One day it’s the Good Ship Lollipop and the next it’s the Titanic. That pretty much sums up the year the Shamrocks have had despite the fact that they remain one of the beasts in the East. Unfortunately, they’re not quite as ferocious as we all believed they would be prior to the start of the season. As a matter of fact, if you were to click on over to Sportsbook Review, you could read a Bovada review detailing why Bovada is one of the preeminent online sportsbooks in the industry and one that was dealing Boston as a favorite to win the Eastern Conference this season. But much has changed since October and it appears all of the major threats have added to their arsenals except the Celtics.
After winning nine of 10 from mid-January through early February, the Green proceeded to undo most of that momentum by dropping six of eight. Then they won four of five, including a dominating victory over the world champion Golden State Warriors at the Oracle Arena. The Celtics were quickly closing the gap on the 76ers and Pacers for the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference before the Monday night massacre in LA. The best online sportsbooks like Bovada may have hung them as slight road favorites but they played like dogs – and not underdogs, mind you. It was a 25-point drubbing by a good, although unspectacular, Clippers club. Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the loss was Kyrie Irving’s postgame comments heaping praise, and I mean mounds of praise, on Clippers’ head coach Doc Rivers, formerly of the Celtics. Here’s just a snippet.
“It’s so easy to play for a guy that’s been a player in this league,” Irving said. “He’s won a championship and he’s done unbelievable things in this league for his players while giving them confidence to go out there and be who they are. Lou (Williams) signed an extension for a reason, and that’s Doc. He puts those guys in position, gives them the freedom and keeps them encouraged throughout the whole game — especially when they’re at home.”
Kyrie went even further but you don’t have to be an ardent disciple of Freud to figure this one out. In essence, Irving was praising Rivers while taking a tacit swipe at his own coach. Brad Stevens was never a player “in this league”, has never won an NBA championship, and apparently is not inspiring confidence in his players, ala Doc Rivers. Kyrie Irving’s personality mirrors the Celtics’ performance this season. One day he says all the wrong things and gets killed in the press while the next day he’s contrite, mature, and somewhat resembles the leader he so desperately wanted to be when he signed with the Celtics, and withdrew from LeBron’s immense shadow in Cleveland.
The Celtics are like the weather in New England – if you don’t like it, just give it a day or two and it will change. Boston still has 14 games remaining on their schedule and trail the Sixers and Pacers by only 1 ½ games for the third playoff spot. Of those 14 games, there are five that could be classified as dangerous. Dates against Denver (home), Philadelphia (road), San Antonio (home), and a home and away against Indiana could prove to be landmines. If they were to lose those but win the other nine, that would give them a winning percentage of .642 which is an uptick over their current .603. That would probably land them in the No. 4 spot over Philly but a pair of losses against the Pacers would more than likely solidify Indiana’s third seed if they continue to play at their current pace. There will be more trials and travails with this edition of the Boston Celtics so we must weather the storm, keep calm, and carry on.