Last February San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich observed that the stretch run started a little earlier than usual due to the Lakers' acquisition of Pau Gasol. By this he meant the rest of the Western Conference was forced to take games seriously much earlier than they were used to out of fear that a loss or two might drop their team to the bottom half of the conference.
Now that the Celtics are steamrolling opponents this year much like they were last year, one is left to wonder whether it was just a matter of the Celtics shaking off the cobwebs from their championship hangover or coming to grips with the reality that, while they are certainly talented enough to repeat this year, the Lakers appear to have kicked it up a notch, and maybe the Celtics need to do the same.
One reaction is concern that the older Greenies, if compelled to play at a high level throughout the entire season, will run out of gas before the younger purple. The 1987-88 Lakers pooped out trying to demolish everyone before dragging arse through the playoffs and hanging on for a repeat.
But this shouldn't be too much of a concern.
The Celtics starters aren't playing big minutes in achieving these blowouts.
So live and let live, and enjoy THE RETURN OF THE BLOWOUT.