11.30.2008

Playing .900 after Twenty Games

Larry Bird did it once.

Bill Russell did it twice.

KG did it once last year and is on the verge of doing it again this year.

Other than that, no Celtics team has ever started the season 18-2 or better after 20 games.

I remember being crushed when the Celtics lost at home to the Portland Trailblazers in December of 1985. Not because they lost or because they lost at home. But because the loss dropped the Celtics to 17-3. The Celtics never had a chance to play in the rarefied air of .900 again that season.

Bird and the Celtics had reached .900 during the previous year, starting the 1984-85 season at 18-2. Bill Russell's Celtics also started the 1957-58 season 18-2. However, both Bird's and Russell's fast-starting teams finished the seasons without a ring.

Russell repeated the 18-2 start during the 1963-64 season. This time, however, the Boston Celtics walked home with the championship trophy at the end of the year. KG and the Celtics started last season 18-2, and then reached the .900 plateau again after 30 games, posting a 27-3 record (they went on to win 2 more games before losing three of four).

Now here are KG and the boys threatening to make it two straight years. Motivation certainly hasn't been a problem, with the Lakers a game ahead of them and the Cavs a game behind.

I don't see the Celtics continuing to keep pace with last year. They will stumble eventually. Meanwhile, the Lakers, who were beating up on everyone in the West last year before they got Gasol, are likely to keep rolling, barring injury.

Winning more games than the Lakers isn't crucial. Continuing to beat them in head-to-head match-ups is.

So enjoy the run while it lasts.

3 comments:

FLCeltsFan said...

I'd still feel better winning more games than the Lakers. Home court advantage is definitely beneficial in the Finals. But I agree that we need to beat them head to head to keep our mental edge on them.

I LOVE that picture at the top, by the way!

Anonymous said...

While I agree it is not imprtant that the C's win more games then the Lakers (although if both teams get to the finals it will help). I don't see why the Celtics are going to stumble and the Laker won't.

Lex said...

FCF, I would feel better, too, if the Cs win more games. Fingers crossed. Thanks for the thumbs up on on the picture!

Anon, why will the Cs lose more games?

My thoughts are

1) Their primary stars are older, less gas in the engine.

2) The Lakers are playing this entire season, game in and game out, to eradicate memories of the finals. That makes a difference in the mount of energy you bring every night. Determination, too.

3) Once the Cs fall more than a couple of games back, they'll start to refocus on being a great road team.

I hope I'm wrong, btw.

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