Dear Boston Celtics,
You have an elite defense. Let's keep that quiet.
Right now, teams don't always respect you. Let them disrespect you... and then continue to steal the ball from them at a league leading rate.
You're confident in your defense, I get that:
Crowder:"When teams come to play us, they know we’re going to get into them defensively. We’re starting to build that DNA across the league"— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) November 17, 2015
More Smart: "We want teams to feel defeated."— Mark Murphy (@Murf56) November 17, 2015
"This group is relentless. Guys don't care how anybody feels. We're gonna be right there at all times in your face." - .@Isaiah_Thomas— A. Sherrod Blakely (@SherrodbCSN) November 17, 2015
All of those are nice soundbites, and nothing too egregious, but why even go there?
Maybe that's the whole idea. Get in your opponents heads. Be relentless in every facet of the game, even mind games. Make them hate you. Trash talk apparently helped KG's defense.
And if that's the tract this team is taking, I can get behind that.
But a part of me thinks it might be easier just to stay under the radar. Lebron, Steph, Durant, Davis, and Kawhi all don't play for you. Opposing fan bases don't highlight the Celtics game on the calendar and race to Stubhub. Most fans (with the noted exception of Cleveland's hatred of Kelly Olynyk) don't even know which one of you guys they love to hate yet, though Jae is getting there faster than could have reasonably been expected. Respect.
There's a palpable lack of electricity when a road Celtics game tips off. Embrace the silence. Relish the boos the other team's fans unleash after back-to-back steals. Quietly revel in your star opponent's disbelief that you just shut him down.
With time, the defensive effort this Celtics team exerts will get you a reputation around the league. It's already starting to happen, but league-wide critical acclaim will be around the corner if this keeps up. There's no reason to escalate that time table by spilling the beans to our beat writers. If you need tips on how to do this, I'm sure there'll be a Patriot or two hanging around the Garden tonight before you play the Mavs.
My advice: enjoy what's left of your anonymity. You guys are a pack of beasts, and no one is going to want to play you. But you might as well let them all find that out for themselves.
Photo Credit AP/Pat Sullivan
Paul Colahan 11/18/2015 07:10:00 AM Tweet Edit