by Ben Collins
-The unannounced benefits of a World Champion? The pre-game spread is fantastic. It’s Chinese food tonight. It was Mexican food last night, I’m told. There are also chocolate bars. God bless America.
-Before we get started tonight, just wanted to let you know I saw Anthony Carter walking to Chinatown earlier in the day. He was by himself, in full Nuggets gear, screaming, “SWEAR TO GOD, GUYS, I’M ON THE NUGGETS.” (OK, that last part is 96% untrue.) But, really, I wonder if he was going to buy any of, uh, these?
-An older reporter walked up behind me and saw my search result for “duck vagina Louis” in Google. Speaking of, anybody have any of those metal paddles that make your heart jump and force you to un-die? Could use one now, k thx.
-(Note to self: call Louis Williams “Duck Vagina Louis” from now on.)
-In his pregame press conference, Doc was talking about how he got a check-up. One guy dropped the, “isn’t the doctor’s office your office?” As to which the C’s sideline guy – who is exactly like Andy from the Office – counters with, “Ugh, that was bad.” But, no, it wasn’t. That said, I wonder how long he spent checking out the Nuggets today?
-OK, enough anatomy jokes. Thank God Wedgie Evans isn’t on this team anymore, huh?
-This Celtics introduction, even without the fireworks, somehow got better since last year.
-Sitting between three women sports reporters at this game, one of which is Jackie Mac, who’s better than everyone else at these tables. What glass ceiling, Ms. Palin? Hey, I wonder how the ice blocks are treating her.
-Pierce for three to start the game. You might want to explore covering the current MVP of the NBA, Nuggets.
-A Ray Ray and-1 on a lefty dribble-drive puts Celtics up six one minute in. Sweet Jesus! I have an unhealthy love of the puns today.
-I was just about to write that “Jesus is on fire,” but that’s a riot waiting to happen. He has eight. The C’s have a 13-11 lead.
-Celtics cannot stop Chauncey, who has seven of the Nuggets 13. His dime to Nene forces the C’s to call timeout. This is what George Karl talks about when he says it’s “nice to have a point guard.” He doesn’t mean “it’s nice to have a point guard,” he means “it’s nice to see Nene get a touch that isn’t an offensive rebound, which he had to be sexually assaulted to get.”
-Ray Allen jumper countered by a Chauncey jumper. Barnburner.
-Rondo to the floor for a loose ball! This is dangerous, as it appears, as always, that he hasn’t eaten in months. Where is Sean May’s Magical Endless Bag of Doritos when you need it?
-As Rondo is in the middle of his sort-of-unsuccessfully-but-he’s-clearly-trying attempt to guard Billups (Chauncey has nine and the Celtics lead 21-17 – it’s a doozy so far), it’s important to remember this angle of the AI-Chauncy trade: the only the reason the Celtics were so panty-twisted to sign an over-the-hill Sam Cassell last year was because he provided the size to immediately stop Billups on his then very-frequent post up of smaller guards. AI can’t do that. Cassell’s already-diminished role of “cheerleader” might be diminished to “hobo” if PJ Brown decides he wants back in on this basketball business.
-Good God, your son, Ray Allen, just drained a three to break a 21-21 tie. He has 15 in 11 minutes.
-Make it 18 in 12 minutes. Buzzer 3. HE’S GONNA DROP 72. KOBE KOBE KOBE. 29-23 Celtics, end of one.
-While we have a break, here’s my favorite news story of the day. “Hey, Mom, where are we going?” “Dairy Queen.” “Mom, this isn’t Dairy Queen.” “Shut up, Daryl. It’s Dairy Queen. Go through those two automatic doors that the gurneys are going through right now and get me a Blizzard.” “Mom, I’m 17. This isn’t Dairy Queen. This is a hospital.” “Fine, it’s Disney World. And you get to go on the ride, ‘A Splash of Foster Care Mountain’ where you’ll be sleeping on ‘Epcots.’ Sorry, kid, should’ve cleaned your room!”
-Ray Allen isn’t in to start the quarter, but his lovechild, Eddie House, is. 32-27 after a kick-out three.
-Renaldo Balkman with the range! Jumper keeps it close, 32-29. Want to know Isiah’s draft picks over the past couple of years? Balkman, Nate Robinson, Mardy Collins, David Lee and possible All-Star Wilson Chandler. And none of them were picked higher than pick 22. Just, um, something to chew on.
-The Nuggets interior defense has completely closed in on penetration since they put in the largest 2-5 lineup known to man. Nene, Kleiza, Balkman (who plays bigger than he is because he is probably armed with real, live weapons. Remember: he’s an Isiah guy! You don’t get drafted without a class-2 firearm license!), J.R. Smith (who’s deceivingly 6-9) and Anthony Carter. Paul Pierce just went to the hoop and it was like he ran into this kid.
-Automatic get-the-crowd-back-into-it Jumbotron cut: show the guy who looks like Santa who is unaware of this fact. Sixty percent of the time, it works every time.
-. The Nuggets have a lead all of a sudden, 35-34. They somehow look better with Anthony Carter on the floor than Chauncey Billups. Dude was playing the best hoops of his life before Billups came and snagged all of his minutes.
-Balkman jumper again! This is a 16-5 run to start the quarter and it coincides completely with Ray Allen not being in the game. Just because you gave yourself a physical today doesn’t mean you should “bench the hot hand,” Doc!
-I have no idea what that means.
-42-36 Nuggets after KG completes a lob pass, anti-climactically – a nice, dainty lay-in – from Rondo on the break.
-Sweet lordy what a pass! Billups on a flip-pass to Melo for a dunk on the break. Jeez, I apologize: I’ll never use you and Anthony Carter in the same breath again, Chaunce. The Nugz are opening this thing up, 46-36.
-The Nuggets are outscoring the C’s 27-10 in the paint. Did I mention Nene has 10 points and Melo has eight boards? Paging Mr. McDyess. Mr. McDyess, you have a Mr. Ainge on line one. 48-36, Denver Goldpieces.
-Perk with a BabyShaq post move. Just ate K-Mart alive. Not that this is a terribly hard thing to do. 48-42.
-Pierce is passive tonight. He just kicked out an iso to end the half to Eddie House. This, yes, is a “good basketball decision,” but do you pass away from the guy who’s on fire in NBA Jam? I think not! You launch that s**t from half-court if you have to. 48-42 it is.
-After a minute or so of essential non-action, Melo drains a three and this place might as well be a damn planetarium. When did the Garden become a place where you could grab a hot dog and not worry about when you return? What is this, Chili’s? 55-44, Nuggets.
-My brother just texted me to inform me that he’s in East Strousberg, PA (which is a suburb of Scranton – because Scranton can have suburbs) watching Wayne Brady’s game show and that Mark Cuban is on it. Which begs the question: When did Barry Williams get a game show?
-Oh, wait, sorry, that’s Greg Brady. I apologize, kind of, but, wait, sorry, what’s the difference again?
-Trading baskets trading baskets trading baskets. K-Mart for two, 61-50.
-Little fouls on the hillside. Little fouls made of ticky-tacky. Ugh. It’s gonna be a long night! Pierce gets two free throws, makes one. 61-51.
-Rondo was wide open under the basket and didn’t look up. We’re talking Nene-was-getting-a-snack wide open. For the first time in the history of the NBA, I think the crowd just overrode a coach and benched a player.
-Celtics team pres Wyc Grousbeck just got a “Happy Anniversary” wish on the jumbotron, complete with streamers and that horrible “Kiss Me” song. But this is the amazing part, his girlfriend, apparently named Corinne, is wearing a coat made of living leopard! What’s that PETA hotline again?
-Uh-oh, coming out of the timeout, Paul Pierce is starting to feel it again. To keep with his current NBA Jam status, right now would be the time you’d hear, “he’s heating up!” Drain-o on a three. 61-58 Nuggets.
-Allen-to-KG on an open-floor alley-oop, The Celtics, who were flat as an opened can of Dr. Pepper ten minutes ago, are down one. 61-60, Nuggets.
-K-Mart the stabilizer. Yep, you just read that right. Kenyon J, 63-60, and it feels like the fourth quarter with 1:30 left in the third.
-Pierce-to-House corner three gives the Celtics the lead back, 65-64. This all somehow seemed inevitable.
-The buzzer can handle The Truth. 65-64 to end the third.
-Lucky just dunked the ball on a flip from Jason Varitek’s hand. The educated half of Red Sox fans was quietly hoping this would end in some odd, painless hand injury that forces a Jarod Saltalamacchia trade. Nope.
-You know those games where Eddie House looks like Michael Jordan? They happen once a year and they throw off his averages like an astronaut throws off the scale in a middle school math class? This is one of them. 70-70 after a House three.
-I rescind. Eddie House performs something not unlike one of these on Linas Kleiza, who makes the basket, too, obviously. 75-70, Nuggets.
-It would be notable that the Celtics bench, other than Eddie House, has one point. But the Nuggets bench, other than Linas Kleiza, has seven. Production!
-J.R. Smith fais un trois! C’est la vie? 78-70. Je suis un anana.
-Ray Allen drive-and-kick to KG for two. This is apparently something he can do. 78-73.
-A Nene bucket cancels it out. 80-73, Denver.
-Wait, I lied. They’re doubling KG and leaving Ray Allen wide open in the corner. Is FireGeorgeKarl.Com still updating? 80-76.
-Eddie House, back to be being Baby MJ. And I’m not even talking about the Thriller MJ. 82-79, Nuggets on a straightaway three. This is going to be a good finish.
-George Karl is going with Anthony Carter and Chauncey in the same lineup to close this thing out.
-Ray Allen ties it up with a corner three. He has 26 on 9-of-15 shooting and is 5-of-9 from three.
-Eddie House to KG for a vicious, put-that-thing-in-an-adidas-commercial dunk to tie it up 84-84.
-K-Mart, again, with a quick, easy bucket. He has 16, the Nuggets have the lead back. 86-84, 2:45 left.
-Timeout. Even though the Celtics down two, you get the feeling they’re going to pull it out. They’re just one of those teams.
-Isn’t Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight” just waiting to be sampled by Kanye?
-A Melo corner three from – who else today? – Anthony “Fowl Genitalia” Carter should seal this guy. 92-84, Denver. Let’s hope that nickname sticks.
-Eddie House just launched a “please close that drafty door” airball and this thing is a wrap after some Billups free throws. Not a bad 10-0 run to close this thing out.
-94-85 is your final. Chauncey looked dirty (18 and 7), but the team looked dirtier with a real point guard. K-Mart is reinvigorated (more aptly: invigorated), Nene is a presence, the second unit is a force, and Melo knows his place (18 and 13). We know what the Celtics are, but you can only come back in unbelievable fashion so many nights in a row before you get exhausted.
- I talked to Kendrick Perkins about cupcakes. Hm, what are you doing Monday? Might you have time for a story?