Having to Wait This Long Between Celtics Cavs Game 2 and Game 3 is Criminal

After watching high octane playoff games with the Bruins and Celtics playing every other night for basically the past month, the fact that there are 4 days between Celtics-Cavs Game 2 and 3 is criminal. With the Bruins and Celtics both in the playoffs I was watching something every night that had me gripping my chair like I was dropping into the Sunken Place.

Now that has slowed to a snail’s pace as the Bruins got knocked out of the playoffs and the NBA is squeezing every last drop of attention out of the Conference Finals as it possibly can by spacing the series out over 14 DAYS. That leaves this huge gaping hole in between Games 2 and 3 where I’m forced to watch the Red Sox run into outs on the bases and injure themselves playing Fortnite and having hissy fits in the dugout. It just doesn’t compare.

I am salivating at the thought of potentially putting the nail in LeBron’s coffin on his home floor. Only another 50+ hours until Game 3.

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Former Top Prospect Blake Swihart Has Asked the Red Sox to Trade Him

NBC Sports Boston – Blake Swihart has spent all season in a virtually non-existent role, one that Alex Cora and Dave Dombrowski both indicated on Tuesday will not change barring injury to Sandy Leon or Christian Vazquez. Swihart’s agent, Brodie Scoffield of The Legacy Agency, sees a situation that’s been unproductive for both the player and the team, and has asked the Red Sox to trade Swihart…Swihart earlier in May said he would leave the trade topic to Scoffield. Scoffield declined to comment at the time. Now, with more than a quarter of the season completed and Swihart still serving no purpose other than “protection for us as a third catcher,” as Dombrowski put it Tuesday, Scoffield is pushing for change.

With Dustin Pedroia returning, it seems now would be the time to make a move with Blake,” Scoffield said.

I can’t say I’m surprised and I absolutely don’t blame the guy. He was once the top rated catching prospect in all of baseball and then the Red Sox stuck him in left field where he jacked up his ankle and derailed his career.

Here’s what MLB.com had to say about Swihart in January 2015:

“Catcher Blake Swihart, who continues to impress with his consistent approach at the plate and his skills on the defensive side, is ranked No. 18. Though he didn’t become a regular catcher until 2010, Swihart is now the game’s top prospect at the position, reminding many of a young Buster Posey.”

Now he’s the 3rd catcher and the 25th man on a Red Sox team that rarely even plays him. Since he’s out of options the Sox can’t send him down to Pawtucket without the risk of another team claiming him and the Sox aren’t going to risk losing him for nothing so here we are. Blake is stuck in no man’s land. A trade is probably the best result for both sides. As much as I’d like to just see the team start playing him, Christian Vazquez is dynamite defensively and Sandy Leone seems to have settled in as Chris Sale’s personal catcher so there’s not a lot of playing time to go around. Those two have been positively radioactive offensively though so why Swihart hasn’t gotten really any playing time is beyond me.

You would think playing outfield is completely out of the question after what happened last time and with Dustin Pedroia coming back from the DL soon there will be even less room in the infield. He could DH but he’s definitely third in line behind mashers like JD Martinez and Hanley Ramirez for that role.

So we may be seeing the final days of Blake Swihart in Boston. I hope he goes somewhere and gets the opportunity to play because the Red Sox have royally fucked up his career to this point. Who knows if he goes the way of other former top catching prospects like Jared Saltalamacchia (spelled that right on the first try, NBD) and sucks or if he goes on to be an excellent catcher for the next decade. But lets see the guy play somewhere else if not here. Because a 3rd string catcher who doesn’t really play any other position well is not a great depth option on a major league roster. The 25th man on a roster should be a super utility player who can play basically anywhere on any night. Maybe the Sox get a decent reliever in return for Swihart and kill two birds with one stone. Either way, it seems like its probably time to cut bait. We hardly knew ye, Blake.

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Red Sox Reliever Carson Smith Hurt His Shoulder by Throwing….His Glove

ESPNBoston Red Sox reliever Carson Smith suffered a subluxation of his right shoulder when he threw his glove in the dugout Monday night, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski told reporters Tuesday. Smith was placed on the 10-day disabled list Monday, but Dombrowski said there was no timetable for his return. Dombrowski called the injury “unfortunate” and said Smith is seeking a second opinion. “It’s got the potential of being a major injury,” he said. Smith allowed an eighth-inning home run to the Athletics’ Khris Davis in Boston’s 6-5 loss Monday night. When Smith left the mound he threw his glove in frustration, causing the injury. Smith is 1-1 with a 3.77 ERA and 18 strikeouts over 14.1 innings pitched. Left-handed pitcher Bobby Poyner has been called up from Triple-A Pawtucket.

Can’t make this shit up guys. As much as the Patriots have been filling the tabloids this offseason, the Red Sox literally are never not a soap opera. How a professional athlete can dislocate his shoulder throwing a small piece of leather yet is fine repeatedly throwing a baseball 95 mph is beyond me.

If this wasn’t comical enough, Carson Smith then came out and essentially blamed how the team has used him for the injury.

“I think fatigue played a factor in my shoulder. My shoulder just couldn’t handle it.”

Carson Smith, the guy who has pitched a grueling 14.1 innings this season is complaining of being overworked. Granted 3 of his last 4 YEARS in the majors have been more or less on the shelf throwing 6.2 IP, 2.2 IP, 70 IP and 8.1 IP each of the last 4 years. So he may have been feeling a little fatigued, but you gotta start throwing the ball at some point.

Which brings me to my next point, its time for Dave Dombrowski to face the music a little bit. This guy has failed time and time again to build a respectable bullpen. Trading for Craig Kimbrel has been a huge plus as he’s been dominant, but that obviously taxed the farm system for future trade chips or depth. Acquiring one of the best closers in all of baseball by trading a ton of prospects isn’t exactly a groundbreaking chess move. After that though? He’s traded for guys with known injury histories like Carson Smith and Tyler Thornburg, who we STILL haven’t seen on the mound for the Red Sox yet despite having traded for him 17 months ago. Dombrowksi trades for these guys that are always injured and is then surprised when they get injured, leaving the team in a shitty spot. Same thing with Drew Pomeranz who was great last year, but is constantly on and off the DL.

Anybody can trade the farm for guys like Craig Kimbrel and Chris Sale and then sign the top free agents in David Price and JD Martinez. But its the little moves that make a great GM and ultimately build a championship team. Dombrowski has botched all of those little moves thus far and unless the Sox do something about it before the trade deadline, I worry this bullpen will be the weakness that ultimately sinks any World Series aspirations.

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Celtics Take a Commanding 2-0 Lead Over the Cavs With a Grit and Balls Win

Grit and Balls baby. That was a vintage Celtics win that would make Kevin Garnett proud. Boston imposed its will on the Cavs and just beat them down for a 107-94 victory despite a monster game from LeBron. Now the series heads back to Cleveland on Saturday night with the Celtics holding a commanding 2-0 lead.

Fun fact: the Celtics are 37-0 when up 2-0 in a best of 7 series.

As back and forth as this game was, there were actually only 2 lead changes in the entire game. That really speaks to the Celtics just holding on for dear life as LeBron put up 42 points including an insane 21 points in the first quarter.

LeBron was using allll of the Infinity Stones in that first quarter as he was just unstoppable.

Despite that absolute show from LeBron, the Celtics were only down 4 after one due in large part to Jaylen Brown dropping 13 points himself in the first quarter.

LeBron did give everyone a scare at the end of the 2nd quarter though after taking a shoulder to the head from Jayson Tatum. He looked a little woozy and shortly afterwards went back to the locker room for a brief moment. He came back just a couple of minutes later and did finish with 40+ points so he seemed to be fine. Was he milking it for the cameras? Ehhhh I think he might have been just a little bit, but its always difficult to tell with potential head injuries.

We do get this qualifier directly from NBA.com of when and why the C’s went on a huge run and won the game so thats fun.

Kind of leaves out the fact that LeBron only scored 4 points in the second quarter and elected to not play defense half the game. Really, it was a HUGE run after half time that was the turning point for the C’s who outscored Cleveland 36-22 in the third quarter and then never really looked back.

The Cavs also had TRIPLE the amount of turnovers as the Celtics with 15 to Boston’s 5. Rebounds were nearly even with Boston edging Cleveland 46-45 so the Tristan Thompson effect wasn’t nearly as prolific as many thought it may have been. Al Horford even finished with another double double (15 pts, 10 rebounds) despite having Thompson’s vaunted defensive attention.

The Cavs also got some bad news before the game when their coveted Brooklyn Nets pick, the crown jewel of the Kyrie Irving trade, turned into the No. 8 pick in this year’s draft. So Danny Ainge hoarded those Nets picks for *years* and then at the last second he jumps off the bandwagon and trades his last Brooklyn pick and it drops all the way to No. 8!

Hello darkness my old friend.

J.R. Smith always has been and always will be a scumbag. Late in the game Horford went up for a layup and Smith pushes him in the back sending Horford crashing to the hardwood behind the hoop. Even the broadcast team called it a disgusting, dirty play and called for a Flagrant 2 (Smith only got a 1).

Do people remember J.R. Smith legitimately hammer fisting an unsuspecting Jae Crowder in the face in the 2014-15 playoffs? That was one of the dirtiest things I’ve ever seen.

Smith was suspended 2 games for that sucker punch. Once a shithead, always a shithead.

Absolutely LOVE Marcus Smart getting right in JR’s grill too and letting him know that shit ain’t gonna fly, resulting in both getting technicals. Its a walking cliche at this point, but Marcus Smart just has that IT factor. Whether you want to call it energy, passion, grit, whatever it is, Smart makes this team remarkably better.

The TD Garden crowd was doing their role too with crystal clear chants of FUCK YOU JR, which was easily heard on the ESPN broadcast.

After that the Cavs checked out and called it a night. Even the national grab ass broadcast team was calling out the Cavaliers’ effort once the Celtics started putting the screws to them. Usually those takes are reserved for Boston talk radio in between Terry Rozier MVP calls.

We talked a lot in the past few days about how much deeper the Celtics are in terms of scoring threats. Just look at the Game 2 box score. LeBron went off for a monster triple double with 42 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists. Kevin Love had a great game with 22 and 15. Other than that only one Cavs player even touched double digits and that was Kyle Korver with 11 points and Korver scored all of those in his first 9 minutes on the floor before going scoreless for the final 12 minutes he played. Not exactly the Big 3 LeBron is used to playing with.

The Celtics meanwhile had SIX players in double digits. Jayson Tatum (11 pts), Marcus Morris (12 pts), Al Horford (15 pts), Jaylen Brown (23 pts), Terry Rozier (18 pts), and Marcus Smart (11 pts). That is depth.

Now holding a commanding 2-0 lead the Celtics head to Cleveland on Saturday night to try and put the nails in LeBron’s coffin. However, its a popular saying for a reason: you’re not in trouble in a series until you lose a game at home. While I think the Celtics are in prime position to win this series it is far from a lock because LeBron is legitimately Jason from Friday the 13th. Don’t just assume he’s done, make sure he is dead and buried before turning your attention elsewhere. I do not want to be having this conversation about the series being tied 2-2 this time next week.

Keep the foot on the gas and put LeBron away so he can get out of Cleveland, head west, and cede his rule over the East to this young Celtics squad. Bend the knee, LeBron.

 

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Rapid Reactions at Halftime of Game 2 Between Celtics and Cavs.

LeBron was using allll of the Infinity Stones at the start of Game 2, going off for 21 points in the 1st quarter with 4 three pointers. He was playing out of his mind, hitting one ridiculous shot after the next.

Jaylen Brown was right there with him though, putting up 13 in the first quarter to help the Celtics keep pace.

But we all knew this was coming, we all knew LeBron was coming out throwing haymakers. After that blistering start LBJ only scored 4 points in the 2nd quarter, so its just a matter of holding down the patio furniture when the storms rolling through.

We did also get an absolutely money shot of sad LeBron James and you had to wonder just what he was thinking.

Also a scary moment towards the end of the second quarter when Jayson Tatum cut across the baseline attempting to steal a loose ball, shouldering LeBron James in the head in the process. LeBron looked pretty groggy and left the game to head back to the locker room so you had to start thinking concussion. But he came back about 90 seconds later so it would seem he’s fine, but who knows with shots to the head.

Kyle Korver also came to play tonight scoring 11 points in 9 minutes in the first half so thats less than ideal. Brown is currently the only Celtics player in double digits scoring so we’re gonna need someone to step up and help Jaylen shoulder the load.

Second Half LETS GOOOO

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Also Tonight, the Celtics Take on the Cavs Looking to Quiet LeBron James in Game 2

Jaylen Brown and the boys are looking to shush LeBron James and take a commanding 2-0 lead in Game 2 tonight. After coming out of the gates strapped to a rocket in Game 1 the Celtics were able to cruise past Cleveland, who simply did not show up to play. The Cavs were ice cold from the field and an abysmal 15% from the 3 point line so I would expect water to find its level there, especially since the Celtics shot 51% for the game.

As we said here before Game 1 though, the Celtics match up with Cleveland extremely well and despite all their injuries Boston is just a deeper team. They have more players that are a threat to put up 20 points than the Cavs and that causes defensive nightmares for a team that flirts with Kevin Love at center. Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier, Marcus Morris, and Al Horford are all a threat to score off the dribble or from 3. The Cavs are more one dimensional, which is why they have been relying on LeBron to score 30+ every night.

Tyronn Lue hinted that his team may make some adjustments to the starting lineup for Game 2. This was after apparently doing even the most basic level of research where Lue and co. realized that Tristan Thompson is statistically the best player in the NBA against Al Horford.

“Looking at the statistics, over the last three years with at least 30 possessions [defending him], out of all the guys that have guarded Al Horford, Tristan is no. 1 in the league defending Al Horford,” Lue told reporters. “So, that’s a good thing, you know?”

Seems like something that you may have wanted to know before Game 1. Kevin Love cannot guard Horford, that is painfully clear. And Love is a great player, but he’s not exactly a physical presence in the paint and he loves to drift out for those corner 3’s so its much easier for the C’s to switch another defender onto him as he floats around. Thompson isn’t exactly an offensive wunderkind, but if he can put the screws to Horford defensively then it may alter how the C’s run their offense.

I think the Celtics are going to stick with what got them here rather than react prematurely to any lineup changes Cleveland makes. If the Cavs want to insert Thompson into the starting 5 then let them; don’t overthink things and change one of the most efficient lineups in the NBA.

“Tatum, Rozier and Brown — Ainge’s last three first-round picks — combined for 47 points and 20 rebounds on Sunday. Throw in the other two starters — Al Horford and Marcus Morris — and in these playoffs, that lineup is scoring at a more efficient rate than the Warriors’ Death Lineup, which might well be the best lineup in basketball history.”

Now the Celtics just need to withstand the roundhouse kick they all know is coming from LeBron James. He is going to come out guns blazing tonight. He was shooting around while most of us were still eating breakfast so he’s definitely ready to go.

Weather that storm boys.

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Celtics Have a 2 Percent Chance of Getting the Number 2 or 3 Overall Pick at the NBA Draft Lottery Tonight

Lost in all the excitement of this unexpectedly deep playoff run for the Celtics is the fact that they are still sitting on yet another potential goldmine. The Celtics have an outside shot at having a Top 3 pick fall into their laps this year.

The NBA Draft Lottery is tonight before Game 2 and the C’s will be watching with great interest as they could walk away with Philly’s first round pick (via Los Angeles) tonight. Boston is basically riding a heater after landing the No. 1 overall pick for the first time in franchise history last summer. Tonight will be a heat check from Danny.

To recap last year’s draft day trade that got us here, Danny Ainge traded the No. 1 overall pick to Philadelphia (who drafted Markelle Fultz) in exchange for the No. 3 overall pick (C’s drafted Jayson Tatum) and a future first round pick, which could be Philly’s pick this year that the Sixers had previously acquired from the Lakers. There were some protections on that pick though. The Celtics will get the Sixers/Lakers first round pick this year if it falls at No. 2 or No. 3 overall, which has a 2.87% chance of occuring at the Draft Lottery tonight.

Those aren’t great odds, but imagine the chaos we’d see on NBA Twitter if the Celtics, who are already pushing the Cavs to the limit and are expecting both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward back next season, get a Top 3 pick? People would be screaming about frozen envelopes and crafting conspiracy theories about Danny Ainge having naked pics of Adam Silver to explain this great run of luck in Boston.

However, the Sixers (via the Lakers) are currently projected to get the No. 10 pick based on the Draft Lottery odds. We’ve seen teams make crazy jumps before (i.e. Cleveland jumping from 8th to 1st in 2011 to draft Kyrie Irving) so this wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility. If the Cavs somehow jump from their current spot at No. 8 to No. 1 with the Brooklyn pick the Celtics sent them in the Kyrie trade I’m gonna snap though. Cleveland has had the No. 1 overall pick 3 times in the last 7 years. So who’s rigging the league for who? It would be hilarious though to watch Trader Danny hoard those Brooklyn picks for YEARS and then jump off the bandwagon at the last second to flip his last Nets pick, only to see it fall all the way to No. 8. Seriously though, Danny should be a stock broker.

If the Philly/Lakers pick ends up being anything other than No. 2 or No. 3 then the Celtics’ return for the Fultz/Tatum trade gets kicked to next summer when the C’s will receive a first rounder from the Sixers. The Sixers have their own pick next year as well as the Sacramento Kings’ first rounder so the Celtics would get the higher of the two next year unless either lands on No. 1 overall then they’d get the other pick instead.

In case you were wondering, the Kings finished 27-55 this year, which was tied for the 6th worst record in the NBA, with no signs of improvement next year. So either way the Celtics could be nabbing another Top 5 pick if not this year then very likely next year.

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