The Return of The Mayor

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The Return of The Mayor

As readers of whats left of this blog know, from time to time I like to invite Boston's esteemed Mayor the honorable Thomas Menino on board for a guest column. And with his recent earth-shattering take on the state of the Celtics, I figured the time was right to reach out again and see if the Mayor wouldn't mind offering a few words on tonight's enormous game at the Garden.

As always, the Mayor abides.

But before we get to his inspirational words, I'd be remiss if I didn't note that his latest sports take has come with a little bit of controversy. Or more, one very interesting and important question: Is there any chance hes faking it?

Is it possible that he's doing this on all purpose? That he and his office subscribe to the theory that there's no such thing as bad press, and have determined that there's no better way to get the Mayor's name in the headlines than by having him repeatedly screw up the names of local athletes?

How is it possible that he's this ridiculous of a person? Was it not a little sketchy that he knew enough about the team to mention Avery Bradley by name (unprovoked) but can't figure out how to say Rondo?

Personally, I think that's giving the Mayor too much credit, but crazier things have obviously happened. Who knows? Maybe it's all a hoax. Maybe he's been playing us like puppets all these years. Maybe Mayor Menino is actually a British actor named Allen.

But despite all the conspiracies, I can tell you this: I want to believe it's real.

So until further notice, I will.

With that, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you today's guest blogger, the Mayor:

Thank you, Mitch!

And to the loyal subjects of this fair city: Thank YOU. Now in my fourth decade of serving the hard working and devoted indivisibles of Boston, I can generally say that our city has never been better. Never been stronger. Never been more ready and welling to tackle the obssicles of the onside world and announce to anyone who will listen:

We are proud. We are ressilent.

We are Boston.

And as I type, my dear friends, there is no better imbonniment of the values and montross of this city than our guardians of the gridiron.

The 17-time Stanley Cup champions.

The Boston Celtics.

As a lifelong citizen of this community, I have seen it all with this team. The umimagible highs from Russell to Hafflechick to Fred Auerbachs vickory cigar and the harsh, harsh lows. There are still nights when I wake in a coal sweat, tortured by those years under the beleaguership of ML Carson and Petrino oh the pain. I remember sitting in the Mayors mansion on that fathomable night in May of 2007, when destiny aired her ugly head and left us with nightmares of a future with Yi G.I. Jane oh the horror.

But today, that feels like egons ago. Today, our mighty Celtics are once again on the prepoziss of greatness. They are one win away, my friends. A mere 58 minutes from an upset that will ring blessully throughout the ages.

This team has accountered so much hardship on its path to glory. The loss of Seth Green. Of Shaquille ONeal. Of Will Cox. Most recently, the loss of Avery Bradley, a 6-1 combo guard out of the University of Texas who had developed into one of the premier perimeter defenders in the league, and provided a dose of grittiness, speed, youth and athleticism that had been paramount in this teams legendary turn around.

But like you, the dear subjects of this humble mayor, the Celtics never shed never. They refused to quit. And tonight at TMZ Garden they will take the heralded arcade floor with a chance to shock the world.

And they need your help.

So thats why Im asking you to rise up, Boston. I explore you to let your voices be heard! To stand for your city, your team, and most importantly your Mayor! To be loud! To be proud! To erase any doubt that Donk, KJ, Hondo and The Proof send King Rhames and company to insuffacable defeat!

If nothing else, you must remember: This is our town! This is our team! We are Boston!

Follow my lead, loyal subjects, and I promise you we will succeed.

I promise you that when the final buzzer sounds, we will join together in vickory and serenate the rest of the world with three simple but triumpherate words:

Let's go, Bruins!

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

With Thomas drawing attention, Rozier rises to occasion to send Celtics to OT

With Thomas drawing attention, Rozier rises to occasion to send Celtics to OT

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.

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."

Stars, studs and duds: Lillard steps up in second half, overtime

Stars, studs and duds: Lillard steps up in second half, overtime

BOSTON – Saturday was yet another night when the opposing team – this time it was the Portland Trail Blazers – that up the Boston Celtics with an avalanche of points that ended in a 127-123 overtime loss.

And yet through the rubble of all those lay-ups and put-back baskets and mid-range jumpers, Stevens saw something he has not seen in a while – hope that better days defensively were coming sooner rather than later.

“As crazy as it sounds with them scoring (127) … I actually thought we were a lot closer to defending the way we want to defend," said Stevens. "I thought we were really locked into those guards, and I thought we tried to make it as tough as possible. Those guys are really good players, obviously, but I thought, I thought we did a lot of good things in that regard.”

For the most part, Boston and Portland played a relatively even game that wasn’t decided until the final minute of overtime.

“They just made more plays down the stretch,” said Boston’s Al Horford.

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Saturday’s game.

 

STARS

C.J. McCollum

He tends to get second billing to Damian Lillard, but he was a first rate problem for the Celtics. He led the Blazers with 35 points on 11-for-21 shooting.

Damian Lillard

After a foul-troubled first half, Lillard stepped up like the All-Star he is in the second half to finish with 28 points and seven assists which included seven of Portland’s 14 points in overtime.

Isaiah Thomas

It was another dynamic scoring night for Thomas, finishing with a game-high 41 points which included 21 in the fourth quarter and overtime.


STUDS

Terry Rozier

Making the most of his chance to play due to injuries and illnesses, Rozier came up with a number of big shots all night. He finished with 15 points which included a 3-pointer with 8.4 seconds in the fourth that forced overtime.

Mason Plumlee

In addition to doing a solid job protecting the rim, Plumlee also tallied a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds while dishing out a game-high eight assists.

Meyers Leonard

Easily the big X-factor of the game, Leonard had 17 points off the bench on 6-for-7 shooting.

 

DUDS

Celtics Turnovers

This is the one area where the Celtics have been really good all season. Saturday? Not so much. Boston turned the ball over a season-high 21 times which accounted for 34 points for the Blazers.