Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Closer Like Kyra Sedgwick AKA 12 Down, 4 To Go

The Boston Celtics held serve at home and pushed the Pistons backs to the wall for the first time in the postseason. The Pistons were at home and the Celtics only managed to win one game on the road in the playoffs (Game 3) so they were 1-7 on the road. On top of that, the Pistons were 5-0 after losses in the postseason as well.

Most NBA experts and analysts were convinced that Detroit was going to win Game 6 and possibly drop Game 7 back in The Jungle on Sunday. The Celtics saw the Lakers come from behind and finish off the Spurs so they had it in their minds that last night was the night for the Pistons to get got. They needed to be taken off of here. In order to be seen as serious contenders for the 2008 NBA Championship it was important that they closed out the Pistons on the road. The place is here, the time is now they thought to themselves.

Rip Hamilton was ready to go. The Palace was rocking, the rafters were packed with 22,076 folks screaming their heads off. 44,152 eyes were going to either witness the Detroit Pistons save their playoff lives or the Boston Celtics finally pull the proverbial plug on the life support machine. The ball was jumped up and both squads were ready to get it in. Would this be the last time the fans in the D would hear Mason holler "DEEEEETROIT BASKETBAAAAAAAAAL!!!!" and see pyrotechnics and drummers? The C's sure hoped so.

The Celtics were aggressive to start the game and Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett all got early buckets to keep the Pistons on their heels. It because obvious that nothing was wrong with Rip Hamilton or Chauncey Billups. Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins had trouble getting involved in the game and Kevin Garnett's shots weren't falling early.

Kevin Garnett got into early foul trouble and Rajon Rondo seemed to have trouble keep Chauncey Billups in front of him as he got into the paint repeatedly. Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace both struggled mightily from the floor but the Celtics kept fouling the Pistons and sending them to the line. The first quarter ended Boston 24 Detroit 21.

The 2nd quarter was rough going as the play got more physical and the defensive pressure became more intense. The Detroit Pistons began putting together a run and made their push to take the lead but the Celtics fought back and neither team could consistently put the ball in the basket leading to a hard fought but low scoring quarter of play. The game was turning ugly than Clint Howard's baby pictures.

Ray Allen made the lead 29-23 on a well timed long ball but Sam Cassell was once again proving to be ineffective on the offensive and defensive ends of the court. After the Pistons scored the Celtics quickly moved the ball down the court and Ray Allen took a pass and drove. When he was double teamed, he quickly kicked the ball out to a wide open James Posey who was waiting on the ball. Swish! The Celtics went up 32-25.

The tide began to turn when the Celtics failed to score again with the 7 point lead and Rip Hamilton hit a big three pointer from the top corner when it bounced twice on the rim and fell in. Kevin Garnett came in off the bench but the C's still failed to score. After what seemed like an eternity on the other end of the court, the Pistons got a huge offensive rebound and kicked the ball out to a wide open Chauncey Billups for three. Thwap! The lead was down to 1 point. BOS 32 DET 31.

The lead was 34-33 in favor Boston before Leon Powe came in and got a huge offensive board and putback with the foul. Powe hit the free throw to put the Celtics up 37-33. The rest of the half was pretty much a free throw exhibition only stopped by a Paul Pierce drive to the hoop to put the C's back up 39-35. The score at halftime: BOS 40 DET 37.

Both teams knew that this was the time to come out with energy and establish dominance once and for all. This game was a quagmire and now someone needed to move the ball, get easy shots going to the hole and most importantly get stops and turn the other team over. The team that answered the bell first and came out of their corner punching was the Celtics.

First Rondo pushed the ball up and hit Kevin Garnett with a pass and he drilled a wide open jumper. Tayshaun Prince hit a contested jumper on the other end. The Celtics came down and found Kevin Garnett wide open behind the three point line. He missed and Rasheed Wallace got the rebound and made an errant outlet pass that Paul Pierce intercepted and took it right to the hole. On the following possession Chauncey Billups smartly penetrated, stopped and ball faked. Once Rajon Rondo left his feet and made contact with him he left the shot go and he banked it in for a three point play

Paul Pierce got the ball on the low block and drew a foul in the act of shooting. He stepped to the line and knocked down both free throws. Chauncey Billups brought the ball down and hit a wide open Rasheed Wallace behind the line. The rebound bounced off of Hulk's hands into Ray Allen's. He looked up and ran 80 feet, kniving through four Piston defenders for the left handed lay up. The Celtics were up 48-42. It was beginning to look like a ball game out there.

The Celtics and Pistons traded baskets until the lead 54-48 in favor of Boston. It was then that the Pistons came alive (no Peter Frampton) and ran off a 16-4 run powered by Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Jason Maxiell and Antonio McDyess. The Pistons lead was 64-58 before one of the weirdest plays in recent memory occurred that became a sort of turning point in the contest.

Following two Rodney Stuckey free throws, the Celtics came down and moved the ball around between Ray Allen and Paul Pierce to get a clean look at a three. Paul Pierce got a wide open look at the top of the key and threw a ball fake as Rip Hamilton came flying at him at full speed. Pierce waited for the contact and once he got hit he let the ball fly. All net. The audience thought Paul Pierce had gotten an obvious 4 point play initiated. The 3 pointer was even added on the scoreboard but referee Bennett Salvatore waved it off and called a stationary Paul Pierce for an offensive foul because he "initiated the contact". The Celtics bench was in uproar. The fans cheered. Paul Pierce was dumbfounded.

The quarter ended with a Pistons 20-6 run and the Pistons had a 68-60 lead going into the final frame. Flip Saunders told Michelle Tafoya that he expected a Celtics run. I guess Flip's psychic because that's what happened after Detroit pushed the lead to 10 on a Hamilton jumper. First KG hit a long jumper, then after a stop Hulk got a wide open look from Pierce and finished with the and one. A free throw followed that cut the Pistons lead in half (70-65).

The C's got another stop and an ineffective Rasheed Wallace (4 pts on 2-12 from the field, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 TO's and 5 fouls in 32 minutes for a team low -15 on the night) fouled Kevin Garnett in the paint while he was shooting. KG knocked down both free throws to bring the lead down to 3 (70-67). The Celtics defense forced another turnover and Kevin Garnett got on the low block and hit a huge turnaround jumper over Maxiell. The lead wad down to 1 (70-69). Paul Pierce was fouled hard twice putting Detroit in the penalty. He hit a free throw to tie the game at 70.

While setting up the offense, Kendrick Perkins managed to pick Rip Hamilton's pocket and he alertly outletted the ball to a streaking Rajon Rondo. He got the ball to a wide open Posey for a three. No dice. The Pistons got the ball to Maxiell on the low block where he hit the turnaround jumper. Rondo hit Garnett for a long jumper to tie it up at 72. Jasion Maxiell hit a fadeaway jumper in the paint. 74-72. Paul Pierce got the ball at the top of the key and slashed his way into the paint, he went into the spin cycle, got hacked by McDyess and made a falling layup. And one. The game was now tied. The free throw fell in to give the Celtics a 75-74 lead with 5:25 left in the game.

On the following possession Rajon Rondo jumped and stole a lazy Rasheed Wallace pass and sprinted down the court. He circled the wagons and found Paul Pierce. Paul then settled into his patented wet 15-18 foot jumper from the bottom corner to push the lead to 77-74. Rasheed Wallace got the ball on the low block against Hulk hoping to stop the bleeding. He managed to get a good look but Perk came away with the board and the C's worked the ball down the Pierce who got fouled in the paint. He hit both free throws to push the lead to 79-74.

A Wallace jumper in the paint made the lead 79-76. Kevin Garnett worked his way into the paint and shot over Chauncey Billups to push the lead back to 5 at 81-76. The Celtics got a huge stop and they walked the ball down the court. The clock was the Pistons enemy and their fans were anxiously hoping that they could stop the bleeding and put together a run. The Celtics moved the ball around with the shot clock running down until they hit a wide open Rajon Rondo near the bottom corner of the court. He let it fly. Nothing but net. The Celtics were up 83-76 with 2:32 left in the game. Several Piston "fans" packed their shit and promptly made for the exits.

Chauncey Billups immediately tricked Rondo into a three point play to cut the lead down to 83-79 after the free throw. Boston got the ball down to their end with a couple of possessions but failed to score both times. The clock was down to 1:45 and the Pistons had possession down by only 4 points. Tayshaun Prince held the ball while his teammates made their way upcourt, this allowed James Posey to sneak up from behind and punch the ball loose. He gathered in the ball and gave it to Paul Pierce who held the ball until Rip Hamilton tackled him and put him at the line. Pierce hit both freebies to make it an 85-79 lead with 1:35 left in the game. More Piston "fans" started looking for an egress.

Chauncey Billups drove hard to the hole where he was met and turned away by The Hulk. Tayshaun Prince came up with the ball and hit a wide open Billups for a corner three that hit the front of the rim and bounced right into Kevin Garnett's hands. As he passed the ball to Rajon Rondo who then handed off to Paul Pierce and brought the ball up even more people began to file out of the building. After a time out, the C's got the clock under a minute but threw up an air ball from deep.

The Pistons got the rebound with the clock running down and Rip Hamilton once again front rimmed another three attempt right into Garnett's hands. He quickly passed the ball to Ray Allen who they wouldn't foul and he whipped the ball to KG with 36.6 seconds left on the clock. He missed both attempts but the mass exodus out of The Palace had already begun even though the game wasn't yet over.

Rasheed Wallace missed another three and Paul Pierce went to the line and made one. After a Stuckey miss at the other end, Ray Allen was fouled and knocked down two with 22.5 left to make it 88-79. A final Pierce free throw at 15.9 and a Garnett offensive rebound on a missed attempt closed the door on the Detroit Pistons season in grand fashion. After ten seasons in a Celtic jersey The Truth finally gets his shot at a title. His boy Antoine Walker got his ring in 2006 and now it's P's turn.

The Celtics could've folded after that phantom foul call but they gutted it out and decided to lay it all on the line and play like champions. They went on a 29-13 run in the 4th quarter powered by James Posey's defense on Chauncey Billups. He made huge plays and in 20 minutes of play he held Chauncey Billups to 2-6 in the 4th quarter and ended at a team best +14 for the night.

Pierce ended with 27 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Ray Allen chipped in 17 points and 6 rebounds and Kevin Garnett added 16 points 6 rebounds and 4 assists to round out the big three. Rondo (11 pts 4 off reb 3 ast) and Hulk (7 pts 7 reb 2 blk 2 stl and +13 overall) also came up big. Billups (29 pts 6 reb 6 ast) and Hamilton (21 pts 4 ast 2 blk) were huge but Wallace, Prince (10 pts) and McDyess pretty much disappeared when they were needed the most.

It's what we waited for all season long. Boston vs. L.A. in a no holds barred battle for ultimate basketball supremacy. I love this game!

Game 1 of the NBA Finals in Boston, MA @ TD Banknorth Garden
June 5th, 2008 @ 9:00 EST ABC
(1) Boston Celtics vs. (1) Los Angeles Lakers

Ubuntu! © Boston Celtics

Get a good seat, Spike!


Friday, May 30, 2008

What's New In Dart's iPod #32 AKA The Review Blog About Nothing

The Lakers beat the old and decrepit San Antonio Spurs to win the Western Conference Championship in 5 games and the Boston Celtics are hoping to close out the Pistons in Detroit tonight. This past week we also lost one of the best emcees in the underground Hip Hop scene, Camu Tao (MHz, Weathermen). I can remember hearing Camu on some many of those great joints during the Backpack Era that it's hard to grasp that anyone that young could pass away. Cancer ain't no joke, people.

Technorati is all fucked up so my posts aren't getting picked up and my authority dropped from 87 to 60. I don't care about that so much...what bothers me is that Favorites are down so I have to go search all of my 165 favorite blogs manually...that's fuckin' ghey. What they hell is up with Technorati? It's been falling apart slowly all month long.

The four projects I'm reviewing today are as follows and will be reviewed in order of listing: Kaze "Block 2 The Basement", Craig G & Marley Marl "Operation: Take Back Hip Hop", Jean Grae & 9th Wonder "Jeanius" and Wale "A Mixtape About Nothing". For those of you new to the party, I don’t rate albums on a scale or assign them a numerical value out of 5 or 10, instead I merely answer the all important question of “Is it worth buying or not?”. Here's how my "Cop It Or Not" ratings system breaks down below:

Oh No! This CD is a drink coaster/table balancer/doorstop/gerbil/hamster room divider/frisbee/discus/makeshift shield/last ditch choice for a visor/alternate shuriken choice. Sell this shit to whoever is dumb enough to buy it from you.

Maeby (Maybe)! Depending on your own set of personal preferences you might like this joint. Give it a listen first to see if it's in your lane or not.

Mos Def! Cop the album when it drops...'Nuff said.

I don't push the envelope/I push the whole post office! © Chino XL

Kaze is an associate of the North Carolina based collective The Justus League. He’s recorded a few projects in the past with 9th Wonder (Spirit Of ‘94 & several guest spots) and he released a different version of this mixtape before in 2007. Now it’s been retooled, extra tracks have been added and Rawkus is distributing it as part of their Rawkus 50 campaign. Does it still bang? Let’s see:

Best Joints: The Grudge, (Wolves In The Gutter), Silent Ones, Immaculate, Ride Wit Me, Paperwork, I Got Soul, You Call That Gangsta, You Don’t Know, Real Life, The Darkside, Dynasty, The Stereotype (Remix), I Was Raised On It (The 80’s), So Real, Black Man Worldwide, Genuine, Dear God (Trouble At Home), The Quickening, We Want It All

Hot Garbage: Burn It Up

Dart’s Take: With the amendments and it getting a proper release in stores and digitally this mixtape only got better. Kaze comes harder than the typical rappity rap cats you might associate with the Justus League normally. The production is solid throughout and lyrically Kaze doesn’t slack off. He varies it up and shows off his versatility as well witch tracks like “Real Life”, “The Stereotype”, “You Call That Gangsta” and “Dear God (Trouble At Home)”.

Tracks like “I Got Soul”, “Paperwork”, “I Was Raised On It (The 80’s)” and “So Real” are definite headnodders, the only misstep is “Burn It Up” which sound like Kaze and crew were trying too hard to make a club banger. This LP gets a mos def from me. Seek it out.

Last year, Marley Marl hooked up with KRS One and made an eye opening collabo called “Hip Hop Lives”. Can lightning strike twice as Marley Marl steps behind the boards this go ‘round with Juice Crew member Craig G as the Master Of Ceremonies. Will this project hold the attention of Hip Hop heads today? Find out below:

Best Joints: Reintroduction, Quality Work, Made The Change, Deep Down, We Gets It In, Just What I Need, All Seasons, War Going On, Open Ya Eyes, Regrets, Not A Word, Rock Dis

Hot Garbage: Skates, Stay In Ya Lane and Don’t Make Me Laugh didn’t do it for me. Actually, most of these songs were just okay.

Dart’s Take: This album is a’ight but it didn’t make me scrunch up my face once. My head wasn’t bobbing to many of these tracks, I was just listening intently and patiently on a banger, I didn’t replay one track on this entire project.

They were only about 4 solid tracks but the rest were just slightly forgettable background music, sorry to say (the Sadat X track was disappointing to say the least). It wasn’t wack but not too much stood out to me. I was a good solid 6.5 out of 10 all the way through...and I don’t rate on a numeric scale like that. I can’t do better than a maybe for this project.

Jean Grae & 9th Wonder’s long awaited collaboration “Jeanius” finally got a release date and a bunch of creative covers. Is it still as ill as I remember it being? Will Jean Grae call it a career and never release her highly anticipated “Phoenix” LP on Blacksmith/Warner? Will Rip Hamilton play in the game tonight with his hurt elbow? Find out below (except for Rip’s elbow, that is):

Best Joints: Intro, 2 32’s, Don’t Rush Me, My Story, The Time Is Now, Billy Killer, Think About It, 8, American Pimp, This World, Love Thirst, Desperada, Smashmouth

Hot Garbage: N/A (It sucks that this album took 4 years to finally get a proper release)

Dart’s Take: The first time I heard this album back when it first leaked in 2004 on I thought it was dope. I marvelled at how Jean Grae murdered every verse and made 9th Wonder’s production even better than what it was. I was looking forward to the proper version dropping and being viewed as a damn near classic project. Never happened...that was 4 years ago!

Now with rumors abound that Jean Grae wants to quit the game (she’s threatened to quit so many times over the past 10 years it’s hard to take seriously. Ask Mr. Len or Pumpkinhead for proof) and she’s supposedly heated that the “LoveThirst” video was released. I say “supposedly” because Jean is a reputed pratical joker, when she wrote her “farewell” blog in the picture she poster I swear it said “Sike” on her fingers.

With all that said, “Jeanius” is sheer genius. I thought so when I had shitty quality audio versions of the tracks and they’re 10x better now. I can’t give this anything but a mos def. Go forth and cop it now that you actually can.

Ever since it turned 2008 people have been waiting for Allido/Interscope signee Wale to drop his Seinfeld inspired mixtape titled “A Mixtape About Nothing”. His "100 Miles And Running" mixtape with Nick Catchdubs really opened the eyes of a lot of sleepers in 2007. Since it’s so heavily anticipated I won’t waste anymore time and I’ll just launch into it. My review is just below:

Best Joints: The Opening Title Sequence, The Roots Song Wale Is On (Rising Down), The Feature Heavy Song (Back In The Go Go), The Freestyle (Roc Boys), The Perfect Plan, The Kramer, The Crazy, The Vacation From Ourselves, The Remake Of A Remake, The Grown Up, The Manipulation, The Artistic Integrity, The Star, The Skit (Untz Untz), The Cliche Lil Wayne Feature (Nike Boots Remix), The BMore Club Slam, The Chicago Falcon Remix, The Hype, The End Credits

Hot Garbage: N/A

Dart’s Take: Heads have been waiting for this mixtape for several months now and Wale does not disappoint the listener one bit. This is an excellent mixtape from top to bottom. I had to give “The Kramer” a couple of rewinds because it was so well executed (Nas, I’m looking at you!), I gave the following tracks a reload as well: “The Vacation From Ourselves”, “The Grown Up”, “The Manipulation”, “The Artistic Integrity (4x)”, “The Star”, “The Hype” and “The End Credits”.

Wale’s creativity and lyricism when matched with The Best Kept Secret’s production makes for a good combination like Positive K and LG. “The Mixtape About Nothing” gets a mos def. Download it here

Late Passes (For Doz Dat Slept):

Albums I'm Looking Forward To Reviewing Once They Leak...I Mean Drop:

Albums I'm Looking Forward To Reviewing Once They Leak...I Mean Drop:

Skillz-Million Dollar Backpack
Joe Budden-Padded Room
Rhymefest-El Che
Jay Electronica-Act II: Patents Of Nobility
Jay Electronica-Abracadabra: Let There Be Light
Big Boi-Sir Luscious Leftfoot
Magnif & J Dilla-Detroit Royalty
Immortal Technique-The 3rd World
Blu-God Is Good
Termanology-Politics As Usual
Sean Price, Guilty Simpson & Black Milk-Random Axe
Platinum Pied Pipers-Abundance
Method Man & Redman-Blackout 2
Redman-Muddy Waters 2
B.O.B.-The Adventures Of B.O.B.
The Alchemist-Chemical Warfare
Billy Danze-Behind Gatez
AG & O.C.-Oasis: Together Brothers
Common-Invincible Summer
Omen-Be The Judge
Capone-N-Noreaga-Reporting The War
Phat Kat and Elzhi are Cold Steel
Heltah Skeltah-D.I.R.T (Da Incredible Rap Team)

Dart's Fat Tape/CD-R (as of May 30th, 2008):

I Was Raised On It (The 80's)-Kaze
City Lights-Bishop Lamont (prod. by DJ Khalil)
Desperada-9th Wonder & Jean Grae (prod. by 9th Wonder)
Girls Talk-Che Grand
I'm Coming-Chino XL (prod. by DJ Khalil)
The Artistic Integrity-Wale (prod. by Best Kept Secret)
Live Like I'm Dying-Sha Stimuli (prod. by Dao Jones)
Skeletons-Gemstones f/Sarah Green
E! Channel-Elucid f/Suzanne Vega (prod. by DNA)
I Keep It Gutter Like-Lupe Fiasco f/Stack Bundles
Lost In Transit-Currensy (prod. by Nesby Phips)
On A Cloud-Platinum Pied Pipers f/Karma (prod. by Waajeed)
We Gets It In-Craig G. & Marley Marl f/Talib Kweli (prod. by Marley Marl)
Gangstas Theme-Custom Made
Can We Hang Out Tonight?-Count Bass D (prod. by Count Bass D)
Say Goodnight-Reks (prod. by DJ Premier)
Get Off My Dick-Bishop Lamont (prod. by Tha Bizness)
Angel-Platinum Pied Pipers f/Coultrain (prod. by Waajeed)
Don't Rush Me-9th Wonder & Jean Grae (prod. by 9th Wonder)
Naturally-Mickey Factz f/Jade
Children Sing-Pace Won And Mr. Green (prod. by Mr. Green)
Paperwork-Kaze f/Royce Da 5'9"
Keep Comin'-K.Hill f/Shabaam Sahdeeq, Supastition, Torae & Tiffany Paige (prod. by K. Hill)
The Hacksaw Jim Duggan-Wale f/Skyzoo (prod. by Best Kept Secret)
Rock The Spot (All Star Remix)-Bash Bros. f/Sean Price, Rakaa (Dilated Peoples), Reef The Lost Cauze, Verbal Kent, Motion Man, Charlie 2na (Jurassic 5) and Rapper Big Pooh (Little Brother)

Ubuntu! © Boston Celtics

Go Celtics! Close 'em out in the D tonight!