Bill Simmons got Kevin Garnett for his podcast and naturally ended up talking about LeBron and those six-time NBA champion Garnett-era Boston Cel ... what’s that, the Celtics only won one championship during the Garnett era? They only made the Finals twice?! Oh weird, based on how those Celtics and their fans talk about themselves I was under the impression this was some sort of dynasty, not the early 2000s Detroit Pistons with a better publicist. Huh.
The pull-out quote from Garnett’s classic Garnettian boasting is a declaration that the Celtics “broke LeBron James” in 2010, forcing him to realize he couldn’t win a championship without legit stars beside him and sending him to the Miami Heat, where (with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh) he beat the Celtics like a drum until eventually Boston divested from its aging core and rebuilt. What Garnett is trying to say is that he and the Celtics were so deep into LeBron’s soul that they ruined Cleveland’s title aspirations. What he’s actually saying when you hold the statements up to 10 seconds of logical scrutiny is that Boston proved to LeBron and the league that stars should forgo team loyalty and team up to succeed.
But I find it important to take Garnett’s rubric at his word and apply it more broadly. The Celtics with Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen did knock LeBron’s Cavaliers out of the playoffs twice in three years prior to The Decision. Garnett says that broke LeBron. So what led to the dissolution of the Garnett-era Celtics in 2013?
That’s right: Carmelo Anthony and the New York Futher-Mucking Knicks broke Kevin Garnett, leading him to waive his no-trade clause to join Pierce, Joe Johnson, and Deron Williams on the Brooklyn Nets. Those famed 2008-13 Celtics got broken by Melo, J.R. Smith, Ray Felton, Tyson Chandler, Iman Shumpert, Pablo Prigioni, Kenyon Martin, Jason Kidd, and Chris Copeland. Let’s get those guys on some podcasts.
Hornets 98, Cavaliers 100
Raptors 112, Pistons 99
Bulls 110, Wizards 109 (OT)
Heat 108, Sixers 104
Pelicans 107, Wolves 99
Grizzlies 122, Thunder 126
Magic 104, Nuggets 113
Celtics 109, Mavericks 103
Warriors 112, Blazers 122
All times Eastern. Games on League Pass unless otherwise noted.
Jazz at Hawks, 7:30
Lakers at Bucks, 8, TNT -- Game of the Year potential
Nets at Spurs, 8:30
Rockets at Clippers, 10:30, TNT
2010s Rap Talk With Tom Ziller
NSFW links in this bit, duh. I think my favorite non-Kendrick Lamar verse of the decade is Rick Ross’s bars in “Ima Boss” or Pusha T in “Mercy.” Ranking Kendrick verses is pretty impossible -- from his own stuff, I think it’s either the second verse of “DNA” or the first verse of “Ronald Reagan Era” or the second verse of “Ronald Reagan Era” or the first verse of “M.A.A.D. City.” I’m pretty definitive on my preferences on his guest verses from this decade, though.
”No More Parties in L.A.” is pretty close but the Spanish in “Collard Greens” sent me when it came out and sends me now.
This has been “Rap Talk” with Tom Ziller.
Lakers vs. Bucks should be early Game of the Year contender ... if Anthony Davis plays. He’s questionable.
Michael Pina on Jabari Parker’s career reaching a critical moment in Atlanta. Sounds like some drama is building in the ATL with the bad losses.
The Pelicans won!
I really enjoy James Herbert’s weekly column -- the lead this week asks if Tobias Harris and Josh Richardson can save Philly’s weird offense.
Kevin O’Connor on the Heat doing positionless basketball right.
I am sheepishly ready to admit that the Heat are title contenders after they beat the Sixers in Philly. Bam Adebayo is a legit star, Jimmy Butler is so good.
Magic Johnson wants some credit for the Lakers’ success. I mean ... is he wrong? He landed LeBron, right?
Joel Anderson’s now-complete season of SLOW BURN on Tupac and Biggie is a masterwork of narrative nonfiction. If you are at all interested in either ‘90s rap or compelling storytelling, you have to listen.
Be excellent to each other.