The Dish: Celtic Green (Around The Gills)

 


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I'm scanning the experts’ picks. And I don't see them.

I don't presume to be an NBA guru. Frankly, I can't watch the game unless the calendar says “May. " The season is painfully long, the players’ efforts are spotty at best, the day-to-day officiating is so bad as to be hilarious. Games in December mean less than nothing: frankly, it's probably better not to play your stars every night, keep them ready and rested, and get everyone fresh for the playoffs.

Yes, I don't know anything, but I do know one thing. The Boston Celtics will have the worst record in the NBA.

And yet scanning the Sports Illustrated experts, the Yahoo! experts, the ESPN experts. . . nobody has Boston at the bottom. Portland is the consensus pick. Toronto gets a few votes. Atlanta and Charlotte get mentioned. But where are my Celtics?

People are probably blinded by Paul Pierce. And sure, he's got incredible talent. But where's that gotten the team the past few seasons? As the Antoine Walker Era recedes further and further into the past, Boston gets worse and worse. And now the saviors are. . . Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff and Wally Szczerbiak? Uh, no. This is a team with no point guard (Telfair and rookie Rajon Rondo don't count), no legitimate center (Kedrick Perkins definitely doesn't count, and Ratliff is both 107 years old and injured), no weight management (hello, Al Jefferson!), and no defense (coach Doc Rivers has given up coaching the stuff every season he's been in Beantown). Do I think the Celts can score 100 a night? Sure. Do I think they'll prevent their opponents from scoring 120? That would be no.

Pierce just inked a long-term deal to stay the centerpiece of the franchise, and I suppose that's a nice story. He's always seemed to me like a pretty good guy, though apparently he ruffled the feathers of more than one Team USA official at the World Championships a few years back. But for all the draft picks Boston bragged about over the past couple seasons, Gerald Green, Rondo, Jefferson, Tony Allen, Delonte West. . . none of them can really play, so this team is really just Pierce and the Piercettes. And when things get rolling the wrong way in Boston, it can be a brutal, brutal place to play.

Red Auerbach lived a great and full life before passing last week. In some ways, it might be a good thing he didn't live to see this.

We still have two undefeated teams in the NFL: Indianapolis and Chicago. Each has a tough match-up coming soon. The Colts go to New England this week, and the Bears go to the Giants in two weeks. Any chance either of these teams goes 16-0?

BoDog Bookmakers, BoDog. ws: Obviously these two teams are firing on all cylinders, but to expect a team to go undefeated would probably be too much. The rigors of a full season take their toll on the body and the mind. But like we've already seen in Chicago (vs. Arizona and Minnesota) and Indianapolis (vs. Tennessee and NY Giants) sometimes it doesn't matter who you face each week, because no team is ever willing to just lie down. Every team in the NFL now has extra motivation to beat these two clubs. If it were to happen though, Chicago has by far the easier schedule for the remainder of the season. Their combination of a stingy defense and explosive offense could get it done.

What did you think of Tony Romo's performance in Carolina last week? Are the Cowboys going to make the playoffs now?

BDB, BoDog. ws: We have to remember that Tony Romo has only started one game in his NFL career. While he does give a fresh look to defenses across the league, he'll run into stiffer competition than the lackluster Carolina Panthers (who were horrible on Sunday). Don't forget that Romo threw three interceptions against the Giants, and it's hard for a first-year starter to not force throws to receivers that require Dan Marino's or John Elway's touch. It all comes with experience, and Romo will have to learn on the job from here on out. The date that Cowboys fans should have marked on their calendar is December 25th vs. Philadelphia at home. That game will likely have huge playoff ramifications for the both clubs.

USC's loss to Oregon State has thrown college football into a tizzy. Do you expect the winner of the West Virginia/Louisville game to play the winning of the Ohio State/Michigan game in the BCS title game? Any way, other than major upsets, we can avoid this scenario?

BDB, BoDog. ws: That would be the likely scenario as it stands right now. How schedulers determined to put Ohio State vs. Michigan in the final game of the season is something that should receive quite a lot of press and opinion when the time comes. Keep an eye on Rutgers, who could play spoiler next week if Louisville beats West Virginia on Thursday. Now wouldn't that be something?!

Should we just stop the NHL season right now and hand the Stanley Cup to the Buffalo Sabres?

BDB, BoDog. ws: I have been impressed with the Sabres since the beginning of last season, and while they have certainly jumped out of the gate quickly, let's try not to jump to conclusions. They have a solid, quick and young nucleus that plays very well as a unit, but as we know, the NHL season is a long and grueling one where injuries to key players can wreck any team's hopes. We should have a better idea come the All-Star Break in late January, but I'd say they are clearly a force to be reckoned with.

Christopher Harris is a featured writer for the Professional Handicappers League. Read all of his articles at www.procappers.com

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