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.
“I know what our guys are made of. I know how they’ve stepped up in the past,” he said. “There’s been year’s where we …. what was in 2010, when we finished the season 27-27 in the last 54 games? I was not real confidence going in, but I was in awe of watching our team play its best basketball it’s played in the KG era in that stretch — against Cleveland who had the leading record in the league and against Orlando who had the second-best record in the East. I was in awe of what they were able to step up and do.
“In order to do that, you have to have guys playing on all cylinders. I think the good news is that our team is getting healthier. Unfortunately, Rondo and Barbosa and Sully aren’t coming back. But I feel like KG is moving well and I think Paul is getting better and moving well. By the time the playoffs roll around, I think we’ll be in good shape.”
The bandwagon got a lot lighter after the loss to the Nets, which is fine with me. I’m not going to sit here and feed you some bullshit about how the Celtics can still win the NBA title. But I’m also not jumping off the Zakim bridge because they lost to the Nets. They’re a horrible matchup for the C’s. And here’s a news flash:
The Celtics won’t face the Nets in the playoffs at all, even if the DO get to the Eastern Conference Finals. They’re the 4 seed. They’re Miami’s second course.
No, the Celtics face the Knicks in the first round. And, despite recent events, That’s a matchup I can deal with. Live-by-the-3 teams never do great in the playoffs, and when they’re not hitting their 3′s, they’re an average team. And if Tyson Chandler can’t come back at 100%, then they’re really in trouble.
Playoff basketball is different. And I don’t know how many years in a row we have to watch the Celtics limp into the playoffs and then turn it on before we get the hint. They are about as interested in the final weeks of the regular season as the rest of us. Since 2010, the Celtics have been written off and pronounced dead dozens of times.
And we’re suddenly going to do it again? With Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce still within earshot?
It’s fine if you want to. I won’t.
I see the Knicks standing there in round one and I see a team that’s beat-able. And the I see the Pacers and Hawks in round two and… well… I’m not exactly asking for a change of pants over that matchup either. And if the Pacers just happen to trip over themselves and hand us the Hawks in the second round?
It’s different this year, I know that. There’s no Rondo…I, and Danny, know what that means.
I’ve been telling you this from the time Rondo got hurt when everyone was saying our team was playing as good without him: Rondo has been a most valuable player in at least a few, but maybe more than few — maybe a handful of playoff series the last few years with some of the best players in the world in those playoff series. He has been the most valuable player in those series. Against Chicago, against Cleveland. Against Orlando. He has had spectacular playoff series. Legendary. Legendary. Last year against Miami, he was the one by far that gave us an opportunity to beat Miami and put us ahead 3-2 in that playoff series. I think it goes without saying that we’ll miss Rondo. I don’t now who …. nobody is going to replace Rondo. We just have to find a different way to win.”
We can have a discussion about regular season Rondo and what he has to do moving forward. There’s no discussion to be had, though, about playoff Rondo. Playoff Rondo is why people get so pissed at him during the regular season, because they want that all the time. Playoff Rondo regularly carries the Celtics. So they’re going to have to find a different way.
Can you at this stage of their careers, rely on KG or Paul Pierce to not replace Rondo, but maybe turn back the clock a little bit?
“We need them to have some flashbacks, for sure. But I think we need a balanced effort. We need production out of Jeff, we need production out of Jason, we need production out of Avery, Courtney, Brandon Bass. We need a full team effort. We need to have those games where we have six or seven guys scoring in double figures. We’re not going to be getting guys who will score 40 in one playoff game. We need balance and production out of our whole team.”
Go ahead and accuse me of being overly hopeful going into the playoffs. I prefer to think I’m being more open-minded about their chances. I won’t pretend that a first round loss isn’t possible. Of course it is. 7 seeds lose to 2 seeds all the time. But the matchups make it a pretty even first round series.
To borrow the quote from Doc Rivers: You can start writing the Celtics’ obituary if you want. I’m not.
The rest of the links:
WEEI: Garnett, Pierce won’t face Heat | ESPN Boston: Jockeying for position: sealing 7th | Snooze Fest | Doc: We’re not moving up | Herald: C’s head to Miami with little on the line | Globe: C’s-Heat will be missing something | CSNNE: Rivers on building confidence before the playoffs | Celtics still looking for answers on the road | Strong bond between Green, Bradley, and Lee