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There is officially a problem in Boston. No longer can the Celtics reach into their ever-growing bag of excuses to try and explain away the events of recent weeks. No longer can the Green blame the Kendrick Perkins trade, or the Shaq injury. This is no longer about “working in the new guys”; this is a blatant lack of heart. The days of “unbutu” are officially over. Look, teams lose games, that’s expected and accepted, even veteran teams like the Celtics slip up once in a while. But the Green have become difficult to watch, difficult to cover, and worst of all difficult to root for. Instead of gearing up for a championship run, the Celtics are playing the victim and brushing up on their excuses.
My favorite excuse is the trade of Kendrick Perkins. Nobody appreciated what Perk brought to the table more than I did. Let’s pretend for a moment (in a salary cap-less world) that Danny Ainge decided to trade Perk for a draft pick rather than players in return. Even if the Celtics had to sign a center off the streets, based on the talent of the big 4 alone they should still contend, after all they are still starting three Hall-of-Famers and a young All-Star point guard.
The other C excuse is age and legs, and that is an excuse that most Celtics fans could live with if it were actually the truth. The truth however is that the aging legs of the Celtics “Big 3” are playing terrific individual basketball. The biggest problem of all has been the on again, off again play of the youngest of the Celtics starters, Rajon Rondo. Rondo, who made his name in the NBA by dominating opposing elite point guards was made to look like a JV player by Derrick Rose, and seemed disinterested in the Celtics loss in Miami.
The Celtics seem no longer mentally tough enough to endure the rigors of the NBA playoffs. No, the team that was once the model franchise for “we not me”, has suddenly become concerned with individual performances and statistics. Once feared and respected, it appears that the Green may be nothing but a stepping stone in another team’s quest for a championship.Of course, following last years 27-27 finish I wrote the same column. I was wrong then and hope I am wrong now.