Lucky 7?

Moments from the start of Game 7 of Celtics-Cavs, and it’s a highly anticipated game. If you grew up watching the Celtics, you think back to all the Game 7’s you watched as a kid.

Game 7 against the Knicks in ’84 when Bird had a triple double, including 39 points. Game 7 against the Lakers that same year when Maxwell said, “Jump on my back boys, I’m going to carry you tonight.” And he did.

Game 7 of the second round against the Bucks in 1987 when the Celtics were down by eight points in the fourth quarter and Jerry Sichting subbed for an injured Danny Ainge and hit two clutch jump shots. But the game was won when Dennis Johnson made one of the most spectacular defensive plays I’ve ever seen, chasing down a blocked shot of Parish on Jack Sikma and jumping out of bounds and slapping the ball off Sikma to make it Boston ball.

Then, of course, Game 7 that same year against the Pistons. Bird, isolated against Rick Mahorn, has his shot blocked, and the ball goes out of bounds with five seconds left. And Bird steals on just a terrible pass from Isiah and gets it to DJ for the layup to win the game.

There would be the best Game 7 I’ve ever watched in 1988, the Bird-Dominique shootout. Man, this one still has to give any sports fan goose bumps. Bird had 20 in the fourth, including a ridiculous three from the corner with a hand in his face. Boston 118, Atlanta 116.

Now we’re back for another Game 7 that is sure to live on in the memory banks for a long time, win or lose. Who steps up? KG? Allen? Paul Pierce? LeBron?

The fun will be finding out.

Ian.

43 Comments

Right now I would say Pierce is the guy that is stepping it up. Looking for his shot early and being very aggresive with James on the other end.

Game Seven’s favor the home team. The home team in the history of a game 7 has won 81% of the time according to A.B.C.

Bernard King in 1984 against the Celtics was unreal. Of course Bird and the Celtics just a little better.

The Bucks always played the Celtics tough. They even swept the Celtics during a series. Of course Boston returned the favor a couple of years later.

The Bird and Nique shootout was just great. Whoever attended got there money’s worth. Watching it on t.v. was entertaining. Only negative that game was Brent Musburger doing the game, lol.

Youk with another homer!!! If you come into Fenway, you must pitch out of your mind. If not you will get beat down.

BosoxBrian,

There is one parallel between The Sox and the Celtics — both teams can’t win on the road although the Celtics have made it into an art form.
Youk is amazing. The man looks so intense out there. Nice to see Cora come in on the ninth inning. Do you think Papelbon had something to say about that one? Personally, I think so.

Dave…

If anyone happens to read this before monday, I’m in desperate need of some advice. I’m trying to finish setting my fantasy team for next week and can’t figure out what to do with my last OF spot. My two possible guys (oddly enough) are Crisp and Ellsbury. Crisp is hitting better and had 23pts in 15 AB’s to Jacoby’s 18pts in 18 AB’s in the past 7 days, but what do you think’s going to happen this week??? With all the health issues so far this season, I am having trouble trying to guess whats going to be my best bet this week. Any thoughts on what I should do?
Biz

Exciting game in the Celtics part. I couldn’t help shaking when LeBron slammed it and made it a one point game, fortunately they held on.
Papi had his first multi-homerun game in while. High scoring game and the sox are in full possession in first place in the A.L. East

It’s good to see Ortiz taking his typical, aggressive swings at the plate. It’ obvious that his confidence is coming back. Ramirez should folow his lead and become more aggressive at the plate. It seems when these power hitters fall into a slump they become mere “defensive” at the plate so that even when they make good contact they don’t drive the ball. Ramirez has hit some hard balls and several of them have been at opposing players.
Lugo is still Lugo,. His bonehead running to get hung up between second and third on Ellsworth’s hit put a lid on a Sox rally. It’s good to see tha Francona put Cora in to bolster the defense. Let’s keep the streak going.

Dave,

As of right now the Red Sox are having there problems on the road but something tells me that will change. They will finish the season with a winning record on the road this season.

I don’t think Papelbon is telling Francona to put in Cora for Lugo defensively. Never let the players run the team, if a manager ever did. He would be sitting with the fans, lol.

I am surprised that Francona has made that move a couple of times. Francona is very loyal to his players. I applaud Francona for making that move. Cora is the better defensive option at s.s. and late in the game, you want your best. Especially at s.s.

Paul Pierce carried the Celtics. He came out very aggressive and had a refuse to lose attitude. You either have that or you don’t. That is one thing I do like about Pierce. He does lay it on the line. There are times when he has some sloppy turnovers, namely poor passes and gets out of control at times. P.J. Brown came up big. Who thought that coming into the game today? The beauty of sports, someone coming out of nowhere and helping there team win. Brown hit there biggest shot today with just over 1:20 remaining in the game, it put Boston up by 3, 91-88. I cringed when he took the shot but when it went in, I said yes!!!
Detroit is a very tough matchup for the Celtics. They have 4 options that can score among the starters. Billups will be a tough one to defend. Rondo will have his hands full. Billups is alot stronger and much more physical than Rondo. Billups can back you down and Rondo will need help. Also Detroit can win on the road. They have won 3 games on the road in the playoffs. The most in the East. I had a great feeling for the Celtics today but I don’t have a very good feeling against Detroit. I am saying Detroit in 6 games, sorry to say. I hope I am DEAD WRONG!!! I think I just jinxed the Pistons, lol.

Hey Bosoxbrian:

I’m just hoping that the Celts win Game 1 and go on from there. Hopefully, those late foul shots will be a confidence booster for Ray Allen, to get him more involved against the Pistons.

As for Josh B, his last 2 starts remind me eerrily of some of his troubles from 2006. Hopefully, there is a simple problem that can be fixed easily. As for Dice-K being the Sox ace, a lot of commentators suggested that after Dice-K got acclimated to the US, his second year would be far better than his first. We’re not out of May and he already almost half-way to bettering his win total from last year. Give him the credit he’s due.

Even with their injuries and illnesses, the Sox starters have already totaled up 19 wins in the first 46 games. That amounts to 67 over the course of the year. Hopefully some will pick it up a bit, I would like to see 72+ over the course of the year, but so far, not so bad.

Dbenjamin,

I think Allen will have his problems against the Pistons. Detroit should be able to defend him with ease. He is one the best free throw shooters you’ll ever see though. I would really like too see Allen do well, he seems like one of the good guys out there.

I agree with your opinion about Beckett. Looking like 2006 the last 2 starts. Given up the longball. I am guessing and say he’ll snap out of it. He has too much talent and has an arsenal of pitches and more importantly is more mature now.

It is great too see Ortiz going deep into the seats the last couple of games. He looks very comfortable in the box. Ramirez will get his bat rolling again and when those 2 are clicking together, good times for the Boston Red Sox.

Just because the Sox dropped three out of four to the Twins and two games to Baltimore doesn’t mean they can’t win on the road. They just had a brief losing skid. That will happen to every team through the course of the season. They are 10-14 on the road. Before they lost five out of six, they were 9-9. Look for the Sox to have a good road trip in Oakland, Seattle and Baltimore. I think they will repay the Orioles in that four-game series. Though Seattle has been a difficult place for Boston in recent years – like Minnesota has been – I think the Sox will take two out of three in Oakland and Seattle, and do no worse than a split in the four-game series in Baltimore.

I’m breathing a sigh of relief about the Celtics. Good to see them back in the Eastern Conference Finals. I remember all those games Ian wrote about very well. My favorite was the game where Bird stole the ball and flipped it to DJ, who made a difficult lay-up to win the game. I liked it because Boston won the series, and because Bird stole the ball from Isaiah Thomas. I never cared for Thomas as a player or a coach.

I remember Jerry Sichting. Those Celtics teams of the 80s always had good role players. From M.L. Carr to guys like Sichting, Scott Wedman and Bill Walton, the bench players made key contributions.

Jeff
http://www.soxandpinstripes.com

Jeff,

When Walton joined the Celtics, I think that was the best passing team I have ever seen. Also the best team I have ever seen as well. They cruised in the playoffs that year. Even though Jordan did have 63 on them. Very dissapointed when the Rockets beat the Lakers in the West Finals that year. I would have loved too see the Celtics beat the Lakers for the title. L.A. danced on the parquet the year before. Kareem running up the court with that big smile and his arms raised in the air. A vivid memory and obviously not a good memory for Celtics fans like myself.
I also want the Lakers to win the West. If Boston does get by Detroit. Why would anyone want the Celtics play either S.A. or N.O. As A Celtic fan, you want the Lakers. That is the ultimate. Of course David Stern and the N.B.A. would love too see Boston vs L.A. again as well. Ratings and more ratings!!!! It should be fun.

Hey BoSoxBrian,

Good point about manager running the team. I just remember that look that Papelbon gave Lugo when the error was made. It was ugly!
I guess looking back at last year the Sox were just so unbeatable. They were a killer team. Right now they seem to take four steps forward and six steps backwards. However, as you all say, it’s a long season. Manny will come around. I can’t wait for 500. it’s going to be one of the highlights of the season.
I just wish Lugo could climb to expectations. It’s just such a frustrating experience to see him not have that talent.

Dave…

Hey all,

I just realized we’ve blogged for over a month and know nothing about each other. Here’s my public resume.

I live in Nashville, TN, am 44, have been a Sox fan since I was in sixth grade. Watched my first game in Massachusetts and attended my first game in 74. Saw a great one in 85 with the Sox taking one from the twins. I met Johnny Pesky and didn’t realize the living legend I was talking to.
I gave up on the Sox after 86 for a while (who didn’t). I watch them until the early 90’s then moved on. Found them again in 2003. Became obsessed again in 2007 with the discovery of mlb.com which allowed me to watch all those games.
I do IT, woodworking for fun and have two kids that cannot understand my Red Sox obsession. My wife, from Chicago, loves the White Sox. I keep telling her I don’t follow minor league teams (LOL).

Dave…

Hey, I didn’t see the supposed glare Papelbon gave Lugo for his error back in Detroit — and as much as I would like to see Lugo turn it around once and for all (or off the team) — I hope Papelbon did not glare at him — that is the one thing a teammate should not do (that is for all us nay saying fans, ha! ) but teammates should never do that — or you definitely fail. Maybe that is why Papelbon gave it up, and Schill (in the post season when Lugo dropped a routine pop up — did not — he just took it on himself from that moment to close out his inning anyway, and he somehow did). If you start blaming your teammates you are much more likely to fail yourself.

Regarding putting Cora in in the ninth for defensive reasons — that is a very curious decision — you normally put a defensive replacement in late in innings to replace someone who has been in but has a better bat? But Lugo has no bat? So if Cora is considered better defensively, he certainly is not worse offensively? probably better. So why not start Cora then, better in both categories? probably because Cora can play more positions than short stop, and its too messy to do anything else.

This is probably an indication that Lugo will be out as soon as they can make it happen — with no bat, there is no other reason to keep him, with his defense being average at best. I would feel sorry for Lugo and others (and I do) — but with millions already in the bank for even a short term stint — they still have it made over most folks. It seems to me that Lugo will probably be out of a starting job period soon if he can’t turn it way around either offensively or defensively and probably need to improve both. Who would pick him up?

Hey Dave, great idea about getting to know a little about each other. I was born and brought up in Quincy, MA and used to ride the bus to Columbia Point and the T to Kenmore Square to watch the Sox starting when I was about 12. I probably went to 30-40 games a year as a kid. Made enough from the paper route to cover the 75 cent admission, a coke, popcorn and a hot dog. Have been a Sox fan my whole life. I was a pitcher and signed with the Seattle Pilots out of high school in 1969 but had a low draft lottery number so I had to join the Navy Reserve. I played two years of minor league ball, then gave auto mechanics a shot. Finally, I went into the Navy full time and spent 30+ years there and retired here in Jacksonville, Florida. I’ll be 58 in November but feel like a little kid when I’m talking about or watching the Sox and Patriots.

Brian, the Celts reached down deep to pull out Game 7 against the Cavs. This series with Detroit is going to be a knock down drag out defensive struggle and free throws will play an important role in the outcome. The Celtics have to pound the lane and go to the hoop. Garnett is not the best low post player I’ve ever seen, but he is going to have to draw some fouls instead of resorting to that fallaway stuff all the time.

The Celtics had the best road record in the league, by far this season. They can win on the road. It’s been a weird year with so much home court dominance. I would also say the road environment is much more hostile during the playoffs than during the regular season. The Pistons have had a chance to rest a little, which I think is their bigges advantage right now. Although they have made it this far, the Celtics have to be getting a little weary with the grind of the every other day schedule. I think they will prevail and we’ll see a Celtics – Lakers final.

Gsm,

I am rooting for the Celtics of course. I am not too confident against the Pistons. The Pistons are well rested and that is only an advantage to them. The Celtics will have a hard time matching up against the Pistons as well. Billups will be very difficult for Rondo. Also Prince and his long arms as well be trouble for Pierce. Wallace can beat you down low and can go outside and hit the 3 pointer. Hamilton coming off screens all night and he can put 30 on any team.

I wonder if Garnett ever got some lessons from McHale while he was in Minnesota? If McHale ever did ( I assume he did ) Garnett wasn’t paying attention. He doesn’t attack when he is in the low post. He fades away all the time. McHale would have so many moves down low. McHale with his back to the basket was the best I have ever seen. He was unstoppable down low. Garnett has way more athletic talent than McHale can ever dream of having. That being said, who would you want in the low post on your team? Easy question for sure.

Allen needs to get his game going. He has been wearing invisible ink in the playoffs. I think he’ll have a tough time against the Pistons. Boston has the better bench. It should be a great series, no doubt. Rasheed Wallace will be the villan. Every series, there always has to be a player who the fans don’t like.

Dave,

I would agree with you and Gsm about telling a little about ourselves.

Born and raised in Salem, Ma. Grew up a huge sports fan. Youngest of 4 so I guess I had to love sports, lol.
Our family had night season tickets for the Red Sox for several years. It was about 50 games or so. So basically I lived at Fenway from April to Sept. Not many October games back then, lol. Of course going to a bunch of Celtics and Patriots games as well. I was never too big into hockey, I do love seeing hockey games in person though.

Went to Florida with my baseball team back in Feb. of 1983 and absolutely loved Florida. Playing ball in mid Feb. was great!!! I always knew sometime in my life I would go back to Florida and live. I get a chance too see the Red Sox in person at the worst stadium in baseball, Tropicana Field. That is my punishment for leaving the New England area.

The Boston area got hit with a huge snowstorm on April 1 1998 ( 3 feet of snow ) I knew right then and there it was time for me to go south and enjoy the sunshine. Got a nice little job offer in the wonderful state of Florida and couldn’t resist. Only flakes we have in Florida, Yankee fans!!! That is my story, don’t fall asleep now folks.

Hey BoSoxBrian, hey Ellen. I am doing fine guys, how are you guys doing? Well I look for Lester to give us a solid start tonight. He is too good of a young pitcher to not come up big for us this season. We need all of our arms to get hot. The hitting is not concerning me at this time…

BosoxBrian,

Oh to live in Florida, beaches, warm weather and no cold winters. Tennessee can get hot, sticky and cold and icy. Great to hear your story. One question: Ever meet any of the Sox. I got to meet Cooper, Pesky, and Tony C. The hardest one was meeting him. I was in Pawtuckett after he was discharged from the Sox. All the other players were cordial but Tony stormed out the door. It broke my heart. I could tell, even as a kid, he was obviously hurting. We all know the story.

Dave…

p.s. Looks like the Royals did a Lugo error. Can you believe it? Now 5 – 0. Sox got very, very, lucky.

Drew sends one out to right. Oh I cannot stand Drew! Big inning though but if I know the Sox, if they blow this lead, KC won’t be forgiving and Sox won’t recover. They have to hold onto the lead.

Dave,

I have had a chance too meet some Sox players over the years. Flew up to Boston for the holidays and sat right next to Bronson Arroyo. A really cool dude for sure. Talking with him for a little bit, you could tell he LOVED playing in Boston. I am sure when he was dealt away he must have been crushed. Pesky is a great guy as well. If we were all like him, the world would be a great place. He is a true gentlemen.

Teams like the Royals and Brewers find ways to lose. All you have to do is put the ball in play and they could self destruct. That is why those teams will have losing records this year. Royals have some good young arms but there about a year or so away from contending for a playoff spot.

Good too see Lester pitching well. Some guys have trouble pitching with a lead.

The schedule maker was kind to the Sox. Brewers and Royals for 7 games. I see that as 6 wins for Boston.

Chman,

I wish the Sox could play the Brewers and Royals every night, lol. Both the Brewers and Royals have some good young players but are a season or so away from contending.

I can’t wait too watch Masterson tomm. night. Looking forward to that. Also Colon pitching in the series as well. I am cautiously optimistic about Colon for the season. Can he stay healthy is the big question. If he does, Boston has found themselves a great addition to the team. A high reward–low risk signing, a great move by Theo.

6 more outs for Jon. COME ON JON!

bosoxbrian,

You met some great people. I agree that Pesky is in a class by himself. When he leaves this world it will be a great loss. I will miss him.
Lester has ONLY got six outs away. I wonder what goes through a pitcher’s mind like this. A no hitter is almost a one-in-a-lifetime experience — if you get that chance at all.
I hope he gets it. This has been the cleanest game the Sox have played in a long, long while. It’s nice to see.

Dave…

Five outs away!

Tough at bat here. Come on Lester you can do it!

3 outs away.

No hitter!

How about them apples, eh? :-D

Amazing game and like Buckholtz (how do you spell that name again) it ended with a strikeout. That was one great game. Did you see Francona was openly crying over the victory. What a great game!

Francona looked more like a proud father than a proud manager. Lester’s last chemo treatment was in Jan. 2007. A no hitter!!!! It is a great night to be a Red Sox fan. Congrats to Jon Lester, you deserve it!!!!

The last 2 no hitters in baseball were thrown by Buchholz and Lester, team-mates. When was the last time that ever happened? Has that ever happened? Anyone out there know?

I hope that I don’t sound too old when I say this….. What an awesome young man Jon Lester is. To have battled the cancer last year the way he did, come back and pitched the way he has and to have the composure at his age to throw a NO HITTER??? Man I wish that I had the kind of character he does.. His parents sure did something right. And speaking of parents, I got tears in my eyes when he was interviewed by Heidi Watney for NESN. He said how he’d been through a lot the past 2 years and how Terry is like a second “dad” to him.. That speaks volumes about Jon Lester, Terry Francona and the “REDSOX FAMILY”… ANOTHER MOMENT WHEN I AM SOOOO PROUD TO BE A PART OF THE REDSOX NATION!!!!

Hey Bosoxbrian:

I’ve got to add my upbeat thoughts on Jon L’s accomplishments. Great for a fellow southpaw. Great job by Tito, letting him throw 130 pitches to reach his pinnacle. I think something like this could really get Lester’s engine’s revving. When I was looking at the pitch-by-pitch in 8th inning, he was throwing 95+!

The Sox struggled through April and battled through May, so maybe June will be the month when they run away and hide. Great also that Tek has tied the major league record of catching four no-nos. That’s got to say something about his pitcher handling skills.

Look up the word Battle or battler in the dictionary, where you will undoubtedly find Jon L’s picture. What a great young man!!!!!!!

I just looked up my own answer. For some that would like to know. Milt Pappas of the Cubs tossed a no no against the Padres in Sept. 1972—April of 1972–Burt Hooton threw a no hitter against the Phillies, Hooton and Pappas team-mates. Interesting stuff I think.

The beauty of sports, you just never know as the old saying goes. I was just hoping for Lester to get a win and pitch 6 innings, lol.

Another part in the history books, this is the fourth no-hitter Jason Vaitek has caught, he also is hitting alot lately, a reason the sox should re-sign him

Hey Brian. Great game. Feels great to see Jon’s Life getting better. Surviving cancer, beating the rockies in the WS and now a no-no. A great night for Lester, the Red Sox, and ALL of Red Sox nation!

‘Tek knows how to handle pitchers and he’s clearly done that very well. It also seems like he has gotten better over the years.

He’s also been relatively consistent in the hitting department and over the course of a season, even with his slumps, he keeps his average around .260-.270 most of the time. Sure that’s not great, but his value to the pitching staff is what matters the most.

I’d be very surprised if the Red Sox didn’t resign him. I’d also be very surprised if ‘Tek went elsewhere because he wanted to.

Amazing performance by Lester! Funny to think he and Buchholz have done what Wakefield, Schilling, and Beckett have never done.

Steve
http://soxblog.mlblogs.com

Dbenjamin,

I agree with you totally about Lester. You would see Lester’s photo, no doubt. His velocity is back and he is only going to get stronger as the season moves along. Varitek with 4 no no’s under his belt, let’s hope he gets #5 down the road. Don Orsillo’s first broadcast was Nomo’s no hitter. Orsillo could be some good luck, lol.

One thing in my life I have never witnessed in person is a no hitter.I would love too see it someday. I went to a game on a Friday Night at Fenway some years ago and Chuck Finley had a no no I think into the 7th or the 8th and Jody Reed broke it up.

Wow. What a night! I haven’t felt that emotional after a Red Sox game since they won the 2004 World Series. I was excited after Game Four of the World Series last year, but this was extra special because of what Jon Lester has endured and the obstacles he has climbed. It is also amazing that Varitek has now caught four no-nos.

Jeff
http://www.soxandpinstripes.com

Dave, not to take anything away from Lester of Bucholz, but … it’s a one time thing unless you’re Nolan Ryan.. How many did he throw, like 6 or 7??

This was a pretty amazing no hitter. Normally, over the course of a no hitter, there are at least several ball hit like rockets right at someone and had the defensive player been a step to the right or left, a hit would have resulted. I don’t remember a single ball being hit hard. The closest thing to a hit was that looper that Elssbury on which Ellsbury made a great catch. I think the hardest hit ball all night was a fairly routine fly ball to Coco Crisp in the eighth inning. Did I miss something, or did Lester pitch a no hitter in which there was very little luck involved? What a great effort!!!!

Ellsbury is an amazing young player. We all know he can hit, run, steal bases and all of that. But defensively, he plays every outfield position like a gold glover! He loses nothing by moving from center to left or right.

For all of us spelling geniouses, I think we ought to just call Buchholz (aka Bucholz, Buccholtz, Bucholtz…. and a bunch of other names) Clay. Even Brian can’t misspell (hey, does missspell have one or two s’s??) that one. LOL!

Brian, I think your analysis of the Celts-Pistons matchups is right on. However, Billups does not match up well with Rondo either. He will have a tough time keeping up with him. The Celtics should have the advantage on the boards. If Ray Allen can find his game again, that will do a lot to freeing up Pierce. It should be a good series.

Gsm,

Rondo did do o.k. against Billups during the regular season but in a 7 game series it could be different. If Billups’ hamstring is fine ( I assume it will be ) Rondo will have his hands full. Rondo had a hard time defending West at times. Billups is much better than West.

I do like the Celtics bench over the Pistons bench though. I agree with you about Allen. He needs to find his game again. When Allen doesn’t help the Celtics on the offensive end, he is a liability on the defensive end. In other words he doesn’t help the Celtics at all.

It should be a great series and I think tempers will flare in this series. Especially as the series moves deeper. I can’t wait.

Gsm,

Billups has had a solid career. One of the better point guards out there. Goes to show you how bad of a coach Pitino was, lol. Billups never flourished under Pitino. Most players didn’t. Nothing but a college coach is Pitino. That is another reason I want Boston to win it all. To make Pitino look bad. He set that franchise back some years. I guess he was right when he said I don’t see Kevin McHale or Larry Bird coming thru the doors. Other guys came thru the doors, lol.

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