Celtics

Bean: Sorry, Lonzo Ball's commercial isn't that funny

Bean: Sorry, Lonzo Ball's commercial isn't that funny

My favorite quote, and the only one by which I try to live, came from Conan O’Brien on his last episode of “The Tonight Show.” Paraphrased, it was “don’t be an a-hole.” Harvard grad that he is, he put it more eloquently. 

“All I ask is one thing, and I’m asking this particularly of young people that watch: Please do not be cynical. I hate cynicism. For the record, it’s my least favorite quality; it doesn’t lead anywhere," he said. "Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen. I’m telling you, amazing things will happen.”

WHAT THE FUSS IS ABOUT

I can take or leave the “amazing things will happen” part, but the beginning of the quote was one of those “this singer wrote this song for me” moments. I completely identify with it, and it's probably why I spend so much time arguing with Felger.

People who are cynical for the sake of being cynical are the worst. Let people enjoy what they want to enjoy and don’t waste your time looking for problems with every little thing. When you’re cynical, you’re usually an a-hole, and you really don’t need to be. 

That’s why I feel terrible today. The Lonzo Ball Foot Locker commercial isn’t that good and I’m going to lose my damn mind over it being treated like it’s some work of art. I'm so rattled by the praise it's getting that I'm going to be a little cynical. 

The commercial dropped Wednesday morning, featuring NBA prospects discussing their fathers ahead of Father’s Day and the NBA draft. Jonathan Isaac, De’Aaron Fox and Jayson Tatum share their stories of going to practices and games together, and mixed in with the mundane are Lonzo Ball’s stories about how crazy his dad is. When you first realize the joke, it’s cute.

Cute. That’s it. Not “hilarious.” Not “phenomenal.” Not “fantastic.” It was kind of enjoyable. 

So like Elaine with “The English Patient” (I’m sorry I had to go with that obvious a reference), I felt like a crazy person seeing each and every person on the internet trip over themselves to say how great it was. 

Really, I get why this happens. It’s the same as when anyone laughs at Bill Belichick calling social media platforms by made-up names for the thousandth time. It isn’t very funny, but we love these sports figures, so we laugh. 

That shows how disconnected from real life sports fans and media can be. We all have loved ones whose jokes we’ll laugh at even when they’re not funny, because it’s mean and unnecessary to go out of your way to say they aren’t. But the reaction to this commercial isn’t just laughing as a courtesy. It’s the entire sports world saying that its sense of humor is so bland that this commercial brings words like “phenomenal” to mind. 

This isn’t to say that Lonzo Ball isn’t funny. I don’t know the guy, but I can guess LaVar was a million percent on board with this video, making these “Oh, look, Lonzo gets it” takes stupid. Did anyone think Lonzo Ball didn’t think his father was a lunatic? We’ve only seen this mess for a few months. He’s had it his whole life. Of course he knows how crazy it is. 

And it's certainly not to say athletes aren't funny, because a lot of them are hilarious. Roberto Luongo is an absolute genius. Paul Bissonnette? Terrific. Between the United Way commericial and the Herb Alpert locker room sketch, Peyton Manning was delightful on SNL. 

But this commercial was decent and mildly amusing. No more, no less. Comedy and sports don’t cross over too often; we don’t have to act like it’s hilarious ever time they do. 

Smart out of Celtics' Game 6 starting lineup, Ojeleye in

Smart out of Celtics' Game 6 starting lineup, Ojeleye in

MILWAUKEE— Brad Stevens is not averse to shaking up the Boston Celtics starting lineup, regardless of where a playoff series may stand.

And as eager as it may be for some to see Marcus Smart roaming the floor with the first unit in tonight’s close-out game against Milwaukee, both Smart and Stevens shot the idea down quickly.

“We haven’t talked about (me starting),” said Smart, who returned to the lineup for Game 5 following a right thumb injury that sidelined him for almost six weeks. “We actually like our starting lineup.”

Boston inserted rookie Semi Ojeleye into the starting lineup for Boston’s 92-87 Game 5 win, in place of Aron Baynes.

“Semi Ojeleye has been doing a great job on Giannis (Antetokounmpo). He matches up really well,” Smart said. “When you got somebody his size, his determination, that’s good for us. We like our matchups, the way we are to starting off the game and me coming off, bringing that energy off the bench.”

Stevens was more succinct when asked if he was considering inserting Smart into the starting lineup.

“No,” Stevens said.

While there is no mistaking the huge impact that Smart’s return for Game 5 had after missing almost six weeks with a right thumb injury, Stevens usually makes changes when there’s an area in which the Celtics need to address immediately.

In the first round of the playoffs last season against Chicago, Boston needed a jolt offensively with the first unit. 

In came Gerald Green who helped Boston win four straight over the Bulls after falling behind 2-0 in the series. 

Boston, up 3-2 in the best-of-seven series, are in a much different place right now.

They come into tonight’s Game 6 matchup coming off their best defensive performance of this series.

And while Smart played a major role in that happening, Boston’s Game 5 win was a victory fueled by an across-the-board defensive effort.

Smart’s impact will be felt whether he’s starting or not.

Plus, inserting him at this point for Ojeleye or Terry Rozier, is a risk that based on where this series is and how Boston is playing, isn’t worth taking.

Rozier hasn’t been nearly as good on the road in this series as he has been at the TD Garden.

But having him in the starting lineup keeps the Bucks more honest defensively, well aware that Rozier is a better shooter and scorer than Smart.

Plus, benching Rozier at this point in the series would be a major blow to his growing confidence which is part of why he has had more strong games in his role as a starter for Kyrie Irving (left knee recovery), than weak ones.

One of the keys for Boston will be to get off to a better start, something that Smart can impact either as a starter or getting the call early off the bench.

In Boston’s Game 3 loss, Milwaukee began the game with a 16-6 run. And in Game 4, the Bucks closed out the first quarter with a 19-5 run before holding on for a two-point win.

Ultimately, Game 6 will be determined by which team does the better job down the stretch.

And for the Celtics, that usually involves Smart being on the floor.

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Ojeleye gets chance to limit Giannis again in Game 6

Ojeleye gets chance to limit Giannis again in Game 6

MILWAUKEE – No matter how detailed you may want to get in dissecting how to beat the Milwaukee Bucks, it always comes back to Giannis Antetokounmpo.

A 7-foot playmaker who covers ground like a world class long jumper with pogo stick-like leaping ability, Antetokounmpo is a living, breathing mismatch the moment he steps on to the floor.

But he is human, something the Boston Celtics reminded us of in their 92-87 Game 5 win in which Antetokounmpo came one assist shy of a triple-double but only took 10 shots from the field.

“I had open shots but they weren’t my shots,” Antetokounmpo said after the Game 5 loss. “My teammates did a great job finding me … come Game 6 I gotta be more aggressive, make more plays.”

Boston’s Semi Ojeleye was inserted into the starting lineup for Game 5 and will likely stay there for tonight’s close-out game.

His role is to give Antetokounmpo a different look defensively in addition to a more versatile defender who matches up better on pick-and-roll switches than Aron Baynes has in this series.

In Game 5, mission accomplished.

Ojeleye discussed the challenges one faces when tasked with defending Antetokounmpo.

“His aggressive mindset,” Ojeleye said. “Every play, every possession, transition, he’s always looking to attack. You have to be aware of that at all times and just be ready. If he sees you relaxed, he’s going to try and take advantage of that.”

And while Ojeleye will be the first to admit that defending Antetokounmpo is a team effort and not the task of any one individual, it’s clear that he’s as good a Celtic as there is when it comes to defending Antetokounmpo. 

 “Giannis is a really hard guy to guard,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “Semi has great lateral athleticism and obviously as strong as anybody in the league when he gets hit on a drive, and Giannis brings as much force on the drive as anybody in the league. He’s a hard guy to guard and he’s trying to make it as difficult as possible.”

According to NBA.com, Ojeleye has defended Antetokounmpo for 73 possessions, 40 of which came in Game 5.

Antetokounmpo has scored 22 points on 9-for-15 shooting against Ojeleye.

And in Game 5, Antetokounmpo scored seven points on 3-for-5 shooting when defended by Ojeleye.

Upon first glance, those numbers aren’t all that impressive.

But a slightly deeper dive reveals that Ojeleye defended Antetokounmpo on 40 possessions.

That means Antetokounmpo took a shot with Ojeleye defending, once every eight possessions the two were on the floor at the same time.

As Ojeleye mentioned, defending Antetokounmpo is not a one-man job. 

It is a team effort, but it’s clear thus far that Boston’s best shot at minimizing Antetokounmpo’s impact begins with Ojeleye as the team’s primary defender. 

“It’s big-time what Semi can do,” said Boston’s Marcus Morris. “We all know he can defend well. He’s finally getting a chance on one of the biggest levels and he’s coming through.”

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