Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pistons @ Celtics, Game 5, 2008

Celtics 106 Pistons 102

Over the years, I’ve attended some pretty cool sporting events. World Series Games, AFC Championships, the US Open, the Elite Eight, a Montreal Expos game. But in all my years, I’ve never seen the Celtics play in the Eastern Conference Finals. So when I was offered tickets out of the blue, I snagged them right away. I didn’t care that I’d be using my last personal day at work or that I would be missing the all-important 3rd date (the closer date) with a girl I’d been seeing—this game was something special.

One of the best parts about returning to Boston for big games is running into random people. I ran into an old college buddy, EA, in front of the Harp. We had only spoken once in the last eight years, but we hugged like best friends. There was a unique excitement and energy in the air that only a big playoff game could produce.

*Just to note, this was my first Celtics game since the Rick Pitino/Wayne Turner era.

*Props goes to anyone who knows where Wayne Turner went to high school, who stepped on his ankle once during practice, and how many games he played in as a Celtic.

*I have seen the Celts play in LA and NY, but not in Boston since 2000.

Kendrick Perkins

Dwight Howard, I mean Kendrick Perkins, was incredible. He dominated the boards, hit almost every shot, and played with emotion. An ESPN writer knocked him for being too emotional (the technical at the end) but energy is exactly what the Celtics needed. Even Eddie House, who came in for 8 seconds, made the crowd go wild and chant: “Eddie, Eddie, Eddie!” The crowd loves those players, and teams like the Celtics need to feed off of them. In Game 5, Perkins set the emotional and energetic tone and everyone else followed along.

On a side note, it kills me when players (Rondo, Cassell, Allen) make a mistake and shrug it off like nobody’s watching. Everybody’s watching! Show some emotion. (Don’t pull a Rasheed, but you know what I mean.) You made a mistake. Now make up for it!

2 Monster Dunks

Jason Maxiel vs. Kevin Garnett. The Maxiel dunk off the alley-oop was absolutely nasty. He jumped over Sam Cassell, who seemed to be on Planet Moron, and threw it down in his face. I don’t care who you root for, that was a sick dunk.

Garnett’s dunk was almost as vicious, and it changed the tone of the game. Garnett should be commended for his 33 points and lucky 3 point bank shot. But his fear of shooting in the lane still needs to be addressed. KG seems nervous shooting the ball in the paint and would rather dump it down to Perkins (or turn it over to the Pistons.) Perkins had a sick game, but KG has to take those shots.

The Big Three

They’re back! The only problem: the bench. The backups scored only 3 more points than me last night. That could be a problem. Someone else needs to step up. Scallabrine, maybe?

A Little Sticious

For my friends that think I’m superstitious, you should’ve seen my Dad at the game. He was pacing, leaning, crouching, sitting, standing; whatever he could do to help the team. When he stood, the Celtics played well, When he sat, they started choking. At the very end of the game, he found a corner to stand in. He could barely see the game, but it seemed to make things go better. After Garnett sealed the game with two foul shots, my Dad emerged from his lucky corner and gave me a hug. A true father-son moment.

Flagrant Fouls

The NBA rules are driving me crazy. Non-traveling calls—idiotic but I’ve learned to deal with them. Defensive 3 seconds— I don’t get it, but, sure, why not. The flagrant foul—HUH?

Since when is a “hard” foul, a flagrant foul? There were 2 controversial flagrant calls against the Celtics in the first half. But in the 3rd quarter when Pierce honored Tedy Bruschi and Bill Belichick (who were in attendance) by destroying/tackling Chauncy Billups, it was not a flagrant. Can somebody say, make-up call? How about this—instead of using make-up calls, just don’t screw up the 1st time. Please let them play—if they don’t foul hard, these guys will score every time. It’s part of the game. This isn’t the JCC.

Too Many Breaks (Originally titled as the anagram: Beak Astronomy, but didn’t know if you guys would get my Sneakers reference)

Now that it’s Playoff time, there are an excessive amount of commercial breaks. Plus, each team is allowed 14 time-outs during the game so that doesn’t help either. When you’re at home, you can use those breaks to: go to the bathroom, switch to a brain-dead movie (Encino Man, maybe), look up porn, check your fantasy baseball team, e-mail girls on J-Date, do 50 push-ups, show your girlfriend/wife attention, find money in the couch, make a macaroni necklace, get something to drink/eat, etc.

But at a game, you are stuck in your seats and forced to watch the circus/carnival that has become the NBA live event. Red Auerbach would put out his cigar if he saw: Lucky the Mascot bouncing off a trampoline doing acrobatic dunks…while girls with “cannons” shot T-shirts from cannons...while the latest “cool” song blared from the loudspeaker…while the crowd danced frantically so they could get on the…

…JUMBO-TRON

People were more excited about appearing on the Jumbo-Tron then actually watching the game. The Garden used this gimmick so much that it was pretty much impossible NOT to be on the Jumbo-Tron by the end of the game. It used to be special if you made it on. But apparently the Jumbo-Tron now whores itself out to anyone in the crowd. Whenever the game returned, and thus Jumbo-Tron ended, the crowd seemed to be disappointed.

(I have to admit that I’m not immune to the Jumbo-Tron. I used to have a problem. Back in 1999 at Fenway Park, I pushed an 8 year-old birthday boy out of my way so I could flex for the cameras. I made it on the screen and was congratulated by the crowd while poor Jimmy tried to figure out why a grown man would do this. But as I’ve aged, I’ve become wiser. I’ve learned that seeing an image of me dancing on a big screen is not that big of a deal. I’ve learned to control the Jumbo-Tron instead of having the Jumbo-Tron control me. I’ve finally found my peace.)

Girls

Since everyone was featured on the Jumbo-Tron at least once, it is fair to say: There are just not that many cute girls in Boston.

Take a Seat

In the first half, I sat way up on the 3rd section. In the second half, my Dad and I were able to sneak into a luxury box. Here was my assessment of each seat.

Regular Seats

Pros: Decent view, could feel the energy of the crowd, could yell/scream/shout.

Cons: Smushed together with drunk lunk-heads, nothing to do during breaks except watch the Jumbo-Tron, the guy in front of me smelled.

Luxury Seats

Pros: Lots of room, free food/drinks, felt cool, easy to socialize, three flat-screens.

Cons: had to stand, not a great view of the court, couldn’t feel energy of the crowd, couldn’t yell/scream/shout, some people didn’t care about the game.

The luxury seats worked out well in this case because I got to be with my Dad and my brother. But normally, I’d rather be with the raucous (even smelly) crowd because that’s what going to the game is all about.

Let’s Go Red Sox

I talked to a few people who scalped tickets for $60. Do you realize that regular season, standing-room only, Fenway games versus Tampa Bay, which seats twice as many people, are going for about the same price? That’s crazy. Bottom line: Baseball in Boston will always be #1.

Let’s Go Celtics

One more win…

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