Three wishes for The Rapture

197883.jpg

Three wishes for The Rapture

By Rich Levine
CSNNE.com

Well, it was nice knowing everyone.

And if you dont know what Im talking about, then I have good news and bad news.

Good news: Dont worry about paying any of those outstanding parking tickets

Bad news: Were goners.

In just about 24 hours, the Rapture will be upon us, marking the end of our days here on Earth. I know, kind of puts a damper on the weekend, but we had a pretty good run, right? I mean, at least we did better than the dinosaurs. And like the dinosaurs before us, its now our time to say wordaapp.

Anyway, its only fitting to spend our fleeting moments doing the same thing we did for most of our lives, so heres a hypothetical sports question to consider (inspired by producer Jim Aberdale):

If you were granted one Boston-related sports wish before were all sucked into the vortex, what would it be?

And you cant say: Bruins win the Stanley Cup or Celtics go back and play the season with Perk because, unlike everything else in this column, thats unrealistic. Theres not enough time for the NHL Playoffs to end, or for Danny Ainge to build a time machine. We have only one full day left, theres no time to get fancy. Actually, theres not much time for anything . . . so lets move on.

Here are three End of Our Days wishes:

1. I wish we knew what really happened with LeBron in last year's playoffs

Or to put it in wish form: I wish we knew what really happened with LeBron and the Cavs during last years playoffs.

And I dont even care about the fact that a player may or may not have slept with another players mother (even though thats still pretty amazing). Its just the fact that, whether or not the rumors are true, something obviously happened. And that something was big enough to submarine the best player in the world and change NBA history.

Lets not forget that the Cavs were the better team in that series. They were the best team in the conference. They had the best player, a very solid supporting cast, and most of all, maybe the best chemistry in the entire league. I was in the Cleveland locker room before a game that February, and left convinced that theyd win it all. Not that Ive been around forever, but Id never seen another locker room like that, and still havent. Not even the Celtics at the start of this year could match their visual chemistry.

Then it happened. Clevelands own little mini-Rapture. And that was that.

Who knows what would have happened if the Cavs, as they were supposed to, knocked off the Celtics in the second round? I bet Doc Rivers would have walked away. And then, everything would be different. And what happens with the Cavs? Maybe they win it all? I think LeBron would have left either way, but without this collapse maybe he doesnt handle it the same way, and maybe Cavs fans arent as apoplectic.

No one talks about this because the storys more volatile than Milton Bradley. Its a touchy, touchy subject, plus its not like anyone involved is willing to talk. But that doesnt make it any less interesting or important. Whatever happened there has turned the NBA upside down. Whatever it was that made LeBron go off changed the course of NBA history. And I think its only natural to want to know what that was.

Something tells me well find out at some point, but sadly, we only have a day before its all over.

2. I wish I could spend an afternoon with Wakefield

Sounds like a forthcoming Mitch Albom joint, but come on, were talking about the Rapture here. Theres no need for extra drama.

For the better part of the last 17 years, Ive wanted to get into the box against Tim Wakefield. For one, because Ive always wanted know what its like to face major league pitching, and Wakes the one guy I could dig in against without the fear of taking a fastball to the head.

But also, because this pitch is now responsible for one of the longest pitching career in Red Sox history. Its made Wake millions and millions of dollars, allowed him to stay active in this league longer than just about anyone not named Jamie Moyer (or Julio Franco), and made some of the best hitters in history look like Wily Mo Pena.

I want to look like Wily Mo Pena.

I want to know what its like to stare down the barrel of Wakefields whacky knuckler and live (for a day, I guess) with a complete understanding of what its all about; about what goes over those 60 feet-six inches.

Tim, my afternoons wide open.

3. I wish I knew the truth about Tim.

No, not Wakefield: Donaghy.

I want someone-in-the-know to go through Tim Donaghys book, or a transcript of any of his million interviews, and address each issue, step-by-step. Ok, thats true. Nope, that ones a lie . . . and so on.

And you know what? I wouldnt be shocked by anything. I wouldnt be shocked if most of what Donaghys said is true: That games were manipulated by execs, that referees played favorites, that everything is not how David Stern would like it to seem.

Of course, I dont want to. But at this point, Ill almost believe anything.

Theres just no excuse for what continues to happen. And I dont want to take away from how awesome the games themselves have been; its still unbelievably enjoyable. But the ref problem is an epidemic, and theres no end in sight.

Its such a blatant slap in the face, and Sterns so cavalier about trotting these guys out there, thats its clear that something isnt right. Otherwise, Bennett Salvatore wouldnt be reffing playoffs games anymore. Otherwise, we wouldnt have to deal with the same incompetent, attention-seeking divas stirring up all the chaos with no real ramifications.

And Im not saying this in relation to the Celtics series. Even if the Heat did get the benefit of some calls, they still deserved to win. I just mean this in general. Refereeing continues to destroy the NBA product.

And Id love to know why.

Rich Levine's column runs each Monday, Wednesday and Friday on CSNNE.com. Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrlevine33

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

With Thomas drawing attention, Stevens turns to Rozier in big moment

BOSTON – Prior to Saturday’s game, Terry Rozier talked to CSNNE.com about the importance of staying ready always, because “you never know when your name or number is going to be called.”

Like when trailing by three points in the fourth quarter with less than 10 seconds to play?

Yes, Rozier was on the floor in that scenario and the second-year guard delivered when his team needed it.

MORE:

But Rozier’s fourth quarter heroics which forced overtime against Portland, did not provide that much-needed jolt that Boston needed as the Blazers managed to fend off the Celtics in overtime, 127-123.

For Rozier’s part, he had 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

The 15 points scored for Rozier was the most for him since he tallied 16 in a 30-point Celtics win at Orlando on Dec. 7.

But more than the points, the decision by head coach Brad Stevens to draw up a play for him in that moment, a time when most of what Boston does revolves around the shooting of Isaiah Thomas who has been among the top-3 scorers in the fourth quarter most of this season, was surprising to many.

And at that point in the game, Thomas already had 13 fourth-quarter points.

Stevens confirmed after the game that the last shot in the fourth was indeed for Rozier, but Thomas’ presence on the floor was important to its execution.

“He (Thomas) also draws a lot of attention,” Stevens said. “So I think you just weigh kind of … what kind of shot you’re going to get, depending on who it is.”

Rozier had initially screened for Thomas, and Thomas came back and screened for him.

“I was open as soon as I caught … and I let it fly,” Rozier said. “Coach drew up a play for me and it felt good to see the ball go in.”

Being on the floor at that time, win or lose, was a victory of sorts for Rozier.

He has seen first-hand how quickly the tide can change in the NBA for a young player.

After a strong summer league showing and a solid training camp, Rozier had earned himself a firm spot in the team’s regular rotation.

But a series of not-so-great games coupled with Gerald Green’s breakout night on Christmas Day, led to his playing time since then becoming more sporadic.

Rozier, in an interview with CSNNE.com, acknowledged it hasn’t been easy going from playing regular minutes to not being sure how much court time, if any, he would receive.

But he says the veterans on the team have been good about keeping his spirits up, and one in particular – Avery Bradley – has been especially helpful.

Like Rozier, Bradley’s first couple of years saw his playing time go from non-existent to inconsistent. But Bradley stayed the course and listened to the team’s veterans who continued to tell him that his hard work would pay off sooner or later.

Those same words of wisdom Bradley received in his early days, he passes on to Rozier.

“It’s big,” Rozier told CSNNE.com. “He (Bradley) tells me things like that. I felt I was ready for this (inconsistent minutes) after all that he told me. It’s big to have a guy like him that has been through it all with a championship team, been around this organization for a while; have him talk to you is big. It’s always good. That’s why I stay positive, and be ready.”

Which is part of the reason why Stevens didn’t hesitate to call up a play for the second-year guard despite him being a 33.3 percent shooter from 3-point range this season – that ranks eighth on this team, mind you.

“He’s a really good shooter,” Stevens said of Rozier. “I think with more opportunity that will show itself true, but he made some big ones in the fourth quarter. We went to him a few different times out of time-outs, and felt good about him making that one.”

And to know that Stevens will turn to him not just to spell Thomas or one of the team’s other guards, but to actually make a game-altering play in the final seconds … that’s major.

“It helps tremendously,” said Rozier who added that his confidence is through “the roof. It makes me want to do everything. You know defense, all of that. It’s great, especially to have a guy like Brad trust you."