Ah, breathe in that fresh win streak air. Doesn't it taste wonderful? Almost..pine-y, right? With a hint of awesome? Well, get ready for a bouquet of over-generalized platitudes and semi-sincere criticzims! Its Power Rankings Breakdown time!!!
Each week we at CelticsBlog scour the internet for the biased-laden subjective judgements on the Boston Celtics from people you neither know, nor probably care to. Why do we do it? Because we love you guys, and we have too much free time.
So, if you're not familiar, Power Rankings are an arbitrary listing of all 30 NBA teams from #1 (best) to #30 (worst), Now, I know what you're thinking; "Well Jeez, IP! Don't Wins and Losses do that already??" Well simmer down there, lil guy. Of course Wins and Losses are a quick, factual way to rank all 30 NBA teams. But Power Rankings are not for people who appreciate cold, hard, alleged, 'facts'.
Power Rankings are for the dreamers! They're for the frivolous, the flaky, and the shim-sham-shakily! They're for people who don't want 'Reality' getting in the way of the completely subjective view they have of the world. That's why we rank the teams by "power".
Now what is Power? Well, to sum it up in a useless overly complicated completely made up and useless mathematical formula (copyright John Hollinger), it is a rankings incorporating actual team records, preconceived biases for people/places, and baseless subjective snap judgments. divided by Pi.
So are you ready? Are you ready to see what Journalists, Fans of other teams, and other assorted people who never played in the NBA think about the Celtics?? Well come on in, come on in!
(by come on in, I mean click on the "read more" button below. I wasn't sure if that was clear.)
The Celtics had a pretty amazing week, they only played 3 games, but each game brought a unique and challenging storyline. The Knicks brought hopes of a rivalry renewed that ended in a storybook buzzer beater from el-capitain. The Hawks game brought out the rivalries of old (2 yrs ago), but ended in an ultimately unsatisfying whoopings on the Hawks, and the Pacers game presented an up and coming foe that was a respectable but ultimately not that challenging game by the C's. Let us see what people thought about that. As always, we start at the bottom.
There was a pretty sweet grouping of Rankings this week, and the lowest anyone in my sample ranked the Celtics was 2. Both lists had the Celtics behind the Spurs, and both lists gave props to this Celtics unit, although like beers, all blurbs are not created equal. I will let Austin Burton from Dime Magazine and Lance Pauker from The Bleacher Report do the talking.
The injuries keep piling up, yet the Celtics keep finding ways to win. The streak is at 13 in a row now, without Rondo, Perkins, J.O. and Delonte in the lineup.
At 22-4, Boston has a stranglehold on the Eastern conference. By the way, they're also on a thirteen game winning streak. This week, the Celtics look to continue their winning ways against Sixers before traveling to Orlando on Christmas day. The highly anticipated rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals, which is supposed to be Dwight Howard and Stan Van Gundy's big chance for revenge, is increasingly looking less appealing by the day, as the teams continue to go in opposite directions. Immense skill, depth, and versatility makes this team the Eastern Conference favorite thus far. Sure, Doc's squad could experience a repeat of last season's second half swoon. At this point however, the song "ain't no stopping us now" is highly applicable for this title-hungry bunch.
Anyone else always get the feeling with Dime Magazine that they're really disappointed the Celtics are winning? Austin Burton is always in a state of disbelief, like he's a bit puzzled and frustrated the Celtics are winning, and he doesn't know what's going one, but he does know, he hates it. We should forgive the kind-hearted Austin Burton however. I would be irrationally bitter too if my full name sounded like one of Bobby's friends from "King Of The Hill".
This week's Bleacher Report Guy though was fantastic. I only posted a little snippet of his blurb but it was 'Darn good coffee! And Hot!' It toed the line very well between funny, and informative. Well done, Bleacher Report Guy, Week 8.
Now, here is the main course. It is a long season, and a win streak in December is utterly irrelevant in April, but yet now we fight. And should we win the day, Week Eight of the regular season will no longer be known as 'the week before Christmas', but as the week the world declared in one voice: "We will no longer be ranked behind the Spurs!!!" We will no longer be satisfied with just 'most people' ranking us first! We're going to live on! We're going to survive! Today we celebrate our Near Consensus Number One Ranking!!
From my favorites to my not so favorites..this is the "meh" rankings:
This sounds weird, but the Celtics, the second-best defensive team in the league, have been rather inconsistent defensively during their 12-game winning streak. They've needed big nights on the other end to pull out some of these wins, with Wednesday's thriller in New York the prime example.
Nate Robinson has done a nice job in place of the injured PG Rajon Rondo. With SF Paul Pierce playing point-forward, Robinson is averaging 16.3 points and 4.8 assists as a starter.
The Celtics have had injuries (Shaquille O'Neal, Rajon Rondo, Jermaine O'Neal, Delonte West, etc.) and yet they've won 13 straight.
These are the "meh"s..they're the blurbs that don't move me. Some just list facts (like new but apparently bland edition to the breakdown, Eric Pincus's Hoopsworld) without any real opinion, some fine a unique stat or observation to use as a conditional on the #1 ranking. Meh. If these blurbs were potato chips, they'd be the giant box of plain, non-kettle cooked chips you only see at 4th of July parties and family reunions. Nobody hates that giant box of potato chips, but there isn't exactly a line forming either.
This is.. the "Oh, cool. Thanks man." Division:
KG's resurrection. Pierce's clutchness and versatility. Overcoming every injury. The Celts are overloading us, since we also can't stop repeating Barkley's priceless Rondo line: "He's the engine that stirs the drink."
I'm completely operational, and all my circuits are functioning perfectly.
The great irony 26 games into the season is that while a succession of banged and bruised centers show up on the sideline in street clothes and Rajon Rondo nurses his latest injury, aging stars Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett haven't missed a game and lead the team in total minutes. That translates into a 22-4 record and renewed appreciation for how well the Big Three work together. Pierce's triple-double against Indiana on Sunday is the clearest indication of his "point forward" responsibilities in Rondo's absence; Allen has coupled his highest minutes average (36.5 per game) since arriving in Boston with a career-best field goal percentage (48.9); and Garnett locks down the NBA's most efficient defense despite a revolving door of big men coming in beside him.
No Rajon Rondo? No Problem. The Celtics win streak climbed to 13 this week thanks to solid games against playoff-bound Eastern Conference teams. While Nate Robinson filled in admirably for two games without Rondo, Paul Pierce carried the Celts with a three-game average of 22 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists. Just imagine how this team will look when Perkins and the O'Neal brothers return. On Wednesday, no one was more excited about Paul Pierce's game winner over the Knicks than Nate Robinson... (this awesome video was also in the blurb. LINK)
This is the "Oh, cool. Thanks, man." division. I like what you have to say, and agree with it, but I do not find it remarkable. SI.com's Britt Robson, who is also Billy Zane's mentor and Godfather in all things bald, falls from the pantheon of weekly Power Rankings Blurbs, but he falls not into the mediocrity of places like Dime Magazine, but to a slightly above average place, among like minded writers. Well, like-minded writers and the sentient robot that is John Hollinger's Power Rankings. When I was checking Hollinger's rankings last night, it asked me, "IndeedProceed, after the regular season is over I wonder...will I dream?" Frankly I had no idea what to say so I switched tabs back to my South Park re-runs.
I'd also like to give a big ups to Marc Stein. Nobody is talking about Charles Barkely's comment that Rajon Rondo is "The engine that stirs the drink." I mean...that's pretty awesome.
Also, great work as always from the boys over at SBNation.com.
And now, the second annual winner of "Thing I read that I agreed with the most and so he's my favorite this week!"
How good are the Celtics right now? They're without Rajon Rondo -- the league's assist leader -- due to an ankle injury, yet the team has won two in a row in his absence, and extended its winning streak to a league-leading 13 straight in the process. Paul Pierce won Player of the Week honors thanks to his clutch performance in New York last week and his triple-double over the Pacers on Sunday. And, as well as Boston is playing right now, remember the roster is only going to get deeper as the season rolls on, with the return of Jermaine O'Neal expected this week and Kendrick Perkins sometime in February.
You know, Brett and I have not always seen eye to eye. We've traded jabs over the past few weeks (well actually, I've made fun of his name in a juvenile fashion and he gets paid to write about basketball so he had no idea I exist). This week, I want to put it all behind us, Brett. Your power rankings blurb was concise, it was informative, it was optimistic...just really a Grade A example of what a Power Rankings blurb should say. Well done, Brett Pollakoff. You may now eat at the adults table.
This Week's Average Celtics Position: 1.279
Last Week's Average Celtics Position: 1.467
Stupid Teams That Finished Ahead Of Us (number of polls finished ahead, times voted #1):
San Antonio Spurs (2, 2)
The Celtics are currently in possession of the league's longest active winning streak, the best record in the Eastern Conference by 3 1/2 games, and an entire all-star team of injured players that will be returning soon. They have officially passed the Mavericks in everyone's minds, and are past the Spurs too in most peoples'. This, my fellow Celtics fans, shall be known in 2010-2011 as "the long summer". But be wary, Winter Is Coming.
See Y'all Next Week!!!!