I thought I’d go and talk about what has been going on within the past few days in the Boston sports hemisphere. The Red Sox are starting to finally gel and the pitching staff is finally starting to get their stuff together. The Celtics are battling through the playoffs, and I really mean battling. They are fighting through injuries, fatigue and a tough 76ers team. All in all, things are looking good if you’re a Boston sports fan, because as we all know, things can change in an instant.
After seeing one of most beloved teams in Boston sports fall, the Boston Bruins, a lot of people needed someone else to root for. The Bruins series was a heart breaking one, they had so many chances to take the series and especially take Game 7. I think that all Bruins fans will join me in saying that Bruins goalie, Tim Thomas, was not as great as he has once been. He gave up too many easy, should be save goals that ended up costing the Bruins. As the 2 seed, us Boston fans expected a lot more out of the club, but what are you going to do, just need to move onto the next team.
Which leads me to talking about the Boston Celtics. We are a lucky bunch of fans in Boston. We are able to move from season to season, team to team, and continually watch winning teams, usually. The C’s have been battling throughout the season and are now in the 2nd round of the NBA Playoffs. They were able to fight off a feisty, young, and athletic Atlanta Hawks in 6 games, 4-2. With great performances by “The Truth”, KG and Rondo (Except for chest bumping ref Marc Davis), helped the C’s pull through yet another series as a team. In this 2nd round matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Celtics were able to steal Game 1 at home. Although they did not play well, Rajon Rondo’s triple double helped power the Celtics past the 76ers, 92-91. Rondo had 17 assists, 13 points and 12 rebounds for his eighth career playoff triple-double. He had six points, five assists and four rebounds in the fourth quarter, when the Celtics went on a 23-7 run to turn a double-digit deficit into a six-point lead with 78 seconds to play. KG, who was no slouch himself, had 29 points, his most in the regular or postseason this year — and added 11 rebounds. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen have really been non existent throughout this series due to injuries and that is what hurt them in Game 2. Pierce, who has been trying to nurse an MCL sprain, has been hobbling and gimping up and down the floor. Allen, who has been nursing a foot and ankle injury just about all year, has not been himself. He does not have the ability to fly off screens for jump shots like he usually does. In Game 2, the Celtics did not play their best game and it ultimately hurt them. They again were able to steal a lead away from the 76ers in the 4th quarter, but Philly took it right back and held on to win 82-81. Every time the Celtics appeared to have regained the momentum, the Sixers came up with an answer. The Sixers kept hitting timely shot after timely shot, and as a Celts fan you were just thinking, when will it end? And unfortunately it never did. Boston went without a point for 4:40, finally scoring when Pierce made two free throws with 2.4 seconds left in the period. The biggest moment of the game came when Kevin Garnett was setting a screen for Ray Allen in the final moments of the game. It may have been the right call, but as a referee do you make that call that late in the game? I believe as a basketball player myself, you need to let the players decide the outcome of the game rather than the refs. I do believe it was a moving screen, the video shows it. But was it the right call at that time in the game, I don’t think so. So I look forward to the Celtics going to Philly, where they absolutely need to steal one.
The Boston Red Sox, as we know, have been somewhat of a disappointment this year. With new manager Bobby Valentine at the helm, the Sox have gotten off to a rough start. They began the first 10 games of the season, 4-6. But went on to lose 5 in a row, then win 6 in a row, then lose another 5 in a row. If you are talking inconsistency, you are talking Red Sox baseball this year. And unfortunately you can’t place the blame on the hitting. The pitching staff has been anything less than brutal this year and it is the Sox’ number one problem. The Red Sox top 3 pitchers, Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, have combined to win 9 games in 22 starts. Miraculously, I don’t know how, but Clay Buchholz is 4-1 with an 8.31 ERA. The hitters are getting the job done but the pitchers have not been. Which leads me to my next point, these past 5 games the Red Sox starters have all looked like Cy Young out there. There combined ERA over the last 5 starts is 1.57. That is incredible. The Sox have gotten great starts out of Daniel Bard, Felix Doubront, and their big 3. They have let up 8 runs in the past 5, with 5 of them coming in one game (Buchholz pitched, I guess that’s where the ERA comes from). But the last three starts may have been the best they have gotten all year. Daniel Bard threw a 7 hit, one run gem against the Indians. Jon Lester may have thrown one of his best games ever, in a complete game, 8 hit, 1 run win against the Mariners. And today, Josh Beckett, who has not been on the top of everyone’s happy list as of late, threw a 1 run, 9 K game today on his birthday. And let’s not forget about the offense i these past 5 games either. The offense has produced 34 runs in the past 5 games, with every player stepping up to the plate and bringing great confidence. The Sox are starting to put it together and I like what I am seeing. I know that many people are going to say, “Well all these games are against pretty poor teams…” Well I don’t really care and I will tell you why. Yes, I know you’re supposed to beat the bad teams, but I also know that sports is just as much mental as it is physical, and that’s why these games are important. They are giving the Red Sox a confidence that they have needed, and I hope they can ride it out.