A lot to address from the last week or so. What follows here will be mostly incoherent babbling, in no particular order:
*The Boston Bruins could be done in the next several hours. Sure, we expected a close series and even a possible Toronto Maple Leaf victory. But even though the series is technically “close” at 3 games to 2, the series really hasn’t been…close. Game Two was the Bruins’ best game…and even though they won Game Four, it felt like the Leafs totally controlled the play.
The Bruin defense has been more than suspect. And although Tuukka Rask has been decent, he is still, of course, prone to the soft goal. Usually one a game or so. That simply cannot happen in the playoffs.
But the forwards have been subpar as well. Especially in their defensive zone. I don’t know the exact numbers, but it has seemed that the Leafs have lived in the Bruins zone. That’s not a way to win a series, my friends.
So what’s the problem? Well, Toronto is actually a good team, so there’s that.
Otherwise? I have a sense that guys are playing more hurt than we know.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, that sounds like an excuse. I guess it could be. But there are some dudes out there that clearly aren’t the same players. Yes, the Bruins have a “healthy” roster now that Sean Kuraly just came back…other than Kevan Miller. And can you say maybe Connor Clifton? Maybe not.
But take a closer look. Torey Krug has been abysmal. To me anyway. Missed time with a concussion a month or so ago and then whacked his head on the boards early in the series. Could be a factor. Jake DeBrusk is another. Took that two-hander to the face and he has been borderline invisible. Patrice Bergeron? Does something ail him? Perhaps. He hasn’t had his best series.
Toronto has been the better team thus far. No excuses. But let’s see what comes out after elimination…today or otherwise.
*On the other hand, the Boston Celtics could be done today…with the first round. This Indiana Pacer team is absolutely brutal. Worse than I thought when I was putting together the preview. I pretty much don’t want to waste any more time on them. We will chat more in Round Two
*Tiger Woods won the Masters. This is actually news nowadays.
I used to root against Tiger with regularity. Not because I ever hated him. Because he always won. He was just TOO good. So I always rooted for the underdog…even though pretty much they never beat him.
But isn’t Tiger NOW the underdog?
It is unfortunate that a talent like that has gone through what he has gone through the previous decade or so. And no, I am not talking about his personal “problems”. Like Robert Kraft, I could care less what these dudes do on their own time.
All the back surgeries and physical ailments he has endured. Now those are real issues. And now here he is, a major winner yet again.
I guess I can say that I am happy for him? Sounds weird.
*Chad (Ochocinco) Johnson, Joey Galloway, Reggie Wayne, Eric Decker…Demaryius Thomas?
It’s entirely possible.
But I still take the chance. This wide receiver group for the New England Patriots is embarrassing.
*Yes, the Bruins are in trouble. But if we are all paying attention, Tampa Bay and Calgary are already out. And they were both ahead of the Bruins in the overall standings. Pittsburgh is out as well, and they always scare me in the playoffs. That’s the beauty of the Stanley Cup Playoffs every year. Anyone can win. Even though the locals may be hurt by that very aspect.
*Yoan Moncada is .321/.361/.628. 6 homers and 18 RBI in 19 games.
Was I wrong?
The way he handled himself at the plate…I never thought he would figure it out. And no, I’m not taking back the Chris Sale trade. Do that every day of the week. EVERY day.
I’m just saying that Moncada actually may be a player. Ok, it’s still April so we will give it some more time.
*Dustin Pedroia. Please retire.
You’re done. As the immortal Terry Glenn once said, D-U-N…DUN!!
Can you please admit that Little Leader?
Better yet, we really need the Red Sox to admit it. They have bent over backward to accommodate Pedroia, despite the fact that no one has ever come back from what he has.
Did the Sox really expect him to play about 120 games this season? Silly.
And now they are stuck with some sort of combination of Brock Holt, Eduardo Nunez, Tzu Wei Lin…and Christian Vazquez? Michael Chavis?
Or…until Pedroia gives it another shot in May. Since now he thinks his latest setback was “minor”…
*Blake Swihart. Good luck in Arizona. May you actually get a chance to play. Hopefully, you flourish. You probably won’t. But after the Sox jerked you around for the last few years, I am rooting for you. If you care anyway.
*Sandy Leon. The Red Sox starters won’t magically get better because Leon is back on the team. They will get better because they ARE better than they have shown. Period.
*Last but not least, let’s talk about the Red Sox management. Yeah, they just came off a World Series. Should we even be complaining?
The team has gotten off to a rocky start, despite wins the last two days over the first place Rays. Sure, they will likely turn it around and be in the mix. But this start is inexcusable.
Everyone shares in the blame. The front office? Dave Dombrowski brought back essentially the same team as last year. On paper, it sounds awesome. But in theory, it may not be. Look at the Bruins the year after they won the Cup. They brought 17 of 20 players back and got dumped in the first round. Players were complaining they were tired, and it was a long Cup run and all that. Perhaps that’s a valid reason if one were to insist. So that’s why you have more turnover from year to year. Although no one wants to hear the excuses of the players for sure.
The manager? Alex Cora has repeatedly defended the slow start by saying that “we did the same thing last year…” Enough already. The players were not ready to play for whatever reason.
Sure, the coaches prepared the starting pitchers like they did last year. But each year is a different entity. Each season needs to be treated differently. Didn’t Cora learn anything from Bill Belichick?
The starters being babied during the spring played a part in the slow start. I would also hazard a guess that the players weren’t as hungry as last year after winning the World Series. Human nature. Again, another reason for some turnover. Long season last year taking its toll? Perhaps. But there should have been plenty of time to rest in the offseason. So I am not sure I can buy that one. I personally never bought it for that Bruins scenario above either.
No time for panic. It’s only April 21st. But it doesn’t mean we have to like where they are right now.
Happy Easter to those who celebrate it!!
…is as good as mine.
After a disappointing season, to put it mildly, the Boston Celtics get ready to play the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the NBA Playoffs later today.
So what are they going to bring to the table?
No idea…just as we have been saying ALL SEASON LONG.
We know they won’t be bringing Marcus Smart to the table. Smart tore his oblique toward the end of the regular season, so it looks like there is no chance he will be playing in this series.
Is that a good thing?
On one hand, yes, because it shortens the rotation even more. Coach Brad Stevens won’t feel like he has to give minutes to like 12 guys. And reduce playing time for a guy like Jaylen Brown, who performed well in last years’ playoffs.
That should leave them with 8 players to give minutes to, though Brad will likely continue to give Semi Ojeleye 5-10 minutes a game for no apparent reason. I’d love Daniel Theis to get some minutes…something about that guy I love. But he would seem be the 9th man because they seem to love Aaron Baynes and he will be playing. Of course, Baynes missed 31 games this year, so let’s not rule out him getting hurt. But it’s also “just” Danny Theis, a clear role player off the bench, so he’s not going to upset any rotation even if he gets in there for a few.
One of those guys getting more minutes would be Gordon Hayward. Who seemed to start finding more of his game in the (very) late season, coincidentally when he got…more minutes.
Was that a mirage? Or was he finally showing real glimpses of the player he once was? Sample size may be too small to measure. BUT, it’s worth finding out more on.
Then again though, losing Smart may not be a great thing. He’s one of the few guys that showed fire every day during the regular season. Sure, he still can’t shoot and takes waaaaaaaay too many shots. BUT, there is something about him that makes me feel like we need him on the floor.
Intangibles…blah, blah, blah…
But do “intangibles” actually mean anything to this particular team? Maybe not. So whatever…
Anyway, enough about Smart. Let’s talk about the series.
The Pacers haven’t had Victor Oladipo for about the last half of the year. And that sure as hell is a good thing…for the Celtics.
The Celts were 3-1 against the Pacers this season…and really should have been 4-0. Oladipo ruined that loss with a three pointer with a few seconds left. Two of the Celtic wins were blowouts.
Now, per usual, I am not going to tell you that I watched a whole ton of Indiana Pacers basketball this season. But I will tell you that, despite finishing a mere game behind the Celtics in the standings, I am not all that impressed with their roster…the names or the numbers…or the stats.
But what do I know?
Just by knowing (“thinking” what I know?) about what the Celtics have, I feel like the Cs should cruise through this series. But they won’t. Cuz they haven’t cruised through ANYTHING this year.
And that’s why this series is so hard to pick.
The Boston Celtics would not surprise me if they all of a sudden flipped a switch, found the proper rotations, started playing together…and all that…and then went on to a championship. They really wouldn’t.
On the flip side, it would not shock the hell out of me if they lost in the first round.
What do I want? Well, a championship of course. BUT, part of me is thinking “this team was pretty unlikeable this season, led by Kyrie Irving. Why do I want to start rooting for them now?”
Sad, but true.
Also, part of me wouldn’t mind them losing early so I don’t have to invest any time in them.
On top of all THAT, part of me wants them to lose early so that Kyrie can take his act out of town. I mean, he may anyway. But an early round loss may make it easier. Kyrie is a great, great, great player. But the thought of listening to him for the five or whatever years his extension will be for kind of makes my stomach churn a little. Ok, a lot.
And I don’t believe that Anthony Davis is coming here to pair with Kyrie and Gordo and whoever else to lead the Celts to the Promised Land.
Well, AD may come here…for a year anyway. Wouldn’t surprise me if Danny Ainge made the trade with the New Orleans Pelicans this summer regardless of what Davis (and his Dad) say publicly (or privately). Ainge will most assuredly have the stones to think he can talk AD into staying here after next year. And he may be able to pull it off.
But I still think Davis goes to the Lakers in the summer of 2020.
I guess who knows though. The players in this league change their mind when the wind blows. Hell, maybe Irving does re-sign and Kevin Durant comes over as well.
Well, we’ve all heard the rumors now that KD “doesn’t feel appreciated in Golden State” and “isn’t getting the credit he deserves” and is going somewhere else after the year. New York with Kyrie or wherever.
Hey Kev, what did you think would happen when you joined the Warriors? Those guys were already winners without you. So they didn’t even NEED you. The table was already set. You think winning two more with them would make you that much more important? Sorry, no…
So enough about the offseason. We will cross that bridge when we get there.
I don’t really have any other insight into the series though. You came here to hear about X’s and O’s? And specific Pacer players? Hmmmmmm, ok…in any event, how could anyone pretend that they have any insight, what with the completely inconsistent way the Celtics played the entire year?
So it’s prediction time. And again, it could be anything.
But I will say…Celtics in six. Because it SHOULD go no longer than that…