Picked-up pieces while wondering if we’ve seen the last of Patrice Bergeron:
▪ Two Game 7s in less than 24 hours. Pretty great. As long as Boston doesn’t lose both.
The front end of our Saturday-Sunday twinbill didn’t go well as the Bruins lost Game 7 in Carolina, 3-2. The Bruins will slink home to clean out their lockers, but not until the Celtics and Bucks play their Game 7 Sunday afternoon on Causeway Street.
The Bruins and Celtics have shared space in Boston since 1946 and never played Game 7s on back-to-back days. Dallas, believe it or not, has two Game 7s Sunday (both on the road), the Mavericks facing the Suns in Phoenix and the Stars battling the Flames in Calgary.
Saturday’s showdown in Raleigh, N.C, makes the Bruins 15-14 in Game 7s. They’ve only won one Game 7 on the road, and that was in Vancouver in 2011, when Bergeron and Brad Marchand scored all the goals in a 4-0 victory to win the Stanley Cup.
The Celtics are the NBA’s Green Godfathers of Game 7, with a record of 24-9. Bill Russell, the capo di tutti capo of Game 7, won 10 of 10 ultimate showdowns.
The 2021-22 Celtics and Bucks have lived up to the legacy of Russell in their frenzied fortnight ode to Ali-Frazier. Road teams have won four of the six, with no team winning two in a row. The Bucks seemed to cut the Celtics’ hearts out at the end of Game 5 Wednesday, only to be gutted by Jayson Tatum Friday at Fiserv Forum. Game 6′s Tatum-Giannis Antetokounmpo duel kindled memories of Larry Bird vs. Dominique Wilkins (1988) and Paul Pierce vs. LeBron James (2008).
It feels like these Celtics are ready to take it to the next level. They are favored in Game 7 and seem equipped to take on the Heat in the conference finals.
The alternative is unthinkable. No way Boston can lose two Game 7s in two days. Our local sports Seventh Heaven can’t be the Seventh Circle of Hell.
▪ Hall of Fame scribe Bill Madden reports in the New York Daily News that former Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino is putting together a group in a bid to buy the Washington Nationals.
▪ Gino Cappelletti was a prince. He should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was Mr. Patriot and we all loved him. RIP.
▪ Stand up and boo the Astros when they come to Fenway if you want, but you are pretty much wasting your time. Not many of the 2017 cheaters are still around, the Red Sox were also caught and punished for cheating (nothing on the level of the Astros) in that same era, and the Astros have been a far better organization than the up-and-down Bostons over the last six seasons. Houston went into Saturday night with a record of 22-11 and 11 straight wins. The Astros have reached the World Series in three of the last five seasons, becoming the second team in history to play in five consecutive American League Championship Series. They have replaced Carlos Correa and look like they’re going to win the AL West for the fifth time in six seasons. They’ve managed to draft, develop, and spend — just like the old-timey Red Sox in the Theo Epstein days — before Boston ownership steered toward Tampa Bay Way.
▪Quiz: Name 11 baseball Hall of Famers who played no games before 1975 and went on to play their entire careers with only one team (answer below).
▪ This past week we learned that Tom Brady — who has rarely said anything interesting — is going to be paid $375 million over 10 seasons to provide commentary on Fox NFL games as soon as he’s done playing. Swell. So what happened to Tom “spending more time with the family”? And how much money is ever enough? And what if he’s terrible at this? It will be nice to have Tom in the press box with us (wonder how he’ll like the halftime hot dogs), but something tells me this will be a short-lived career or may never happen at all.
▪ Stid, we hardly knew ye.
▪ With the Heat and Panthers alive in their respective playoffs, Miami has the best chance to become the first sports market to win the Stanley Cup and NBA championship in the same spring. Hard to believe that it’s never been done. Boston’s best chance came in 1957, when the Red Auerbach/Bill Russell/Bob Cousy Celtics won their first championship and the Bruins made it to the Stanley Cup Final before losing to (who else?) Montreal. The 1958 Celtics and Bruins both made it to the finals and lost. In 1974, the Celtics beat the Bucks for the NBA championship, but Bobby Orr and the Bruins lost the Cup Final to the Flyers in six.
▪ Worlds colliding: In November 1993, the Montreal Expos’ young GM, Dan Duquette, acquired 22-year-old Dodgers pitcher Pedro Martinez for speedy second baseman Delino DeShields. Both Pedro and DeShields have connections to professional basketball. When Al Horford was about 10, his mom, Arelis Reynoso — a television reporter in the Dominican Republic — interviewed Pedro when Martinez was still with the Expos. DeShields’s daughter, Diamond DeShields — a 6-foot-1-inch guard — won the WNBA championship as a member of the Chicago Sky last October, just 21 months after having a tumor removed from her spinal cord.
▪ When does Deshaun Watson have time for football? The Browns’ new quarterback is being sued by 22 women who have accused him of sexual misconduct. He’s testified in depositions for seven of the plaintiffs. That’s seven down, 15 to go.
▪ Denver’s Nikola Jokic next year will attempt to become only the fourth NBA player to win three consecutive MVP awards. The only three to do it are Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, and Larry Bird. Which means Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Magic Johnson never won back-to-back-to-back.
▪ Thirty-one-year-old former NBA center Adreian Payne was shot and killed in Florida last weekend. Payne was on the Michigan State team that beat out Tommy Amaker’s best (27-5) Harvard team, 80-73, for a spot in the Sweet Sixteen in 2014.
▪ Veteran Globe photographer Jim Davis had a great week at courtside covering Celtics-Bucks. Davis’s day-after photo of a horizontal Jayson Tatum taking a one-handed scoop shot from just inches off the court reminded several good Globe readers of the iconic Orr Mother’s Day goal photo that became a statue outside the Garden. Davis’s Tatum shot ran in the May 10 sports pages, 52 years to the day that Orr won the Stanley Cup with his airborne play.
▪ Seventy-eight-year-old Celtics fan Paul Luther remembers getting picked up hitchhiking by Russell back in 1960: “After basketball practice at Matignon, I’d walk to the Alewife Brook Parkway and hitchhike home the 8 miles to Stoneham. One night a new Cadillac stopped for me and it was Bill Russell! He asked where I was going and took me right to my house. We talked about basketball the whole time. He told me that I should study hard and stick with it.” These days, Luther teaches ESL Level 1 to adult immigrants in Lawrence.
▪ Still think it was worth trading for Chris Sale? Sale, who won’t get vaccinated and whose comeback has been postponed until after the Red Sox’ next trip to Toronto, has won 11 games in four seasons since signing his five-year, $145 million deal. Meanwhile, 26-year-old Michael Kopech — one of the prospects sent to the White Sox for Sale — went into this weekend with an 0.93 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 29 innings over six starts. Yoan Moncada, also acquired for Sale, is back from the injured list and playing third base every day for Chicago. Switch-hitter Moncada is a career .261 batter who has a 25-home run season on his résumé, which would make him Jimmie Foxx in the 2022 Red Sox lineup.
▪ Can’t wait to get my hands on “In Scoring Position,” a new book by the Globe’s Bob Ryan and stat guru Bill Chuck. Ryan, the de facto commissioner of basketball, is a baseball savant and has kept score of every game he’s attended since he was the Globe’s Sox beat guy in 1977. I’m hoping there is a special section devoted to Reggie Cleveland’s infamous 18-hit complete-game victory over the Tigers in ‘77. I guarantee you Ryan used the phrase “scattered 18 hits” in his game story.
▪ Lookalikes: How about Grayson Allen as a young Ted Cruz (which one inspires more anger?). What about Tony La Russa and Johnny Cash?
▪ Big congrats to Bob DeFelice, who took over as Bentley baseball coach for a salary of $1,500 in 1969, the year man first walked on the moon. The Winthrop native retired last weekend with 848 wins in 54 years as Bentley’s only coach. Seven decades. That’s a lot of bus rides. DeFelice is in nine Halls of Fame.
▪ Quiz answer: Barry Larkin (Reds), Cal Ripken Jr. (Orioles), Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio (Astros), Edgar Martinez (Mariners), Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera (Yankees), Tony Gwynn (Padres), Kirby Puckett (Twins), Alan Trammell (Tigers), Chipper Jones (Braves). Note: Jim Rice played 24 games with the 1974 Red Sox and does not qualify.