I've always enjoyed watching Rasheed Wallace play. He's often killed us, one of only a dozen or so NBA players who has the complete game. Some of the others: Bryant, Duncan, Pierce, Garnett, Billups. These are guys who not only appear all over the stat sheet night after night, but have enough head-game to recognize what the team needs when they need it.
Though Rasheed isn't usually among in the league top ten in any category except 3-point FG percentage and technical fouls, he excels at every facet of the game, has a high basketball IQ, plays the team game and leads in the locker room.
I can't believe we picked up this guy. It's like a goddamned miracle.
The NBA has funny rules about free agency that evolved through the collective bargaining agreement between the NBA Player's Association and the league. Under the current rules, an unrestricted free agent like Wallace will get the same money no matter who they sign with, so it becomes a matter of situation, not compensation.
Along with his cool game and hot temper, Rasheed Wallace brings to Boston an amazing tattoo depicting himself, his wife Fatima and their three children as ancient Egyptian royalty
That the Celtics would go after 'Sheed was pretty much a forgone conclusion. The day free-agent season opened, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Doc Rivers, Danny Ainge and owner Wic Grousbec bee-lined it to the Motor City and went a-rappin' on the Wallace's door. I'm proud of how they did that... an all out blitz on the guy, and I wouldn't want to be the one to refuse Kevin Garnett.
Danny Ainge is riding a high and mighty horse. You never know about injuries, but barring any big loss to the disabled list, he leap-frogged the Celt's Eastern Division foes with this move. Shaq' in Cleveland? What will he do when Perkins, Garnett and Wallace are the floor at the same time. Boston, once again, has too many weapons.
Rasheed is James Posey, only taller. Like Posey he'll likely come off the bench as the sixth man and I can't help salivate thinking about Bill Walton in that role in the '86 championship year. Rasheed, with a similar range of skills, can have the same game changing impact as the legendary Redhead did back then.
Totally psyched. This signing is almost as good as getting Garnett, since it fills so many of the missing pieces.
Now let's hope they can resign Leon Powe and Big Baby.
I consider Paul Pierce the ultimate basketball warrior. Through heroic acts, driven on by sheer will, he somehow manages to raise his game to meet every challenge. It hasn't always been pretty or perfect--Paul's only fault is that he sometimes tries too much--but if I were choosing sides among the pros for just one game to take it all, Paul would be my first choice, hands down.
Tough to pass up LeBron, but last time I checked, LeBron James hadn't won squat.
I've watched Pierce his entire pro career, as lean rookie out of Kansas, through the train wreck of the Pitino era, the Antoine Walker years and finally, the marked improvement under Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge. For more than a decade, Paul's has upped his game every year. Not only his physicals skills and conditioning, but his mental game as well, both on and off the court.
He's so much craftier, more game savvy now, but Paul has always been a killer. He makes the plays the team needs when they need it. When he pulls the out dagger, his aim is as true as his name.
Paul Pierce is an advanced practitioner of Basuketo no Bushidō, the Roundball Art of War. His classic mano-a-mano with Lebron in last year's Eastern Final seventh game earns him the highest rank in Samurai Legend as... The Truth
This year, with Kevin Garnett among the fallen, it will take a epic string of Paul's heroics for the Celtics to repeat as NBA Champions. It will be hard... really hard, and against all odds, but I wouldn't count out The Truth just yet
While stashing our Manny Ramirez bobble-head doll away in the attic until spring, I came across a ticket-stub memory of my first Celtics game.
I remember it was in January. We were 11 then, the winter of '59.
My friends' Dad took us, an Ice Capades/Celtics double-bill, on a Sunday. The basketball game was supposed to be first, but there was a snowstorm that grounded all air traffic in the northeast and the team had to bus it up from New York, where the night prior they had played the Knicks.
The Garden folks decided to go ahead with the ice show and had to strip down the parquet basketball floor and then take the plywood and tarp cover off the ice. After the ice show, they then had to recover the rink and reconstruct the basketball court, which was an extra added attraction for kids our age, I remember.
While they were in the final stages of setting up the hoops, they announced the Celtics had arrived. The opponents that night were the Syracuse Nationals, the power in the NBA East before the Bill Russell era. I remember being impressed with Hal Greer, later elected to the Hall of Fame, draining jumpshot after jumpshot from the corner during the first half.
If the Celtics Big Three of Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce plan to raise another banner to the Garden rafters, they'll first have to regrow the missing bottom portion of their bodies.
The Celtics were down 24 points at the break -- disappointing, lethargic. But, as it was in those days, they came back strong in the second half and ended up winning the contest by 24. Basketball became my favorite sport* and I was hooked, even to the point of buying season tickets during the early to mid '70's. They're not kidding when they call the NBA players the greatest athletes in the world. Size, speed, agility... I remember awe at the sight of Dr. J. in full flight.
Today, the new Celtics begin the season amid an outbreak of optimism not seen around here since Bird soared and McHale hogged the ball.
Paul Pierce will lead them. Dat boy be wicked hungry.
* I love the Red Sox, but won't go out of my way to watch any other team play baseball. Basketball is different.