Monday, May 5, 2008

Sox Sweep, Game Seven, And Queens of the Stone Age

We at Me And Pedro can read the signs as well as anyone: when you write a post lamenting the fact your team can't score and they throw down 26 runs in three days, you've to be pleased. We will be judicious in applying our (invisible) touch to our favorite sports teams from now on. The Goddz, as they are, are fans of modesty, even if there was nothing modest about the 7-3 shellackings of the Rays sandwiching a 12-4 thumping of formerly unhittable Jamie Shields.

There was also nothing modest about the critical beatdown applied to the Atlanta Hawks yesterday by the Celtics. We had a sense this might happen, and we were absolutely thrilled with every second of it (except KG's unnecessary shoulder-drop), but we have fears going into the second round against LeBron and the Cavs. It's not that we're worried that the Celtics are old, because we know they are and that they can still win — we're worried that they're self-conscious about it. Basketball is a game of actions and reactions, not of deep thought, which is why the Hawks were able to sweep their home games but got absolutely bludgeoned on the road. Both teams won where they were supposed to win because they thought they could, and didn't win where they weren't supposed to win. Maybe the C's should have won in Atlanta, but there was no way the Hawks were winning in Boston. They won 12 road games all year, and this is who they beat:

Philly (twice)
Washington (twice)
Knicks (twice)

There are some playoff teams on there, but the biggest beast is Orlando, and that happened once. More than half the games were against absolute worst teams in the league.

The Cavs also posted a losing road record, going 18-23, but they won on the road in Dallas, San Antonio and L.A. Now, the Celtics handled the Texas Trifecta a couple months ago, only to get pasted by the speed of the Hawks in the last two weeks. Maybe it was just nerves, or maybe it was a veteran team struggling to find its playoff identity. You have to figure that the "Big Three" gimmick has worn a little thin this year: shooting commercials together, sitting for group interviews, etc., but it worked for the regular season. There's one thing to have a "Big Three" across 82 games and another to know exactly whose role is what in a given situation; it's the difference between Nash, Amare and Marion (circa 2005) vs. Parker, Duncan and Ginobili. The knowledge that Duncan is the man frees the other guys up to play loose, but the Celtics, as an institution, have been loathe to give Garnett the reins in full. Pierce is still the captain, which is understandable given his seniority but otherwise absurd. He's a moody scorer who wanted out of Boston until they got him reinforcements; does that sound like a captain? Having him introduced last gives the wrong impression. It gives the impression that KG is not the pivotal man in crunch time, or at any time, when he is. Now, KG has historically been maligned for fading in the playoffs, but he seems to be taking that reputation head-on in Boston. Let's let him do it in the pilot's chair as the captain of the team (and for an MVP discussion including yours truly w/r/t Kobe, KG and LeBron, read here and in the comments). I, and I think the Celtics, would feel a lot better about it and would cruise to a victory over the Cavs. In the current situation? I'm not so sure.

When I started this, I was leaning toward Cleveland in seven, just because I can't shake the feeling that LeBron is going to win a game at the Garden. And if he's going to win one, it will be Game 1. So here's my prediction: if the Cavs win game 1, it's Cleveland in 7, if not, it's the C's in 6. And yes, I recognize that I just said that LeBron is going to win "a" game at the Garden and then implied he would win two or zero. That's because, in the words of Kevin Millar, "In Game 7, anything can happen."

Tomorrow we promise to talk about baseball, as this is supposed to be a baseball blog. We'll have thoughts on the Sox/Tigers game, the disturbing efficiency of Chien-Ming Wang, talk about what's wrong — if anything — with Bronson Arroyo and laud a Me and Pedro favorite, Hideki Okajima. We love the idea of Hideki Okajima so much it makes our head hurt.

(The following is dedicated to the Sox' twin 7-3 wins over Tampa, courtesy of some dude rocking the sh*t out of Guitar Hero. This song rocks so hard it's ridiculous, btw.)

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