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Red's Army

Your Morning Dump… Where Danny’s confident heading into the playoffs

John - Red's Army (@RedsArmy_John) April 12, 2013 The Morning Dump 12 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.

“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.”

WEEI

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.

Related links:  ESPN Boston:  Ainge: C’s face big time challenge  |  Herald:  Even Danny keeping C’s chances real  |  CSNNE:  Garnett on post-season: “We’re very confident”

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

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  • zippittyay

    The Nets won’t be a walkover for the Heat.

    • Bleedgreen!

      Yea they match up well vs Miami. Joe and wade will be fun to whatch but swills will destroy chalmers and Lopez and blather will eat them down low

  • Dutchgreen

    Hear, hear! Not sure the Celtics will get past the Knicks, but there’s no reason to write them of before the playoffs start. After the past few years, we owe them at least that. And considering the ‘this season is over’ talk after Rondo went down, any damage they can do from here on out is gravy. Let’s go Celtics!

    • Quinn

      They might not be able to get past the Knicks or Pacers as currently constructed. It’s hard to see a deep playoff run without Rondo, because not any of the 7 teams in standings can stop him. Most would expect the Knicks or Pacers to beat the Knicks, because they’ll have HCA, but I wouldn’t be surprise if the Celtics won against either the Knicks or Pacers.

  • Picture Planet

    Finally someone is making sense.

  • KGino

    Exactly John. You’d think after 5-6 years people would learn never to write this team off.

    It’s irrational to expect us to win it all, but who knows maybe JG and JET have been playing possum (here’s hoping). As long as the Heat don’t win again… It will be a successful season.

  • http://twitter.com/REDSLOVECHILD RED`S LOVE CHILD

    Nice to hear Ainge still talking like the “used car salesman” that he is!

    The bad news is…the Celtics are 16th best team {record wise} in the NBA, and they will certainly be “first-round road kill” regardless of who they play.

    The good news is…they have three young & talented players {AB, JS, RR} they can build around, who can at least provide some hope for a brighter future.

    • 00dc2

      no JG on that list?

      • http://twitter.com/REDSLOVECHILD RED`S LOVE CHILD

        I agree…that`s a valid point.

  • Quinn

    It’s crazy to write this team off especially with their past successful postseason runs. But I’m also realistic. Celts fans need to understand this is a different Celts team. No Perkins or Allen. Rondo, Sully and Barbosa are out for the season due to injury. KG and PP are older. So believe it or not this is a different looking team. Before Rondo went down the C’s were inconsistent. Within the past 2 weeks they’ve been very inconsistent. Also they have guys like Wilcox, Randloph, White, Williams and Crawford that wouldn’t crack normal rotations. And they’re defensive identity has taken a huge hit this season. It’s hard to predict what this team is capable of. Not sure?

    I sure hope they shock people and make a deep playoff run. Beating Miami in a 7gm series without Rondo, I can’t see how that is possible. But I’ve seen stranger things happen before.

  • LA Flake

    This is an awesome post and I am also glad that so many have gotten off the bandwagon. I can finally stretch! BUT…a few things:

    1. This really isn’t the same team anymore. Other than KG & PP, no one, including Terry, has been through what we’ve been through. Too many of our guys just haven’t been tested.

    2. I have zero faith in Doc to figure out the best possible playoff rotation.

    3. I think Danny’s pumping Rondo a little bit here. Yes, Rondo’s been brilliant in a few series but to say he was the best player in our series against the likes of Cleveland, Chicago and Miami is just not right and flies in the face of PP and Judas Allen’s brilliant and memorable performances. In the past, Rondo was able to create havoc because he had the New Big Three that covered up all his weaknesses. This year’s team wasn’t able to mask those. I’m not trying to bash Rondo because his absence made my heart grow a bit fonder but we are a .500 team with or w/out him this year. The only edge we have is that PP and KG are the real living legends of this team and they will not go quietly.

  • Graham Brunell

    I’ll never write the C’s off but there’s no way you can objectively say that the first round matchup with the Knicks is even. This year is completely different than the past three years in which we have come out of nowhere each year. In those years, the Cs gave us sustained periods of great basketball — not good, but great — and it was only natural to romanticize about Cinderella stories in the playoffs. In 2010 we annihilated the entire league for half a season. In 2011 we did in the same. Last year, we were the third best team post All-Star break. This year, I would say the Cs have put forth maybe 15-20 games of very good basketball. The proof, other than the fact that we have two big pieces who were on those very same former teams, isn’t quite there this year.

    I’ll root for the Celtics just like always in the playoffs, and am excited to see what they can do. But I’m baffled as to how the first round matchups lead you to believe we have a 50/50 shot. Favorable matchups maybe given the circumstances. But we’re still the underdog and deservedly so.