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.
Like the rest of the NBA, the Celtics have hit the official midway point of the season. And they did so with a disappointing 115-99 road loss at Miami.
It was a fitting performance at the halfway mark of the season because on many levels, it was a game that reminded us once again how this team tends to play down to too many bad teams while getting up for the best of the best.
While that’s a great quality to have in the playoffs, not taking care of the beatable teams in the regular season only increases the degree of difficulty come playoff time, which is the last thing the Celtics need to do.
As a team, the Celtics (25-16) have left a lot of room for improvement. The same holds true for their players and as you might imagine, is reflected in their grades at the halfway point of the season:
NBC Sports Boston: Boston Celtics midseason report card
If you’ve divined what the future holds for this Celtics team, you must own a crystal ball – and a damn good one.
Call it the curse of high expectations, but this squad has been frustrating us for much of the past three months. They have a habit of taking two steps forward, one step back.
And not to get all sky-is-falling, but just when we thought they had figured out the answers, they put forth that ugly effort in Miami, reminiscent of their 10-10 record pre-Thanksgiving. Not to mention the sideline scrap that has opened them up to more questions.
Perhaps these Celtics will remain as inconsistent as Marcus Smart’s jump shot. Perhaps they won’t win 60 games, as many of us predicted. Perhaps, after almost everyone expected them to capitalize on LeBron going west, they won’t even earn home court advantage in the first round.
So I’ve decided to stop worrying about what their record will be after 82 games. All that matters now is that the Celtics stay healthy and find a way to play more consistently – especially on the road – as the regular season winds down. Finishing first or second in the East is less important than being the hot team at the right time.
In fact, it would be especially cool if, for a change, the Celtics could emerge as “the team no one wants to play” in the postseason, where their regular season record becomes irrelevant. Let’s roll with that and see what happens.
Yeah, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Related – NBC Sports Boston: Key Celtics stats, schedule facts from 2018-19 NBA season’s first half | Boston.com: Where do the Celtics fit among the beasts of the East?
On Page 2: By the numbers
In a surprising move, the Celtics are allowing one of their young players to wear a number that had been retired by the franchise. And it’s for a good reason.
A story on MassLive.com last month detailed the background of the family connection.
And in other news of numbers:
And, finally… Remembering Red
(The tweet below was sent yesterday, so the anniversary of Red’s achievement is today, January 12. and it was actually 53 years ago, in 1966, but this blog is named for the guy so, damn right, we’ll celebrate this milestone.)
Red’s 1,037 wins break down as 938 in the regular season plus 99 in the playoffs, and keep in mind that he never had the help of even one assistant coach. Red was long ago surpassed as the NBA’s coaching wins leader, but the league still named the Coach of the Year award after him because, simply, he was the GOAT.
The Rest of the Links:
Boston.com: Sports Q: Do the Celtics need to make a trade?
Providence Journal: Hunter hopes to make the best of second chance with Celts
MassLive: Impressive run with Erie BayHawks brings evolved RJ Hunter back to the Boston Celtics | R.J. Hunter excited to be around Boston Celtics again: ‘There’s an actual chance at winning a championship’ | Danny Ainge not concerned by altercation between Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown, Marcus Morris (report)