So, I'm sitting in the upper recesses of the TD Banknorth Garden Friday night watching the game against the Clippers slip away in the waning minutes, with the Celtics on their way to their franchise-record 14th straight loss. Then, during a timeout, the Jumbotron tried to fire up the crowd, inexplicably, by playing a snippet of Paul Pierce's opening-night speech where he dedicated the season to the late Red Auerbach. I lost it.
Are you kidding me? Who decided that was a good time to remind us of the promise and hope of the season that was just beginning? Who decided that was a good time to remind us of the loss of the greatest winner in Boston history? Why? That's how you try and stop a franchise-record in futility? Ever since Chris Paul ran roughshod over the C's opening night, I have been trying to forget it even happened. That speech was great and all, but who wants to think about that now? In retrospect, it makes this whole season about 500 times worse.
I was angry. Angry at the Jumbotron operator, angry at the Celtics, angry at Danny and Doc and the owners and the trainer and the people jumping up and down for t-shirts like they were receiving UN humanitarian aid.
And that's when I realized I had made a bonafide leap into Stage 2 of the Five Stages of Grief with regards to the Boston Celtics (although for me, Stage 4 Depression, seemed to come before Stage 2 Anger). Still, it was somewhat cathartic to move on. Being angry is so much more productive than being depressed.
Many other C's fans reached that Anger Stage much before I did, and I figured it's time we all vent. So, on with the rants!
Enough is enough! 14 L's in a row is hard to take. Every opponent looks like the 80's Lakers. Young? Yes. Inexperienced? Yes. They have just a few players with decent NBA talent (Gomes, West, Pierce, Rondo, Green, Jefferson, Allen). Perk is a second string talent -- period. Wally is Danny's folly -- can't jump, defend and, now, apparently can't even shoot. He's a LIABILITY when on the floor. As a team, during crunch time, they can't create any decent offensive opportunities, give the opponents far too many wide open jump shots and uncontested layups - just awful to watch. I love Tommy Heinsohn, but his Celtics' apologist bit has worn very, very thin. And now I hear they are trying to move Pierce - anything to that? And did I mention Telfair - I knew he was a bust the minute I saw his game. Danny does pretty well evaluating college talent, but he has been brain dead in trying to figure out NBA talent. Enough said, I've vented. Thank you for that. - Russell Blocks The Shot
You're welcome. Now that's a good angry rant. Spread the blame around. Doesn't it feel good? Although I did notice someone missing from your venom ...
I'm long time C's fan, who is just waiting (sad to say, unrealistically) to hear or read a newsflash on ESPN that the Celtics have fired coach Doc.
Regardless of who is on the court, whether it be the young guys or the vets, you can be sure that they will play half-hearted D, blow a big lead, and /or not play fundamentally sound ball down the stretch (pick one or all of the above). Just how good the collection of 12 wearing the GREEN is, I cannot say, 'cause this coach gets nothing consistently good out of any group of ballplayers.
An NBA-qualified Coach, please!!!! - Dave Cullen
I couldn't have said it better myself, and I'm kind of sick of everyone deflecting blame from Rivers since "the injuries" began and talking about how hard he is coaching this team. Watching Doc get nothing out of an admittedly flawed roster has been the most disheartening thing of this whole season. The team plays just hard enough to lose (and is that really playing hard?), and more than stupid enough not to win.
While the physical potential of so many of these players is undeniable, their mental progress has been nil. Whatever Doc is preaching, these guys ain't buying, and whatever Doc is teaching, these guys ain't learning. Sure, the players deserve a fair amount of blame, but isn't it up to Doc to do anything he can to get through to these guys?
Nothing I've seen in the way Doc teaches or motivates his players gives me confidence that they are learning the proper way to play and win in the NBA. All of the individual progress (Al, Rondo) seems to be made in spite of Doc, while increased coaching and opportunities have seen some regress (Gerald, Telfair). The only player who really seemed to grow because of Doc was Tony Allen I'll give him that. That was one hell of a "development" before the unfortunate dead-ball dunk attempt.
OK, so we are a lottery team with a history of being soft. Why does Doc insist on keeping Leon Powe on the bench? The kid is tough as a nickel steak and he can score some. On a team this bad why not develop the kid? - Greg in Atlanta
Hey, could you post something explaining why it is that Leon Powe does not get more minutes? Given that he was a 20 and 10 guy in college and the Pac-10 player of the year last year, one might imagine that he would be a good NBA player, especially for a Celtics team that is not exactly, ummm, tearing things up. He is like a Ryan Gomes with more natural ability, especially on the offensive end. So why can't he get minutes? - Michael Horowitz
Well, I'm not sure about Leon having more offensive talent than Gomes (in fact, nothing I've seen indicates this is remotely true), because he does have problems finishing around the rim against taller guys (Gomes does as well, but he has a much broader offensive arsenal to draw upon). Powe does look to initiate contact and gets to the line at a decent enough rate to make up for some of his shortcomings on offense, though.
Still, the rest of the above sentiments apply. I love his toughness. He makes an impact even if he's only on the court for 5-8 minutes. He brings a needed energy that's been sorely lacking, especially in the last few games. He knows how to box out, and has a good nose for the ball on the offensive boards. Should he be getting 30 minutes a game? No. But I don't know why he's not getting more time than he currently is. If there's nothing to lose, cut 10 extra minutes from Scal and Perk each game and see what Leon can do with them.
I've read in Sports Illustrated (from two different columnists) that the C's should trade Big Al, Ratliff's expiring contract, and a protected draft pick for Pau Gasol. I can't be more against this. Al is just getting it together and is at least 8 years younger than Gasol. Is there any truth to these rumblings or is just filler? - Mike C
I'll be honest, I initially shot this deal down as a bad move but then contemplated it more seriously for a while as well as Al's been playing, he can't put this team on his shoulders and carry them to even a single win in 14 games. Gasol is working his way back from not playing basketball in a while and is a proven All-Star. He has carried bad teams in the past to good records. A good scoring seven-footer with decent block numbers if the pick was, say, top-three protected, then you wouldn't be trading your chances at Durant, Oden, or the third-place consolation prize
But then I always came back to where Al has been, the progression he's made this year, and what such continued progression could reasonably be expected next year and I'm right back to hating this deal. Look, Al has his faults, and isn't yet on Gasol's level, but he's shown to be the reliable rebounder the C's have been lacking for so long. He continues to work on his growing arsenal of offensive moves. Plus, he's much cheaper. If Al can develop a left hand before next year, he'll be knocking on the door to that upper echelon of big men. He still has a long, long way to go, but seeing how far he's come gives me pause to want to move him right now. Then again, maybe that's why I'd be a horrible NBA GM.
I'm a long time Celtics fan. In recent years, Danny Ainge has constantly changed this team around. Plus, this team has no time to gel. It seems to me Danny is the reason why this team has continued to go downhill. I realize he has a salary cap to work with but constant dismantlement of this team isn't the answer. Without Paul Pierce, Boston proved it can't compete; yes I know there were injuries. At least with Antoine Walker, it gave them another viable weapon. Even Tony Battie was solid. What are your feelings of Danny Ainge's decisions and how it's affected the team? And what is a solution in getting this team on the right track? - Michael Heath
I felt before the season that all the moves Danny had made were leading up to more moves especially the Telfair deal this offseason. He was waiting for that supposed veteran "piece" to materialize, with which he'd use assets to acquire. But at this point, with the way this season has gone, I have the feeling that Danny has absolutely no idea what to do now. His plan for this season failed, whether it was because of injury or bad coaching or waiting too long. But it has undoubtedly been a colossal failure. Of course, he has the ultimate Golden Ticket this offseason and a chance to say "I told you so" if the C's get Oden or Durant. But if that happens, it has nothing to do with genius or forethought on his part.
Danny Ainge should be fired. Why? Because of the following reasons:
1) He hired Doc "ML Carr" Rivers and refuses to fire him. Doc is not a teaching coach. After all these years, the team is still dysfunctional, undisciplined and without an inside game. It is bombs away. Doc should be behind a broadcasting microphone utilizing his skills as a communicator. HE IS NOT A GOOD COACH.
2) Ridiculous signings and trades - Blount, Raef, Dickau, Scalabrine etc. Trading Walker for Raef is still haunting the Celtics with the bloated Ratliff contract.
3) Telfair for the 7th pick of the draft -- nearly as disastrous as Chris Wallace's drafting of Brown and Forte instead of Richard Jefferson and Tony Parker. Why waste a high draft pick for Telfair when Delonte West is a much better point guard?
4) Wally Szczerbiak. An injury-prone and one-dimensional player with another ridiculous contract that will be hard to move.
Danny, if you have not been fired, please do not mess up the Oden/Durant sweepstakes. - Kent in Atlanta
Agree with No. 1. Agree with No. 2, although the Ratliff contract will pay dividends for the C's next season as an expiring contract if Danny uses it wisely. In retrospect, agree with No. 3 -- although I was at least expecting a healthy Theo Ratliff (I think this injury killed the team more than anyone admits) and I didn't anticipate Telfair's trade value dropping so low. Disagree on No. 4, only because it took taking Wally to get rid of the even-more untradeable Blount contract, and Wally at least has some skills that other teams on the cusp desperately need, and I can see him being movable at some point (assuming he doesn't completely break down).
There's no way the Celtics will get the number one pick in the draft, no matter how bad their records ends up being. And the way they're playing now, it could be the all-time worst. The NBA will make sure that someone else gets the number one pick, as well as the number two. If you believe that the lottery is not rigged, then you have not been paying attention these last 15 years. - Steve
Well, the odds of getting the top pick with the worst record in the league is 25 percent (250 in 1,000). If that team doesn't get the top pick, then, depending on who gets the top spot, then the odds increase anywhere from 250 in 801 (31.2 percent) to 250 in 995 (25.1 percent) for the No. 2 pick. In short, it's as far away from a sure thing as you can possibly get.
In fact, contrary to what many think, there are only 14 ping pong balls (not 1,000) involved in the lottery drawing, with combinations of four balls drawn determining each of the top three picks. Trying to comprehend the mathematics behind it makes my head hurt, but here's an interesting article that looks behind the curtain of the 2005 draft, if anyone is still harboring fantasies that the lottery is fixed and not just the subject of odds that don't overwhelmingly favor the worst team.
So, in the end, there's a decent chance the C's don't end up with Oden OR Durant, even if they fail to win another game all season.
Great, now I'm back to being depressed again.