It’s a slow day as the U.S. recovers from turkey comas, wine-drinking and (at least in the Lowe household) some spirited board game competition and discussions about whether the 2nd quarter of an NBA game in November is more or less important than the last 2:00 of an NFL blowout. (Guess which side I took?)
But we’ve got something: Steve Bulpett of the Herald smashes the panic button harder than anyone has so far:
By that measure, the 11-4 record is a lie. Based on how well they need to be playing – and should be playing, according to their capabilities – this is a sub-.500 team…
Opposing scouts are smirking, and discouraging words are bouncing through the media…
The Celts are playing utterly uninspired basketball. If they don’t like hearing that, they should do something about it…
Watching the way the Celtics are playing now brings to mind their forefathers from the 1980s. Unfortunately, we’re talking about the very late ’80s.
The teams from that decade needed more than just their significant talent to win. They were often tougher and willing to work harder than their opponents.
But a strange thing happened as the decade got late. Though they still clearly were one of the NBA’s elite teams, they started acting like it was their birthright. And that was a problem…
I’m already on record as saying the C’s are not playing at the fever pitch with which they played last season. There was no question of that if you watched Wednesday’s Sixers game. Doc Rivers has already conceded that a “flip the switch” mentality may be setting in, and Ray Allen admitted that teams always look down on opponents riddled with injuries (as the Sixers were Wednesday night). And Doc is doing some unprecedented line-up experimentation.
You know what? I’m on board—to a degree. This team got a glimpse of its basketball mortality last season. The Big Three aren’t equipped to play balls to the wall basketball for 100-plus games in a season, and Rivers himself knows that. KG and Ray Allen sat the first 8:00 of the 4th quarter on Wednesday. That wasn’t happening in a competitive game last season.
Now is the time for this sort of thing, provided the players and the coaches are working hard in practice and during games to get the team ready for May and June. That is what matters.
Ray talks about his own basketball mortality, after the jump.
We are lucky to have Ray Allen around. There are few players as thoughtful and willing to talk at length about their thoughts. Here’s Ray discussing his age with Gary Washburn in the Globe:
“Not only do I think about [Iverson], but then you think about our whole class and all the guys who are just starting to fall off,’’ Allen said. “Before you know it, it’s a generation past, and everybody is taking off and headed to greener pastures. For me, these days, this is like gravy time for me to be able to continue to play and feel good about it and be strong and my body feels great and to be fresh.’’
“I try not to think about it,’’ Allen said when asked how much longer he will play. “You figure I am at 14 now, 19, 20 is a very long, extensive career. So I am definitely inside that amount of time, so I try not to even worry about it. If I keep myself in shape, I never have to worry about getting out.
“My kids, they are growing up, I would like for them to see what I am doing, and appreciate it and enjoy it. Try to enjoy it as long as I can.’’
See that? When most athletes mention their families, they mention them in the same cliche way: “I want to spend more time with my family.” I’m not demeaning that sentiment or anything—it must be hell to be away from your loved ones so often, and it surely factors into any decision on retirement. But Ray gives us a different take you don’t here as often: He wants his kids to see him play, live, while he still has it.
And that’s cool.
Also, Tony Allen might be returning soon. Via the same Globe story:
Allen is likely to make his season debut during the four-game road trip beginning Sunday in Miami. “I feel all right,’’ he said. “I need to get more explosive and get more lift as far as my shot. I just want to make sure it’s right.’’
I continue to ask: Where/how does he fit? Whose playing time takes a slight hit? I guess we’ll see. Brace yourselves.
We’ve got the Raptors tonight. Expect a preview this afternoon and a quick post-game recap.