April 1, 2007
Those who follow the Celtics can revel
in the fact they are smarter than mathematics. Greenhearts, no April
fools they, have known for quite a while that the C's are not going to
make it into this year's playoffs, but the numbers didn't figure it out
until Friday night. Yes, the 88-82 loss to the 76ers officially
eliminated the Bostonians from the postseason.
last time anyone around the club mentioned playoffs (this year's
anyway) was back in early January when there was still hope Paul Pierce
might make a quick return from his left foot woes and join a team with
Wally Szczerbiak, Al Jefferson and a streaking Tony Allen.
the last two months, however, there's been more talk about proper
tanking etiquette - or how best to play this season so it makes the club
better for next season.
For his part, Danny Ainge is throwing a stiff-arm at public commentary on the issue.
don't want to comment on that stuff,'' said the director of basketball
operations. ``I mean, it is what it is. Doc (Rivers) and the players are
trying to win every night, and that's going to continue. Right now he's
got a lot of young guys out there, and you can see we play well and
there are a lot of good signs. But young players are going to make way
too many mistakes. That's something we have to deal with every night,
but we're hoping this experience these guys are getting will make us a
better team faster in the long run.
mounts when you have so many mistakes made that cost you games, but
there's a bigger picture we're looking at along with trying to win each
night.'' But, Ainge stressed, that's a picture for management to view.
The players need tunnel vision.
``I would never ask a
player to not play his best and not try to win every moment they're on
the court,'' he said. ``You want to see guys improve and play to win.
And even if you lose every game there's no guarantees. That's for sure.
Even if you finish with the worst record in the league you only have a
25 percent chance of getting the best pick.''