Game Two notes…
• For some reason I’m not as fired up tonight as I was for Game One. At one point during Game One, I was so fired up and yelling so vehemently at the TV that Wifey had to ask me to please not have a heart attack. The Hawks seem equally spiritless. Although, I’m guessing the Hawks didn’t have two dirty martinis at dinner tonight. Then again…
• In a way, Mike Bibby was right, because as great as these Celtics are, they aren’t the same as the Celts of old. Those teams — at least the teams in the ’80s when I was coming up and they were beating my Hawks like a drum — those teams were largely homegrown squads that weren’t just interested in winning one or two titles, they wanted to win a dozen rings. These Celts have nearly turned into the Pats and Red Sox, a bunch of highly paid guys brought together for a shot at a title, only to eventually retire and leave the franchise cupboard bare. I’m not hating (I would love it if the Hawks did the same thing), just pointing it out.
• After Game One’s Boston-based officiating crew of wily veteran refs, tonight we get a group of relative youngsters: Joe DeRosa, Bill Spooner and Ed Malloy…and a foul on Pierce early! Love it!
• What’s with all the smoke in the Garden? Did they recreate the American Revolution just before tipoff? I understand that the fireworks and stuff looks cool, but maybe there’s a way to do introductions where you can actually see the players afterwards?
• Josh Smith gets in the air, falls and lands hard right on Pierce’s head! Doc Rivers claims it was a flagrant foul. I guess he thinks Josh fell over flagrantly? Pierce immediately checks out for Dick Stockton’s favorite Celtic, Sam Posey. This isn’t good for Boston.
• Celtics fans are booing loudly every time Bibby touches the ball, though its hard to hear their boos through the bags on their heads.
• 5-5, 3 minutes in. Sam Posey bricks a three. On an inbounds play, Smoove tomahawks down the middle with his right.
• Joe Johnson picks up 2 quick fouls and comes out of the game. Our chances to win leave with him.
• 7:33 to go in the first, KG picks up something off floor and puts it in his mouth. Gross.
• According to Dick Stockton, Marvis Williams just turned it over. Then Kendrick Perkins steps on the out of bounds line while unguarded on an inbounds play for a turnover. Then Rondo fouls Bibby on a J. Celts look unfocused early, which is great for us.
• TNT gives us a shot of one of Boston’s most famous celebrities: Michael Bivins is in the house, unidentified by Stockton or Fratello. Cool it now, fellas.
• With 6:11 left in the first, C’s are up 11-9 and Perk gets his 2nd foul.
• 5:20 left and a T.O. Boston is up 13-9. Josh Smith needs to sit on KG’s head, too.
• I wish ESPN would ambush Sam Cassell and find out his real age.
• Horford gets his second foul early after a convincing flop by Leon Powe. I can hear Manu Ginobili cheering the play all he way from San Antonio.
• Boston gets a dunk from Rondo to go ahead 15-9. The Boston fans momentarily take the bags off their heads and wave them around, then put them back on.
• Acie Law! I wasn’t even sure he was still on the team. And he turns it over right away. 17-9.
• Trailing by 8, the Hawks inexplicably run a play for Zaza, who passes it to nobody on the other end of the court. Turnover. Mike Woodson borrows a bag from a Boston fan and puts it on his head. I wish they’d put JJ back in because he never passes to Zaza.
• Ray Allen for 3. Boston is on a 15-2 run. “Marvis” Williams dunks on Powe to make it 20-11. Marv’s no Chris Paul, but he’s no Sam Bowie either. Marv hits 2 FTs and makes it 22-15.
• Law uses Rondo and Sam Cassell comes to the table to check in. Powe shoves Zaza out of bounds so PJ Brown can get a rebound, and somehow Acie Law is called for a touch foul. That’s fair. DeRosa is right there and calls nothing. Ed Malloy makes the call against Acie from halfcourt. The NBA is amazing sometimes. PJ makes both FTs to make it 24-17.
• With 1.1 left in the quarter, Zaza makes a layup and gets the and 1. Hawks end the first down 24-20. Not a terrible showing, considering Horford and JJ are in foul trouble and Bibby is playing like he’s trying to do a shot-for-shot remake of his Game 1 performance.
• Hey, TNT has a series that apparently stars Kyra Sedgewick as The Closer.
• Between quarters, Cheryl Miller catches up with an unusually affable Mike Woodson. Woody says Law is a better matchup with Rondo than Bibby because he has “a bigger body.” Also because Rondo hasn’t been lighting him up thus far.
• Leon Powe seems to have been taking free throw lessons from Shaq. He’s shooting 42 percent for the series. Why aren’t we playing Hack-a-Powe?
• Cassell and Law trade jumpers to make it 26-22. Cassell is then able to ginobili Acie Law and he gets two FTs, 28-22 Boston. We get a shot of a disheveled Danny Ainge in the crowd. The Hawks shoulda brought back Tree Rollins to bite him.
• Law and Cassell trade buckets again, then Cassell misses another jumper. Cassell is getting some shots up. Then he shoots again. He’s been in 2 minutes and is already 3 for 5.
• TNT shows Cassell’s stats and on the bottom of the screen it says “Dockers Looking Good Today.” I don’t think Dockers are going to help Cassell’s looks that much, unless they’re magic Dockers. Celts up 34-24.
• Hawks go small with Bibby and Acie. JJ is in at the 3 and he drills a fadeaway. We need JJ soething awful.
• Pierce returns after separating his neck and catches at the free throw line and shoves Bibby with his right arm to create space. Bibby recovers, gets back on him and PP shoves him again, this time using the ball like a battering arm to make even more space, and then he hits Powe underneath and he’s fouled. Ed Malloy witnesses Pierce bullying Bibby but makes no call. Thanks, Ed! Powe makes one, Boston up 35-26.
• JJ gets an and one. Thankfully Bill Spooner was the ref nearest the play because he’s not afraid to make a call against Boston. 35-29, Boston.
• Bibby hands the ball to Pierce, and Boston gets a 3 to go up 11.
• Hawks go back to full court D. Allen drains a 3 from the corner while Bibby stands six feet away and admires his form.
• Horford has all of two points tonight. Horford and JJ double Perkins, who spins away for a dunk. 46-31, Boston.
• JJ gets 2 fts to make it 48-35. Rondo scores over Bibby. 11 turnovers thus far for ATL. Marv hits 2 fts to make it 50-37.
• KG gets an open dunk after the Hawks have a breakdown on D. The Hawks have had more breakdowns than the air conditioning in the SLAM Dome.
• 2:27 left in the half. The Hawks turn it over and steal it back, and Marvis drives into KG, who’s standing inside inside the semicircle. No call as Mr. Malloy looks on. KG slips him a 10 spot after Marv misses the layup he got hacked on.
• Perk plows over Smoove for his third foul. Might have been a make-up call. Thank you, Bill Spooner.
• The Hawks are handling the ball tonight like there’s dog sh*t on it.
• Pierce, who hasn’t looked well ever since Josh Smith sat on his head, heads to the locker room early, He’s still got 8 points. Posey whiffs on a three and Powe tries a two that
Smoove throws into the stands. That shot was powe.
• Big Baby checks in and tries to take a bite of Josh Smith. Smoove hits 1 and it looks like the Hawks will go into the half down 52-40. Then Smoove draws foul with .8 left and gets two free throws to make it 52-42 at half. Considering JJ and Horford have a combined 9 points and Bibby has only 6, and that Boston is shooting 50 percent from the floor, being down 10 actually isn’t so bad.
• The third quarter begins and J-Smoove pins a shot from Perk. Perk is a feast! At least to Josh Smith. Then Bibby misses a 3, KG gets a dunk and Hawks are down 13 again.
• TNT introduces former Celtics great Jojo White to the broadcast, and Horford immediately gets a 2. Maybe Jojo will jinx Boston. What follows is a long, strange and uninteresting interview with Jojo White. Blah, blah, blah, the Celtics are the greatest franchise ever. Dick Stockton said, “Garnett is a true Celtic, isn’t he Jojo?” Well, considering KG’s played all of 83 career games with Boston, he’s definitely a true Celtic.
• Jojo is going on and on. I never saw him play, but I’d have loved to have seen Dominique dunk on him.
• Boston’s up 20 with 3:07 left in the 3rd. The Hawks are unable to do anything productive. Acie Law was just late rotating on defense. I saw it coming and was punching the couch before Boston even swung the ball to the wide open shooter. The Hawks are so much better than this that it’s hurting me to watch this.
• We see Danny Ainge again. Every time I see him, I think about when Russ and I saw him at the airport on our way to the All-Star Game in Atlanta back in 2003…
FRIDAY, FEB. 9, 2003
When I woke, at 6:00 a.m., snow was piled up on my roof, at least three inches deep. I immediately called the airport, and was told our plane was still on time. I hung up and put in a call to Russ Bengtson, SLAM’s editor-in-chief, to make sure he was awake. He was.
By 6:45, as I stood around waiting for Russ to roll through and pick me up, the snow was piled in the streets, getting gully in the gutters. We still made it out to LaGuardia pretty quickly. We’d been in line for maybe ten minutes when my main man Shandon Anderson came rolling in, wearing a beige sweatsuit, a plain baseball cap pulled low over his eyes. He booked it for the first class line, where he settled in behind Craig Sager and Danny Ainge, who was wearing a colorful McDonald’s Open 1993 leather jacket with a huge Phoenix Suns logo on the back, the orange collar turned up. At least he wasn’t trying to draw any attention to himself.
As we hit the security checkpoint, Ainge, who has no idea who I am, suddenly cut me off. “I’m sorry,” he said quickly, but still not stopping to let me back in ahead of him. “You should’ve said, ‘Tree Rollins wasn’t,'” Russ noted. I was also hoping that when they passed out the warm towels in first class, a crafty stewardess would recognize Ainge and throw the towel in his face.
• Mike Bibby kind of looks like a photo negative of Spencer from “The Hills.”
• Hawks are down 16 early in the fourth. Mike Woodson has in his F*ck It lineup: Acie, Chillz, Horford, Zaza and JJ.
• 8:39 left and James Posey takes out Josh Smith on a dunk attempt. It wasn’t the most vicious foul of all time but Posey is called for a flagrant 1. The Celtics argue vehemently. I guess they can’t believe Posey would ever foul someone hard…
• With the Celts in control, Big Baby, played tonight by Kenan Thompson, checks in. This reminds me of when I was in high school and our team would get a big lead and the coach would put me into the game along with four of our starters. Realistically, how much trouble could I cause when four great players had my back? Same holds true for Big Baby.
• Big Baby pump fakes Bibby. Bibby lands atop him and rides him to the ground, like a rowboat on top of a whale. When the Celts are in ATL, the Hawks fans should go, “Hey Hey, Hey!” whenever Big Baby goes to the free throw line.
• Big Baby is the Celts’ version of El Guapo. Play with it…
• The Hawks have their starters in with 7 minutes left and they can’t do anything. 86-67.
• KG gets fired up about something and he runs to halfcourt and shows all the Boston fans his nipple. They give him a standing ovation. That was weird. They must’ve thought they were at a Patriots or Red Sox game.
• And that’s it. The Celts dominate the Hawks, 96-77. Bleh.