In recent years, you could count on a Celtics game to be playing on Christmas day. Not so this year though, for the first time since 2008 there will be no hoops with your eggnog. Honestly, that seems fine by me. This team needs a break.
The Celtics, in a true rarity, don’t play again until Saturday. They don’t practice until Thursday, meaning that a lot of players left last night for various parts of the country. For a team that has played on every Christmas Day since 2007, the break is almost college-like in nature. And that may have been part of the problem, according to the Alabama-bound Gerald Wallace. "I feel like one team was here to play, and the other team was on its Christmas break," Wallace said. "They executed well, and beat us in every aspect of the game."
There goes Gerald Wallace questioning effort again like a disappointed parent. Of course I'm starting to tune him out like a teenager bent over a smartphone wearing Beats by Dre headphones. Bad games happen, especially during rebuilding years. In fact, they happened a lot more during the recent glory years than they have with this scrappy young team. So I'm happy to give them a pass.
Speaking of passing, it seems that the Toronto Raptors passed us in the standings with a win over the Thunder last night. In the quirky way that the standings work, that means the Celtics dropped from being the 4th seed, to the 8th seed just like that. So if playoff seeding held like that on the last day of the season, we could have seen a first round preview last night. Yikes.
Again, I'm not into tanking, but if the Celtics are going to have a sub-.500 record this year, I wouldn't mind seeing a few of the teams behind us in the standings go on some long winning streaks sooner or later. I don't trust the Raptors to keep winning and the Nets just lost their second most valuable player and counting on the Knicks to turn things around seems, ...dubious at best. So the Celtics might just end up backing into the playoffs anyway. But again, perhaps we're getting ahead of ourselves. Gotta keep reminding myself that.
So the Celtics have a break to sit back and ponder. Some will ponder playing time and trade rumors while others will ponder shot selection and when to attack or let the game come to them. One of them will ponder how his body feels and when he'd like to return to game action. The coach, at least publicly, will be focused on the next game or two.
In fact, he might want to take a peek ahead at the next few weeks.
Visits from two more potential East playoff teams (Cleveland, Atlanta) loom when the Celtics get back on the floor. Six of the team's next seven after that are on the road, including a five-game Western swing that actually starts in the middle of the country in Oklahoma City.
Ahh the dreaded West Coast swing. Where good teams earn their stripes and lesser teams are served their share of humble pie. They'll find out first hand why the West is dominating while the East is limping. The stops include OKC, Denver, LA (Clips), Golden St., and Portland before coming home to face the Rockets. I don't really track these things, but I doubt they'll be favored in any of those games - with Denver being the best chance.
But first things first. We've got a break in the action for the next week. What would you folks like to talk about?