My stalwart brother in homerism, Paul has lost his mind. We cannot beat the Cavs. They are the Rancor Monster from Return of the Jedi and we are the pig faced guard that accidentally fell into the pit with Luke. I love our guys but they will be promptly eaten by the monster in the room. They had a great run and they may steal a game. With the turmoil in Atlanta, we had a punchers chance with the ATL. Lebron? Kyrie? It’s going to take the whole squad breaking JR Smith’s “At the Club” rules to swing this in the Green Machine’s favor. It’s been fun.
Here’s hoping Isaiah Thomas finds Luke’s Return of the Jedi (green, no less) lightsaber.
Luigi, Jonas, and Kelly were the 3 leading scorers tonight. Rest the stars and it doesn’t matter. The Celtics can play with anyone. Anyone. (Anyone in the eastern conference, especially when LeBron James is sitting).
Anyone else see visions of Butler running all the way to the finals? Brad Stevens is our new hero. Either he’s the difference maker or its Jae Crowder. I’m open to either possibility.
It’s homer time. Race for 8 became Soar for 7. Or Next Train to Cleveland. No hyperbole, I think the Celtics can beat the Cavs. They are next year’s Atlanta Hawks, but I think next year has already started.
I don’t know who roots against D-Rose. We all want him back, even though that would mean he will be eviscerating our beloved Celtics on the regular. I don’t think he will ever be a good basketball player again. That is just not possible. However, a last stand might happen. He could shake off some of the rust we saw last night and catch fire in a weak East. (Ha! The WeakEast Conference. #weeping) Rose cut to the hoop last night like the old days. Yeah, he turned the ball over. Yeah, he looked nervous. However, that cut to the hoop made me smile. That cut was a warning to everyone in the East.
Speaking of good dudes we root for. Paul George might get back to All Star form some day. (The shadiness that went down with Chris Copeland may derail that good story. Nothing good happens after 2am.) I hope the Pacers bounce the Nets out of the 8th spot. Man, what a dull team Brooklyn turned out to be. Even their owner is a letdown. I thought there’d be more jetskis.
Unbelievable finish. Forget March Madness. The real madness is in Boston. We’re back in 8th on a put back finish by Marcus Smart! Even Bill Simmons is back on the bandwagon (check twitter). C’s are capturing America’s hearts all over again. (OK, I’m happy too that Calipari lost.)
Is this the biggest loss since Game 6 of the Miami series? The effort was there, they just got beat by the juggernaut that is…the Milwaukee Bucks. Ok, maybe the C’s just aren’t that talented. Smart didn’t have a great game, Thomas struggled in key late game possessions. The defense was pretty horrible. Jerebko summed it up: “it sucks.” But he’s not giving up, and neither are we. The tough thing about the race for the 8th seed between four teams with losing records is that playing even .500 ball would lead to absolute domination and a clear multi-game lead. Instead, improving from .400 to .450 ball is a hot streak. And the Celtics are ‘hot’. They are now 4-6 since moving into the 8th seed, but still only a half game out from Miami. The schedule the rest of the way isn’t in their favor, but how many wins do they need? Three, four? If only the schedulers gave them Miami for game 82. Could you imagine? Two 36-45 teams with everything on the line? To the naysayers (like Grantland) who ask what the point is about making the 8th seed, accomplishments and goals are arbitrary. Whether you are winning your bowling league, cleaning the bathroom, or picking the right winner of ‘The Voice,’ there is satisfaction and excitement in accomplishing goals. And making the playoffs would be a major accomplishment for this team–for most of these guys, maybe their greatest accomplishment as basketball players. Are you telling me Jerebko and Crowder aren’t fired up? Even Sully has come back early! We’re all in.
This is how these Celtics do it! Lose three straight, including a pathetic home game to the lowly Pistons, but then move back into the 8th seed with an Indiana loss and an impressive win at Brooklyn. Evan Turner gets a triple double. Jae Crowder keeps coming up big, even replacing Marcus Smart at the beginning of the second half. Gerald Wallace gets rewarded for his huge game against the Pistons by not getting off the bench. This is the ultimate enigma team.
Now they get to renew their rivalry with their huge upcoming game with the 7th seeded Heat. LeBron? Gone. KG? Gone. Rondo? Gone. Jesus Shuttleworth? Gone. The Truth? Gone.
But D-Wade’s still there and so is Brandon Bass. Mario Chalmers?!?!?! Yes, Stephen A. He’s there too. #race48
Are the Celtics for real? Who knows. Is Brad Stevens a great coach? Sure seems like it. No matter who leaves or gets hurt, the Celtics keep playing pretty good. Rondo traded. They are 21-22 since. Green traded. They are 17-13 since. Sullinger hurt. They are 10-5 since. They are also 10-4 since getting Isaiah Thomas, but only 6-4 in games he actually played.
They are 13-6 since the beginning of February, and 8 different players have led the team in scoring in those 13 wins. Tyler Zeller and Evan Turner are both revelations. They are getting quality minutes from Jae Crowder and Jonas Jerebko. Brandon Bass is having a career year.
But what are they? They have no stars, no real go to guys, at least none over 6 feet tall. They are young, but they are relying on journey-men more than lottery picks. They aren’t dominating and they aren’t sucking. They are winning some of the close games they were losing earlier, but they play almost every game close. They are fun to watch because they compete with a wide array of role players who keep playing hard when the supposed stars disappear. It doesn’t seem to matter who is on the court game to game, they keep competing and keep winning more than you’d expect.
If they beat OKC and the Spurs on the road this week, the narrative will change again. Assuming they don’t, they are still fun, over-achieving competitors and a huge credit to Brad Stevens.