Bucks Diary

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Incredible Shrinking Celtics

Sorry about the unusually long hiatus. I've been really busy. I'll be back regularly posting in just a couple of days. I tried to cobble together posts just to keep people fed, but as the next paragraph explains, that kind of approach doesn't square with the standards I like to try to hold myself too, and I apologize.

Sidebar: Before I go any further, I have to correct myself for a post two down from this one. In it, I either got unconscionably sloppy or I just refused to let facts get in the way of a good story. Either way, the post is wrong. Just last year the +65 win Mavs were eliminated without a championship and somehow this slipped my mind. As I said, I've been busy, but its no excuse.

Now to the issue at hand. The wilting of the once formidable "Parquet Posse".

During the season, I stated with near certainty (for various historical reasons) that banner number 17 was halfway to the rafters for the Boston Celtics. Now it looks as though it may never even be sewn.

The Celtics are struggling against teams they should not be struggling against. Yeah, the Hawks series was actually quite lopsided. But tonight they squeaked by the Cleveland Cavaliers, another bad team, at home on a night when Paul Pierce put the clamps on LeBron James and Kevin Garnett played out of his mind.

In the movies, that would be called negative foreshadowing. As the competition steps up, even incrementally, the Celtics get worse. It looks like they may not make it.

Why did they dominate the regular season and then struggle during the playoffs? I don't know. I haven't found any convenient and well "split" data base of playoff statistics, and haven't had the opportunity to break down the numbers on my own.

But you can bet, should the Celtics bow out before the Finals, I will take a great interest in discovering the answer.


At May 8, 2008 at 7:35 AM, Anonymous paulpressey25 said...

This one isn't hard for me. The team is crazy old.

Remember the 2003-04 Lakers with GP and Karl Malone? Maybe not the best comparison since that team had Kobe and Shaq also, but those old guys got tired.

Maybe a better example would be the 1996 Rockets with Barkley, Pippen, Akeem.

Sam, Ray, Pierce and KG collectively have massive miles on them. They've just played a long hard season. They are tired.

Boston has no bench. Their role players generally stink, but people forgot that because they were made to look good by virtue of playing with the big three in the regular season. Now that the big three's performance is down and facing better competition, their role players can't feed off it like they did.

Going back to the age thing, most championship teams need at least one of their superstars to be a guy in his prime (first eight years in the league with young legs). I'm speculating on it, but would think this to be proven out.

This will be interesting.

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