Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Why the Celtics Won't Win 72 Games

Currently on an 18-game win streak, the Boston Celtics (26-2) are on pace to surpass the once thought untouchable record of 72-10 established by the 96' Bulls. The Big 3 in Boston have been playing unbelievable ball, and have received substantial boost by the improving Rajon Rondo. While Boston fans are hyped and ready for history to be made, the rest of the league watches green-eyed (no pun intended).

Hold up a sec

I will be so bold as to make this claim; The Boston Celtics will not reach the much-coveted 72 wins mark. "Why not?" you ask. I'll tell you why. Here are the factors that will contribute to the Celtics just barely missing the goal:

I'm sure you all remember the theatrics Paul Pierce pulled in game one of the finals last June. You know the one I'm talking about; Pierce falls to the hardwood in the third quarter clutching his knee in what appeared to be gut-wrenching agony. Unable to walk on his own, three grown men carry Pierce to the bench, and wheelchair him into the locker-room. Minutes later, a "miracle" happens. Paul Pierce comes bouncing out of the locker-room to the applause and cheer of thousands of Celtic fans. Back in the game, Pierce hits a couple of game changing threes to help Boston not only take game 1, but also set the tone for the ensuing series.

Pauly Paul, you may have pulled a quick one on the nation last June, but the Basketball gods know what was really up. Real or not, that effects of that injury were clearly over-exaggerated. Game one was won on the momentum of Pierce's miraculous return. Don't be surprised if Paul Pierce finds himself sidelined for a couple weeks to a month with some injury later this regular season. With one leg of the Boston Three-Party missing, the Celtics will lose a couple of normally winnable games.
In no way am I wishing harm upon this Pierce; I respect him as a basketball player, but justice must be served. Karma is karma; it forgets no one.

On a more serious note, it's no secret that the Big 3 can't in any way be considered "young". While each of the three's talents are still superior to many of their NBA counterparts, their physical condition might not measure up as well to the rest of the young guns in the league.

According to a recent report by Kelly Naqi of ESPN, Doc Rivers doubts that his players are even aware of their current winning streak. The Celtics are focused solely on winning the title next summer, and will not mind losing a few of the last couple of games in the season if it means a fully charged Garnett/Pierce/Allen for the playoffs.
*This is also something to keep in mind for all you fantasy basketball players out there. I've been screwed over a couple of times because I had superstars on teams that had no reason to play 40 minutes a night during the last couple of weeks in the regular season. Think about getting rid of these three before your league's trade deadline.

Kobe Bryant
Kobe and the Lakers now have NO excuse for losing to the Celtics. Last summer, they were missing Andrew Bynum's physicality to anchor their defense. With Bynum back this year and straight-up jacked (then and now), LA should now be able to better match-up with the physicality and rebounding of the Celtics. Bynum has also had plenty of time to acclimate to playing with Gasol. The Lakers also have no injuries to significant players. Kobe is very much aware that their game on Christmas day will be a critical measure of how well the Lakers can handle the Celtics, and that it will also set the tone for future clashes in the playoffs. Black Mamba/The Doberman will not let the Lakers lose either of the two times they face Boston this year. You can count on it.

The Cleveland Lebroniers
Let's not forget the man-child. Lebron and the Cavs took the Celts to game 7 last year in the Eastern Conference finals, and fell short primarily because Lebron had no consistent help on the offensive end. Now I know that the Celtics have already beat the Cavs three times this year (narrow wins I might add), but those wins were all within the first month of the season. The Cavs are now on a roll, and at times look unstoppable. Mo Williams has figured out his role in the offense. Ilgauskus is playing fairly consistent ball. Delonte West has also improved to be an adequate plug-in at SG. If Lebron continues being the beast that he is (and he will), the Cavs can take the Celtics no problem. These two teams face-off three more times this season. Chalk up at least two losses for Boston from those meets.

Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan? Yup. If MJ feels truely threatened by the Celtics' attempt at his Bulls's record at any point, he will come out of retirement for the third time and personally ensure that Boston doesn't reach 72. You don't think MJ could still step in for a game or two, drop 30 points and a buzzer-beating game-winner on the Celtics? I know I do.

Taking all these factors into consideration, and adding some random variables (like those Atlanta Hawks, who are bound to win one against the Celtics), Boston is destined to come close, but not hit that magic number 72.

*Please note: The preceding passage was written by a bona fide Boston Celtic hater.

1 comment:

RedsArmy said...

I know there's some tongue-in-cheek here... but the "theatrics" accusations against Paul Pierce are a bit ridiculous (as a whole, not just here).

The premise is that Paul Pierce, after 10 years in the league, hatched a plan to go down with a fake injury in his first ever Finals game so his team can ride the momentum of his return to a win.

Isn't that a bit ridiculous? And what about the guy that fell into him? Was he an accomplice?

The reason why Pierce got the "theatrics" tag is because of that damn wheelchair.... which is standard practice. Any guy helped off the floor gets wheeled in to get checked out.

And one other thing: The Lakers team that won 33 straight games had a 35 year old Wilt Chamberlain and 33 year old Jerry West.