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Pre-Game 5 Links: Optimism From a Curse-Monger, I Like Those Odds, Great Elimination Games

 

• You surely know that no NBA team has ever rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-seven series, but even though Boston is now up “just” 3-1, history says the C’s remain a cinch to clinch. Here’s John Hollinger at ESPN.com:

Cleveland and Boston are up 3-1 with home-court advantage, a situation in which teams are 129-2 historically for a 98.5 percent success rate.

As Homer Simpson once said: I like those odds! *

*Actually, Homer said this at least twice, but this is the funnier one.

• Well I’ll be: Noted Boston pessimist/fatalist/curse-monger Dan Shaughnessy predicts the C’s will not only beat Miami but get through the Cavs in the conference semis. Heres Shaughnessy at CNNSI:

But the old Celtics match up well with the All-Star Cavaliers. The Celts don’t fear the Cavs. And deep down, the Cavaliers know the Celtics can beat them.

And:

As much as it hurts to say this, the mercurial ‘Sheed might be the difference against the Cavs. He’s certainly rested. Wallace started the season out of shape and was content to launch threes throughout the regular season. He was the Secretary of Energy Conservation. He’s been claiming he’s a big-game playoff guy. We haven’t seen much of ‘Sheed during the Miami series, but the Heat have been so bad, it’s hard to notice any Celtics’ shortcomings. Maybe ‘Sheed will finally shine at the Q.

If you’re pinning your upset hopes on Sheed…

• Finally, the stat geniuses at Basketball-Reference rank the best elimination game performances in the NBA since 1991 using BR’s Win Shares statistic. And guess which elimination performance ranks as the single best once since 1991? 

That would be Paul Pierce’s masterpiece in Game 5 of Boston’s first-round series against the 76ers in 2002—the super-exciting season in which a pretty mediocre Boston team came within two wins of the NBA Finals. 

Pierce’s line in that game:

46 points, 16-of-25 shooting, 8-of-10 from three-point range, 6  assists, 4 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block and a grand total of ZERO turnovers.

You can’t play better, and you can see why this game tops the list, even above Pierce’s Game 7 duel with LeBron James in ’08. (That game also makes the list, as does the 20-11-6 Pierce put up in Game 6 against the Pacers in 2005). 

Wade’s performance on Sunday makes the list. Charles Barkley appears four times, and Dirk Nowitzki leads everyone with eight appearances. Michael Jordan appears just once (1992, Game 7 against the Knicks), mostly because his teams never faced elimination. 

And guess what? Antoine Walker makes an appearance! For Boston! And guess what else? 

He makes it for that same 2002 Game 5 against Philly for which Pierce tops the list! 

‘Toine’s line: 

26-9 boards-6 dimes on 11-of-22 shooting (4-of-9 from deep). ‘Toine also coughed the ball up just once, which was very un-’Toine like. 

There are a few other instances in which two teammates appear on the list for the same game, including:: Leandro Barbosa and Boris Diaw for the Suns in Game 7 of their first-round series against the Lakers in 2006; Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton for the Pistons in Game 6 in the 2005 Eastern Conference Finals against Miami; Josh Howard and Jason Terry for the Mavs in Game 7 of their 2005 first-rounder against Houston. 

In any case, 2002 was a fun year for Boston fans. Let’s hope 2010 is, too.

  • Cptn Bubbles

    I was in shock to see Ray Ray miss not 1, not 2, but 3 ft’s in a row! And KG missed 2! And Rondo missed that point blank, kindergarten layup! They all had 1 thing in common, the rim. It had to be the rim, right? They all choked at the end. Thinking way too much instead of just playing/not treating it like a regular game.

    But I want to harp on something else. Yes, it’s the DEFENSE. I’ve looked back over the Cs season, & one thing is clear. The Cs are fantastico y magnifico when they put the majority of their energy & effort on DEFENSE. I was looking back at the Cs actual footprint on the season, & I saw 1 team morph into 3. The Good. The Bad. And The What Happened to My Beloved C’s, who are these Ugly Ugly impostor Cs?

    We all probably watch for different things in games, but when I watch the Cs, it’s all about how many points the other team has scored. If the other team is struggling to break 90 points then I have great confidence & a big smile on my face, but as other team’s points creep up from 89 to 90 to 91 to 92 to 93 to 94 to 95, I start to get a sick feeling. The team heart monitor would be in V. Tach. If it continues to 96 to 97 to 98 to 99 & breaks the 100 barrier the team heart monitor would now be in V. Fib. & I feel it is time to ask God for divine intervention.

    The GOOD, nay, the EXTRA GOODEST Cs….. are a whopping

    ****23-2*****

    when they hold the enemy below 90 points. This is our mostest favoritest C team which we love dearly, even more than Miranda Kerr, Eva Mendes, Cheryl Cole, Jessica Alba, Alessandra Ambrosio, Kate Beckinsale, Emmanuelle Chriqui , Monday Night Football, Chicken Wings, Dvrs, Waterfalls, Elmo, Sunsets, Funnel Cakes, Brown Paper Packages tied up with Strings, & Wild Geese that fly with the Moon on their Wings. You recognize this team by their nasty disposition & energy ON DEFENSE. They contest everything & treat every loose (50/50) ball as if it were the last vial of antidote to cure their own child’s illness. They make you take long 2s & then pounce on the rebound. They want to frustrate whatever it is that you are trying to do. You want to go right? No, you’re gonna be going left. Ball pressure is excruciating & they are thinking 1-2 steps ahead of the actual game. The intensity alone scares some teams into submission. We all likey likey this Cs team. It makes us jump up & down, pump our fists in the air & scream thoughtful things like “YES!” “YES!”

    The Bad or the Not so Good. Then, we have the semi intense, semi casual Cs. They allow the enemy to score between 91-99 points. In this case, the Cs manage to eke out 12 more wins, but now they go from 2 losses to ***11*** more losses. Verdict, allow the other team to score 91-99 points and the Cs have basically a 50/50 chance of winning (13-12 record).

    The Ugly. Then, we have the, where is the defense???? Cs. Has anyone seen our defense? It was here a game or 2 ago….I know I had it in the Garden & then I turned around & hmmmm….it’s gotta be here…. somewhere…. These Bizarro Cs (where everything is backwards) want to put all their energy into the offensive end & rest on the defensive end. Worse! If they are not doing well offensively they want to argue with the refs & walk back on D & stand around on D & only use their hands on D & subsequently foul a lot & let everyone into the paint & not box out or go after rebounds or loose balls & pout & mope & moan & act like their bad play is not their fault. They are the ugly, lazy, stinky Cs. They think if they score over 100 points that nothing else matters. They allow the enemy to score 100+ points. Mistake! 100+ is the diabolically wicked triple digit barrier of DOOM……. Argh!….. Ugh! 14 wins & ***18*** losses. Verdict, the scale tips to the dark side when we give up 100 or more points. We hatey hatey.

    So yes, DOC WAS RIGHT when he said IT IS ALL ABOUT THE DEFENSE, YOU PUDDINHEADS! Well, it might have been ‘dunderheads’, but the quote is pretty close. According to Aesop, the moral of this story is to not trust foxes, crows, or otters. No, that’s not it. The ant is good. No….. Oh yeah, Aesop says DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS and you are a Poophead if you don’t play your hardest on the defensive end. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Newton, & Einstein all said that, quantum mechanically speaking, the Cs are assassins if they keep the enemy below 90 points. Please join me all you good looking, smart, distinguished, honorable, humorous, urbane, classy, good smelling, highly successful, charismatic, & heroic C fans in praying & exhorting our DEFENSE to hold everybody below 90 or at least 95 from hence forward. We really are a great team with the ability to win it all if our DEFENSE COMES 1ST, if we actually go a step beyond that….if we love & enjoy our defense (including rebounding) most of all then we can add to that 23-2 record & take more teams into our less than 90 points allowed house of pain. Remember friends to faithfully scream DEFENSE at the tv screen as much as possible.

  • Perry

    @Zach

    Your research speaks to the issue I raised.

    Okay, Pierce has a history of coming through when all the chips are on the line. But can he go mano a mano with LBJ at this stage of his career? I doubt it.

    These days Pierce is more of an efficient scorer who is capable of scoring in bunches or hitting that buzzer beater, game winning shot. The same can be said about Ray and Rondo. However, all three are nowhere near LBJ. The man specializes in high stakes drama, and that is Cleveland’s biggest advantage. But then again Wilt and Kareem were pretty dramatic offensive juggernauts in their time and the Celtic predecessors found a way around them…well most of the time.

    But again…if Wade can win one by himself, what about Lebron? Can Pierce match his output? He couldn’t match Wade’s firepower on Sunday. So it’s going to have to be a true team collaboration because individually they cannot measure up registering successive 30+ nights.

    So if we’re already in pre amble mode, let me make an assessment.

    Based on match ups I give the Celtics more than a punchers’ chance. I like the fact that Mike Brown is sticking with the lumbering line up. I like our chances with Perk and Sheed playing the 5. I think Kevin is more than capable of sticking with a 12 year veteran, and if Davis can match Varejao’s energy this will be a series.

    Finally, you don’t have to come from the perspective of pinning hopes on Sheed. Without question Shaughnessy went overboard on Sheed’s contribution putting the Celts over the top, but the Celts will need him to play solid if they plan on winning a title. Let’s face it. That’s why he brought here. We’ll soon find out if he was worth it.

    @Cptn Bubbles

    I’ve said all along this team won’t win consistently if they believe they can out score an opponent. Certainly it bodes well for them if the possession pace falls in the high 80′s or low 90′s. But the Celt’s biggest problems on defense are two fold. They lose focus if their shots aren’t falling. They are a weak rebounding team. Aside from defense, the biggest issues to pay attention to are limiting turnovers and holding Cleveland to one shot.

  • Ray Leighton

    I love a good rant. Even better when it’s not me doing the ranting….. Cptn Bubbles, that was awesome. I particularly liked the list of what you liked the Good Celtics better than…. Oddly, I don’t feel the need to comment any further or cite stats, which in itself is unusual….

  • http://www.celticshub.com Zach Lowe

    Holy crap, Captain Bubbles in playoff form!

  • Jay P

    Ahhhhhh, Wall of Text! Run away!

  • http://celticshub.com Stephen

    The C’s must close this out tonight!!! We all know Cleveland is going to run Chicago out of the building.Our bigs are going to need the rest so we can kick Varejo’s flopping ass all around the court.

  • http://www.hotmail.com Josh

    Captn Bubbles put together a masterpiece! Well said!

  • http://www.hotmail.com Josh

    Speaking of masterpieces, wait till you all see Rondo’s stat line tonite. Mark my words, its gonna be sexy.

  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inayatel Pakistan VoIP

    Unquestionably believe that which you said

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