There's been a lot of talk lately about how much a lockout would help or hurt the Celtics. This morning, I ran across a post by the good folks at Celtics Hub who were making the case for a long lockout being a good thing for the C's. Saying, in part…
The propensity of the C’s to get off to hot starts is extremely well-known. Over the last four seasons, they’ve reliably jumped out of the gate as the Eastern Conference’s best team, only to watch their hold on the top seed dwindle in the season’s final weeks. This pattern holds because the Celtics are one of the league’s oldest teams, and their bodies wear out as the year goes on and they also get super bored.
But how tired/bored could they be in just fifty games? Here’s a look at how these Celtics have historically performed in that timeframe:
Let me just start by saying this isn't a case of me calling anyone out. I'm merely presenting a counter-point to this thinking. It's a thinking that I used to share until Sean Grande snapped me out of it. I used to think shorter season=more rest for the Big 3.
But it's not the case. And let's go back to the last lockout in 1999 (Pierce's rookie season, by the way) for the reason why.
The Celtics season began on February 5, 1999. They immediately opened with 4 games in 5 nights. They then had one long break and resumed a grueling schedule that included, 9 more back-to-backs (in addition to the two already played) and two sets of back-to-back-to-back games. The Celtics played 18 games in March and 18 more in April. Then they played 3 more in May. This past season, the C's played 16 games in March and 8 in April.
One of those April 1999 stretches was a 5 games in 7 nights stretch. Expand that out a little and the C's played 12 games with only 5 days off that April.
We saw the Celtics awful back-to-back record this season. They were 4-11 in the second game of back-to-backs. What would their record be in those 3-in-a-row stretches? What would the Celtics April record be? And how, after all that, could the Celtics then get through the playoffs?
The Celtics might well come out hot if there was a lockout. But I'm willing to bet it wouldn't last. We'd see these guys wilt pretty fast. They'd end up a middle-of-the-road playoff team with another hard mountain to climb to get back to the top.
If a lockout wipes out the first month of the season, then that might work out for the C's, provided the league doesn't want to make up all of those games. But the longer a lockout drags on, the worse it gets for Boston because they'd have to play a schedule that won't do their old bodies well. I know I might have said otherwise in the past, but looking at history, I've seen the light. A long lockout is a bad thing.
The rest of the links:
ESPN Boston: The Five: KG's top 5 games | Report Card: Kevin Garnett | Transcript: Forsberg on Celtics | Herald: Dirk leads epic comeback | Noah has no excuse for slur, but fans should be held accountable too | Project Spurs: Ginobili played with a broken arm | Hoopsworld: Benson "patterns" his game after KG | Enterprise News: Ainge will likely wait to make moves this summer