The New Jersey Nets were 5-52 coming into today’s game against the Boston Celtics.
They were 6-52 after the game was done.
Their incredibly unlikely 104-96 win begs the question:
Have you ever been more ashamed of being a Celtics fan?
After THAT loss, to THAT team, Boston is in desperate need of some serious soul-searching. The questions that have haunted the Celtics all year persist, and they’ve been joined by one more: Do they have enough heart?
The Celtics should have had something to prove after the meltdown against Cleveland. They should have wanted to show themselves, and everyone else, that they were capable of putting together 48 minutes. Media members had questioned their manhood, and the common train of thought has Boston’s stay as a contender kaput. A great team, or at least a team with a pulse, would have been out for blood today. A blowout of the Nets wouldn’t have proved anything, but it sure as hell beats sleepwalking through another lackadaisical day at the gym. It sure as hell beats proving the doubters right, yet again.
People were upset with a loss to Cleveland the other day, but failing to win big games pales in comparison to losing to perhaps the worst team in the NBA’s history. If the Celtics had played well for even one quarter, they would have won today’s game going away. Just one quarter was all they needed. The start of the game illustrated that point: Three and a half minutes in, Boston had gotten whatever they wanted in jumping to a 12-2 lead.
Then Kiki Vandeweghe took a timeout and, 44 and a half minutes of game-time later, the Celtics had gotten one hell of an ass-whipping. By the worst team in the NBA. At home. In a game they should have thirsted to win. But these Celtics don’t have any sense of urgency, and certainly don’t seem to have any will to win. A game that should have marked Gino’s return to the Garden quickly deteriorated into the worst performance in a season quickly filling with poor showings.
There was a time not too long ago when the Celtics tanked games in an attempt to win the Kevin Durant/Greg Oden sweepstakes. Even then, I was never so disappointed in the Celtics. At least those Celtics had a reason to give up; the talent in that locker room wasn’t enough to make the playoffs, much less contend.
But the players in this year’s locker room remain loaded with skill, talent, and experience. There are no more excuses for losing games, or for pathetically pretending that they’re trying to win them. These Celtics are too good to be this bad. But there’s something missing, and it’s been missing all year.
I’ve wondered for a long time what the Celtics need, and it’s become increasingly clear with every lethargic loss.
Guts, heart and Celtic Pride.