As a Celtics fan who has been following the team through some of the worst seasons in the Cs vaunted history over the years after the Bird era, and has never lost hope, it's annoying to read all the nay-sayers jumping out of the woodwork, when our Cs go through a rough spot, or a development period where a few losses are involved in the new season.
Yes, we finally won banner no.17 two seasons ago, and without the key injury to K.Garnett [ and Leon Powe ] we might well have hung banner no.18 last season. It was not to be, and we all have to move on.
While our bench was strengthened during the past off season, with the additions of R.Wallace, who I was very much in favor of, and still am, M.Daniels -ditto, and Sheldon Williams, an underrated pleasant surprise, it takes time for a group of new players to jell as cohesively and as quickly as they did in 2007-8.
For starters, the team still has not had nearly enough pure practice time, to work out the wrinkles in both their defensive and offensive sets, after having a start of 8 games in a 12 day period. Having a 3-4 day break now between some of the games, will allow the new players to fit in more smoothly, and allow the coaches to actually put them through the drills needed to overcome the lapses during the games. It will also give the coaches more of an opportunity to study the opposing teams, now that a number of games have actually been played, and will allow them to provide that feedback to the players.
I've gone on record as stating in the past, that the second game of a back to back will be particularly difficult for the Cs, whose older legs will not rebound as quickly as younger legs, after a difficult first game and any subsequent travel- bear that in mind during an 82 game season, that there will be a few of these each month.
The team is a bit older and 1/2 a step slower than the 2007-8 team, and Doc will have to insert some of the younger players to give them some much needed exposure along with providing some rest for the Big Three. That appears to me to be somewhat of a problem with Rivers- a lack of confidence in trying out the younger players, and he may have to bite the bullet and begin to use the assets that are spending their time on the pine.
Yes, the younger and faster teams are going to give the Cs problems all season long, but that is where utilizing a combination of veterans and youth on the Cs will allow them to overcome almost every team on any given night, both mainly defensively and offensively as well. Defense is still the key to the Cs winning number 18, and it's just a question of getting our house [ no pun intended ] in order.
That's not to say that Danny Ainge isn't trying to work out a deal to bring in some additional help for the team before the final trade deadline. I would venture to say that he's trying to put together a deal or two to shore up a couple of the weaker areas on the team.
In short- quit the crying and self-flagellation after each game that's either a loss or a near loss, like the win against the Knicks. I never expected a 72 win season, in spite of the hype coming into the new season, and neither should you.
What I do expect, and hope for, is a Celtics team that will be ready and healthy to compete in the spring for banner no.18.
Lionel Gaffen/ Fotomix