The Celtics Just Won't Die. Ever.

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Listen, if you didn’t want to believe in this team before, fine. I understand there has to be someone that fills that role. Whether you’re Mazz or a card holding member of the Green Team like myself, one thing is clear. This team deserves proper respect. And I’m not talking about the bullshit D level analyst 30 second segment on ESPN morning Sportscenter. All I know is this, the Celtics have beaten LAC/OKC/CLE and taken GS and SA (twice) to the wire. Yes, they have horrible losses, but face the facts. This team can hang with some of the elite teams in this league. All this bullshit about how you can’t win Isaiah as your best player, or that it’s early so there is still time for them to truly fall back into who they really are. It’s over. You can stop.

What’s their ceiling? As peachy as things are right now, I can openly admit this is not a title team as constructed. But guess what, 28 other NBA teams need to admit that too. Does that mean we should just give up? That nobody should care about this team if they can’t win the title? Get that front running pink hat bullshit out of my face. So where does that leave the Celts?  How about a team that should be considered a contender for the ECF. It was always sort of a joke talking about the three seed, but now if they don’t end up with it, in my mind they underachieve.

In their latest challenge, the Clippers were one of those teams that for me, were a similar measuring stick just like Cleveland was. Coming off the brutal loss against the Bucks, I was really interested to see how this game turned out. The Clippers were certainly no slouch going in, with a 35-17 record (17-4 w/o Blake). Since March 21 of last year they were the third best road team in the NBA (25-9) and had won 7 of their last 8. I think it’s safe to say that this would be a true test, and the Celtics passed it with flying fucking colors.

Let’s dive in.

The Good

– How could we start with anyone else. I think my favorite storyline so far this year of the 2015 Celtics has been the gigantic middle finger thrown by Isaiah Thomas. I see a guy that one night with go bucket for bucket with John Wall, and then the next will have a performance like last night. Not many players in the league can match Chris Paul when he is in the type of zone he was last night, but there was Isaiah. It’s incredible what he is able to do on the basketball court. As a tiny guy, he should not be punking DeAndre Jordan in the paint. Repeatedly. Look at his shot chart from this game. LOOK AT IT!


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What I love about Isaiah is that he doesn’t let his size impact his fight. He never says, “ah man this dude is 6 ft taller man me, I got no shot”. For example, early first quarter when Pierce attempted to pot him up at the top of the key. Isaiah could have let him establish position, and it would have been mismatch city. Instead, he battled

But that’s not why you’re here. See the offensive show that IT4 put on against a really good defensive team was one for he ages. Back when he was facing a lot of heat for his out of control play at the end of the Orlando game, I talked about how you have to accept it because of what he can do to win a game down the stretch. This was that moment.  

This size of the testicles it takes to attempt and make some of these shots is utterly ridiculous. Isaiah Thomas is a top 3 PG in the Eastern Conference this season and it is not debatable. He finished with 36/4/11 and just 2 turnovers. Without him, this team would be dogshit.

– Isaiah said it in his postgame, and I’ve been preaching it all year. This team does not quit. I haven’t seen a Celtics team this resilient in a long long time. No matter the situation, they don’t stop, and are never out of a game. Three times in the past week the Celtics were down 5 points in the final minute. In all three they eventually tied it up, and they won two of them. You see, the Celts know who they are, how they need to play to win, and they’ve embraced it. What they lack for in talent they make up for in effort. Mental strength is a HUGE part of success in this league, and the Celts have it in spades.

– I really like this cut from Jae Crowder. We’ve seen him start to incorporate this more as of late, and it’s really working for him. I love how before he catches the swing pass he has already started to adjust and move his body towards the rim. This allows him to take out an extra step (and second) in his drive, and what it does is it doesn’t allow his defender time to adjust. This might be the third game in a row we’v seen it, and it’s worked every time.

– If I sound like a broken record it’s because I have been typing this sentence a lot. The Celtics did a great job of matching the Clippers inside presence. They kept it close on the boards (44-43 Clips) but more importantly, they actually won the points in the paint battle 42-36. To me, that’s crazy since the Clippers have DeAndre Jordan, but it’s true!

– If it was Isaiah’s heroics that got us to overtime, it was Evan Turner’s who won it once we got there. A huge 7 points on 3-5 shooting and ZERO turnovers, Turner was the final nail in the coffin. In fact, he didn’t turn it over all game and along with Smart, carried the second unit.

– Speaking of Marcus, the kid continues to make winning plays. For a guy who can’t shoot, he hit three triples and his 17/4/4 is right where I think he can live. For a team that is all about effort and no quit, Marcus Smart is the perfect poster child. For the second time in three games he made a key play on a missed FT. That’s all fine and good, but the best moment of his night came on his fast break with 3 min to go in the third quarter. Smart does a great job of maintaining possession long enough to draw a defender, in this case Wesley Johnson. What I love about this is that Smart kept his head up, didn’t let himself get out of control, and gave Crowder a great pass for him to catch and shoot in rhythm.

What you just watched is the progression of Marcus Smart.

– It was great to see Jeff Ayres is still in the NBA. Why does that matter? Well, he’s really Jeff Pendergraph and he was the ying to James Harden’s yang while we were all at ASU. In fact, I still have his number 4 Sun Devils jersey. Someone is going to have to explain to me though how he is on a roster and Ike Diogu isn’t. Sort of a joke if you ask me.

The Bad

– Let’s state the obvious, blowing a double digit lead and giving up 134 points is pretty horrible. The Celtics have been playing with fire defensively, this now being the third straight game they have given up over 100 points. That’s not like them.

The Celtics really struggled containing not only Chris Paul, but fucking JJ Reddick. CP3 got to wherever he wanted on the court, which he is prone to do, but really killed the Celts with him jump shot. For Reddick, the Clippers did a great job of running him off screens and he lived in that midrange area as well. It was as if the Celtics got Avery Bradley’d.


– Speaking of Avery, his passing really has been atrocious this season, most notably the last two games. It’s very simple, run him off a screen where he can just pull up, or take one dribble so he can then pull up. Avery shouldn’t be running an offensive set, or manning a pick and roll. We’ve seen enough.

– Obviously the Olynyk injury gave us all a bit of a scare when it happened, but word as since come out that it shouldn’t be too bad. Phew.

– He eventually hit one, but man Jonas missing all those big momentum threes really made me mad. Especially that Evan Turner behind the back pass, you need to make these.

The Ugly

– Avery Bradley’s first two defensive possessions of OT. What. The. Fuck. Are. You. Doing. Maybe things were a bit magnified since this is how the Celtics lost their last game, but you CANNOT commit two fouls on JJ Reddick shooting threes to open OT. Down a quick 7 points in 50 seconds was such a kick in the dick. Good thing this team never quits.


So with this win the Celtics head into the All Star break one of the hottest teams in the entire NBA. I can’t think of a better sendoff than to pull a game like this out, and it would have been devastating to see them drop it. The only thing that sucks now is the wait until next Friday, and I just hope that whatever mojo this team has at the moment, shows up February 19th in Utah. Either way, it’s a great time to be a Celtics fan.

32 down 15 to go.

P.S. Saw this in Forsberg’s ESPN column. I love him, but he is absolutely dead wrong. Guess it looks like I have to continue to fight the good fight.

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