The Ultimate Hustle: The Boston Celtics and Fast Eddie Felson
Way back when the season started, Doc Rivers told us that the Celtics only had time to put in five or so plays during the exhibition schedule, and, even if he had more time, he wouldn't have put in more plays because he didn't want to tip his hand.
Before that we heard conflicting accounts about KG's knee surgery. One account said he only had bone spurs removed, with no damage being done to the tendon. A different account said the tendon had to be stapled to knee following the surgery. All year long, the Celtics have played hot and cold, cold and room temperature, really, with talk of flipping the switch when the appropriate time came. To further whet our appetite, KG has shown flashes of his old self, and the team has played exceedingly well for ten-minute stretches.
Meanwhile, most of Celtics Nation has given up on the Green's chances of landing championship 18 this year, including your author. KG has no lateral movement. Far from being as productive as Bill Walton, Rasheed Wallace is barely living up to the standards set by Brad Lohaus. Paul Pierce shows up about 25% of the time, and when he does, it doesn't always make a difference. Marquis Daniels finds ways to get shots from 12 feet and in fairly consistently, yet rarely proves to be a difference maker, either.
Still, if you believe Rajon Rondo, the Celtics have gas left in the tank. They have tricks left up their sleeve. Rondo expects the real Boston Celtics to show up when the playoffs start.Doc Rivers adds fuel to the fire by suggesting that he will start holding the veterans out of games so they can practice what they'll play in the post-season. Maybe he'll add those other 15 plays to the playbook. Perhaps KG the senior citizen will take off that knee support and the KG of old will run out of the tunnel.
If you piece all these disparate clues together, then, one might conclude that the Celtics don't stink as bad as we think they do. That 17-18 record since the end of December is all just so much deception. The Celtics are playing Paul Neuman's Fast Eddie Felson to a league eager to believe they are old and tired.
Are you buying? Does it look like the Celtics have been lying in wait, hustling the leauge by playing at half-speed? Do you believe the Celtics have another gear?
I say no.
If the Boston Celtics are fooling anybody, they are only fooling themselves. Kind of like Fast Eddie Felson in the above clip.