Can Nash shed light on C’s problems? | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Can Nash shed light on C’s problems?


By MrTrpleDouble10

On a night that Hollywood celebrated the best work within the movie industry, the Celtics nearly provided its fans with a sequel to losing to the New Jersey Nets at home.  Instead, they pulled off an exciting drama that would make Steven Spielberg proud.  For most of the game, this team looked listless, uninspired, bored, sluggish and downright puzzling in the eyes of the fans.  What else is new, right?  Amazingly they were able to pull off a huge comeback win with Ray Allen bailing them out (they should have traded him for Kirk Hinrich!).  So they’ve won four consecutive with just one of those wins being convincing (Charlotte).  What’s wrong with the Celtics?  That’s been the burning question ever since the green gave Celtics fans a fantastic gift on Christmas Day by beating the Magic in Orlando.  But maybe we should have been looking to Phoenix for the answers all along.

Last Friday, Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic got some insightful quotes from Steve Nash about his own recent struggles.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • "Mentally, physically fatigued, to play physically at a deficit for so long," Nash said after Thursday's loss. "I just can't do the things I want to do and it's painful out there but I've got to find a way to suck it up, especially with Goran out. It's not a lot of fun to play like this but nobody feels sorry for you in the Western Conference."
  • "It's not as much fun to play the game that way," Nash said of his condition. "I just have no thrust. Every movement, my back is trying to stop me from going somewhere but I got to just keep working and fighting to see if I can improve. Our training staff does a great job to get me out there at all."
  • "Having this break hopefully can get him closer to 100 percent," Suns head athletic trainer Aaron Nelson said. "Once you're in season, it's all about maintenance. He hasn't got the opportunity to rest at all."

Seems to me like he unintentionally shed some light as to what the Celtics issues are for putting in a full night’s work.  Nash is still an elite NBA point guard but he’s also an outlier.  Most point guards are not nearly as effective as Nash has been this late in his career.  But look at the Suns this season and you can see some similarities with the Celtics.

With a fresh, healthy Nash, Phoenix came out of the gates and running their way to records of: 8-1, 14-3 and 15-5.  Then they started to tail off a bit playing more to what their expectations were.  The Celtics were 23-5 after that Christmas Day game and it’s been well documented about how mediocre they’ve been since.

Maybe it’s just as simple as reading Nash’s quotes.  After all, he is 36.  Other than Rondo, the Celtics major players are all within the same age range as Nash, with KG being the most important piece.  In a lot of these games, they play like world beaters for a half then forget to take their Metamucil at halftime.

Maybe they’re just like Nash: playing at a deficit.  It would seem logical enough.  When you’re hurt or rehabbing on-the-fly, it’s tough to sustain that level especially with the mileage that KG, Pierce, Allen and Sheed have all logged.  That, coupled with the “boredom” attitude are the main reasons as to why these games have become increasingly frustrating.  During that glorious 2008 season it was clear that every second of every game meant everything to this team and rightfully so after each member of the New Big Three were all being wasted away on teams with questionable supporting casts at best.  Now, maintaining health and having relatively fresh legs come mid-April have become the short-term goal that is the regular season.

At the end of the day the general vibe this team has given off is: “Pffft, just wait until the playoffs man cause then it’s ON.”  That’s all fine and well, just as long as they don’t get offended when the same feeling is reciprocated back towards them, from the fans.

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  • oooooo yeaaaah!!!

    its a 82 game season up and down happens… its impossible to look sharp every night for 82 games… fan expectations are unrealistic… not every team with a bad record is a bad team, its the NBA there no such thing as a “easy win”… teams get up to play the celts…. every1 jumping off the bandwagon can stay off because we dont need ya!! im a proud “kool aid” drinker!! if im wrong so be it, at least i have the stones to stand by the guys that have brought me so much joy the past couple of years

  • Lex

    Back in the late 80s my brother, the lakers fan, said the celtics always started out the season “Like 29-11” and finished “like 11-29”.
    He was wrong. But the point was valid.
    When you have three months off, you get healthy.
    After 40 games, the 30+ year old basketball body starts to break down.

  • Good piece MrTrplDub10. The playoffs will be kind to veteran teams like us. No back-to-back, plenty of rest between games, more halfcourt sets..I like our chances if their are no major setbacks i.e. injuries between now and the end of April.

  • Perry

    It’s a reasonable analogy and well thought out. I do have a few points to add. First, I’m going to omit Sheed from this debate because he was brought here to fill a role, and was never meant to break the starting line up. Conversely Nash’s skills are more important to the Sun’s than Sheed’s to the Celts. True Phoenix started strong, but with the emergence of Olk. City the Suns (even with a healthy Nash) will find it harder to get that coveted fourth seed. I don’t see any chance Boston slips below the 4 spot with or without Sheed.
    Second, Nash is 36. Kevin is 33, Pierce 32, and Ray 34 respectively. I’m sure Kevin has logged in more overall minutes than Nash, but I would think Nash played more minutes 3 years ago than Kevin is now. From the beginning Doc has always been conscious about resting Kevin. I wish I could say the same about Ray and Pierce. Unlike last year Doc will have that ability to get them rest with Nate, Quis, and Finley off the bench. Add TA, and you have a bench with 24 fouls at the 2, and 18 at the 3. So there’s a lot of bodies to throw at Kobe, Lebron, Cater and J. Johnson.
    I totally agree with your statement about the 07′-08′ team playing every game as if it were their last. We all can see this team does not play with that kind of intensity. So that stamp of excellence in the approach to how they attack the enemy has been missing. But I think chemistry is a forgotten component as well. On the surface, there doesn’t seem to a problem in the locker, rather a dichotomy of how the parts work.
    Kevin’s absence is at the crux of the matter. It forced Rondo and Perk into being a third scoring option. Both filled in admirably. Now that Kevin is back, Perk’s numbers have dropped, and he’s looked out of sync. Perk knows his role though and should work out the kinks before the playoffs start. On the other hand Rondo seems to be searching for that cerebral element to his game Nash has mastered. The good news is Rondo has proved he can get into a zone and take over games. His free throw percentage, once a real question mark, has stabilized as well. When or when not to take over is the problem.
    Nash always been a deft passer. But unlike Rondo he could always score the ball in the paint and on the perimeter. At this point in Rondo’s evolution the Celts are not playing their style of offense when he puts up a 15+ shot attempt night, thus shooting 18 footers with the shot clock running down. That’s just not his game.
    The Big 3 understand the ‘one pass shot’ style gums up the offense. Ball movement is essential to their game plan. Many times Rondo puts the team in a situation where that first pass equates to a quick shot even though it may be considered a good shot. Problem is the shot doesn’t produce the desired result. Then rebounding (or lackthereof) ensues, and we come up with an empty possesion.
    What I’m saying is the personnel is not athletic to bring out all the luxuries of his game. It’s something management will have to address because teams with athletic front lines are giving them fits.
    One thing management has done is address depth. There’s no question we have more able bodies off the bench than in the championship year. But again…it all comes back to Pierce, Ray and Kevin.
    Chemistry wise Ray just knows where he belongs — always has — even when plays were not being run for him.
    Rondo is ascending to that singular leader we all know one day he’ll become.
    However in this moment it’s still Kevin’s team with Pierce being the go-to guy.
    At this point in the season I’d say Pierce and Kevin are about 75-80%.
    Is that enough for this team to win a championship? Stay tuned.