Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Promise

Greetings from beautiful Dennis, Massachusetts - where I used to spend many Thanksgiving mornings as a little guy shooting baskets amongst the mud puddles in my driveway. Back in those days I always had on one of those great, very 80's caricature t-shirts where the basketball player had a small body and huge head. I had Bird, Magic, the Chief, 'Nique Wilkins, the Glide - all the great players (all hand-me-downs from my cousins). I wish I had one of those shirts now. I think I even had Tom Chambers. Props to The Sports Hernia for writing several articles on the awesomeness of these t-shirts. I stole your pictures.

As the only SH writer who can claim both Irish and Native American lineage (unless Chuck Norris also posts here), I'd also like to wish all you readers a Happy Thanksgiving . . . I hope at least some of you were watching NBA TV today, where the special holiday broadcast of "That Championship Feeling," the story of the 1982-83 Philadelphia 76ers title run, sent shivers down my spine - from the narration of Dick Stockton to seeing Moses, Dr. J, Andrew Toney, Bobby Jones, and Mo' Cheeks running the Lakers off the floor to the tune of Irene Cara's "Flashdance (What A Feeling)." Awesome stuff. As we remember, the Lanier/Moncrief Bucks swept the Celtics that year in the East Semis - don't get me started on the merits of former Buck Terry Cummings or why Mo' Cheeks should be in the Hall of Fame - I'll save it for another day.

To quote Cam'ron on Funkmaster Flex's Mix Tape Volume 3, "Yeah, we went to OT, but now we need a TO." That timeout is for the returning Tim. I won't discredit your basketball acumen. You've displayed that knowledge in your posts and in the conversation we had on my show just a few weeks back. But you clearly have some kind of inner fear of Doc Rivers. I don't know when it started, exactly - perhaps when he was hired. But you seem to forget that the last time he was given a capable veteran team (2004-05), they won the Atlantic Division. Now, things did indeed go south for that club, including Antoine aging 15 years in a single 7 game playoff series, Mark Blount, Gary Payton becoming a shell of his former self, and the Pierce neck brace/head wrap/whatever it was incident. But Doc did very well with that team.

The next two years, the Celtics underachieved with a pile of young guys, some bad contracts, and Paul Pierce. Now, Ainge gives Doc some talented veterans, and they're winning again! It's not hard to understand. Doc Rivers isn't a good enough coach to turn Taco Bell into a Thanksgiving feast. But given the proper ingredients, his teams can win and even thrive. Of course there will be questions, and there will be screw-ups. But not 10 games worth! When you told me Doc would cost this team 10 games, I had no response. It was as if you'd jumped through the radio and knocked me unconscious with a chair shot. How could I respond when it was obvious Tim hated Doc Rivers even more than I hate Vince Carter? Or Reggie Miller? Or white guys who have no intrinsic value other than standing out by the three-point line? There's certain views you can't change in a sports fan. And there's no changing Tim's mind on "Glenn."

With this said, I'd like to make this my official challenge to Tim. I am going to stand up for Doc Rivers. I know the Celtics haven't played any real tough teams yet. I know they haven't gone on the road. More than anyone, I fret like a little old lady over the "role players" on this team and how I think they're basically a bunch of stiffs. But I won't let another head coach get his ass kicked in Boston, particularly when he's winning. Grady Little, this is for you pal.


Tim said...

Alright Fox, you're on! I'm just excited we are able to have this conversation, cause like I said, I really didn't think Glenn was capable of even this. I've already said way too much about Glenn, but still I don't understand how you can defend his first three years at the helm, I mean it's like defending the first three years of G.W.'s presidency. He blew it in the playoffs against Carlisle the first year, and was much worse the next two. Anyway, I eagerly await the results, except it's kind of weird because I hope you're right. Here's a good Simmons article from two years ago that sums up my frustration with Glenn pretty well -

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