May 18, 2008

Celtics' Pierce close to riding monkey off his back

Category: NBA General — Patrick Stumpf @ 8:55 pm

While this is probably the first (and last) time I will consecutively post on Boston teams, anyone watching the NBA playoffs can’t help but feel good for the Celtics’ Paul Pierce. Pierce, who was originally drafted 10th overall by Boston in 1998, has only seen three winning seasons with the team in this his tenth season, and after last season’s second worst output in franchise history (24-58), he was ready to jump ship. Peering at his career stats for the first time, the partial observer could venture to guess Beantown’s All-Star guard had won it all at least once in his illustrious career, based on how rare a scorer he is (23 points-per-game lifetime scoring average). But now that I’ve hinted that isn’t the case, we should all agree he’s long past due for his first. This past summer, GM Danny Ainge obviously took offense to that, because he no longer hesitated to pull the trigger. Realizing he needed to make a big splash in order to keep his loyal star happy, he acquired not one, but two fellow All-Stars, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. And to nobody’s surprise, not a minute after the big trade that sent KG east, the team that posted one of the worst records in the league just a year before, was favored to win it all. And thus far, they haven’t disappointed. They’ve churned out their best season since Larry Bird’s heyday in the ’80s (66-16), and after tonight’s Game 7 win over the Cavs in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, a game where Pierce scored 41 points, that elusive first ring is finally within his grasp. With just one series left until the Finals, a place Pierce has never been, you can bet he will be exerting himself just a tad more. If and when he hoists that trophy up high, it’ll be hard not to clap for this guy, who’s busted his butt for this long unrewarded.

February 7, 2008

Suns burn themselves in "Matrix" for "Diesel" swap

Category: NBA General — Patrick Stumpf @ 11:16 pm

I apologize for not posting in a few days, as I have been inscrutably busy, but I thought it would be a convenient time for me to vent on yesterday’s lopsided deal. I usually refrain from venting too often on the NBA because the game is so marred it’s ridiculous, but this one boils me over the edge. I had seen rumors on Tuesday night regarding this, and my thought process went something like…Amare and Marion or Amare and Shaq? Is this one even a question? How old is Shaq now? 35? And what else does he still bring to the table besides his porous free-throw shooting and his increasingly expanding gut? Not only does this move prohibit the Suns from maintaining their fun-to-watch “run and gun” style, but it clogs up the middle. Sure it’s always nice to have multiple bigs, but this doesn’t make any sense. The Suns say they needed another body when playing the Spurs and Duncan, well I’d say Amare and Boris Diaw are both dynamic and versatile enough to guard him. Shawn Marion was and will continue to be a valuable asset and integral part to any team’s playoff hopes. In addition to his silky smooth jay (disregard the unorthodox delivery), “the Matrix” could run the floor and finish on the other end for Steve Nash and Co.  Dwayne Wade is going to love this guy, and I applaud Miami’s management for stealing such a unique player for a washed-up one. It’s just an early observation, but I think the Suns, who’ve always had good intentions when dealing, suffered a major setback with this one.