I follow ESPN's The Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, on twitter. Most of the time he rewards his followers with funny one-liners and interesting links. Sometimes, however, his unfiltered bias comes spewing out. I read his book, and although I'm sure his editors warned him, it was greatly skewed in favor of the Boston players. Look, I'm not holding it against him. If I were to write a book about basketball, you can bet the house on it favoring the Spurs. I'm just saying it annoys me every so often and last night served as a great example of his blind loyalty to the Celtics.
Honestly, it's difficult for me to watch the Magic play the Celtics. I feel that the Magic are led by an immature 7-footer that would prefer to be a movie star over an NBA champion. Plus, they have two of the softest players in the league, Rashard Lewis and Vince Carter. I mean, it's just hard to watch. On the other side, we have Sheed, Perkins, Rondo, Garnett, and Pierce all acting as if they are God's gift to basketball. I can't stand the entitlement that oozes out of every close-up of them. It makes me sick. Boston sold its soul for a championship and in my opinion should only be rewarded with one trophy, not two.
Therefore, I have spent the past few weeks rooting against the Lakers, for obvious reasons, and hoping that the Celtics and Magic both implode, leaving the trophy for Phoenix. Last night was your standard unexciting, frustrating Eastern Conference Finals game that we have all been trained to accept. The Magic, lacking heart, played lethargically but got every 50/50 call. The Celtics, seemingly concussed before the game began, spent most of the game waiting for the Magic to forfeit. The Celtics, in an attempt to prove to everyone watching that they are tough guys, fouled every other possession and then gave the 'Sheed look' to the officials when they were called for the obvious fouls. (Reason #15,210 I wish the Spurs were still playing. I very much prefer the wide-eyed 'Duncan look.' It's much less upsetting and makes for a fantastic drinking game. You give the look back and then drink a beer.)
At this point, we all know what happened last night. Perkins and Gortat were called for a double-technical with 2:15 left in the first half. With 36.1 seconds remaining in the half, Perkins was called for a foul, which he clearly committed. In disgust, Perkins turned around and gave the classic Sheed dramatic wave of the hand in dismissal of the call as he shouted a few choice words while walking away. The uproar surrounded the second technical, which resulted in Perkin's ejection along with a possible suspension for Game 6, because he exceeded the limit for postseason technicals.
And now we come to the Sports Guy's tweets.
"Wow, I am ashamed to be an NBA fan, Tossing Perkins was an absolute travesty. I'm speechless. 1 of the most indefensible ref moments ever."
"Perks 2 techs: First one was a farce. 2nd one for WALKING AWAY from a ref after a terrible call. Donaghy just signed another book deal."
"FYI: That was Perkins' 7th tech and he's suspended for Game 6. We just potentially saw a ref swing a playoff series. Congrats, NBA."
The Sports Guy summed up every Boston fan's opinion in those three tweets. "The first technical was a farce. Perkins was walking away from the official when he was called for the second technical; how is that possible? And this is his 7th technical of the postseason! He's going to be suspended! The world is against us! Conspiracy! Conspiracy!"
First, make no mistake, this was all part of the Magic's plan. I watched Gortat closely last night, mostly because he was actually getting minutes and I think he would be a good complement to Tim. After watching a few possessions, it became evident to me that Gortat was on a mission to start something with Perkins and/or Sheed. Holding jerseys, trash talking while waiting for a free-throw, stomping on feet, Gortat was doing his best Bruce Bowen impression, (Man, I miss Bruce. Sign him, POP! We need him!) The following are Gortat's minutes played by game this series; keep in mind the first three were blow outs and he still couldn't find minutes: 14, 15, 12, 10, and 20. What changed? The game plan. "Let's see if we can get in Perk or Sheed's head. Who's our scariest guy? Gortat, you're in!" Desperate times, 3-1, call for desperate measures, after all. So Gortat was instigating, but it takes two to get a double-technical. Perkins fell into the trap perfectly. Technical #1 received, the Magic are officially in his head.
Here is what every Celtics fan is conveniently overlooking when arguing that the second technical was a travesty. The, 'How did we get here?' question. During the regular season, Sheed led the league with 17 technical fouls. Guess who came in second? Perkins with 16. During the postseason, the Celtics have led all playoff teams averaging 1.7 technicals a game. As I previously stated, the Celtics sold their soul for a ring. When you add the King of All Head-Cases, Sheed, to a team of borderline headcases, the best you can hope for is a one game suspension. The worst? The Pacers' fate when they decided to combine the craziness of Ron Artest with Stephen Jackson.
So, how did we arrive at this point where a wave of the hand and a few choice words while walking away results in an ejection? The work was done early and often, my friends, by Perkins and the rest of the Celtics. It's the same reason that Dwight Howard often finds himself in foul trouble. If you are known as a hacker, officials are looking, expecting you to hack someone. When you are known to be a headcase, or a team of headcases, the officials are not going to give you a long leash. Especially an officiating crew headed by our own favorite, Joey Crawford. The officials had a hair-trigger going in, and apparently everyone except the Celtic's fan base was aware of this.
Should the NBA rescind the second technical? Absolutely not. In fact, I think they should create a video that shows everyone how we arrived at this suspension. Show Perkins' 16 regular season technicals followed by his 7 postseason technicals. This kind of immature behavior should not be condoned, and I do not expect David Stern to look the other way. Perkins will be suspended and the limping Celtics will lose by 15. The Magic will close this series out at home for the first 0-3 comeback in NBA history! It sounds more exciting than it actually is, so calm down. The Magic still have Vince and Rashard, after all.