Did Billy Packer actually make sense?

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Did Billy Packer actually make sense?

By Mary Paoletti
CSNNE.com

I'm in a weird situation.

Normally, I know exactly where I stand with Billy Packer: I think he's a racist, sexist, homophobic jerk.

Every time I watched March Madness coverage on CBS I imagined him taking swallows off a bottle of scotch and chain smoking.

Remember this drunken trainwreck of analysis?

What? How? Listening to that makes me want to rip my face off. Deadspin's summation is perfect:

Of all the "Sweet Christ, Billy Packer is so full of equine excrement" moments, we have to say, the "Just Going For The Ball!" foul from Gerald Henderson on Tyler Hansbrough at the end of the Duke-UNC game is definitely near the top of the list.

Getting rid of Billy Packer was one of the best things CBS ever did. And I'm including the War of the Worlds broadcast and the decision to make the M.A.S.H. finale 2.5 hours long in that list.

But I might be on his side today.

Charles Barkley called Packer a jackass during halftime of Thursday's MavericksKnicks game. This much is true. The reasoning is where Sir Charles and I part ways. See, Chuck is mad because Packer said he and Steve Kerr won't be a good fit for NCAA tournament analysis.

And boom goes the backlash.

We might not be very good and know all the players on all the teams in college basketball. Barkley said. I don't know any players on Wofford or UNC Asheville. You are absolutely right. But stop being a jackass.

Listen, we're going to do a good job. And I know you said they should have went to ESPN. Well, there was one problem. ESPN didn't have 11 billion dollars. We did. That's why we got it. So sit back, enjoy the March Madness with Greg Gumbel, Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg and all of us. And shut the hell up.

YEAH. SHUT THE HELL UP.

Oh, wait. I'm on Billy's side.

Barkley basically says that the better "man" didn't get the job, the richer "man" did. Somewhere, in the walk-in closet of suits that is ESPN, there's a guy who knows every player on Wofford and UNC Asheville. And he's not a weirdo like The Schwab, he's simply sacrificed any chance he has at a normal human relationship to devote himself to the SoCon, which is awesome. Plus, this guy lives in the WWL's closet so he's got that trademark voice and smile and hair -- all the broadcasting must-haves.

What I don't want is for No. 15 Wofford to stage an historic upset over No. 2 UNC, and when we cut the studio for a halftime breakdown, we just see Steve Kerr screaming

"SHOW 'EM HOW TO DOUGIE, CHUCK! THAT'S HOW YOU DOUGIE, CHUCK."

while Barkley gets down.

Maybe it won't be that bad. It's comforting to know that Packer was almost always wrong in the past.

Jerk.

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

Blakely: This could be the start of something big for Celtics

BOSTON -- Prior to this year, the Celtics hadn't been to the Eastern Conference finals since 2012. That trip served as a curtain call of sorts for the last great C's dynasty.
 
But this one, which ended with Cleveland's emphatic 135-102 Game 5 victory Thursday at TD Garden, is very different.
 
Rather than closing another chapter in the Celtics' longstanding legacy of greatness, it could serve as the beginning of a new narrative in the franchise's steady growth.
 
"For us to be in the Eastern Conference finals after the first year of this team really being together, adding additions like Al Horford and Gerald Green . . . I can go down the list of guys that we needed to learn to play with, and for us to talk about where we wanted to be and actually make it, it's a big-time accomplishment," said Avery Bradley.
 
Boston has been among the younger teams in the NBA, with the 31-year-old Green being the oldest player on the roster.
 
But what the Celtics lacked in experience, they made up for with great effort.
 
"The great thing about this is the experience," Bradley said. "We were able to go to the Eastern Conference finals, learned a lot about being in this position, and I feel like it's going to help us for next year."
 
But as we all know, the Celtics will look to strengthen themsevles this offseason, which means there's a very good chance they'll have a different look when they gather again in the fall.
 
How different is anyone's guess.
 
"It's difficult every year whenever you don't have guys back," said coach Brad Stevens. "I think you share a bond (over the course of a season)."
 
Stevens and this group have been together for eight months. Eight months of struggles, successes, frustrating defeats and euphoric victories that brought them to the conference finals, which is where their season came to an end.
 
But as disappointed as the players and coaches are inow, there's definite excitement about this franchise in the very near future.
 
Boston has the No. 1 overall pick in next month's draft, with all indications -- for now -- pointing to Washington's Markelle Fultz as their choice.
 
And their top first-round pick from a year ago, Jaylen Brown, seemed to steadily improve as the season progressed. It was one of the few times in his life where minutes weren't just handed to him, which he admits was a learning experience unlike anything he had ever had, yet he adjusted and played better as the year went along.

"I've had ups, I've had downs, I've had opportunities, I've had mistakes," said Brown. "So I've been learning and growing and improving all year and I'm going to continue growing and improving and prove people wrong, prove doubters wrong."
 
Having the season end the way it did has indeed left a bad taste in the mouths of many Celtics.
 
"I can use it as fuel," Brown said, adding: "I want to get back to the same place I'm at now."
 
Bradley, who was on the 2012 team that lost to the Miami Heat in the conference finals, knows the Celtics are going to do whatever they feel is necessary to give them the best chance at competing for a title.
 
"It's out of our control as players," Bradley said. "We had a great year together. If guys are here, if guys aren't, we all wish the best for each other.

"But I do feel this is a special group. We all gave our heart every single night, played as hard as we could. I respect all my teammates, and I really appreciated playing with all the guys I had a chance to play with this year; a special group."