He doesn’t think so. At least, that’s what the sideline microphones picked up after Pau Gasol hammered Kendrick Perkins in an effort to extend a game that was clearly slipping away from the Lakers. One wonders if Pierce will use his “my account got hacked” reason to explain away his exuberance. Oh, there’s video of the entire affair.
In order to get his wish, Pierce might want to contribute a little more than 10 points and four rebounds — unless, of course, he thinks Ray “My Stroke’s So Sweet, It Will Make You Cry” Shuttlesworth Allen is going to provide eight more long-range bombs in games three, four and five (now necessary).
Finally. That’s about all I can come up with when thinking about the fact the NBA Finals start tonight. Boston versus LA. The Lakers versus the Celtics. Magic versus Bird gives way to Kobe versus Paul Pierce. All things considered, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. To help get you prepared for the fun, here’s a selection of intros and promos for the NBA Finals on television.
If these don’t get you in the mood for some basketball, nothing will:
Um, I have to feel badly for Chris Bosh. Not only did the Boston Celtics beat his Toronto Raptors down, but Bosh got dunked on and got a knee to the groin area as a reward for trying to block Paul Pierce’s attempt. Did Pierce purposely try to “rack” Bosh or was it a case of simply trying to give himself some space to finish the dunk, something along the same lines as extending an off-hand to keep the defender away?
There is/was a good discussion over at RealGM.com over this very subject, and while no consensus has been reached, I think this stands out as my favorite comment, courtesy of Mr Excitement [sic'd]:
if bosh was the one who went on to knee paul pierce, celtics would have pulled the wheelchair.
Whatever the case, I do find Pierce’s post-dunk “thug mug” humorous.
The Magic got D-Howard the ball — well, he went and got it, anyway — and he put up an eye-popping 20-20. Not bad for a player with no post offense. He’s even blogging about it. Nevertheless, when it came to crunch time, it was the man they call “Skip” who bailed the Magic out. You see, after Paul Pierce went on his personal 7-0 run to give the Celtics a one point lead, it was Alston who answered with a 3-point bomb to give the lead right back to the Magic. Alston followed this up with a floating, one-handed runner put the Magic up by three, a lead they would never relinquish, meaning one thing: It’s Game 7 time.
Along the way, Alston provided one of the funnier moments when he delivered a friendly peck to the bald dome of official Marc Davis. Alston was lobbying for a call — one he didn’t get — and decided to take a peaceful, affectionate route as a response instead of flaying around and drawing a technical foul.
Although, because he touched a referee, Alston could be facing some disciplinary measures. One hopes the NBA doesn’t regress to their “letter of the law” response. Alston’s peck, while kind of odd, was harmless. It was also his way of showing respect to the official, a welcome sight when compared to the disgusted histrionics that follow every other call an NBA referee makes.
That’s about all I could come up with concerning the title, and boy, is it fitting. After 63 minutes of basketball — 15 more than normal — the Bulls and Celtics are headed for a Game 7, two of the best words in relation to the NBA Playoffs. There’s been so muchsaid already about last night’s great game. Ray Allen was Jesus-like. Joakim Noah was Dennis Rodman-like. Two things stood out, however: the fouls by Paul Pierce on Noah and Glen Davis’ foul on Brad Miller — both players’ sixth and disqualifying fouls — might have been two of the dumber playoff fouls I’ve seen, especially for key players playing with five fouls.
As for Davis, I’m not sure what fouling Brad Miller that far away from the bucket was going to solve. Yes, time was not on the Celtics side, but Davis was playing like an important cog should, scoring 23 points grabbing 7 rebounds, displaying a jump shot that can make you forget about Kevin Garnett, especially on the offensive end — that is, until Davis committed that unnecessary sixth foul.
Would the outcome have been different for the Celtics if one or both of these players were available down the stretch? Who knows? One thing’s for sure: Thanks to two dumb, dumb fouls (Pierce’s was so egregious, a friend of mine commented “he doesn’t want to be in anymore.”), we never will.
And now the NBA goes from “fantastic” to “amazing” thanks to the start of the NBA Playoffs (tomorrow afternoon). This year, however, could be one of the more anti-climatic road to the Finals as there are two teams head and shoulders above the rest of the playoff group. Obviously, I’m talking about Cleveland and Los Angeles — or Kobe and LeBron if you wish. In the Eastern Conference, it’s, thanks to the troubled knee of Kevin Garnett, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the rest of the gang. Thanks to injuries, the two teams — Orlando and Boston — that would be in the best position to challenge LeBron and the crew, well, aren’t.
Out west, the Lakers reign supreme, and even though the Western Conference playoff “bracket” is chock full of good teams, are any of them capable of beating Kobe and the gang in a seven-game series? Doubtful. Not with a healthy Andrew Bynum to go with Bryant and Gasol. With all of that in mind, here’s our little preview of the first-round match ups. Starting with the West:
And with that, the NBA is officially back. As Paul Pierce exploded with emotion, relief after seeing all his hard work and commitment to the once/now great franchise, the NBA came roaring back into our lives. Unlike other ring ceremonies of the past, the recipient team actually won their game, beating LeBron and his new-look Cavaliers, 90-85; however, the game was almost secondary to the celebration.
The NFL does not want any of their players who may or may not have previous gang ties to acknowledge their sets while taking part in NFL-sanctioned events. In order to combat this, they are going to start reviewing tape to determine whether or not players are flashing gang signs. The NFL has also hired gang experts to help them review the tapes.
“We were always suspicious that [gang-related hand signals] might be happening,” said Mike Pereira, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, according to the report. “But the Paul Pierce thing is what brought it to light. When he was fined … that’s when we said we need to take a look at it and see if we need to be aware of it.”
Ahlerich said he does not believe the problem is widespread, but added that the league has spoken to some players — whom he declined to identify — about their use of hand signals, according to the report.
See, it was the Paul Pierce (non) incident that brought all this down. Whatever the case, if you are active in the NFL and want to send some love to the homies back on the block, make sure you don’t do it in the form of gang signs. Although, as Dennis Northcut pointed out, telling the difference between a gang sign and another type of greeting isn’t as easy as it seems:
“Guys come from all over the country, and who knows what they’re really doing?” Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Dennis Northcutt said, according to The Times’ report. “People have got signs for their kids, signs for their fraternities. How do you differentiate who’s really throwing up gang signs?