Imagine what the moment after the Boston Celtics lost game seven of the Eastern Conference Finals might had looked like behind the scenes:
Waiting in the locker room were Jeff Green, Chris Wilcox, Jermaine O’Neal, and Avery Bradley.
After the game, Greg Stiemsma walked gingerly to avoid putting pressure on his foot suffering from plantar fasciitis. Ray Allen soaked his ankle with bone chips in a bucket of ice water, while Paul Pierce and Michael Pietrus each wore an ice bag on their balky knees like it was fashionable.
Health has been Boston’s Achilles heel since they won Banner number 17 in 2008 (note: no player was ever listed on the Celtics’ injury report with an Achilles heel injury last season, but it wouldn’t be surprising if someone had a bad one). From Kevin Garnett’s knee in the 2008-09 season, to Kendrick Perkins in the 2010 Finals, and even Shaquille O’Neal last year, a key Celtic or two failed to finish the season.
Injuries happen. Heart problems should be taken seriously. And it’s harder to play at a high level at an advanced age.
But any talk that the Celtics ran out of gas in Game 7 because they were old is flat out wrong. They ran out of gas because they didn’t have any support from the bench.
The starters did their job, as all five finished in double figures. But two points from Ryan Hollins isn’t going to put any team over the top.
With the right moves, and being blessed with good health, the Celtics can rebound from the emotional loss in the Eastern Conference Finals and again contend for the right to take on the best from the Western Conference in the NBA Finals. Without making any ludicrous trade proposals, here is one way to keep the Celtics in contention in 2012-13 and prepare for the next generation.