If you read my Carolina Panther’s mock draft article, you know that I’ve been suffering from some kind of indescribable sickness.
Lately, I’ve been wondering if whatever I have has infected the Boston Celtics.
Since the All-Star break, the Boston Celtics have been playing lackluster basketball.
I’m not all that concerned with the fact that they’re losing. They’re playing some of the best teams in the NBA, especially from an offensive perspective. No team goes through an entire season without experiencing some type of losing streak.
I am, however, concerned with how they’re losing.
When the Celtics were at their best this season, they seemed to feed off of Kevin Garnett’s energy.
When Garnett was injured, the young guys stepped in and supplied the intensity.
Guys like Glen Davis and Leon Powe played their hearts out, leading the Celtics to a 7-2 record while Garnett was out.
Then Garnett returned.
Since his return, they’re 0-3, turning the ball over at an alarming rate, giving up way too many points, and getting out-rebounded at a 2-1 clip.
So what happened?
When Garnett returned he brought his own intensity back, but the rest of the team seemed to lose theirs. It’s as if they all breathed a sigh of relief and said, “OK, he’s back; we can relax now.”
Garnett and Paul Pierce have been playing at a championship level all season long. The rest of the team has been up and down, peaking in their seven point victory over Detroit on February 5th.
It would be foolish to expect the Celtics to bring that kind of intensity every night, but you would expect them to be able to get up for a team like the Phoenix Suns.
It’s disturbing to see the Suns able to score at will, to out-rebound the Celtics so easily, and to defend the Celtics’ offense like they did.
Back in early February, the Celtics were the best team in the NBA, but right now, they’re solidly in the hunt, but clearly behind teams like the Pistons, Suns and Lakers.
Luckily for them, they don’t give NBA championships out in February.
The key for the Celtics is to fight through this, get aggressive, bang the boards, and get back some of that intensity that served them so well earlier this season.
With nine minutes left in the third quarter of Sunday’s game against Portland, the Celtics appear more aggressive, are finally starting to hit the boards, and have erased a 17 point first half deficit.
All good signs.
I’m not as concerned with whether or not they win the game, but more-so with the level of intensity throughout the remaining twenty minutes.
Talent is not a problem for the 2007-08 Boston Celtics. Contrary to popular belief, neither is depth. This Celtics team will go as far as their intensity on both sides of the floor takes them.
If the intensity is there, the result (especially in the playoffs) will take care of itself.