The Celtics have officially entered that annual time of year where they thank their loyal fans by playing uninspired basketball down the stretch. And thank God! We didn't want to be at the Garden for a Game 7 anyway, everyone knows the NBA is better in HD!
Can you tell I'm getting a bit angry with this team?
I highly doubt I'm the only Celtics fan who feels that way at this point.
|"Don't mess with my loafer game, neighbor."|
Boston, for the second consecutive year, has closed out the season with inconsistent effort, and consistently bad offense at the end of games. Revisionist historians will tell you that this year is different. That the Celtics were somehow losing games by design last year, while "resting" for the playoffs. I never bought this line last year and I don't believe it this year, either. The Celtics didn't start conceding games until the last week of the season, and it was their inept fourth quarter offense that lead them to close the season on a 27-27 run. That same inept fourth quarter offense that cost them a 13-point lead in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, Perkins be-damned. Give the Celtics truth serum and they'd tell you they were trying to win games last year and they're still trying to win games now. The losses and excuses aren't just bothering the fans anymore. The frustration is showing on the Celtics as well.
When Ray Allen is ducking the media and storming out of the locker room after games, it is clear that these losses are getting to the team. That's like Mr. Rogers punching out the wardrobe guy because his loafers weren't polished. Mix Ray's frustration in with Rondo mysteriously missing Sunday's game, Doc calling out the team in the media, and KG calling out his coach for calling his team soft, and you've got a team with frustration written all over it.
Part of the frustration may come from the fact that it is a different culprit every night. One night Rondo can't score. The next night Ray Allen's jumper isn't falling. One night Paul Pierce shoots under 30%. The next night Krstic and KG are in foul trouble. The fact that there are different problems every night that are costing wins shows me that the Celtics don't have one fatal flaw, but just have yet to put it all together for a good run yet.
Another positive that the Celtics are hoping for (if not depending on) is that they are still an incomplete team. One or both of the O'Neals will make a major impact come the postseason. Or should I say, the embattled bigs had better make an impact if the Celtics want to make another deep run in the playoffs. Until they work it out and get everyone back, they will have to battle the mounting frustration.
At what point, though, does that frustration lead to anger? It has already reached that point for Celtics fans. (Or at least one Celtics fan) I think the Celtics could benefit from being angry. They are going to need to be pretty angry on Thursday night to beat the Spurs in San Antonio. Like Mr. Rogers with a scuffed wingtip angry. Whatever it takes to get back on the right track, the Celtics need to figure it out sooner than later. With nine games to go they trail Chicago by two games and lead Miami by a half. Three weeks ago Monday they were five games up on Miami in the loss column and three up on Bulls. If the Celtics season ends on another team's floor again this year, they'll have only themselves to blame. Won't that be frustrating.