The Boston Celtics are staring deep into the eyes of adversity and there is no blinking or looking away.
This is how it’s going to be. This is how it’s going to be… for a long time. The collective body language of the team looks as if they have started to understand the situation and come to a realization of what they need to do in order to pull out big wins in a different way every night. I don’t care who you’re playing, when you’re looking up and down at .500 while simultaneously losing two HUGE pieces to your puzzle and hanging around in an 8th seed, every win is a big win.
The most glaring question is how long they will be able to sustain the responsibility. After all, in the midst of their mini-streak of grit and fire one has to take into consideration that the new look”addition by subtraction” Celtics are playing a rare mix of some sort of unpredictable, annoying, mess-ball. There’s no doubt that what they are doing is working to some semi-admirable degree of success the doubt lies in how long it will be before opposing teams know how to stop the new method of no method.
The winning intangibles have been contributed in an ever so balanced manner as of late. The balance that the Celtics are playing with can be great but tough to sustain. Sure, the box scores are filled out and everything feels successful and shared but now the pressure is increased tenfold for every player in the rotation(which is 10-11 deep most nights) to do their job to the fullest, with little room for risk. The Celtics margin of ever has shrunk considerably and it’s not going to change. The encouraging and mysterious factor is that they seemingly “look” well prepared for this.
One thing that cannot be ignored is the vast improvements the Celtics’ have made in regaining their defensive prowess with the successful guard combo of Courtney Lee and Avery Bradley. While the two guards as a unit may struggle in the half court offense, the defensive methods they are using are creating new advantages. The Celtics are showing the ability to hang defensively by making opposing guards rush their offense and the full court press these two provide is a huge part of this. The only downside is that it’s a grueling effort that can sometimes take away from an offense that is already middle of the road at best. The Celtics have countered this issue somewhat successfully with an increase in easier transition baskets rather than relying on the half-court offense and an abundance of jump shots.
The Celtics’ will play their finest brand of mess-ball, or whatever you want to call it, until the well runs dry and Doc Rivers tries to go with something resembling some form of consistency. But what works is working and who knows if the coach himself is even aware of the formula. Rivers admitted to calling less plays and letting the guys figure it out on the fly, and therefore teams are learning how to play the newest “hottest team of the week” on the spot.
Four games is a small sample size, but the numbers are there, and the Celtics’ are showing that they can still find success in a way that’s no better, no worse, but just different.