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It’s Business Time

 

In a sort of pseudo-dramatic irony, the Celtics were swept on St. Paddy’s day weekend.  While Bostonian revelers bounced around from pub to pub, the Boston Celtics were thousands of miles away in Denver, Colorado suffering their second straight loss to a beatable opponent.

Going forward, the schedule doesn’t seem to get any easier for the C’s, which could be the most discouraging part about losing to the Kings and Nuggets.   After beating a young, athletic, and talented Clipper team, the Celtics failed to carry any momentum into Sacramento.  The loss in SacTown seemed to carry into Denver and now the Celtics are 2-3 with three more road games.  To make matters worse, the C’s play the Hawks (25-19) and Sixers (25-20) and both games are guaranteed to be tough, energy-sapping games.  All the more reason it hurts so much that the C’s lost their last two. 

While using games against the Hawks and Sixers to get back on track may sound like a terrifying, if not impossible, prospect there is one added silver lining.  The Sixers are struggling only slightly worse than the C’s right now.  If the Sixers continue to struggle in their next two games, at Charlotte (ha!) and at home versus the Knicks (it could happen) and the C’s pull out two wins against the Hawks and Bucks, the Celtics could go into their showdown against Philly actually up a game and a half (26-21 and 25-23, respectively).  Even if the C’s lose to the Hawks, the Sixers beat Charlotte, and everything else stayed the same, the C’s would go into Philadelphia down a half game. Either way, these next three games could mean a lot to the C’s reshaping their playoffs hopes.

The news gets a little better after these next three games as well.  Take a look at the C’s next 7 games (including the last three of their current road trip).

From the looks of things, the Celtics could continue to see more wins than losses.  Since this post is supposed to be encouraging, I am not even going to touch the schedule starting in April.  That’ll be for another time when you don’t need a little pep talk.

Remember:  it’s important to keep the loss to Sacramento in your mind whenever you try to schedule wins.  Any team can beat any team on any given night.  It’s why they play the games.  These are just some optimistic predictions.

We’ve seen the Celtics sleepwalk through the middle of the season in the past.  Two years ago, the Celtics lost to the Lakers in the finals and they played the last 2/3rds of the season at near .500 basketball (30-27).  Nobody thought the C’s were going anywhere that year and they ended up a quarter away from their second Championship in three years.

I’m not ready to say the Celtics are fine.  They aren’t.  They have a lot of unsolvable problems (poor-rebounding, age, desire, injuries).  I’m just not ready to completely give up on them yet.  This is why we care, right?  This is why we watch every single game.  If we knew without a doubt that the Celtics were not title contenders, Danny Ainge would have flipped the big three for first round picks.  We’d be assured a completely different roster next season.  By not trading any of the Celtic starters, Ainge could be saying one of two things: 1) the Celtics are still title contenders and everyone could be here for this season and beyond, or 2) no one offered the Celtics anything of value for their aging core.   I choose to believe the former.

The time to get down to business is now.  Okay, the time to get down to business was two games ago, but now the Celtics have no choice.  It’s business time.

 

  • Montrosssdad

    Well I certainly agree on 1, it’s delusional, or maybe just a byproduct of only watching celtics games to think this team has any shot at a long playoff run let alone a run for the title.
    Unlike many if not all on here I do not give ainge the benefit of the doubt. Review all his personnel moves pre and post kg. A 50 percent success rate would be generous. I don’t trust ainge to be able to assess fair value for our aging assets.
    It seems many fans have become sentimental about these players, and if you want to indulge that emotion fine just understand there is a price to pay in the future- the steep price of prolonged mediocrity. Boston, no matter how much cap space is created is not a prime destination for marquee free agents- the personnel, gm, city, marketing opportunities all assure this.
    The “tough” decision needed to be made and wether it was meddling ownership, waffling gm, or teary eyed fans calling for one more ludicrous charge the celtics missed an opportunity to get anything of ANY value for aging superstars rotting on the vine.
    I just hope most of you remember this what you wanted, this is the gm you trusted. It is a huge mistake.

  • The Cardinal

    While the Celtics certainly are long-shots to even advance beyond the first round, I believe Danny and Doc see what I see – on any given night, there really aren't many clearly superior teams in the league. With a little luck with team health and a decent pickup or two at the waiver deadline (or a return of a reasonably reliable Jermaine O'Neal), Boston can to be a very dangerous team just like virtually everyone in the league (minus Washington).

    We fans tend to be an emotional bunch, but one cannot over emphasize the demoralizing impact that losing Jeff Green, Chris Wilcox, and Jermaine O'Neal has had on the team. The same happened last year with the loss of Jermaine and Shaq, so all of that tends to weigh on the players, coaches, and management the way it would on any sane person. That said, the team is a confident bunch that clearly isn't the most talented, but that will continue to play as hard as they can.

    • Sophomore

      There aren't many clearly superior teams in the league? There are at least two in the East, and the Thunder out West. Then there's a fistful of teams that are probably a shade better, or at least pose serious matchup problems because of youth/depth/athleticism.

      • The Cardinal

        Uh…"two in the East, and the Thunder out West" seems to be another way of stating "there really aren't many superior teams," so I guess you agree? And saying a "fistful…a shade better" is simply another way of saying that other teams aren't "clearly superior." Just sayin'…

  • Switcharoo

    For me it’s all very simple. They keep playing,I keep watching. New blood old blood don’t matter to me, I love this team always have always will. Period.

  • Rav

    I think this team can still defeat any in the Eastern Conference (save for Miami and Chicago) in a 7-game series. Orlando, Indiana et. al are highly beatable in the first round. We just need some luck (a lot of it, too) and we can beat whoever we face in Conference Semi-Finals (hopefully the team that upset either the Bulls or the Heat!)

  • Montrosssdad

    For those that are content to watch whatever product and performance on the court as long as they are clothed in Kelly green, well thats great for you.
    I too love this team, attended my first game in 85 and have been a fan ever since- but it is precisely because of that love that I feel an obligation to be critical.
    I was lucky enough to have season tickets for the abomination that was 9697- In a way I enjoyed every.
    I guess I feel there is a false dichotomy represented by many fans and the majority of commanders on this site: you either are a true fan that loves the celtics through thick and thin or you are a hater who embraces negativity and wants to disrespect our more recent heroes in order to usher in a new age of unproven talents.
    I will be a critics fan until I die and because of that not despite it I am highly critical of celtics ownership and management for standing pat S the franchise slips into the quicksand of the nba’s perpetual middle class.
    I don’t believe this team as constituted or with the addition of a solid center and other buyout pieces can be viable in this years playoffs- that is why I’m so disappointed with a lack of proactive thought from the front office.

  • Montrosssdad

    *every game. *commenters. Please excuse my iPhone typing skills…I hope my point remains.

  • W2.

    If the Celtics won the previous games out west, we would be in the Celtics are going to the finals mode. Instead we are in why didn't Danny do anything mode. While I don't root blindly for the team in green I tend to be a bit less reactive to the teams up and downs. I for one am looking forward to the playoffs. The Celts should make it despite improvements to the Bucks (Monte) and Knicks (new coach). I think they are a seven or eight seed based on their current depth. We are ultimately in wait and see mode and I am going to enjoy the mystry. Danny has done a good enough job to earn my faith.

  • High Rollers

    March Madness is full of upsets. Lockout basketball is as well. All predictions get taken up, rejected, taken back up again, and ultimately cancel each other out, because nothing's really prepared for as it would normally be at the professional level. It simply can't be. So Celtic fans should have all the confidence in the world in the idea that for their team, this season, anything really is possible. The past is prologue, so stick to business.

  • Montrosssdad

    No offense but do you guys watch NBA games aside from the celtics? Orlando, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Miami, Indiana, Ny…all teams that would likely beat the c’s in a series. In the west there are twice as many.
    But maybe more importantly why are we mortgaging the future for a punchers chance in this years playoffs?
    Hoping to resign kg and ray at a team friendly price and rebuilding through mid tier free agent signings is a losing proposition.

  • W2.

    I do watch the NBA. The Celts have played competitive games against elite teams. Elite teams have dropped games to bad teams. Your point is completely hollow Montrossdad. The Celts have beat the Knicks and the Pacers and the Magic this season. This does not make them a better team, but ultimately if you could predict who would win every series in the NBA playoffs you would not be trolling Celts site you would be out spending your winnings on dirt bikes and raisin bran.

  • Montrosssdad

    The c’s have also lost to both Ny and Indy, so maybe both our points amount to the same. and I’m far from trolling. But your comment again illustrates that any critical words about the c’s are seen as such here.
    I would LOVE to be wrong in this instance, if standing pat for the future ends up being successful I’ll gladly eat my words sir.

  • noche

    I watch a lot of NBA games and would say that I've seen enough "elite" teams fall to the bottom feeders this year (Chicago losing to Portland who just traded away several players and fired their coach) to believe the Celtics can pull out a 7 game series against anyone. It's whether or not they can string together 4 of those in a row. The answer to that question is almost certainly not. The question to Montrosssdad, if he can learn how to type on an iphone, is what would you have had Danny do? Unload one of the big 4 for 75 cents on the dollar? How is that an improvement? There wasn't anyone moving who was worth giving up a piece for. At the end of the day you might as well give the fans a few more months with the core that brought in a new banner before you start to blow it all up in the off season. Rather than bring in a B player and a late first round pick that won't get you much and send off someone people are attached to. He saw how people reacted to the Perk trade, if he did something like that again he'd be fighting to keep his job.

  • Montrosssdad

    Yes I would have him trade for picks-late, early, first, second or otherwise.

    • noche

      And how is that any better than where we are now? Gambling on rookies? Name one successful draft pick the Celtics have made and kept in Danny's tenure excluding Rondo. That's the same as trying to pull in free agents with our open cap space. At least this way we can at least watch this group of Celtics play together for a little longer. MAYBE in your situation you can bottom out and trade for an All Star but the Celtics have as much chance of winning this year as pulling a trade like that.

    • The Cardinal

      You actually wanted Danny to trade KG, Ray, Paul, and/or Rondo for an Eric Montross-type draftee or two as opposed to playing the season out and letting two big contracts come off the book? Jesus wept – that would have been mortgaging the future!

  • High Rollers

    Free L.O.! He'd be a fantastic pickup. Fingers crossed.

  • ElRoz

    I already wrote about 2-3 days ago – the Sacramento loss bridged Boston over to a 5 game losing streak (another one – their 3rd?) …road games in Atlanta, Milwaukee, and Phily look a lot like losses.

    To me the best chance to get one win in the next three games is tonight in Atlanta…the rest are likely losses.

  • Montrosssdad

    To me it’s time to acknowledge the c’s are in a rebuilding phase…I would not hope to waste any picks on busts like tross, at he same time I think they may need to “bottom out” in order to rebuild the franchise. I am not enamored with the idea of “money coming off the books” in order to sign whatever mid tier free agents that can be convinced to sign- which would be, again imo, tantamount to treading water…
    Guess I’ll go back to lurking b/c my opinion is not just the minority but appears to be a solitary outlier…go c’s

    • jacksobd

      No! Don't go! I may be wrong but I believe Hayes and Ryan feel the same way as you do. They have an immense fear of mediocrity. I do too, but I just don't believe building through the draft is as sure-fire as it seems. You could have traded Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett to contenders and it would net you late first round picks. If you have a team full of late first round picks, it seems just as likely that you'll be in mediocrity before you "hit" on one of these draft picks. Just think, a whole team of Avery Bradley's.

      Lot's of people look at the Thunder and say, "they built through the draft and they're the team to beat." But look at the Wizards and the Kings. The bottom line is, nothing is an exact science so condemning one way and disparaging others who don't agree with you is not only not constructive, but it's inaccurate.

      One last thing: dissenting opinions are always welcome! It's more important to have thoughtful discussion than to just blindly follow. There are no guarantees either way. Remember, it's why they play the games.

  • http://randomnbafan.com/ random nba fan

    Yes it is business time and the game against the 76ers is really important business for the Celtics. That game is my NBA Game of the Week (http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=ycn-11120154).

    Basically, the article points out that since the Celtics play Philly just three teams this season that this game may potentially decide the Atlantic Division since the 76ers would hold the tiebreaker should the teams finish the season with the same record.

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