Woj Suggesting The Celtics Are Down 0-3 To Miami In Part Because They Aren't Over Ime Udoka Is Extremely Embarrassing
As you can imagine, things are not great with the Celts down 0-3 and their season hanging on by the smallest of threads heading into tonight's Game 4. As we saw last night with the Lakers, it's much more likely that a series like this ends in a sweep than it is there is some magical turnaround, but we'll worry about that later.
This blog is about what Woj said on TV last night in regards to this team and Ime Udoka
OK, there's a lot to get to here. For starters, we cannot forget that Woj and Ime share an agency (CAA). It was no surprise Woj was the first to drop the Ime news back in September, yet used very specific language to help set the narrative that everything was "consensual" in an attempt to help Ime's image. As Shams brought us what additional details there were, suddenly things didn't look so hot for Ime, so I do think that needs to be taken into consideration here.
It's also true the players were shocked and confused when this happened, because they said as much. I absolutely believe there were probably some guys back in September that were angry and confused as to why this was all happening the way it did, that's normal.
But that's where this Ime bullshit stops.
The Boston Celtics are not down 0-3 to the Miami Heat because players are upset that Ime Udoka got fired. Fuck that. That is beyond embarrassing. The Celts are down 0-3 to the Heat because the Heat have completely outplayed them. Period. Full stop.
I just look at the entire season. Somehow the Celts were able to get out to a 21-5 start despite the supposed crippling reality that Ime was no longer the coach? They were able to go the entire year with a top 3 offense, defense, and net rating even though their ability to play basketball at a high level no longer existed because Ime wasn't on the sidelines? Their two best players had the best season of their careers somehow, despite not even being able to sleep at night because Ime wasn't the coach?
Give. Me. A. Break.
Then we get to the playoffs, and if this is such a supposed issue, how did they make the ECF? Now I imagine some will say
"Well, ATL took them to 6 and PHI 7, two series that went longer than they should have"
Oh, you mean just like the Bucks and Heat series just last season under Ime?
According to Woj, this team can't execute because they miss Ime, yet they lost nearly the exact same ways in the playoffs under Ime? They blew games at home (Game 5 vs MIL, Game 6 vs MIA), they had disaster 3rd quarters in the ECF (33-14), and they had end of game collapses, ALL OF IT under Ime.
Just think of how the Celts playoff series were extended this year. What does Malcolm Brogdon throwing the ball to Tyrese Maxey with 30 seconds left in Game 1 have to do with Ime? Brogdon wasn't even on the team. What does Jaylen Brown leaving a strong side corner shooter to double Embiid, when everyone said not to give up 3s, have to do with Ime? Is Ime the reason Tatum had 3 straight games where he went 0-100 from the field in the first half? What does the Celtics going 18-63 on open/wide open 3PA over Games 2 & 3 of this year's ECF have to do with Ime?
All I hear when I listen to Woj in that clip are excuses. Pathetic ones at that.
You are not down 0-3 because the Celtics fired Ime and hired the guy the best players said they wanted. You are down 0-3 because you're choking and not executing. That doesn't mean that Joe hasn't made mistakes during this run or anything like that, but what are we even doing? The players made the EXACT same mistakes and had the EXACT same issues just last season under Ime. To then phrase it like "well, no surprise they're down 0-3, they're still caught up on Ime" is such a terrible look.
So if you're telling me this group, after everything that happened in 2022, after an entire year and two playoff rounds with a spot in the Finals and a title on the line, that this team is falling apart in the ECF because the team got rid of Ime Udoka in SEPTEMBER??? If that's the case, then we have much bigger issues on our hands. I'm to believe the Celts are going to throw away a chance at a title because they're butthurt over Ime not being the coach 7 months later? Give me a fucking break.
They are in this position because their play has been subpar.
Here's what I think we can all agree on. If the Celtics were up 3-0, we would not be hearing this Woj reporting. That's just a fact. I know this because we didn't hear it at any point of this playoff run until they were down 0-3. There was no talk of this team not being over Ime when they went on the road and closed out ATL in 6. I didn't hear any reporting of it when Tatum closed out Game 6 vs PHI and then had 51 in Game 7.
To suggest that something like this is a big reason the Celts are in this position right now is laughable. They're playing shitty basketball, that is why they are down 0-3. Jaylen Brown is having the worst series of his life. Al Horford can't hit a shot. Brogdon can't hit a shot. Their individual defense has been a disaster. Those are real reasons why the Celts are in this position. Not fucking Ime Udoka.
Don't let the players off the hook like that. They put themselves in this position, not Brad or Wyc.