A Time to Worry: Celtics Postseason Concerns

brendan f

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I honestly think they need to consider sitting down Smart. I get it, he's a big personality on the team, but his defense has regressed a lot to the point that White is better on that end and Brogdon isn't too far behind Smart. On offense both those guys are better shooters and have much better shot selection. Also.. we're getting killed on the boards, Brogdon is a good PG rebounder, White isn't as good, but still well above Marcus who is literally the worst rebounder on the team, and one of the worst in the league.
I think there is some truth to this. The Celtics as a team are allowing a lot more points per possession with Marcus on the court than they were in any of his previous seasons which seems to suggest his defense has slipped. They are allowing almost 4 more points with him on the court this year, and this is the only year in his Celtics' tenure that he's ever been on the wrong side of this statistic. Benching him is probably going too far, but he's playing more minutes than ever this year per game, so evidence suggests those minutes should be lowered.
As for the rebounding, they are getting killed because they don't have their best rebounder, and because Horford has gone from a pretty good rebounder to a liability in that department. Kornet is someone who is much worse at this than one would expect (good offensive rebounder this year, very bad defensive rebounder). Tatum and Brown are both very good for their position, but their bigs simply can't rebound and that's a problem.
 
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HomeRunBaker

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In what world would someone pick a C's team without a healthy Time Lord over the full-strength Bucks? Maybe I'm missing something. Do regular-season games no longer matter?

You're quick to dismiss anyone who dares suggest that the C's are not a juggernaut, but this clearly is not the same team that ran roughshod through the rest of the NBA early in the season. Maybe the C's get their mojo back in time for the playoffs, but that's far from a sure thing.

I'd rather be playing well as the playoffs approach, as the C's were last season, than be stumbling into the postseason.
Books, and sharp money, aren’t overcompensating for recency bias. I’ve said this before….last February the Warriors lost 9 of 12 or something like that and most with Curry.
 

Cellar-Door

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Books, and sharp money, aren’t overcompensating for recency bias. I’ve said this before….last February the Warriors lost 9 of 12 or something like that and most with Curry.
yep, every team has hot and cold streaks, and books make lots of money by simply not reacting to them.
 

BigSoxFan

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Books, and sharp money, aren’t overcompensating for recency bias. I’ve said this before….last February the Warriors lost 9 of 12 or something like that and most with Curry.
I do think anyone who didn’t jump on Bucks +500 a few weeks ago missed an opportunity though.
 

Deathofthebambino

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In what world would someone pick a C's team without a healthy Time Lord over the full-strength Bucks? Maybe I'm missing something. Do regular-season games no longer matter?

You're quick to dismiss anyone who dares suggest that the C's are not a juggernaut, but this clearly is not the same team that ran roughshod through the rest of the NBA early in the season. Maybe the C's get their mojo back in time for the playoffs, but that's far from a sure thing.

I'd rather be playing well as the playoffs approach, as the C's were last season, than be stumbling into the postseason.
I agree with you completely that I'd rather be playing better than this, but more important to me than anything is being healthy come playoff time.

The Bucks lost to this same Houston team in December, with Giannis playing.

One month ago today, the Celtics put out a starting lineup of Grant, Muscala, White, Hauser and Blake Griffin and took the Bucks with all of their players, to overtime, in Milwaukee.

There just isn't much of a read we can get from these teams, or any others, IMO on how they will do come playoff time based on these types of games.

I've said it before, if the C's shoot well, they are almost unbeatable. It really almost solely comes down to that. I would certainly love to see more White/Brogdon in crunch time over Smart the way he's playing, and like I said last night in the game thread, if Joe isn't willing to make that move and it ultimately costs us come playoff time, I'll lose my shit, but I just can't freak out about this team yet.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I do think anyone who didn’t jump on Bucks +500 a few weeks ago missed an opportunity though.
Well sure but there is a vast difference in short term bias and a real good team winning 16 in a row. That will certainly earn some adjustments.
 

Auger34

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I agree with you completely that I'd rather be playing better than this, but more important to me than anything is being healthy come playoff time.

The Bucks lost to this same Houston team in December, with Giannis playing.

One month ago today, the Celtics put out a starting lineup of Grant, Muscala, White, Hauser and Blake Griffin and took the Bucks with all of their players, to overtime, in Milwaukee.

There just isn't much of a read we can get from these teams, or any others, IMO on how they will do come playoff time based on these types of games.

I've said it before, if the C's shoot well, they are almost unbeatable. It really almost solely comes down to that. I would certainly love to see more White/Brogdon in crunch time over Smart the way he's playing, and like I said last night in the game thread, if Joe isn't willing to make that move and it ultimately costs us come playoff time, I'll lose my shit, but I just can't freak out about this team yet.
This isn’t a surprise since you and I are pretty much lockstep on our thoughts about the NBA but I completely agree with this.

watching the games and seeing this team seemingly play down to their opponents can be very frustrating and I completely understand people worrying about the Celtics but im not there yet.

I think that Tatum and Smart are going through a bit of a rough patch but I expect for them to break out sometime soon. I am more worried about Grant, Rob’s health, and overall variance since this team shoots so many 3’s. If Rob comes back and is 90% of TIMELORD then I think this team is still the championship favorite. Anything else and it’s going to be a dog fight with the other top teams
 

ifmanis5

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Muscala as the one deadline move doesn't look great right now especially right as the owner was very publicly saying to go for it.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I agree with you completely that I'd rather be playing better than this, but more important to me than anything is being healthy come playoff time.

The Bucks lost to this same Houston team in December, with Giannis playing.

One month ago today, the Celtics put out a starting lineup of Grant, Muscala, White, Hauser and Blake Griffin and took the Bucks with all of their players, to overtime, in Milwaukee.

There just isn't much of a read we can get from these teams, or any others, IMO on how they will do come playoff time based on these types of games.

I've said it before, if the C's shoot well, they are almost unbeatable. It really almost solely comes down to that. I would certainly love to see more White/Brogdon in crunch time over Smart the way he's playing, and like I said last night in the game thread, if Joe isn't willing to make that move and it ultimately costs us come playoff time, I'll lose my shit, but I just can't freak out about this team yet.
This is logic speaking right here.

Over the course of 82 games we should know what each teams ceiling and floor look like. We know younger, less established teams make harder pushes during the regular season (Ex: Kings, Grizz pre-Adams injury/Morant insanity) while the more veteran teams treat much of the regular season as prep for the playoffs (Ex: Warriors, Suns, Clips, Bucks earlier in the year, etc)……and we are entering this same region of teams where losses against teams like the Rockets in a flat spot and giving up 150 to OKC mean absolutely zero in respect to our postseason chances.

That’s just how it works in an 82-game league and has for some time. This isn’t only the Celtics either.
 

HomeRunBaker

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Muscala as the one deadline move doesn't look great right now especially right as the owner was very publicly saying to go for it.
Poeltl was the move then and still the move now with some hindsight even if we had to give up more than the Raptors did. Celtics fans have no idea of the impact this player has on a game…..similar to Adam’s in Memphis, Rob when healthy here, etc.
 

soxin6

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Muscala as the one deadline move doesn't look great right now especially right as the owner was very publicly saying to go for it.
It is tough to be critical of Muscala when he has gotten so many DNP/Coach's Decision. He has shown that he can be a liability on defense, but it doesn't look like many of the Celtics are playing that well on defense either.
 

brendan f

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Muscala as the one deadline move doesn't look great right now especially right as the owner was very publicly saying to go for it.
I think the move was done with an eye towards next year as much as this one. He has a team option on the cheap so if they lose Grant, he's a reasonable stopgap. But yeah, could have done more.
 

ifmanis5

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Poeltl was the move then and still the move now with some hindsight even if we had to give up more than the Raptors did. Celtics fans have no idea of the impact this player has on a game…..similar to Adam’s in Memphis, Rob when healthy here, etc.
Poeltl has been very good with Toronto although it's questionable whether he has made a W-L difference there. He cost a first and second round pick plus a marginal player. He would have been a great fit in Boston.
Cleaning the Glass shows that the Raptors are allowing 18.7 fewer points per 100 possessions with Poeltl on the floor. That is the best mark in the league for all centers.
 

kieckeredinthehead

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What are the Celtics doing as a team that suggests they’re getting ready for the playoffs? Losing a bunch of games is not ipso facto evidence that they don’t care about the regular season. If Grant’s health is important, why isn’t he at least in the injury report? If his shooting rhythm is important, why isn’t he getting more run? If they would rather just make it through the road trip healthy, why not design a play that makes sure they take a three at the end of regulation, win or move on? Why is old man Al playing 46 minutes in double OT? It’s totally reasonable to expect that teams use the last month of the season to gear up for the playoffs and sacrifice some wins to do so… that’s not what I’m seeing. This team looks completely out of sync. CJM doesn’t seem to be making decisions that would prep them for the postseason, he seems to be making decisions to win games and they’re not working.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Poeltl would certainly be great to have, especially with Williams out but when he's not they don't have a lot of run for him. His cost was relatively high and he would have been a rental so you can see why the Cs didn't bite. That's a lot for insurance.

Like any form of protection, player depth feels priceless when you don't have it and need it.
 

Tudor Fever

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Different circumstances but it’s a bit comforting to recall that last year’s Warriors started out the regular season 41-13 and then lost 16 of 23 before winning their last 5 games.
 

HomeRunBaker

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What are the Celtics doing as a team that suggests they’re getting ready for the playoffs? Losing a bunch of games is not ipso facto evidence that they don’t care about the regular season. If Grant’s health is important, why isn’t he at least in the injury report? If his shooting rhythm is important, why isn’t he getting more run? If they would rather just make it through the road trip healthy, why not design a play that makes sure they take a three at the end of regulation, win or move on? Why is old man Al playing 46 minutes in double OT? It’s totally reasonable to expect that teams use the last month of the season to gear up for the playoffs and sacrifice some wins to do so… that’s not what I’m seeing. This team looks completely out of sync. CJM doesn’t seem to be making decisions that would prep them for the postseason, he seems to be making decisions to win games and they’re not working.
Over the last 10 weeks the Celtics have had one stretch of 9 consecutive wins and another separate stretch of winning 9 of 11. Were you saying these same things about being out of sync and things not working then? Just prior to these streaks the team had lost 5 of 7…..were they out of sync and things not working then?

This is what happens with most teams over the course of 82 games. I talk of the Warriors last year ad nauseum but before the Bucks won 19 in a row recently they had lost 9 of their previous 16 games.
 

benhogan

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Poeltl was the move then and still the move now with some hindsight even if we had to give up more than the Raptors did. Celtics fans have no idea of the impact this player has on a game…..similar to Adam’s in Memphis, Rob when healthy here, etc.
I think everyone loved Poeltl around here, including Brad.

https://www.nbcsports.com/boston/celtics/nba-rumors-spurs-rejected-celtics-trade-offer-jakob-poeltl-deadline

There were rumors that if they landed him they would try to extend him

BUT the problem is a Boston 1st just doesn't have close to the same value as a Toronto 1st
I'm not even sure 2 Celtic 1sts beats a Toronto 1st (+ two 2nds)

Poeltl would have been more than "insurance", he would have easily been the 8th man in the rotation with everyone healthy. Plus a better defensive matchup against Embiid & Giannis than Grant.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I think everyone loved Poeltl around here, including Brad.

https://www.nbcsports.com/boston/celtics/nba-rumors-spurs-rejected-celtics-trade-offer-jakob-poeltl-deadline

There were rumors that if they landed him they would try to extend him

BUT the problem is a Boston 1st just doesn't have close to the same value as a Toronto 1st
I'm not even sure 2 Celtic 1sts beats a Toronto 1st (+ two 2nds)

Poeltl would have been more than "insurance", he would have easily been the 8th man in the rotation with everyone healthy. Plus a better defensive matchup against Embiid & Giannis than Grant.
People have their own thoughts and opinions on how Poeltl would have been used here. Some even called him a “3rd string center” iirc which is lol. I would have offered 2 low 1st and other filler as I expected him to be our starting center and/or split 24/24 with TL on the rare occasions the latter is healthy enough to play. I said it last playoffs and am still convinced that we have seen the last of Uber-athletic dominant TL so that’s why I would done what was necessary to land Poeltl. These championship windows don’t last forever…..injury, Jaylen leaving, Tatum leaving, etc.
 

kieckeredinthehead

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Over the last 10 weeks the Celtics have had one stretch of 9 consecutive wins and another separate stretch of winning 9 of 11. Were you saying these same things about being out of sync and things not working then? Just prior to these streaks the team had lost 5 of 7…..were they out of sync and things not working then?

This is what happens with most teams over the course of 82 games. I talk of the Warriors last year ad nauseum but before the Bucks won 19 in a row recently they had lost 9 of their previous 16 games.
When the Warriors went 7-16 last year, Steph played 35 minutes a game until he was injured for the remaining month of the season. Klay averaged 32 minutes a game and was inactive for six of them. Draymond was inactive from 2/9 to 3/12 and another two games before their bad stretch ended, averaging 24 minutes a game. They played two games together during the entire stretch.

During the Bucks’ 10-18 stretch, Middleton played three games. Giannis missed 6. Jrue missed 6 and averaged 32 in the games he did play. They played two total games together.

I’ll ask again - what are the Celtics doing that we can observe to sacrifice wins now to get ready for the playoffs?
 

Euclis20

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When the Warriors went 7-16 last year, Steph played 35 minutes a game until he was injured for the remaining month of the season. Klay averaged 32 minutes a game and was inactive for six of them. Draymond was inactive from 2/9 to 3/12 and another two games before their bad stretch ended, averaging 24 minutes a game. They played two games together during the entire stretch.

During the Bucks’ 10-18 stretch, Middleton played three games. Giannis missed 6. Jrue missed 6 and averaged 32 in the games he did play. They played two total games together.

I’ll ask again - what are the Celtics doing that we can observe to sacrifice wins now to get ready for the playoffs?
Letting Rob get healthy (or healthier).
 

kieckeredinthehead

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In the Celtics run of bad play, they’ve had their big three for six games. They went 3-3. Per Cleaning the Glass, here’s efficiency for the teams they’re being compared to:

GSW 2021-2022: Curry/Thompson/Wiggins/Green/Looney: +22.1 (705 possessions)

MIL 2022-2023: Holiday/Allen/Middleton/Giannis/Lopez: +21.5 (151 possessions)

BOS 2022-2023: Smart/Brown/Tatum/Horford/RWill: -16.4 (138 possessions)

They’re 18-10 when Rob plays, which would put them between Cleveland and Philly.
 

jezza1918

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In the Celtics run of bad play, they’ve had their big three for six games. They went 3-3. Per Cleaning the Glass, here’s efficiency for the teams they’re being compared to:

GSW 2021-2022: Curry/Thompson/Wiggins/Green/Looney: +22.1 (705 possessions)

MIL 2022-2023: Holiday/Allen/Middleton/Giannis/Lopez: +21.5 (151 possessions)

BOS 2022-2023: Smart/Brown/Tatum/Horford/RWill: -16.4 (138 possessions)
Are you starting the run of bad play with the 2/27 loss to the knicks? I assume you are because they won 7 of 8 before that (only loss being the bucks in OT with zero celtics starters).
On 2/27 loss to knicks they had no Jaylen
3/3 loss to nets they had no brogdon (not part of big 3 but until his recent injury he was odds on favorite for 6th man of the year)
3/5 loss to knicks no rob or brogdon (2 of their top 6)
3/6 loss to cavs no tatum , rob, or horford
last night no rob.

Winning the nba title is very difficult. if the celtics play like the last couple of weeks they wont get close. The point that people like @Deathofthebambino & @HomeRunBaker are making (or, at least the way I read it), is that there isn't much reason to imagine the celtics playing like this come playoff time, assuming good health (I dont mean to say they will definitely play like they did the opening 6 weeks by the way, but Id be shocked if they get bounced in the first round). With very few exceptions, teams dont go wire to wire in the NBA without a few blips. Each time this season the celtics have had a blip, they've snapped out of it with some very good play:
Mid December they lost 5/6, then won 13/15.
Mid jan they lose 4/6, and then won 7/8.
The western conference co-favorites (nuggests) have lost 3 in a row:
at home vs the bulls, by 21 points. denver was favored by 8.5
at san antonio (a team with like 1 more win than houston). denver was favored by 12.5
at home vs brookyln. denver was favored by 9.5
 

benhogan

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People have their own thoughts and opinions on how Poeltl would have been used here. Some even called him a “3rd string center” iirc which is lol. I would have offered 2 low 1st and other filler as I expected him to be our starting center and/or split 24/24 with TL on the rare occasions the latter is healthy enough to play. I said it last playoffs and am still convinced that we have seen the last of Uber-athletic dominant TL so that’s why I would done what was necessary to land Poeltl. These championship windows don’t last forever…..injury, Jaylen leaving, Tatum leaving, etc.
Agreed. I also thought Poeltl would play a large/similar role that you outlined. BUT "offering 2 low 1st and other filler" still doesn't get it done.

Toronto's 2024 1st > Boston's two 1sts

Right now Toronto's 2023 pick will probably be somewhere around 10-15

They gave up 2024 1st, so let's guess that's somewhere around ~15, seems fair right?

Celtics will be a TOP3-4 team for the foreseeable future. So even if they gave up a 2025 1st + 2027 1st, if I'm San Antonio I'd rather have Toronto's 2024 1st (+ their two 2nds).

Plus San Antonio already has exposure to Boston's future 1st in 2028 pick swap.

As soon as an under .500 team (Toronto) offered a First, Brad was boxed out on Poeltl. I suspect Muscala was a good as he could do under the circumstances
 

Jimbodandy

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Agreed. I also thought Poeltl would play a large/similar role that you outlined. BUT "offering 2 low 1st and other filler" still doesn't get it done.

Toronto's 2024 1st > Boston's two 1sts

Right now Toronto's 2023 pick will be probably somewhere around 10-15

They gave up 2024 1st, so let's guess that's somewhere around ~15, seems fair right?

Celtics will be a TOP3-4 team for the foreseeable future. So even if they gave up a 2024 1st + 2026 1st, if I'm San Antonio I'd rather have Toronto's 2024 1st (+ their two 2nds).

Plus San Antonio already has exposure to Boston's future 1st in 2028 pick swap.

As soon as an under .500 team (Toronto) offered a First, Brad was boxed out on Poeltl. I suspect Muscala was a good as he could do under the circumstances
Well said. This would have required additional value players and an interest on San Antonio's side on that guy. Like maybe if SAS were infatuated with Pritchard or Yam Madar or something, that plus 2 low firsts might work. Chances are that they're not.
 

benhogan

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Well said. This would have required additional value players and an interest on San Antonio's side on that guy. Like maybe if SAS were infatuated with Pritchard or Yam Madar or something, that plus 2 low firsts might work. Chances are that they're not.
The reality is TL's absence hurts this team's defense a lot. So we can bitch about Smart shots, Coach Joe's timeouts, Tatum minutes, etc (I'm guilty on all ;)). BUT they need to find an athletic BIG this summer.

We started putting TL substitute lists recently and that's something Brad may explore this Summer. Grant could potentially be used here in a S&T along with a Firsts, PP, Begarin, etc

I'll leave off the super expensive and go with athletic 5s (free safety type).

Daniel Gafford - playing too well
Claxton - blew up this year
Okongwu
Beef Stew
Jericho Sims - very raw, but comes with springs

Note: it took TL 2 full NBA seasons before he started adding value. BIGs blossom a little later.
Maybe scour the G-League & the draft/2nd rounders:
James Nnaji, DaRon Holmes, Adem Bona, Trayce Jackson-Davis
 

kieckeredinthehead

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Are you starting the run of bad play with the 2/27 loss to the knicks? I assume you are because they won 7 of 8 before that (only loss being the bucks in OT with zero celtics starters).
On 2/27 loss to knicks they had no Jaylen
3/3 loss to nets they had no brogdon (not part of big 3 but until his recent injury he was odds on favorite for 6th man of the year)
3/5 loss to knicks no rob or brogdon (2 of their top 6)
3/6 loss to cavs no tatum , rob, or horford
last night no rob.

Winning the nba title is very difficult. if the celtics play like the last couple of weeks they wont get close. The point that people like @Deathofthebambino & @HomeRunBaker are making (or, at least the way I read it), is that there isn't much reason to imagine the celtics playing like this come playoff time, assuming good health (I dont mean to say they will definitely play like they did the opening 6 weeks by the way, but Id be shocked if they get bounced in the first round). With very few exceptions, teams dont go wire to wire in the NBA without a few blips. Each time this season the celtics have had a blip, they've snapped out of it with some very good play:
Mid December they lost 5/6, then won 13/15.
Mid jan they lose 4/6, and then won 7/8.
The western conference co-favorites (nuggests) have lost 3 in a row:
at home vs the bulls, by 21 points. denver was favored by 8.5
at san antonio (a team with like 1 more win than houston). denver was favored by 12.5
at home vs brookyln. denver was favored by 9.5
They’re 12-10 since 1/23.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I’ll ask again - what are the Celtics doing that we can observe to sacrifice wins now to get ready for the playoffs?
Who is claiming they are sacrificing wins? We are playing normal rotations based on health and just won B2B games of meaning….coming off 3 straight losses in final game of homestand and first game of long road trip.
 

kieckeredinthehead

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Who is claiming they are sacrificing wins? We are playing normal rotations based on health and just won B2B games of meaning….coming off 3 straight losses in final game of homestand and first game of long road trip.
I have no idea how else to interpret this: “We know younger, less established teams make harder pushes during the regular season (Ex: Kings, Grizz pre-Adams injury/Morant insanity) while the more veteran teams treat much of the regular season as prep for the playoffs (Ex: Warriors, Suns, Clips, Bucks earlier in the year, etc).”

What specific things do you see the Celtics doing to prep for the playoffs?
 

HomeRunBaker

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I have no idea how else to interpret this: “We know younger, less established teams make harder pushes during the regular season (Ex: Kings, Grizz pre-Adams injury/Morant insanity) while the more veteran teams treat much of the regular season as prep for the playoffs (Ex: Warriors, Suns, Clips, Bucks earlier in the year, etc).”

What specific things do you see the Celtics doing to prep for the playoffs?
For one, this is pretty much a veteran team with everyone outside of Hauser and Grant in year 6+, with four of our top 10-11 with 9+, while even the young core has been to two EC Finals and an NBA Finals. This is far from 2019, 2020.

Secondly, I don’t know what you’re looking for in specifics as they are playing the 82-game schedule while competing to win games with the guys who are physically available on that given night, giving necessary load management to everyone, and working in/out the role players to give them the opportunity to produce. What else is the regular season for?
 

kieckeredinthehead

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For one, this is pretty much a veteran team with everyone outside of Hauser and Grant in year 6+, with four of our top 10-11 with 9+, while even the young core has been to two EC Finals and an NBA Finals. This is far from 2019, 2020.

Secondly, I don’t know what you’re looking for in specifics as they are playing the 82-game schedule while competing to win games with the guys who are physically available on that given night, giving necessary load management to everyone, and working in/out the role players to give them the opportunity to produce. What else is the regular season for?
How would you use this description to distinguish teams that “make harder pushes” from the ones that are prepping for the playoffs? If they’re trying to win games, why aren’t they winning more? If it’s because not all of them are healthy, why have their starting five looked so awful when they actually do play together?
 

HomeRunBaker

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How would you use this description to distinguish teams that “make harder pushes” from the ones that are prepping for the playoffs? If they’re trying to win games, why aren’t they winning more? If it’s because not all of them are healthy, why have their starting five looked so awful when they actually do play together?
Why aren’t they winning more? Seriously? We just won 9 in a row, split a few, then won 9 of 11……all since the first of the year! What are your expectations of this team….that we play .750 ball consistently throughout the year? Who does that?

We have the second best record in the entire league behind a team that just won 19 in a row. We are currently either favorites or co-favorites to win the NBA Title depending on which book you are looking at. This is like game thread panic.
 

kieckeredinthehead

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Why aren’t they winning more? Seriously? We just won 9 in a row, split a few, then won 9 of 11……all since the first of the year! What are your expectations of this team….that we play .750 ball consistently throughout the year? Who does that?

We have the second best record in the entire league behind a team that just won 19 in a row. We are currently either favorites or co-favorites to win the NBA Title depending on which book you are looking at. This is like game thread panic.
They just won 9 in a row. But the games in March don't matter. Veteran teams prep for the playoffs, younger teams make harder pushes. But you can't say which is which, or how we know that the Celtics are prepping for the playoffs, other than that a lot of their rotation have been in the league for a while. Teams lose lots of games over an 82 game season. But if you focus on a stretch of 11 games when they won most of them, that's meaningful. And some book says they're favorites. Everyone knows you can't beat the book. The Warriors lost a bunch of games when their big three didn't play together. The Bucks lost a bunch of games when their big three didn't play together. When the Celtics big three play together, their net rating is atrocious and they're 3-3 and none of them have rings. I'm just having trouble finding any consistent argument in here. "We" are posting in a thread about playoff concerns. "They" are 25-15 since mid-December. Their freak of nature big is injured, their defensive player of the year can't stay in front of anybody, Grant's corner office has gone back to remote work, and our MVP candidate is +5000 and falling. Go start a shit don't stink thread or something.
 

HomeRunBaker

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They just won 9 in a row. But the games in March don't matter. Veteran teams prep for the playoffs, younger teams make harder pushes. But you can't say which is which, or how we know that the Celtics are prepping for the playoffs, other than that a lot of their rotation have been in the league for a while. Teams lose lots of games over an 82 game season. But if you focus on a stretch of 11 games when they won most of them, that's meaningful. And some book says they're favorites. Everyone knows you can't beat the book. The Warriors lost a bunch of games when their big three didn't play together. The Bucks lost a bunch of games when their big three didn't play together. When the Celtics big three play together, their net rating is atrocious and they're 3-3 and none of them have rings. I'm just having trouble finding any consistent argument in here. "We" are posting in a thread about playoff concerns. "They" are 25-15 since mid-December. Their freak of nature big is injured, their defensive player of the year can't stay in front of anybody, Grant's corner office has gone back to remote work, and our MVP candidate is +5000 and falling. Go start a shit don't stink thread or something.
Impressive word salad. I’ll let you worry about irrelevant small 3-man samples in March. None of that will matter in another month when the results matter and nobody will be worrying about the Rockets game. See you then.
 

128

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To me, at least, it's not the losses as much as it how the C's are playing. It would be one thing if they were playing hard and well and getting beat occasionally by better/hotter teams. That hasn't been the case in most of these losses. The exquisite ball movement that marked the first half of the season is often missing, and the defense has been half-hearted much of the time.

With a healthy Time Lord, this is still a formidable team, but there are plenty of cracks that weren't showing earlier in the year.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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The ‘09-‘10 team started 23-5 and pretty much coasted their way to a 27-27 record the final 2/3 of the season before going 4-1, 4-2, 4-2 on their way to the Finals.

As much it stresses tf out of me in the process of watching, it is fair to be in wait and see mode.

I do wish it weren’t predicated on health. They need Smart at full power and TL usable to reach the peaks they are capable of on both ends of the floor. They are so tough when they have that size at every position and everything is just a bit more conventional, defendable, and attackable the way things at the moment.
 

Leon Trotsky

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After watching a bunch of other top teams over the last couple weeks, most recently the Nuggets last night stinking it up in Toronto, I am not worried at all. The Bucks have been hot lately, but have had their own cold streaks. It is clear that it is hard to win if teams don't go 100% for 100% of the game, and this part of the year just isn't going to have that as teams (especially those near the top of the standings) position themselves, health or otherwise, for the playoffs.
 

Jimbodandy

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The reality is TL's absence hurts this team's defense a lot. So we can bitch about Smart shots, Coach Joe's timeouts, Tatum minutes, etc (I'm guilty on all ;)). BUT they need to find an athletic BIG this summer.

We started putting TL substitute lists recently and that's something Brad may explore this Summer. Grant could potentially be used here in a S&T along with a Firsts, PP, Begarin, etc
Agreed. Someone who can switch and defend the rim. As long as we're not overly hung up with them being able to bang threes, it shouldn't be super hard finding that guy. I don't think that they want to spend capital on a guy who has to play drop coverage.

We have the same problem that we've always had. TL can't stay on the court. It's great that Brad seriously improved on the end of the rotation and depth. We can probably survive a series with someone important battling a hammy for ten days. That's real. But no TL weakens the defense a lot and the offense a little.

I'm also of the opinion that Smart's shot selection, the TOs, Tatum's bad shooting stretches, etc. will all sort themselves out. I think that this defense can and will lock down much more than they did in that Houston AAU game. But it will still be limited if we're marching Blake and Kornet out there for real minutes.
 

RorschachsMask

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I wouldn’t say they are concerns, outside of Rob’s health. But I want to see Smart play better on both ends, Tatum to have less poor shooting games, and Jaylen to be more consistently efficient, these last two games are his first 60%+ TS games since February 1st.

And I feel pretty damn good about all three of those things working out.
 

Deathofthebambino

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When the Celtics big three play together, their net rating is atrocious and they're 3-3 and none of them have rings. I
I think I (and I'm guessing a few others here) have a different opinion on who the C's "big 3" are right now. Everyone would love it to be Smart, including at this time, Coach Joe, but for my money Brogdon, White and even TL (or Al if TL can't go) are more important come playoff time than Smart is assuming Joe does the right thing.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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I think Marcus is struggling with his fitness a little bit. Hard to get cardio in with an ankle issue and he just looks heavier and a step slower out on the perimeter. Assuming no further setbacks, I think there's good reason to be optimistic on his playing his way back into getting that step back. If he misses more gametime, though, I'm nervous about him being MARCUS SMARF in the playoffs.

But I also think there's concern about Marcus writ large. This year, opponents are +4.8 on offense when he's on the court; last year they were -1.5; year before that they were +.2. Plus, his 2.8 fouls per game is the highest since his second year in the league.

Is that all a result of playing through some ankle stuff? His offense is the same or better than years past. Perhaps more appropriate for a Marcus thread.
 

bankshot1

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If the Celts are healthy they can beat anyone in a 7-game series.

And a team like that can probably win the toughest series in 5 or 6.

IMO they can be that good.

The trouble is that probability seems 50/50 as the season moves closer to the post-season they will be that healthy or deep..

And as a team adjusting to a less than optimal rotation for the past 2 months, they have been a .500 team, often falling into troubling patterns, on O &D. Contrary to CJM philosophy of letting the guys figure it out. They haven't.

And its been a problem.

And given a rookie coach who has not demonstrated he has figured it out, I think there has been enough evidence for even the greenest of die hard C fans to take note and be concerned.


I still think even absent TL, or a serially nut-kicked Marcus, there is enough talent on this team to win a 7-gamer against anyone. But it will require discipline and playing hard for 48 or 53.

There is still time for this team to do that. There is no time like the present to develop some court habits that will serve them well in March or June.
 

HomeRunBaker

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I think Marcus is struggling with his fitness a little bit. Hard to get cardio in with an ankle issue and he just looks heavier and a step slower out on the perimeter. Assuming no further setbacks, I think there's good reason to be optimistic on his playing his way back into getting that step back. If he misses more gametime, though, I'm nervous about him being MARCUS SMARF in the playoffs.

But I also think there's concern about Marcus writ large. This year, opponents are +4.8 on offense when he's on the court; last year they were -1.5; year before that they were +.2. Plus, his 2.8 fouls per game is the highest since his second year in the league.

Is that all a result of playing through some ankle stuff? His offense is the same or better than years past. Perhaps more appropriate for a Marcus thread.
Good point. If you remember a few years ago when Marcus missed over a month with that calf injury he really struggled physically for awhile upon return. He has that body type where if he’s not able to be in elite shape he’s a step slower and his entire game falls off. Something to watch with him moving forward as he doesn’t figure to age well into his 30’s….and he turns 30 next year.
 

bankshot1

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Just as an FYI - over the past 2 months (60 days) this team is 16-10, which is a 51 win pace
My bad.

I should have said 3 months (since the Phoenix road win) They've played 26-17 about .600 ball or a 50 win pace.

To me its a marked under performance given their talent and depth.

Perhaps my expectations were too high.
 

tims4wins

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My bad.

I should have said 3 months (since the Phoenix road win) They've played 26-17 about .600 ball or a 50 win pace.

To me its a marked under performance given their talent and depth.

Perhaps my expectations were too high.
I just went back and read through the predictions thread, but it was barely populated. I would have thought we'd have a poll with win range predictions, etc.

I'm not sure what I would have said coming into the season. Probably along the lines of 55 wins. But the hot start definitely raised my personal expectations, and the recent lull has similarly lowered my expectations again.
 

Jimbodandy

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My bad.

I should have said 3 months (since the Phoenix road win) They've played 26-17 about .600 ball or a 50 win pace.

To me its a marked under performance given their talent and depth.

Perhaps my expectations were too high.
[Trigger warning: overt optimism]

It's a long season. I think that the guys are figuring things out, working things out. The rotation is clear (JT, JB, TL, DW, MS, AH, MB, GW). The role players are clear (BG, LK, SH, MM). And the bench is clear. Everyone knows their role. Only Grant is really pressing, and Brad has probably taken him aside already and told him that he'll get a good wage even if the market for him is somewhat dead. There's no real infighting. Team shows flashes of awesome offensive potential and sometimes last year's lockdown defense. It's all there. Whether they're the 1 seed or the 3 seed, if you want a championship you have to win the conference first. I'm not too worried about whether they get 60 wins or not and don't think that we should be.