Kevin McHale knows a thing or two about playing in the NBA. So when he says older guys conserve energy pre-All Star break and then turn it on later… and that it's OK to do it… then I'm OK with it.
"They are getting where they want to be," McHale said. "When you get
to the age where Kevin Garnett is, and Paul Pierce and Ray Allen is,
it's always going to be after the All-Star break. You do pace yourself.
When you're 22 or 23 you're out there going gung ho, you have no idea
what you're doing anyway. You're playing on energy and running around.
you get older you start conserving your energy and you start to realize
you can be 40-10 at the All-Star break. If you play poorly down the
stretch and don't get in the playoffs on a roll, healthy and playing
well, it doesn't make any difference."
It's hard for us fans to comprehend that. We want 48 minutes of hell on a nightly basis. We want guys to run through walls… dive into the stands… and when it's over… say "thank you sir may I have another."
But it doesn't work that way. These guys start filtering into camp in August or September… and they play, if you're good, into May and June. 10 months of pounding. Basketball is a rough sport on the body. All that running, stopping, quick changes of direction, and jumping takes a huge toll on you. To do that for 82 games… plus preseason and post season games… and all those days in practice is tough.
So yeah, we all hate the notion of coasting. We all want to say "you're being paid millions so suck it up and play." But it doesn't work that way.
That's not to say the C's don't have problems. But maybe… just maybe… they're not as big as some might think. Maybe we fans need to rethink our own perceptions of the NBA and what a team like the Celtics should be playing like.