As of this writing the Celtics stink. No two ways about it, they aren’t an elite basketball team. Now, they very much can elevate to that level, and they will, but right now everyone is completely justified in their overreactions. This team was supposed to go wire to wire in first, yet they were only in first for 24 hours. We all thought this would be like the regular season in 08, stress free and fun to watch every night. Well, we’ve learned a few things that are different between the two squads. For starters, this locker room does not have a Kevin Garnett. The effort that was put forth in Toronto would not be allowed on a KG team. Secondly, the 08 Celtics had their rotations ironed out at this point, where this Celtics team still doesn’t have an identity yet. However, calm your worries, that’s coming real soon.
First things first, get Marcus Morris out of the starting lineup. He was on fire for the majority of the first half, but he’s cooled off at a rapid rate. Entering last night he was 5-20 from deep since the break. He continued his streak of stinking by going 0-6. Yuck. Meanwhile, Jaylen Brown is back to being the confident rim attacker we all fell in love with last year.
More of that please. Since the break Brown is shooting 50% from the field and 36% from three point land. Get him in and get him going. Let Juice be Juice. Meanwhile, since the break Smart’s three point percentage is a horrid 27%. Now obviously I don’t want Smart benched, take Morris out of the starting five, but if Smart’s shooting is about to return to his career average, I’m going to need less of that horrendous three he took down five, with 16 seconds left on the shot clock, which left Brad visibly disgusted. Get Smart and Brown on the wing, let Smart defer some of his shots to Juice and it’ll all work out.
On the Hayward front, people are going to be all over Hayward because he’s still not back to his Utah form. Counterpoint; he had to RELEARN HOW TO WALK LESS THAN A YEAR AGO. Everyone with a brain knew this would be a two year injury; one year of off court rehab, one year of on court rehab. He wasn’t on the stat sheet at all but during last nights loss he was only one of two people with a positive plus/minus in green, the other being Juice. Keep letting him do a bit of everything, the more well rounded he becomes throughout the season the better he’ll be.
Now this is going to be the most important thing you will read today. Ready? You sure? Okay here it is, THE CELTICS ARE BETTER WITH KYRIE IRVING. Like significantly better. Oh there 3-0 without him and 0-6 with him in the last nine? Those three wins are against sub 500 teams, and the Sixers, who the only time we’ve lost to Philly in the last 15 match-ups, Kyrie wasn’t on the floor. It’s almost like, and here me out on this, they pick easy games to rest Kyrie. Kind of like it’s strategy. Oh and those six loses? The Lakers won on a Rondo buzzer beater that was destined to go in, a second half collapse against the Clippers which Kyrie left injured up TWENTY POINTS, the Bulls game where everyone stunk, a blowout loss on the road to the second best home team in the East, and last night where he dropped 31 and shot over 50% from the field. Did he stink in Toronto and Chicago? Yes, absolutely, and he deserves some grief for it, but any team based metric you look at is significantly higher with Kyrie on the floor. Offensive efficiency. defensive efficiency, net ratings. points per game, whatever stat you want, they’re better with Kyrie.
Deep breaths everyone. Inhale, exhale, repeat. Yeah, the Celtics are currently the worst team in Boston (the Bruins are stupid good) but let’s calm down with the “Celtics are dead, let Kyrie walk” takes. They’re going to even out within a month and hit their stride going into round one against our punching bag from Philadelphia. Kyrie is alright, the kids are alright (besides Terry, but this is about optimism) and the green are alright. The only thing to take from this four game stretch is how awesome the comeback will look on the championship DVD.
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