On one hand, this team needs all the time it can get to heal from its various injuries. On the other hand, you get the feeling sometimes that the veterans on this team think the regular season is a little too long. I think many of them are just ready for the playoffs to begin.
This is not the same level of malaise that plagued the team for the 2nd half of last year. With last night's win we've already match the season win total from last year and there are 13 games left. With that said, it has been a little disconcerting to see this team Jekyll and Hyde it over the last few weeks.
Last night was that whole off/on switch package in one game. The team kind of went through the motions a bit in the first half and wound up down at intermission. It took a challenge to their manhood from Doc Rivers at halftime and a little bloodletting to wake them up. And wake them up it did.
Here is a sampling of quotes from The Boston Globe
"I think everybody was on the floor,'' Garnett said. "Just Boston-New York. Classic!''
"It was a bloodbath,'' Rivers said. "I thought that was beautiful.''
"Something about this team, we have an extra gear,'' Pierce said. "We know when we have to turn it up. Sometimes maybe going to the ground, that's what it takes. I'd rather us start the beginning of the game like we've been thrown to the ground, but hey, this is a veteran team that knows how to push a button and get a win.''
I think that quote from Pierce speaks volumes. He's talking about "the switch" that everyone denied last year when the team was struggling through a 27-27 finish. But there's no getting around it. If and when this team decides to win, there's little that can stop it. That is both reassuring and completely frustrating in the same breath. Garnett elaborates.
"That’s what I’m saying, it can’t be like that,’’ he said. "It can’t be a situation where you do well against two teams and then come out and not do well against one team. Our thing since I’ve been here has always been consistency. I said that if we are going to be a great team, a team of fire, we are going to have to be a consistent team. Until the new guys get our schemes, that’s going to be the challenge. That’s where we’re at right now.
"In order to be a good team, you can't have those letdowns.''
Which is the kind of thing we've been hearing out of the players' mouths for a while now, but their actions orate a different tale. They don't practice what they preach and only time will tell if it will come back to bite them in the end.
If they wind up on the road in a critical game 7 in the playoffs, they can look back and lament some of the nights they didn't feel like getting "up" for some team that was slogging its way to the lottery.
On the other hand, if we look up and see them steamrolling their way back to the Finals, we can all look back to last year and say to ourselves "yup, I guess I shouldn't have been too concerned."
Bonus Link: Big Baby rips on Spike as Ray's mom consoles him after his team's loss.