The Celtics really bottomed out in that second quarter last night
If the Celtics were an entity on the stock market, investors would be enjoying some pretty solid returns since the team's 19-19 start. Going into last night's game the Celtics were 47-33, still mathematically chasing the 3rd seed. While Celtics stock may have peaked at the Oracle, the team still seemed to be trending in the right direction and investors (read: fans) were generally happy and optimistic with where the Celtics were heading in both the short and long term.
Then, last night's second quarter happened. Celtics stock plummeted for the first time in a while. Sure, there was a little dip when they lost to Atlanta Saturday night. But last night's second quarter was a token dip in oil prices times a thousand. There's uncertainty and unrest in the investor base. Where's the shareholder value!? It got dark:
Stevens: "The defensive slippage is a concern over the last couple of games but I'm equally concerned about fumbling the ball around (in 2q"— Jay King (@ByJayKing) April 12, 2016
"This is part of competitive sports. You get your butt kicked, and, do you get back up or not?" says Brad Stevens.— Marc D'Amico (@Marc_DAmico) April 12, 2016
#Celtics coach Brad Stevens: We tried dribbling through traffic every time. It was five guys and 10 arms every time.— Scott Souza (@Scott_Souza) April 12, 2016
Brad Stevens on Charlotte loss: “We laid an 8 minute egg.” Hornets had 31-3 run in 2nd.— Chris Forsberg (@ESPNForsberg) April 12, 2016
Avery Bradley said Cs need to fix the small things: "In the playoffs, you make these same mistakes, you might lose by 40."— Jay King (@ByJayKing) April 12, 2016
Brad Stevens is talking about "butt-kicking" and "laying eggs"? That's peak angry Brad Stevens!
Like any stock that goes into a damn freefall, the market eventually stabilizes a little. The Celtics bottomed out at the end of the second quarter, a quarter in which they got manhandled 39-13, and trailed 63-41 at the half after leading by 4 following the first frame. After that the Celtics were even with the Hornets in the third quarter and outscored them by 8 in the fourth. Did the second half redeem the Celtics? No. But had the Hornets continued to demolish the Celtics at the same pace in the second half as they did in the second quarter, they would have beat the Celtics by 78 points. Unrealistic? Sure. The Celts aren't Kobe's 2016 Lakers over here. But I would have told you that a 31-3 run by the Charlotte Hornets inside the Garden wasn't going to happen either. At least they stemmed the tide.
While plenty of Celtics fans might might be scrambling to temper their expectations for the playoffs, this is the time to channel your inner Jim Cramer, yell a little, and buy, buy, buy. Is there a better time for the Celtics, a team that demands maximum effort and intensity to win, to get embarrassed than two games before the playoffs? I would argue no. The very last thing this team needs is an ounce of complacency going into the postseason. And Wednesday's game against the Heat could very well be a playoff preview. The Celtics are honoring Legends from the 66, 76, 86 Championship teams. Their genius coach is challenging them to step up. Things are aligning for a bananas playoff atmosphere one game early for the team's final regular season finale tomorrow night.
Now is the time to buy in on these Celtics.
Photo Credit Jason Getz USA Today