Alright, the title of this post is a little facetious. Nonetheless, we seem to have some new readers these days, thanks to some kind words from Free Darko and then yesterday from the venerable Sports Guy's World. Obviously we're fans of Simmons, whose words are surely influential in these parts, and Free Darko, well, as far as I'm concerned Free Darko is to the basketball blog what James Baldwin was to the essay. So many thanks to both of them, and thanks for stopping by.
Now that that's out of the way let's talk about basketball, goddammit. If you happened to read the estimable Bethlehem Shoals' mention of us the other day, you'll know that aside from his compliments he took us to task for "inveterate homer-ism," a sort of Celtics exceptionalism, if you will, in regards to this post I wrote a few days ago. And you know what? I plead guilty. Hey, we've always been and always will be first and foremost a Celtics blog and honestly, what the hell is sports fandom without occasional doses of irrational exceptionalism and superstitious fatalism? I fully agree that Boston fans have a thoroughly distasteful predilection for this sort of shit, and we try to stay above it around here for the most part, but sometimes it comes through, like if you found a cute little wolf puppy in the woods and tried to raise it like a regular dog but someday, rest assured, that thing might just up and bite you. It's a feral thing we've got going on.
Moreover, I do actually think that the tanking narrative is more easily inhabited by the Celtics than any of their lottery brethren. The game in which the reserves were left in to squander an 18-point lead in the second half jumps prominently to mind, but the hyper-suspicious Glenn Rivers "you-scratched-our-backs-now-we'll-scratch-yours" contract extension is probably the closest thing to a smoking gun. And I suppose I should have been more clear in my Oden post that I never meant to imply that the Celtics deserve this bizarre redistribution of fate: in fact, in light of the team's rather disgraceful carryings-on last season, probably the most righteous outcome in all of this would have been for them to land Oden in the lottery, only to lose him for the season before he ever put on a uniform.
Granted, all of this could still be accurately characterized as Boston exceptionalism, and maybe I went a little overboard in declaring them the luckiest team in the NBA, but I guess that's just going to happen sometimes. I regret nothing.
Oh, and as a sort of postscript, I've become increasingly obsessed with the Tony Allen comeback B-story, hence the photo above. The more I think about it the more I become convinced that a healthy and productive TA might be the difference between a second-round playoff exit and a spot in the Finals. Honestly, I wasn't a Tony Allen true-believer during that 18ppg stretch he put together right before the infamous knee blowout: Pierce was out and TA was, for the most part, putting up table-scrap points in losing causes. However, in terms of the new roster he becomes far more crucial, since this team desperately needs his strengths--defensive havoc, hustle points and a shrewd ability to capitalize when opposing defenses break down--and now has the personnel to counteract his weaknesses, namely the frequently disastrous results when he has the ball in his hands for more than five seconds. Rest assured, this season Tony Allen has a chance to be somebody.