You aren’t going to find a better Celtics piece than the one written by ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan.
It details the roller coaster that was the C’s season, with the likes of Kyrie Irving, Terry Rozier, Jaylen Brown and Al Horford offering insightful and honest reflection.
The quotes are simply fantastic.
“In hindsight, we could have been a lot better. We were trying to figure this out. Not just us in the locker room, but Brad and the front office, too. … Maybe we did a little too much talking in the media, and then we read it, and it separated us in some sense. But there’s no bad blood in our locker room. There never has been.” — Brown.
“The energy is great now. We’re together. Not like before.” — Rozier.
“I felt like I went from the passenger seat to the trunk. Everybody tells you, ‘Don’t think about the contract, don’t think about the money.’ I always tell myself, ‘I’ll get what I deserve one day. Maybe not this day, but one day.'” — Rozier.
“You come to realize you shouldn’t compare yourself to others and their situations. I started focusing on me. I tried not to let my emotions control me. That was hard sometimes, because the media puts so much pressure on us. They blow things out of proportion and people run with it.” — Brown.
“There’s been a lot of emphasis on the wrong things. People make it as if basketball is the most important thing in our lives. So, you [deal with] the money and expectations and all the things that come with being in a professional environment. … I fought all that this season. It’s not about having everything if you don’t have the happiness of playing the game.” — Irving.
They are the words we craved to hear from them for much of the last few months. But now, as the piece points out, the focus of the group is clear and direct. The C’s have come to grips with their individual and collective lots in life and the payoff has been five wins in six postseason games heading into Friday night.
The danger is this: the Milwaukee Bucks.
The guess here is that the Celtics will bounce back from their second-half shellacking in Game 2 and resemble the team that has allowed for a new surge of optimism. Those two quarters aside, the talent of each participant has seemingly found its niche at just the right time.
But it’s hard to read the ESPN.com piece without applying some sort of warning label. As they showed when last we saw them, the Bucks are the No. 1 seed for a reason. They are really good, with a coach that wasn’t about to sit back and let the Celtics’ Game 1 blueprint work on back-to-back games.
It has been much more palatable to watch where the aforementioned enlightenment has led the Celtics. They don’t sweep the Pacers or blowout the Bucks in Game 1 without the kind shift of focus that appeared to take place sometime in the last few months.
There is, however, that line of thinking surfaced by Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas if Milwaukee does come away with another win.
“The thing that I question about Boston … The trust factor they have with each other with the Celtics right now is very fragile and when you’re trying to beat a team int he playoffs the thing you’re really trying to do is break the teammate’s trust and confidence within each other so they aren’t able to execute their gameplan,” Thomas said on the Stephen A. Smith Show. “When I look at Boston right now from a trust and confidence standpoint they are very fragile and one or two losses can break their trust or their ability to communicate with each other to execute the coach’s gameplan. And that’s what I think Milwaukee will try to exploit.”
Game 3 will offer the perfect opportunity for the Celtics to prove they do, in fact, have it all figured out.
Full article @ NBA playoffs: Boston Celtics are saying all the right things, but will it matter?
Source: GreenStreet Blog