Suffering a fourth consecutive loss, making a short three-game road trip as a complete failure, any thoughts of the Boston Celtics being a team capable of making any sort of splash in the postseason after certain promising stretches in the previous month seem to going out the window, regardless of the excuses Doc Rivers makes up for his untalented team.
Injuries are always a good excuse to use, as both Courtney Lee and Kevin Garnett were out, but there isn’t a team in the NBA that doesn’t need to cope with those at some point during the season. While the Celtics have already lost Jared Sullinger, Leandro Barbosa and Rajon Rondo for the season, they actually did better without these guys. The problem is that without any depth, at some point, your players start to fall apart.
So Paul Pierce did the best he could, scoring 26 points. Jordan Crawford was shocking off the bench, adding 21 of his own, keeping the Celtics very close in a 110-106 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, who were missing plenty of players of their own, including Marc Gasol, who’s out indefinitely with an abdominal tear. But there’s only so much a well-coached group can do against a better team.
They were great. We basically told them to go in and try to cause havoc, and they did that. I thought Jordan was fantastic with his offense and with his passing.
This is all Rivers has left to hope for. He’ll make the postseason for a sixth consecutive season, but who knows, maybe with only one healthy and lasting member of his big three-four that won the NBA title in 2008 and reached another final two years later. Ray Allen is gone, Rajon Rondo is out, Kevin Garnett is showing worrying signs of being a bit too hurt to contribute at his point and maybe in the near future as well, while Paul Pierce is left on his own (which isn’t new to him) to run a ship with a hard to trust Jason Terry and not a lot of offensive talent left to operate.
The Celtics slipped to 7th in the East, which means playing either the Knicks or the Pacers. I’m pretty sure Miami are happy not to play Boston in any round, while the Celtics, despite the swag, the psuedo confidence and the rivalry between the teams, would rather play anyone else but the Heat, who are simply unstoppable at the moment.
It’s been a tough year for Boston, with quite a few shining moments that prove how good of a coach Doc Rivers is; how great of a defender Avery Bardley is; how lucky we are to still see players like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett playing basketball, even if it is on their last fumes, especially for Garnett. But all of the confidence and intelligence Doc Rivers beings and tries to instill in his players won’t do them any good when playing every two days is a bit too much for their veterans to handle, and the chances of them winning on the road look slimmer and slimmer with every passing moment, falling to 12-23 this season.