Your Morning Dump… Where winning feels *really* good, doesn’t it? | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
Red's Army

Your Morning Dump… Where winning feels *really* good, doesn’t it?

bradley winner

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

“It was the perfect storm. Things just went well for them down the stretch,” said Cavs coach Tyronn Lue, making an early submission for understatement of the year.

The Bostonians had trailed by nine in the last quarter. Then they led by seven. Then things got really crazy.

“If you play this game, you should believe you’re going to win until the horn goes off,” said Bradley.

Even if that belief defies logic apparently.

The Celtics were down by five points after Kyrie Irving made two free throws with 18.6 seconds left. Jae Crowder, whose right ankle was noticeably restricting him, then picked an opportune time to shake off eight misses in as many attempts and drill a trey from the left corner.

Boston Herald

“Guys, let’s get to the bottom as quick as we can, because let me tell you, the ride up is a lot of fun.”

Alan Mulally

That second quote was about restructuring Ford Motor Company, not rebuilding the Boston Celtics, but it’s stuck with me ever since I first saw it almost a decade ago. It seems particularly appropriate after what was, if not the most surprising win of this season, certainly the most enjoyable one.

Look, the team that beat Cleveland last night isn’t good enough to beat them four times in seven or fewer games. I think we all know that. But, on the other hand, look at where they are. The team is 8 games over .500 for the first time since the season that Boston pushed Miami to the brink in the playoffs. They’ve got so many picks in the upcoming draft that other GMs are starting to anonymously call it a problem–a problem that they would all probably love to have.

They’re one of the youngest teams in the NBA, they’ve got arguably the best bench in the league, one of the best defenses in the league, one of the smartest coaches in the league, and an offense that is slowly working its way into the top ten.

And they’re doing that without a super star, much less a “future hall-of-famer”.

While there’s a possibility that the team will hit another existential funk like the one they went through a month ago, it doesn’t feel really likely at this point. This feels more like a team that has figured it out, and that includes Brad Stevens. The rookies are racking up DNPs as he’s tightened the rotations. I’m sure he didn’t want to do that, but he’s shown the kind of flexibility that another hotshot college coach in Boston never really learned.

So enjoy this, guys. Enjoy this time where the Celtics are getting better right in front of our eyes. Don’t focus too much on stuff you can’t control–which is basically everything, ’cause you’re just fans.

Page 2: Why Boston fans love Jae Crowder

Crowder could have pretended Friday night meant the same as any other game, but opted for the truth. Despite an injured ankle that almost forced him out of the lineup, he wanted to guard James, to give his team a chance against the Eastern Conference’s top club.

“I didn’t have it,” Crowder said. “I probably should have sat out, but pride got in the way a little bit. You know how that goes. I wanted to just give our team a chance to not lack in any perspective. I know it was a big test for us to guard LeBron, to try to slow him down as much as possible. But I just didn’t have it physically. I was there mentally, though.”

MassLive

Down 5 with 18.6 seconds to play, Bradley missed a rushed 3-point attempt but the ball bounced directly to Jared Sullinger, who alertly elected to kick it to a wide-open Jae Crowder in the corner. Crowder, battling ankle soreness after getting rolled up on Wednesday night, made his only shot of the night on a 3-pointer from about the same spot that Bradley would eventually deliver the winner.

ESPN Boston

Jae Crowder, after the game, said he shouldn’t have been playing. He had missed every shot he took before that one. He couldn’t contain LeBron.

And if he doesn’t hit that shot, Boston’s almost certainly done for.

Crowder is not going to be an “all-time” anything. But he’s a guy who will win you games in the playoffs. He’s one of those guys that stars need on their teams to win championships. Think of Eddie House, or Cornbread, or Bill Walton in his last good year.

Finally: Let’s all enjoy some Brad Stevens photochops.

 

Again, take a moment and enjoy this guys.

(NB for those confused by the above pics: That 12 year old kid in a Lakers uniform? That’s Ty Lue)

The rest of the links:

CSNNE: A big one | Small ball lineups continue to energize Celtics | Thomas’ troubles against Cavs disappear late | Celtics ‘kept fighting’ in extraordinary win over Cavs | Smart bulldozes Mozgov to set up C’s win vs. Cavs

MassLive: Boston Celtics trade rumors 2016: Danny Ainge explains how he values Brooklyn Nets pick

Boston Globe: Avery Bradley, Celtics shock Cavaliers

NESN: Celtics Notes: Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley Stray From Script In Thriller | Celtics’ Effort Erases Late-Game Struggles In Statement Win Over Cavs

Like this Article? Share it!

  • DRJ

    You’re slightly underestimating this team. Over their last 15 games, they’ve averaged an Offensive Rating of 110.3 (using Basketball-Reference.com-type formulas), which would rank at #4 in the NBA as a season average. Fact is, the offense underwent a dramatic change as of the Jan 10 Memphis game, and it’s been in the top-10 since then. Just takes time for the season averages to reflect changes with so much data already in the books. They could drop down again, I suppose, but I can’t think of a reason why. (Well… that’s not true. Stuff can happen…. but I won’t even type it out.)

    • KGino

      Not to mention they avg the most PPG in the east already.

      Also underestimating Jae Crowder…. Eddie house?? This guy isn’t a reserve on a championship team, he’s a key cog

      • Astarot

        You’re right about Jae he still has room to get better (peak of human capabilities is between 25-28). You can see he’s improving on both ends. He won’t be a star but he’s a legit starter on a top team (unless you’ve got a superstar on his slot) then he’s a great SF coming ofF the bench. That’s why I was against Gallinari deal (if there was anything goin’ on), you don’t want Jae as a sub unless you’ve got George, Durant that kind of player.

      • Richard Jensen

        Let me explain my thinking: Crowder plays the “superstar” position: SF/SG, and he’s not a superstar. So I could see him either starting (like if the C’s got Durant or Boogie) or being the sixth man on a championship team. I went with 6th man to err conservatively.

    • Richard Jensen

      I don’t like grabbing arbitrary samples like “Celtics have the best offense in the league since 9:00 Eastern time, with an ORtg of 156.3” or whatever. If the Cs can pull into the top ten for the full season, that says something (IMO at least).

      • DRJ

        But last 15 is not arbitrary. It’s significant. To assume teams never change in a season, start to finish, is clearly incorrect. Fact is, Cs have undergone an offensive revolution since Jan 10. Sure, you can wait for the full season to reflect the change — but why? If you’re interested in how the team is performing now, you should look at stats that most closely and accurately reflect now. In fact, it’s arguable that the full season is “arbitrary” too. Why not go back to last season? Why not last 30? Etc.

        I think the logical approach is to look at everything — not limit oneself to one arbitrary block of games, but look for patterns, most importantly new patterns, as they emerge. It’s more work, but it’s also more rewarding. Imo

        • Richard Jensen

          Actually, it is arbitrary–why not make it 25 games and include that dreadful stretch where they lost to the Nets & Lakers?

          Of course teams change as the season goes along. The reason why I prefer looking at full season data is because if the team changes *enough* for a *long enough* period it will be reflected in the full season stats. It’s a significant change if it moves the overall averages.

          And if you think about it, that’s exactly how the won/loss record works. Are you a 3 seed based on your last 15 games, or the season to date?

          Finally, consider the discrepancy in your own logic here: “Over their last 15 games, they’ve averaged an Offensive Rating…which would rank at #4 in the NBA as a season average.”

          Where is the logic in comparing a 15 game sample to a season average? At the very least, the time frame should be the same, like perhaps “An offense that is #2 in the league over the past 15 games”, etc.

          • DRJ

            What we compare a Rating to is not very important at this point. We only do that to get a feel for what the numbers means. Indeed, the whole exercise of looking at more-recent groups of games has exactly that purpose: to get a better feel for how the team is performing recently than you can get by looking at only full-season numbers.

            I don’t really get what you don’t get about this. No one (who is sane) is going to argue that looking at last-15 numbers actually counts for anything in the standings. That would be ridiculous. The purpose of doing so is to gain a better understanding of how the team is changing — and the Cs’ recent offensive renaissance if a perfect case in point: If you look at the full season, they’re at #12 in OffRtg. But if you look at their numbers since the big change on Jan 10, you see performance numbers equivalent to ~#4 or #5-#6 in the NBA (depending on whether you compare to other teams’ full season vs. just those 15 games — an inconsequential option).

            The last-15 numbers tell you that hey, better keep an eye on this wakening offense — it’s cooking.

            If the purpose of all this is to gauge how the team is likely to do in the playoffs, don’t you want to understand how they’re playing in the last few weeks of the regular season — rather than an average of their whole season? No? Not even when there have been such big changes?

            Example: A great team loses its two best players at the end of the reg season. (Think Curry and Green @ GSW.) If you look at their full season numbers — as you insist on doing — you would believe they’ll go far in the playoffs, make the Finals, etc. But of course, that team is now nothing like they were in most of the regular season. And you would know that if you looked at their performance stats for the last two weeks of the reg season.

            Imo, closing your eyes to ANY view of the stats is wrong. Different numbers should be viewed and applied differently (obviously), but they can all be looked at to try to discern what is really going on at the moment.

            Bottom line: If you say that the Celtics are struggling to get into the top-10 of NBA offenses — and ignore the reality of their recent offensive rejuvenation — you’re only misinforming yourself. You should AT LEAST MENTION the fact that their recent performance numbers are far better than their season numbers, which could be very significant going forward.

            But — to each his own. Peace.

          • Richard Jensen

            “If you say that the Celtics are struggling to get into the top-10 of NBA offenses”

            Show me where I said that.

          • DRJ

            It wasn’t a quote. I was thinking of this: “an offense that is slowly working its way into the top ten.”

          • Richard Jensen

            If you didn’t mean it as a quote, then why did you use the word “say”?

          • DRJ

            Also —

            Why do observers everywhere talk about how teams’ records over their “last 10 games” or “last 9” or “last 5” or whatever? That’s done all the time. ‘Oh, the Celtics have won 8 of their last 9 games,’ etc. By your logic, that should never be done, because it’s not looking at the whole season, it’s arbitrary, etc.

            We look at groups of recent games to gain an understanding of how a team is doing recently, how it may be changing. It’s the only way to get that information. That is obvious, imo.

          • Richard Jensen

            They’re free to do what they please. I merely said that I don’t like picking arbitrary ranges, and I gave my reasons.

            I prefer, if you’re going to use a smaller subset, to tie it to some event. Like, “since the Isaiah Thomas trade” or “since the Jeff Green trade” or even “since coming back from a 5 point deficit in 18 seconds” and then just keep adding to the game total from that counter. Alternatively, if you insist on some arbitrary range, consistently use that arbitrary range for everything and don’t jigger it to make the numbers look better.

            I might also add that if you really believe “to each his own”, then why did you raise an issue with *my* way of assessing the team’s progress on offense in the first place, and why are you continuing to insist that I am either wrong or foolish for taking a dim view of arbitrary trailing ranges that highlight and perhaps exaggerate trends?

  • Astarot

    Let’s all be honest and say it out loud David Blatt should be coaching East on All star weekend (not that I care about this circus in Toronto) but it was Blatt who got them top spot in the East no matter some players like it or not (I’m looking at you LBJ)

  • Rod Shaftwell

    Is there any footage of Brad Stevens’ reaction after the shot? I looked for some in the Boston broadcast but couldn’t find any. He was really into it at the end of the game.

    I really want to know if he just walked off expressionless or actually showed some emotion this time.

    • zippittyay

      If they had footage of it, they didn’t show it.

  • KGino

    Is Kevin Love even good anymore? Seems pretty pedestrian and fragile every time I see him play

  • swissflix

    Just like last year, this team will be a lot better in the second half of the season. Which means they should win 50 games. Amazing, considering the fact the we are still supposed to be a rebuilding team.

  • zippittyay

    Most encouraging is that they are preserving the team concept all the way to the end of the games. “Hero Ball” certainly isn’t going to work with this team, but moving the ball and keeping everyone a threat to win the game at the end will.