This wasn't a typical Celtics loss, none of them are typical of this group anymore. There has been an encroaching listlessness that crested over this team over the last 24 hours, engulfing the team in...sadness? Self-awareness? Or is that just my reaction as a fan?
This team has now apparently lost Avery Bradley, he of the season-changing ascent into starter-hood. Fresh, young legs that this team desperately needs are now sitting next to Jeff Green, Chris Wilcox, Ray's ankles and Paul's knees. Tonight, this team seemed to understand: we aren't gonna make it.
We are tired, we are decimated, and the schedule is killing us. And now we've lost our starting 2.
We're not gonna make it.
We get past Philly, then what? More youth, more quickness, more teams that go deeper than us, We can no longer pretend that a few off days will get us over the hump. That we can flip switch anytime we want.
I get it now; I understand why Ray continues to play despite his ineffectiveness: respect. The respect he has for himself, and the respect Doc has for him. Until tonight, I kept begging Doc to bench Ray. Give us an MP/SP platoon, let 'Quis pick up a few fouls and hypnotize some spiders or whatever it is he is good at. Give us something, anything other than a man who is 36, who has logged more minutes playing basketball than most of us will ever spend with our children, who has had surgery on both ankles, who currently has bone spurs, who cannot defend, whose shot has disappeared.
But this is not a man; this is Ray Allen. And no amount of line-up tinkering is worth disrespecting this man right now. The end is near. Let our guys go down fighting. I will always cherish this team, but tonight I think they realized that the window is closed. Tonight is the night I decided to let go, and it's because the Celtics have decided to also.
I don't blame them. Thanks for everything guys; I hope you are all back next season.