Friends are Disappointing
Read Shoals' post below.
His ultimately nihilistic characterization of Cavs/Celtics almost precludes me from writing anything on the matter. This is in addition to the fact that I realize I am taking the Celtics extremely personally this year, for reasons I'm not sure are really that interesting. I mean, one obvious issue is the inner turmoil that any Minnesota sports fan feels over watching Garnett climb the mountain. There's plenty of time to discuss this lingering concern, but let me speak to the broader, non-Minnesotan viewing public for a second: Did the Celtics make formerly likeable players permissible to hate on?
Rondo and Perkins went from Destiny's children to looking like spoiled braggarts.
P.J. Brown, STILL my favorite player and probably the most stand-up guy in the league, looks like half a ring-chaser. He could have signed with the Hornets and brought the circle of life to New Orleans.
Sam Cassell has gone from the guy who gave up millions dollars left on his contract with the Clips to get one more ring, to playoff ballhog.
Ray Allen and his Mesozoic period ankles are struggling. He scored four points yesterday and can't guard anybody. Simmons and other Boston diehards have essentially bailed on him. Whereas on the Sonics or Bucks, he was Obama with a jumpshot, on Boston he has become the object of scorn and would have taken a heaping unend of blame had the Celtics lost this series. The guy who will hit any free throw you need at any time, the guy who had more impact than Paul Pierce, Doc Rivers, Kevin McHale, or phony executive of the year Danny Ainge, in getting KG to Boston, is now a scapegoat. Can you imagine the wheelbarrows of manure dumped on Ray-Ray had the Celtics not won last night?
And of course, there's also KG. On the Timberwolves, he was a beating heart who bled tears. Just as often called out for being the Anti-Clutch as he was pitied for his playoff failures, because of how much he loves to win, and Kevin McHale, and lack of a supporting cast, lack of a good coach, Latrell Sprewell, Sam Cassell, the Joe Smith deal, and on and on and on. In New England, there is nowhere to hide from the Eastern Sports Programming Network, the tradition-rich dynasty that follows the Celtics like a ghost, and the maj0r-market-ness of Boston as a sports town, and that anti-clutch stuff is getting bigger pub than anything before. All of KG's old faults (shies away from contact, not enough free throws, fades at the end of games, takes too many jumpers, passes too much, too wound up under pressure) are coming to light, and in the worst way.
But let's take one more second to figure out what "clutch" even means.
I wish someone would define the goddamn term before tossing it around in a frivolous manner similar to "THE DOMINIQUE-BIRD GAME" (wait, is Joe Johnson Dominique, or is it LeBron, or is it Josh Childress?) and "THE BIG THREE" and god save us if it's Boston/Lakers in the finals (BASKETBALL IS NOT THE 1980s). As far as "definitively clutch," the players that come to mind are Robert Horry, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Reggie Miller. Players on the cusp are: Kobe Bryant, Sam Cassell, and Chauncey Billups. Bibby would have made the top-of-the-dome list if not for this year. But after that, the term "clutch" gets tossed around extremely carelessly, with players then being forced into the ridiculousness redefining their legacy from game-to-game (see, LeBron in game 1 vs. game 7).
Remember what happened before Derek Fisher hit his famous 0.4 second shot?
Look, I think that the shot by Duncan is probably one of the top 5 plays I've seen in my lifetime, with Fisher as number 1. Now if Fisher MISSES his shot, Duncan probably becomes known as the most clutch player of all time (especially when adding to his resume his game 1 performance against Phoenix this year). But this is despite the fact that Duncan HAS shown some post-season wobbliness in recent postseasons (Game 7 vs. the Pistons in the 06 finals, when he shot a terrible percentage and everyone gave him credit even though Manu and TP won the whole damn series for them), not to mention the fact his clunkers in the early games vs. the Hornets this series. Tonight is going to define nothing for Duncan in reality, yet whatever his performance is will--at least for the next two weeks--significantly impact his legacy.
Ok, so this has been one long ramble, when I've meant to talk about KG. Garnett hits two late short jumpers, but also clanks two potential game-CLINCHERS and PJ Brown eternally saves Garnett's entire career yesterday. Is KG un-clutch? Is he clutch because of what he did vs. the Kings in 2004. The answer is neither, and I'm sick of having to listen to proclamations about legacy, when history has not yet fully had its say.