Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett have been around the block a few times. So many times, in fact, that the streets on the block are being named after them. So they know every ditch or pothole that can get in the way. They know the wrong turns and the detours that can keep a team from their destination. They have their own internal GPS that shows them where to go and how to tell others how to get there.
However, those tires have a lot of tread on them and nobody knows when the next Check Engine light is going to come on. Some days the motor purrs like it did during the glory years. Some days it just doesn't want to start and sputters throughout the drive.
All of which is just my elaborate way of setting up these quotes. Paul Pierce talks about setting up for the playoffs after an inconsistent year.
"Well, I mean, like I said throughout the year, we've shown an ability to beat the teams at the top," he said. "The only main concern is maintaining that level of play for a consistent amount of games. We've been up; we've been down. We've won six; we've lost four. "Hopefully we can hit our stride this coming week and going into the playoffs. If so, I like our chances against anybody in the East. Right now at this point, the chips are going to fall where they may. Our objective right now is to improve every game, develop some consistency, get healthy, so that we're as sharp as can be come playoff time."
Kevin Garnett elaborates on the inconsistency thread.
"Consistency is the difference between good teams and bad teams," Garnett said before practice on Tuesday. "The consistent teams that do everything — know their system, run their system, know what they’re doing every night — those are the teams usually that are doing very well in our league. The teams that stray away from what their systems are, they are the ones that struggle. "Consistency is one of the hardest things in professional sports, if not anything. We’ve bonded. But how consistent we are with our system and things? That’s a different story. That’s why we’re in here, and why we continue to work on this thing. Then the playoffs start, and it’s all out."
Here we are again. Down to the last few games of a sometimes frustrating regular season, hoping that the Celtics can once again "flip the switch" and rally the troops for the playoffs. This is like when your favorite band churns out song after song that has the same verse-chorus-verse formula, but it gets you every time.
The inconsistency of this team (not to mention a few key injuries) has me more concerned than any other year in the KG era, but I know enough not to ever count them out.
They know what they are doing and they know all the right things to say. It will be interesting to see if they can actually go out there and do them.
Bonus Link: Zach Lowe looks at the impact the Celtics/Bulls defense has had on the league.