If you watched the game last night it meant you saw the Celtics and all their nebulous unanswered questions glory: great trapping defense followed by a Dallas penetrating lay-up, good ball movement followed by two of the worst last second shots at the end of regulation and the first overtime. Thus has been the story this year for the Celtics, and who was I to think I would view anything different. Boston has been up and down this year, and all of the play this year was perfectly shoved into one 58 minute game last night on national television for the rest of the world to see the state of the Celtics. They also saw the Celtics win, which in the end, is most important (maybe if I keep saying it, I will believe it).
One of the most intriguing story lines was Jason Terry’s match-up against his old squad, and being tasked with guarding his replacement OJ Mayo who has been having a career year. Being the primary scoring option for the Mavs has provided Mayo with the stage to shine, and with 20.9 points per game shooting 48.9% (52.5% behind the arc) he’s shining like a 1,000 watt bulb, and making the Mavs passable until Dirk’s return from injury. As is the case when any team comes to town, trade or free agent rumors are dug up as story-lines, here is the corresponding one for last nights duel against Dallas and OJ Mayo (via WEEI):
“I was pretty much set to come here and something fell through at the very last second…It’s just business, though,” he continued. “I was just really trying to stay focused, because I’d been traded [to the Celtics] and it didn’t go through two or three times. It can mess with you, obviously. It’ll mess with anyone, but if it doesn’t go through, you’ve got to continue to be a professional, come to work and work hard.”
The potential deal was Ray Allen and a draft pick for OJ Mayo. Mayo has 2 years remaining and is making around 4 million a year. This one in hindsight would have been a good one to go through, lamented each time JET refused to stop the ball on the break for an easy Mavericks lay-up.
The comparisons are not entirely fair, and it was not the Celtics fault the trade did not go through. Terry and Mayo are asked completely different things by their respective teams, and their roles in the locker-room are shaped by who is around them. That being said, watching highlights and looking at the box score from last night does conjure up images of what could have been. An unhealthy practice indeed.
The Celtics move forward with Terry and Lee splitting time at the two guard, and on Friday will face another player having a break-out year with an increased role with his new team: James Harden. No time to play the what-if game for the Celtics as they continue to strive for 48 minutes of good basketball on both ends of the court.