Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
The phrase “revenge is a dish best served cold” figuratively means it’s wise to wait and bide one’s time and wait for an unexpected moment to exact satisfaction. Boston, though, added a literal twist by getting back at Miami for their road loss in a frigid Boston Garden. Heat players were openly complaining about the temperature before the game, and Aron Baynes joked that it was 10 below on the floor before the tip, but Boston came out hot and then rode a big third quarter to a lead too big for Miami to overcome. Boston survived a late Miami run to win their fourth straight….
The Celtics stormed out to a 12-2 lead, shutting the Heat down defensively and pushing the ball off Miami’s misses. The Heat actually didn’t make a basket in that early Boston run as their two points came on an Al Horford goaltending call. The normally attacking Heat settled a bit and dribbled their way into a 24 second violations while the Celtics hit five of their first nine shots.
So Danny Ainge apparently decided to go full Red Auerbach, and freeze out a team that is literally named after their home town’s subtropical climate (and ‘subtropical’ is the official term, you see, a tropical climate is, by definition, limited to the area between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn which mark the northern and southern limits, respectively, where the sun appears directly overhead).
Seriously, though, the Boston Garden belongs to the guys that own the Bruins, and it’s not like these buildings have one of those old rotary Honeywell thermostats in a hallway that can be fiddled with anyway.
And I’ve officially given up trying to figure out what the deal is with this team.
I had the dump the day after the Celtics’ last game against the Heat, and I opined that the test of the team would be how they bounced back from a listless performance.
They ‘bounced’ back by losing two more games–phoning in their matchup against the Magic and committing heinous crimes against the sport in their game against Brooklyn.
Then they beat the Raptors and have now won four straight.
I don’t get this team at all. They are a walking, talking, occasionally basketball playing version of the gambler’s fallacy. They’re basically on pace to finish with two wins for every loss, but your guess is as good as mine about when and where those wins and losses will occur.
Of course, I’d be more than happy if they prove me wrong and proceed to tear up the rest of the schedule, but short of that eight game winning streak across the first half of December, they have yet to put together a meaningful stretch of consistently good basketball.
Page 2: Where I don’t know what Bembry said, but it must’ve been bad
When Marcus Smart lunged at Atlanta Hawks forward DeAndre’ Bembry instead leaving the floor Saturday night, there was an immediate question of what kind of punishment that would earn from the NBA.
Today the NBA decided to fine him $35,000 for the incident. The league decided against suspending him for a game, which would not only have cost him the playing time, but a game check of approximately $140,000.
So the theme for this morning’s dump is pretty much ‘I have no idea what’s going on.’ — which makes me question the wisdom of my higher-ups in keeping me on staff and, now that you’re this far into the article, your wisdom in bearing with me.
Anyway, it’s never a good sign for the officials when a veteran color guy like Scal has no idea that a technical has just been assessed (peep the vid here). The whole point of technical fouls is that they’re assessed based on conduct that clearly and obviously crosses a line.
I fully expected Smart to get a suspension for pursuing Bembry. Especially since this was the second time this season (including the scrap with J.R. Smith) that Smart has gone after an opponent.
Instead, the NBA fined him $35,000 (as compared with the $25,000 fine from the Smith altercation).
After the game, Bembry said that he figured Smart ‘had nothing left to lose’ after he was ejected, but that’s paltering with the truth. Bembry said something that set Smart off almost a minute after Smart was issued his second tech. Given Smart’s disproportionate reaction to Bembry and Smith, as opposed to other incidents this season, I’m guessing both of them said something significantly different than what Smart is used to hearing, and who would be surprised if it involved Smart’s recently deceased mother?
At the same time, while the NBA might be inclined to cut Smart a very small amount of slack if Embry and Smith went after Smart’s mom, that slack is likely at its limit, and Smart needs to understand that even if a guy on the other team uses ‘fighting words’, he’s solely responsible for his reaction to them. He also needs to understand that other players of a certain stripe are going to pick up on what set him off and try to use it to their advantage.
Finally: Where Carmelo Anthony is apparently a Bull. I guess.
Anthony, a 10-time All-Star, will not play a game for the Bulls, who will eventually trade or waive him before the Feb. 7 trade deadline, league sources said.
The teams wanted to complete the deal Monday, but the league office was closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and a trade call couldn’t be executed to finalize the deal, sources said. The trade will be completed Tuesday, sources said.
My youngest brother is a Bulls fan. Actually, I’m fine with this. I shouldn’t be the only person in the family who has the misfortune of rooting for a team owned by Jerry Reinsdorf.
He was giving music lessons when the details of this story broke–first that the trade framework was in place, and subsequently that the Bulls intended to waive Melo.
His summary on the family’s sports group chat:
Just finished at school. I guess Melo’s career as a Bull fit into my four hours teaching today.
The rest of the links:
MassLive: Brad Stevens’ milestone, Aron Baynes the maniac, and 10 things we learned from Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat | Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving steals the show against the Miami Heat | Boston Celtics big man Al Horford and his sore knee reaping benefits from December rest | Marcus Smart mum on outburst, Brad Stevens on the New England Patriots and other Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat pregame notes