Skip to main content

Was last night's Celtics-Clippers clash a prelude to NBA Finals?

It was more than two years ago that Jerry West moved south from the Golden State Warriors to the Los Angeles Clippers' front office. The title of one of my first articles as a sports writer was, Look West, Danny- there's a new man in Clipper Town. The "West" double-entendre referred to Jerry remaining in the Western Conference, this time with the Clips. This is what I wrote:

It almost seems like Jerry's (West) revenge, doesn't it. He collected only one championship ring in his career, mainly because of the strong Boston teams. We were always in his way. West created a super Lakers team that the Celts and every other team had trouble with. He convinced Kevin Durant to snub Boston and come to Golden State. We know how that turned out. Now he is with the Clips.

The Logo has a way of building powerhouse teams. He did it with the Shaquille O'Neal-Kobe Bryant Lakers and, more-recently, with the Warriors. Here he goes again. Last night's clash between what may be the two best teams in the League could be a prelude to this season's Championship Finals. The Clippers took the game away from the Celtics in overtime, 107-104, but the contest was always in doubt for both teams. The two teams are somewhat similar, and it starts with Patrick Beverley and Marcus Smart. I just love this tweet!


I think it was the "malaria" that got me to laugh. Make no mistake. The bulldog opponents, Smart and Beverley, never, ever take a play off. That is what separates them from so many of their peers. If these two guys played on the same team, opposing guards would get little sleep the night before a game against them.

Wings? Yup, the Celts and Clips have those. With Gordon Hayward out following hand surgery, it came down to the Jay Team, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum battling Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The Claw has been out of action for several games with a knee issue, but he and PG-13 were on the court for the first time together last night. Kawhi wasn't quite himself, but a 70%-Leonard was enough. With the attention that the Leonard/George pair draws, Patrick may have a field day on the offensive end many nights. His line in this one was 14P/16R/7A/3S/2B. He was a Celtics Killer, at least for this battle.

How do the benches stack up? For LA, Lou Williams had a game-high 27 points. JaMichal Green had 10 points and eight rebounds. Montrezl Harell picked up six points, six boards, three assists, two steals and two blocks. Boston relied on bench help from Brad Wanamaker (14P/3R/5A), Enes Kanter (8P/6R) and Grant Williams (team-high plus/minus of +7).


Both guards, Marcus and Patrick, may very well be in the running for NBA Defensive-Player-of-the-Year this season. The Tatum vs. PG-13 and Jaylen vs. Kawhi matchups are exciting, while the Brad Stevens against Doc Rivers struggle is intriguing. But I feel it is the contest between Danny Ainge and Jerry West that gets me thinking. Kawhi was not at his best last night, but Boston was missing Gordon Hayward, a key cog in the Celtics fight for League-supremacy. And don't forget, Marcus was playing with assorted broken limbs and digits and a severe case of malaria - still laughing at the Jonah tweet above. But, being serious here, I guarantee that Smart's ankle injury bothered him more than he let on.

Despite the Celtics loss, the two East-West rivals are fairly-evenly matched. A rematch in the Finals is not out of the question. The only real question is whether either front office sees the need for significant roster changes after the contest last night. Both Jerry West and Danny Ainge are rebuild-on-he-fly executives. They both have done well. Let's see what happens prior to the trade deadline.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel, @CausewayStreet and Facebook





http://www.celticslife.com/2017/09/look-west-danny-theres-new-man-in.html

Celtics President Danny Ainge has his eyes on another championship. No big news there. One of the Cleveland Cavaliers' major weapons, Kyrie Irving, is now in Boston, and nobody knows what the Cavs roster will look like this season.

So Danny has his eyes focused on the western conference, specifically on the Golden State Warriors. He may want to also gaze further south in California and take a look at the Los Angeles Clippers. There is a new guy in Clipper town, and his name is Jerry West, otherwise known as The Logo. But he is much more than simply the image on the NBA logo. The old Boston vs. LA battles may return in the next few years, but with a different look.

West was a vital part of the Los Angeles Lakers teams that always lost to Bill Russell's Celtics. Jerry was the only player on a losing team to win the NBA finals MVP award. He had a 42-point, 13-rebound, 12-assist line in the final game seven. It was another losing effort. I attended an event promoting the book Ten times a champion hosted by author Marc C. Bodanza and former Celtics star, Sam Jones, the subject of the book. When asked about his toughest opponent, Sam did not hesitate. "Jerry West! I told Red 'I can't guard West. You need to have Havlicek guard him'". Zeke from Cabin Creek was a terrific super star.


Since his playing days, Jerry has quietly constructed championship teams. As GM of the Lakers he traded for Kobe Bryant, fresh out of high school, and signed Shaquille O'Neal. Then he brought in Phil Jackson as coach. These moves led to the Lakers dynasty and five championships.

He eventually moved on to the Golden State Warriors. He drafted Steph Curry seventh in 2009 and then chose Klay Thompson 11th in 2011. Taking Draymond Green 35th in 2012 still wasn't enough. West may have been the one most responsible for Kevin Durant choosing the Warriors over the Celtics. These are two quotes by latimes.com's Bill Plaschke from his article Lakers great Jerry West is helping create a Warriors dynasty and that hurts:

The horrified reaction from Southland basketball fans to Monday’s announcement that Kevin Durant was joining the Golden State Warriors was not about his destination, but his transportation.

He was supposedly talked into it by Jerry West? Are you kidding me?

The architect of two different Lakers dynasties — he has seven Lakers championship rings, including one as a player — is creating another one with a rival team in the most rival of cities at a time when the Lakers franchise is coming off its two worst seasons ever?


West won two more championships with the Warriors. He has moved south and is now with the Clippers. He joins former Celts, and present Clips, coach Doc Rivers. Doc, like the Celts Brad Stevens, seems to be a coach that many NBA players want to play for. This makes for quite a pair. You have a dynasty-building exec paired with a veteran coach that knows knows Danny and the Celtics culture very well.

On our side, we have a very shrewd team president also attempting to construct a dynasty and a top-notch Celts coach with a player-friendly manner. Ainge saw a gem of a future NBA coach in Stevens. Danny and Celts owner Steve Pagliuca, a Duke grad, attended the 2010 NCAA championship game pitting Brad's Butler Bulldogs against Mike Krzyzewski's Duke Blue Devils. Ainge told Pagliuca that he considered Stevens the best coach in the building that night. Quite an endorsement considering Mike's history of success and Steve's loyalty to his alma mater.


It almost seems like Jerry's revenge, doesn't it. He collected only one championship ring in his career, mainly because of the strong Boston teams. We were always in his way. West created a super Lakers team that the Celts and every other team had trouble with. He convinced Kevin Durant to snub Boston and come to Golden State. We know how that turned out. Now he is with the Clips.

The Warriors won't self-destruct because Jerry left them. He helped build a powerful team that should continue to compete at a very high level. In the near future, though, the Boston vs. LA finals may return. But this time it may be the Boston Celtics vs. the LA Clippers. Think of it. Brad vs. Doc and Danny vs. The Logo.

I see this as a chess game. Danny may want to consult with chess whiz and rising star, Jaylen Brown. Now, whose move it it?

Danny Ainge photo via Christopher Evans/Boston Herald
Jerry West photo via Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images
Brad Stevens photo credit: David Butler II/USA Today Sports
Doc Rivers photo credit: Jane Kamin/Oncea/USA Today Sports

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Elm Street Nightmare

 A true-and-suspenseful horror tale of haunting, homicides and the hunt for triple-murderer, Daniel Laplante - as told by the cops that were there By Lt. Thomas Lane (Ret.)  Daniel Laplante - cold, calm, clever, calculating- Photo: YouTube   Elm Street  surfaces on four occasions in the Laplante saga: 1.) He  resided on Elm Street  in Townsend, Massachusetts 2.) He  kidnapped a woman  at gunpoint on  Elm Street, Pepperell , Massachusetts 3.) He was arrested and transported to Massachusetts State Police Barracks on Elm Street in Concord . 3.) He was  tried, convicted   and sentenced for the murders at  Superior Court , corner of  Elm Stree t and Gorham Street, Lowell, Massachusetts. When evil and cleverness reside in the same mind, the stage is often set for true horror. Such was the case with triple-murderer, Daniel Laplante . As a 16-year old , he quickly transitioned from: Minor thefts and breaking into homes To: Taunting and threatening a father and his two daughters as an unseen

Anna Horford let's fan know Al's value to the Boston Celtics

 Some fans of pro basketball just take the contrary view just to be...well - contrary , with no solid basis for their stand. Such was the case when when Al Horford's sister, Anna Horford, overheard an argument centered around the value of her brother to the Boston Celtics . No true Boston fan doesn’t love Al!! — Stephanie (@smars319) November 23, 2021 Al's value. Let's take a look at his team stats : Scoring: 4th at 13.1 PPG Rebounds: 2nd at 8.7 RPG Assists: 3rd at 3.5 APG Steals: 4th at 0.9 SPG Blocks: 1st at 1.9 BPG (tied with Giannis for 6th place in the NBA) Minutes: 6th at 29.4 MPG   One more thing about the blocks. That is new for Al . He is the only player over 29 years of age in the top-6 in blocks. Horford is 35. This gem-of-an-individual needs to prove nothing to Celtics fans, but I bet he needs to prove something to himself. Have I ever mentioned I love this guy?

Nik Stauskas adds "shooting with size" voiced by Brad Stevens

 As a 6'6" shooting guard, 28-year-old Nik Stauskas adds that shooting with size sorely needed by the Boston Celtics. Drafted 8th-overall by the Sacramento Kings in 2014, Stauskas has bounced around to various teams since then. Nik Stauskas' deal with the Boston Celtics includes non-guaranteed salary for the second season in 2022-23, a source tells @celticsblog . — Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) March 4, 2022 Nik has never averaged more than 9.5 points per game in the NBA, but Boston is most likely counting on his production for Grand Rapids in the G League as the incentive to sign him. In 17 games thus far, he has averaged 24.7 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 4.8 APG - while shooting 50% on field goals and 45% on treys. Nik Stauskas is signing a two-year deal with the Boston Celtics, his agents Mark Bartelstein and Andy Shiffman of @PrioritySports tell ESPN. Stauskas had an historic week, scoring 100 points on 57 and 43 point performances in back-to-back games for Grand Rapids. — Adrian Wo