1.03.2010

The Ebbs and Flows of the NBA Season

1984 was an interesting year (aside from George Orwell). The Boston Celtics couldn't beat any body that mattered, at least until it counted. The green started the 1983-84 season 9-5, while this year's team started 10-4, but this year's team did post a big win on opening night against Cleveland in Cleveland.

The 1983-84 team then won 25 of the next 29, on their way to a 38-9 record. This year's team has dropped three of four and has fallen to 24-8. The injury bug has struck. Doc Rivers will be lucky to have suffered only 11 losses by the time green reaches game 47. Yet the 2009-10 Celtics did post another big W on Christmas day against Orlando on the road. Meanwhile, the 1983-84 bunch continued losing to the two best teams in the NBA, Philadelphia and LA.

So what does that tell us?

That the regular season is all just foreplay, an interesting but prolonged drama that ultimately sheds little light on the final outcome (just ask the Cavs last year). I still remember how excited Celtics fans were at the possibility that Bill Walton might return for the 1988 playoffs, even though he hadn't played meaningful basketball in two years and would have been rustier than a nail in an outdoor shed built before the US Civil War. Why were they so excited? Presumably, he would have been healthy, and he would only have had to stay healthy for the playoffs, which really had little in common with the regular season, as seven-game series after April 15th bear almost no resemblance to one-offs before April 15th.

So while we may be concerned with Celtic losses here and Laker wins there, the only thing we should care about is getting everybody healthy by late March. On that note, the latest projection of KG being out at least another 10 days sounds a bit reminiscent of last spring, when it became clear to me that he was done for the year.

I won't go there yet. But I'm only a couple of steps away from resurrecting the grassy knoll.

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