I’m Bordering on Concerned About the Celtics Now

Before I bare my soul I will repeat what I said in defense of the Cavs after Game 2; you’re not in trouble in a series until you lose a home game. The Celtics took care of business and stomped out the Cavs in Games 1-2 in Boston and the Cavs have now returned the favor.

If the NBA (and many of its players home/road splits) didn’t have such wild swings in momentum, officiating, and legitimate home court advantage I would be in full on panic mode. Thats also why everyone who has mocked the Celtics for the past few years for being a soft No. 1 or No. 2 seed and how the regular season “doesn’t matter” needs to pipe down. Have the Celtics overachieved the last couple of seasons? Absolutely. Thats exactly why they need that home court advantage over a team like the Cavs. Guys like Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart are notoriously better at home so yes its important for the C’s to grind out those first 82 games in order to secure any minor advantage they can. I’d also like to point out that the Celtics have yet to lose a game at home in the playoffs.

So with all that being said, do I feel great heading back to Boston with this series tied up and LeBron and his flunkies feeling themselves after back to back W’s? Noooope. LeBron has been LeBron and just abused whoever is defending him or has facilitated like the basketball Magic Johnson facsimile that he is. That was pretty much always going to happen, regardless of how much we all pumped up Marcus Morris for being the LeBron Stopper.

What concerns me the most though is how much better the Cavs have gotten each game, in particular the supporting cast of bums like George Hill and JR Smith. Smith is a notorious front runner so I’m confident in the fact the Celtics can get back to their business in Game 5 at home and Smith could very predictably shut it down. George Hill was non-existent in Games 1-2 yet in the 2 games in Cleveland he was a problem, but that could very easily just be a case of role players (like Smart and Rozier) balling out at home.

What absolutely cannot happen though is guys like Kyle Korver just son-ing Jaylen Brown. Korver set up shop in the young forward’s brain, blocking a couple of Brown’s shots and then working him on the glass to go along with his unconscious shooting from 3. Not to mention Jaylen Brown absolutely bricking a wide open dunk.

The Cavs just keep getting better and better the last two games so I’m telling myself (read: hoping) that this is just a home team taking care of business. But Cleveland’s improvement over the last 4 games is just ridiculous. Seriously, look at the Cavs’ FG% and 3-point percentages from Game 1 to Game 4.

  • Game 1: 36% / 15%
  • Game 2: 46% / 32%
  • Game 3: 48% / 50%
  • Game 4: 50% / 34%

I don’t appreciate the Cavs seemingly getting better every single game after looking like they were on the brink of implosion after the first 2.

The No. 1 problem that Brad Stevens is going to have to fix before Game 5 though is a bunch of guys in their early 20s looking at LeBron getting it going and saying ‘here we go again.’ Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier all grew up watching LeBron go on runs like this. The C’s need a veteran (paging Al Horford) to remind this team how badly they beat up on Cleveland in the first two games. Do it again.

This is why going back home is just what the doctor ordered. The role players need to get their shit together, which is hard for young guys to do on the road. In particular I need Marcus Smart to get back to doing the little things and stop jacking a 3 pointer (1-5 last night) just because the Cavs are daring him to do so.

The Cavs have done an excellent job in finding the matchups they want, including somehow getting Rozier on LeBron more times that I’d like to remember. Stevens adjusted:

But give the guy a couple of days to digest what the Cavs and that genius Tyronn Lue are doing and I believe they can slow Cleveland down. Speaking of Tyronn Lue, how about the balls on the head coach doing head coaching things last night?

I’m surprised LeBron didn’t just rip the whiteboard out of his hands on the sidelines after that.

And I hate to be that guy, but since the NBA had a ref in Tim Donaghy get sent to fucking PRISON for messing with games, I’m going to go ahead. The officiating has been abysmal in this series. One of the worst examples was the refs wiping out a would be 4-point play and calling an offensive foul on Marcus Morris on a MADE 3 pointer.

The officiating has been terrible and looks like a blatant design to extend the series and favor the home team. We can only hope that favor is returned in Boston.

The Celtics return to TD Garden to try and right the ship on Wednesday night. The Cavs have a ton of momentum, but again the C’s have yet to lose at home in the playoffs so I will refrain from panicking quite yet. Game 5 is an absolute must win for the C’s though so lets get it.

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BU’s David Quinn Expected to Be Named Rangers Head Coach

Boston University held its 145th commencement ceremony on Sunday and in addition to its 7,072 graduates it appears that its men’s hockey coach David Quinn will also be leaving campus. Quinn is reportedly set to become the next head coach of the New York Rangers, with a five-year deal worth $12 million.

Quinn, 51, has deep ties to Boston University. The Rhode Island native played at BU under Jack Parker from 1984-1988, served as Parker’s associate head coach at BU from 2004-2009, and took over as head coach at BU after Parker retired in 2013. Quinn likely could have coached at BU for as long as he wanted to. He reportedly rejected an offer from the Rangers earlier this month, but a five-year deal worth $12 million proved to be an offer he couldn’t refuse.

While Parker coached at BU for 40 years, Quinn’s situation is different. In 1997, Parker turned down the Bruins for a second time. At age 52, he had been head coach at BU for nearly 25 years and couldn’t be wrested from that position. Quinn has only been head coach at BU for five years, and at 51 might wonder if he’ll ever get an opportunity like this again. In addition to the money, this is an opportunity for him to coach an Original Six franchise in the largest media market in the country.

Quinn did a superb job as head coach at BU. In his five years as head coach, the Terriers went 105-68-21, won two regular season league championships, won two league tournaments, made four trips to the NCAA tournament, and made one trip to the NCAA National Championship game. The Terriers fell to Providence College in the 2015 National Championship game, but that loss can’t be pinned on Quinn.

When Parker retired in 2013, Quinn was the clear choice to take the helm. It doesn’t feel like there is a clear choice to take over the program this time around.

It’s a bittersweet moment for Terriers fans, but the Rangers are sure to gain some new fans in the heart of Red Sox Nation. No easy feat. Terriers fans will certainly be rooting for Quinn in his new endeavor.

Image result for david quinn

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The 300s Podcast: Celtics Playoffs, Where Do the C’s Stand, and Should Fans Be Worried About this Cavs Series Now?

We brought in friend of the podcast Mattes and we’re talking Celtics playoffs, where the C’s stand after Game 3, and should fans be worried about this Cavs series now?

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Celtics Eat a Bag of Dicks in Game 3, Lose by 30

Well that was less than ideal. The Celtics never lead once in Game 3 and lost to the Cavs in an absolute blowout, 116-86. From the jump the Cavs were the hungrier team, the Celtics looked slow and sloppy with 15 turnovers and they got absolutely worked on the glass with the Cavs crushing them in rebounds 45-34. Cleveland was just more engaged and aggressive on defense and of course shooting 50% from behind the arc helps.

Kyle Korver went 4-4 from 3, JR Smith went 3-4, and LeBron went 3-3 himself. Thats a lot of firepower raining down on the C’s from deep. The Cavs were obviously a 3 point heavy team in the regular season, but it was a stark contrast from the first two games when the Cavs shot 32% and 15% respectively from deep.

Cleveland also stopped relying entirely on LeBron to bail them out. Something I pointed out in Game 2 was how the Celtics had several players in double figures while the Cavs had just 3 (barely). Well in Game 3 the Cavs had SIX players in double digits and the Celtics looked like a high school team.

With that being said LeBron was still incredible with a “quiet” 27 and 12 and was making plays like *this*

Jaylen Brown came crashing back to earth with 10 points after being the Celtics best player the first two games of the series. Marcus Morris was 2/8 from the field for 9 points and was a dreadful -28 on the night. The bad Marcus Smart reared its ugly head after getting his tires pumped up by everyone in Boston for the past week and a half for doing all the little things. In Game 3 he jacked up 4 three pointers and made exactly none of them.

As soon as you saw Guerschon Yabusele enter the game with 4 minutes to go in the first though, you knew it was gonna be a bad night. If the Dancing Bear is in that early you’ve already lost.

Celtics are 1-5 on the road in the playoffs now.

I’ll take the crab juice.*

Al Horford took FOUR fucking shots all night.

Its like everyone ragged on Al all season long for being too passive, for not shooting enough, then he cranked it up in the playoffs and looked like a legit stud. Then in Game 3 he took his foot off the gas and somehow the whole game went to hell. Thats not Tristan Thompson being a Horford antidote; thats Al slipping back into the average monicker.

Everyone on the Celtics took their foot off the gas on Saturday night and I guess thats the danger of such a young team, which shouldn’t really be a surprise. But for god sakes LeBron James is Jason Voorhees; do not let him up off the mat. He’s not dead until he’s dead. If this series comes back to Boston tied 2-2 I will not sleep well.

Home cooking was a factor as well with Jaylen Brown having four fouls before the fans were back from getting beers at halftime. His fifth foul was a disaster of a defensive effort and well deserved, but it was interesting to note that Boston’s clear cut best player in Games 1-2 is immediately chucked into foul trouble in the first road game of the series.

Silver lining of the night was former Celtic (draft pick) Ante Zizic chucking one off the back of the goddamn backboard. I legitimately laughed out loud despite the 30 point shellacking.

Uncle Drew still looks like possibly the worst movie of all time and Kyrie Irving isn’t even able to blind us to that fact with his play on the court.

I honestly think Mark Jackson might strangle the life out of Jeff Van Gundy before this series is over. These guys legitimately do not like each other and with a 30 point blowout there was plenty of time for these two to subtweet each other live on TV in front of America.

Game 4 will be a pivotal point in the series as the Celtics will either snap out of it and be one step away from offing LeBron or the series will go back to Boston tied and I will be more nauseous than a pregnant woman. Game 4 tips off Monday night at 8:30, see ya there.

*If you get that reference then you and I are now good friends.

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You Are Watching a Master at Work in Vasyl Lomachenko

If records are made to be broken, what is history for? Color commentators, play-by-play announcers and analysts of all sports use the cliché often; “We are watching history.” What is sports history? Record breaking nights on the diamond? A back and forth NFL playoff game? Do we ever really know what will be dubbed “history” when it is happening? Aside from the obvious legendary moments like the 2004 ALCS series between the Red Sox and the Yankees, can we always pinpoint a certain moment or game or series as “history?”

An individual such as Michael Jordan had some pretty iconic moments throughout his career, a 60 point playoff game with the flu, monumental trash talk backed up by superb game stats. Did we know the most viewed moment of Jordan’s career would be a jump shot over Craig Ehlo in a playoff game 5 against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1989? No way! So when I watch Vasyl Anatoliyovich Lomachenko fight, how do I know we are all watching boxing history? His fight IQ, his unorthodox training methods, and the compu-box numbers say so.

To the hardcore boxing fan Vasyl Lomachenko is already the greatest featherweight and lightweight in boxing’s history. While I refuse to pull the trigger on such a massive statement, I will concede that in only 12 (11-1) professional bouts he is the best of my generation, BY FAR! Yes only a dozen fights to pick through and being considered a great is totally unheard of but just like Slater from Dazed and Confused said: “It’s quality not quantity, man!” He was talking about the women he had been with, I am speaking on the strength of Loma’s record, it’s on steroids.

Lomachenko has fought seven current champions out of twelve career fights. Only one of his opponents had more than three career losses. Astoundingly the combined record of Loma’s first twelve opponents is 352-30. Yup, read that again. On top of that he has already won three different world titles: WBO feather and lightweight championship and he is the newly crowned WBA Lightweight champion. Whether he is defending or fighting the current champion a belt is usually on the line for “Hi-Tech.” In achieving all of this he has become the fastest fighter to hold a belt in three different weight classes, by eight fights! Compare that to the other boxing great of this generation Floyd “Money” Mayweather, whose first twelve opponents combined record was a puny 96-84, also he did not fight for a belt in those first dozen either. Excited yet?

From a “sweet science” standpoint the Ukrainian does everything perfect. His hand speed is second to none, his footwork is unlike anyone’s we have ever seen in boxing before or since, the angles and openings he creates and uses to set up combinations is godly. There is no comparison in the last 100 years to Vasyl Lomachenko, he is one-in-a-billion. The boxing unicorn. Coming into his most recent fight against Jorge Linares he had made his previous four opponents quit before the 8th round, all former champions. Not from the beating being too severe but because Loma has mastered the old boxing golden rule of hitting and not being hit. Annoying his opponents into submission, every older brothers dream. His training methods are strange but clearly effective, all of which are usually made by his father Anatoly Lomachenko. He trains his mind as much as his body and that is where he separates himself from the rest of the pack, or in his case, history.

 

The answer that boxing has been looking for since the downfall of Mike Tyson in the mid 1990s is here. He is the most exciting fighter to watch since Muhammad Ali danced like a butterfly into living rooms across the country and stung like a bee against his foes. A soft spoken, average sized man who moves like a dancer and thinks like a mathematician. Loma makes fraction of a second decisions in half the time needed and seems to always apply the correct technique and counter for every fight situation presented to him across his entire career. A career as a pro that I listed above is preceded by his two Olympic gold medals and his ridiculous 396-1 record as an amateur boxer. So where does a generational great go after only a dozen fights against champion after champion?

To the Mount Rushmore of his weight class course. Boxing is always good for knocking on the door of a retiree to remind them how old they are and offer them an offensive amount of money to try to derail a recently steaming hype train. In fact when generational greats square off, if the young fighter isn’t named Mayweather, the older fighter usually wins. For Loma the older fighter looks as if it is going to be fan favorite Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao. Both camps have been in serious talks for Manny to challenge Lomachenko for his WBO featherweight championship. Many fans want this fight but I would rather watch CSPAN for 16 straight hours.

This is a lose, lose, lose/promotion – company win type of fight. Both fighters and the fans lose if this fight is made. For Vasyl Lomachenko this is not good for his career because Pacquiao is 5-4 in his last nine fights and currently holds no championships which would make “Pacman” a giant step back from the strong fighters Loma has fought thus far in his career. Manny Paciquiao isn’t on the same boxing or athletic level as Loma, even in his prime. This fight hardly has the allure that it would if Loma fought other active fighters closer to his age and current skill level such as Terrance “Bud” Crawford or Gervonte Davis. Nonetheless its seems as though the 39 year old Pacquiao is going to be next to step into “The Matrix” that is Vasyl Lomachenko’s ability.

At his best “PacMan” was a forward pressing power puncher and the style that fares the worst against Loma happens to be a forward pressing power puncher. Even if Pacquiao somehow has a technical revelation occur to his game he still has too many holes against a sniper like Vasyl. When Pac retreats he goes straight back instead of moving laterally, it has cost him more than one fight in his career and that bad habit would be where Loma will do most of his damage to the older fighter. Midway through the second round I can see Loma learning the timing and finding a rhythm against Manny’s persistent in-and-out power punching. Through frustration of being hit by Loma and not being able to return fire, Pac will overextend himself during the middle rounds which will either lead to a stoppage or cause the elder man to severely slow down if the fight were to somehow make it to rounds 9-12. “Hi-Tech” by 6th round KO or unanimous decision.

The only man who has a chance at stopping Loma within the next 2 years (yes, that short time frame) is Floyd Mayweather Jr. Otherwise Lomachenko has a clear and easy path to Living Legend status.

Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez said it best:

“Heroes get remembered but legends never die.”

Who do you think can stop Loma?

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The 300s Empire Expands Again. Introducing Our Newest Writer, Mike D.

As Walter White once said, I’m in the empire business. And as we keep building The 300s empire we’re doubling down with more videos, reviews, podcasts, and of course blogs so we’re always looking for guys that can help us continue to produce that constantly improving content. Theres nothing more disappointing than when a site becomes too big too fail and they start posting stuff just to post it.

So we’re always on the lookout for funny dudes that can write and of course have no qualms about arguing with you in the middle of a bar about the sports topic du jour. With that being said I’d like to introduce the newest writer for The 300s:

Mike D.

“Amateur MMA fighter found on the doorstep of The 300s with two black eyes. I work hard so they keep me around. I have an opinion on everything so they lock me in the basement. When you read what I write, they feed me… I’m hungry.

Joe Kelly is my favorite athlete of all time.”

Keep an eye out for Mike’s first post coming tomorrow AM…

 

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Pedro to Headline Red Sox Alumni Game

NESN – The Red Sox announced Thursday they will host an alumni game at Fenway on Sunday, May 27, the club’s first such event in 25 years. The three-inning contest is set to begin at 10:30 a.m. ET before Boston’s 1:05 p.m. ET tilt with the Tampa Bay Rays.

So, who’s playing in this game? Dwight Evans and Luis Tiant will serve as managers for the two competing teams, which will be comprised of a total of 25 former Red Sox. Here’s the full list of expected attendees, in alphabetical order:

Wade Boggs, Oil Can Boyd, Orlando Cabrera, Scott Cooper, Jim Corsi, Lenny DiNardo, Alan Embree, Rich Garces, Jonny Gomes, Mike Greenwell, Sam Horn, Chris Howard, Bill Lee, Darren Lewis, Steve Lomasney, Derek Lowe, Mike Lowell, Julio Lugo, Steve Lyons, Keith MacWhorter, Pedro Martinez, Lou Merloni, Rick Miller, Mike Myers, Troy O’Leary

The roster for this game reads like a Deadspin “Let’s Remember Some Guys” blog post. Definitely a diverse group, with National Baseball Hall of Famers Wade Boggs and Pedro Martinez, Red Sox Hall of Famers Mike Greenwell and Bill Lee, NESN fill-ins Jonny Gomes and Steve Lyons, and some guys like Steve Lomasney and Keith MacWhorter who would make more sense on a milk carton than in a Red Sox alumni game.

There’s also the guy the six-strikeout game is named after, Sam Horn. Luckily for Horn this game will only be three innings.

Regardless of who fills out the last few roster spots, though, this should be a fun event. The Red Sox haven’t hosted an alumni game since May 29, 1993, which was so long ago that Carl Yastrzemski played in it. It would be great to see Pedro replicate his performance from the 1999 All-Star Game, or Steve Lyons drop his drawers at first, but it would also be great just to see Bill Lee strike a guy or two out. Lee is 71 and still throwing darts. Just a few years ago he pitched a complete game for the independent San Rafael Pacifics, and got the win!

No word on whether or not this game will be broadcast, but why not bring back some former broadcasters? I doubt Don Orsillo or Sean McDonough would want to set foot in the Fenway press box for this event, but how about Jerry Trupiano? Just in case Troy O’Leary has one more grand slam left in him.

Image result for footage not found arrested development

[If you can find video of O’Leary’s 1999 ALDS grand slam Trup on the call, let us know.]

 

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