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.
The Celtics had a rough time last night, but we’ll have more about that later today in 5 Rational Thoughts. For now, there’s a more important topic.
The memo seems aimed at preparing teams for a worst-case scenario. It’s a worst-case that is already in effect in Italy, which is hard-hit by the coronavirus. Sporting events there will be played without fans for the next month. Earlier this week, Brad Stevens addressed his and the team’s preparedness.
“Obviously I’m paying attention to the news and everything else. I know everybody here is working on it. But we have great medical care and doctors and everything else,” he said. “So just like any other time, if somebody were to come down with the flu, it’s an automatic response both for the individual and for the team. I know that our doctors are prepared for that, but we haven’t had any updates from anybody on that.”
With more than 100,000 cases and over 3,400 deaths reported worldwide from the coronavirus, it’s no surprise that people would be concerned about going out in crowds and risking exposure to infection. Throughout the US, numerous large gatherings already have been cancelled. For instance, the South by Southwest Conference & Festivals, due to start next weekend and expected to draw more than 400,000 people to Austin, Texas, will not go on.
Since the NBA is in the business of hosting 20,000 people at several venues every night, it was just a matter of time until contingency plans would be required. The idea of playing games in empty arenas might be necessary, even though it’s completely unappealing.
It’s still early; perhaps nothing will come of this. But it is a matter to be taken seriously, and will no doubt be discussed extensively in the coming week. Stay tuned.
On Page 2: Will they ever be healthy?
Saw this tweet yesterday, prior to the Celtics hosting the Jazz last night. It provides a good look at how disjointed this season has been for the Celtics.
One week ago in this space (the day of the Houston game), I wrote this:
It’s obvious that these Celtics can play with any team in the NBA. They rank 5th in offensive rating, 4th in defensive rating, and 3rd in net rating. A win tonight would put them in second place in the East. If they get and hold that second seed, they’d have a tremendous opportunity to reach at least the Eastern finals, and then a realistic shot at the NBA Finals. The one caveat is they can’t afford more injuries.
My plea for good health did not age well. That night, the Cs lost by one point in overtime as Kemba Walker sat out once again to rest his sore knee. Their next game was the debacle vs. Brooklyn, in which Kemba and Robert Williams were back, but Jayson Tatum was out sick. Celts not only blew a huge lead and suffered another OT loss, they also lost Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward to new injuries.
On Wednesday in Cleveland, Jayson returned but Kemba sat again to avoid playing on consecutive nights. Jaylen and Gordon didn’t suit up and are still not back now.
Given the endless injuries, it’s almost inconceivable that the Celtics are tied for fifth-best record in the entire NBA.
We need to accept that there may never be any point during the rest of the season when the entire roster is healthy. In all likelihood, this team will be perpetually shorthanded.
Go ahead and prove us wrong, Celtics. Please.
And, finally… Why can’t we get players like this?
The NBA has changed so dramatically in the age of the three-pointer. Remember two years ago when we were all stunned that Aron Baynes started shooting from the arc? And how we were even more shocked when he started making them? Well, this is where we are now.
The Rest of the Links:
NBC Sports Boston: Celtics-Jazz Takeaways: C’s interior defense is pretty good, but they can’t stop Utah’s 3’s | Marcus Smart has harsh take on Celtics’ effort in loss to Jazz | Jazz-Celtics Overreactions: C’s lack of scoring depth exposed
MassLive: Marcus Smart says Boston Celtics’ effort in loss to Utah Jazz was ‘(expletive)’: ’When we get punched, we’ve got to keep punching’ | Boston Celtics Brad Stevens trying to limit Jayson Tatum’s minutes: ‘He’s played a lot of minutes in the last month and a half’ | Boston Celtics Kemba Walker struggles with minutes restriction, but ’Today was the best I felt in a little while | Boston Celtics go ice cold from deep, fall to Utah Jazz 99-94