Doc Rivers said it best when talking about the Boston Celtics between 2008 and 2011. NOBODY has beaten this team in a playoff series when it is healthy. Unfortunately, relying on a healthy Celtics lineup may be like relying on the Bobcats to win the finals this year. The fact is, the man has a point. It is extremely hard for a team to develop any kind of on-court chemistry (especially in a shortened season with limited practices) and get starting and back-up rotations used to one another, when players cannot stay on the court. Lets take a look at all of the losses this year for the Celtics and who was missing during these losses. Keep in mind, all of these games were played without potential sixth man, Jeff Green.
New York Knicks (Loss by 2 points, Boston was missing Paul Pierce and Mikael Pietrus)
Miami Heat (Loss by 8 points, Boston was missing Paul Pierce and Mikael Pietrus)
New Orleans Hornets (Loss by 19 points, Boston was missing Paul Pierce, Mikael Pietrus and Chris Wilcox)
Indiana Pacers (Loss by 13 points, Boston starting line-up healthy, missing Mikael Pietrus)
Dallas Mavericks (Loss by 5 points, Boston starting lineup healthy, missing Marquis Daniels)
Chicago Bulls (Loss by 11 points, Boston has a healthy starting lineup, missing Keyon Dooling)
Indiana Pacers ( Loss by 14 points, Boston starting lineup healthy, missing Chris Wilcox, Keyon Dooling and Marquis Daniels)
Oklahoma City Thunder (Loss by 9, Boston starting lineup healthy, missing Chris Wilcox, Keyon Dooling and Avery Bradley)
Cleveland Cavaliers ( Loss by 1, Boston was missing Rajon Rondo, Jermaine O'Neal and Keyon Dooling)
Las Angeles Lakers ( Loss by 1, Boston Starting line-up healthy, missing Avery Bradley, Keyon Dooling)
Toronto Raptors (Loss by 12, Missing Jermaine O'Neal, Keyon Dooling, Brandon Bass)
Chicago Bulls (Loss by 9, Missing Brandon Bass)
Detroit Pistons (Loss by 15, Missing Kevin Garnett, Brandon Bass)
Dallas Mavericks (Loss by 16, Missing Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Brandon Bass)
Oklahoma City Thunder (Loss by 15, Missing Rajon Rondo, Brandon Bass, Chris Wilcox)
Now, don't get me wrong. There were a few games up there where the Celtics definitely should have still won. Especially against garbage teams. But to say that injuries hasn't been the absolute No. 1 problem with the C's this year would be ludicrous. The Celts have been leaning on the All-Star break as their savior to get in a practice and get their injured (suspended) players back on the floor. The next six to seven games are really going to tell whether or not the C's players are going to be able to endure the tough schedule coming up, and should use these games as a guide on whether to pull the trade trigger come March 15th.
Who knows, maybe we'll get a boost of Celtics Pride and make some noise with a healthy team in the Playoffs...and if not? There's always going after Kevin Martin or Monta Ellis.