Let's start with a couple of Olympic notes. Team USA opened their quest for a gold medal with a 101-70 win over Yao Ming, Yi Jinlian and the Chinese team. USA was up just 12 points at the half but took over in the second half for the 31 point win. It was nice that Yao opened the scoring with a 3. He deserved to have his home fans get excited and cheer him on. Just an observation, but Yi looked pretty bad. If I were the Nets, I'd be a bit worried about now. Next up for the US men's team will be Angola on Tuesday.
The USA Women's team won their 27th straight Olympic game as they easily dominated China 108-63 I really like Lisa Leslie. She is a class act all the way. One of the Chinese players went down and it was Lisa Leslie who went to her and helped her up and off the court. The US woman's team is so dominant that it is hard to see them losing even one game.
This has nothing to do with basketball but it was so thrilling to watch the men's 400 meter swim relay last night. The French team was the favorite to win and the US team was a serious underdog. One of the French swimmers said the Americans weren't goint to win and the the reason they came to Beijing was to crush the American team. Watching the race, the French swimmer was ahead down the final stretch but Jason Lezak came on strong and passed him to touch just hundreds of a second before him to win the gold. It was so close they had to watch the results board before knowing who won. It was pretty exciting to watch. The race was so fast that even the 4th and 5th place swimmers who didn't medal beat the existing world record. This gives Michael Phelps 8 career gold medals and a chance to make history in these olympics. One more medal and he will surpass Mark Spitz for the most career golds in his career and he still has 6 more races to compete in. He has a chance to win a record 8 gold medals in these olympics. I'm pulling for him. Exciting stuff.
Thanks to our friends at one of my very favorite Celtics' blogs, Lex Nihil Novi, I was able to find this 5 DVD set from the Celtics' 17th championship run. According to the photo, it has 5 DVD's with the 4 wins in the finals along with the incredible game 7 against LeBron and the Cavs. Amazon is offering it on a pre-order basis with release promised for October 28.
A league source reports that the Cavs might be pursuing Bucks point guard Mo Williams. All the details aren’t known, but the Cavs, Bucks and Oklahoma City are reportedly involved in what could be a 3 team trade. The Cavs have long coveted Michael Redd, but the Bucks have made it clear that he is not available. The speculation is that Delonte West will be included with a sign and trade as the Cavs haven't been able to come to terms with him and it wouldn't make sense to have both Delonte and Mo on the same team as both would expect to be starters. I think the Cavs have been unfair to Delonte. He is their starter and they aren't offering him as much as they gave their back up. I wouldn't mind seeing him take the qualifying offer from the Cavs and come back to the Celtics next season. There were rumors that Danny had made an offer for him this season. Whatever happens, I hope he ends up in a good situation because he is a good kid and a good player.
Jorge Garbajosa returned to the court playing for Spain in the Olympics. It was 2 years ago when Celtics fans witnessed the then Raptor going down with a horrible leg and ankle injury that could have been career ending. That was a bad year for the Celtics fans as they also witnessed their own Tony Allen go down with a season ending injury. But Garbajosa's injury looked so bad, it could have ended not just his season, but his career. His 13 minute stint for Spain marked the end of a gruelling period that included thousands of hours of rehabilitation and two surgeries. I am glad to see him back on the court.
The Celtics have no players in the Olympics but there are plenty of other NBA teams with players competing. Here is a list of the players who are competing for teams other than the US team. Argentina has 5 including Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs), Andres Nocioni (Chicago Bulls), Fabricio Oberto (San Antonio Spurs), Luis Scola (Houston Rockets) and Carlos Delfino (Toronto Raptors). Australia has Andrew Bogut (Milwaukee Bucks). China has Yao Ming (Houston Rockets) and Yi Jianlian (New Jersey Nets). Croatia has Roko-Leni Ukic (Toronto Raptors). Germany has Chris Kaman (Los Angeles Clippers) and Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks). Lithuania includes Linas Kleiza (Denver Nuggets) and Sarunas Jasikevicius (Golden State Warriors). Russia has Andrei Kirilenko (Utah Jazz). Spain has 6 players including Pau Gasol (Los Angeles Lakers), Rudy Fernandez (Portland Trail Blazers), Jose-Manuel Calderon (Toronto Raptors), Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies) Juan Carlos Navarro (Memphis Grizzlies) and Jorge Garbajosa (Toronto Raptors).
Think back to the Boston series. The Pistons, focused on stopping Kevin Garnett, wound up getting punched in the gut by Kendrick Perkins. Neither Rasheed Wallace nor Antonio McDyess could handle his athleticism, and Jason Maxiell, at 6-7, couldn't handle his size.
Perk gets some well deserved props from the Detroit media. Detroit signed Kwame Brown with the express purpose of trying to match up with Perk. I still see people questioning Perk's effectiveness. Perk does everything that is asked of him by his coaches and that makes him very valuable. He is willing to do the dirty work without getting a lot of the glory. He does so much that doesn't show up in the box score. He may not get the rebound, but he boxes out so his teammate can. He may not score the basket, but he sets the pick so his teammate can. His value to the team can be most clearly seen in game 5 of the Finals. In games 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom are basically ineffectual and aren't a factor. But in game 5 when Perk wasn't in there, they became unstoppable forces. Perk deserves a lot of kudos and it is nice to see him getting some.