Jan 19, 2014; Orlando, FL, USA; Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens talks with point guard Rajon Rondo (9) against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Amway Center. Orlando Magic won 93-91. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics Stick To The Moral Victory Plan, Fall By Five To Bulls

Mar 30, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer (5) grabs the jersey of Boston Celtics center Kris Humphries (43) during the first half at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Ready for some deja vu?

The Boston Celtics gave the Chicago Bulls all they could handle last night, before succumbing 107-102.

Sounds familiar, right?  That’s because it has become the theme of these 2013-2014 Boston Celtics: play hard, keep it close, only to eventually lose once the final buzzer sounds.

And I’m here to tell you: folks, this ain’t a bad thing.

Let’s be clear: I don’t like to see the Boston Celtics lose.  I pushed for the team to hold onto Jordan Crawford at the beginning of the season, since I liked the way the Celtics surprised us all by climbing to first in the Atlantic Division, and I thought Crawford could be a viable back-up to Rajon Rondo once the All-Star point guard returned.  I’m well aware that making the playoffs would have been the absolute worst thing to happen to the Celtics this season, but I grew up watching Larry Bird and company, and then was treated to the Paul PierceKevin GarnettRay Allen years, so I hate to watch Boston lose.  Ever.

Still, by this point, there clearly is no point in winning, yet these Celtics keep trying . . . and better still, these Celtics ALMOST win an awful lot of games that, realistically, they could be blown out in.  This is desirable in two ways:

1. the Celtics are ALMOST winning, but are not, meaning they are still in the running for a prime draft pick; and

2. the players on the Celtics’ roster, most notably the young players, are learning that losing is never okay in Boston, even as the team is cruising towards its first 50+ loss season since 2006-2007.

It’s win win, everyone!  And for once, I’m not being sarcastic.

How much credit must be given to the players, and how much should be reserved for head coach Brad Stevens, I’ll leave up to you.  Regardless, we Celtics fans should seriously appreciate games like last night’s Boston-Chicago tilt, a game that took a Herculean effort from Chicago’s D.J. Augustin in order to secure victory for the Bulls.  At no point was there a player on the Celtics who infuriated me due to laziness or an apparent lack of desire; every single player who took the court for Boston last night wanted to win that damn game.  If you don’t appreciate that, spend the next few nights watching the 76ers, or the Bucks, and then come crawling back to us.

If the Boston Celtics can compete this hard, and want to win this badly, this season, it’s not a stretch to say that the team is literally 1-2 really good players away from being playoff bound.  Notice I didn’t say “Winning a championship;” the Celtics are at least one, if not two, great players away from hoisting another championship banner.  I have to believe, though, that the desire to compete that is being fostered in these players is going to make the Boston Celtics relevant sooner than the majority of bottom-feeders in the NBA this season.

 

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