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.
With the Lakers’ triumph over the Jazz on Monday, Boston has a one-game cushion on both sides with a single game to play. With a loss on Wednesday against the Washington Wizards, the Celtics would assure themselves of no worse than the fifth position.
The final-day schedule: The Celtics host Washington; the Jazz visit the Minnesota Timberwolves; and the Lakers trek to meet the San Antonio Spurs.
If Boston finishes in a tie with Utah for the fourth-worst record, the two teams would split the lottery probability for those two spots — meaning each team receives 103 pingpong combinations (out of 1,000). One extra combination is awarded to the team that wins a random drawing, and that team will also pick first if neither team vaults to a top-three pick.
Likewise, if the Celtics and Lakers end up knotted for the fifth-worst mark, the two teams would each receive 75 pingpong balls and draw for the extra combo and the tiebreaker
EPSN Boston – Down the stretch they come
Well, this is it. Funny how you can single out any one victory this season, whether it be Jeff’s game-winner in Miami, the blowout at MSG, or even Saturday’s win against the Cavs — and know that any of those could determine so much in the future. In many ways, the NBA is an odd league and the draft lottery is definitely one of those ways. Regardless, this is where we stand: Either a tie for the fourth or fifth-worst record, and a chance to draft anywhere from first overall to ninth overall. Basically, even after all this worrying about tanking, we’ll still have to wait until May 20th (Ping-Pong Night!), to see just how much our season of terrible-ness was worth it. Later today, Duke’s Jabari Parker will announce his decision to either stay in school another year, or turn pro. Even if he chooses to turn pro and the C’s get stuck with the eight pick, a sort of trickle-down effect should still help us land a better player than if he stays at Duke. And of course, if we luck out at the lottery, he’d be a prime candidate for us with a top-three pick. So to recap: We’ve still got some waiting to do, but today’s a pretty big day.
Page 2: Where losing didn’t sit well with the ’96-97 squad
It was an afternoon home game against the Toronto Raptors, and it was to be the Celts’ 67th loss of a season dedicated to the draft lottery pursuit of Tim Duncan. The players gathered in a huddle in the hallway outside the dressing room, as was their tradition. There would generally be a word of encouragement or inspiration and some type of “1-2-3 — Celtics” sendoff.
But on this day, there was silence as the lads came together and put their hands in. After a quiet beat or two, a voice of perspective rose from the pack. A voice that sounded an awful lot like that of Rick Fox delivered the Sunday sermon:
“Let’s get this (expletive) thing over with.”
And with that, the Celts took the floor and took their 125-94 beating from the 30-52 Raptors.
“There were probably a couple of huddles like that,” said Dana Barros, the local guy who’d signed on as a free agent the year before. “We were looking forward to that season being over.”
It’s fair to say the Celtics who gather at the Garden this evening will be longing for the offseason when they take their satchel full of losses out for a final spin against the Washington Wizards. But as difficult as this planned plunge of a season might have been to experience, it’s really nothing like the dive taken 17 years ago.
“What a strange year that was,” said Fox, who went on to win three championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. “It was just awful — and strange.”
Boston Herald – Celtics Beat: The bitter end
A pretty interesting read from the Herald’s Steve Bulpett. The article goes on to further quote Rick Fox, who said he had games where he’d score 30 points in the first three quarters and then sit on the bench, where he’d realize it wasn’t about winning. On a happier note, he also admits that this year’s Celtics squad is in a much better situation than his squad in 1997: “It’d help if they can get lucky in the lottery, but they’ve got some really good players and a bunch of picks down the line, too.”
Yes, some luck would be nice.
And finally, Jared Sullinger still undecided for tonight’s game
The left ankle sprain Sullinger suffered on Friday against Charlotte has been slow to improve, resulting in him missing Boston’s last two games.
Last season Sullinger underwent season-ending back surgery, which capped his season at 45 games.
And while he won’t rule out playing in the season finale at home against Washington on Wednesday, it’s not looking all that promising at this point.
“It just depends,” Sullinger said. “Right now, the swelling has gone down but not as much as it needs to be. We’ll see. I don’t know.”
Sure, it’d be nice to see Sully finish the season on a high note, but it’d be far nicer to see this team lock up the tie for fourth. The Wizards are still positioning themselves in the Eastern seeding, so I’d imagine their guys won’t be resting much. Let’s wrap this thing up with one more #CompetitiveLoss and forget any of it ever happened.
We need this right after the Wizards game. pic.twitter.com/HRFRNr7pyl
— BostonCeltics Manila (@CelticsMNL) April 16, 2014
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