Boston Celtics Basketball: Enough With the Swagger, Where's the Pride?

Nick GelsoCorrespondent IDecember 19, 2009

BOSTON - NOVEMBER 20: Rasheed Wallace #30 of the Boston Celtics reacts after not converting a shot after getting fouled by Marcin Gortat #13(not pictured) of the Orlando Magic during the game on November 20, 2009 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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We would all like to describe our team as confident and capable. We know from experience that the Boston Celtics are just that. Friday night's loss against the lowly Philadelphia 76ers, without Allen Iverson, would defy that description.

It is apparent, through the manner in which this game was lost, that the Celtics felt comfortable with their 15-point first-half lead and coasted. Their "cruise control" mentality is what ultimately led to the one-point loss.

Over the course of this season I have continually stated my exhaustion with the over-hyped "swagger" when describing the Celtics' attitude. I am also tired of the "swagger-theory" as the missing ingredient when describing losses by the C's. Doc Rivers addressed the "swagger-theory" in his comments to the media last night.

From the Boston Globe:

"We played with this swagger—the losing swagger,’’ Rivers said.

“It’s one thing to have the winning swagger and you go out and you feel great about your team, and you go out and play. And then there’s another thing when you just show up and you think the other team’s going to lay over and fall because you’re the Celtics.’’

It's essential for a team to believe in themselves when competing for the championship in their respective sport. Their is no doubt in my mind that the Celtics never lack confidence. How can they when they have this kind of star-power?

Even during the rough stretch in November, I felt the C's knew they could win and would emerge from the slump. They did so with just four losses during a poor seven-game stretch (3-4) and then proceeded to roll to an 11-game win streak. Eight of those wins were on the road.

How are the Celtics so dominant to post a 12-1 record on the road and yet only muster enough wins to notch a .666 winning percentage at home?

Something is out of place here.

I am not a person who is blinded by the love I feel for my team. I am perfectly comfortable with stating my frustrations without hesitation.

I admitted when KG still showed signs of being a step or two behind in November. I also brought great reference to KG's steady recovery and excellent play of late. I had no problem calling Rondo out when he was embarrassing (and hurting) the team with his poor free throw shooting and lack of a capable jump shot. I also didn't hesitate to praise Rondo when his shooting seemed to correct itself.

Today, I have no problem declaring that the self-imposed Celtic "swagger" is over-hyped—extensively—and at times, detrimental to this club.

"Swagger" cannot be faked and it doesn't suddenly materialize through a killer dunk or unfounded boisterous bragging bravado.

"Swagger" can often be interpreted as OVER-CONFIDENCE and that only results in the most hideous descriptions of the word. "Swagger" must be an adjective opponents use for describing a club that has boasted their dominance through the authority in which they win ball games.

"Swagger" is not a stare-down or a chest bang. It's not trash talking or the bullying of opponents. "Swagger" is not being loud or obnoxious about winning or dominating.

In the very best definition of the word (and their aren't too many good ones), "swagger" can be defined as "to bring, drive or force, blustering."

By the end of Friday night's contest, I can honestly say that the Celtics didn't "bring" their A-game. They didn't "drive" their 15-point lead home. They didn't "force" their dominant will upon their opponent and the only real "blustering" was displayed through an unpleasant roar from Rasheed Wallace that landed him in the locker room before halftime.

Again, I will clearly state that I want my team to be confident. I realize trash talking and some pompous celebrations are emotional responses to winning. Most times, I like and appreciate it as a fan.

Nothing gets me more riled up then KG's pregame chest pumping routine to the roar of the Garden crowd. These are all contributing factors to the entertainment value of the game. I enjoy some defiance and shoulder chipping too. Contradictory statements?

Absolutely not.

When those qualities surface naturally, as a result of winning, they are the purest form of Celtic pride. Celtic pride is born through ... READ MORE