Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
It would have been nice for Brad Stevens if Kyrie Irving was ready to return tonight when the Celtics host Oklahoma City. But that’s not going to happen.
As Stevens has built recent lineups, he has put together a jigsaw puzzle only to watch it get ruined. Then he puts it back together again. Irving has played just a game and a half in the past six, with Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Daniel Theis out and Al Horford missing two games last week because of illness.
The result has been three losses in the past four games after a 6-1 start coming out of All-Star break.
As he flew back to Boston from New Orleans late Sunday night, Stevens was forced to examine his rotation again and decipher the right combinations.
The process is fairly deliberate.
“We have to look at what each guy that’s available does best, and we have to redistribute the responsibility,” Stevens said. “I think that’s what you have to do when you have injuries, and I thought we actually did a pretty good job of that the other night (in a double-overtime loss to Washington), but there is more responsibility to do what you do best when other guys are missing.”
I’ve gotta borrow a bit of Chuck’s attitude from yesterday.
My interest in the Celtics season has followed a kind of interesting curve this year.
There was the immediate, ‘aw crap, not Hayward’ moment, followed by enthusiasm as a relatively healthy C’s team responded to adversity & a challenging schedule by vaulting to the top of the NBA’s standings.
Then came the January blahs, and the frustration at a team that just wasn’t with it, wasn’t locked in, wasn’t dialed in, wasn’t whatever sports simile you prefer.
< All Star Interlude >
And the, again, relatively healthy Celtics team came barreling out of the gate, and the stretch run looked like it was going to be pretty enjoyable.
Then bam – bam – bam – bam. No Kyrie, no Jaylen, no Theis, no Smart.
Smart, Jaylen and Kyrie will be back eventually, but I’ve ended up looking at the season with a bit of detachment.
I can’t get mad at a team where rookie 2nd round picks are drawing major minutes (Ojeleye, Nader), even when they lose or look lost. And there’s no point getting upset about the injuries, because, I mean, what’s that accomplish?
So what’s left is sitting back and watching Mad Scientist Brad try to assemble this collection of rookies and castoffs into something that has at least a decent shot at winning.
Page 2: Smart may be back sooner than expected
“I am confident,” Smart told reporters Monday night at the annual charity bowling tournament for his YounGameChanger Foundation. “I had one of the top doctors do it. The surgery was a success. And like she told me, you might as well go and get it now. The quicker we can get it, the quicker the recovery. I’m real, real, real excited and eager to get back out there whenever that is. Hopefully it’s sooner than later, like I said. So hopefully the team – like I think they’re going to do – is going to handle their business and have me back (during the playoffs).”
Well, barring any setbacks, we seem to finally have gotten some good news about the Celtics.
Honestly, this doesn’t surprise me. I expect we’ll have Smart back sooner rather than later because, frankly, his shooting hand doesn’t have to be at 100% for him to do what he does that makes the Celtics good. I mean, what’s the worst that could possibly happen to his shooting if he hits the court without having full range of motion in that hand?
Finally: Headline of the year award goes to the Globe
Even the Globe’s headline writer has reached the ¯_(ツ)_/¯ state of mind when it comes to the C’s.
The rest of the links
Boston Globe: Marcus Smart wants to ‘come back as fast as possible’