The Celtics blew a 14-point fourth quarter lead last night and the Capitals a 3-0 lead. The lesson we can take from sports here and apply it to life? Don't let up. Play it all the way to the end. I still don't know how the Celtics lost that game. Well, I do--they let up. But watching it, they had control the entire time, until they didn't. With that loss they may have lost the NBA championship this year, because they were a real contender for it. They still are, but win this series became much harder. I think they're better than the Bucks, but they haven't played as well as they can play. Something to note: Brown is not as good as Tatum, but he has more fight in him. He doesn't shirk when it matters. He's tougher. The Celtics are frustrating when they stop moving the ball. A friend texted me saying the Bruins will win their series. I don't see it. I'll be surprised--but not shocked--if they win tonight and get to a Game 7. My expectation is the Canes finish them off this evening. Swayman's not as good as I hoped he was. He's fine. But I don't think he'll be a top goalie. You can win with him. Watching the Bruins' goaltending in this series--which is by no means why they trail--makes me think of just how amazing Tim Thomas was in 2011. Having said that, without some fortuitous breaks in the first round that year against the Canadiens, Thomas wouldn't have been able to show what he ultimately did show, and maybe there will be an element of that this year. I don't really understand this Bruins team. My expectation was that Game 5 would have been close, that they would have given it their all and if they lost, so be it. They were flat, though, didn't really compete, didn't look like they wanted to be there. I'd say that was the biggest problem rather than anything strategic or strictly on-ice, where they were dominated as a result. It's hard to respect teams that feel like they need to play at home to win.
The Leafs can knock off the two-time defending Cup champion Lightning tonight and I think that is a big story. The Leafs never win in the playoffs, and this Lightning team is stacked and can make some history. But the Leafs have to win at some point and they have so much speed and firepower so I figured this series could be a toss up. Tonight's game is in Tampa, so I'd expect defending champions to do what defending champions do and handle business and prevail 5-2 or some such.
Fun baseball facts: Hank Aaron and Carlton Fisk hit the exact same number of inside-the-park home runs: one. Ty Cobb won the Triple Crown in 1909, mashing—okay, “mashing”—9 home runs. Every one of which…was of the inside-the-park variety.
Reading Hawthorne’s Mosses from an Old Manse (1846) again, it strikes me that he was America’s first modernist. Melville was to follow, then Whitman. “The Christmas Banquet” is postmodernism before modernism existed.
I pitched something on Max Roach and Clifford Brown at the Beehive in Chicago in 1955. Doubt it will be assigned right now, but I'd like to do it--when I write these jazz pieces I'm always thinking about what will go well in a book.
For the next three appearances on Downtown, I think I'll discuss that entry on here on Lennon's vocals for the whole half hour; then the next four stories in Brackets the week after; and then five stories from the Library of America's new volume of early F. Scott Fitzgerald writings, or four stories and Gatsby. Yes, let's call it four stories and Gatsby. I'll have to figure out the four stories. "Winter Dreams" will be one--it's the finest piece of fiction Fitzgerald wrote.
Throughout the day I suck on Fisherman's Friend lozenges. I buy them in bulk. I'm just about all out of them right now. I suck on one when I run the stairs. It can last for a full 5000 stairs, actually.