Every game, I hope things are going to be different.
I want to see 48 minutes of utter dominance. I want KG running and dunking and defending and screaming his head off. I want Paul Pierce attacking the rim with his unique, deliberate, foolproof method. I want Ray Allen stroking threes, and Rajon Rondo tossing dimes. I want Rasheed Wallace pounding teams down low, and Kendrick Perkins controlling the paint. For quite some time, it hasn’t happened.
Sometimes KG looks good, sometimes Pierce does his thing, and sometimes the other guys look great. But a full team effort, on both ends? I don’t even remember what that looks like anymore. At this point, I don’t ever expect dominance. I don’t expect wins, even. I just hope the C’s don’t shit the bed so badly they embarrass me.
That’s what this has come to. My confidence has been shaken so badly that I now hope the Celtics don’t embarrass themselves and, in turn, me. I once expected blowouts, and now I expect nothing. I once dreamed of championships, and now I just want to win a couple games. I feel like Jim Mora: “Playoffs? The playoffs??? You kiddin’ me?? I just want to win a game!”
But it’s not just about winning games. The Celtics could win tonight against Detroit in an ugly, incomplete performance and my mind wouldn’t be eased at all. They could come out yet again like a bunch of lollygaggers and still win. The Pistons aren’t a very good team, in case anybody had forgotten. This ain’t Rasheed and Chauncey’s Pistons, that’s for sure. To beat these Pistons in a poor effort would be another setback in a season that has brought setbacks like Randy Johnson once brought 98-mph heaters.
Tonight, just like every game will be from now on, is about far more than W’s: It’s about how the Celtics play basketball. It’s about taking baby steps to becoming the team we all want the Celtics to be once playoff time comes. It’s about shoring up the defense, turning around the offense, and playing with some goddamn heart. If the C’s want even a fighter’s chance of reclaiming the title they lost last season, they need to rebuild confidence and re-find the team they used to be… once upon a time.
If I were playing this season on NBA2k10, I would have taken the memory card out a long time ago and started a new season. If the Celtics are going to turn this thing around, I suggest they do the same thing. They won’t be able to play the first 57 games of the season over again, but they should take the memory card out. Learn from everything that’s happened so far, but don’t dwell on it. Play like they’ve got a brand new slate.
Kendrick Perkins said Boston no longer seems to care about homecourt advantage in the playoffs. The team feels it no longer has to jockey for seeding, because the players believe themselves to be capable of winning anywhere.
Maybe that’s true. Maybe seeding won’t matter in the end. Maybe the Celtics are capable of winning anywhere, home or away. But they haven’t shown it, and therefore these last couple months are about things far more important than playoff seeding.
They’re about preparing to play playoff basketball, coming together as a team, overcoming adversity, and regaining Celtic Pride.
After such a pitiful stretch of basketball, perhaps that’s all we can ask for.
- Paul Pierce is expected to play, returning from a sprained thumb.
- Kendrick Perkins won’t play, sidelined with the flu. He will likely play against Charlotte on Wednesday.
- Glen Davis will return to Detroit for the first time since telling a Detroit heckler, “Suck my [expletive].”
- The Pistons’ Jonas Jerebko was named Eastern Conference Player of the Month yesterday.