I understand that the Washington Wizards beat us three times this year, including the last three in a row. I also understand that the Big Three played significant minutes in all three games. ( This last point concerns me, to be honest, because it does suggest something more is going on than our failure to get up for these games).
Still, I’m not going there. I have no intention of entertaining any thoughts that the 60-win Boston Celtics will get toppled in round 2 by the 40-win Washington Wizards.
The Celtics lost games 2 and 3 against the Wizards shortly after beginning the season 29-3. The team’s twenty-ninth win marked the final game of a nine-game winning streak, a streak that included wins over Orlando, Utah, Houston, Detroit, and Los Angeles.
Thereafter, the Celtics lost three of four, once to the Charlotte Bobcats and twice to the Wizards. How did that happen? It’s obvious, of course, a let down. Other than the 72-10 Chicago Bulls, no team plays every game of an 82-game schedule like it’s the 7th-game of the NBA playoffs.
Nor do I fully buy into the idea, shared by some, that the Celtics fully tried to win this last match-up against the Wizards.
Yes, once Doc realized they were getting their arses kicked by a potential round 2 opponent, he began amping up the Big Three's minutes.
But was it a concerted effort to win from the get-go?
I don’t know how anyone could say that it was.
The rotation and substitution patterns were irregular
--Doc was giving PJ Brown major minutes, while Powe getting close to no minutes.
--The Big Three weren’t on the court together as much as they have been in other important games.
--Garnett still only played 31 minutes
The defense was confused & discombobulated
--when was the last time that happened in a big game, other than when the team extended their All-Star break against Denver and Golden State?
Bottom line, the team just looked out of sorts. You can attribute that to the way the Wizards played or you can reach the conclusion I reached.
I say the Celtics tried to go swimming with one foot still in the sand. Let’s try and win another game without it being clear whether the number 1 goal is in fact to win it.
The Wizards don’t scare me. I don’t like the fact that Kendrick Perkins doesn’t seem to have his best games against Brendan Haywood. Nonetheless, you put the Big Three out there for 37-41 minutes in a game they enter committed to winning, committed to playing their best, and, most importantly, committed to imposing their will upon the opponent, and I like the Cs to beat the Wiz in five games.
If the series went to 7 games, then we’ve all vastly overrated the 2007-08 Celtics.