Random Thoughts as Christmas Nears

First, I want to wish Celtics fans everywhere a very Merry Christmas!  I hope each and every one has a wonderful day with family and gets lots of great Celtics gear.   I want a win in Orlando for Christmas and hopefully my Celtics will give it to me.

Dwight Howard has turned into a very dirty player.  He swings those elbows with no regard to who he hits with them.  We all remember the concussion he gave Big Baby in the playoffs last season.  I was watching the Orlando game vs the Mavs and Howard swung his elbow and caught Chandler in the head. Of course, no foul was called.  If the refs would start calling him for swinging his elbows (and he does it just about every game), that would stop.  It should be a technical for every time he catches someone with the elbow when he swings them.   Just saying.

Speaking of technicals,  here is a quick run down of who's got how many.  The refs have toned it down since the pre-season when they called techs on guys for raising their eyebrows and that is good. The Celtics for once aren't at the top of the list.  Dwight Howard and Amar'e Stoudamire lead the league with 8 techs apiece.  Right behind them are Richard Hamilton and Stephen Jackson with 7 each.  Carmelo Anthony holds down 3rd place with 6.   Next, Chauncey Billups and Joakim Noah have 5 each.

The Celtics have actually been doing pretty good keeping their tempers aside from the last game when the refs were so bad that KG and Pierce could no longer hold it in.  KG leads the Celtics with 4 technicals.  Paul Pierce is in second place with 3 and Big Baby and Nate both have 2 each.  Shaq comes in with 1.  Both Big Baby and Shaq have had technicals downgraded to just a regular foul after the fact.    Stan Van Gundy leads all coaches with 5 technicals and Doc has gotten 2 T's called on him. Players are suspended for a game if they receive a 17th tech on the year.

Flagrant fouls lead to a suspension quicker than technicals.  Players are allowed 5 points before they are suspended and they get 1 point for a flagrant 1 and 2 points for a flagrant 2.  Hilton Armstrong (Wizards), Elton Brand (Sixers) and Ryan Hollins (Cavs) all have 3 points already. For the Celtics, Shaq has 2 points for 2 flagrant 1's and Nate has 1 point for one flagrant 1.

The refs in the Sixers game were absolutely terrible.  The worst I've seen all season so far. The worst call of the game had to be that one where Pierce was standing still and bent over under the basket and Battie climbed right on his back and they called Pierce for the foul.   The Celtics won, but it never should have been near as close if the refs had called it evenly.  I've watched quite a few games this season other than the Celtics and have seen refs very obviously favoring one team over the other in a lot of the games.  David Stern really needs to go.  He may not be orchestrating it but he is allowing it to go on.    He can talk about respect for the league all he wants but fans and players can't have respect for a league where officiating like we saw in the Celtics last game and in a lot of others is allowed to continue.

I was soooo excited to see Perk practicing this week.  I just love this guy.  I know that if anyone can come back quicker than expected, it would be Perk.  He works so hard.  I can't wait until he can play again.  But, I hope he is smart and doesn't try to come back too soon.   We need him for the playoffs and coming back in February will be plenty of time to get back into the swing of things for the post season.   I'm still hoping that Danny does the right thing and makes Perk an offer.  He will be very sorry if he doesn't. 

Here we sit at 23-4 going into the Christmas Day game vs the Magic.   The Celtics had the same record around Christmas last season also.   But, after beating the Magic on Christmas last season without Paul Pierce, the Celtics went on a slide and went 13-16 in their next 29 games.  This team is different.  They have the same swagger we saw in 2008 and we didn't see that attitude in last season's team until the playoffs.  Not surprisingly, the Celtics swagger and KG's swagger both returned at the same time.

This team is also very deep.   They are 23-4 and have a 14 game win streak going while missing 81 man games to injury.  Perk has missed all 24 games, Shaq has missed 9 games, JO has missed 19 games, Delonte has missed 22 games and Rondo has missed 7 games.   As players have gone down, other players stepped up to fill in until their return.  Last season, they would have lost games like the one against the Sixers where they were frustrated from playing 5 on 8 all game.  But this year, they somehow find way to grit out wins in the end.   I don't expect any let downs this season.  We will be getting players back and healthy by the All Star Game and then look out!!

Shaq's new thing is 1825.  That was the year that John Quincy Adams was inaugurated.  But to Shaq it has another meaning as well.  18 championships for the Celtics, 2 championships for his teammates, and 5 for the Big Shamrock himself.  Sounds good to me!  I leave you with Nate Robinson playing Santa Claus on the streets of Boston.  Good stuff!!