2.16.2010

Can Doc Get the Celtics to Finish the Season the Way they Started?

Injuries have clouded the Celtics’ ability to dominate the East, but yet they began the season 23-5. Boston blew away opponents in the early going. The Celtics punished teams defensively. Rajon Rondo emerged quickly into a star. Garnett didn’t look like vintage KG in the first two months, but he did produce.

What the first 28 games did is create delusions of grandeur for the players who believed 2009-10 would pan out just as 2007-08 did. What’s more, the Celtics thought their prowess from the championship season would just reappear and didn’t work to improve obvious weaknesses despite the early victories.

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29-3. 27-2. 23-5. Three NBA seasons, three fast starts. What this tells us is the same thing it told us back in 1990-91, when the Celtics started the season with an improbable 29-5 record: Gaudy records are fun, they build enthusiasm, and they sell tickets. But they don't mean much in April and May, with 1986 and 2008 being notable exceptions.

If I were Danny Ainge, my concerns would be threefold:

DEFENSE

Do the Celtics have what it takes to start playing the kind of defense that wins games in the fourth quarter? I don't think we execute very well down the stretch either. But a smothering defense can sometimes hide a stumbling offense, especially if that defense creates turnovers and easy points in transition.

THE BIG, BAD, CELTICS

Can the Celtics add a snarl to their game? Screw the smack. I mean stick a sock in it. What I want to see is some action. Mouths shut, mean ugly faces, and some bad ass basketball. Amid the 1970 Boston Bruins title run (i.e., the Big, Bad, Bruins) SI ran an article in which an opposing coach described the locals as a team that couldn't wait to impose a beating the second the puck dropped to start the game. The Celtics had that kind of mojo in 2008. They need to get it back.

GENERAL PATTON

Does Doc Rivers have any tricks left up his sleeve? The pre-season, duck-boat ride was clever. The light on the blank wall at the practice facility next to banner 16 spoke volumes. But the blank banner next to #17 seemed a bit too familiar. I remain convinced that Doc is a great motivator of men. He needs to bring this team together, get it going in one direction, because right now it's going every whichy way.

7 comments:

Lex said...

The Celtics are gaining the reputation as a front-running team that can’t polish off opponents.

++

This was a front running team in 2008, too. The only difference was that once the lead went up by 10, the goal was to go up by 20 and then 30.

Now the goal is to close your eyes, hold your breath, squeeze the steering wheel, and hang on for dear life.

Lex said...

8:20 pm – Around this time, Amar’e Stoudemire (@amareisreal) first updated his Twitter page with an initially typo-laden message about how he enjoyed playing with Shaquille O’Neal one season ago. As of much later in the evening, here is what his revised tweet stated:

I play very well w/Shaq. I averaged more pts last year WITH him & played better D. You guys can stop saying we don’t play well together.

Lex said...

Tracy McGrady is no longer an All-Star and hasn't been much of an NBA player the last two seasons. What McGrady is, however, is available and with Donnie Walsh desperate to breathe life into his floundering team, the Knicks appear intent on landing the Houston Rockets' swingman.

Read more: http://www.insidehoops.com/nba_rumors.shtml#ixzz0fiHj2rnp

Lex said...

Sasha Vujacic is the player the Lakers would most like to unload – working under the assumption that trading Luke Walton, his bad back and the remaining $21.5 million remaining on his contract is unimaginable. T

Read more: http://www.insidehoops.com/nba_rumors.shtml#ixzz0fiI5xPLm

Lex said...

InsideHoops NBA Rumors




Little expected from Luke Walton (Lakers) for rest of season: The Lakers’ obvious package to near Hinrich’s $9.5 million salary in trade is Vujacic ($5 million) and Adam Morrison ($5.3 million). Morrison’s contract is expiring, making him attractive to rebuilding teams, but Vujacic is due $5.5 million next season – which makes him harder to trade. Yahoo Sports reported Monday that Portland’s reluctance to take Vujacic in a three-way deal sending Morrison to Chicago might be what keeps Hinrich from becoming a Laker.

Read more: http://www.insidehoops.com/nba_rumors.shtml#ixzz0fiIDshf8

Lex said...

If portland gets camby, can they beat the lakers in the playoffs?

Lex said...

It appears the Cleveland Cavaliers will do something before Thursday's trade deadline. That move could possibly involve Amare Stoudemire or Antawn Jamison, two major moves that could give the Cavs all they need for a championship run.

Could any of those moves force the Cavs' rival, the Boston Celtics, to make a counter move by adding another player?

It's possible the Celtics will try to add Kirk Hinrich or D.J. Augustin. Or the Celtics may not do anything at all, according to reporter Mark Murphy in The Boston Herald:

Should the rival Cavs land Stoudemire from Phoenix, though, it won’t set off an alarm in the C’s front office, according to the source.

“I don’t think it would give them more urgency than they already have,” the source said.

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