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A (Non-Greenie) Self-Hating Celtics Blog

Tim Nwachukwu. Getty Images.

Getting it outta the way, I’m Trig. I do graphic design for merch and the PMT cover art, plus whatever else is needed artistically at good ol’ Barstool Sports. I got this log-in to post about the children’s book we put out a couple years ago. I passionately root for the Boston Celtics and Georgia Bulldogs. That’s probably all you need to know about me. 

Secondly, I genuinely like Greenie. He’s a good dude, he cares more about the Celtics than I do about any single thing except maybe my daughter, and knows his shit. I read all his Celtics blogs. This isn’t an attack on him or an attempt to start the world’s least interesting Barstool Beef or anything like that. But I had to try and voice the other side of the Green Team fandom.

I couldn’t let Greenie continue to speak as the sole voice of the Celtics fan on this blog. His blind love for the team has obscured how many fans ACTUALLY feel about this team. Because he views all these guys like family members, he glosses over the actual flaws gnawing away at this team - and how we FEEL about the team.

Also, trust tree, the cliches of ‘defend or die,’ ‘play with your food,’ and ‘fuck around and found out’ have absolutely driven me crazy lately.

So while he can pull nuanced, small sample size stats to back up his points, I’m gonna shoot from the hip and go off vibez. You will not get a single NetRating or TS% or VORP from me, that’s the Trig PromiseTM. Without further ado, here’s a diehard Celtics Fan’s Hater Guide for his own team.

(Full disclosure, I wrote this very angry last night in my notes app. Didn’t know if I’d submit it. Looked at it today and said fuck it.)

Boston Globe. Getty Images.

This team is REALLY tough to embrace and it starts with their demeanor. They act as if they are a multi-title winning team that can flip the switch and turn it on when they want. They think they are better than their opponents, and they can just roll the ball out and win. And because they ARE so damn talented, a lot of times they are right. But it makes it no less infuriating to watch. That sense of self-regard emanates from the team and is becoming toxic to many in the fan base. 

Compared to that ’08-’12 KG run, there is nowhere near the same love for the team. Some of that is definitely cemented in the fact the ’08 team actually did win a title. But regardless of rings, you knew those teams gave a shit. And it started from the top. KG was the ultimate psychopath competitor, and that personality set the tone for the team.  Even at the end of the run when they were outmanned, they had Grit and Balls and this site sold t-shirts saying as much. You never had to question effort.

Far too often with this year’s team, you do.

Just like in the KG era, it starts at the top… Jayson Tatum. The man is arguably the most skilled player to wear Celtics green (or black, or dark green - fuck Nike for what they did to the jerseys). But unlike a Larry, a KG, even a Pierce, the mental toughness and consistency is maddening. I get he’s only 19 (25), but if you want to be considered a top 5-10 player in this league, show up every night. Don’t settle for size-up, above-the-break threes. Don’t throw your arms up towards the refs every time you miss at the rim. Don’t let Marcus Smart be the Alpha down the stretch. He has had great playoff games. He has hit big shots. That’s not the issue. The issue is that he no-shows far too often for a superstar. Or worse, he has games when the box score looks amazing, but he did all the numbers in the first 44 minutes and nothing in the last 4.

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Also, he is in way too many commercials and Deuce should go to bed earlier.

In all fairness, his 2H in Game 4 was brilliant. Usually, when he sucks in the first half, you just write him off for the game. Sunday he clearly didn’t have his stroke, but he figured out a way to be the best player on the floor for most of the second half. So maybe he’s making strides. Or maybe he’ll disappear late in Game 5 or 6. Who the fuck knows.

Jaylen Brown has legitimately turned himself into an All-NBA player and the best second-option in the league not named Kevin Durant. Yet, his handle is still so damn loose, you never feel comfortable with him dribbling in the halfcourt. He’s also very mechanical and his moves feel predetermined - and when the defense reads him, he’s left hanging in the air throwing a bad pass back out to the wing. He is prone to late game mistakes more than any other player on the team, and that’s not even counting the clenched-asshole FTs he takes inside of 5 minutes. 

Marcus Smart is the most polarizing Boston athlete I’ve ever watched. It’s like a fucking Rorschach Test for what you see. Do you see the incredible competitor who has the balls this team sorely lacks? Or do you see the Wannabe-Alpha who has far too much say in late game situations and whether the team wins or loses close games? Where is the DPOY that perimeter players couldn’t score on this year? Also, pick the fucking ball up off the ground after inbounds and stop worrying about shaving seconds. 

I won’t nitpick Al, I would die for him. But if I were to nitpick him, I’d say when the threes aren’t falling he feels useless offensively. But I won’t do that because at 36 years old he still puts the league MVP in clamps.

I’m scared every time Rob jumps.

Grant bitches like he’s a superstar but he a fringe rotation player.

Malcolm has become a flashing green light for Harden to switch into.

Derrick White has really bad hair but should probably close games.

Then you have the much maligned Joe Mazzulla. Despite as much self-hate as I’ve already expressed in this blog that probably won’t even get posted, I don’t hate Joe. In the NBA, there are like 3 great coaches, a handful of bad coaches, and then the rest are just “fine.” Joe is in the “fine” category. He’s not Erik Spoelstra out there, but he also isn’t Mark Jackson. That said, there is PLENTY to dislike about his game management if you so please. 

Tim Nwachukwu. Getty Images.

The no-timeout thing is really tough to defend when the team has little proof-of-concept of it working. The end of the 4Q I was “better’ with it - it was a tie game, worst case you go to OT. Still didn’t love it, but they got a good shot, so whatever. The OT situation was brutal, though. The Harden 3 was a gut-punch, the building was going nuts, and you were now trailing. Call the timeout, draw something up, and get a good look with like 4 seconds left so you have a chance for am offensive rebound second chance, or some wiggle room to call another timeout if you fuck it up and are scrambling. Orrrrrrr let Tatum start the attack at 3 seconds left and not get a shot off in time. Whatever.

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Personally, I think it’s unfair to blame a head coach for effort in the NBA. They are grown men getting paid handsomely, get yourself motivated. But the lack of defensive intensity compared to last year’s run is shocking. Where the fuck did it go? It was there in Game 2 and in the 4Q of Game 4, so clearly they still have it. We shouldn’t need our backs to be against the wall to dig in and play defense.

Then add on top of that the late-game offense. If we have a lead, we turtle and would rather burn 22 seconds off the shot clock and settle for a make-or-miss (usually contested) jumper than do what we did to amass the lead. Instead of continuing to push the pace and attack the rim and get kick out threes, we throw the ball to Tatum at the top of the arc, set a high ball screen into a switch, and settle with the outcome. Again, I don’t think this is a Mazzulla thing, I think he detests this style, but it’s tough to not heap any blame on him when it continues to occur. 

This doesn’t even get into the late-game closing lineups and the Marcus vs. White vs. Brogdon dilemma. Or the fact that the toughest person on the team last year was the Head Coach (another indictment of the team) and that is noticeably lacking this year. 

So here we are. In the Eastern Semis tied 2-2 in a series we’ve dominated. The team with the best 8-man rotation in the league is now two games away from losing to a team it is better than. Knowing this team, they will probably show up and win Game 5 because that’s what they do when they are properly motivated. And that in and of itself is infuriating. They are as likely to beat the Sixers by 30 in Game 5 as they are to piss away another game they should have won. Which Tatum will show up? Which player will make the crippling brainfart in the last 2 minutes as they choke away a lead? These aren’t the thoughts that endear you to the fan base. But they are omnipresent. 

I’ve spent 1500 words bashing a team I love, clearly I’m in a weird headspace. But I’m not in minority feeling this way. This team’s ceiling is the best team in the league. This is a fan-base dying for another banner, yearning to embrace this team as it did the KG-era ones. They have the talent to put together 10 more wins and earn all the adulation a champion gets.

But I have a pit in my stomach that tells me they won’t. Let’s hope I’m wrong. 

Now buy some fucking merch.