The Celtics Are Taking Years Off Our Lives But Man Is It Worth It

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I’m trying really hard to not type this next sentence because it is filled with emotion and will probably come back to bite me but I can’t help it.

There is something special brewing with this Celtics team.

It’s almost as if God felt bad about taking Hayward from us that he decided to bless the rest of our season. Or maybe this is Lil B’s doing. Honestly I’m running out of explanations because the Celtics should have lost this game last night. They blew a 19 point lead on the road, to a hot team, and all looked lost. Wave of emotions like you read about

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but for some reason, this team doesn’t die. It’s not over until the clocks read 0.0 and if last night wasn’t a prime example of that I don’t know what is. If the time comes and someone finds my cold, young, dead body in my house and is curious how the hell that could have happened, someone just show them that win probability chart. This team is taking years off my life and I could not care less. Take as many as you want as long as the Celtics win.

From what would of been a disaster loss to one of the most exciting wins of the season, a day after we just experienced this exact same scenario with the Patriots. You try and figure that out, I’ll get started.

The Good

– It was a hard decision who to start with because there were multiple worthy candidates, but after reviewing the body of work and talking internally, we have made a decision.

30/4 on 12-23 including 5-8 from deep, the Celtics do not win this game without some Kyrie heroics. It’s funny because all in the span of like 2 minutes he went from a guy a lot of us were extremely frustrated with, to a guy who saved the day. He did this all while playing under 30 minutes which is insane to me.

This ending is a prime example of why we have to just live with the hero ball Kyrie shows at the end of games. For 90% of the fourth quarter, it didn’t really work. His missed three with a minute left was forced, and looked like it was going to cost them the game. But that’s the thing with closers like Kyrie, and we saw this last year also. You have to let these guys just do what they do and live with the results. Kyrie got more chances in the final moments, and he converted. As a result, I propose a compromise.

I think we all agree, when it gets time to win a game, we all want Kyrie taking the shot right? Well I propose a slight adjustment. You notice when he made all those late threes he was coming off screens or moving without the ball? We didn’t see any of those one on one iso threes that haven’t really been working late. So how about this. Let Kyrie take every shot, just change how you are getting him those shots. Run him off ball late in games so he can have a little bit of space and the defense is moving. You can tell he wants to make the Fuck You three, so let him take it, just change the approach.

– There’s no way Jayson Tatum can keep this up they said. He’s going to regress big time they said. Just wait, he’ll go on a cold streak from three they said.

They haven’t been right once.

It seems that with every game, we learn something new about Jayson Tatum. Early, for me at least, I learned he’s actually a good defender and rebounder. Then recently we learned he has some tricks in the P&R when it comes to scoring. Well last night we learned that Tatum is turning into a goddamn monster and can finish STRONG at the rim. Remember, he’s doing this at 19 on a team that leads the NBA in wins.

16/5/4/1/1 on 6-8 shooting and 1-1 from deep is something I’ll take every day of the week. His ability to finish at the rim was nice, but also what I love is his offense isn’t coming at the expense of his defense. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that he’s only taking like 8-9 FGA a night, which is crazy that he can be this productive. Just imagine what it’s like when he can double that? Sure the efficiency might drop, but are we looking at a mid 20s type scorer? Dare I say high 20s? Look I’m still buzzing off Kool Aid so forgive me, but watching him score like he did last night, and then that block, my fucked up brain immediately said these words: Kevin Durant.

I know how ridiculous that sounds. I was almost embarrassed I said it to myself, but then again watching him he gives you those flashes that allow you to get excited.

– In a big game against a good opponent, the Celtics needed guys to step up, and that’s what Al Horford did. He finished with 14/10/9 on 6-13 (2-4) and was a team high +13. Of any player that played at least 22 minutes, he had the highest net rating at +16.5. When the game got tight and they needed a bucket, Horford made his only shot in the fourth which was a big time three. He had the lowest defensive rating of any starter. He led the team in assists. This game was a prime example of why Horford is so important

Only thing I didn’t like is he only got 5 FGA in the second half. This team needs to remember Al is on their team as the game goes on, especially when he’s playing like this.

– How could you complain with how the Celtics started this game, hitting their first like 10 shots. You knew that scoring 38 points with 69/60% splits was going to come back to bite them, it always does, but in that quarter I really loved how aggressive Jaylen was. On the night he took just 9 FGA, and 7 of them came in his first 10 minutes of action

– I’m grouping them together because that’s how I view these two, but thankfully Rozier/Smart actually contributed on the offensive end, combining for 24 points on 9-15 shooting (5-6 from deep). It wasn’t always pretty, but at this point I don’t care how it happens, I just need production.

Also, credit Brad for making the adjustment right at the end to have Rozier playing that free safety role. Little adjustments like that are why he’s a fucking God, and why I trust him with my life. No matter the situation, Brad will figure it out.

– OK let’s watch the ending again because it was fucking crazy

So much to love here. First this play doesn’t even happen without the blitz and pressure from Shane Larkin. That’s a real sentence. Then you had Rozier read it perfectly and make an aggressive move for the ball without fouling. Here’s where the heart started to go crazy. Then once you see him gain control, this is probably what went through your mind

“Don’t you dare fucking miss this layup Terry”
“OMG is he going to try and dunk this? HE is!! He’s going full 2K Terry”
“HOLY SHITTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT”
“Fuck I’m shaking but I gotta get a blog up ASAP”

OK maybe that last part was just me, but I bet the first three sound familiar.

– I don’t know what it is, but every player on this roster needs to wear a mask. Some BIG time buckets from Theis late in this game and I am convinced it was the masked power. Again, something weird is happening with this team. Guys get injured and it’s like they’re games get stronger.

– The Celtics ended 16-26 from behind the arc. That’s 61.5%. That is insane, especially for a team that kinda stinks at shooting most of the time.

The Bad

– They recovered by the end of it, but the second quarter was again a problem. Their 19 point lead got down to 9, and the Celtics could not stop turning the ball over. This was with Horford/Tatum playing basically 8 and 10 minutes each. I don’t know why this keeps happening, especially because lately Brad has been staggering his starters to avoid the all bench units, but it’s at the point now where I cannot enjoy ANY early lead, because I know what’s coming next. Maybe this will never be fixed and will be just one of the burdens we have to endure this year.

– He saved us no doubt, but there is still a little bit of concern with the defense from Kyrie Irving for me. You look at the last handful of games, and each team’s guard is going off. DEN/UTA/MEM and now add IND to the list. His 30 was huge and they needed it, but Oladipo had 38. Kyrie’s Drtg of 112 isn’t all that great and he finished a net -3.8. Again, they do NOT win this game without his heroics, but it’s safe to say his defense has severely dropped off from what we saw in the first two months. That can’t happen if we want to be a better team than we were last year.

– One day I’m convinced Jaylen will learn how to defend without fouling. His foul trouble essentially took all the momentum out from his great start, and he played just 12 second half minutes.

– Allow me to explain why the Celtics were fairly lucky to win this game:

Second Chance Points: 11 vs 1 IND

Fast Break Points: 25 vs 18 IND

Points in the Paint: 40 vs 30 IND

Turnovers: 12 vs 19 IND

FTA: 38 vs 14 IND

You don’t get worked like that in so many important areas and come out with a win. It was a Hanukkah miracle.

The Ugly

– I have an idea of where most of you would probably start, but I want to start with Marcus Smart. His 7 TOs absolutely killed the Celts. It was a mix of trying to be too fancy with behind the back bullshit, to just throwing it away and being out of control, it was annoying that on a night where he actually shot the ball well, everything was undone because of how careless he was with the ball. That’s usually not how it goes when Marcus struggles. Usually we’re upset he went 2-14 or some shit.

But the numbers don’t lie. This was his 3rd game in the last 5 with at least 4 TOs, and currently on the year he has a TOV% of 20.5%. That’s the worst of his career, and a bump from the 15% it was last year. Smart isn’t a good enough shooter to have TO numbers like this. He needs to clean it up ASAP especially given the minutes he plays.

– OK now we can talk about blowing the 19 point lead. Inexcusable yet predictable all at the same time. The Celtics just can’t make it easy and it’s ridiculous. Everything from poor shot selection, to turnovers, to Brad going with bench players just a little too long again, it was everything you’d expect a collapse to be. It started with the 3rd quarter which we knew was going to be bad based on how they started, and never stopped once we got to the fourth.

Kyrie had really struggled offensively prior to the last minute, and he finished 3-8 in the quarter, and I just didn’t get their approach. Tatum/Horford took 2 FGA in that fourth quarter. How can this happen? I put most of this collapse on the players for being careless, but also Brad. It felt like he let things boil over at times instead of taking a timeout and correcting everybody.

– It didn’t help that when he DID call a timeout, this team turned it over immediately after. Why this team cannot inbound a basketball will never make sense to me, but again it was a case where the Celtics just threw it to the other team on like 5 straight possessions and then looked shocked when things started to turn. Mental focus on the road is pretty important wouldn’t you say?

– How do you keep a team that’s playing on a B2B in the game? You give them that sort of FT disparity. Usually that happens when the Celtics do nothing but take threes, but that wasn’t even really the case. I guess just everything they did was a foul which totally happens all the time. The Celtics had self inflicted wounds for sure, but get the hell out of here with that FTA difference. That was trash.

– Jaylen’s FT shooting is officially a problem.

– This was now the what, third straight game we’ve been screwed out of Yabu minutes? This is probably what makes me the most mad out of anything. Don’t blow a lead and let us enjoy Yabu one time please.

But look, I don’t care how they get the win as long as they get it. This was the big one before the MIA/NYK/CHI stretch that brings us to the Christmas showdown, and it was their 13th road win which leads the East and is 2nd in the NBA. Now just like they did against DET, the Celts have the opportunity to get their revenge against a banged up MIA team tomorrow night, and I’m just hoping we don’t have a GM7 Kelly Olynyk revenge game. In the meantime, say it with me friends, we did it.

26 down 28 to go.