Everyone agrees that the Celtics look tired. Even Kevin Garnett said so. Slow, sluggish, lethargic. Different words, same results: three losses in their last four, and two in a row to the Wizards.
It’s not a surprise the C’s reached a fatigue limit. Their 3 vets play substantial minutes nightly because when they’re not on the court the team flounders. Good scoring chances decline, as does the defense (notice that Pierce plays much better D when Ray Allen and KG are on the floor than when they are not).
These are all the evident things. The question isn’t what’s wrong though, it’s what happens now?
Some would argue that it’s time to let the vets get more rest and the young guns earn some boy scout badges. And why not? The Shaq-era Lake Show coasted until the playoffs, the Mavericks claim to be doing so this year—why not the Celtics?
Because their hot start backed them into a corner, in a sense. Perhaps a more shrewd coach than Doc would have noticed the great promise the team held early and immediately started limiting minutes and developing potential role players/x-factors (Tony Allen, Rajon Rondo, Glen Davis, Kendrick Perkins, Eddie House as a pg). But once the ball started rolling, pulling back on the reins wasn’t an option (not without potentially inducing a Tommy Heinsohn suicide attempt).
Now, with the Celtics’ weaknesses (can we PLEASE get a back-up pg so we start our offensive sets with more than 14 seconds on the shot clock?!?) more glaring than ever and a very losable game versus the Blazers, I worry that Doc will do one of two things: he will a) do nothing, or b) do something drastic. Knowing Doc, he will do nothing, or at least little that is noticeable or major, opting instead to let the veterans sort the problems out themselves. This had been working, until 4 games ago, when it stopped.
Not that a drastic change would be the smartest option either (no one wants Powe starting at the 3 or anything). But start mixing up minutes, line-ups, offensive looks. Do something. The Celtics are becoming monotonous and predictable. At times they look complacent, even uninspired.
Each year I look forward to the All-Star Game more and more as the mid-season lull starts to seep into the league. Injuries pile, player feuds emerge, overall play standards seem to lessen. The Celtics are experiencing the lull. I’m hoping the break will prove just what they need.
Until then, lets hope the organization comes up with an intelligent way to allow the vets periods of rest without entirely sabotaging the momentum and expectations the Celtics early season success has earned.