Just when you think you've got them figured out...
My wife is great for many, many reasons - not the least of which is putting up with me and my Celtics obsession. She's not really a sports fan but she's supportive and understanding. In fact, that caring but detached relationship with the team allows her to pick up on simple truths that may avoid me from time to time. Here's 2 examples:
Celtics are beating up on the Hawks, up 20 plus points in the first half. I sit down after putting the kids to bed and say "I'm going to really enjoy watching this." She turns to me half in jest and says "oh come on, you know they'll blow it." She's not rooting for this, but says it in mocking dry humor matter-of-factness that shuts me up and sets the tone for the rest of the evening.
Fast forward to a few days later, Rajon Rondo is announced out against the Heat. I share this dire news with my wife with a forlorn expression on my face. After confusing him with Ray Allen ("doesn't he play for the Heat now?") she flips the script on me again. "Oh that's too bad, but on the bright side, you know they are going to win now, right?"
That's pretty much how it has gone this year. Starting out we were all excited about "getting the band back together" for one more concert tour. Not only that, but we had reloaded the bench with guys that can actually score and obviously the league best defense would be automatic, right? Somewhere along the line that tour bus got a flat tire and we couldn't get any kind of streak going - good or bad. Like a bad line dancing routine it was one step forward, two steps back, sideways shuffle, back to the start.
Then Christmas day happens. The Celtics throttle the Brooklyn Nets and everything is candy canes and big red bows. That is until they lose their next 4 in a row. The team was still without defensive stopper Avery Bradley but the problems this team had were much deeper than any one player could solve, ...right? That only makes logical sense after all.
Except it didn't turn out that way. For whatever reason, Bradley was the catalyst, linchpin, and spark-plug for this team and a 6 game winning streak ensued. Sweet! We've turned the corner and watch out league! Right?
Cue the record needle across a vinyl record scratching to a halt (and cue several younger people scratching their heads about what that means). A 6 game losing streak erased all the good mojo that had just happened and returned us to a sub-.500 record with the hated Miami Heat on tap for the next game.
Exit Rondo, exit Jared Sullinger, and ...of course that means a 4 game winning streak. By my wife's logic, that only makes sense. Now, what's next (aside from me convincing my wife for a quick trip to Vegas)?
We've got back to back games with Toronto (now with Rudy Gay) and the even-more-disappointing L.A. Lakers. If you think I'm making predictions on those games then you'd lose that prop bet. I haven't the foggiest idea anymore, I'm just along for the ride at this point.
Of course we also have the looming Feb. 21st trade deadline staring at us. In past years, Danny Ainge has been ...wait for it... unpredictable. Nobody expected the Perkins/Jeff Green trade when it happened. And last year, when everyone expected the team to get blown to bits, we saw nothing happen - which turned out to spark the team for another improbable run. Will Ainge finally slam shut the window? Will he jimmy it open with a short term solution? Or are we holding hands and riding this tour bus over the cliff like Thelma & Louise? Nobody, not even Danny, can be sure right now.
So you'll forgive me if I fall back into typical cliches like the following: While the odds are stacked against them, you can never count out the heart and desire of this team of future Hall of Famers. You just never know with this team. The only thing I can expect at this point is precisely what I wouldn't expect. But wait, ...if I expect the unexpected, does it become expected and thus not what will happen anymore? My brain hurts.