Today, Jeff from Celtics Blog has been given this space, and I have been granted a little time over at his site.
Hello Lakers fans! Kurt was kind enough to lend me a little space on this blog to discuss the Celtics and I am doing the same for him on CelticsBlog.com. To be clear, this absolutely not intended to be a trash talking article. Far from it. Kurt is one of my favorite bloggers in the business and I respect the Lakers and fans like you a great deal. Hey, if Larry and Magic can be best of friends, then maybe we all can coexist harmoniously, right?
Anyway, Kurt and I thought it would be a fun idea to address the opposing team’s fanbase for a day. So here are some things that I wanted you to know about the Celtics and in particular Celtics fans.
Bill Simmons doesn’t always speak for all of us. Let’s get this out of the way up front. I think Simmons is a fantastic writer. He’s gotten on a lot of people’s nerves lately (especially with this whole reverse-jinx thing). Still, a lot of us in Boston still find Simmons to be clever and he’s always had a knack for expressing the emotions of being a fan (especially a Boston fan). His has a gift of putting into words exactly how it feels when we get stomach-punched (Len Bias) or when we are on top of the world (2004 Red Sox). With that said, he doesn’t always speak for a nation of Celtics fans.
He does know his basketball, but that doesn’t mean we always agree with him. For instance, not everyone is convinced that Doc Rivers is responsible for everything wrong with sports, clubbing baby seals, and the rising cost of crude oil. Some of us actually give Doc credit for taking a diverse set of alpha-dogs, getting them to buy into the team concept, and guiding the team to 66 wins and a Finals berth in their first year playing with each other. If I had to put a number on it, I’d say 50% of Celtics fans probably do think the way Simmons does about Doc. The other 50% is cautiously optimistic that he’s good enough to guide a potentially great team to the title. Nobody will confuse him with Red or even Phil, but we’re hoping he’s something like another KC Jones.
We are head over heels for Rajon Rondo (and to a lesser extent Kendrick Perkins). It is hard to put a finger on exactly what makes Rajon so popular, but I think it has something to do with the fact that we haven’t had a young, dynamic playmaking point guard in a long, long time. The best points we’ve had since DJ left have been an old Kenny Anderson and an older Gary Payton. Rondo’s a revelation with his quickness, penetration, distribution, and defense. But most importantly, the offense simply runs 100% smoother when he’s in the game than when he’s not.
I know you’ve all heard about his sub-par jumpshot. You must be salivating at the idea of leaving him open outside to double down on one of the big three. Sometimes that works, but not as much as you might think. First of all, he’s getting better and better at taking and making those wide open mid-range jumpers. Secondly, if you give him room to roam, he’ll still blow by most defenders and force you to react to him. There will be nights (like game 5 of the ECF) when he’s shooting very poorly and making the kinds of mistakes that second year point guards make. But then you’ll look up at the box score and he’s still got 13 assists, 4 steals, and 6 rebounds. The kid is just a joy to watch.
We are also big fans of Kendrick Perkins. You probably won’t like him. He is very emotional and he celebrates big moments like a linebacker that just got a sack. You might find yourself wondering why a guy that averages 6.9 points a game would ever open his mouth. But from where we sit, he’s earned his stripes with the all-out effort he gives on the court.
He’s not much of a scoring threat, but he’s been known to drop 18 points on an unsuspecting opponent from time to time. Where he’s really valuable is on defense and on the boards. He’ll blitz the pick and roll at the top of the key and sprint (not easy with a 280 lb. frame) back to the baseline to pick up his defensive rotation and box out. Let’s put it this way, Celtics fans (like our hero Tommy Heinsohn) love hustle plays and hard working players. That is Kendrick’s whole game and we love him for it.
We are not “front runners,” we’re just bi-polar. Some people will try to tell you that we are “front runners.” That might just be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. If Celtics fans can be accused of anything it is for caring a bit too much. On any given day, our fans are either over the moon in love with this team or tearing our hair out in frustration. That’s just the way we’re hard wired.
Take CelticsBlog for example. Last year the forums were full of people with 100 different theories about why we were so bad and everyone had a different plan to make the team better. This year, with a drastically better team, the amount of activity on the forums actually dropped a bit during the regular season. Why? Fewer things to complain about! Any team is going to pick up your standard pink hat fans when the team is doing well, including your Lakers. However, as a general rule Celtics fans are amongst the most diehard there is.
I admit, we’re pretty self absorbed. I mean, this whole post is about us isn’t it? I blame the East coast biased media. For my part, I did my part to help fans avoid the “Boston fan” stereotypes.
Some more quick hits:
• We respect Kobe’s game, but will never admire him like we do other team’s stars.
• We absolutely love Tommy.
• We like Big Baby, but right now we prefer Leon Powe off the bench.
• “Beat LA!” started out as an encouragement to the 76ers.
• Scalabrine is as much of a joke to us as he is to you.
• The 1986 team would have destroyed the Lakers, I’m still personally bitter about that.
• We love our history but we’re trying not to live in the past or become like Yankee fans.
• We are officially done with the Sam Cassell experiment. Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!
• If you see a guy from the 70’s dancing in a “Gino” shirt, you’ve already lost.
• We really don’t want to see Phil Jackson pass Red.
Feel free to pepper me with questions about the Celtics or offer your own comments on what I wrote. I’ll answer the best I can. Thanks for your time.