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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Banner # 18

Here's Shank on the 2023 - 2024 NBA Champions:
A torch has been passed: Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum join the champions club and help Celtics raise Banner 18

Light up a Hoyo de Monterrey in honor of Red Auerbach and get ready for another parade. Playing on their fabled parquet floor, with banners flapping high above courtside, the Celtics won their NBA-best 18th championship Monday with a 106-88, NBA Finals Game 5 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

Order is restored to the pro basketball universe. From the 1950s through the ‘80s, Boston’s Green Team ruled the National Basketball Association. The torch has been passed to a new generation of champions: Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

“It’s time for us to graduate,” Brown told Tatum before Game 5.

When it was over, Brown received the Bill Russell Finals MVP Trophy.

“It was a full team effort and Jayson Tatum was with me the whole way," said Brown.

Sunday, June 16, 2024

One Win Away

Here's Shank's column after the Boston Celtics win Game 3 of the NBA Finals Wednesday night:
Game 3 was harder than it should have been, but Banner 18 is an inevitability for the Celtics

DALLAS — You can relax, Boston. It might happen here Friday, or maybe you’ll have to wait until Monday on Causeway Street, but it’s inevitable. The Celtics are going to raise their 18th championship banner.

Just try not to worry about your team letting a 21-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle to one in what seemed the blink of an eye.

It wasn’t as easy as it should have been, but the Celtics beat the Mavs again. Playing at American Airlines Center on Wednesday without tree-top Kristaps Porzingis, the Green Team took charge early in the fourth quarter, watched their big lead fizzle, then prevailed for a third straight game. The Celts rode the broad shoulders of the two Jays (Tatum had 31, Brown 30) to a 106-99 victory, taking a definitive 3-0 series lead in the NBA Finals.

Celtics Wrapup - II

Shank's been banging out the columns over the past week or so, with images of victory cigars after the Boston Celtics take a 2-0 series lead, and The Cooz wants another banner in the rafters, presumably so all of The Cooz's banners have some company!

Sunday, June 09, 2024

Celtics Wrapup

With Shank firmly on the Boston Celtics bandwagon, he comes out with a bunch of columns the past couple of days. The first one lets us know it's good for us and the NBA, the second column is a Larry Bird SightingTM, which includes a Bruce Springsteen sighting / anecdote that I'll gladly ignore, and another column from Game 1, which Shank takes to all but declare an early winner.

I don't think that's good karma, but there it is.

Saturday, June 01, 2024

DHL Dan CCXII - End The Drought

Shank's thirsting for a championship, folks!
It’s the Celtics’ time to end our championship drought, and other thoughts

ROME — Picked-up pieces while asking Italians what they think of Giuseppe Mazzulla’s work in the first three rounds of the NBA playoffs …

▪ We’re due for another professional sports championship, are we not?

I mean, it’s been a whole five years and four months since guys named Brady and Belichick hoisted their sixth Lombardi Trophy after a 13-3 victory over the Rams in Atlanta.

That was New England’s 12th men’s major sports championship of this century. Good times never seemed so good. The Red Sox won four World Series from 2004-18, the Celtics acquired Kevin Garnett and then won Banner No. 17 in 2008, and the Bruins in 2011 won their first Stanley Cup since 1972, beating Vancouver in seven games.

This means that between February of 2005 (Patriots over Eagles in Jacksonville), and June of 2011 (Bruins in Vancouver), each of our four major men’s professional teams won a championship.
Rev up those duck boats!

Bill Walton, RIP

Legendary Boston Celtics player Bill Walton passed on earlier this week after a battle with cancer. Shank does the honors and pays tribute:
Bill Walton’s time in Boston was brief but unforgettable, and we were lucky to have him

The memories and stories started pouring in as soon as the news broke.

Everyone remotely connected to the 1985-86 Celtics has a Bill Walton memory. Invariably, those stories are personal. And all of us were shocked Monday when it was learned that Walton had died in California at the age of 71.

No player ever loved playing for the Celtics more than Walton. And it’s cruel and ironic that Bill would pass as the team is on to another appearance in the NBA Finals, which would mean a chance to win an NBA-record 18th banner.

My friend Rich Johnson, longtime curator of the New England Sports Museum and — like Walton — someone with a lifelong stutter, weighed in online, sending out a recording of the Grateful Dead’s “He’s Gone,” while writing, “Listening while wiping away tears. His personal kindness to me was life changing.”

Bill touched a lot of lives in his short stint in Boston, and those of us lucky enough to have known him share the same emotions.

Monday, May 27, 2024

DHL Dan CCXI - Roots

A few days before the Indiana Pacers got buried by the Boston Celtics in the 2024 Eastern Conference Finals, Shank took a look at Pacers coach Rick Carlisle:
Retracing the deep Celtics roots of Pacers coach Rick Carlisle, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while anticipating the Celtics raising Banner No. 18 to the rafters later this year …

▪ The Indiana Pacers are the only team standing between the Celtics and another trip to the NBA Finals. The Pacers, down 2-0 entering Saturday night’s Game 3, are coached by Rick Carlisle, a 64-year-old NBA lifer with a million connections to New England and the Celtics.

Carlisle ranks 12th in regular-season victories by an NBA head coach with 943. Red Auerbach ranks 13th with 938.

I knew him when he had hair. (Rick, not Red.)

Carlisle was a handsome, 24-year-old, piano-playing psychology major from the University of Virginia when he showed up at Celtics free agent/rookie camp in the summer of 1984. He was a third-round pick, which meant we initially paid little attention to him in those summer-night scrimmages at Marshfield High.

Monday, May 20, 2024

DHL Dan CCX - Underwhelming Competition

With the Boston Celtics in the 2023 Eastern Conference Finals, Shank's a little worried about the competition:
The competition thus far isn’t helping the Celtics prepare for a title run, and other thoughts

Picked-up pieces while waiting for some serious basketball competition …

▪ Seriously. I’m ready for the Celtics to start the playoffs now.

Bring on the Knicks, Pacers, Nuggets, Mavericks, or Timberwolves. Let’s see some nail-biting, down-to-the-wire, blood-and-thunder basketball. The Celtics’ upcoming run through the conference finals and NBA Finals should be wildly entertaining.

Certainly these upcoming series have to be better than the boring matchups we watched in the first two rounds as the Celtics toppled tomato cans from Miami and Cleveland. How did the Fort Wayne Pistons and Washington Generals not wind up on Boston’s dance card?

In Round 1 against Miami, the Celtics had leads of 34, 29, 28, and 37 points in the games they won. In Round 2, their average margin of victory was 15 points and they lost Game 2 by 24.

Let me ask … were any of you on the edge of your seat, or otherwise entertained for one perfunctory second of those two series? It’s always great to see the locals advance, but this was dreadful competition. Those were series that only Johnny Most, Tommy Heinsohn, Sean Grande, and Scal could love.
The level of competition, one way or the other, is out of the hands of the Celtics. I don't see any reason to make an issue out of it, but there's your take if it really matters.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

DHL Dan CCIX - Underwhelming

A formulatic beginning to what looks to be a mailed-in effort by the Shankster:
Celtics-Knicks and Bruins-Rangers? The Boston-New York playoff duels would be good times, and other thoughts.

Picked-up pieces while dreaming of Celtics-Knicks and Bruins-Rangers in simultaneous conference championships at the two Gardens …

▪ Celtics-Knicks. Bruins-Rangers. Boston-New York. The New (1995) Boston Garden and the vintage 1968 Madison Square Garden. The Sports Hub vs. The Fan. Matt Damon vs. Spike Lee. Williams vs. DiMaggio. Real clam chowder vs. Manhattan clam chowder. “Cheers” vs. “The Honeymooners.”
When you start a column out like that, you get the feeling that this is indeed a DHL delivery, first class.