando.

Tomorrow night we’ve got a triple-dip: Cleveland and Detroit will battle Lakers and Jazz for the worst game of the night. The other game, Houston and Portland, was a blowout in Game One, but I don’t trust the Rockets to do that again on the road.

And as I wrote on Friday, in predicting the winner of the Magic/Sixers series: “Orlando, though I think this might be the most exciting series of Round One, maybe even 7 games.” They play again on Wednesday.

One link before I go: Check out the huge press conference for the big announcement that Chamique Holdsclaw was ending her retirement and signing with the Atlanta Dream. WNBA Fever — Catch It!

Also, after Game One, I’m pretty sure Derrick Rose dressed in a Gordon Gartrell for the press conference.