My father-in-law called Sunday morning and asked what is the story on the Celtics. Now he’s from the Boston area and roots for the Patroits, Celts, Sox, and Bruins, pretty much in that order. Since he doesn’t have League Pass, he’s limited to the El Paso paper, ESPN, and the nationally televised games. With incomplete information himself and knowing that I follow the Celtics closely he hoped I might be able to shed some light on what seemed to be an indecipherable puzzle. I told him that anyone who claimed to know what’s going on with the Celtics is lying.

I think this includes Doc, Danny, and the Celtics themselves. I suspect that the problem encompasses some mad scientist’s brew of age, the trade, changes due to the trade, the new (and seemingly ever-changing) cast of characters, and motivation. Yet primarily I place the responsibility directly on the
backs of the Big Four. This team has played well, and poorly, with any of the six starting centers this season. Regardless of whether it was Perk, Shaq, JO, Semih, Krstic, or Big Baby manning the middle, the four mainstays have soared and plummeted with seemingly little rationale for their collective performance. The one constant seems to be that for few, perhaps no, games this year have all four been on their A game. Not only have they been wildly inconsistent as a group but they have been up and down individually. When they are all “on,” the Celtics are very, very good. When one is off, they struggle. When two or more are off, they can look downright sad.

Pierce and Allen are having very good years statistically. But neither has been consistently good. Their 50% shooting years have consisted of 8 for 10 nights balanced with 2 for 10 nights. The same could be said for Garnett and Rondo. Some games Kevin corrals every rebound in sight while in others he comes up rather empty. Rondo started the season with unprecedented assist numbers but leveled off and then sank to only one good game out of every three or four. They have also fluctuated wildly in their shooting success. Part of the team’s malaise is that on any given night they have no idea what, or whom, is going to work. Perhaps work is the operative word since their uneven effort has been a major contributing factor in the ups and downs of the season.

Which brings me to the thought that prompted today’s article, if you were Doc, how would you handle tonight’s game (and the final one against New York)? He’s tried working through. He’s tried blending in the new guys, playing them as a unit, tightening the rotation until the end of the bench is all DNP/CD’s. I kind of favor sitting the Big Four tonight and letting them “think” about it (the team, playing what for some of them might be their last season, their own personal commitment, their effort, and their motivation, or lack thereof) and cool their heels and rest their bodies. Bench the Big Four, and the O’Neal’s, and let the other nine carry the flag. Maybe the second unit can shoulder the burden and find the passion that seems to be lacking in our veteran stars as we approach the second season. At least they won’t be burdened down by their own press clippings; and perhaps they can show the starters something about the hunger that the stars seem to have lost. Certainly I, as a fan, won’t mind seeing some average talent giving above average effort rather than visa versa.

Lee Lauderdale 4/11/2011 01:25:00 PM Edit
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9 Responses so far.

  1. Anonymous says:

    100% agree with this article

  2. Anonymous says:

    I agree!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Doc is no fool. He knows that there is still a chance (albeit slim) that we can get the second seed so I doubt it will be a complete sit for the starting four tonight.

    I think they will start and then sit quickly.

    Now if they are following the Miami game and they are losing he may elect to play them more later in our game if it is close.

    My gut tells me that we will win tonight and the Heat will lose. Then it will all come down to Wednesday. Will doc play them against a team that he may face in the first round or will he let them sit to rest up for that enevitability in the playoffs.

    With the way NY has been playing of late I would much rather face the sixers in the first round then Carmelo and crew....they put up the points every night and we have to keep pace...something we have been unable to do as of late.

  4. Great points! I agree!

  5. Thanos says:

    What a cool thought ! Great article, although i am not sure if a game's time sitting on the bench could help, hell i dunno if anything can

    Thinking about it, 2008 was a "full house", and it is then when it all started, the hunger for championships, the lust to win. 2009 we were KGless, which only gave them more motivation. 2010 we were Perkless at the deciding moment and maybe this made them look forward to "18" even more.

    Sad to admit, but maybe the guys are just getting too old, and the only thing keeping them in check was their 5+ "companion". Now that it's dismantled, maybe we should close this "Big Era", with anything that we can get from this years playoffs, hopefully a revengefull cup against our purple-yellow rivals.

    Always trust their possibilities. Amen

  6. Justin says:

    good points but im saying that the trade has nothing to do with it. i mean it sucked for our guys to loose perk and being so close to him... but they all know that the NBA is a business, and i can guarantee that this isnt the first time these players have had a best friend traded away. they should be old enough to get over that quickly and keep the motivation up. which is what we have been lacking since the trade. not to mention Rondos focus has moved from having an assist role, to being more aggressive offensively which is KILLING US. If rondos taking shots more, then its hard for other guys like paul and ray to get going. thats my intput

  7. Anonymous says:

    nice! exactly what is happening now...

  8. ThomasJ says:

    If the trade and other personnel changes weren't made, are you saying this meltdown would have happened anyway?

    Not excusing the guys from reacting poorly to the trade, but the point is Perk didn't need to be moved to get bench help at the wing and that's really the only major need this team had.

    Now Rondo must get back to playing effectively and the vets must play big, productive minutes or this will be a short playoff run.

  9. bleu says:

    I still trust Doc & the Big 4... Let's all continue to aim for another ring... :)

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