Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
Strip away the expectations and all the preseason hype, and the Celtics now stare at a mirror revealing their true selves. They may not always be this underwhelming, but after 18 games they can’t deny what they are right now: one of the NBA’s biggest disappointments, a team that touted itself all offseason then showed up to get whacked repeatedly once the regular-season arrived.
It may have taken some time for the Celtics to understand the severity of the issues at hand, but it’s impossible to miss now, after dropping seven of their last 10 games. They believe that this isn’t some minor losing streak. It’s not a rough patch due primarily to a difficult schedule or a frightening amount of wide open misses. They now consider this a serious matter, one that threatens to swallow all the big dreams they held entering the season.
“If we want to do anything,” Al Horford said, “we need to be able to overcome this that we’re dealing with.”
Happy Thanksgiving, Green Team!
Look, I’m still not giving up on this Celtics team, and odds are, if you’re reading this, you aren’t either, but this whole mental exercise we keep going through is pretty taxing:
It’s game night for the Celtics, and for the last few weeks, this has been my game night ritual.
Tonight’s the night shots are going to start falling. There’s just too much talent on this team. No way another guard has a career night against the Celtics. Once they get this win, they’re cleared for take-off.
And then it invariably doesn’t happen. The Celtics miss a bunch of decent looks early (pick your spot — at the rim, from the midrange, from deep) then get out-hustled on the other end and dig themselves a hole, then guys press, then the Jaylen’s and Terry’s of the world get buried on the bench because they look like shells of the guys who stormed the playoffs last year, and then the Celtics lose.
Then you commiserate with the rest of the Celtics twitter as you wait for Brad Stevens’ post-game press conference tidbits to get packaged into 280 character clippings where each night’s words sound more like the last’s and then you hear from the Celtics’ veterans who say not to panic, and they talk about playing with heart and hustle and that wins aren’t just given in this league, they are earned.
And you take a deep breath and think: ok, maybe that was the wake-up call this team needed. They seem to be saying all the right things. They’re “going back home after a road trip,” or “the schedule is about to soften up” or “there’s no Kemba Walker on the Knicks” and so you talk yourself into the next game being the game where the Celtics look like the Celtics again.
And repeat exercise.
Look, I’m still not done doing this exercise. There’s still too much talent and too much evidence from last season that these guys can get it going. But personally, my patience is pretty much up. This 14 game stretch that started in Charlotte and will end in mid-December with Phoenix doesn’t feature very many surefire playoff teams. I thought this is what would get it all going. The Celtics have started it 0-2. The loss to Charlotte? The loss to the Knicks? If the Celtics were 13-3 or 12-4 going into each of those games, a superhero Kemba performance or a home dud against a bad team wouldn’t sting nearly as much. But this was (and still can be) the stretch of games where the Celtics continue to work out these early season kinks and win games! So that when Milwaukee comes to down on December 21st, and then the Sixers on Christmas Day, the Celtics of old are back again. It should have been the case in Charlotte, and just a bit of effort against a bad Knicks team on a back-to-back probably would have done it.
But maybe it’s more than that. Maybe the Celtics aren’t good right now.
Yet, we’ll still all tune in tomorrow night against one of the league’s worst teams, in an arena that should have more green than red jerseys in it, and think maybe tonight is the night it all looks the way it’s supposed to.
Or maybe not. Maybe what we’ve seen is how it’s supposed to look after all, and maybe we need to quit it with this torturous mental exercise. We’ll find out.
Until then, enjoy the turkey.
NBCSports Boston — Stevens: ‘I just don’t know that we’re that good’
On page 2, Kyrie wishes everyone happy holidays
Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving had finished talking about the team’s frustrating 117-109 loss to the New York Knicks and was making his way out of the scrum when a reporter wished him a happy Thanksgiving.
Irving thanked the reporter politely, then added that he doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving.
“(Expletive) Thanksgiving,” Irving said.
Mass Live — Kyrie Irving doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving
Kyrie has Native American roots on his mother’s side, so that is likely where this holiday greeting is coming from. But also, given how the Celtics are playing, it just feels appropriate.
If the Cs are still at or below .500 on Christmas and lose to Philly that day, I’m thinking maybe we get a “f*** Christmas” too?