I covered the Celtics game from the TD Garden for CLNS Radio last night, so I would ask you kindly to check out my podcast appearance (my part starts with 54:30 left in the show) and read my column, in case you want to hear a lot of umms and read a bunch of poorly-written words about the Celtics grinding out victories without a lot of firepower and/or any semblance of good rebounding.
An excerpt of my column follows:
Historically, a team’s regular-season victory margin has been one of the greatest predictors of playoff success. If that pattern holds true, these Celtics are in serious trouble. They are outscoring opponents by just a single point per game, which ranks 14th in the NBA, and they are doing that against what Hollinger rates the league’s third-easiest schedule.
But the Celtics do not believe easy regular-season wins translate to postseason success. They are quite content with the identity they have forged as a team that wins the difficult way, that uses defense to strangle open space and timely buckets to nose past opponents in photo finishes. To them, all the close, gritty wins are the only way to simulate what will happen when the action really matters.
“This team is made for the playoffs, it’s built for grind-it-out type games, and that’s usually how the playoffs are,” Dooling said.
When Bass was asked whether grinding is what works in the playoffs, he responded, “It does, it does. Nobody’s going to be free in the playoffs. I think the grind-out mentality starting this early will pay off for us.”
Read the whole thing if you want to hear about a tattoo on Bass’ left bicep, which holds the motto KG and Doc Rivers have preached throughout the season.