Three wishes for The Rapture

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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

Bruins sign pair of draft picks, including BC's Fitzgerald, to entry-level deals

Bruins sign pair of draft picks, including BC's Fitzgerald, to entry-level deals

Amidst the current turmoil at the NHL level, the Bruins delivered a little good news about the future today . . . with more potentially to come. 

The Bruins announced the signing of a pair of prospects/former draft picks -- Boston College forward Ryan Fitzgerald and defenseman Emil Johansson -- to entry-level contracts that will kick in next season. There will likely be another wave of signings with the Bruins from the amateur ranks once players like Charlie McAvoy, Anders Bjork and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson are finished up with their college teams in the NCAA tournament, though it remains to be seen exactly which players end up taking the NHL plunge. 

There was some uncertainty as to whether Fitzgerald would definitely sign with Boston after completing his senior season at BC, but he will immediately join the Providence Bruins on an amateur tryout agreement after signing a two-year deal. Johansson will join the Bruins on a Professional Tryout Agreement with a three-year entry level deal that kicks off next season. 

The 5-foot-10, 177-pound Fitzgerald was an alternate captain for BC in 2016-17, with 12 goals and 19 assists for 31 points in 34 games with 56 penalty minutes and a plus-14 rating. Fitzgerald is also the son of Billerica native and former Bruins forward Tommy Fitzgerald, who took to Twitter on Friday to voice his overwhelming pride over his oldest signing an NHL contract. He was a fourth-round pick by the Bruins in 2013.

Johansson, 20, completed his first season with Djurgardens IF of the Swedish Hockey League in 2016-17, establishing career highs with 7 goals and 10 assists for 17 points with 26 penalty minutes in 49 games. The B's selected him in the seventh round in 2014.

Report: Clippers' Griffin willing to consider Celtics in free agency

Report: Clippers' Griffin willing to consider Celtics in free agency

With all attention focused on overtaking the Cavs for the No. 1 seed in the East, the offseason -- trades, the draft, free agency -- is on the backburner in Celtics Nation these days.

But that pot's still simmering,

And it began to boil a little today when Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding, in the middle of a story on the Clippers being at a crossroad, threw a little accelerant on that old Blake Griffin-to-Boston flame . . .

But more and more people around the league believe he would be open to a fresh start — perhaps with the Lakers or the Boston Celtics, who have coveted Griffin for years and would offer a new chance to win. The most intriguing fit might be if he were to go home to Oklahoma to join Russell Westbrook and the Thunder, but his interests in the entertainment industry make staying in Los Angeles a priority.

Not much of a thread to grab there. But that didn't prevent cbssports.com's James Herbert from looking into it . . .  

Jumping to another contender on a max contract might not be simple. As CelticsBlog’s Keith P. Smith pointed out, Boston would have to dump Terry Rozier, waive Tyler Zeller and renounce all its free agents, including Kelly Olynyk, Jonas Jerebko and Amir Johnson, in order to even get near the amount of cap room that would be required to offer Griffin or someone like Gordon Hayward a max deal. 

Then again, Herbert says the Lakers and Thunder, Griffin's supposed other two destination spots, are even less financially flexible than the C's.

For now, it's all just a temporary diversion from the battle for No. 1.

It's also a reminder, though, that a whole new season -- the offseason -- is just around the corner.