I don't mean they have been considering a thin coat of varnish, mind you - that's just a way of saying they've been asking for what happened last night since opening night, and it finally caught up with them. "It", of course, is a good, old-fashioned ass-whupping - and the fact it came at the hands of the worst team in the league (sans their top scorer, Lauri Markkanen) from two guys who were literally beating the crap out of each other not that long ago should give us pause.
But not too much pause.
This Celtics team is good, after all. They can beat any team in the league when they actually defend and make good decisions. The problem is, they know it, and sometimes, when you're good, you slack off, knowing you can (probably) make up ground later.
Now 27 games this season
- 26 games with a 4th quarter lead
- 1 game they got to within 1
This is a typically young thing to do - young as in it's a thing my students do regularly, no matter how much I warn them it's a bad idea. It's stressful, difficult, and most importantly - sometimes the unexpected occurs, and you're just screwed because of it. When a deadline - or a buzzer - sneaks up on a snoozing young student (of anthropology, or basketball), the results typically end up the same - a big, fat, "F".
What did you expect? It's the end of the semester and the start of the holiday season - even those of us not students of the academic variety are a little run down. The Celtics have had - and will continue to have - a busy month. The holidays distract. The food may be tasty, and the travel is tiresome. But sometimes, the shots just don't fall.
Tatum and Horford entered the night a combined 84 for 177 from 3.
0 for 6 so far tonight has been quite unusual.
Don't take the loss as an indictment of much - we were without Kyrie Irving and Marcus Morris and those who were present were banged up, too - but the bench guys got a taste of what happens when you get too reliant on star power to bail you out. The rotations were made to test exactly that, and while losses always suck, if the end result is a stronger foundation, I'll take the lumps early for the greater good.
The question still unanswered, however, is: will they?