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“Shutting It Down”

Posted by Steve Bzomowski on April 4, 2007

Paul Pierce Dives Out-of-Bounds (AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki)

Am I the only one who is put-off, I mean sickened, by this notion, this trend of not finishing out the season, this whole “I’m thinking about ‘shutting it down'” for the rest of the schedule? I know, I know, I am old-school as it gets. These guys are commodities, worth millions, tens of millions in revenue and, thus, have to be protected. It still makes me sick.

Bad enough when it’s “Manny being Manny” but do we have to put up with “Paul being Paul”? I know Pierce had the beginning of what looked like it could have been a stress fracture, but they brought him back in due time and they certainly would not have brought him back if it risked further injury. He came back to play so they could win a game or two after the eighteen game “Voyage to the Bottom of the (NBA) Sea”, but, more than anything, to see if the “young players”: Jefferson, West, Rondo, could learn to adjust to playing with the “superstar”, the “franchise”, the snubbed “all-star”, the “classic case of a great player on a bad team”. Apparently they got their answer because looks like Paul is “shutting it down”.

Give me a break. It’s pathetic. I share some Celts’ season tickets and knew I was going to be out-of-the-country this past Sunday, the date of the Cavs in Boston. Emailed a friend: “want the tickets? LeBron and Pierce”? Ya, sure. (Sorry, Mike.)

You’re right, I’m old school. And to prove it, I conjure the ghost of Red Auerbach. What Would Red Say? WWRS? As a coach, obviously, Red never would have had to deal with such a scenario. Last place, going nowhere? “Should I sit Russ to see if we can avoid moving into 3rd-to-last and diminish our lottery pick status”? WWRS? He’d be on the phone to see who he could get for that “warrior” Pierce, he’d throw in the Celtic dancers and Lucky, to boot.

Glad my mother didn’t shut it down right when I was beginning to walk. Or my trig or calculus teacher vanished in mid-April. Or a farmer at the 32nd acre. Ted Williams played that last game when he could have sat and protected the .400 average. Didn’t he? Cannot imagine Magic sitting or Mo Cheeks or Bird, but then again, those comparisons are spurious because they were too good to let the teams they played on be as bad as Paul Pierce’s Celtics.

And these “sitters” all claim to “love the game”? If you love it, then you play it. I think of all the players who would do anything to be on that floor, the NBA floor, proving who they are as ballplayers. But, I suppose, they too would soon be corrupted by what passes as values in today’s pro game. A guy or girl at a pick-up game, waiting on the sideline, having yelled “winners” has more, way more, integrity.

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6 Responses to ““Shutting It Down””

  1. Joe said

    Nicely stated. I think you should submit this to the Metro for their column. Hopefully Paul reads i.


  2. Akira Motomura said

    You don’t have to be an economist (as I am) to see the incentive problem with the draft lottery, especially this year with people expecting Oden and Durant to come out. The importance one great player can have in basketball, plus the salary cap arrangements that encourage that player and team to stay hitched to each other for the long haul, make the problem worse than in the other sports. In today’s (4/8) Globe, Peter May mentioned Jeff Van Gundy’s idea of giving all 30 teams an equal shot at the #1 pick and gave his own modified version. I wouldn’t go that far, but maybe the NBA should give all 14 nonplayoff teams (or the owners of those picks) an equal shot at the first 2 or 3 picks instead of the current weighted system, then go by record from the bottom up (for those teams that don’t get lucky). Then maybe the NBA can get around to fixing the luxury tax structure…


  3. Steve Bzomowski (nephew) said

    Lebron sitting out against the Celtics reminded me of something. A month or two ago, Lebron sat out against Sacramento to rest a nagging injury. In that game the Cavs destroyed the Kings. They moved the ball around nicely, had alot more assists altogether than they usually do, and played one of their better games of the season (this was also in the middle of a winning streak). Is this a sign of greatness in Lebron? In that Lebron’s unique passing ability and team-first mind set has rubbed-off on his teammates. Or is this a sign for the Cavs that says, hey, just think what we could do if we moved the ball like this when Lebron is on the court, we could beat Sacramento by 40 instead of 20.

    To me, it seems that they understand the concepts of team play, but they have trouble applying it when Lebron is on the court. They get caught up in his incredible ability and end up standing around deferring everything to him. I think their next step towards becoming a great team is playing the way they played without Lebron, with Lebron. I was hoping they’d play against the Celtics the same way they did against the Kings, but it didnt really work out that way (with the game ending on a phantom foul called on “Wild Thing” while gaurding Delonte West).


  4. Dan Z said

    I’m torn on this issue. I’m definitely not a fan of blatant tanking like the Bucks are doing. The Celtics situation bothers me for the same reasons it bothers you. But I don’t want to see Pierce get seriously hurt fighting to get our 26th win. Pierce is not healthy. He’s suffered recent eye, elbow, and knee injuries since coming back from his foot injury. I see the logic behind shutting him down. You are more likely to hurt something new while overcompensating for an existing injury. Playoff teams will shut players down too once they have clinched their spot and can’t improve their position.

    (And I really, really, really, really, want the Cs to get a top 2 pick…..)


  5. Ashok Narayanan said

    The cynic would say let the stars sit, so the people who hunger to play would actually get on the floor instead of having their backsides nailed to the bench….


  6. Greg Herr said

    I’d like to see a little more hunger from the non-stars. I didn’t watch much of the game last night, but I know the Atlanta Hawks shot 56% from the field in the first half. That shouldn’t happen with a hungry team defending. And it’s surprising to me — most of the year I’ve been impressed with the team’s effort, shutdown questions notwithstanding.


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