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Your Morning Dump… Where I can’t pretend the Celtics are contenders anymore

Chuck - Red's Army April 11, 2013 The Morning Dump 31 Comments

Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.

While there’s clearly plenty for the Celtics to work on — and the tiny potential for some jockeying in the Eastern Conference seedings — Boston would likely jump at the chance to push the fictional fast-forward button on the season remote, skipping these final coming attractions, and leaping to the featured film.

Sure, it’d be better if Garnett could find a rhythm; if Boston’s new-look starting five could get some extended minutes together; if guys like Terry could snap out of their funk; or if the Celtics could be playing their best basketball of the year.

“[The Nets] came in with a better sense of urgency, like the playoffs are right around the corner, and we sort of eased into it, and we can’t do that with a week and a half left,” Pierce said. “They came out with more purpose than us, you saw from the beginning to the end, and we’ve got to understand, we’ve got to raise our intensity at this point of the season. We’ve got to start prepping our mind, our mindset, our game plan, and everything we try to do for the playoffs, and, you know, it was a step back.”

ESPN Boston – Celtics limping to the finish

Anyone else fed up with the rhetoric and this team taking a ‘step-back?’ When do they start taking a step-forward?

While it’s possible the lack of a healthy breakfast has affected my mood, I’m feeling quite sour about the Celtics this morning.

Last night’s game vs Brooklyn was supposed to provide some optimism, a peek at how the Celtics would play in the playoff against elite competition.

And… they sucked.

The same problems that plagued this team in December haven’t gone away.

  • Jason Terry’s jumper remains MIA… 78 games into the season.
  • Jeff Green cannot play aggressively with Garnett and Paul Pierce on the floor.
  • Avery Bradley doesn’t know how to ease back on the throttle when in foul trouble.
  • Courtney Lee and Chris Wilcox are weak links.

And to top it off, KG is still wearing a protective boot.

This narrative that they’re a legit contender is laughable. They’ve been a .500 team all season long. They’re 6-11 over the last 17 games. Playoffs? Playoffs!?!

I’ve heard all the excuses:

  • They’ll be better once the new guys get familiar with the system
  • They play to the level of their opponents.
  • They’ll be better once KG returns.
  • They’ll be better once Doc rolls out the new line-up.

I’m confident KG and Paul Pierce will ramp up their play and flip-the-switch in the playoffs, but I don’t have any faith in anyone else. Zero.

This team has too many flaws and had to overcome too many injuries.

Hell, we’ve talked ourselves into thinking Shavlik Randolph – a journeyman from China – could be a contributor.

Prepare yourself for a first round exit.

Related: SB Nation: Reeling Celtics look for answers as post season awaits

The rest of the links:

ESPN Boston – Garnett shaking the rust | Whistles slow Bradley | Rapid Reaction: Nets 101 – C’s 93 | CSNNE – Foul trouble costs Bradley, Celtics | Celtics no match for Nets | Herald – Uneven Garnett tries self analysis | Nets cut down Celtics | Kris Joseph earns spot on Nets | C’s head to Miami with little on line | Globe – Garnett shaking off rust | Bradley must tone it down | WEEI – KG: I can be better, and I will be | Doc: We want to play Miami, just not early in playoffs |

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  • http://twitter.com/CurtHays Curt Hays

    I’m with you, Chuck. Valid points.
    “I’m confident KG and Paul Pierce will ramp up their play and flip-the-switch in the playoffs, but I don’t have any faith in anyone else. Zero.”

  • dk

    this is how i feel:

  • yogi

    What is with these over reactions? If the team wins a game it’s banner 18, but if they lose one we will lose in the first round…

    1. Injuries affect teams in two significant ways.
    a. The team loses talent. That is obvious. Without Rondo, Deron WIlliam’s confidence was through the roof. Avery is an amazing defender but he’s better at slowing down scoring guards. Great ball handlers will often use his aggressiveness against him. There aren’t too many of those however.
    b. The more subtle loss is one of time. Everything changed without Rondo. The team basically started training camp again when Rondo went down, and other injuries made it so that the team wasn’t assembled until after the trade deadline. This is the SECOND game our starting line-up played significantly together.

    Throw in the leadership and playoff experience we lost with Rondo (and Ray,) it is no wonder we’re struggling.

    We are no longer a top talent in the NBA. That happens when you lose one of the best players in the league and a quality player like Jared Sullinger. But talent doesn’t always win championships. There are many other factors in play, and the team that makes the most of those factors will come through.

    The Celtics aren’t contenders. They aren’t first round fodder. They are a team that has to maximize every little thing and take it one game at a time. With a little fortune, here is no reason why we can’t win a championship.

    • 00dc2

      ^ this guy is smarter than the average bear

    • http://www.facebook.com/chuck.mckenney1 Chuck McKenney

      What’s more likely to happen? First round loss or a championship? I’ll even scale it back and say first round loss or appearance in ECF?

      • Nash

        Appearance in ECF. We match up well against the Knicks and Pacers in my opinion. The Knicks live and die at the 3, as long as we can play Melo the way we handled Lebron when he was on the Cavs (Let him have his points and stop the rest of the team) we should be fine. Pacers just aren’t playoff tested enough and play at a similar speed to us (We happen to own the snail pace game).

        We’ve written our boys off plenty of times and it always bites the naysayers in the ass. Yea this is the first time we’re going in without Rondo but I sincerely think this team’s gonna pick up the slack and play the way they did when he first went down. I’ve hated the JET signing all year but I think he may just come out and surprise us in a couple of weeks. As long as him and Jeff Green perform at a high level and Pierce and KG play well for 4 games in a series we should be good till the ECF. I understand it’s easier said then done but if you bleed green now is the time to have faith in this team.

        • eddysamson

          On a slightly related note, does anyone else think its funny the PACErs have one of the worst pace stats in the game?

      • http://www.facebook.com/jake.gruber.7 Jake Gruber

        Yeah I’d have to disgree. I think an appearance in the ECF is more likely. Winning that is a different story, but we will talk if and when they get there. Pierce has too much pride to let them lose in the first rous. He’s capable of putting up huge games against any defender besides (let’s face it) Lebron on a given night. I have little faith in Jason Terry, which is why I’m concerned about an actual title

        • http://www.facebook.com/jake.gruber.7 Jake Gruber

          It cut me off, but I was going to say that I worry about Terry and the bench, but I think Kg and pierce are that good that they could get them to the ECF even with the spotty bench play.

  • kobe

    finally a Boston fan opened his eyes and realized that the Celtics is a bottom dweller just like the Wizards and Bobcats. Cs should have just tanked this season for the lottery. I noticed that Boston is really good when Jet is shooting well, but that really don’t happen often. Danny Ainge signed up a wrong shooter.

    • jmiotto

      The C’s aren’t a bottom dweller just like the Wizards or the Bobcats. They’re a bottom dweller like the Lakers.

  • Roy

    I agree Chuck. I think Celtics fans need to be realistic at some point about this season’s Celtics. Bottom line they’re not good enough! Outside of Garnett and Pierce, who can be relied upon? I can’t think of anyone. I kind of saw the writing on the wall when Rondo went down, but it became more apparent as Barbosa and Sully went down too. But when I see guys like Wilcox, Williams, Crawford, Terry on the court they look defensively and offensively. It’s just painful to watch this team at times. The team is too inconsistent.

    • Mike C

      Agreed. Last year I felt like we had a chance to beat any team in the NBA; this year, I’ve consistently felt all season that any team might beat us. I could see us upsetting the Knicks first round, but thats as far as it will go. KG and Pierce are legends, but they cant carry this team by themselves. Just PRAY that any team will knock out Miami, I dont care who it is. Can we please DROP Terry before next season. Did absolutely nothing for us this year.

  • MidwestCelt

    - If I guy talks big and backs it up he’s a stud. If he talks big and does nothing he’s a weenie. Which one is Jason Terry?
    - Lee is not a starter on a top-notch team
    - Bradley may not amount to more than a defensive specialist
    - Hopefully 2013 is the last time Wilcox puts on a Celtic jersey.
    - We are REALLY going to miss Rondo’s FU attitude (and play) in the playoffs
    - I hate to see the Celts qo quietly into the night while KG is on the floor. Hopefully there will be a couple throwback games in the playoffs.
    Rebuilding sucks.

    • 00dc2

      it wont be that bad, rondo, sully, bass and green are a good core.. bradley needs to mature, lee needs more confidence and they all need to stop living and dying by the long jump shot and realise that you need to get better shots to win more and that you can get better shots if you actually play a more fluid, movement and aggressive form of offense.. sigh..

      • Nate

        Bass has got to go, don’t be tricked by a few good games. He’s undersized and he sucks

  • 00dc2

    I still think they can and will flip the switch come playoff time.. look how we almost beat miami without KG.. and in the miami V chicago game where their big streak was ended when chicago was belting them, during a timeout i heard spoelstra say to the team something along the lines.. “these guys are playing with real intensity, its like playing against boston, we need to step it up”

    when i heard that i knew that this team is legit.. it confirmed to me that my love of boston wasnt clouding my eyes…. but i just think they cant be @rsed during the regular season unfortunately… we’d love for them to get good practice at playing high quality and intense basketball during the regular season but seems we will just have to wait for the playoffs

    Go Celtics!

  • Roy

    Chuck what’s up? You seem doom and gloom with this posting. But I do share your feelings. I do think at some point we as fans need to be honest about the C’s chances in the post-season. The fact is this isn’t same team from the previous seasons. We no longer have Allen or Perkins, and Rondo, Sully, Barbosa are done for the season. Outside of KG and PP the others are too inconsistent. As soon as the second unit entered the game things got out of control.

    The Celts don’t have a good bench especially with Barbosa and Sully missing. Guys like Wilcox, Lee, Terry, Williams, Crawford and Green are unreliable wildcards. The bench doesn’t have a defensive identity and to so much an offense either. Celts fans need to understand this isn’t defensive minded team like the past 5 seasons. Add to it the entire team is poor at rebounding most of times guys don’t try to box-out or hustle. At times guys look lost and that is reciepe for disaster. Not trying to sound negative, but do u guys trust anyone outside of KG and PP?

    I’m getting bored lying and telling myself this team will click once the playoffs come, but I just don’t see it anymore. I’m not saying they’ll beat Miami in 7, but I’m not sure if they can compete with anyone at this point. They’re too inconsistent. Take KG and PP away from this team and they’re an 11th seed. Let’s be honest.They play a bad brand of basketball that’s not fun to watch. I seriously believe the lost to Miami on 3/18/13 crushed them mentally, because they haven’t been the same since.

    On the other hand I could be wrong about everything I said. Maybe they’ll get their act together come playoffs. In the playoffs coaches limit their rotations which means we’ll likely see less of Crawford, Williams and Wilcox. I’m so done with the regular season I wish the playoffs would just come already.

    • Bleedgreen!

      I agree that the loss to Miami really destroyed the chemistry and effort. If we had won it would’ve sparked a streak and we would go into the playoffs hot. But I think that without rondo other teams can just press and we will turn the ball over. Rondo would make then pay if they got up on him but Avery can’t. It’s gonna take alot to get banner 18 and I really am not sure if we can do it or not, we can’t act like this team doesn’t have talent. When they’re at their best Bradley lee terry abs jcraw are all outside threats and an and clee will lock down the opposing teams guards and get steals. And kg wll lock down the paint. But now were not at our best

  • Celtics fan in KC.

    Id still like to see us vs Miami in the first round when our legs are the freshest. Thats our toughest challenge in the east, so lets shoot for the 8th seed & get them out of the way first.

    • Roy

      R u serious? I get that your confident, but u do understand in order for the C’s to challenge Miami Rondo will be needed. Rondo is out for the season my friend. Plus u don’t want to start the playoffs as an 8th seed that’s not the right tone to set. The C’s would be better off taking their chances against the Knicks or Pacers in the first round not the Heat. Right now the C’s need to get some sort of chemistry going before they challenge anyone.

      Some how Doc and coaching staff will have to make magic in order to prepare this up and down bench unit.

      • eddysamson

        We dont necessarily match up that bad with the Heat and consider this- this year the 2 games we’ve played them without Rondo were significantly better than the game we played against them with him (okay it was the first game…). We step up against the Heat and the Heat hate us to the point where it probably negatively affects them as a whole, hes really not that far off from wrong here.

  • yogi

    What matters is the ACTUAL games in the ACTUAL playoffs. Instead of cowering with fear and speculating about seeding and favorites, why not just watch what this team can do in the playoffs? The truth is NO ONE knows what this team is capable of. Not even Doc or the players themselves. That will be determined when the games start. The Celtics haven’t been the favorites in hardly any series past the first round for the past 5 years according to the pundits. Yet we’ve been at least one of the last 4 teams standing in 4 of them. In fact the Celtics have ONLY lost to either the finalist or champions since we’ve won the championship. How many other teams can say that?

  • zippittyay

    Yup, I’m seeing a 5 game first round exit.

  • KGino

    whoa whoa slow down now.. don’t be so frustrated with a team that lost it’s best playmaker and it’s best rebounder on a team that could really afford neither. It’s actually pretty damn funny that people are still so afraid to play us if you ask me.. be frustrated with our luck not our skill. Our first guy off the bench was just playing in China for crying out loud.

    The reason teams are still scared of us is because we have the heart of a champion. I don’t put it past the C’s to ruin the Knicks season before getting knocked off.. I don’t put it past them to get to the ECF. One injury to Queen James (or a rule change that enforces unbiased refereeing) and “Anything is possibleee!!!”"

    For that to happen.. Jeff Green & JET need to step up. Truest line in the article is that KG & Pierce will do their thing.. how far we go is up to the rest.

  • JR99

    What is wrong with you??

    Year after year since 2008, you’ve seen the Celtics do the same thing: play like crap in the regular season, turn it on for the playoffs. In some years it was crazy/obvious, others less so. But it happens every time. HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY FORGET ALL THAT? Are you having a stroke, or what??

    It’s all very simple: WE DO NOT KNOW how the Cs will play in the playoffs. But we have some pretty good indications from past years that they WILL turn it on for the playoffs, because that’s what they’ve always done before. So relax, willya? Settle down. Wait for the playoffs to arrive, because until then, you can’t KNOW what to expect. All we can do now is conjecture, and if that’s what we’re doing, then you must ignore regular season games (especially at this point in the season) and guess that they’ll probably flip their switch big-time when the chips are down.

    • http://twitter.com/djKahnNYC Kahnstantine

      Yup, this.

  • Graham Brunell

    GO CELTICS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • http://twitter.com/JdotD James D ♣

    I agree with pretty much everything here, however…
    I’m also pretty sure we’re tanking for the #7 spot so we avoid Miami and so we can rest guys.
    So I’m not counting us out until I see us in the playoffs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ben.zarn Ben Zarn

    Look you guys, from my prespective I see celtics advancing to ECF and losing in 7. If the C’s want ANY chance of beating this miami team, JG needs to have a 20+ night, KG+PP need to compine for 40+ points, JET needs to STEP UP…..HUGE! Courtney Lee and AB#0 will have to play there lock down D-fense and combine for 20+ points. Bass+Randolph have GOT to get in double figures for rebounding, J-Craw needs to play like last night(@heat), T-Will has got score more and play solid D, and Wilcox has got to get in double figures in rebounding as well. Bottom line, If we shoot well, rebound better, and be more physical, I have NO DOUBT in my mind that Celtics could win against any team in the NBA. The “Big 2″ (Ray Allen *cough* TRAITOR *cough*) are getting old but paul is still clutch as well as KG, and the JET. Haters will hate, doubters will doubt,
    and everybody will think “ohh it’s just the Celtics. No big deal.” And what will happen is that they’ll find themselves down 3-2. TRUE CELTICS NEVER GIVE UP HOPE!! #BANNER18 #IAMACELTIC #CELTIC4LIFE #BLEEDGREENDIEGREEN!!!!!!!!!