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According to ESPN's Zach Lowe, Brad Stevens loves the definition he once read of what true toughness is: "Toughness is being able to physically and emotionally perform your task through any condition."

I doubt that toughness can be defined any better than that. We know this Celtics team is talented. What many didn't know is just how physically and mentally tough they are.

Danny Ainge often drafts for toughness, and taking Marcus Smart in the 2014 draft was a classic example. Terry Rozier is another. He also drafts for controlled mania (more on that in a minute).

Picking up Aron Baynes in free agency was another similar move. And Danny seems to be having a good time watching his various front-office moves lead to his team's current status in the Eastern Finals. Per ESPN's Zach Lowe, "This is a special team," Ainge said. "This is as much fun as I've ever had." Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck loves this team: "This is my favorite Celtics team ever, in terms of energy, camaraderie and underdog spirit," Grousbeck said

All very positive stuff. Now - about the controlled mania. As Lowe indicated in his excellent article, Ainge "has a soft spot for manic competitors", indicating that Danny gravitates towards guys that don't just go after the ball. They NEED to go after the ball. Sounds like Marcus Smart again, doesn't it? Baynes has some of it. Terry Rozier has a bit of the devil in him. Even the seemingly placid Jaylen Brown showed it. His scramble for a loose ball and driving dunk right after returning from a hamstring injury is memorable.


The Celtics team as currently constructed and actually healthy enough to play is certainly not the most-talented Boston crew to ever take the floor. But as Grousbeck said, their energy, camaraderie and underdog spirit are unmatched. I have never rooted for a Celtics team as I have for this one. They are fun - they are tough - and they have a manic obsession to win. Let the mania spread and continue!

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Christopher Evans/Boston Herald

Tom Lane 5/12/2018 12:09:00 PM Edit
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