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The Weekend Greenie Bag: A Very Much Needed Therapy Session

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Alright, with how things have gone over the last 48 or so hours for our beloved Celtics, it’s time to empty out the inbox and let fellow stoolies vent. What should have been a time to celebrate is anything but after two horrific losses to both LA teams, where just when you thought the Celtics hit rock bottom against the Lakers, they showed a whole new level of ineptitude last night. If I could be honest after reading some of your questions/comments last night’s 28 point collapse was really just the latest bullet point on a long list of frustrations surrounding this team. As a reminder, that’s what the Greenie Bag is for, it is here that you can feel free to speak your mind, rage your face off, whatever your heart desires. Just email greenieceltsbag@gmail.com or you can tweet me anything with #GreenieBag and we’ll get through this together. Today is one of those days where we just need a good old fashioned therapy session so let’s dive right in.

That’s right, we’re starting this thing off with the tough questions. Is it time to hit the panic button, well, it’s complicated and depends on how you look at their situation. I’m not sure
panic” is the right word just because they blew two regular season games. There are a ton of other feelings you could have, but I’m not sure panic would be the right one. There’s anger, frustration, disappointment, things like that. You look at their body of work over the last few months and things don’t look as bad. This isn’t to excuse what we’ve seen from this team recently, but look at it this way. When they were winning 10 of 11 and playing great, that in no way guaranteed any sort of playoff success the same way back to back horrific losses guarantees playoff struggles. That’s not how it works.

By now we all should be used to this team being wildly inconsistent, and while last night was a new low it doesn’t really change all that much in terms of what they may be able to do come the Spring. obviously if they play like this they’ll get waxed, and then it’ll truly be time to smash the panic button. But with a season filled of these type of bad losses, I’m not hitting the panic button.

Now has Brad lost the locker room? Maybe. He certainly hasn’t done a great job in what has been the biggest test of his entire tenure. I’m not sure what the deal is but we’re seeing a trend of this team fall into bad habits over and over again, and at some point that has to be pointed towards Brad. How he managed egos/stars/all that shit was his biggest question heading into this season, and it’s been less than ideal that’s for sure.

Greenie, I’m so tired of Kyrie’s shit. I’ve deleted about 6,000 different questions/statements to this. As a not young Celtics fan, I want Kyrie, or at least a talent to his caliber on this team. But I’d rather go through a decade of IT4 than to have to deal with this mini Lebron drama day to day. – Ben

All I can say Ben is welcome to the NBA. Kyrie certainly isn’t the first star player to be a little dramatic and he certainly won’t be the last. This is what we all signed up for when we made that trade, so we can’t now turn on him now that he’s acting in a way everyone knew he would. Nothing we’re seeing lately is all that different from anything Kyrie has done in the past. The thing is you just have to accept that in order to get the level of talent he possesses. If the goal is titles, you need talent like Kyrie in order to achieve that, now whether you think the juice is worth the squeeze is entirely up to you, and sure it would make things a whole lot easier if he would not fan the flames of this drama, but that’s not realistic.

But don’t think this is just a Kyrie thing. This is how it is for every single blue chip super elite player in the league not named like Steph Curry. I do think he is partially to blame for the drama surrounding this team right now, and while that’s not ideal it’s also not changing even if he DOES sign an extension, so you may as well just get used to it.

Hey Greenie –

Like you, I am furious with the Lakers loss. One thing haunting me after watching the ball go off the hands of three Celtics before reaching Rondo is why was Marcus Smart not on the floor for the last play? I realize they were down one and needing a bucket when Brad subbed him out with 18 seconds, but we all know it was going to be Kyrie or possibly Tatum to take the shot on the offensive end. How does Brad have Hayward on the floor over Smart in that situation? Hayward had done jack during the game and isn’t half as tough as Marcus when it comes to getting a critical offensive rebound or loose ball. Please help me understand Brad’s rationale because I am losing my faith in him. – Walshie

It’s a fair question that you’re certainly not alone in asking. If you remember, after Tatum’s first FT top make it 124-125 Brad made the offense/defense swap taking out Hayward and Kyrie and putting in Smart and Jaylen. That was when Kuzma immediately hit the three and the Celts then took a timeout down 1 with 19 seconds left. Brad then subbed back in Hayward/Kyrie for Jaylen and Smart, putting their best offensive players back in the game. On the surface, that’s what we want when this team needs a bucket. It was also the Celtics final timeout so there was no other chance for them to stop the clock and make one last switch.

Now the questioning comes how much of an upgrade offensively is Hayward than Smart. On one had you have Smart going 2-10 and Hayward 2-5, so maybe given the play they ran Brad felt that Hayward’s spacing would have been more valuable. They scored on that possession so you can’t complain there, things just went to shit on the other end. The thing is, Hayward wasn’t really involved in that play. Had Al grabbed the rebound, or Mook/Tatum secured the loose ball, it really doesn’t matter that Smart wasn’t on the floor. So when I look at this play Brad put Hayward into the game in an effort to help them score on that final possession which they did, they just got a brutal bounce and tough luck at the buzzer.

I’m not sold that if you put Smart in Hayward’s exact position on that final play that he’s even involved anyways, so if anything it was just a bad break.

Greenie,

I thought we were past the point of having a worst loss of the season type loss directly after another worst loss of season. Both at home. Full disclosure the Celtics cost me $900 parlay against lakers and cost me another $700 last night against the clippers by blowing their worst lead since 2003. I can’t quit betting them thinking they will turn it around and they just can’t. Unreal. I thought it before Morris comments came out but this team just doesn’t seem to genuinely get along or have any relationship more than any normal coworkers. Of course we’re a better team now talent wise but those IT – AB- Crowder teams just seemed to fight every game like it was a do or die and this team seems to not try until the 4th quarter where it’s usually too late. If this team had their mentality they would legit walk to the Finals and probably go 7 with GS. I’ve been saying this whole year we’ll be fine and should win East but following these two losses, seeing they haven’t really progressed since beginning of season in terms of turning the page after a bad loss I think there’s a real chance we don’t even make ECF.

Jack

First off, I’m sorry for your loss, that’s tough. Stuff like that is why I could never bet on this team, it’s already hard enough dealing with them playing like assholes, I can’t imagine losing that kinda cash because of them. Ts + Ps for you my friend.

Now I get you’re emotional, but let’s try and take a deep breath. Saying things haven’t progressed since the start of the year in terms of a bad loss isn’t exactly true. Yeah it didn’t happen this weekend, but if you look outside of their last few months, they have shown the ability to respond. There was the win against CHA after the brutal home loss against MIL. There was the win over NO after the awful loss on the road to DAL at the end of November. Then even recently you have the win over the red hot Nets immediately following the GS loss.

It’s just tough to say they can’t succeed in April because they lose in February. Sure if they play this way they will, but that’s true of anyone. What if over the next few weeks they win @PHI, @MIL, @TOR. Then would you consider them likely to make a deep playoff run? The one thing we know about the playoffs is everything is different. Guys try harder, it’s more about matchups, nothing any team shows you before the break guarantees anything come that time of the year. This team has just 3 losses in nearly a month, so while I get being frustrated, just breathe.

Seriously why the fuck does every star list the knicks among their preferred destination? What world are we living in? – Joe

The one where Rich Paul tries to manipulate the market. It’s not like this is all that new, the Knicks are always rumored to be in play for a big time free agent, but how many have actually gone there? I’d ignore it, mostly because James Dolan still exists.

Greenie,

Theis is a +9 in this debacle against the Clips and goes 4 of 4…and plays 16 minutes on a night the C’s don’t have Baynes. They have 2 timeouts at the end that apparently weren’t needed to be used at any point while the 28 point lead was turned into a double digit defeat. Yabu’s size makes him ideal to free up space on picks for a struggling offense committing offensive foul after offensive foul, he doesn’t see the floor.

It just seems like Brad freezes up when things go bad this year, and so runs turn into mega-runs. How much of the responsibility for these back to back humiliating defeats rest on the coach? – Joshua

If I had to give it a percentage, I’d say like 55/45% in favor of the players. His rotation choices and lack of timeouts are obviously a huge issue, but it’s not on him when you look at how bad this team was at defending the P&R the last two games. That’s on the players. It’s not on Brad when this team settles for early shot clock jumpers and doesn’t move the ball. I don’t think he sits there and says “OK guys, now I want you to start playing like assholes”.

Where he is responsible is once EVERYONE can see the disaster unravelling right in front of our faces, he does nothing. No timeouts, no substitutions to send a message to play the right way, he just sort of sits there and allows it to happen. That’s on him. It’s on him that this team doesn’t look ready to play to start second halfs, on him that they don’t seem to run any sort of offense late in games, things like that. The players should most certainly not be let off the hook, but there’s no denying Brad has had a pretty big share of the blame pie these last two games.

Is it our destiny to be the team that can’t win when it matters? Cuz we had a good January but February fucking sucks so far.

Also, Kyrie being out might help us in the playoffs.?

Thnx for the vent, John

I mean how could anybody know ha. Think of it this way, if the Celtics didn’t blow a 28 point lead, would that mean they can win when it matters? If you look at them compared to the rest of the top teams in the East, they have the same amount of losses in 3 point games as TOR/IND/PHI and one fewer than MIL. They are the only team in the East undefeated in OT games. Two bad losses sure, but I don’t know if we can just declare this a team that doesn’t win when it matters. They still have a legit record against the MIL/TOR/PHI/IND grouping so that may be taking things a little far.

In terms of February, 3-2 so far this month with the two awful losses I’ll give you that, but they also showed out against a very hot OKC team. I think we need to see what the next week looks like before we call February a complete disaster. I would say things change drastically if they are able to beat PHI/TOR/MIL over the next few games.

And no, not having Kyrie for the playoffs would NOT help this team. Just because they had success does not guarantee the same thing would happen this year. So many things have changed, and having All NBA talent is better than not, every single time.

Alright, Greenie, I’m gonna say it: F**k Kyrie. I know he can single handedly win games, is an amazing dribbler and scorer, blah, blah, blah. But he seems like a terrible teammate. I like the Celts better without him: more ball movement, more energy, better teamwork. The team that got to the eastern conference finals last year is one year better and can win the east. Maybe they can’t beat Golden State without him, but they are a better team without him. Thoughts? – Dave

No, the Celtics are not a better team without Kyrie. Aside from his talent alone, having him on the floor is obviously huge in making things easier for everyone else. If defenses don’t have to worry about a player like Kyrie, that makes it tougher for the entire offense. I also don’t really agree that the ball moves better without him. We just saw the Celts go on a huge stretch of great ball movement and fluid offense, all while Kyrie was playing. Look at their run in Dec/Jan and even to start this month with the Celts playing some of their best basketball you have Kyrie finishing with like 8-11 assists consistently.

Now he certainly has room to grow as a leader and a teammate and all that stuff, that’s true. But we need to stop this idea that they are better without him because that’s simply not true. I said it earlier, but we also need to stop looking at last year as the proof for this line of thinking. You need elite talent to win in this league, and that’s never going to change.

Greenie,

I’m a big Gordon Hayward guy. Loved the signing, love the player, but what we’ve been watching over the last few months has been cringe-worthy. I know we have to be patient given the nature of his injury, but the guy has limited lateral movement on defense, no explosion or first step and looks way in his own head at times.

No two injuries or players are the same, but I don’t remember Paul George looking this lost when he came back from his injury. When do we start to worry?

-Sugar Shane

Certainly not yet. Also I hear the PG13 comparison a lot, and there’s a million reasons why the situations are completely different aside from just the injury. Their roles on each team, the fact that George came back and then had an entire offseason at 100%, and even that next year he still shot 41/37%. Why are we so quick to give up on Hayward when he wasn’t even cleared until like September?

Let’s see what he looks like after a full summer at being 100% before I consider starting to worry.

Alright, I hope that therapy session helped. Thanks to everyone who wrote in, hopefully by next weekend we have a lot more positive things to talk about. See ya then, I’m going back to 2K because I need to forget this weekend ever happened.