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.
At this point in the season, I can’t imagine a better day to be a Celtics fan than today, April 14. It’s all good today.
The Cs just concluded their best season in six years, finishing at the top of the Eastern Conference. Even the most bleed-green among us must’ve been surprised by that, especially when it looked dead in the water just one week ago. And the Nets did the tanking for us, giving Boston the best odds to win the NBA Draft Lottery.
To the best of my knowledge, one team having both a top playoff seed and a top lottery seed has never happened before. But that’s how fortunate we are right now.
You know all that, of course. But what you may not have considered is that today is the sweet spot, the best moment to enjoy it all. Today is the safe zone, where we can look back on all the regular season goals that have been achieved, and look forward to the playoffs starting tomorrow. We can relax today without a Celtics care in the world.
However, when the Celts play on Sunday, the pressure will begin to build. College fans love to talk about March Madness, but NBA fans have to deal with April Anxiety. At playoff time, I’m a nervous wreck.
I fully believe the Celtics will win the first round against Chicago – but I don’t take it for granted. Injuries, impossible shots, bad calls, and bad luck have changed many a series. If Boston doesn’t get past the Bulls, we’ll suffer through another year of “Brad hasn’t won a playoff series.” That terrifies me.
Then, on May 16, we will have the anguish of the lottery. Top odds to win? We’ve been there before, or close to it, but the Celtics have never won the top pick. And now, once again, we’ll have the tension that comes with waiting on the ping pong balls.
If we’re lucky, the Celtics will still be playing after said lottery. And the further they go, the more excruciating the stress will become. Moreover, unless they pull off an upset like David over Goliath, they will eventually be eliminated. And that’s the worst feeling of all. (Not being negative here; being realistic. I hope they prove me wrong and go all the way.)
After the season ends, the draft will come and we’ll debate what to do, who to pick, and have more anxiety.
So, in short, the agony and ecstasy of being a fan peaks at playoff time. For the next several weeks, I’ll be obsessed, worried, tense, emotional, at times ecstatic and other times devastated. And you might be too.
But not today. This is the lull between storms, the oasis, the one day where everything is perfect for Celtics fans. Enjoy it while it lasts.
CSNNE – Ainge: No. 1 Seed Doesn’t Mean Celtics Can Get Comfortable | Celtics-Bulls Matchups: Point Guard – Thomas vs. Rondo | Celtics-Bulls Matchups: Shooting Guard – Bradley vs. Wade | Amir Johnson’s Play Is Peaking Just In Time For Playoffs
Herald – Bulpett: Let’s be realistic about Celtics’ playoff expectations | Celtics notebook: Maybe 3rd time’s a charm for Brad Stevens | Bulpett: Celtics’ series highlighted by return of Rajon Rondo | Avery Bradley marvels at Celtics’ rise to top of Eastern Conference
MetroWest Daily News – The Celtics will have plenty to prove when the playoffs begin
On Page 2: Maybe IT really is The Little Ticket
Explained Green: “When Kevin Garnett got here, he just really took the organization to a whole other level. Even though Kevin Garnett was already established, already an All-Star, (etc.), I think IT had that effect on this team. As soon as he got here, this team was instantly better. And I don’t feel like a lot of people really realize that. So for me to come back to Boston and play with him is an honor. I know playing behind him, man, he can do a lot of things. And he can take us to a lot of places. So I just want to be a part of the ride.”
Remember early in the season, when KG praised IT during his Area 21 segment on TNT? We didn’t realize it yet, but that was a coming together of Celtics icons, past and present. At the time, it was amusing to think that The Little Guy might be worthy of the name “The Little Ticket.”
After this season, though, maybe it’s more appropriate.
On Page 3: Who should be MVP? IDGAF
- I grew ill while debating the MVP and I absolutely blame my failing health on this decision.
- If possible, I would vote for co-MVPs in a heartbeat without a second thought. These two are so even you have to get granular to the basketball molecule to discern between them. You can’t. That’s not how the vote works.
- In the span of the final week, I changed my mind eight times. That’s not hyperbole. I had decided who I was “decided on” eight times, including four in the span of the final 48 hours. This is not usual for me with MVP. In 2015, I did just as deep of a dive and it became clear to me Curry should win.
- There’s this idea that “there is no wrong answer.” And that’s true. But that also means there is no “good choice” because one of these guys inherently gets screwed. You’re failing to recognize greatness with the most important award the league has. It’s just reality.
So, yeah, I didn’t make the call on who the MVP is lightly.
After epic seasons by several stars, basketball writers everywhere have spent an incredible amount of time and effort analyzing and debating who should be the Most Valuable Player. I salute their work. At the same time, fan-base passions are running high, and voters can’t even go to the barber without being canvassed for their votes.
Here’s my pick: Nobody. Because I don’t care. The MVP award is dead to me since the idiocy that happened in 2008.
Kevin Garnett came to Boston that season, famously changed the culture of the franchise, won Defensive Player of the Year, and (with all due respect to Paul Pierce) was the key to the Celtics raising Banner 17. The MVP is a regular season award, so let’s note that the Cs won their first eight games and never looked back, posting a league-best 66-16 record. No one else had more than 59 wins.
It was so obvious that KG was the force behind transforming the Celtics from lottery team to league champ. But midway through the season, KG missed nine games with an injury. The Cs went 7-2 and the narrative adopted by national media was that, if Boston did so well without him, maybe he wasn’t really that valuable.
The MVP voting was a joke. Not only did KG not win, he finished third behind Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul. The Lakers won nine fewer games than Boston (and were 0-2 vs. the Cs) and Bryant had a slightly-above average season where he didn’t even lead the league in scoring. How the voters landed on him is still a mystery. Paul’s team over-achieved and won a division title, but that still didn’t compare to Boston’s results.
No, I won’t be getting over this any time soon. So unless IT wins this year (and he won’t), my thoughts on MVP are…
And, finally: Hahahahaha
Hat tip to KWAPT for pointing out this gem of a video.