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The Latest Sports News
As the Celtics prepare to take on the Wizards tonight in the District, a brief look at their mercurial star's up and down season off the court...

As the Celtics prepare to take on the Wizards tonight in the District, a not-so-brief look at their mercurial star's up and down season off the court:

gilbertArenas In 2008, the man known as Agent 0 penned the following for the Foreword of FreeDarko's wonderful book, The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac: Now that I'm in the NBA, I realize that fans are following every little thing we do as players. The summer after Detroit played in the finals, I went to the park, and I saw a kid doing the little free-throw routine that Rip Hamilton Does where he lines up his right hand with the rim and then bends down and takes a hard dribble to his right before shooting it. I went over to the kid and straight-up asked him:Me: "Uhh, why do you shoot free throws like that?"Kid: "Because of Rip Hamilton."I'm thinking, "Oh man, I didn't know kids actually paid attention to stuff like that." So that day, I came up with a routine of my own where I circle the ball around my waist before I shoot free throws so kids can do that at the park, too. And they have. I'm an unabashed fan of players with unorthodox games, a unique sense of style, and the capacity to do something that makes your jaw hit the floor at any given moment: if we were to draw up a list of players that meet those criteria, Arenas would be right at the top. He is outspoken, and from reading his interviews and post-game comments, one gleans that he has a sense of self-awareness regarding his role as an icon to fans of basketball. While I'm sure players at the NBA level have to have a high level of swagger to excel to the degree that they have (it's easy for us as fans to forget just how big of an accomplishment playing at the highest level is; picture Mikki Moore in your average rec league game, and think about how many lottery picks fall by the wayside), it's not something players are usually outspoken about. Allen Iverson was, and it earned him a great deal of scorn. So for a guy like Gilbert do openly discuss the crafting of his image with the public is a testament to his level of self-confidence (high), and comes as a breath of fresh air at a time when two of the game's biggest superstars (Kobe, LeBron) come across in their public appearances like collages of so many carefully chosen cliches.That having been said, this season has been a wild ride for Arenas fans, necessitating a reassessment of who we think he is and what kind of ceiling a Hibachi-led Wizards team can have. When the Wizards traded the number 5 pick in this past draft to the T-Wolves for Mike Miller and Randy Foye, most people thought the deal was a solid one for Washington. On paper, their team looked to be competitive, and their starting line-up was set in stone. Given what was at the time supposed to be a poor draft class (go back and time and remember how tempered everyone's expectations were before the Jennings/Evans hype train left the station), it was unlikely that any rookie drafted at #5 would have had the kind of impact that two potentially valuable rotation player like Miller and Foye would have. While hindsight shows us that this wasn't necessarily the case, the logic seemed reasonable at the time (and before succumbing to injury, Mike Miller treated fans to one of the gutsiest performances of the young season in the Wizards' best win this year over the Cavs back in November).Despite a couple of nice wins in Dallas and at home against Cleveland, the Wizards have been a relative disappointment, given that they currently sit at 7-12, earning them 5th place in a surprisingly tough Southeast Division. While adding Miller and Foye improved the team's depth, it was Arenas' return to the court that would determine just how far the Wizards would go this season (and let's be frank, they weren't winning any titles, so a 4/5 seed was probably about the best possible scenario for this squad). But so far, it's been Arenas' interaction with his teammates and the media that has defined Washington's season to date.During the end of last year's regular season, Arenas claimed that he was a changed player, stating: "When I was getting MVP chants, I was always trying to make the big play -- throwing the ball up the court, hitting the big shots," he said. "I call it 'controlled reckless.' It was controlled chaos, the way I was playing. I don't need to play that way now." He went on to make claims that suggested the arrival of a kinder, gentler, and more goal-oriented Arenas: Arenas said he will be a little less Agent Zero and "turn into a real point guard. To be honest I want to lead the league in triple doubles next season. We have enough scorers on this team where I can try to dominate the game in other ways." This new approach, which brought with it Gilbert's refusal to speak with the media and subsequent fining by the league, lasted all of a week and a half of regular season play when, in agreement with coach Flip Saunders description of the offense as "stagnant," Arenas criticized the team for "trying to do the extra dribble, or get closer to the rim, or pass the ball an extra time when we could just take the first shot." Or in other words, for playing exactly the way Arenas had hoped they would during the offseason.


The Puck-ish PG posted a few big scoring lines, and his play on the court started to garner luke-warm statements of backhanded praise, such as "so far, so good," before more drama ensued. Arenas was expected to miss the Wizards game on 11/10, only to start at the last minute, leading Wizards beat writer Michael Lee to state, "I have no idea what's going on." This paled in comparison to the bomb Arenas dropped after Washington lost to the Spurs on November 24th, when he questioned his own play, his teammates' motives (or "hidden agendas," in Gil's words), and the team's supposedly reconfigured identity:

"I guess when you start losing everyone wants to start pointing fingers everywhere else," Arenas said. "I converted my game to try to get people involved, but at the end of the day, to be honest, this is the same team since three years ago. We added a couple of pieces, but everybody else is basically the same player."I'm sitting here thinking 'Do I have to go in attack mode like I was two years ago to get us over this hump?' I hope not. I hope we're strong enough mentally that we can get over this."Arenas leads the team in total points and assists. But heading into Saturday's game he had taken 55 more shots than the next player.When asked about sacrificing his game in order for the team to win, Arenas replied, "I think the only person who actually had to sacrifice is me. Everybody else can just play their game."

"I guess when you start losing everyone wants to start pointing fingers everywhere else," Arenas said. "I converted my game to try to get people involved, but at the end of the day, to be honest, this is the same team since three years ago. We added a couple of pieces, but everybody else is basically the same player. "I'm sitting here thinking 'Do I have to go in attack mode like I was two years ago to get us over this hump?' I hope not. I hope we're strong enough mentally that we can get over this." Arenas leads the team in total points and assists. But heading into Saturday's game he had taken 55 more shots than the next player. When asked about sacrificing his game in order for the team to win, Arenas replied, "I think the only person who actually had to sacrifice is me. Everybody else can just play their game." Since then, Gilbert has feuded with Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood, patched things up with them, emphasized the need for team play, and suggested his need to be more aggressive on offense. *phew*So where does that leave us? The Wizards have a talented roster, especially with Antawn Jamison thriving since his recent return, though they are clearly behind the East's "Big 3," as well as the Hawks and, perhaps, the Heat. Washington has added new players in light of their trade of the #5 pick and given the return of Arenas and Haywood, as well as a new head coach. A transition period was probably to be expected, as guys discover exactly what role they are to play on this restructured squad. However, as the team's leader, Arenas hasn't made things any easier with his off-court comments.In Ballard's The Art of a Beautiful Game, which I've cited several times already on this site, the writer describes Damon Jones reasoning for nicknaming his former teammate Michael Redd "Bombs over Baghdad": “Sometimes he kills the enemy and sometimes he kills the civilians. And we [Bucks players] are the civilians” Whereas Redd sets his explosives on the court, this year's version of Arenas has lived a similar kind of dual life of insurrection, at times decimating opponents, and in other instances hijacking his team's potential for success with perplexing comments in the media. It's easy to dub this tendency as "Gilbert being Gilbert," just a unique-but-dominant personality doing what he is preordained (by some) to do - screw things up, a la Iverson in Memphis.I believe that the truth is less damning of Arenas. He has received both accolades and condemnation during his tenure in Washington, celebrated as a spectacular offensive force and cursed out for his unwillingness to subscribe to NBA orthodoxy regarding what a point guard is supposed to do, and how. But his comments this season don't come across as self-aggrandizing or as posturing, as superstars often do when evaluating their performance and that of their team.


Rather, this has the feel of a uniquely talented man reevaluating himself mid-career. He'll turn 28 this coming January, and while far from entering his twilight, his absence from the NBA due to injury over the past few years has seen him take a backseat in the headlines to superstars like our very own Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and KG, who once labored alone in the league's wilderness only to reinvent themselves during Agent 0's absence due to injury as consummate team players, and, more importantly, as winners. The same can be said of Kobe Bryant and Shaq: the former having accepted the need for competent teammates, the latter seemingly having acquiesced to the need to play second-fiddle to a younger star. Simultaneously, younger PG stars like Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, Brandon Jennings and our own Rajon Rondo have usurped his role of exciting young guard. So who is he?Arenas is something of a nowhere-man: who is the alpha-dog of the Wizards? Arenas? Butler? Jamison? Who, then, the second fiddle, and who the creator? As fans, looking at Washington's body of work so far this season, we are unable to answer this question. So too is Arenas. His statements are not made for the purpose of introducing turmoil to a locker-room already broiling slowly with discontent: rather as he enters the phase in his career when many players begin to think of their legacy, he is seeking (so far unsuccessfully), for definition, for identity, and for that most fleeting, difficult to define quality - what it takes to contend in today's NBA.Tonight, and as the season continues, consider this as you watch Gilbert Arenas. Given his awareness of the painstakingly detailed way in which people pay attention to him, and NBA players as a whole, he might consider choosing his words more carefully in the future. But who among us couldn't do with a little more discretion when speaking passionately about things of great gravitas?While he might at times make you forget all the questionable quotations as he hits a shockingly deep 3, he is not just what we see on the court. While he is not always the consummate team-first player, he is also not a T-Mac level distraction/cancer. He's simply a man trying to figure out who he is and where he's going in the midst of the trials that come with a stressful (albeit very lucrative) profession.And that's something I can absolutely relate to.
Thursday, 10 December 2009 13:34

Today's Headlines - 12/10/2009

Written by
Today's batch of links, including Ray's impending induction into the 20k points club, more Daniels discussion, previews of tonight's meeting with the Wiz, a Knicks bookclub (I swear, it's true), more evidence that T-Mac is, if not a cancer, at least an unsightly growth, an in-depth analysis of the struggling Spurs and more.

Tommy-Video(!) of the Day...

Your Tommy-Related-Quote of the Day...

"Tommy Heinsohn makes Johnny Most look like Edward R. Murrow!"

Today's Headlines:

North Station Sports: Mark Cuban is the most interesting owner in sports, period

Boston Globe: Shooting star, Wizards thumbnails

Boston Herald: Rajon Rondo on point for his team, Marquis Daniels' absence opens door, Allen Iverson's no Answer for Sixers, Scouting report: Celtics at Wizards, Lakers silence all that Jazz to win 10th straight

I understand that the Iverson/Sixers blurb came over the wire, but it's the kind of summary that shows no feel for what happened. Yes, Iverson drained a clutch jumper to tie the game with about a minute remaining, but after Stuckey hit the go ahead basket, Iverson made an unselfish play to set up what would have been the game winner, driving into the lane, drawing an extra defender then kicking the ball out to a wide open Iguodala, who unfortunately missed. It's the kind of play where, had Iggy hit it, everyone would be singing AI's praises today, calling him a changed player. Instead...

CelticsBlog: Rubik's cube

Hardwood Houdini: Rajon Rondo continues to take it to opponents, Give or take - Marquis Daniels and Glen Davis

Celtics Town: Where do I begin when discussing recent Celtics play?

Red's Army: Fewer 3's mean an improved Sheed, The morning dump, where Perk likes to get as deep as possible, "He doesn't know what he's saying half the time."

Celtics Hub: The decline of the corner three, Quote of the day: Ray on 20,000

Gino's Jungle: Strut and saunter: how much swagger does Boston need?

Boston Sports Then and Now: Did Sox acquire Max to use up Manny jerseys?, How does Rondo rank among Celtics best?

4 Sport Boston: 4SB Podcast: the Boof is in the Booding

LOSCY: 10 questions for Jon Duke from Celtics Stuff Live

Celtics Life: Boston, we have a problem

Headlines from around the league...

Ball Don't Lie: TBJ Ep. 482: Discipline, Behind the box score, where the champs skunked the Jazz

Skeets and Tas spend some time talking about the wildly inconsistent Cavs. I'm smiling widely after Cleveland's back to back losses.

I was also pumped last night going into the 4th quarter of the LA/Utah game, thinking we might see losses from the C's two (arguably) biggest rivals: it wasn't to be, as the Lake Show absolutely decimated the Jazz in the 4th quarter, outscoring a hapless Utah team 28-6 down the stretch. The Lakers are scary good, depsite their favorable schedule.

TrueHoop: Knicks book club pays off

Apparently Al Harrington encouraged his teammates to read "Winning Everyday" by legendary Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz, and credits it with the team's recent "success," such as it is.

If only Charlie Weis had read the book during his tenure with the Irish. Actually, hell with that. I hate Notre Dame.

The Baseline: Adelman doesn't want to mess up a good thing by bringing back T-Mac

I love everything about this story. McGrady somehow thinks everyone in the organization is going to forget torpedoing their efforts to trade him last year by opting for surgery and welcome him back with open arms? Simmons oft-talked about Ewing Theory actually doesn't seem strong enough here: overachieving when a guy gets hurt is one thing, but this Rockets squad is actively keeping their "superstar" sidelined, and thriving. Karma, Tracy. Karma.

Hardwood Paroxysm: Watch for the coil

Interesting take by Harper on the Spurs recent troubles, as Harper examines whether or not the Spurs are done, or just gearing up for the second season come April. Yes, RJ has been a disappointment to date, but this team is very deep, and if they are healthy (quite the caveat, as Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are likely to display their oft-practiced and very convincing Mr. Glass impressions at some point this season) in the Playoffs, I think they and the Nuggets are the only team with a chance of knocking off the Lakers: even then, it's going to be an uphill battle.

Vulture Reading Room: Court of opinion: taking on Bill Simmons and The Book of Basketball

Bethlehem Shoals from FreeDarko and The Baseline, along with novelist Jonathan Lethem (he's awesome) give their takes on Simmons tome. Not all the responses are posted yet, but they're going up on a daily basis.

NBA Primetime: Hawks' Joe Johnson playing his way into serious 2010 free agent money

Not much for me to say here: he sure is. I think the best thing for him to do would be stay in Atlanta, as he has a great supporting cast, especially in light of Josh Smith's long hoped for breakout this year (is JJ even the best player on the Hawks?). I'm hoping he's just going to field other offers to drive Atlanta's price up.

NBA Tipoff: Talk around the hardwood

47 - 49

Note from the Links Director...

We tried to include all updated posts from our friends around the web. If we excluded you, it was not intentional. Please contact us asap so we can get you on tomorrow's links page.

If you are not included in daily links post and would like to be, please contact us asap to be included in next post.


Attention Aspiring Sports Writers:

NSS is looking for talented, opinionated, enthusiastic and well informed Basketball fans to join our writing staff.

Blogging experience is not a requirement but a writing sample is mandatory.

If blogging is your passion, we are willing to help promote your blog through your posts on NSS, links on our email newsletter and through writer’s profiles which will be posted on our “About Us” page.

If you are interested in contributing to North Station Sports, please contact us.

Wednesday, 09 December 2009 21:06

Mark Cuban Is The Most Interesting Owner In Sports. Period.

Written by
Mark Cuban is the most interesting owner in sports ever. You can pitch me Steinbrenner, Jerry Jones, or Al Davis but the discussion is closed. Most interesting owner ever. Done. Book it.Steinbrenner was just a giant blowhard who loved to micromanage his team, Al Davis is paranoid and thinks everyone is out to get the Raiders and Jerry Jones is probably certifiably insane and has a crazy lust for attention.Mark Cuban worked at Dairy Queen. Not when he was sixteen, when he was worth two billion. That’s billion with a B.CubanMaybe this will help. $2,000,000,000. That’s a lot of cheddar. Dude decided hey, maybe he should spice it up and ask a bunch of fatties if they want the four or six piece chicken strip basket.Jerry Jones bought a giant TV for his playground. Whoopee.Has Al Davis ever given an interview on an exercise bike or danced with B listers posing as stars? I don’t think his coagulated blood could handle eating Jello with the stars.I feel like Chabenisky (Cuban’s grandparents were Russian and as with most immigrants at the time, their name was unceremoniously mutilated) would be a reflection of myself had I my own sports franchise. Being front row, talking guff with fans and players alike and generally being a pain in the ass of David Stern is how I envision my immanent term as Celtic’s owner.Cuban it not a visionary revolutionizing how a franchise should be run, he is rather more of a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale club. A polarizing breath of fresh air. Whether you are down with his antics on or of court or despise the fact that he even exists you have to admit, the dude has a real pair of low hangers.Running your sewer at Kenyon Martin’s mom probably isn’t something any one of us would do but Cuban didn’t think twice. Well, he did. He clarified (retracted) his statement about K-Mart being a thug on his blog. That’s right, his blog. He also Tweets like a teenager hopped up on Jolt cola. (Jolt is better than that Red Bull garbage and don’t complain they don’t sell Jolt by you. You’re reading this on the internet, purchase some through the magic tubes.)Mark’s online antics have also brought the wrath of one David Stern. Many a Tweet has been followed by a price tag levied against it. 25k to be exact. Maybe that is a large amount to you and me but it’s chump change for ol’ Cubes. While Stern may not have Cuban over for brisket at Chanukah (both Jewish, not racist. Save your comments) he will enjoy collecting those fat checks for disparaging comments about referees that we all mutter to ourselves watching every game.So while other owners sit around and crunch numbers and crush caviar, Mark Cuban crushes ice for your large Dr. Pepper…maybe. If that isn’t enough for you here is something to either further endear Cuban to you or you can revel in living vicariously through pro entertainers, er, wrestlers.
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 19:44

Today's Headlines - 12/9/09

Written by
Today's batch of links, including: Marquis Daniels' injury, last night's win, Tony Allen's return (blaaaargh), Rasheed Wallace's reaction to Donaghy, a glowing ode to the Phoenix Suns, my jumping on the Tyreke Evans bandwagon and more.

Tommy-Pose of the Day...


Your Tommy-Quote of the Day...

"I'm gonna hafta belt Reggie Miller ... he's the two-guard version of Bill Laimbeer."

Today's Headlines:

North Station Sports: Where does Rondo stand with the legends?, Celtics persevere, slide past Bucks 98 - 89, A brief "thank you" note to Mike D'Antoni

Boston Globe: Bucks stopped here, An impressive closing argument, Rondo took flight in fourth, Source: Daniels to miss roughly eight weeks

Boston Herald: Rajon Rondo, Celtics home in, Rasheed Wallace T's off on ref, Rasheed Wallace is a straight shooter, Kevin Garnett hits stride

CelticsBlog: The Lobster Roll - issue 3, Perkins vs. Bogut had an old school feel to it, Overseas fandom; story of a lone Celtics fan, Rondo, Celtics pounce on Bucks in 4th

Hardwood Houdini: Marquis Daniels out 6-8 after surgery, Rondo assists Bucks fourth straight loss

Celtics Town: Brandon Jennings, the Milwaukee Bucks and the law of averages

Red's Army: Tony Allen wasn't horrible... which is a good start, Brendan Haywood, aka Mr. Sensitivity, What the Daniels injury means to the rotation, Rondo's getting closer...

Celtics Hub: Daniels out 8 weeks: what does it mean for the C's bench?, This trend won't Buck

Gino's Jungle: Rankings and reflections, Celtics shoot down Bucks

Boston Sports Then and Now: Tales of the Black and Gold: the Bruins "Bonanza" line, Assumption legends put the T (for thank you) in team

4 Sport Boston: A quarter season non-crisis for the Boston Celtics

Celtics17: Eastern Conference player of the week Kevin Garnett is playing his best basketball

Celtics Life: KG is officially back

Headlines from around the league...

Ball Don't Lie: The 10-man rotation, starring "Steve Nash Internet Day"TrueHoop: Mike James back to Miami? Maybe.

Miami's need for guard-help could lead to a reunion between James and his first NBA coach, Pat Riley. Not the most thrilling of trade rumors, but it's something...

Cowbell Kingdom: Tyreke Evans for Rookie of the Year (video)

I'm about as big of a Brandon Jennings fan as there is outside of Milwaukee, as I had the thrill of watching his 55 pt game live on League Pass, but he's been very inconsistent recently, whereas Tyreke Evans has been consistently great. Both guys play for uninspiring teams, but Evans hasn't had a Jennings-esque signature game so far, so he hasn't received quite as much ROY hype as Young Money, but the sentiment is growing.

Hardwood Paroxysm: What a feeling, to be mortal

Great take by Rob Mahoney on the current incarnation of the Seven Seconds or Less Suns. He really nails it for me: while the team's success may not translate to the Playoffs this spring (and let's be honest, barring Kobe pulling a Tiger and taking a hiatus... or would that be Kobe pulling a Tiger pulling a Kobe?), that doesn't diminish the pleasure of watching Nash run that offense. There's a very evident beauty to the Suns when things go well, and simultaneous fragility that makes them all kinds of compelling.

Houston Chronicle: Hayes wants to stop Cavs' dancing fever

This one's worth reading for Battier's take on guarding LeBron James:

“He's the best transition player in the NBA. Once he gets in the open court, there's nothing you can do. You can't take charges on him. He's so quick, he can go around you or jump over you. You want to make it a halfcourt game and once you do that, you want to compact the lane as much as possible, and see if he can make a few jumpers.”

If you've read Ballard's The Art of a Beautiful Game, and you should, he delves into Battier's strategy against James in greater depth.

NBA Primetime: Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic: being put to the ultimate test, New Orleans Hornets: player grades at the quarter pollThe Baseline: Wolf Blizter will be NBA Twitter king for a day

Shoals clues us in to the fact that a) Blitzer is a huge Wizards fan and season ticket-holder and b) will be Tweeting live from tomorrow's game against our beloved Celtics.

47 - 49

Note from the Links Director...

We tried to include all updated posts from our friends around the web. If we excluded you, it was not intentional. Please contact us asap so we can get you on tomorrow's links page.

If you are not included in daily links post and would like to be, please contact us asap to be included in next post.


Attention Aspiring Sports Writers:

NSS is looking for talented, opinionated, enthusiastic and well informed Basketball fans to join our writing staff.

Blogging experience is not a requirement but a writing sample is mandatory.

If blogging is your passion, we are willing to help promote your blog through your posts on NSS, links on our email newsletter and through writer’s profiles which will be posted on our “About Us” page.

If you are interested in contributing to North Station Sports, please contact us.

Wednesday, 09 December 2009 10:05

Where Does Rondo Stand with the Legends?

Written by
Warriors Celtics BasketballThe average NBA fan determines player dominance by their ability to score the basket and control games through well rounded scoring ability.Rajon Rondo, widely known as a horrid jump shooter, continues to prove that shooting isn't the only way to take over a game. Third in the NBA is assists (9.2 APG) and leading the league in steals (2.7 SPG), Rondo is, without question, a top tier point guard. He continues to shoot plain embarrassingly from the foul line (46 percent) and, though only attempting 15 three-point shots this season, he has made but 2.No, Rondo is not a good shooter. We have established that and it's plain for any sports novice to see. Their is no such thing as a "streak" with Rondo because he rarely makes (or attempts) two consecutive jump shots. I suggest that, at this point in the season, we move on from this point.

Rondo took flight in the fourth..

How many times have we seen a headline like this? This one is taken from today's Boston Globe story on last night's 98-89 victory over the Bucks.There seems to be a point, especially at the Garden, where Rondo will take over a game, build team momentum and excite the spectators at the Garden.How can a guy with such awful shooting percentage from the distance take over a game?Confidence! It comes through one made shot around the basket. He can excite an audience through a magician-like ball fake or spectacular Houdini-like pass to find a wide open teammate. At the point this act of magic occurs, it usually marks the beginning of the end for opponents that have been able to keep pace with the C's to that point in the contest. Last night it came in the fourth quarter. Rajon started by hitting a difficult shot in the paint. The, up to that point, subdued crowd roared and the C's were off to the races. Led by Rondo, the Celtics outscored the Bucks 18-27 in the fourth.Eight Celtics players scored (6 in double digits) and Rondo had his large hands in every one of those players points. The Celtics hit 35 field goals and Rondo had 13 assists. Rondo had an assist on nearly 40 percent of the Celtics' points scored. The closest Buck to notch an assist finished EIGHT behind Rondo! He was tied with Garnett with 9 rebounds. Rondo grabbed 40 percent of the C's rebounds, he was directly responsible for 3 of the C's 5 offensive rebounds. Rondo had more rebounds then Pierce (5), Perkins (5), Wallace (2) and Williams (o) combined.How can a 6'1 player out rebound four Celtics front line players combined?Long arms have something to do with it but quickness, hustle and high basketball IQ are the main reason for Rondo's rebounding exploits. Rondo is often over-looked for his basketball intelligence by people who only focus on his lack of outside shooting effectiveness.

Rondo is en route to becoming one of the all-time great Celtics point guards...

Did I say "all-time"? Yes I did.Rondo has everything it takes to become an all-time great Celtic, except outside shooting. Looking at Rajon's career stats stacked up against former Celtics greats, Rondo fairs well.Bob Cousy 18.4 ppg 7.5 assists 5.2 rebounds 37 fgp The Houdini of the Hardwood is one of the most beloved figures in Celtics history. He is the original play maker and revolutionized the point guard position. He led the league in assists seven times and he has 6 rings. Cousy, despite his overwhelming player accomplishments, was also a poor shooter. K.C. Jones 7.4 ppg 4.3 assists 3.5 rebounds 38 fgp K.C.'s most remembered as the team's coach through the glory years of the 80's. The biggest disservice to this defensive stall-worth is that the league didn't track steals during his tenure. Jones had his share and his playing days in green will be most recognized for his dominance on defense. K.C. was never voted to an all-star game and yet is a hall of famer. He has 8 championship rings as a player and 2 more as a coach. At 38 percent shooting, K.C. will never be remember for his offense. Jo Jo White 17 ppg 4.9 assists 4 rebounds 1.3 steals 44 fgpClass that mirror's Ray Allen, White led the Celtics in the 1970's. An effective scorer while never shooting better then 47 percent from the field, White was most known for his defensive grit, quickness with the ball and leadership abilities. He led the Celtics to 2 championships in the 1970's Dennis Johnson 14 ppg 5 assists 3.9 rebounds 1.3 steals 45 fgpDJ is known as "the best teammate Larry Bird ever had", that says a lot. Johnson was the defensive stopper assigned to guard Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas and Magic Johnson during their prime years. Also not a great shooter, Johnson overcame a career 45 fgp with unstoppable clutch scoring always seeming to get hot in the fourth quarter. DJ has been snubbed from the Hall of Fame to this point in spite of his contributions to 3 championship teams. Rajon Rondo 2009-10 11 ppg 9.2 assists 4 rebounds 2.7 steals 53 fgp career 9.7 ppg 6 assists 4.4 rebounds 1.8 steals 48 fgp


How can Rondo be put in the same sentence with these legends?

Though majority Rajon's points come from penetration points in the paint, he has a better field goal percentage then any of the legends that came before him. in fact, none of the legendary Celtics point guards come even close to Rondo's shooting percentage this season. Rondo also out-steals 2 of the 3 Celtics point guards who have been noted by NBA historians as some of the best defenders in NBA history. We will never know where Rondo stood against K.C. Jones, as his steals per game, though expected to be high, will always remain a mystery.Though trailing Cousy by one assist in career stats, Rondo has out-assisted the Cous the last two season by over one assist per game. No other Celtic Legend even comes close to Rondo in his assist output the last three seasons.Rondo trails all the legends in points per game. Surrounded by great shooters, Rondo's focus is not scoring. He told the Globe last night, profile_posed_rajon_rondo220300"I like taking shots, it’s just when you’re playing with guys who are great at what they do my job is to ship them the ball. I’m a pass-first point guard, probably pass second, shoot third. This is how I play. I’d rather get assists any day than score. I’m going to shoot when I have to, when I feel the need to. Other than that, I’m fine with getting Ray the ball, Paul Pierce, Eddie House. You know, I’ve got great shooters around me.’’ Okay, we all know Cousy had Heisohn and Sharmen to distribute to. K.C. Jones had scoring wiz (and brother), Sam Jones to feed nightly. White had Havlichek and Cowens. Dennis Johnson had the original big three demanding the ball. Rondo has Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace, Kendrick Perkins and Eddie House, all offensive specialists and scoring machines to keep happy. That's a lot of ego's to contain by making sure they get the ball.kgrondoIf Rondo had to score, he can penetrate to the basket and either score or get to the line on nearly every possession. Fact is, he doesn't have to score. He was not hired to score.Rondo, only in his fourth season, is keeping pace with the stats of the legends that preceded him. Only time will tell if Rondo can pull his scoring into the categories of the greats. Time will also be the judge of Rondo's ability to lead a team stacked with star-power to another championship-- he is still one behind Jo Jo who is last among Celtics legendary floor generals.Rondo's glaring weakness (I won't say it) will continue to haunt him as defenders continue to lay off him on the perimeter and dare him to make free throws. In the very least, Rondo must improve his free throw percentage so he is not a liability in the closing minutes of tight games when he is need most.Rajon took a big step towards that going 5-7 from the line last night and shooting the ball with confidence. As the Celtics exited the court after the victory, KG put his arm around Rondo with congratulatatory pride on a job well done. If Garnett is proud and happy then that's enough for me to be as well.
Tuesday, 08 December 2009 23:43

Celtics Persevere, Slide Past Bucks 98-89

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Another game came down to the wire against a sub .500 team in the Bucks in front of a strangely subdued Celtics crowd. Maybe the Boston faithful were expecting a blow out or maybe the threatening weather had dampened spirits. Whatever the case, all that was changed heading into the fourth all tied up.Despite their continued inability to box out, Boston (17-4) mustered past Milwaukee (9-11) in a game that was closer than the final score would indicate.paul-pierce-34_112609Andrew Bogut worked Kendrick Perkins on the offensive end and dragged the Bucks kicking and screaming within striking distance time and time again. He finished 11-17 for 25 PTS and 13 REBS but it just wasn’t enough as Kevin Garnett started making a case for back to back player of the week honors.The Celtics continued to ride KG’s hot hand who scored 25 PTS of his own and was one rebound short of a double double. Boston let the Bucks hang around all night long by giving up second chance points, getting outrebounded 44-35 and giving up 14 offensive rebounds.Rajon Rondo had a double double with 11 PTS and 13 AST, one rebound shy of posting a triple double. On the defensive end, Rondo kept star rookie Brandon Jennings off balance for most of the night limiting him to 17 PTS on 7-19 shooting. As much as a scoring threat that Jennings is, he needs to learn to look for the open man instead of always trying to hit the circus shot.A stat that explodes off the sheet is the Celtics ripping 17 steals from the Bucks. Rondo led the way with 5 and everyone that played besides Tony Allen and Shelden Williams notched a steal. To be fair, they played only five and one minute(s) respectively. TA made his first appearance this season after undergoing ankle surgery in the off season and looked decent and mobile on the defensive end. He managed to draw a foul on an offensive possession and was called for a ticky tack charge on another.All Boston starters ended the game in double digits for the second straight game and Rasheed Wallace poured in 13 off the bench, contributing clutch threes down the stretch.Though not a blow out, it was still a good win at home and ran the win streak to eight before starting off on another three game roadie. Let’s hope that Tom Thibodeau can teach his boys how to box out on the defensive end before things get too out of hand.Tommy Quote Of The Night: He (Paul Perce) parted the Red Sea, got out of Egypt and arrived at the Promised Land.Game pictures strangely absent at time of posting.
Tuesday, 08 December 2009 20:06

NSS Live Game Chat: Bucks vs. Celtics

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Chat with the Experts...

Well, we'd like to consider ourselves as experts... (lol)All of your favorite Celtics bloggers from around the web have centralized (Thanks to Ginos Jungle and HARDWOOD HOUDINI) their chat location for tonight's game. This chat is quiet during game-play (we have to concentrate-- lol) but WILD debate erupts during pregame, halftime and postgame. Bucks fans are welcome!Should be fun... Check us out!Milwaukee Bucks @ Boston Celtics
Tuesday, 08 December 2009 16:04

A brief "thank you" note to Mike D'Antoni

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Thanksgiving has passed, but we're still in the midst of the holiday season, so it feels like an appropriate time to thank Mike D'Antoni for the following bit of underrated news that caught my attention today, via the New York Post...83008114MW071_Sprite_Slam_DThanksgiving has passed, but we're still in the midst of the holiday season, so it feels like an appropriate time to thank Mike D'Antoni for the following bit of underrated news that caught my attention today, via the New York Post: According to a source, the final straw in Nate Robinson's banishment came in the hour before last Wednesday's game in Orlando, when Mike D'Antoni caught Robinson yukking it up during the pregame with his slam-dunk contest foil, superstar center Dwight Howard.That night, Robinson received his first DNP -- the first of four straight after receiving another one last night in a 93-84 win over Portland.According to the source, D'Antoni felt Robinson was not being serious enough during pregame preparations, fraternizing too often with opponents. The Howard incident was the backbreaker, the source said. As was hopefully apparent in my post about D12's bad habits yesterday, a lot of Howard's on-court demeanor bugs me. I'm not going to pretend to know what is going on in the guy's head, but from everything that I've seen and read about Dwight, he seems far more interested in having fun, enjoying his status as a superstar, and fostering relationships with other players around the league than in winning, or in improving his game so as to facilitate another prolonged run come this year's playoffs.lebron-walks-off-courtAs a Celtics fan, that's fine: the less of a competitive edge possessed by one of Boston's chief rivals, the better. But as a NBA fan, it can be grating to see a player who has been held up by the league, by advertising, and by many in the media as one of the defining stars of the league's near future. It was especially frustrating to have to cheer for him during last year's Finals as the default Eastern Conference hope for defeating the Lake Show.So it's nice to see someone call him out on this, albeit indirectly. In a sense, Mike D's benching of Kryptonate implies that Howard, a player who figures much more directly into his team's fortunes, should be held to an even higher standard when it comes to maintaining a certain on-court demeanor. I think that, by default, D'Antoni's willingness to hold his own player accountable reveals that either a) Stan Van Gundy is remiss for having not had similar words with his guy or, more likely, b) that Howard's status as a franchise player places him above such treatment. Neither scenario reflects particularly well on Dwight or his lack of a "killer instinct."Moreover, it's refreshing to see a coach frown on this kind of fraternization between players. It's all well and good that the climate in the NBA has changed given that so many of these players know each other from their AAU days, or from playing together on national teams, college teams, etc. The degree to which the massive contracts today's stars land at an early phase in their respective careers have softened player attitudes towards their opponents can be argued ad nauseam.All I know is, there's something to be said for a bit of bad blood between opponents. I'm not calling for a full on return to the days of McHale's clotheslining of Rambis (though I'd give a lot to see Ray Ray throw an uppercut in Vujacic's direction), or for a team to inspire the kind of loathing that was directed at the Bad Boy Pistons on a league-wide basis.kevin_mchale_fouls_kurt_rambis_1984_finals2But there's a different, and exciting feel to a game when you know that the player's on each side don't like each other. It's what made the 07-08 Finals so damn exciting. It's what made Iverson's comments about not having to respect MJ on the court as a rookie so exciting. That kind of tension enhances the game for me as a fan, and I'd argue, enhances the level of play on display in the game's themselves. It's the same reason why, when LeBron walked off the court last year after losing to Orlando, I had no problem with it. Indeed, I was glad: the league needs more full-on WWE style heels.So thank you, Mike D'Antoni. As if you hadn't given us enough with the trascendent chaos of your Seven Seconds or Less squads, you've now done your small part to nurture the kind of competitive edge that seems to be so lacking in today's Association.Cheers.
Tuesday, 08 December 2009 12:55

Today's Headlines - 12/8/09

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Today's batch of links, including Bucks vs. C's previews galore, the Brandon Jennings hype machine chugs along, KG is the player of the week, an examination of Tim Donaghy's claims, Danny Granger's injury status and more.

Tommy-Pose of the Day...


Your Tommy-Quote of the Day...

"I'm gonna become president of the Clone-Marty-Conlon Club!"

Today's Headlines:

North Station Sports: Keep shooting Ray Ray!, Anything is possible! KG wins player of the week, Dwight Howard has worse hygiene than your garden variety preschooler, Jarrett Jack got away with one, or is there something more?

Boston Globe: Jennings owes bow to Garnett, Allen gets defensive

Boston Herald: Scouting report: Bucks at Celtics, Young Buck runs wild, Allen Iverson can't halt Philly skid

Celtics Blog: Everyone loves Brandon Jennings, Should Woodson get extension? Hawks players say yes

Hardwood Houdini: Hardwood Houdini power rankings

Celtics Town: Glen Davis has cast taken off, does 'light work' in practice

Red's Army: Donaghy on Doc: "He wasn't high on my list", The morning dump... where Ray gets defensive

Celtics Hub: Everybody loves Ray, Statistical oddities of questionable significance

Gino's Jungle: One at home and then back on the bus

Boston Sports Then and Now: Bill Belichick doesn't care what you think or say

4 Sport Boston: Savvy trick shows Kessel how it's done

Headlines from around the league...

Ball Don't Lie: The Basketball Jones ep. 480: Call & Answer, Behind the box score, where the Jazz started the right way

There's really not much for me too say: any avid basketball fan should make both of these staples of their day.

The Baseline: Kings Evans joins rookie race; don't sleep on DeRozan, either, So a Michael Jordan impostor walks into a D-league game

Brandon Jennings hype is in overdrive, especially given his imminent arrival to take on our beloved C's, but his play has declined over the past week or so, while other rookies have thrived; also, Shoals shares video of what happened when MJ didn't show up to play Byron Russell 1 on 1.

Toronto Star: Raptors' confidence growing

I love the fact that the author calls a two game winning streak a sign of "cutthroat engagement." Really, man?

Indianapolis Star: O'Brien preparing for worst with Granger

O'Brien seems to be anticipating a prolonged absence for DG due to his recent heel injury. That's a shame for Pacers fans and astute fantasy owners alike. Granger always seems to be slightly underrated on draft day, and impresses me more and more each time I see him play.

Hoops Hype: Kenyon Martin: "If we lock in on defense, the sky is the limit for us"

Well yes, that's true in the strictest sense. But by the same token, if I wasn't 5'5 and unathletic, I might be an efficient NBA point guard. Expecting a team with Martin and J.R. Smith to play consistent defense is an epic fantasy of Tolkien-esque proportions.

TrueHoop: Tim Donaghy's claims on trial

TrueHoop's Henry Abbott examines the legitimacy (or lack thereof) of Donaghy's claims in his new book, Personal Foul.

NBAtipoff: Andre Iguodala is feeling it (video)

On a night when the return or the original AI was the lead story, AI2 showed that he is still the dominant scorer in Philly, dropping 31 pts on the Nuggets in an eventual loss. He also threw in a nifty length-of-the-court pass after time expired at halftime.

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Note from the Links Director...

We tried to include all updated posts from our friends around the web. If we excluded you, it was not intentional. Please contact us asap so we can get you on tomorrow's links page.

If you are not included in daily links post and would like to be, please contact us asap to be included in next post.


Attention Aspiring Sports Writers:

NSS is looking for talented, opinionated, enthusiastic and well informed Basketball fans to join our writing staff.

Blogging experience is not a requirement but a writing sample is mandatory.

If blogging is your passion, we are willing to help promote your blog through your posts on NSS, links on our email newsletter and through writer’s profiles which will be posted on our “About Us” page.

If you are interested in contributing to North Station Sports, please contact us.

Tuesday, 08 December 2009 09:35

Keep Shooting Ray Ray!

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We all view Ray Allen as a shooter first and he is. However, It's about time some recognition goes to Ray for his defense. Ray often has the most difficult assignment on defense and handles it quite well. Doc Rivers told the globe,From the Boston Globe:Celtics Rivers BasketballWhile Allen has been working to end his perimeter struggles, his defense is peaking and that is not lost on Rivers.“Even if he doesn’t shoot well, you still have to guard him and it gives us great spacing,’’ Rivers said. “I put Ray Allen on the floor and if he misses 50 in a row, on the 51st play, if I tell him to stand behind the 3 [point line] there’s going to be a guy right next to him. And it gives us spacing and even if he’s not shooting, his value is immeasurable.’’A career .397 percent 3-point shooter, Allen is shooting 32 percent this season. In his last 17 games, Allen has converted more than one 3-pointer just four times. Rivers is convinced those 3-pointers will begin falling and said he has encouraged Allen to keep shooting. Regardless of how many drop, opposing teams have to account for Allen defensively.“It’s funny you noticed because we were kidding with him that I thought it was one of his better games,’’ Rivers said of the Oklahoma City game. “And San Antonio as well on [Manu] Ginobili at times. What we want him to do as much as possible is to keep the ball square and then contest shots and I thought he did both. Harden, I don’t think, got a shot off without a hand in his face. He was right in his face. When Ray does that, it brings another dimension to our defense.’’


Ray Allen's streaky shooting is nearly scrutinized as much as (I've) dissected KG's knee recovery. Since Ray came to Boston, though the media has always been kind to him, fans have not always been so nice (behind closed doors). Fans always respect Ray but still can't adjust to the fact that he has developed into a deadly streak shooter in the later day's of his career.Doc says it best, when he tells the media that Ray is always dangerous and his presence on the court benefits the Celtics-- even when struggling. Defenders cannot leave Ray Allen alone on the perimeter because if (when) he hits his first shot, he usually sets a blaze from long distance. Ray always spreads the court, struggling or not.Think back to the championship run of '08, Ray was piss-poor in the first two rounds of the playoffs. He exploded in the EC Finals against Detroit and stole the show for the Finals. Even during his worst struggles, in the spring of 2008, I knew it was only a matter of time.The same applies to this season. I am not worried about Ray in the least. I am actually encouraged.32 percent three-point shooting and still encouraged?Totally. In the past, Ray has not made any adjustments during periods of horrid shooting. This season Ray is not standing still outside of the three-point line, waiting for his shot to realign. His rediscovered explosiveness around the hoop has been a welcome sight to me. He is adjusting his game to compensate for his current slump. He has displayed dunking ability we have not seen from #20 since coming to Boston and I love it.In closing, I cannot wait until that shot lines back up and it, again, it's only a matter of time. When it does, Ray will be able to combine the penetration aspect of his game that is prospering this year with his pure shooting from outside.It's going to happen, it's only a matter of time and I can't wait to say "I told you so".
Monday, 07 December 2009 23:29

Looking Back Into The Past: #0 Walter McCarty

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With the lack of Celtics news coming out these past few days it has been difficult to find things to write about. I was sitting in my room today trying to think of something unique that we could start doing. I came up with a series, "Looking Back Into The Past", which will highlight certain Boston Celtic legends careers while wearing the green jersey.I was having trouble trying to decide who to start this series out with. I wanted the player to be someone I actually have seen play, and also someone recognizable to Celtics fans. There were guys like Antoine Walker, Dee Brown, Dana Barros, and even one of my personal favorites, David Wesley. There was one guy however that really stuck out to me as the perfect player to start this series off with.You might know him best from a catch phrase used by a famous Celtics broadcaster, it went like this, "I Love Waltahhhhh". If you don't know who it is by now you are probably younger than I am, or going through six or seven tough years of your life. It is the man, the myth, and the legend, Walter McCarty.

Walter was picked up by the Celtics in 1997, as a result of a trade with the New York Knicks. Walter went on to spend seven and a half years with the Celtics, all coached under Rick Pitino, before being traded to the Phoenix Suns in 2005. During his stay in Boston, Walter was loved by everybody and a easy fan favorite. He was a versatile 6-10 forward who was famous his hard play and three point shooting.The numbers that Walter put up during his stay aren't necessarily the greatest, however, Walter will go down in Celtics history for his hard work on and off the court. In seven and a half years in Boston Walter managed to average 5.3 points and 2.7 rebounds per game per game. Not all-star number by far, but Walter was just one of those crowd favorites (like Scalabrine), and he will go down in history.

Besides basketball Walter has also been involved in the entertainment industry. In 1998 Walter appeared in the basketball classic, "He Got Game". In 2003 he also released a music album, and in 2006 he sang the National Anthem prior to the NBA All-star Game that year.Currently Walter is an assistant coach at Lousiville, under his former Celtic coach Rick Pitino. He has helped Lousiville get to the Elite Eight in both of his seasons as assistant coach, and last year helped the team to the Big East Championship. Walter is a great guy and I wish him all the success, he is one of my favorite Celtics of all time. I LOVE WALTAH!!!!

Monday, 07 December 2009 23:20

Anything Is Possible! KG Wins Player Of The Week

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anythingWelcome back, KG. As if Celtics fans didn’t already know, now the NBA acknowledges The Big Ticket’s monster week, carrying them to three road wins including a nail biter in San Antonio in which he hit every clutch shot he took and generally rained pain upon the foes Boston has faced on the road.Garnett averaged almost 20 PTS on a ludicrous 70% from the field and 7 RBS for the week. Questions surrounding KG’s knee health were answered with authority with his willingness to go up and get multiple alley oop attempts a game and some explosive drives in the lane.I’m sure if Kevin were asked about this honor he would defer to team chemistry and just playing to win but to the faithful in green it means that the Celtics are getting their swagger back after stumbling down the stretch to end last year at the hands of an Orlando team that was overmatched in the finals.Will KG keep up this torrid pace for the rest of the season? No, but at least we know it’s there when it has to be and that’s good enough for me. Congratulations, KG. We knew you’d be all right.
Given his age, his talent, and his role as one of the non-LeBron superstars of the future, I'm willing to cut Dwight Howard slack for a lot of his shenanigans. However, a new report surfaced today of a Howard behavior that is totally inexcusable and downright nasty...


Given his age, his talent, and his role as one of the non-LeBron superstars of the present and future, I'm willing to cut Dwight Howard slack for a lot of his shenanigans. His obsession with candy (and specifically with eating Skittles as a pre-game meal) is positively Odom-esque, but lots of great players have similar eccentricities. The fact that he claims to have eaten two Quarter Pounders, a large order of fries and a large Sprite before taking on the Cavs in last year's playoffs strikes me as more of a long-term issue than anything to fuss about right now. After all, he's a physical freak, and can probably afford to eat in ways most of us (who want to live beyond 35) can only dream of.More troublesome to me is his propensity for blocking shots into the stands. Whereas Russell would often start the famed fast-breaks of the 60's Celtic squads by blocking a shot to a teammate or himself, Chris Ballard of Sports Illustrated reveals that Dwight has an opposite, often detrimental approach in his new book, The Art of a Beautiful Game: Even when a player knows better, the temptation is strong. "I've been trying to keep my blocks in-bounds," said Dwight Howard, who led the league in 2008-2009 with 2.9 blocks per game... "It's tough though, because I like to watch it go out-of-bounds, and the the crowd oohs. It's just fun." Then he added with a grin, "If I send it out-of-bounds, the other team gets the ball back, and there's probably like a 10 percent chance that I might block another shot in the same sequence."

That's a habit that Orlando fans will have to hope that he grows out of as he matures, as it's far more about making Sportscenter's highlight reel than helping his team win. Once again, there's reason for optimism given his age and his growing experience playing in meaningful playoff games.

Having said all that, a new report surfaced today of a Howard behavior that is totally inexcusable, downright nasty, and shows a complete lack of regard for public health:

Per the San Francisco Chronicle:

Every time a Warriors player went to the line to shoot two, after the first free-throw try, the Orlando Magic's massive center asked the ref for the ball, spit on it and flipped it back to the ref. Seriously."I'm just blowing on it," Howard fibbed with a smile when I asked him about it after the game. "I'm putting a spell on them." Pure filth, Dwight. The kind of bush league stuff that would make most kindergartners blush. In this day and age of heightened swine-flu awareness, you'd think the guy would know better. Right now, he supposedly only does it before his opponents shoot free-throws. But what happens if he decides to try a new approach to tackling his own issues at the foul line? He's already inaccurate enough: if he starts hoisting spit-freebies, we could soon see an innocent NBA star play the Ray Chapman to Howard's Carl Mays.Finally, Howard may be a physical specimen, but he needs to think of his teammates. Vince Carter may be one Dwight-Howard-spit-laden basketball away from Tuberculosis. And nobody wants that.Except the city of Toronto.
Monday, 07 December 2009 20:28

Jarrett Jack Got Away With One, Or Is There Something More?

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Maybe I'm missing something here but I thought no matter what, you play to the whistle. So what the hell happened here? Jarrett Jack received a pass up top and decided that would be a perfect time to tuck the ball and lace up his sneaks while Luol Deng looked frightened and confused. Hey, Deng? You want to play some defense or just let a dude make you look like a fool? Look like a fool? Awesome. Not the choice I would have made but to each their own I suppose. JackWhich brings me back to my initial question. Am I missing something?I understand there are some unwritten rules in sports (don't bunt to break up a no hitter, don't throw deep when you're up late in a football game [does not apply to 2007 Patriots] and don't spit in the cup on the 16th [looking at you, Sergio]) and maybe this whole let your opponent adjust his laces is one of them in basketball. If it is, it's a stupid one.Let's say you and I have a disagreement over, I don't know, which color gummy bear is the best. Clearly it's the colorless pineapple gummy but you argue that green is the best. I inform you that your selection is borderline lunacy and fisticuffs ensue. A few punches in you want to take a break to pull up your Eddie House length socks and expect me to give you a free pass. Maybe I say I will but as soon as you bend over I try to kick your Chiclets through your brain.Same thing goes for a not called timeout. Do you think Rondo, CP3 or Deron Williams would have let Jack get away with that? Hell no, they would be picking his pocket so fast that he wouldn't be able to even make the bunny ears in his laces.The only conclusions I came up with is that there is an unwritten rule about equipment adjustments or that Luol Deng has the basketball IQ equivalent to a blind three year old. That sort of play may also be indicative of why Toronto isn't as good as they should be. I imagine that if KG's laces had the brass ones to untie themselves during a game he would play on until a stoppage in play, after which he would berate them with expletives and make them cry. Just sayin' is all.
Monday, 07 December 2009 12:33

Today's Headlines - 12/7/09

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Today's batch of links, including Larry Legend's birthday, Marquis Daniels injury talk, Rasheed's weight, more Tim Donaghy discussion, a great Iverson article, and more.

Tommy-Pose of the Day...

74187340JP113_Draft Lottery

Today's Headlines:

North Station Sports: Larry Bird turns 53 today!

Boston Globe: Daniels will sit, Cheap talk?

Celtics Blog: Without Quisy, who plays more?, Answering the Twitter mailbag,

Hardwood Houdini: Tim Donaghy speaks out during interview

Celtics Town: Don't take the way the Celtics play for granted,

Red's Army: The streaky Celtics: inside the numbers, Your morning dump, where yesterday was a good day for TA

Celtics Hub: Is Sheed out of shape?, If you were to ask me

Lex Nihil Novi: 7,600 fans watch Celtics down Bulls (retro game recap)

Gino's Jungle: Looking back into the past: #0 Walter McCarty

Boston Sports Then and Now: Patriots finish wrong again, lose to Dolphins

Headlines from around the league...

New York Post: Knicks not interested in trading Harrington for Tyrus

Hard to tell if this is posturing or a definitive end to this rumor, but Donnie Walsh apparently has quite the soft spot for Harrington. Also hard to tell: who gives a crap.

Ball Don't Lie: Behind the box score, where the glasses aren't helping, Kiki

Dwyer is an absolute warrior for writing such a detailed description of what must have been torturous to watch. How many angels tear their wings out when the Nets and Knicks collide?

FreeDarko: Just another black man caught up in the mix

Q. McCall's Iverson piece is the most in-depth take on AI I've read since I picked up a used copy of the underrated Only the Strong Survive on the cheap. It's lengthy, but well worth your time.

The Baseline: Full moon turns Rockets broadcaster into fan

Awesome instance of a Houston commentator doing his best Tommy impression.

SLAM online: Who is Allen Iverson?

Tomorrow, we'll be inundated with articles about tonight's game between the 76ers and Nuggets, analysis of AI's performance, and ruminations on how things will play out for here. Until then, though, it's nice to take a moment and reflect on the larger themes surrounding The Answer, our opinions on him, and exactly what has contributed to the forming of them, so here's one more story to read with that in mind.

47 - 49

Note from the Links Director...

We tried to include all updated posts from our friends around the web. If we excluded you, it was not intentional. Please contact us asap so we can get you on tomorrow's links page.

If you are not included in daily links post and would like to be, please contact us asap to be included in next post.


Attention Aspiring Sports Writers:

NSS is looking for talented, opinionated, enthusiastic and well informed Basketball fans to join our writing staff.

Blogging experience is not a requirement but a writing sample is mandatory.

If blogging is your passion, we are willing to help promote your blog through your posts on NSS, links on our email newsletter and through writer’s profiles which will be posted on our “About Us” page.

If you are interested in contributing to North Station Sports, please contact us.

Monday, 07 December 2009 08:28

Larry Bird Turns 53 Today!

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Image Courtesy of NBC.com

Happy Birthday Larry!

It's hard to believe that Larry Bird is 53 years old. On Pearl Harbor Day in 1956, a legend was born. In celebration of Larry's day, we have listed some links to stories that have appeared on NSS involving Larry-Legend.Larry also had no shame in pimping out just about anything possible to squeeze some endorsement bucks out of the barrel. Needless to say, their is no shortage of classic and hilarious Bird commercials over the year's. My favorite is Larry's attempt at looking fashionable in 1981 in a designer jeans commercial. Check them all out below!So, in true Bird style, crack open a Miller Lite, rip open a bag of Lays, lace up your Cons, eat 33 Big Macs, squeeze into a pair of Chardon (what the hell are they?) tight jeans, flip open an NBA catalog, eat a prime rib and, well... the list of Bird's favorite things to do goes on and on... lol.Enjoy! Larry Bird: The Sad and Sudden Demise of a Basketball LegendbirdglobeOriginally appeared in July, 2009Click here to read full story History Says that Today's Celtics Can Overcome Recent Adversitybird#1Originally Posted November 21, 2009By Joe GillThe story of the 1984 championship team's struggle to the top and how it relates to some of the struggles the 2009-10 squad is facing. Great read!Click here to read full story Together Again: Bird and Magic Appear on Conanbird and magicOriginally posted November 5, 2009Absolutely Hilarious!Click Here for Video

Bird Commercials Over the Years...


Monday, 07 December 2009 01:10

Late/Early Headlines - 12/6/09

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Today's batch of links: Marquis Daniels injury, lots of ruminating as Greg Oden's history repeats, Paul Pierce for MVP, I wish Tim Donaghy would just go away, Toronto is a travesty and more.

Tommy-Pose of the Day...


Your Tommy-Quote of the Day...

"I paid off the leprechaun this morning and he lied to me. Leprechauns will do that."

Today's Headlines:

North Station Sports: David Stern responds to 60 minutes, Talking stats: overcoming turnovers, On foreign ground: will the Celtics' road grit be the clincher down the stretch, Deja vu: Greg Oden likely done for the year

Boston Globe: Celtics' improved play speaks volumes, Daniels will miss Celtics-Bucks game

Boston Herald: Celtics just not impressed, Lakers line forms here, Greg Oden done for season

Celtics Blog: Paul Pierce deserves (some) MVP consideration, Doctor Cool

Hardwood Houdini: LeBron James: you either love him or hate him,

Red's Army: Keep your eye on Austin Rivers, Oden injury sparks nightmarish thoughts, Could we still see Oden in a Celtics jersey?

Celtics Hub: Nolan Ryan Rondo aggravates Daniels' injury,

Celtics Life: The Tiger Woods scandal: a microcosm of society

Lex Nihil Novi: Everything starts with Rondo, but will everything finish with Rondo too?

Boston Sports Then and Now: Bruins and Leafs: recipe for a rivalry

Headlines from around the league...

60 Minutes: Donaghy raises new allegations of biasI ended up TeVoing this: I had a long day, and, watching the first five minutes or so, I felt nothing but depressed. I'll give it another go when I feel more up to it.Cleveland Plain Dealer: Cleveland Cavliers (and LeBron) are wary of Milwaukee and talented rookie Brandon JenningsNice of LeBron to take a few minutes out of his busy schedule of self-promotion to tell us all something we already know: Young Money can play a little bit. Thanks pal!Ball Don't Lie: Jack ties shoelace during live play; Bulls watch, twiddle thumbsI was actually mildly interested in Toronto during the preseason: with Hedo's addition, I thought this could be a destitute man's version of Orlando last year. A huge front court, two of whom can shoot the three, and a talented PG. Good grief, was I wrong.I don't see any scenario in which Bosh stays in Toronto. None.FreeDarko: new podcast from the Disciples of ClydeAlways a fun listen. I highly recommend it.TrueHoop: Sherman Alexie, on loss and Greg OdenA brief but well-written, elegiac piece about Oden, basketball, and dealing with grief.Sports Illustrated: Rookie Ty Lawson winning over coach George Karl, NuggetsMy favorite aspect of this story is the fact that the Knicks could have had this guy. In fact, whereas most backwards looking NBA draft scenarios involve one player getting overlooked, they passed on what, five point guards who've already contributed something in the league? Jennings, Lawson, Holiday, Teague, Maynor, Collison. These names have already come up a lot. Jordan Hill? If you can't get minutes playing for the damn Knicks, I don't know what else there is to say.

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Note from the Links Director...

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NSS is looking for talented, opinionated, enthusiastic and well informed Basketball fans to join our writing staff.

Blogging experience is not a requirement but a writing sample is mandatory.

If blogging is your passion, we are willing to help promote your blog through your posts on NSS, links on our email newsletter and through writer’s profiles which will be posted on our “About Us” page.

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Tonight's astonishing interview with Tim Donaghy on CBS' 60 Minutes led the NBA to quickly issues a statement. Filled with the same information, the NBA continued to insist that the only criminal conduct was committed by Tim Donaghy and further exonerated the league's officials.From Inside Hoops: davidstern“In an interview aired on ‘60 Minutes,’ Tim Donaghy repeated his allegations against his former colleagues, NBA referees, as well as the NBA. Those allegations have been fully investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the government completed its investigation, finding that the only criminal conduct was that of Mr. Donaghy. In addition, the NBA appointed Lawrence B. Pedowitz, a former Chief of the Criminal Division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York to lead a comprehensive independent review of the NBA’s officiating program. Mr. Pedowitz’ review revealed that the NBA’s core values of neutrality and accountability were not compromised by anyone other than Mr. Donaghy. All allegations with respect to the integrity of the NBA’s officiating program will continue to be referred to Mr. Pedowitz for his review.”Read the entire story The league's reaction to this story that is again boiling over continues to shock me. The statement is virtually identical to past releases from the League office. What further shocks me is David Stern's refusal to to take this controversy head on and revamp the league's officiating protocols. Stern, who is responsible for the renaissance the league has taken since his installment as the Commissioner, has continued to ignore the issue.I'm sorry but, in my mind, hiring your own investigator to dig into the corrupt dealings of your own front office seems to be a bit laughable. The press release from Stern clearly states that no other NBA officials committed any criminal acts other then Donaghy.The mere fact of Tim Donaghy's admission that league officials discuss their dislike for team owners, coaches and players and their willingness to go to lengths to suppress their dislike for them furthers the argument that the officiating system of the NBA has been incurably compromised.The marketing mastermind of the NBA continues to get it wrong in reference to this controversy.Can anyone say... It's time to clean house Mr. Stern?

Tim Donaghy on 60 Minutes

Sunday, 06 December 2009 16:11

Talking Stats: Overcoming Turnovers

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Turnovers are the bane of any offense in any sport, agreed? If someone were told you to pick the winner of the game based solely on seeing the turnover statistic you would more than likely pick the team with the lowest number. So how have the Celtics overcome being 24th in the league in being able to hang on to the ball and compile a 16-4 record? Simple, they are far more efficient with ball distribution.57470721I know, I know. Sometimes the ball movement makes you cringe with the amount of open looks that get passed up and end with a turnover but there is an upside. Generally, when the ball finally stops moving it ends with a high percentage shot for an open guy. As a result, Boston ranks second in the league in Assist Ratio (percentage of possessions that end with an assisted basket) at 17.4 percent. That is a full percentage point more than the Lakers and just .2 being league leading Utah. While it may seem like a confusing way to calculate assists it’s actually useful when you are looking at a larger picture.While a whopping 25 percent of the time a C’s possession ends in a turnover, their strong defense helps mask that as well. Does 25 percent seem too high? That number is a representative of every type of turnover, not just steals or bad passes. Offensive fouls like charging or a three second violation also result in a turnover. The bogus eight second half court turnover the other night is another lesser used example but it’s along the lines of the inbounding turnover too. Taking all that in, 25 percent is just about right.The offense generated by the constant ball movement and risky interior passing is good enough for to sport the 6th spot in the league with an Offensive Efficiency Rating (number of points scored per 100 possessions) with 107.5 and the Defensive Efficiency (number of points allowed per 100 possessions) is tops in the NBA, sitting pretty at 96.Next time you curse at a bad pass or a ball caught with a heel on the sideline, just remember that in the grand scheme of things, the Celtics can overcome.Get the full statistics used to make this post here
Playing in other stadiums is not an easy task to handle in basketball. There's something eerie about the feeling, seeing the abhorred and 90041128CE001_CELT_SPURSbelligerent crowd glare down on you, merciless in their fan practices. There's something uncomfortable about hearing the reverberated bounce of the ball pound the dangerous floor of a house you haven't declared yours yet. There's something dangerous about analyzing the opposing team from your bench as they conduct their warmup routine with a sense of confidence and without disturbance. They aren't broken, they aren't distorted. They're ready to onslaught whatever unwisely chooses to approach them.But when you're the Boston Celtics -- when you have the knowledge that you can intimidate whomever you're playing -- there's no timidity about anything that they do. When they invade a squad's fort, the other team feels as if they're backed against the wall. When the alarm sounds for an intruder, the Celts aren't distracted. There isn't any hesitation in their step, no reluctancy in their pace.The Boston Celtics are unmoved by the fact that they won't be playing on their own territory some nights. KG's one-two step before the dagger isn't unintentionally tweaked. Pierce's battle cry isn't shyer. Ray Allen's violent wrist flick isn't lacking any enthusiasm. The Celtics are the Celtics, no matter where they play.The Celtics had once again shown a manifest brandish during their 6 game winning-streak to start the season. After brutally and unexpectedly struggling through a rough batch of games early in November, the Celts got back into the swing of things before going on one of their first real legitimate road trips by knocking off the Knicks in NY and thrashing Toronto around for a big win necessary to get some momentum going into the trip.Then Boston rolled into Miami with a three-game winning streak. In the first game of the season, Boston proved they could conquer solid teams on the road even despite the team being a year older, polishing off the Cavs at the Q. But after a few weeks of the Celtics being conspicuously apathetic, fans weren't so sure anymore. A win against Miami on the road could turn that mindset around.Boston being Boston, they came out as if everything was on the line and wouldn't let Miami climb back even with only having short bursts of offense and little space between the two teams the whole game. They were inexorable, ruthless, in their moral slaughtering of the Heat. They silenced the crowd; piped down the excited thieves who were scurrying around looking for a cheap win while Boston was playing poorly. They'd gone into Miami and gotten it done.So what happens next? Well, you beat a championship-contending Spurs team in San Antonio of course! They took the spunk out of SA, who had also been streakin' a bit themselves. They flattened a usually immortal (not necessarily in their play but core of swagger) team and overcame the odds that looked down upon beating a contender on the road when both were playing well.Behind the resurgence of a formerly struggling Paul Pierce and red-hot Kevin Garnett, Boston also finished the trip by disheveling a young Oklahoma City Thunder team. Pierce had 21 in the first half and cruised the rest of the way while Garnett, who had a substantial first half contribution as well, got the Celtics on a run immediately after coming out of the halftime locker room.Take a lookie at this. Garnett shot 10-11 against OKC and finished with 23 points. Ensuing halftime, Boston torched the Thunder for seven points in a matter or minutes, making it a 14 point game. Garnett scored five of those points. Impressive, to say the very least, no? In overview of the four-game trip (Miami, Charlotte, San Antonio, Oklahoma City), the Big Ticket shot 36-46. Tell me, if you have a power forward who can score that easily and that quickly, are you going to win on the road? (That's a rhetorical question, by the way...)Both players (Pierce and Garnett) are two key road warriors for the Celtics, as they have the resolution and pluck to keep the team fired up so as to not let any sizable leads up. When you don't have the crowd behind you, it's hard to stay motivated and can sometimes be easy to get diverted and get caught in a close game.Take a few minutes to check out these numbers:As I mentioned, Pierce and Garnett, followed by Ray Allen, are the team's leaders at any time, not just on the road. The laden burden intensifies when the team is on a road trip. The trio of Pierce, Garnett, and Allen all sacrifice (keep that perspective in mind while we're discussing this) a few points here and there on the road that they otherwise would generally accumulate when playing at home.However, while Pierce's rebounding numbers dip along with his scoring average on the road, his assist numbers significantly rise. On the other side of the ball, Kevin Garnett suffers a drop in distribution production while his rebounding numbers see a massive spike (more than a full two boards). All of this is likely due to the accentuated necessity to concentrate on getting your assigned job first when on the road, and then having the freedom to look to churn out the extra rebound, assist, or bucket afterwards.Branching off of this point, this may be why Pierce's trips to the line increases on the road, but his number of shots in all (including jumpers) lessens. So what is given in return? More shots for Ray Allen, whose FG attempts visually boost. Garnett could also be expected to play more in the paint as well, instead of rotating out for the jumper.Pretty thought-provoking, no? More importantly, it's good to witness all of this in motion, like a well-oiled machine. The team's willingness to drop some of their individual spare change on their way to victory is inspiring, a Celtics tradition continued, carried on through the years, but amazing nonetheless.In the aftermath of all this, you guys are still asking yourselves why I am so stubborn about all of this sacrificing junk, I'd assume. I mean, where do these intentionally forfeited numbers go? From my standpoint, it'd be pretty ridiculous to say that the C's do this for the exalted purpose of getting such praise, so let's throw that possibility out the window. Of course, when you're on the road, there has to be at least some conspicuous drop in stats. So it's no surprise to see that the Celtics score roughly three less points on the road than they do at home.Mull this over: Pierce's and Garnett's left over points are given to Kendrick Perkins and Rajon Rondo, whose scoring averages consist of more substantial numbers when on the road. Along with the sacrifice displayed in the starting line-up, bench vikings such as Rasheed Wallace, Eddie House, and Marquis Daniels all pump out less points when they aren't playing in Boston.But again, we still query about the team's road methods. There aren't many other bench players notable enough (only Shelden Williams) to look at to see if their stats increase, so we're still left with the numbers the three major bench players gave up. Will they be wasted? No. It's very simple. Despite the jeers of the crowd, the overall disconcertion of the whole ordeal that is playing on the road, the Celtics hold opponents to the same amount of points on the road as they do at home (90.6 opponents ppg). Therefore, more effort is put into defense than usual. That's probably the most encouraging stat out of the bunch.In conclusion, it's clear that contending teams have to win on the road if they want to live up to their hype. It's also clear that Boston can do that, and do that in profuse bunches. They've succeeded in winning a chunk of arduous road trips in the history of the new Big Three, and pulled off some pretty remarkable stunts along the way. It's unusual to see the Celtics coming out lackluster anywhere, so this is where you can see just how enduring this team can be. Buried under the feats and highlights of the 2007-08 season (Houston's 22 game winning-streak, Boston winning the championship), Boston racked up a pretty significant achievement. They went down to the Lone Star State, home to three of the best teams in the NBA in the past decade, and swept them. They plowed through the Texas Triangle, becoming the first team to do so since the Sacramento Kings in 2002.Three games in five nights. Correction: Three of the TOUGHEST games in fives nights. No need to say anymore.Celtics Pistons BasketballWhat's even more exciting for fans is that Boston has acknowledged in their heads the importance of winning outside of your home. Think about this for a second: there's quite possibly seven or eight teams capable of pulling of the NBA's best record, giving them home court advantage throughout the playoffs. While the Celtics are capable of having such a privilege because of their hard work... it's hard work. The snags and wearies of an NBA season can weigh down on you. Again, I'm not saying they can't do it, but let's not go making rash presumptions when we're only 19 games into the march to another Boston title. At this very moment, let's focus on road victories.On another note, even if they do manage to receive the relief of having home court, there's no telling what the OTHER contenders can do on the road. Remember, to be dubbed contenders, you have to prove you can do the majority of most things in the NBA, and road success is never absent in that evaluation. Boston saw for themselves the panic that can arise when you haven't won a road game in the playoffs and a team comes in and beats you on your own floor in just the second game of the series.That's right, I'm bringing up the 2007-08 Eastern Conference Finals. Detroit flew in and taught us a lesson that essentially spelled out not to mess with them. Well, we proceeded to go into their house and win TWO, that's two, road games to win in six. But luck might not be on our side this year C's fans. I'm not saying we didn't put excessive efforts in winning those games, but you can't really ever dismiss the opinion that states that it was more of the Pistons collapsing than it was the C's winning.Once again... we must win on the road.Contenders are born when the pretenders are eliminated. What class are we in?Well, let's just see how this steamship does when roaming on harsher seas.
(Images courtesy of Yahoo! Sports and the Otago Daily Times)