I'm getting very excited. Training camp is almost here. Some teams have media day today. Celtics begin on Monday with their media day. And work to bring Banner 18 to the rafters begins in earnest on Tuesday. I was watching something on TNT the other night and in the corner there was a pop up with a Celtic on it proclaiming the NBA on TNT was fast approaching. It gave me a tingle up my back. I admit it, I am a total fanatic and live for Celtics basketball. It's great to finally see real Celtics news and not just the musings of bored sports writers.
The Scalabrine era is over in Boston. I have to say I am sorry to see him go. He may not have been the most skilled guy in green, but you have to admit he was a good soldier for the team. He sat on the bench when asked to, he drove teammates to the hospital when needed, he was always the first off the bench to high five teammates, he was always ready to play whatever position they needed him to. He was a good teammate and has high basketball IQ, even though sometimes he wasn't athletic or skilled enough for it to translate to the court. That is why Tom Thibodeau pushed hard to get him on his team in Chicago. A guy like Scal can only help in trying to implement a new system for the Bulls. The Bulls may be the worst team for him to go to, though. Can you picture how bad his red hair will clash with those red uniforms?
Another era ended this week as Golden State reported that Don Nelson is out as head coach of the Warriors. Nellie leaves the team as the winningest coach in the league. His 8th seeded team that beat out the 1st seeded Mavs a couple of years ago shows how exciting Nellieball can be. Nellie is a Celtics legend and maybe he will return to the Celtics in some capacity as many of the legendary Celtics have done. Or maybe he will just ride off into the sunset with his records and enjoy retirement. Whatever Nellie decides to do, I wish him luck and happiness. He has earned it.
Danny was talking yesterday at the Shamrock golf event and one of the things he said was that Kendrick Perkins is ahead of schedule in his rehab. That doesn't surprise me in the least. Perk has always given 120% hard work in his workouts and preparation for the season and I don't see rehab as being any different. He will be back this season and he will be better than ever when he does come back. And the good thing about it is that he will be fresh and ready for the playoffs. And, with the changes in the rules concerning technicals, it may be best that Perk doesn't play the whole season.
Herr Stern is at it again and has announced new guidelines for giving technicals. According to ESPN, here are the new guidelines:
Referees have been instructed to call a technical for:
• Players making aggressive gestures, such as air punches, anywhere on the court.
• Demonstrative disagreement, such as when a player incredulously raises his hands, or smacks his own arm to demonstrate how he was fouled.
• Running directly at an official to complain about a call.
• Excessive inquiries about a call, even in a civilized tone.
In addition, referees have been instructed to consider calling technicals on players who use body language to question or demonstrate displeasure, or say things like, "Come on!" They can also consider technicals for players who "take the long path to the official", walking across the court to make their case.
Gee, why don't they just hire robots to play the game if they want players with no emotions. Basketball is a game of emotion., especially when referees are as incompetent and skewed as we have seen in the past. Refs can make horrible calls like the one where Joey Crawford called a foul on Marcus Camby for his 4th foul in a playoff game and sent Nash (a 90% + foul shooter) to the line when Camby never came anywhere near Nash. (See video of this horrendous call here) That's just one example. Calls like this happened almost every game. Or refs can carry out their own agendas by calling 21 fouls on one team in the 4th quarter after calling fewer than that combined through the first 3 quarters. Or calling a technical for the look on a player's face, even when he says and does nothing else. Calls like that deserve to be challenged. It is just one more example of David Stern's dictatorial grasp on the league. I said it before the Tim Donaghy scandal and I'll say it again. Allowing refs carte blanche to do whatever they please with absolutely no rights for anyone to question or call them on it invites scandal. And it appears that Stern is closing ranks even more on his refs right to carry out their personal agendas and be incompetent.
Just 3 days now until Media day. Anyone else getting excited? I know that at least one Celtic is very excited. Chris Forsberg posted this quote from Tony Gaffney about the upcoming camp. Camp hasn't officially started and Tony is talking about how special the environment is in the Celtics' locker room. I can see the loss in the Finals last season and the way it happened being a very big motivation for this team. One goal and one very motivated and deep veteran team. I like our chances. Now, I hope that DTV carries the preseason games. I don't want to miss a minute of what promises to be a very special season.