Somebody go fetch Father Buckley from choir practice.
It’s time to perform extreme unction on the 22-19 Boston Celtics of 2011-12.
The fat lady has run all her scales; she’s singing for real now.
The loyal Celtic constituency will surely protest, but the weight of the evidence is as in-your-face as a Blake Griffin poster.
Sure, the Celtics have been winning home games at a .667 clip.
But only nine “homers” remain—another six wins, proportionally.
Sure, Doc’s lads outlasted the media-darling Clippers on tired legs on Monday.
But it was just their sixth road win in 17 tries. That .353 rate, projected on the 16 remaining “roadies,” produces 5.6 more victories.
The old Abacus calculated that 33 or 34 wins was barely .500 for the 66-game season but probably good enough to squeak into the playoffs in the less-than-beastly East.
And that is “if” they can maintain this pace.
Let us not forget that these young entrepreneurs will be putting the finishing touches to their IRS returns while playing 11 games between April 4 and April 18, seven or eight of them (the Knicks?) against likely playoff teams.
The 34 wins and playoff spot no longer sound like such a lock, huh?
But wait a minute.
It’s not just numerical probability and the burden of an onerous schedule that should have Father Buckley’s choir boning up on “Oh, Danny Boy!”
For the past six weeks, the team’s performance has been lousy.
Not out-of-sync. Lousy.
Not a bit sub-par. LOUSY.
They could not shoot and they could not rebound.
In their last 20 games, Boston has converted half or more of its field goal attempts all of twice. One— like Deron Williams’s recent scoring binge—shouldn’t count since it was against Charlotte. The other was against Deron and his less than stout mates.
Now, with so many opportunities, one would anticipate some spike in the offensive rebounding numbers, right?
Oh, but no. In those same 20 games, the C’s corralled 10 or more offensive boards in only four games, two of which extended into overtime.
In their first 21 games, the team shot 50 percent eight times and got double-digit offensive rebounds on six occasions. Hmm...
How should Doc Rivers and the Celtics approach the rest of this season?
Sadly for Abacus’s beloved Celtics, it seems far more likely that they’ll miss the playoffs entirely than win the Eastern Conference title, much less hoist another banner.
This season’s roster reconstruction has shuffled in some productive and popular puzzle pieces, but the gaping hole that has existed in the middle of the line-up for a year now has yet to be adequately addressed.
Contending teams find an Asik or a Pittman, while developing teams turn up a Hollins or a Pekovic (wasn’t that guy briefly the WBA heavyweight champ?), and Greg Stiemsma and JaJuan Johnson have been kept on a short leash.
As painful as it may be to acknowledge, the 2012 Boston Celtics have officially sunk from contender to pretender.
On a brighter note, there is one person pulling very hard for the Green Machine to eke into the playoffs—a series against this front line should be worth $1 million to Joakim Noah.
He’s even volunteered to change his name to Danny Boy.