Perfect 10

01.31.09 10 years ago 44 Comments
Rajon Rondo (photo. Christian Kozowyck)

Once upon a time — like, two months ago — Celtics/Pistons would have been a no-brainer national TV must-see matchup. Now? Not so much. It’s not like the Pistons stink or anything; they’re still in very good position to snatch a top-four seed and home court in the playoffs, but from everything that’s happened post-Allen Iverson trade (and post-Michael Curry hire), it’s clear Boston is in another class. Last night the C’s went into The Palace and won their 10th in a row, leading wire-to-wire in a game that was close at times, but was never truly in doubt … For all the criticism being heaped upon Iverson and Rip Hamilton, both of them played pretty well. When A.I. (19 pts), Rip (14 pts, 5 asts) and Rodney Stuckey (19 pts) were on the court together, that’s when Detroit looked their best and made a run to cut Boston’s lead to three in the fourth quarter. All three were playing tough: One time Iverson trucked Rajon Rondo on his way to a baseline pull-up J; Rip dove on the floor to battle KG for a loose ball; and then Stuckey got the ball on the break once and went up with two hands looking to make a poster out of anybody who got in his way. Garnett (22 pts, 9 rebs) was the closest to him — and Stuckey knew it — but KG decided to stay on the ground … With five minutes left and the Pistons gaining ground, Kendrick Perkins gave everyone yet another reason to hate the Celtics. He basically grabbed Jason Maxiell in a headlock and threw him to the ground, nearly causing a brawl after KG and Rasheed got involved. Perk was slapped with a flagrant-2 and ejected and will most likely be suspended. So of course we have to ask: If you put Perkins and Maxiell in a room, who’s walking out? … E-mail from The Fantasy Doctor: “Pretty sure Eddie House hasn’t missed a shot in two weeks.” This was right around the time House put the finishing touches on a 1-for-4 evening … Also fighting with the Pistons for that precious fourth seed (’cause you know Boston, Cleveland and Orlando are taking the top three) are the Heat and Hawks. Last night Miami looked terrible in getting waxed by the Pacers; Udonis Haslem got ejected in the first quarter after arguing a call and then talking extra sh*t to the ref, and after that, D-Wade (24 pts) was the only guy who seemed interested in winning the game. Indiana was pretty much taking target practice, with Troy Murphy (5 threes) and Mike Dunleavy Jr. (4 threes) getting wide-open shots with all the time in the world to square up and let ’em fly. Dunleavy scored 23 in the first half and finished with 30 points. He even threw in a tip dunk … Danny Granger (19 pts) played after missing Indy’s last game with a sore knee, but didn’t look 100% at all. Pacers announcer Quinn Buckner guessed that Granger was only playing because he felt he had to after getting picked for the All-Star team (Larry Bird and Granger’s dad presented him with his All-Star jersey in a pre-game ceremony). Honestly, though, we think Granger played just because he assumed the Pacers couldn’t beat D-Wade without him … The Hawks finally got a win over the Nets, who have owned them this season. In the first two meetings, Vince Carter averaged 27.5 points in a pair of NJ wins, and the third game saw VC drop that buzzer-beating 30-footer. Last night Vince was held to 18 points while Joe Johnson went to work, scoring 29 in a blowout …

LeBron (photo. Mannion)

Big Z came back for the Cavs, and they actually needed him to knock off the feisty Clippers and remain unbeaten at home. The Cavs were up 18-2 at one point, but L.A. withstood the early barrage — after LeBron picked up his second foul and had to sit — and made it a game, bringing it to a tie by halftime. LeBron came back in the second half and Cleveland got its act together defensively, pulling away and winning comfortably. Ilgauskas put up 20 points and 11 boards (and maybe jumped three times the entire game), and LeBron ended up with 25, seven boards and six dimes … Mike Brown is going to coach the East All-Stars. We can’t wait for that open-to-the-media practice in Phoenix to see if he actually has more than two plays in his playbook … Was anyone else uncomfortable with the flirting going on between Stephen Jackson and Cheryl Miller when S-Jack was interviewed on “NBA Gametime?” A little too much “baby” and “big daddy” being thrown around there. And did S-Jack say that Baron Davis and Jamal Crawford both “make love to pressure”? We’re praying he really said, “They love the pressure” and those new teeth are just getting in the way … Captain Jack was on the show because the Warriors upset the Hornets on the road in a surprisingly low-scoring game. Going into the fourth quarter, neither team had even hit 70 points — by that time we assumed they’d both be in triple-digits — and for the game GS held the Hornets below 90, actually getting some key defensive stops when they had to … Some big stat lines from Friday’s schedule: Antawn Jamison went for 25 points and 15 boards in a loss to Philly; Kobe scored 30, Andrew Bynum had 27 and 15 boards, and Al Jefferson put up 34 points and 13 rebounds in L.A.’s win over the Wolves; Deron Williams had 24 points, 12 assists and four steals in a win over OKC, while Kevin Durant had 29 points and 10 boards in the loss; and Carmelo scored 19 points in a win over Charlotte, his first game back from that broken hand … Jose Calderon missed. Having made 87 straight free throws and just a few to go before breaking Michael Williams‘ NBA record of 93 straight, Calderon bricked one in Toronto’s loss to Milwaukee. Said Cheryl Miller: “[He had] a lot of fabric in the caboose.” In other words, Calderon was a bit tight, if you get the drift … If Vince Carter is the #1 player who routinely kills Toronto, and let’s say Dwight Howard is #2, wouldn’t Charlie Villaneuva be #3? He dropped 26 points and 13 rebounds last night and always seems to go off on the team that traded him … Now that Andrew Bogut is back healthy, Charlie V is playing out of his mind lately, the PG tandem of Ramon Sessions and Luke Ridnour is working out, and Richard Jefferson is playing OK, maybe the Bucks won’t be that bad without Michael Redd. Maybe they can hang on to that last playoff seed (and earn the right to get hammered in the first round). Most teams will take Milwaukee lightly when they come up on the schedule, so they’ve got that going for them … Finally, the Super Bowl is tomorrow: Who do ya got? … We’re out like Calderon’s streak …

Around The Web