Well…it was fun while it lasted…

…the Boston Celtics’ playoff trip, as you may have guessed.

On one hand, it was nice to see the C’s make a charge to the playoffs at the end of the regular season.  Even though they beat some bad teams (and some teams that rested their stars) to get in at the end.  And the fact that they finished 40-42…still under .500.  But on the other hand, it cost them a higher draft pick and they of course had no chance to beat Cleveland.  By the by, for those of you that wanted to play Atlanta because they would’ve had a chance to win, please stop.  I know Atlanta cruised and ended up struggling down the stretch.  I know Brooklyn won tonight and evened the series 2-2.  But the C’s were not beating Atlanta either, sorry.

My opinion is that it is ok that they made the playoffs.  How much better of a pick would they have gotten if they finished, say, 30-52?  I suppose that would’ve put them in the top 10, but #10, #15…is it much of a difference really?  Not to mention that they have a thousand draft picks anyway and really HAVE to deal some of them away.  So who says they will even use this year’s pick?

I’d rather have the players gain some kind of playoff experience.  Sure, not all of these guys will be back next year (they’d BETTER not be!).  Sure, they got whitewashed.  And all of that stuff.  But every game of this magnitude counts.  Also for Brad Stevens.  Doesn’t hurt for him to have some playoff coaching experience.  Also helps for the team to win a little bit, so he doesn’t bolt back to college, but that’s a different story…

Give the team this:  They played hard.  They hustled.  They dove for loose balls.  They played to the best of their abilities.  But they just didn’t have the horses.  Just looked up some of the stats.  The C’s actually shot 42% from the floor.  I can’t believe it was that high.  It felt like they were regularly throwing up bricks.  Maybe it was because they were 26% from three point land.  Or that the three guys who took the most shots, Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley & Evan Turner, shot 33%, 38% & 36%, respectively.  Add in Brandon Bass’ 35% for good measure and that may just sum it all up.

But as I’ve said all year, the team is full of guys that can play in the NBA…but should be probably 5-8 on a good teams roster.  At best.  Their 5 starters were probably the worst unit in the playoffs.  Case in point was a ranking done on the 4 letter network that put the 80 starters in the playoffs in order.  The best Celtic?  Marcus Smart at 57.  Sounds about right.  For the record, Tyler Zeller was 59, Bradley was 70, Bass was 73 and Turner tied for 77th (with Jeff Green, of all people).  Also for the record, good to see Rajon Rondo was 75th…still delighted he is gone…but that’s another story for another day.

You can take the rankings for whatever they are worth, but in reality, they are probably not far from the truth.  I suppose it’s a little hard to believe that Turner was tied for 3rd worst, when he was arguably the C’s best all-around player after the Rondo and Green trades…or that Zeller is somehow up at 59…but that’s probably splitting hairs.  It is what it is.  And they just couldn’t match up with the Cavs’ horses.

The size difference up front was astounding.  I’ve never considered Timofey Mozgov much of anything, but he looked like he could do whatever he wanted against the C’s.  Imagine if he was utilized offensively more than the 5th option he was?  And stayed out of foul trouble?  It would have looked worse.  He made more of a difference on the defensive side as he altered numerous shots.  And rebounded well along with just about every other Cav.  Zeller was consistently thrown around like a rag doll.  Olynyk is just this era’s Brad Lohaus (not a compliment).  Bass was abysmal.  Jared Sullinger has a big body (pun intended), but doesn’t necessarily match up well either.  It was ugly overall.

The Celts lost 3 games by 8 and one by 13…but did any of them actually feel close?  I don’t think the Cavs ever felt threatened.  I can’t believe Mike Gorman thought they would win in 6…he must have been channeling his inner Tommy (Heinsohn).  But I don’t believe Tommy even thought they had a shot.  Doubt he admitted that publicly though.  Speaking of Tommy, how old is Hubie Brown?  116?  Wow.  But he was actually ok in Game 4.  Except for the fact no one told him how to pronounce “Olynyk” properly…but I digress…

As much as the C’s had no chance in this series, I actually expected more of the Cavs.  They rolled through the last half of the season and have their version of “The Big Three” (God, I am sick of that phrase).  But I have to say I wasn’t all that impressed.  LeBron James is LeBron.  I still kind of despise him from the whole “Decision” thing and his overall smugness on the court.  But his talents are undeniable.  Stevens threw about 10 different guys at him trying to figure out who can at least slow him down.  But the answer was a resounding…NOBODY!  Kyrie Irving is very skilled.  But he seemed to disappear for stretches.  Extremely underwhelming was Kevin Love.  Is he just a great player on bad teams?  Or is he truly a superstar?  Not sure at this point.  He hit some threes in Game 3.  But otherwise did not do much…in my eyes anyway.  Yeah, some will argue that he opened up the floor for The King and Kyrie.  But whatever…my last vision of him running right off the floor almost crying leaves a lasting memory…and a poor one.  Ok, maybe exaggerated on the “almost crying” part.  But still…

JR Smith?  Total punk.  Loser.  Hope his suspension costs the Cavs two games.  Just a clown.  Mozgov impressed me the most actually.  The next guy on the Cavs to impress me?  Iman Shumpert actually.  I believe he has a decent defensive reputation.  But his offense was more than I expected.  The rest of the bench was nothing to write home about.  Tristan Thompson is a nice rebounder.  Perk?  What a joke.  How he didn’t get thrown out of Game 4 is beyond me.  Laughable.  The C’s fans didn’t like it.  But they forget he was doing that type of “tough guy” crap when he was here too.  Except now he is beyond washed up.  Used to be able to play at least a little.  Not as much as people around here think, but he had some skills.  Thankfully, we weren’t subjected to that tool Anderson Varejao that often.  Though I admit it was very heartwarming when the sideline reporter let us know that when Love went to the locker room, “Varejao was right by his side.  And he is still in there with him…shows how tight knit the team is…”.  Ummmmmm…she knew Varejao wasn’t in uniform and couldn’t play, right?  That report was useless…as are most sideline reporters…but again, another topic for another day…

One last observation:  The Celtics in no way lost this series because of the officials.  But it sure seemed as if they were playing 5 on 8 quite often.  I guess all the superstars get the calls.  And Cleveland had all the superstars in this series.  That tradition is as old as the NBA itself, despite how unfair it really is.  But sometimes it was a little over the top.  Add to that the fact that I don’t think any of the Cavs players STILL think they have committed a foul.  Every single time they were whistled, they had a look of incredulity on their faces.  (I think I may have used the word “incredulity” right…that may be a first!).

In any event, glad the C’s got some postseason experience and extended the season by a smidge.  The team was fun to watch at times, I will admit.  But there is a lot of work to be done still by Danny Ainge and the front office.  Something to delve into in a future post…

About mpdenton

I am a passionate and life long fan of the local teams...and by local I mean New England. I remember the days of Ray Bourque, Larry Bird, Steve Grogan and Wade Boggs...meaning I have lived the highs and lows of the Boston sports scene. With all this pent up Boston sports emotion, I clearly have a lot to say about the local teams and sometimes about sports in general. Maybe even the Revolution... I appreciate you reading my blog and hope you enjoy my rants.

Posted on April 27, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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