It happened late here in Boston locally so it went largely unnoticed live, but last night in Utah Paul Pierce did what we have seen Paul Pierce do so many times in Celtic Green, he picked the team up, put them on his back and made sure they didn’t finish their post All Star Break West Coast Swing with only 1 win in 5 tries. They were still 2-3 on the road trip, which is not great, but as the regular season winds down and preparation for the playoffs ramp up, its good to see Pierce still has the ability to take over a game. He doesn’t do it like Michael Jordan, “with the greatest of ease”. He doesn’t do it like Lebron, with sheer physical superiority. He does it with the grace of an ostrich, smoothly awkward and deliberately quick, all in 1 fell swoop. If the Celtics are going to make any noise in the NBA playoffs they are going to need Pierce to do that a couple of times in each series. He’s too old to do it as effectively as he did in 2002 when he took a fairly motley crew to the Eastern Conference Finals, but he has a better team now and maybe just maybe these Celtics can make a run at the Miami Heat and the NBA Finals.
Tom Brady signed an extension this week that has reduced his salary cap number significantly and will allow the Patriots great flexibility in free agency. He gave up some leverage in exchange for guaranteed money through the age of 40. He hasn’t done anything that doesn’t make sense for him on the field or off, so why is the media treating him like a salary cap Mother Teresa? He still gets his money, in fact he gets a little more, and he gets security, plus the team now has the ability to improve the team around him and give him a better chance each year to compete for a 4th Super Bowl title. Its a move that is selfish, and not altruistic as it is being made out to be. The little bit of leverage for the exchange in security at his age is negligible. I don’t mean to say that he doesn’t deserve credit for being a team player he does, but lets just relax on the hyperbole of him as a sainted figure.
There was a great dunk this week and it is why the NBA needs to get Lebron into the slam dunk contest. I talked about David Aldridge’s idea a week or so ago too put 10 million dollars at center court and tell the players in the league its winner take all. The video of the dunk below is what we NBA fans WANT to see. You want ratings? Get dunks like this on Saturday night of NBA All Star weekend.
Red Sox spring training is in full swing, but it is still only February and I’ve heard talk of how there is some thought that prospect Jackie Bradley could perhaps, possibly, maybe, conceivably break camp with the Red Sox and announce his presence in Boston a full year ahead of what anyone had thought. Let me be very clear about this, the Red Sox are rebuilding, whether they want us to believe that or not. To break camp with a prospect like Bradley and start his Major League service time clock is ridiculous. Teams only have so much time to control the rights of these players once they reach the big league level and to waste any of 1 of their top prospects time at the start of a season where everything has to go right for them to even sniff the playoffs is ridiculous. Let the kids develop in the controlled environment of the minors, and let the guys you brought in play, if you are close and think that some of these prospects can put you over the top then bring them up, but lets cross that bridge if we get there.
I haven’t delved into the NFL draft yet and I’m waiting for the combine to finish up today to really take a look at who helped and who hurt their causes, but early word on the draft is that there is great early round depth on the defensive line, especially inside, so I would not be surprised to see the Patriots use their 1st round pick to add depth, and an eventual Vince Wilfork replacement there.