Thursday, March 7, 2013

Celtics Put League On Notice With Wins Against Indiana, Philadelphia

Man, are these Celtics fun to watch or WHAT?

Team Green completed their recent back-to-back road challenge with wins against the Philadelphia 76'ers and the Indiana Pacers, but may have come away with more than just the W's.
At this point in the season, it's becoming trendy among NBA talking heads and blogsites galore to refer to the Boston Celtics as "The Team Nobody Wants To Face In The Playoffs."
Beginning on that fateful day back in late January against the Miami Heat when the Celtics learned that All-Star point guard and team engine Rajon Rondo would be down for the season, and extending through the season-ending injuries to rookie phenom Jared Sullinger and bench sparkplug Leandro Barbosa, the Celtics put down the potential excuses and picked up their play. Contrary to almost every basketball brain and hoops herald, the Celtics refused to roll over and wallow in the unfairness of it all, instead adapting, excelling and announcing to the league that they would be anything but an easy out come playoff time.
These Celtics have not only survived the kinds of losses that would have crushed even the strongest resolve of most teams (hey, least your underachieving center can actually think Philly doesn't want that trading day back?), they've thrived, playing 17 games and losing only 4 of them. I think 17 games is a decent short-term indicator that these Boston Celtics are not laying down; not for the Miami's, Golden States and Indiana's of the world and they're giving no freebies to the rest of the league, either. Even more amazingly, they haven't so much as missed a beat while adding and incorporating quality replacements (maybe even improvements) for some of their fallen.

Speaking of those replacements... as well as the C's have been playing, as much as I absolutely love the free-wheeling, passing game, speed basketball that the team is now playing...what gives me the biggest batch of butterflies in the belly is the exuberant spirit of this team. These guys are really pulling for each other...I mean REALLY pulling for each other. If you watch the Celtics vs. Pacers Tale Of The Tape to about the 2:09 mark, you'll see what I mean about the bench and how they've been rooting for the team for this entire run.
Even the guys who aren't seeing a lot of playing time seem to be as ecstatic for their teammates as they would be for themselves had they been the ones making the winning plays. In fact, Terrence Williams -- whose signing I happen to believe was an absolute hijacking by the Celtics over the rest of the League -- who has seen less playing time than Jordan Crawford (another steal, I promise you), has been among the most vocal and supportive from the bench, often out of his seat cheering with the joy of a fan in front of his television. Watching how he and the other recent bench additions have been marveling at the exploits of the Hall-bound Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce up close makes me believe that whatever problems some of them were alleged to have had on past teams will be kept to the shadows, at least in the short-term.
In the meantime, inspired and greatly improved play from Avery Bradley and Jeff Green along with Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and Chris Wilcox has allowed Coach Doc Rivers to rest Pierce and Garnett for larger stretches of time, thus increasing the odds that they can dominate down the stretch during crunch time, if needed.
If the Shamrockers can keep-on keeping-on the way that they have been, the C's can move past just making the playoffs and start thinking about home court advantage (hey, don't laugh...the Celtics are just a GAME AND A HALF out of 4th place in the Eastern Conference!), and Doc can pull out the the 'ol whiteboard once again.

Don't get me wrong...I'm neither giddy enough to be oblivious to the possible pitfalls awaiting the C's as they race to the end of the regular season and I'm not so much of a homer that I don't believe that there may be great trials that lie ahead in the Playoffs for a team without a true playmaker (and the League's best one at that!).
But, just as there are people who believe that the most important things these Celtics are missing are Rondo, Sully, the Brazillian Blur and a true center, I believe that the most important things they lack are fear and the desire to quit, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Once again...

No comments:

Post a Comment