Red Sox v. Phillies, 7:05 pm. Huh. Guess the Phillies forgot to read my preview from last night telling them that they suck, since they freaking stomped on us. Boo! Hopefully tonight will go smoother, especially since I hear Oldey McOlderson Jamie Moyer (7-3, 4.12) drinks his Metamucil religiously. ZING! Jon Lestahh (5-3, 3.43) will face the Phillies for the first time in his career tonight.
In other news, the Sox continue to drop like flies as Bartolo Colon is placed on the 15-day DL with a "back problem" following his start last night. Man, Wang and Colon are BOTH sore?! I... I... I just don't even know where to begin. ACK!
Celtics v. Lakers, 9:00 pm. There are no words I could possibly summon to adequately express the hugeness of tonight. My Celtics are standing on the brink of history, and that's that. 'Nuff said. In the wake of Game 5, there have certainly been some legitimate questions raised about the Celtics' ability to close this out -- the most notable concerning Kevin Garnett, who got off to a beautiful start in the 1st quarter and then seemed to fall asleep standing up (as pictured) for the majority of the game's later chapters. Indeed, Garnett's relative absence thus far in this, the biggest series these Celtics may ever play, has been baffling and frustrating to watch. However, to come down hard on Garnett for his apparent falling-off (remember that his "off game" on Sunday still involved 13 points and 14 boards) is to betray a real lack of faith in an athlete without whom Boston would simply never have had a prayer of being where it is today.
In a season in which the Celtics won 66 games, Garnett led the team with a whopping 36 win shares -- that's over 18% of total team win shares. His efficiency rating was an otherworldly +24.72. Above and beyond being a powerful producer, though, Garnett's presence on the court served as the spark that ignited the blazing swath that the Celtics were able to burn through the NBA this season. The fact that Garnett has played like a man possessed and struck fear into the heart of many a Boston opponent for nearly all of this season means that he is value added simply by being in the Garden tonight. I'd even go so far as to say that the outstanding games we've seen from Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Leon Powe, and others are in many ways due to the presence of Garnett on the team. Pierce (I'll sing this song till I'm blue in the face) is THE best playoffs actor of our generation, and he's had some simply inspired performances from his supporting cast to help him along. That said, however, the fact that Garnett has been playing sub-par ball (for him) lately should not in any way tarnish the luster of what has been a truly MVP-caliber season in terms of both level of play and ability to inspire a team. Boston fans can and should be capable of a bigger sense of history than that. (COUGH COUGH BILL SIMMONS COUGH) The mere fact that the streets tonight will be aglitter with fresh green-and-white No. 5 jerseys should tell you all you need to know about how very important Kevin Garnett is to this win tonight.
Quite frankly, I think the Celtics are going to win this thing tonight, and Paul Pierce will finally take home the ring he so richly deserves. But regardless of the kind of game he brings tonight, let's not lose sight of Kevin Garnett, who brought hope to a fanbase marked by diffidence and self-loathing this past August, and who can and should go down in history as a man who changed the face of basketball in Boston.
Frivolous prop bet of the night: Jamie Moyer is fined for delaying the game in the 4th by attempting to return a "stale" pretzel to a Citizens Bank Park vendor. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN I CAN'T HAVE MY MONEY BACK YOU CONSARNED WHIPPERSNAPPER"
Serious prediction of the night: Celts. By 16.