The Dream Shake - a Houston Rockets blog: Conversing with the Enemy: CelticsBlog

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Conversing with the Enemy: CelticsBlog

Rockets host the Boston Celtics tonight. I really hope the Celtics are hungover after last night's St. Patty's Day victory over the Spurs. Of course, in anticipation of today's game - Lee and I had a nice Q&A back and forth with the guys over at CelticsBlog. We posed a handful of questions... their answers are below. (Our answers to their questions can be found here.)

With that... take it away, Tom!


1. Given that a year ago the Celtics were openly tanking for the worst record in the league (and a shot at Oden/Durant) but this year are now competing for the best record in the NBA... how has the popular opinion about Doc Rivers changed? And how much of a badass is Kevin Garnett? (is Garnett in the same level of popularity as Tom Brady or David Ortiz?)

follow-up: Doc Rivers is still your head coach? Really?

Openly tanking...I'm offended. Answering in order, people really don't talk about Doc as much any more. Last year it was Doc this or Doc that, but this year there have really only been a few instances where Nurse, Doc's bad coach alter-ego, came out in full force and had a meaningful impact on a game. Unfortunately, the most recent instance of this was Friday night when Doc bizarrely kept Rondo and Perkins on the bench well into the fourth quarter, when it appeared to most Celtics fans that Eddie House and Big Baby just weren't getting it done against Utah. Kevin Garnett is an off-the-charts badass. He has an ability to motivate that is unreal. Players, coaches, staff and especially the fans have all raised their intensity levels this year due to KG. (See here for motivation: Intense KG) As a non-resident of Boston, I had to go out for help on your next question ranking popularity of Boston sports stars. Donoghus, one of our forums moderators had this to say: " The average Boston sports fan loves KG but I don't see him at the same level as a Brady or Ortiz. Those two are on such a high pedestal that I feel it'll take a title and clutch play by KG in the playoffs to even breath the same air as those two right now. However, his stock has risen considerably since the beginning of the year. People are taking a lot more notice of KG now."And lastly, yes Doc is still our head coach. To be fair to Danny Ainge, it would have been very hard to fire Doc after last year with what he was given and the injuries. Anyway, let's not talk about this anymore.

2. On a scale of 1-to-10, how much does Danny Ainge want to sign himself to a veteran's minimum contract and un-retire so that he can play with KG, Pierce and Ray Allen? (I say a solid "7")

If I knew of a way to do it, I'd just send you pic directly, but see image 8 from this gallery for your answer. Mr. Ainge Unfortunately, even in jeans and dress shoes Danny could probably still take Scal. But yeah, 1986/87 Danny Ainge would be fantastic on this team.

3. How do you see the Eastern Conference playoffs playing out?

I think its really all about the top four seeds. Toronto could make things interesting versus the Cavs, but I can't imagine that powers that be would let the playoffs go without LBJ making it out of the first round. The national NBA media seems to forget that the Magic are actually pretty good, and will be a tough out in the 2nd round. All that being said, I think we're destined for a Celtics / Pistons Eastern Conference Finals, which will be a war. I think the Celtics match up well, particularly Big Baby Davis who has destroyed the Pistons this year (I love BBD). In the end, I'm going with the obvious and picking the Celts to make it to the Finals.

4. Does the green jersey make Sam Cassell look more or less like E.T.?

Sam is the popular choice for E.T. look-a-likes, but don't sleep on Rajon. Especially when you see how freakishly long his fingers are. Sam I Am. Is this a good thing that both of the Celtics point guards look like an alien. I say yes. Who doesn't love E.T.? He makes inter-galactic communication devices out of speak and spells and can make your bike fly. In my book, that's awesome, and those are intangibles that don't show up in a box score. Hopefully those qualities will rub off on Sammy and Rondo.

5. With the Red Sox recently winning a championship and the Patriots finishing 18-1, how much does the city care about the Celtics right now? Are they a solid 1, 2 or 3 in the pecking order? My gut says Red Sox 1, Celtics 2 and Pats 3, but I'm not there so I have no real insight (I assume the Revolution are not even on the same radar).

Well if I were to answer this for you my answer would be 1. Celtics, 2. Giants, 3. Mets, so back to Donoghus to finish this up. As amazing as it sounds, I still get the sense that this team is flying under the radar with a bunch of people around here. You listen to WEEI or read the two major papers and a lot of the talk is still on the Pats offseason or Red Sox spring training. Mirabelli's release was getting a lot of press the other day. The guy's a backup catcher. I'm not sure if people are taking a "wait and see" approach with this team until they reach the playoffs or what but the city is NOT Celtic crazy right now. Best comparison I can make right now is that its a lot like the 2001 Patriots where people were happy they were winning during the season but weren't convinced that it was going to result in anything as dramatic as winning the title. Almost as if its a "let's see where this ride takes us, we're not quite sure what we have here" mentality. The pecking order is still 1) Red Sox 2) Patriots and 3) Celtics. Last year, fans pretty much had the C's and Bruins at the same level however the attendance illustrated that the C's were the more popular brand. This season, the Celtics have clearly pulled down the 3 spot and I happen to think that once the playoffs roll around, you'll see real excitement and attention on this team. Even if they win a title, I think it'd be hard to crack Top 2 just due to the multiple titles that the Sox & Pats have won this decade and the C's would still be viewed as the up and comer. It would take as stable and long term run of success along with some stumbles by the Sox/Pats for the Celtics to jump either of them.

Thanks again for the Q&A guys!
Oh, and Go Rockets!

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