Category Archives: General

Celtics Make First Two Moves of Offseason

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On the first day of the NBA’s free agency, the Boston Celtics have already started to make moves. In the span of about an hour, the Celtics agreed to terms with Jonas Jerebko and Amir Johnson.

Jerebko, who arrived last year to the Celtics via trade, was a nice complimentary piece off the bench. He will continue to provide ball movement and floor spacing. He resigned for 2 years, $10 million.

Johnson is a much more impactful signing. He was a starter for the Toronto Raptors last year, averaging 9 points, 6 rebounds and 1 block. While those numbers definitely do not pop out of the screen, they are a bit misleading.

The Raptors team Johnson was on last year had a lot more shot takers than shot creators. With Lou Williams, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozen hoisting up around 40 shots a game, there were not many opportunities for Johnson to score.

Johnson will bring to the Celtics solid midrange shooting and good defensive rebounding. While those traits sound familiar to those of Brandon Bass, Johnson is about 5 inches taller than Bass, therefor providing the Celtics opportunity to slot Johnson at the 5 and play small ball. Johnson will be payed $24 million over 2 years.

The Johnson signing probably indicates the end of the Brandon Bass era in Boston. With a crowded front court already on board, it would be unnecessary to resign Bass.

 

A nice day so far for the Celtics.

Next up, RESIGN JAE CROWDER!!!

 

 

Is Tom Brady better than Joe Montana?

This argument will forever and always continue to rage on, whether Brady is better than Montana or vise versa. I don’t believe that there will ever be an answer unless, Brady wins a 5th Lombardi trophy and puts up staggering playoff numbers. But, don’t forget Joe Montana is 4-0 in the Super Bowl. If that isn’t impressive enough, Montana threw for 1,142 yards, 11 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.

Tom Brady on the other has been to 6 Super Bowls boasting a 4-2 record throwing for 1,605 yards, 13 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Brady has thrown 2 more touchdowns but 4 more interceptions. Just by looking at the stats between the two titans, you would believe that Montana is better. Montana has a better overall record less interceptions. Not so fast, the one thing people forget to look at, is the other side of the ball. In Montana’s first Super Bowl appearance in 1981 Montana played with the 2nd best overall defense in the NFL. Only 3 years later Joe Cool would be back in the big game, this time. The 49ers boasted the best overall defense in the NFL. When you combine the arguably the greatest QB ever with one of the best receivers in Jerry Rice, then give them the best defense in the league. 9 times out of 10, you can’t touch them. In 1988 Montana’s 49ers had the 3rd best defense, a year later they had the 4th best.

Its safe to say that Montana had plenty of support going into the biggest game on the brightest stage.

Tom Brady, one of the all-time greats battling, trying to carve his name into the top spot in NFL history. Brady had some great offenses in his day, but nothing like Montana. In 2001, Brady first Super Bowl the Patriots bared the 24th ranked defense against the Greatest Show on Turf. The St. Louis Rams, there is no doubt Brady didn’t have much help in that contest. But Brady won didn’t he? Great players find ways to win, no matter what the circumstance.

In 2003 the Patriots had their revamped defense at 7th overall. The Patriots were facing Jake Delhomme, Steve Smith and the Carolina Panthers. defeating them was no easy feat for Tom Terrific who proved if he got the ball late in the 4th quarter with a chance to win, he was your guy.

After just one short year past, Brady and the Patriots were right back in the thick of it all, looking to become the greatest thing in sports. A dynasty.

In 2004 Brady and company took on the Andy Reid led Philadelphia Eagles. Philly had their fair share of fire power on offense, the Patriots defense stood tall, holding Philly to 1 touchdown in the final 3 quarters. But this time, New England’s defense was the hero, not Brady. Donovan Mcnabb was given the ball back with 1 chance to drive down field and win it all. But the Patriots pass rush collapsed the pocket Mcnabb tossed up a prayer and Patriots Safety Rodney Harrison was there to seal Philadelphia’s fate.

Next come the Patriots infamous 2007 season. The Patriots perfect season, led by one of the best offenses ever. The Patriots would go up against one of the best pass rushes in Brady’s Super Bowl career, getting sacked 5 times. Brady constantly has linemen in his face getting pressure, forcing throws. Brady would go on to lose the game due to David Tyree’s infamous “helmet catch”.

In 2011 the Brady led Patriots had no defense, they were a shell of their former selves. Watching seasoned veterans like Linebacker Tedy Bruschi walk away to retirement, Mike Vrable getting traded to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Patriots defense had to go up against a familiar foe, Eli Manning’s 2011 version of the New York Giants. The Patriots struggle to pressure Manning, struggled to hold coverage down field. Ultimately it led to Brady’s demise. The Patriots would go on to lose that one with the 31st ranked defense. Only the Green Bay Packers were worse, the Packer also lost to the Giants in the Divisional Round at Lambeau Field.

In what could be the final showdown in a Super Bowl for Brady, his defense was 13th overall. But this is where stats can be deceiving, because the Patriots tend to give up alot of yards late in the 4th quarter when the game is in hand. The Patriots went all in and signed free agent Cornerback Darrelle Revis. Coming off and ACL tear, many wondered if Revis could ever be what he once was. The Patriots also signed the tallest cornerback in the NFL, 6’4″ Brandon Browner. A year previous, Browner had been with the Legion of Boom in Seattle. But after being caught with PED’s Browner couldn’t play in the Super Bowl and would later get released. Bill Belichick saw an opportunity to make his defense great once more, all he had to do was pony up the money.

In the 2014 version of the Super Bowl, the Patriots battled Browner’s former team. The Seattle Seahawks, the Patriots defense stood tall. Making stops when needed and Brady responded throwing the game winning touchdown pass to receiver Julian Edelman. But there was over 2:00 left on the clock and the Seahawks had 2 timeouts. Plenty of time for Seahawks QB Russell Wilson.

Wilson drove down the field, but not before an absolutely stunning Jermaine Kerse catch near the goal line. But the Patriots defense would make what might be one of the greatest goal line stands in NFL history. On 2nd and Goal from the 1 yard line, the Seahawks elect to throw against the Patriots goal line defense and undrafted rookie cornerback out of West Alabama Malcolm Butler jumped in front of the route to make the biggest play in Patriots franchise history, and bring Tom Brady is 4th Lombardi Trophy and 3rd Super Bowl MVP.

Both Montana and Brady have had their moments, but I strongly believe that you could find an answer for who is better between he two unless Brady wins another.

The two legends played in different eras of the game. Brady’s still going strong, can he complete his hunt for the 5th Lombardi Trophy?

Celtics Offseason: In Position To Make A Move

Danny Ainge has some work to do this offseason.

In a chippy final game, the Celtics got swept by the Cavs in what was really a heat check for a scrappy, underachieving Celtics team. In the end, it was the more star-studded, team that pulled away with the series win. Surprise, surprise. That’s how the NBA works.

 

The main takeaway from this series is that the Celtics aren’t there yet. They are not contenders. Not yet. If it wasn’t obvious before the Cavs series, it is now. Sure, it was an unfavorable draw getting King James in the first round as opposed to a very mortal Atlanta Hawks team, but the general result would have been the same – a first round loss. Which is fine by Celtics fans. Not many expected them to be in the playoffs anyways.

 

So, exit stage left regular season, and enter offseason 2015. Two things were especially apparent in the Cavs series that the C’s need to address this offseason – rebounding and star-power. Both were exposed by the Cavs during the series at some of the most crucial times. Kyrie and LeBron hit big shots and got to the free throw line at-will. Tristan Thompson killed the C’s with sneaky offensive rebounds in crucial late game situations. Just two examples that echoed problems the team has dealt with all season.

 

Celtics have both cap space and assets in draft picks to address these needs, with either a free agent signing or a trade. To me, the most attainable move would be to sign Kevin Love. He is one of the few talented free agents that has expressed interest in playing for Boston. At least, that was before Kelly Olynyk ended Love’s playoff campaign, dislocated his shoulder fighting for a loose ball with Olynyk. As furious as he was leaving the TD Garden, Love has a past with the Celtics, so I wouldn’t rule out him signing completely. Still, you can bet your ass that the chances of landing him took a hit – especially after the announcement of Love being sidelined for 4-6 months. Thanks, Kelly. You should try that whole box-out thing sometime.

 

Kelly Olynyk may have broke the Celtics chances with Kevin Love

Did Kelly Olynyk spoil the Celtics chance of landing Love?

Luckily, there are a lot of available free agents not named Kevin Love that can address the offseason needs. With the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre Jordan, Greg Monroe, and old friend Al Jefferson, there are a lot of available free agents that fit into these two needs for the Celtics. There’s a lot of cap room and a lot of talented big men on the market. With Danny Ainge as your GM, something’s got to give this summer. Whether that big man is Kevin Love is to be determined.

Boston Bruins: Final Two Weeks By The Numbers

There are a lot of words that could be used to describe the 2014-15 season of the Boston Bruins. ‘Successful’ would not be one of them. Coming off of a Presidents’ Trophy a season ago, big things were expected from the Black and Gold, but they never got to showcase their full potential as injuries to several key players derailed their season and now there is only one team from the Garden that is playoff bound. Whether Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli return in 2015 is still up in the air, but the team did announce Monday that it will be parting ways with longtime fourth-liners and unrestricted free agents, Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell, as they look to improve in the goal-scoring department for next season. Before we completely turn the page to next year, however, let’s look back at the final two weeks of play, which featured a teenaged rookie setting a Bruins’ record and joining some pretty impressive company in the process, the first NHL goal for one young defenseman, the team’s most shots on goal in two years, a dismal scoreless streak against one playoff-bound team, a woeful piece of all-time history relating to a particular season series and Boston becoming the first team to miss the postseason the year after earning one of the league’s most impressive trophies. For the final time in 2014-15, this is Boston Bruins: Final Two Weeks By The Numbers.

The Bruins head off the ice after a disappointing end to the 2014-15 season.

The Bruins head off the ice after a disappointing end to the 2014-15 season.

0: The Bruins did not allow the Rangers (this year’s Presidents’ Trophy winners) to have a power-play opportunity in their 4-2 win on March 28. It was the first time since Nov. 10 against the Devils that the Bruins’ opponent did not have a single power play and just the second time this season.

1: Zach Trotman scored his first career NHL goal – the game winner – to beat the Red Wings late in the third period on April 2.

1: The Wings led the Bruins, 1-0, after two periods in that game before the B’s rallied to win with three goals in the third. It marked the first time this season that the Wings lost a game in regulation in which they led after two periods (21-1-4).

.167: The Bruins had a .167 winning percentage this season when Torey Krug committed a penalty – the lowest of any regular player on the team. Zdeno Chara (.214) was the next lowest.

1.85: New York’s Henrik Lundqvist came into the March 28 meeting against Boston with a 1.85 goals-against average in 36 career appearances against the B’s before surrendering four goals in the loss.

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Brad Stevens Impressing in Second Season

Brad Stevens coaching

Brad Stevens has taken a more aggressive approach in his coaching style as the year has progressed.

 

Brad Stevens is finally getting the credit he deserves, though it hasn’t been easy leading up to this point.

Just 3 months ago, a flailing Celtics team lost many leads with fourth quarter meltdowns. The Celtics hit a season low 11-21 in January, a few weeks after trading their best player in Rajon Rondo.

Fast forward 3 months, and the surging Celtics stand at 30-36, winning 5 in a row, and 9 of their last 12. They are tied with Miami and Indiana for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference.

Many thought this would be another 2013-14 tank year. Not the case. You can’t help but respect this team for overcoming expectations, and a lot of credit goes to Stevens.

As the season has gone on, Stevens made adjustments, including becoming more aggressive. He is being more aggressive in how he handles his team when they do not play well. He is also much more assertive with referee staff and how games are called, letting refs hear about bad calls from the sidelines.

Stevens worked his magic since the all-star break. He has got the most out of his new roster, an inexperienced squad with a lack of elite talent, through terrific playing calling and mixing and matching lineups. He is a coach that disregards politics, by giving guys the playing time necessary to prove themselves in game situations. Players like Datome and Jerebko have a fair chance of contributing to this team, when on their previous teams, they could not find much playing time to contribute. Celtics players have also noted that Stevens is straight-forward with his players.

He’s focused on the task at hand- Playoffs. He always has been, since the start of the season. He was quick to put his team on blast early in the season if they weren’t playing up to expectations. He was also quick to admit he needed to coach his team better. The passion was always there early in the season, but the execution was not. Now that this team has turned it around, Stevens is saying all the right things, downplaying any talk of playoffs, only focusing on how his team plays.

It’s not certain the Celtics will get into the playoffs this year, but that doesn’t mean the season was a total loss. Playoffs or not, Stevens is proving himself as an elite NBA coach, and Celtics organization and its fan base should feel fortunate to have him as a coach for the next 4+ years. There will be a lot to look forward to.

Boston Bruins: Last Two Weeks By The Numbers

After a less than stellar February, the Bruins seem to have found their stride again during the first half of March as they have put some separation between themselves and those chasing for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. The team has gone 6-0-1 in its last seven games and seen their first shootout goal of the calendar year, one winger accomplishing something not done in 31 years, a rare two-goal game for a member of the fourth line, the special teams doing something they have not done since 2009 and the team opening the scoring in as consistent of a way they have not done since 1990. This is Boston Bruins: Last Two Weeks By The Numbers.

Brad Marchand has been doing his part to help jumpstart the Bruins in the month of March.

Brad Marchand has been doing his part to help jumpstart the Bruins in the month of March.

0: Carl Soderberg failed to win a face off against the Flyers on Saturday for the first time since Nov. 21.

1: Ryan Spooner scored the first goal of his career on Feb. 27 to give the Bruins their 30th win, 3-2, over the Devils in overtime. It came in his 35th career NHL game.

1: Six nights later, he took the first shootout attempt of his career in the loss to the Flames (0-1).

1: Max Talbot earned his first point as a member of the Bruins with the primary assist on Brad Marchand’s game-winning overtime goal to beat the Flyers, 3-2, on Saturday.

1.20: David Pastrnak is tied for fifth in the league with 1.20 points per game against the Atlantic Division this season (just five games).

2: Daniel Paille recorded goals in consecutive games on Feb. 24 and 27 for the first time since Jan. 4 and 7, 2014.

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