Tuesday, April 21st, 2009 at 12:34 am  |  56 responses

Late Night Links: Cheering for Boston?

Plus the Spurs even up…

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.

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  • http://www.twofistedpress.com Pve84

    Only caught the fourth quarter, but Ben Gordon was SPECTACULAR offensively. It’s a shame that they lost.

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    You’re dead to me.

  • http://www.mykal1.blogspot.com MyKal

    While we’re on the topic of calling out announcers; during the Mavs/Spurs game, after Erick Dampier had an easy transition dunk Dick Stockton decided it would be an appropriate time to say “Dampier comes down the lane unmolested.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t think many people are gonna want to molest Dampier, but Dick call ‘em how you see ‘em.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Russ… If that tennis players son can get one more game of 17 rebounds. I’m thinking this is in the bag.

  • thesubwayconnection

    Who was at power forward when Drew was a rookie? And I’m rooting for the Bulls to upset, because I actually kind of like the young, athletic teams; Portland, Atlanta, Chicago?

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    I still like the Mavs in 6 games.

  • http://galatasaray.org madamerica

    Dirk hasn’t shown up yet. He has to come up strong in Dallas.

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com/ albie1kenobi

    I don’t have a favorite team, though i do root for Rockets (Yao) and Warriors (home team). Otherwise i root for whichever team is losing during the game. sometimes it makes for odd viewing experience, when there are lead-changes.

  • no id

    Josh Smith just dunked again.

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    So much for TP’s fatigue… Can i be the first to call….bullshiat!! Dirk better show up for this, dude can’t even score his usual 20. What the hell dude, don’t be a shrinking violet like in Beijing, show the eff up!!!! Oh well, they’ll play well in Dallas.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Oh WNBA.

  • gii

    oh snap… gordon gartrell… awesome!

  • T Bone

    ok guys, after last nights games, who do you think will get more offers as a FA this summer – Ben Gordon or Iverson?

  • T Bone

    they both have similar qualities (can really fill it up quickly, proven 4th quarter scorers) but also share similar flaws (can dominate the ball, too small to defend most 2 guards etc).

  • T Bone

    @thesubway… there was a certain pf called Pau Gasol playing in front of Gooden in his rookie year.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    T Bone…they can both have desk jobs, side by side.

  • chintao

    Eddy Curry would want to molest Erick Dampier.

  • http://www.mykal1.blogspot.com MyKal

    ^Fair enough. I understand why he said that now.

  • jogabonito

    Lang, I always thought you were a Barca kinda guy. Why Man U?

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Moose

    I was so excited last night when the Celts won……

  • Slobodan Chutzpah

    I always end up doing the same thing – rooting for the underdog. It is a pretty sure-fire way of spending most of your life as a basketball fan miserable, but there you go… Funnily enough, aside from my own teams, the current reincarnation of the Celtics is probably the only team that was favored that I’ve rooted for.

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    I hate to say I’m rooting for the bulls as a knick fan but I am. I really can’t stand paul pierce and ray allen went down in my book after the way he cried after the cavs game. I’d love to see steph compete for a championship but not with this team.

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    No comments on Rondo reaching a tripdoub. By the 3rd quarter? This guy is the Celtic’s best player so far in the series, with insane stats, a year ago his this kind of performance would have caused a stir. Now, ho hum he had a 19/16/12. Rondo is top 5 PG’s in the League, no doubt. Cream rises to the top under pressure, and playoffs are the ultimate pressure cooker, still he delivers. Great job.

  • http://www.mynameinorange.blogspot.com Hisham

    i don’t like the taste of cream

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    Hehe… His Ham has spoken.

  • http://sfdjilf.com Jukai

    I’d type something, but Bryan already typed up my sentiments. Go Bulls.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    Bulls/Celts was definitely the best game of the playoffs thus far.

  • http://lastknickstanding.blogspot.com Bryan

    Its probably going to turn out to be the best series of the first round as well tad.

  • Coach Master

    Bulls in 6

  • HawksFan

    Lang, I love you but you’re crazy……..CRUSH

    They’re not talkin’ that stuff now though, that’s for sure. Tey won’t win in the Windy City.

    wheres all that bravado now? All the swearing and Posturing….and Talking shyt Hit them While they’re down!!!! Stomp them into the Ground!!!!!

  • http://slamonline.com Russ Bengtson

    Rooting for the Hawks and the Celtics is like rooting for the cobra and the mongoose as far as I’m concerned.

  • Superman Osman

    mongoose fan? You know what Lang? This is gonna be the year all your green nightmares go away, because the Cs ain’t even skippin to round 2 with that kinna game

  • Fat Lever

    Lang, nice Cosby reference. Great episode. And “speedhump”? I thought it was “speedbump”. I thought “speedhump” was a date with Paris Hilton.

  • http://www.droseroy.com/ airs


  • http://www.droseroy.com/ airs

    ahem, bulls in 6

  • whalleywhat

    A speedhump is wider and less pronounced. You can put it on a street. That’s all.

  • Jeronimo

    Man U, huh? Good choice. I love Tevez’s heart.

  • Chris

    Anyone who is a Hawks fan and roots for the Celtics is not a hawks fan. Sorry.

  • Tommy Patron

    Lang, you are officially soft. The championship swagger from wherever it’s been hiding the last couple of years????? They didn’t swagger last year? What happened?

  • Plasticman

    Ugh ManU?? Though I also like Tevez’s heart, I hate the team. Not stoping me from seeing them play the spurs this Sat.

  • Trevor

    Leon Powe out for rest of playoffs with torn ACL :(

  • DFigs

    Anyone else annoyed as hel! with Garnett’s screaming antics on the sideline? I mean, he was yelling expletives at the Bulls bench after Jesus hit that shot. What a bunch of BS. Slap the ground and talk trash when you’re actually playing. What a clown.

  • http://ittakesanationofmillionstoholdthissac.blogspot.com ciolkstar

    Whether or not Rondo is the Celtics “best” player, he’s clearly become their most important player. he has to play at an extremely high level for them to have a chance. Pierce looks old I usually root for the underdog when my home team isn’t involved as well. I really love the flawed, undergog players though. How great is it that Rondo, Trevor Ariza and JR Smith are looking like bigtime X-Factors for teams with championship aspirations. And even Tyrus is finally emerging from his “permanent rookie” status and doing some damage in a competitive series.

  • Diesel

    Rooting for the Celtics??? What the hell is wrong with everyone. Before they even entered this series against my Bulls I hated them. The Celtics are without a doubt the most unlikeable team in the NBA. You can get behind all that chest bumpin, mean mugging, getting forehead to forehead and calling each other soldiers after making a free throw? Easiest team in the league to HATE.

  • Diesel

    DFigs: YES! Thank You. You can’t act that tough while you’re wearing a sweater vest.

  • Joe

    Man United? I thought better of you Lang…

  • Bruno

    nooo Lang why ManU

    I thought you’ll never walk alone (8)

    Liverpool is better

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBQEmmgDl9I Boing Dynasty

    Boston is NOT the underdog.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    The Celtics have the biggest bandwagon fands in the history of the NBA.

  • Teddy-the-Bear


  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Manchester United has the biggest bandwagon fans in the history of soccer.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    Actually, not sure on that one. I know almost nothing about soccer. I could be thinking of Chelsea… Agh, who cares?

  • http://www.lkz.ch Darksaber

    FU, MU. Arsenal all day baby. Adebayorrrrrr.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Dikembe Mutumbo 13 B.C.-2009 A.D.

  • Pingback: ‘Net reaction: Bulls at Celtics, Game 2 | Rotoinfo.com NBA Blog

  • Slobodan Chutzpah

    I genuinely don’t understand the knee-jerk Celtics haterism. “The easiest team in the L to dislike”? Why, because they have all good guys who are actually pretty good basketball players as well? Because, led by KG, the team actually displays some passion, defense and team spirit (something the NBA could certainly use lots more)? Yes, a great deal to dislike there.