Garnett, Celtics 'baking' for a cause


Garnett, Celtics 'baking' for a cause

After Sundays blowout victory, Kevin Garnett said something very Kevin Garnettish about the Celtics chemistry.

It involved baking, waiting, results and rhythm, and Im sure youve seen it by now, but here it is again (Courtesy of Ben Rohrbach at WEEI):

I always like to use baking a cake as an example, he said. Nothings going to come out of the first two minutes. You have to sit there and wait on it, for yall who know how to bake. Some of yall dont know how to bake, but dont worry about it. Ask your mothers and fathers or something someone who knows how to bake. But its very similar to that. You have to give it time for it to turn into what its going to be. Time tells everything when the results come, and Im just glad were in a nice rhythm right now.

Now, this has all the key components of a typical Kevin Garnett analogy.

First, it takes an otherwise simple concept and makes it sound like rocket science. As if there's only a select class of culinary-inclined human beings who understand the basic principles of baking a cake.

Second, he incorporates his audience.

In situations like this, Garnett always takes a little shot at the media (usually not in a malicious way), and likes to focus on one of two things.

1. Their age. 2. Their fashion sensephysical appearance.

In this case, KG went with No. 1, suggesting that those who are unable to follow the analogy should "ask your mothers and fathers or something."

And finally, the key to any Garnett analogy, even one as simple as "building chemistry is like baking a cake," it trails off at the end and leaves room for interpretation.

Is KG saying the cake is done?

Is this his subtle way of letting everyone know: Well, I told you this would take some time, and guess what? Ding! We're ready, and now the rest of the Eastern Conference can eat it!"

Or is he merely revealing a sense of cautious optimism. Letting us, his teammates and the whole basketball world know that the chemistry is getting there, but still needs time to settle and cool before it's ready for potential championship consumption? (Analogies!)

I'm leaning toward the latter. But either way, you can tell that Garnett is pleased with the development of that locker room. The fact that he even bothered to go down that road and mess around with the media indicates that he's at the very least confident that the Celtics have made unbelievable strides, are on the right track and will be ready to take it to the next level when the time is right

Well, it just so happens that that time is now.

Let's be honest: When the Celtics and Hawks take the court tonight in Atlanta, there will be no question as to which is the better team. Over the course of the last four games, and really, the last five years, the Celtics have proven that they have what it takes to extinguish the Hawks. And given injuries, momentum and everything else, it's fair to assume that that's exactly what the Celtics will eventually do.

But a championship team a team with any real aspirations of making something of this ridiculous season does it tonight.

The Hawks might be at home, but given the events of the last three games, the crowd will be ready to turn on their team if things get off to a bad start. Not to mention, Atlanta's no stranger to seeing their season end at home. They've been eliminated at Phillips Arena in each of the last four seasons.

And like we already said, this isn't a matter of talent. This is a matter of will. It's a matter of the Celtics taking the floor with a level of unity, focus and fortitude that will help them rise above all evils of human nature. The same evils that led to the Hawks choking away Game 2 and almost had the Celtics blow Game 3. The evils that lead better teams to let down their guard and breath life into an opponent that has no business living.

The NBA playoffs are Mortal Kombat, and the Hawks are hunched over in the corner with "FINISH HIM!!" hanging over their heads in bright red letters. And if the Celtics can't get it done tonight, they'll have to head back in the kitchen and re-work the recipe.

It will come at the expense of Paul Pierce's knee. Ray Allen's ankle. Avery Bradley's shoulder. Rajon Rondo's back. Mickael Pietrus' hamstring. Greg Stiemsma's foot. Kevin Garnett's entire body. It might not ruin the meal, but it will certainly complicate the hell out of the baking process.

And if you don't know what I'm talking about, go ask your mothers and fathers or something.

Rich can be reached at Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Felger: Broncos’ Elway and Kubiak the only NFL braintrust close to the Patriots


Felger: Broncos’ Elway and Kubiak the only NFL braintrust close to the Patriots

Before I make the following point, I'd like to make one thing clear to my sensitive readers: I do not believe the Denver Broncos are better than Patriots. I do not believe they have “passed'' the Pats. Please, Patriots fans, when New England goes into Denver and wins on Dec. 18 and/or the Pats beat them again in the playoffs, save your emails and calls. Don't get your panties in a bunch. You're still the best.

However, as we assess the pathetic state of brainpower across the NFL, the Broncos are one of only a few teams that deserve mention alongside the Pats. Perhaps they're the only one.  As their recent handling of their quarterback situation shows, especially from a coaching standpoint, Gary Kubiak and John Elway have proven they know what they're doing -- and how many teams in the league can you say that about?

In Denver, Brock Osweiler actually looked like a quarterback with a future. In Houston, he barely looks like he belongs in the league. That's about coaching, scheme and culture. It seems that somewhere between the silly letterman jackets in Houston and his second crack in Denver, Kubiak got a clue. Last year, he managed Osweiler to a 5-2 record before sitting him and somehow winning a Super Bowl behind the noodle-armed Peyton Manning. This year, he has another marginal talent, Trevor Siemian, off to a 5-1 start in his first season under center.

There are many NFL coaches who didn't hit their stride until their second job, and you have to wonder if Kubiak falls in this camp. I actually saw him put down his playsheet with his offense on the field the other night and thought, maybe he's starting to get it. He looked more like a head coach and just a little less like an offensive coordinator. 

Either way, Kubiak has displayed an excellent touch with a string of mediocre quarterbacks. And from the original decision to shut down Manning, to the insertion of Osweiler, to the reinstatement of Manning, and then the ultimate handing of the job to Siemian, he and Elway have pushed all the right buttons. If Paxton Lynch turns into a player down the road, look out.

Of course, Kubiak hasn't had much to do with his defense, which has been the domain of Elway, the architect, and to a lesser extent, Wade Phillips, the coordinator. Elway remains one of the few executives to build a championship team largely through free agency, and some of his moves have been so cold-hearted, so debated at the time, that only Bill Belichick could relate.

Who else fires a coach who led you to four division titles and a Super Bowl berth (John Fox), and then follows that up with a title? Who else lets go of BOTH quarterbacks who led you to a title and follows that up with a division lead?

It's moves like those that led ESPN to display a stat montage late in the game on Monday depicting Elway as ``the Don.'' (Wonder where they got that idea from?). Think about it.  Who else in the league -- what coach, executive or owner -- gets that kind of ``mastermind'' treatment? I don't think anyone else deserves it other than Belichick and, in second place, Elway. Ozzie Newsome in Baltimore would be a distant third; or perhaps Pete Carroll and John Schneider in Seattle deserve mention.

Regardless, as the ESPN graphic showed, the Broncos' record since Elway took over in 2011 is now 63-24, second in the league over that time only to the Pats (67-20). Denver is also one of just four teams to make the playoffs every year during his tenure (the Packers, Pats and Bengals are the others). Like the Pats and Seahawks, he's been to two Super Bowls and won one. And like the Pats, he has won his division five straight years.  

Perhaps that all comes to an end this year, and it sure looks like Denver will be fighting an uphill battle when it comes to earning home field over the Pats come December. But for now, in a league where there are no equals to Belichick, it's almost refreshing (to me, anyway) to consider someone who at least belongs in the conversation. 

Email Felger at Listen to Felger and Mazz weekdays, 2-6 p.m., on 98.5 FM. The simulcast runs daily on CSN New England.

Rex Ryan ready to be done seeing Tom Brady: 'Maybe that dude will retire...'

Rex Ryan ready to be done seeing Tom Brady: 'Maybe that dude will retire...'

FOXBORO -- Rex Ryan says he was just kidding. He didn't really mean it when he said he had a "mole" at Gillette Stadium telling him which Patriots quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo or Jacoby Brissett, would play in Week 4. 

This week he doesn't need a network of spies to tell him who to prepare for. 

"My sources tell me Brady will be the quarterback," Ryan joked on a conference call Wednesday. 

Brady and Ryan have met 15 times dating back to the start of Ryan's head coaching career in 2009 with the Jets. Their matchups date back even further when factoring in Ryan's years as a defensive assistant and then defensive coordinator in Baltimore. 

But after three games this season, three games in which Brady has completed 75 percent of his passes for 1,004 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions, Ryan said it's hard to imagine a time when the Future Hall of Famer has looked more at ease. 

"Well, I mean, it’s almost like, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him better . . . I mean he he’s played in the league for 17 years, 18 years, something like that," Ryan said. "You know, obviously, he puts the work in and everything else and it’s just a real credit to him. 

"Like I keep thinking if I stay in this conference long enough, that maybe that dude will retire but I don’t see that happening anytime soon."

The respect is mutual. While Brady has the edge in the win-loss column, he clearly appreciates what Ryan's teams are able to do on the defensive side of the ball. 

They can be an annoyance in the way they deviate from what they've shown on film. 

"I think there’s an element of what you prepare for, you may not get many of those things," Brady said Wednesday. "We’ve played him sometimes when he’s been blitzing a lot, and he doesn’t blitz as much at all. Then he hasn’t been blitzing much at all and then he blitzes us at all. 

"I think you just have to be prepared for everything, which is a bit of a challenge because there’s only so much time in the week that you have to prepare. You’ve got to try to nail down what you think you’re going to get, then practice it and be able to adjust if need be when you get out there."

The philosophy behind Ryan's plan for Brady and the Patriots is a simple one, even if it results in complex pressures and coverage schemes. 

"He’s too good," Ryan said. "If he could just sit back and without challenging him, you know, it’s tough enough when you present something he hadn’t seen, but it’s damn near impossible when he hasn’t seen it."

Benefitting Brady in those types of what-the-hell-are-we-looking-at scenarios is that over the course of his 16 years as a starter, he's seen just about everything. And offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has been by his side for just about all of it. Together they are often able to delve into their memory banks and pull out a game plan from their shared past, scrap the week of practice and preparation they'd just gone through, and roll with something different. 

If you're Ryan, you hope you can keep Brady guessing for 60 minutes. At the very least, you hope you can buy your team some time before he figures things out -- because odds are he will. 

"Same guy like he always is," Ryan said.