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.
Since Smart arrived, Isaiah Thomas, Kyrie Irving and Al Horford all came and left. His tenure dates back to the days of Shavlik Randolph and Luigi Datome. During his rookie season, he was one part of a popular t-shirt slogan — “We Are Young and Smart” — with fellow rookie James Young.
Every year during that stretch, Smart has been to the playoffs, and he played in the Eastern Conference Finals twice. But in his opinion, this Celtics team has the best shot at a title since he arrived.
“(Other teams were) potential contenders, but not as much of a contender as this team is,” Smart told MassLive on Wednesday. “I’ve had some where we thought, ‘Maybe we can go.’ That run that we had with Isaiah Thomas, we thought we were a pretty good team, even the two years ago team where we made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, but this year is just a different feeling. We really got that sense of ‘We really, really, really, really have a chance this year,’ and it’s very evident to us. I think it’s starting to be evident to people around the league, and it’s evident to fans around the league.”
As he finished Wednesday night’s practice and prepared to embark on the Celtics’ four-game tour of the West, Jaylen Brown mentioned that his club’s season was “almost halfway over.”
Hmmm. One doesn’t have to be a mathlete to see that the Celts have played 54 games, meaning that just 28 remain in the regular season. That would leave but 34.1% of the schedule left to play. So, like, what up, Jaylen? Did you leave Cal before they got to percentages in sophomore year?
Ah, but perhaps the erudite Mr. Brown is using extrapolation to plot the season’s data.
An NBA champion must get through four rounds of the playoffs, and therein lies the potential for 28 games. That would leave the possibility for 56 more Celtic affairs and a total of 110. Therefore, 54 would, indeed, be “almost halfway” there.
Before this season even started, I was on the ‘this year is going to be different’ bandwagon.
You can–in fact you should–take my predictive powers with a grain of salt, because I thought the team was going to make some noise in 2018/19 too.
However, as Emma Wodehouse once said, “have you never known the pleasure and triumph of a lucky guess?”
And while I admire Jaylen’s idea that the season is potentially 110 games in length, let’s be honest: None of us want to see this team taken to seven games in the early rounds of the playoffs. Although all of us would be more than happy to see the team win a title.
And that’s clearly the way everybody on the team is thinking too. They’re not looking at this as an 82 game season with some bonus basketball at the end of it of uncertain length. They’re looking at this season as having a definite well-defined end: One with champagne and t-shirts and golden trophies.
Tonight the Celtics take the court in Minneapolis for the first game of the rest of the season. It’s a matchup against the Minnesota Timberwolves—a team which plays basketball only in the loosest possible sense of the word. The Celtics have 28 games remaining in the regular season, about the same as everyone else. They’ve finally caught up with the rest of the league, and have made it through the most grueling stretch of the schedule.
Page 2: Where the team will be without Kemba Walker tonight
Boston Celtics star Kemba Walker will miss the team’s first game back after the All-Star break with left-knee soreness, the team announced on Thursday.
Walker, who played big minutes in the All-Star game on Sunday, has been dealing with soreness in that knee all season. He sat out Wednesday evening’s practice, per Brad Stevens, due to abundance of caution.
“Just because of all the time that he’s been on the court,” Stevens said. “So we’re just going to continue to be careful with that.”
Ok, so on one hand, I want to blame the All-Star game for this.
On the other hand, that game was four days ago, and that was the only game Kemba’s played in since last Thursday.
The playoffs are the only thing that counts, and I’m more than comfortable with the team’s training staff managing guys for a season that will hopefully last well into June.
Yes, it’s possible that Kemba Walker is suddenly more injury prone than he was last year. However, it’s also possible that Kemba is as healthy as he’s ever been and that the Celtics are load managing him without overtly saying so.
The reality is that over half the teams in the NBA make the playoffs. Getting to the playoffs is nothing, winning in the playoffs is everything.