Monday, January 11, 2016

Sunday's Wild Card Playoffs

Here is what I learned from the Wild Card Playoffs, the better quarterback in all four games survived and advanced. Alex Smith, Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers are all living to play another day, and all had to go on the road to do it. Can we say that there are many other factors in a team winning a football game, sure we can but can you say that each of those quarterbacks didn't have at least one or two plays which determined the outcome of the game?

What happened in Minnesota?!?

I have nothing to say that may actually comfort Vikings kicker Blair Walsh after his face cringing missed field goal from 27-yards out that would have put the Vikings ahead and most likely advanced them to next weekend, it was a chip-shot, you've got to make those and he knows that, however, I will stick up for Walsh. Adrian Peterson's late-game fumble was massive, and I can't understate that. To cough up the ball when momentum was swinging away from your team is absolutely brutal. Walsh's previous kicks from 43 & 47-yards were not easy kicks at all. This the playoffs though, every team knows what's at stake and the bottom line is every inch does actually count.

Here is what the Vikings have going for them though;
(1) Moving into a new state-of-the-art stadium next season. (2) They've hit on a lot of their first-round picks over the last few years, Floyd, Bridgewater, Smith, Rhodes, Waynes, Kalil, and Barr all which are young and making plays for that team. (3) Jerick McKinnon and Stefon Diggs are young offensive weapons who played very well this season. That's much more than many other teams in the NFC have going for them.

To the victor, It's unlikely that one single play can completely alter a football game, unlikely but not impossible. Down 0-9 in the fourth quarter, unable to get anything going on offense all day, Russell Wilson scoops up a fumble which had been snapped over his head, escapes a huge loss to find Tyler Lockett in the middle of the field for a 35-yard gain and puts them in position to score and change momentum. That is what Russell Wilson brings to the table, no play is done until it's done, he has an ability to escape the pocket, knows what to do when the plays break down, and is in complete control of the offense. The win wasn't pretty but it was absolutely frigid out, the conditions were brutal, and you could see on both teams the effects it had. For a team that has reached two straight Super Bowls, they're battle tested and this win against the Vikings in the freezing cold is just one more battle that Wilson and Seattle have survived.

Props to the Green Bay Packers, they got 'it' back!

I can't say I'm all that surprised though, I'm really not. We're not Kirk Cousins fans over this way. When he beats the likes of Aaron Rodgers in a shoot out, come talk to me. No, it isn't easy to say now that the game is over but seriously, Rodgers is a winner. My thoughts on the Packers are simple, they played a football team they're better than and they just needed to figure that out on their own. Jay Gruden and Washington had no idea how to stop the wave once Green Bay got it going. They were running down hill, both running backs Eddie Lacy and James Starks had their way with the Washington defense late. Rodgers was making plays all afternoon and I really felt like for the first time in months the Packers were feeling their offense. Green Bay was really trying to get play makers like Randall Cobb involved as often as possible, getting him the ball in the backfield and finding him open for passes. All around I really felt like the Packers were playing a complete game, that being said - it gets much more difficult going forward. . .

I'm finished talking about the NFC East "champions", I'd rather point out what the Packers are running into in Arizona. A team they lost to 8-38 just weeks ago. A veteran led team that's been able to rest for over a week now. I'll also point out this, the game has to be on Aaron Rodgers shoulders, without Jordy Nelson I'm still failing to see the other guy on the offense that can be as dynamic as they'll need a player to be against the Cardinals. I'd love to say it could be Eddie Lacy but let's face it, he really hasn't been what one would have hoped he'd be heading into this year. Cobb hasn't been super impressive and while we really like young Davante Adams, he's been far to streaky to be relied upon. The Packers have their hands full with the Arizona Cardinals, either way it's the playoffs, it's Palmer vs. Rodgers. I'm jacked up!!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Saturday's Wild Card Playoffs

Put the AFC Wild Card games into perspective; The Texans turned the ball over five times and got boat raced on their home field. The undisciplined Bengals were as undisciplined as a team can be when their opportunity to get Marvin Lewis his first playoff coaching win in seven tries was on the line. Chiefs & Steelers advance.

Two take-a-ways from Texans / Chiefs:

Brian Hoyer is a good back-up, spot starter, probably going to win more games than he'll lose playing in the AFC South, but win you a couple playoff games and get you to a conference championship?!? No. The Texans don't have an All-Pro rusher in their backfield, their tight-ends don't help out the quarterback when the ball has to come out quick. What does that mean? It means a defense is going to make Brian Hoyer beat them. Which obviously Brian Hoyer isn't going to be able to get done against a very good, opportunistic defense. Should Houston have pulled the plug on him after a couple of those turnovers? No, Brandon Weeden wasn't the answer. At the end of the day, the Texans have a good defense, superstar wide receiver, but still need a quarterback to build the franchise around, that was clear yesterday.

As far as the Chiefs go, that's a good football team with a veteran quarterback who knows his limitations. I'm always impressed at an offense that knows what they are regardless of who gets injured. The Chiefs lost Jamaal Charles in early October, and it was next back up from that day forward. Very similar to Pittsburgh and Seattle, both playoff teams who lost their top backs and didn't seem to miss much of a beat in the run game. Credit head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Alex Smith, they run an offense that plays to its strengths; Run the ball, mix in the pass, and don't turn the ball over. I won't call Smith a game manager however, he's better than that. Smith is a mobile quarterback who now uses all of the offensive weapons at his disposal. Seven Chiefs caught balls from Smith yesterday, on a day where he may have lost his most electric offensive weapon, wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. The 30-0 beat down Kansas City put on Houston was a complete victory, a no doubter.

Two take-a-ways from Bengals / Steelers:

These two teams do not like each other, for real don't like each other. That was
real dislike, coaches, players, fans, there was no love in Cincinnati last night. Unfortunately, ask somebody who has ever played a sport against someone they didn't like, keeping your head and staying focused on the task at hand is by far the hardest thing to do, and that is what determines who wins. I agree with everyone who rushed to the defense of Cincinnati, Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter didn't belong on the field, the refs should have thrown a flag once they heard him going at opposing players, they didn't and it escalated. Unfortunately, Bengals veteran DB Adam Jones reacted poorly, couldn't keep his head, gave the Steelers an additional 15-yards at the worst possible time. Hold on though, lets circle back to the play before all the extra-curricular activity took place. Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict's 15-yard penalty for the hit on Antonio Brown started the problems. Burfict is a known knuckle head, who has talent for days but can't seem to get out of his own way, or his teams way. These are the type of emotional reactions that cost teams games. There are two known outside factors that cost teams a victory when games are close;

(1) Bad penalties in costly situations.

(2) Turnovers.

Which brings us to Cincinnati's other problem. That game was in hand last night, under two-minutes remaining with the lead and the ball, Bengals running back Jeremy Hill makes the one mistake you cannot make as an offensive player, he fumbled the ball. With Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, injured or not, being one of the few quarterbacks in the league that you cannot give the ball back to with time remaining on the clock, it's no wonder the Bengals lost that game.

Second take-a-way, Cincinnati has to go out and win a playoff game at some point. Whatever happens in the regular season going forward for Marvin Lewis and that team, means nothing, absolutely nothing. I thought back-up quarterback A.J. McCarron played well enough for the Bengals to win, so I really can't tell you that Andy Dalton's Bengals would have seen a different outcome. I've always respected Cincinnati ownership for staying the course with Marvin Lewis and not being one of the other two-dozen NFL franchises that installs the revolving door in the head coaches office, but someone has to take the blame for the continued playoff disappointments. Players like Adam Jones and Vontaze Burfict didn't come to Cincinnati with spotless histories, they didn't, so as good as I believe they are, you have to expect a certain level of this, so who in the front office is responsible for bringing in a player who puts you in a better spot to actually win these games? Someone in Cincinnati, and I admittedly don't know who that would be, needs to find a way to address how to keep your head in the right space in a close game.

NFC, you're up.

Monday, June 30, 2014

NBA Notes; Draft & Opt Out Thoughts

Why will the Miami Heat will stay together? Salary Cap Circumvention

It made zero sense for Udonis Haslem (34) and Dwyane Wade (32) to opt-out of their contracts. Haslem, coming off his worst season as a professional opted out of a $4.6 million dollar player option. Wade, clearly on the decline and unable to stay healthy after 11 grueling professional seasons, opted out of a contract which would have paid him $41.8 million dollars over two seasons. Joining teammates Chris Bosh and LeBron James (both of whom have already opted out), Haslem and Wade have now created a record setting $55-million dollars in salary cap space. Really?!? Wade, Haslem, LeBron, and Bosh have already
agreed in principle to return to the Heat and with their agents have most likely already worked out the money. How do we know this? The Heat traded for Connecticut champion guard Shabazz Napier during Thursday nights draft, LeBron's request - the worst kept secret during draft week. Then Chris Bosh got on a plane and took off with his family on vacation, not something you're doing days before you become a free agent and need to be scheduling visits with other teams. I'd love for Adam Silver to look into an agreement which has Wade and Haslem opting out of favorable contracts for the good of the team, when they've already acquired multiple NBA Championships and have their retirement(s) looming sooner than later. See Joe Smith and the Minnesota Timberwolves if you're looking for precedent. When Haslem becomes a consultant to the Miami Heat after his retirement, I'd like to see what his salary looks like then.
It could be worse, you could be a Philadelphia 76ers fan.

Last years lottery selection, 6'11 Kentucky big-man Nerlens Noel, and this years lottery selection, 7'0 Kansas big-man Joel Embid, could potentially be one of the biggest, most dominant front courts we've seen in recent years, if we actually get to ever see it. After sitting out the entire season in 2013-2014 with a torn ACL, Noel should be making his 'Sixers debut this season. Embid on the other hand is a completely different story. Injuries to both his foot and back should keep him out for what would be his entire rookie season of 2014-2015. The 'Sixers don't get desirable free agents to come to Philly, they just finished a season with the second-worst record in the entire league, and were possibly shopping their reigning rookie of the year, guard Michael Carter-Williams. I get looking toward the next season, or a player in the upcoming NBA Draft, or a year when you have more cap-space than other teams, but which one is it? For a team that doesn't acquire many landmark free-agents, and spent an additional high-first round pick on a player who is under contract in Turkey for another three years, I really don't understand what Philadelphia is doing, other than doing absolutely nothing, extremely well.

Derrick Rose doesn't want to recruit, I'm cool with it.

At what point in his NBA career did you all look at Carmelo Anthony and say, his ownership hasn't brought in anyone to support him to win an NBA Championship? When Derrick Rose isn't rushing into the facility to meet with Carmelo and his people, when Derrick Rose decides he would rather NOT shoot a text to 'Melo to gage his interest in joining the Bulls, and when Derrick Rose doesn't feel it is his responsibility to recruit 'Melo specifically, I kind of agree. Yes, Carmelo Anthony's specific type of skills definitely give the Chicago Bulls a better shot at winning in the Eastern Conference. Sorry, but Carmelo Anthony has made some money in this league, he has played in the situation in New York where he thought was a better fit for him than in Denver, and now he has the ability to find a place where he's happiest and what is the best situation for him, so no I don't feel like Derrick Rose should have to run out and beg him to play with him. If Carmelo Anthony wants to win in this league, if Carmelo wants to play with top talent in this league, if Carmelo wants to play with a team that is committed and has a coach that is equally committed, then he should be begging Chicago to let him join their team, not the other way around. Remember who Derrick Rose is, while he has been injured for the last two seasons, he's still an alpha-dog, take charge, team leader, he's not someone who thinks he needs Carmelo Anthony to win, he someone he thinks he needs to be healthy to win.

Lastly, (2) Things that have really angered me this weekend.

1. Jason Kidd and the Milwaukee Bucks - Rather than remembering you were almost fired last winter and should be grateful that the Brooklyn Nets gave you an opportunity to coach in the NBA with no coaching experience, you looked around and saw Fisher and Kerr getting paid and decided to try and force the hand of Brooklyn ownership by requesting a title promotion when arguably you were one of the worst five coaches in the NBA just a season ago. Didn't work, Brooklyn was ready to part ways with you, and you went to people you knew and worked out a deal which would have you coaching in Milwaukee. The Bucks fired Larry Drew after publicly embarrassing him by going to work out the Kidd deal prior to actually letting him go. Here's what is going to happen, the Bucks will continue to be bad, they're too young right now to bail out Jason Kidd's poor coaching, and both Kerr and Fisher would be better coaches and deserved the money they got. There is a reason I've never been a Jason Kidd fan, because he's a jerk.

2. I want Kevin Love in a big market. Come on Minnesota, make one of these deals, send the guy to Boston. Completely for selfish reasons, because I didn't even want the C's to make a 1st round pick, I just want Kevin Love to play with Rondo and help find a third piece. Look, the NBA would be much better served with the Lakers and Celtics being competitive. Like the Spurs, but let's face it, 90% of us cheering for San Antonio were cheering for LeBron to lose more than anything. My friends kept telling me after the draft, 'Lynchy, this is a really good draft for the Celtics, and everyone is saying it.' However, i would much rather have some established player, in Boston, playing with an outstanding point guard in Rajon Rondo. Is that too much to ask for?!

For more Lynchy, hit us up on Twitter!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Out Of Hibernation; NFL Is King

How perfect is the NFL 'machine'? No one does it better. The NFL Draft pulls down better television ratings than some World Series games, better than NBA playoff games (in the same time slot), and I'm sure it'd even give the series finale of Friends or Seinfeld a run for its' money. Why? Because you can't write the story lines better!

In some years, the fact that the New England Patriots selected the heir apparent to their 3x Super Bowl winning quarterback in the second round, would be THE storyline as the three day draft festivities were winding down. In some years, the Minnesota Vikings trading back into the first round to select former Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who at one time was considered a guaranteed top-five selection, would be enough to lead the news cycle. However, in 2014 - those story lines don't even sniff the first few thoughts about this NFL Draft.

Get after it . .

It's hard to believe there has ever been a louder buzz coming out of Radio City, which has hosted the likes of Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald, than when the most magnetic star in the game was anxiously watching himself get passed over again and again in the first round. I'm sure that current Packers Super Bowl winning quarterback and 24th pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, Aaron Rodgers, knew what that felt like. There isn't enough half smiles, fake table conversation, and bottles of water to swig on to make that time go by faster.But when 2x Heisman finalist Johnny Manziel finally got the phone call that he was headed to Berea, Ohio as the Cleveland Browns had pulled off a trade to get into the first round and select him, the NFL Draft exploded! Say what you will about Manziel's size, his background as the grandson of an East Texas oil baron, or his arrogant persona which reached new heights this past weekend, the fact remains that 'Johnny Football' hysteria is going to breath life into Northeast Ohio, life which hasn't been the epicenter of the sport universe since its' native son Lebron so famously took his talents to South Beach.

Bottom line; The Browns need to be seriously given props to what they accomplished over the past weekend. It would have been very easy for them to add Manziel at #4, but they had a plan, stuck to it, and executed to perfection. Traded the #4 pick for the #9 pick, while snatching a 1st round pick in the 2015 NFL draft through Buffalo. Complete steal. Cleveland wanted Justin Gilbert to place across the field from Joe Haden and needed to find a way to move back to take him, they did that while adding what is most likely going to be a top 10-15 selection a year from now, maybe better. Then they sold their #26 pick they had landed by trading Trent Richardson last season for the Eagles #22nd pick and landed the quarterback they had as their #1 quarterback on their 'big board.' Find a team that had a plan which was executed better than theirs? Bravo.

How is the Manziel story line topped? The co-SEC defensive player of the year and first openly gay NFL draft prospect, Missouri's Michael Sam, was drafted #249th by the St. Louis Rams. What the kid did, during the draft process none the less, was nothing short of brave. Now comes the difficult part of life in the NFL, he's going to have to go out there and make that roster. St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is one of the most creative coordinators in the NFL and is superb at identifying talent. Michael Sam is really going to have to prove that he is talented enough to play on one of youngest and most explosive defenses in the NFL, that's not an easy task for anyone, let alone a player who is going to have more distractions from the media storm that will descend upon Rams training camp.

Bottom line; Look, he was one of the best defensive players in college football's most elite conference last season. A conference that put 48 additional players into the draft this year. He isn't a bad football player or a non-deserving football player. I just hope he'll be able to compartmentalize the media aspect of this and show every doubter that he deserves a spot on that roster, and they'll be other doubters that we won't hear from but will have their opinions.

I used to really, really, look forward to the Oakland Raiders draft selections. From Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain, Maryland wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, to LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell, I was always excited for some drama and unpredictability. But you aren't getting that from Oakland anymore, or at least it seems that way. The Raiders went out and added some real value this off-season bringing in Antonio Smith from Houston, Justin Tuck from New York, and Lamar Woodley from Pittsburgh, all successful players in very good defensive systems. Then through the draft they brought in linebacker Khalil Mack who is amongst the most talented players in the entire draft process. It's clear they've addressed their defensive needs, and are moving away from errors of the past.

Bottom line: We have got to give Oakland a ton of credit, their second round pick Fresno state quarterback David Carr has a huge upside but unlike other franchises they don't need to play him right away because they brought in veteran Matt Schaub to do just that and take the pressure off of Carr as a starter. If Oakland continues to improve and make moves like this each and every draft, you can bet they'll make that AFC West very interesting.

The draft is a huge lottery, you never know what is going to pan out, but it is in fact another example of why the NFL is king when it comes to entertainment. No secondary league survives the competition, they continue to bring in fresh new bodies every year from one of the most unfair feeder systems around, and from the draft to mini-camps to training camp, the NFL dominates even in the off-season. There is a reason why we refer to World Series as baseball's Super Bowl, or maybe we should start doing that . .

For more Lynchy, follow me on Twitter.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Name Change Next?!?

The Washington Redskins and Robert Griffin may want to seriously consider a name change after the 'Skins dismal 2013 season. Just two years ago, almost to the day, Robert Griffin was hoisting the Heisman Trophy, now he's being benched with three regular season games left in his sophomore campaign in order to protect 'the future' of the franchise. 'Skins head coach Mike Shanahan won't make it out of this season with his job still in tact, that much is clear. The quarterback who was expected to be everything and then some after his rookie season will now have to prove himself again to be in competition with his fellow draft 'classmates,' Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson who will both be leading their respective franchises into their second straight postseason appearances. Ask any 'Skin fan you can find, eight months to prepare for 2014 isn't going to be the solution for RGIII and owner Daniel Snyder. What will?!?

Glad you asked;

1. A Defensive Coordinator who is going to be part of the solution not part of the problem. Between his blowups with other assistant coaches and his own players, current defensive coordinator Jim Haslett is not that guy. The Redskins defense is a laughing stock, they can't cover or rush the pass, good luck in a league where 34-year old journeyman quarterback Josh McCown looked like f*cking John Elway in his prime against the Dallas Cowboys this past Monday night. This is an offensive league folks, you better find a way to play defense if your plan is to compete for a Super Bowl. Offensive guru and Super Bowl winning head coach Sean Payton knew to bring in defensive mind Rob Ryan to help his Saints get back to where he thought they should be. Pete Carroll in Seattle has done everything he can to ensure his defense brings the pressure and let's stay out west, the 49ers and all-world pass rusher Aldon Smith aren't anything to scoff at either. If I were running the 'Skins, my first calls would include a short list of Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator 'in waiting' Keith Butler, and redemption project Steve Spagnuola.

2. A Head Coach who is comfortable bringing in people to surround himself with talent in order to make his job easier. How has Marvin Lewis lasted so long in Cincinnati? Mike Zimmer. How has Mike Tomlin been so successful in Pittsburgh? Dick Lebeau. Why has Dan Snyder's last several choices as the head man in Washington had a rough ending? He picks guys who are mostly in it for themselves. All due respect to Kyle Shanahan and what the 'Skins did last season, but let's be honest you don't move all in with your son as offensive coordinator if you don't think he'll at the very least listen to Y-O-U. Clearly Broncos interim head coach Jack Del Rio is prepared for another NFL head coaching job, his leadership during head coach John Fox's medical leave surely made people start to think of Del Rio in that role again. Recently fired Texans head coach Gary Kubiak shouldn't be out of work for too long, he may have done what he could in Houston and it was time for a change, but that doesn't mean he can't defer to assistants and still lead a pretty solid team. As long as the next head coach isn't a dominating personality, like Shanahan the 'Skins may be okay. Snyder, that means NO JON GRUDEN! But maybe a Jay Gruden . . hmmmmm.

3. Lose the name. I'm all for standing up for what you believe in. I'm all for not giving into public opinion. But even Anthony Weiner has to look into the mirror (without a camera phone) at some point. American Indians are offended by the name Redskins, as they have a right to be. There are 50-names I could think of off the top of my head which would pay respect to Native Americans and keep the spirit of the 'Redskins' alive. The Washington Brave, The Washington 'Skins, anything would be better if a large section of people feel as though your current name is insulting, which they're probably right, you ought to just change it.

Is all of this going to help you if you've picked Robert Griffin as your fantasy quarterback next season? Probably not, but at least it'll prevent Kirk Cousins from selling me a Subway tuna melt 18-months from today.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

See You In The Rafters

June 24th, 1998 - I turned 15, stopped believing females had cooties, began to thumb through my mother's J.C. Penney catalog (bra section) a little slower, and the same day our Boston Celtics would select a small forward from Oakland, California who played his college ball in Lawrence, Kansas with a natural chip on his shoulder.

That player, now 15-year NBA veteran with well over 1,000 games started in Celtic green, a top-20 scorer in the history of the game, an NBA Finals-MVP in hand, has written himself into Celtic lore, the most storied basketball franchise in the game. What more could we have asked from Paul Pierce? Nothing.

I grew up with Paul Pierce. His 15-year career has spanned my years in high school, college, and beyond. In the winter/spring/summer of the 2001-2002 NBA season, a group of friends and I would travel from our freshman years at various institutions of higher learning in the northeast and meet in Boston to see Paul Pierce lead a Celtics band of misfits including the 'Original Creation' Eric Williams, 'Batman' Tony Battie, and fan favorite Antoine Walker to their first Eastern Conference final in seven years. It was then I learned of the true lion of a man that Paul Pierce was.

Down 21-points heading into quarter number four of a tied-up (1-1) conference final, Paul Pierce dropped 19 of his 28 points that night and led the Celtics on a historic comeback toward victory. Pierce stood on the scorers table after the game and just electrocuted the sold out then FleetCenter. I looked to my left as one of my friend's held a ceiling tile he pulled out from the last row of the arena under his right arm, to my right was another friend of mine with Adidas 'shell-tops' spray-painted Celtic green, and there was Paul Pierce running on pure emotion from the legions of Celtics fans roaring around him. That was my Pierce moment, I have the ticket stub to this day, and forever in my mind will be that moment. To me, that was whatever moment my father used to talk about Larry Bird. That was the moment I'd tell my future children, I was on a straight high that no drug could provide, even writing this makes the hair on my arms stand up.

On a personal clip; That same Spring that my high-school friends and I would come back home to hit-up Celtics playoff games, I had experienced the first real loss of my life with the passing of my grandmother, a rock of a woman, Shirley Lynch. So yes, 'The Truth' played a part in both helping me cope with loss but also helping me move on with life.

In 2005, prior to the annual NBA Draft, despite that Pierce was rumoured to be tired with the traditionally young nucleus the Celtics wanted to surround him with, it was Pierce who blocked a potential trade that would have sent him to Portland in exchange for the third-pick overall and veteran Nick Van Exel, a pick which was suspected to ultimately have landed the Celtics current all-stars Deron Williams or Chris Paul. Pierce would ask Celtics brass that they do not trade him because for his frustrations he desperately wanted to remain a Celtic for life, and be part of that team that would eventually raise Banner 17. Now there is a good chance that I'm mis-remembering things, but to me, this is one of the moments that ultimately changes my history as a Celtics fan, so I tend to lean on the side of story than fact. Either way, Celtics fans walked away with a player who had been in a Celtics jersey longer than anyone they remembered.

Then came the summer of 2007. In a series of moves made by general manager Danny Ainge, the Celtics would quickly turn around and change the next six-seasons of the history of the franchise, six-seasons which would outline and define the career of Paul Pierce as a true Boston Celtic. The Celtics would mastermind two-trades, for future hall-of-famers Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. The 'trio' of Pierce, Garnett, and Allen would then lead to a historic turn around by the Celtics from a 24-win season in 2007 to a 66-win season a year later, and ultimately an NBA Championship, the first for the franchise since 1986. There are moments during that run that are so personal to me that I can't do justice in words, you'd have to see it on my face to believe how awesome they were.

I was at a Boston Red Sox Sunday afternoon game on May 18th, 2008, still on a high from a World Championship won the previous fall. With a Game 7, of the Eastern Conference Finals looming for my Boston Celtics, I really didn't want to got to a regular season, Sox vs. Brewers game. Just innings into the game, we bailed, and decided if we can't get into the TD BankNorth Garden, worst case scenario we catch the game The Four's. A hot cab later, I stood in front of the Celtics ticket-office with a man explaining to me that a quarter into the game, best he could do was $240.00 a person, and he'd get us into a luxury box, but don't expect anything but the seats. Done. I was going to catch Paul Pierce battle for his shot at an NBA Conference Finals, again.

To me, that day will be trapped in time. The games most talented player, LeBron James, in his fifth season as a professional, would be in the battle of his career at the time. With future Hall of Famers Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett taking back seat, Paul Pierce would assume the driver's seat vs. LeBron James. Pierce would go toe-to-toe with LeBron, point after point, play after play, you weren't beating him, in the house he helped build, on that day. I again allowed the hair on my arms to stand-up, remembered that day in 2002, years earlier, when Pierce stood at the apex and let you all read the name on the front of his jersey, not the back.

So personal to me, that moment eclipses the moment in which Pierce out dueled legendary Laker Kobe Bryant in the NBA Finals weeks later and led the Celtics to a 17th NBA Championship, and an NBA Finals MVP to boot. That's how deep his career runs with me. My father and brother can talk about Havlicek and Bird, but can't sniff what I've seen with Paul Pierce.

For years I've told my friends, "I've seen Pierce at the top of the mountain, but I want to be there the day they pull #34 alongside #6, #33, #14, and #17. Because that's where he belongs."

For more Lynchy, hit us up on Twitter!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Morning Thoughts

One & done this week . . .

Mr. Commissioner, please explain why? Typical apologists of performance enhanced sluggers in Major League Baseball, that we are. However, can't we please just move past this part of 'the game?' Twenty-players the MLB is going to attempt to suspend for suspected performance enhancing drug use, due to their relationship with South Florida 'anti-aging' biochemist Tony Bosch. We know injured Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez is dirty, we've know that for a while now. No one bought that Milwaukee Brewer Ryan Braun was clean after his failed-test in 2011, despite his winning appeal of the failed-test in 2012. When current Blue Jay and former San Francisco Giant, Melky Cabrera, failed his test and was suspended last season, not a single-person was standing on their soapbox claiming Cabrera's innocence. As for the other 17-players on Mr. Bosch's scribbled notes of whichThe MLB is prepared to use as their reason for suspension, leak their names, let the court of public opinion run wild with it, and move on. No major professional sport from coast-to-coast of The United States is being more vigilant when it comes to performance-enhancing substances, and for good reason, we get it. We're moving on from cyclist Lance Armstrong for crying out loud, and he's a man who might possibly be the worst offender of any professional athlete we've had. What good does it do to have these suspensions looming through the legal process? There are some great things going on in Major League Baseball, but based on news stories like this, you wouldn't know it.

For more Lynchy, follow us on Twitter!