[QUOTE]It's not that, the Celts just got old. 35-year olds vs. 25-year olds? Come on. The Spurs don't seem to be having any trouble and they're even older than the Celtics. It's not just age. Fans quit early on the 2010 Celtics team that reached the Finals. Many of us thought that club wouldn't make it out of the first round. It's been three games. The Celtics, minus their best scorer and bench player, actually looked pretty good for long stretches of the first two games, both of which came against two of the best teams in the league, and on the road no less. Only the loss to New Orleans was a real stinker. Being the second of a back to back could explain the lack of energy. Miami almost lost to Charlotte (one point win) tonight on the second of a back to back. I still think this Celtics team will at least make it to the second round of the playoffs, if not further. There's a lot to like: 1. Bass and Wilcox - a pair of rebounders who aren't afraid to bang inside. 2. Stiemsma - a disciplined shotblocker who plays great defense. 3. Rondo - the outside jumper seems to be improved. 4. Allen - still hits the outside shots at a high percentage. 5. Dooling - good spot-up shooter on the fast break, scrappy defensive player. Pierce and Pietrus are definitely going to help. They're easily good for 30 points a night. That's almost 1/3 of the necessary output for a victory. Rivers said that Moore will receive an opportunity ahead of Bradley. Johnson hit a jumper in his 2 minutes of action tonight. Maybe the rookies will be contributors too. The negatives: 1. Garnett - he's morphed into Mark Blount, who was a decent jump shooting big but not much else. Age appears to have caught up with him. 2. Bradley - I'd be surprised if he's still in the league by 2014. 3. Pavlovic - waste of a roster spot. 4. Daniels - 12th man masquerading as a 6th man. 5. O'Neal - decent interior defender in a half-court set, five steps too slow on everything else. How to address the negatives: 1. Wait another 5-10 games and see if some of the problems resolve themselves with additional practices and confidence-building home games against inferior competition. 2. For the problems that don't resolve themselves, release or trade minimum salaried players and replace them with better ones (probable hit list: Pavlovic, Daniels, Bradley). 3. For more expensive disappointments, make cap-friendly trades (Garnett and O'Neal for whoever, even if just low first round draft picks).
Posted by davidap[/QUOTE]