THE GAME: Cavs vs Celtics
It took the Celtics - the #1 seed in the East, mind you - six games (and an injury to Rajon Rondo) to defeat the #8 seed Bulls.
It took them the full seven games to defeat the #4 seed Wizards.
And now they're facing the Cavs in the Eastern Conference Finals. I imagine somebody outside of New England is picking the Celtics to beat the Cavs, but I'm not aware of it. I've been watching the NBA as long as I can remember, and I can't recall a #1 seed ever being more of an underdog. It's probably never happened.
But, as they say, that's why they play the games.
But, as they say, that's why they play the games.
- If you love food like I love food, it's a wonderful time to be alive. You can buy battered Twinkies ready to be deep-fried. The limited-edition White Chocolate M&Ms were so popular that they're becoming a permanent item. Only a few blocks from me is a hole-in-the-wall taco joint that sells magnificent fish tacos for 99 cents each every Wednesday and Sunday. And now, you can buy potato chips that taste like fish & chips.
- (BTW, I'm not joking about that taco place. Here's my lunch the last time I went there: two tacos and free chips & salsa and roasted peppers. $2.18 total.)
- I got this bag of chips at Cost Plus. They also had the flavors "salt & vinegar" and "full English breakfast." The former might be worth trying; the latter, not so much.
- 18 months ago, I was in southeastern Washington and noticed billboards for a deli. I stopped in, hoping I could get a turkey sandwich and a Coke. I could, but the place also sold hundreds of different condiments. Literally. I bought several, though the only one remaining is the vinegar spray. So I dusted a few of the chips with it, just like I would fish & chips. (Well, I mean, I use malt vinegar on fish & chips, but this was all I had.)
- My favorite tartar sauce is sold at a fish market 12 miles away. But by the time I had acquired these chips it was mid-afternoon, which means that 24-mile round trip could take anywhere from 60-90 minutes. So I just bought some of Bob's Big Boy's tartar sauce at the local Ralph's. It's delicious, too.
- And really, these are potato chips. I don't need tartar sauce. I just thought it would be a funny picture to eat "fish & chips" chips with tartar sauce.
- The chips were delicious. They didn't taste of fish, really, more like beer batter and salt. But, whatever, I love those two things.
- They were better by themselves, without the vinegar and tartar sauce, but I'm pretty sure I knew they would be.
NOTES ON THE GAME:
- I mentioned not long ago that I have never been more wrong about a college player's NBA future than I was James Harden's. You know who is probably #2 on that list? Kevin Love. I knew he was a really smart player and he is one of my three favorite players I have ever watched at UCLA, but I just wasn't sure what position he was going to play in the Association. (To be fair, I had no idea he was going to become such a workout/diet fiend and transform his body from slightly-chubby rebounding center to sleek triple-threat forward.)
- Marv Albert just announced that there is "bad blood" between Kelly Olynyk and the Cavaliers. That's putting it mildly.
- Unlike Golden State, who looked bored and sluggish after all their time off, Cleveland looks rested, and Boston looks exhausted.
- The Celtics are currently 1-14 from three. That's 7.1%.
- Boston has missed 6 shots in a row; Cleveland has scored 12 unanswered points and lead by 23.
- IT hit a three-pointer at the buzzer so the Celtics finish the half with 39 points - just a smidge over half of what the Warriors had in the first half last night (72).
- Boston really can't play any worse than that. In addition to ending the half 2-16 from three, they are 5-11 from the free throw line.
- I got distracted watching baseball and didn't watch the first 8 minutes of the 3rd quarter. Judging by the score, it doesn't look like I missed much.
- I did, however, watch the Angels surrender their 61st home run of the season, the most in all of baseball. Interestingly, their team ERA is in the top half of baseball, 13th out of 30 teams. So it's not like they're giving up a ton of runs, just a ton of home runs. (Although the Angels have played more games than anyone else; even though it's only May 17, they've already played six more games than the Yankees and seven more than the Twins.)
- Boston made a few shots to cut the deficit to 17 points at the end of the third quarter and the crowd is going crazy as if they'd tied it up. I guess they're so used to teams completely choking against the Patriots that they assume NBA teams will do the same thing against the Celtics.
- Brad Stevens on what the Celtics need to do in the 4th quarter: "Just single after single." Wrong sport, dude. But that does remind me of a story from 8th grade baseball. (Why not? This game is boring.) We were down by a lot, maybe 6 runs (I honestly don't remember, it was a long time ago) and our coach said "We don't need home runs, guys, just singles." (Which was a pretty ridiculous thing to say in and of itself; we were 13-year-olds playing on a high school baseball diamond; not one of us hit a home run all season.) My best friend raised his hand and asked "Coach, if I accidentally hit a home run, is that okay?" The coach pulled him from the game for being a smartass.
- LeBron James got fouled on a layup and is now limping around and grabbing his calf. "Look how he's walking!," Reggie Miller exclaimed, as if LeBron is actually injured and doesn't pretend like he's hurt 80% of the time he gets fouled.
- Somehow IT just ended up guarding LeBron. Not surprisingly, LeBron went straight to the hole, got fouled and made the shot. Maybe don't have the 5'9" guy guard the best small forward of all time.
- Boston fans heading for the exits with 6 minutes left.
- Cleveland wins by 13, but it feels like a lot more. The outcome was never in doubt.