The Last Hurrah

I just got back from the Celtics double overtime win of the Heat and my emotions are completely conflicted.

On one hand, that was a hell of a gutsy win harking back to their best from 07-12. A few times they were down 6-8 points and the Heat really could have blown the game open but they got stops and timely buckets when they needed it most. The Cs completely shut down the Heat’s fast break offense and aside from a bit of Norris Cole, made it impossible for the Heat to get easy buckets by slashing into the paint. DEFENSE! Not just bad offense for once. They were down a couple buckets in the final minute of each overtime and still came through in the end. Green was inspired, Sully had a great first half and that was a heck of a win against the 2nd best team in the NBA. It’s amazing how well this team CAN play for stretches.

On the other hand, the crowd boo’d the shit out of Ray Allen

Oh wait no, that’s not the devastating news of the day, it’s that Rondo is out for the rest of the season. Hell he’s out until at least January of 2014. As a season ticket holder I’m not incredibly excited about seeing a lot more of Barbosa, mostly because this isn’t 2006.

I’m so conflicted, do they blow this up and try to get whatever they can for an under-performing Jeff Green and head to the lottery? This season’s draft class is supposed to be terrible. Great timing. Or do they try to slide into the playoffs on the opposite side of the bracket from the Heat and try to put together another run like last season? There’s no easy solution. Man this is going to blow for the rest of 2013. I am not kidding when I say that this win could very well be the highlight of the entire season.

Let’s go back to Ray for a quick second. Someone on the Celtics staff did a great job putting together a montage of Ray highlights to be played before he checked in. The staff did the same thing for when Perk and Big Baby returned to the Garden for the first time. Obviously the crowd’s reaction to Ray was completely different. There weren’t a smattering a boos, it was an all out assault for about 30 seconds before cheers finally, mercifully drowned them out.

Look, I understand that he’s on the opposition, and booing him when he hit shots was totally fine in my book. But the booing during the montage really, really got under my skin. I know we’ll never know exactly what happened or why relationships turned sour, but to not be able to appreciate what Ray did for 5 years  is unfathomable to me. This was a 3 year plan coming in and they all gave it a 5 year run.

At the end of last season’s ECF Game 7 I was miserable, not only because they lost, but because I figured it was the end of an era. Everyone would have understood if the guys rode off into retirement after a great 2nd half and playoff run in 2012. No one would have been mad had that been the case. But those guys are pros, and basketball is what they know. So Ray went to the Heat, that doesn’t wipe out his hustle, heart and shot-making for the last 5 years.

And I know that fans are frustrated that the Celtics essentially signed 2 guys to try and replicate one player’s production, but that’s on the current players. Let’s take a quick peek at the guards that replaced Ray

Terry: 27.9 MPG – 42.6 FG% – 36.1 3% – 86.7 FT% – 54.9 TS% – 2.2 APG – 9.8 PPG – 11.76 PER

Lee: 22.7 MPG – 47.4 FG% – 33.8 3% – 86.8 FT% – 55.2 TS% – 1.4 APG – 7.3 PPG – 11.87 PER

Allen: 25.5 MPG – 47.6 FG% – 44.3 3% – 88.8 FT% – 62.9 TS% – 1.7 APG – 11.4 PPG – 16.50 PER

Yea, so not great, neither guy ‘living up to’ his contract.

Oh and for those wondering

Redick: 31.4 MPG – 45.8 FG% – 39.8 3% – 90.1 FT% – 60.2 TS% – 4.4 APG – 14.9 PPG – 16.42 PER

Acquiring him would just muddle up the back court rotations even further. Man this is going to be a miserable 38 games to end the season. I hope no kids see Barbosa score and start to try to replicate that ugly jumper.

That got off topic quickly. If that was the last time this version of the Celtics, led by Pierce and KG, beat Miami, and specifically, Lebron, then what a way to go out. It’s just too bad it’s the end of an era.