The blog Lex Nihil Novi has a few press clippings from December of 1985 that look oddly familiar:
When they were 17-2 they were boring, and folks said, "Let's dispense with the formalities and bring on the Lakers." Then they lost 5 of 9 and the fandom hesitated.
All that was before the Christmas Crisis, when the Celtics blew a 25-point lead on national television against one of the world's worst basketball teams.
See lots more after the break:
After starting the season 17-2, the only question Celtics' fans were asking themselves was what should I wear to the championship parade.
Now such talk looks premature at best and ridiculous at worst.
You say the Celtics have the best starting five in basketball. You say the Celtics have the deepest bench in basketball.
I say prove it, and at the moment the proof isn't particularly convincing.
The Celtics were flirting with the prospect of a fifth consecutive road loss Saturday night. Bump-and-run Adrian Dantley had 39 points, Boston had blown a 13-point second-half lead, and Dennis Johnson missed two free throws with 17 seconds left that would have iced the game against the Utah Jazz.
Leading, 110-108, the Celtics braced themselves for Utah's final shot. Everybody figured Dantley would get the call. Instead, rookie Karl (The Mailman) Malone attempted a one-handed runner that caromed off the rim and into the hands of Larry Bird with two seconds left. Ball game.
What's going on here?
The Boston brass says, "Don't panic," but knowing that anything less than a championship will be perceived as failure, how can the front office expect anyone to swallow that? There is every evidence that the Celtics are headed for a play-off disappointment unless something changes.
We should know better than to expect a public admission that there are problems. The Celtics are the last to publicly air the family linen, and they will deny the existence of a problem until they think they've solved it.
They are the Pitiful Bulls against the rest of NBA America and the Raging Bulls against the Celtics . One wonders how they lose so many games (10-19) and what they'll be like when Michael Jordan returns.
On a night when the inside of Chicago Stadium was too cold for the Refrigerator (Bears idol William Perry couldn't make it), the Bulls put a big chill on the Celtics and came away with a hard-earned 116-108 victory.
and of course, my favorite...
Shades of 1984.
Slowly but surely, the Celtic bench is slipping into the Atlantic Ocean. Four starters played 38 or more minutes last night and Dennis Johnson went 32 with his bad hand. Boston's bench contributed 13 points and zero rebounds.
Bill Walton has been increasingly ineffective in the last couple of weeks. Last night he was 0 for 3 from the floor, played a season-low nine minutes, and did not get a rebound for the first time all season. The rest of the shock troops aren't doing much better.
"We have not been getting the job done," said Walton. "We have not been playing that well as a second unit. We just have to start playing better. It's going to take some concentration and hard work and patience. You can't force it, because that attitude just tends to compound it."
We can only hope for a similar ending to the season.