Did you enjoy your long winter nap? Yes – I’m talking to you, Boston Celtics!
I understand why you are sluggish right about now – it’s been nearly a week since you played a game in the National Basketball Association, and clearly you were tricked into thinking the offseason had already started. Alas, you still have a few games to play before you can work on your golf swing, starting with tonight’s home game against the Toronto Raptors.
Okay, Hardwood Houdini readers: all sarcasm aside, you have to admit that the NBA handed the Celtics what would have been a great gift had this team been in the hunt for the playoffs. Four days off in between games would have been just what the doctor ordered for a team that wanted to rest and heal some bumps and bruises in order to make one last push heading into the post season.
Sadly, the Celtics are not heading into the playoffs. Instead, the team is lottery-bound, and all the extra days off in the schedule do is increase the chances that Boston might win an extra game or two, which would be the least thing this team should be doing at this point in the season. Bad NBA!
At this point in the season, I am sure head coach Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics front office are more concerned with deciding which players are going to be influential in helping this team rebuild, and which players are expendable. Personally, I like what I have seen out of the Rajon Rondo - Avery Bradley backcourt, and hope to see this duo develop a rapport over the remaining twelve games of the regular season. Last Friday in Brooklyn, Rondo and Bradley combined for 40 points and 13 assists, out-performing the Nets’ backcourt tandem of Joe Johnson and Deron Williams (33 and 10). Rondo and Bradley have the potential to be a backcourt that can get it done in many ways – scoring, assists, and on the defensive end – and I’m excited to watch them develop chemistry that will carry over into next season.
Another player worth watching as the season winds down is forward Jeff Green, who I discussed yesterday. In coming out and saying that he really doesn’t care what his critics say about him, he essentially admitted that, on some level, he has heard his critics and has reacted to them. Green understands that the NBA is a business, and that he is playing for his job, so I’ll be curious to see if he elevates his game over these final twelve contests in order to either silence his critics, prove that he is a valuable member to the Boston Celtics, or both.
The game is set to tip-off at 7:30 tonight. Follow me @HoudiniCeltics, and check back in when everything is said and done to read my reactions to the action!