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.
Brad Stevens and his players understand that many believe the Celtics’ priority should be lottery position and losing, not correcting the sins of a demoralizing losing streak.
But there’s a disconnect here. Those in the Garden last night, and especially the players who had just lost their last nine games and 13 of their last 14, had a desperate need for their 106-103 win over Charlotte.
After blowing leads of nine and 19 points in their last two games against Atlanta and Detroit respectively, their sense of self respect had to be rescued.
And judging from last night’s reaction, the majority of the game night crowd was happy for them.
We’ve been fighting this battle all year long.
Every win brings the “hmm… hope we don’t regret that later” vibe from a good number of people. With three games left, the Celtics are now tied with Utah for the fourth-worst record in the league, and the Lakers are sitting there just a game better waiting to… I dunno… “pounce?”… on the shittier record?
I know about mathematical odds and probability, but I also know about human being and the immeasurable necessity for a team’s hard work to be realized and rewarded with a positive outcome. It’s about Brad Stevens getting positive results from a team in the worst possible situation. It’s about not losing every goddamn game.
Some people won’t understand the importance of that. There’s nothing I can do to convince you. There’s nothing I can say to fully explain how long the relief of this win goes… how little things like this can carry into next season simply because key players know that Brad isn’t full of shit.
For those people, every loss is a minor percentage point that brings the Celtics closer to the mathematical goal of having an 80-something percent chance of being disappointed at the draft lottery.
Sorry, I stand by my assertion that we’re in a fine lottery position, and I think it’s a fool’s pursuit to worry so badly about improving our odds of NOT getting the top pick from 88% to 84%.
That’s how I see it. The 4th worst record has an 88% chance at not getting the number 1 pick. The 3rd worst record has an 84.4% chance at not getting the number one pick. If you truly want to argue that that 3.6% is worth your mental energy, then fine. Argue it. I look at it all as being basically the same. When your best chance at winning equals a 75% chance you’ll lose, I’m just not going to sweat it that much.
I’ll take the win, and the cheers from the crowd, and the look of relief watching our young guys celebrate after busting their asses. Brad Stevens put it quite nicely after the game:
“We’ve had a lot of close games not go our way and tonight one goes our way,” said Stevens. “Can you turn some of those [close losses] around with extra opportunities and extra experiences like this down the road? I’m of the belief that everything matters, and I’m also of the belief that those guys have invested a lot and they came out and really competed pretty well through the course of the year. They deserve to celebrate in the locker room and be excited in the locker room, especially after the string of losses we had.”
Page 2: Rondo calls Celtics fans a reason to stay in Boston
The support the Celtics receive would be admirable in its own right. Heading into last night’s game, they were playing to 97.1 percent of their 18,624-seat capacity.
So they were tied for the third-worst record in the league and had the 11th-best attendance relative to their arena size.
Boston can’t promise 70 degrees in January, but it can promise a warm welcome in the Garden.
“I know that would be a big reason why you wouldn’t want to leave a city like Boston,” said Rondo, “because every night, even with the season we’re having, we’re probably still leading the league in attendance or at least up near the top.
“I mean, the fans in Boston, they know the game. You can’t cheat the fans. They know the game. It’s fun to play there. It’s definitely something you appreciate even more once you go on the road and see other teams that have like 6,000 people in the stands. Every night, it’s 18,000 in Boston.
“So you don’t take that for granted,” Rondo said. “I know I don’t. I’ve been in the league for eight years, and in Boston the crowd is consistent. They’re always there.”
I’m not going to repeat everything I said when I featured similar stuff from Avery Bradley in Monday’s Dump. Just go there and read that and remember that how the fans treat the players matters.
Gerald Wallace crashes Brandon Bass’ postgame interview
The rest of the links
Herald: Injuries just keep coming | Globe: C’s snap skid | Losing taking its toll on Rondo | ESPN Boston: C’s slip a spot in lottery standings | CSNNE: Pressey drops double-double in last minute start | Has Tommy finally befriended refs?