(written before game 4)
So it’s over.
Boston Celtics are down 0:3 in the play-offs, a position no team has ever overcome in the history of the game. And regardless of the outcome of Game 4, no matter if it is going to be a NY sweep or even a dignifying loss in a 6-games series – it is over. The end of an era. Or is it?
It definitely has to be the end. In the last three games, it’s been physically and emotionally painful to watch the Boston Celtics. A bunch of elders abusing the ball, in a PE class of a senior citizens’ center. Their performance pitiful, their game practically non-existent. With their 3 top performers on the path to retirement, prolonging this misery any more should not be the way to go for the greatest basketball institution in the Universe.
So, they got blown away, and their asses looked sorry. Who is to blame, and what can be done?
On any sinking ship, it is the captain who is to be held responsible. Which coach Doc Rivers undoubtedly is. Rivers is a solid basketball coach, but generally overrated into one of the top trainers in the league. Which he is not. Why isn’t he?
Because for 6 straight years, Rivers coached the most expensive basketball team in the world, winning only one title. Because in those 6 play-off appearances, the Celtics have had 5 chances to knock out the opponent with a single win, and have lost all 5 of those games. Because in every single Celtics’ game, after 7 minutes of playing - the exact same thing always happens – Kevin Garnett comes out, no matter what. No matter if the team is winning or losing, regardless of the Boston Marathon bombings or the North Korea nuclear threats... you can fix the time on your watch - according to the way Doc Rivers coaches the game and makes substitutions. His patterns are painfully predictable. After 8 years in the same team, he has nothing new to tell the players. Boston Celtics should be eternally grateful to Doc for his effort and contribution, but... the club must move on.
Besides the coach, the most responsible person for the current state of the team is the club’s director. Danny Ainge has traded Boston’s only worthy center to Oklahoma (Perkins), for a player he previously had on his team and got rid of (Green). The Celtics never recovered after that trade, while the Thunder instantly became a championship caliber team. It was one of the worst moves in the history of NBA trades, which cost us the title that season. Ainge has to go. Who could replace him?
Boston Celtics need a new strategy for the future. The page must be turned, and the team needs people who are - Celtics - in their soul and DNA. We need a new leader, with a vision. We need Larry Bird. We need the same miracle as in 1979, all over again. Boston must convince one of its greatest legends of all time – to move back from Indianapolis to Boston. In addition, we should bring back from Chicago Bulls – coach Tom Tibodeau, who used to be Doc’s assistant in the Celtics’ 2008 road to the 17th championship.
Bird as the new (lifetime) manager, Tibodeau as the new coach. And all "oldies but goldies" on the court – to retire or leave. Boston Celtics should thank their veteran players, make some space in the salary cap, and be ready for the situation to get worse before it gets better. There will be some painful years of transition, but no more painful than watching the Celtics during this last season and, especially, the post-season. It has been embarrassing.
Boston Celtics need to build up anew, from ashes and dust. Any further postponing of the inevitable is a pure waste of time and Rondo’s talent in its prime. Boston must not live through another two decades of a drought, as was the case prior to 2008.
Difficult decisions must be made. Prolonging misery will not work. Boston Celtics deserve better.
Only the best - is good enough. Always has been, in Boston Garden.
The time is - now.