Celtics Blog 2017-

Post Trade Deadline.

Three Days Of Glory: Part I.

By Tom Mahoney

I don't think most people understand what has happened the past three days. I'm not sure I completely understand. The events of change were happening so fast that it was like the Roadrunner, the Flash, and Red Auerbach crashed into each other at full speed, and swirled up a tornado of Fate all over Boston. It was raining four leaf clovers and pots o' gold for three days (Hell! Our incompetent Representatives even finally got off their complicit asses and hired a Special Counsel to investigate the Trump-Flynn treason! God bless America).

The entire Celtics Franchise has changed in so many monumental positive ways. The last three days could be the turning point in another Celtics Dynasty. The Celtics are riding down two roads at once. They have a merry band of veterans who have finally learned how to win in the NBA, and they didn't screw it up. And they have the Three Nets Picks that gives them an unlimited future over the next 15-years. If they don't screw it up.

First they beat the Wizards in Game Seven. "Is there a better development than getting a chance to play in the playoffs and playing in the second round, Game 7, and making huge plays, then winning Game 7?" Stevens said. "To me, going through the ups and downs of a year, we usually just talk about development in terms of minutes. But going through the ups and downs of a year, especially when you're a young guy, and then taking all those good things, and applying them in a game with that kind of intensity is invaluable." I think it is easy to forget that this iteration of the Celtics had not won a single Playoff Series, before they beat the Bulls a couple weeks ago. 

And there they were, Monday night wining their second Playoff Series with Jalen Brown getting some significant minutes. "I thought Jaylen did a good job on Bogdanovic in one of our games earlier this year when I was watching film," Brad Stevens said. "So I wanted to give him a shot and, I've said this before, I trust all of our guys to be ready when called up. I thought Jaylen did a terrific job not only getting in there defensively and rebounding, but then he made the shot and then made a nice drive and kick to Jae as well. I thought he was really good." He played great D, made a few nice passes, and scored a little.

The importance of the Nets picks is not win Now-Now-Now. The importance of the Nets picks is that they get three shots at Transcendent players, and getting their first attempt at the Transcendent Lottery some Playoff minutes was huge. "He's played all year, and he's played well in big moments for us," Stevens said. "He's done a lot of good things. I trust any of those guys to put them in there and do good things. I just trust him." Players like LaBron, who took six or seven years of Playoff experience to learn the Playoff Game, but has now lead his teams to seven straight Finals appearance.

They need Brown (and Rozier) to start earning those Playoff minutes so they can start to learn what they need to learn. "Those guys have put in a lot of work behind the scenes," Crowder said. "I'm sure they are prepared for the moment. I know just being with them all year, they prepare. When the time is up, the time comes, those guys start to seize the moment. Today was a prime example of those two seizing the moment." Brown is maybe the smartest guy on the team intellectually. 

But he is not the smartest player on the court by a dozen. "Obviously, you have to be locked in to sit for two-and-a-half hours, then come in and contribute," Crowder said. "He was locked in. That's playoff-type basketball. He was locked and ready to go, and that's kudos to him. When his number was called, he came in and played, and he did a great job." You can see he learned a lot behind the scenes in the Regular Season, and in the Wizards series.

You win with Superstars in the NBA, like Pierce, KG, and Ray, and the rest of the players are simply there to help them (or him). "It's hard to believe, but he's better than when I got into the league," Stevens said about LaBron. "A lot better. Just as you get older, you gain more experiences, you see more things. Yeah, I didn't think he could get any better after that, but he is." Right now LaBron is surpassing the MJ levels.

Brown getting meaningful minutes in a Game Seven was the most important aspect of the Dynastic potential this team is tittering on. And he played well. He finally started to show the talent that Danny saw in his teenage body Monday night. Man alive! It is hard to believe that was only three days ago.

The Celtics are about Championships. So this years Playoffs is all about fostering Brown in a winning environment. Getting Brown some important Playoff minutes. The last two games of the Wizards series did more to lead to Banner-18 than anything else they did in this years Playoffs. No other player in the top half of last years Draft got a single minute in a Playoff game. No other Lottery pick from last years Draft played in the Playoffs. That is the most important aspect of building an NBA Winner. 

NBA Playoffs and the NBA Regular season have almost nothing in common beside the floor, ball, and 10-foot high hoops to throw the ball through. "I think their energy level was by far higher than ours to start the game," Crowder said after Game One against the Cavs. "They set the tone to start on both ends of the court to start the game, and we started playing catch-up from there." The intensity, the experience, and the smarts and maturity reaches levels unseen in the Regular season. It is not the same game in the Playoffs, it is only spelled the same. 

Playoff Basketball is a masterpiece of heart, smarts, hustle, and physical attrition that young players cannot understand until they are beaten down by it. It is all about crying "havoc", and unleashing the Dogs of War. It is all about the cold assassin eyes of LaBron and Stephon. It is the jazz of: rage vs control, love vs hate, passion vs experience, intensity vs execution, and fighting vs teamwork. 

It is all about all the things that young players cannot understand, even if they actually knew they should. "That's a good question," Jaylen Brown said when asked about the flat tire they laid last night. "I know we have to clean it up quick. Because they haven't lost a game in the Playoffs." Brown is learning what he actually has to know to win in the Playoffs, already. 

That puts him a few steps ahead his fellow rookies, just watching the brilliance of LaBron in the Playoffs up close. "You never want this to happen, but I felt like that [the Cavs] zapped us on the other end a little bit. We missed some makeable opportunities. They did a great job of attacking the paint, and it was clear that those guys had really emphasized that," Stevens said. "It was very clear that he [LaBron] was trying to get to the rim on us, no matter who was on him. I think we'll have to adjust a little bit. He's a pretty physical guy. He's got some physical advantages on people. But we need to do a better job in a lot of ways." LaBron was the Master, and Brown was hopefully the lowly student.

LaBron showed in Game One everything that Brown has to understand that he has to learn to become a Playoff Winner. "We came in with a great mindset on the road," Kevin Love said. "A great game plan. And just tried to make other guys make plays. [To] maybe put them in uncomfortable situations." Watching that intellectual execution up close also puts Brown more than few steps ahead of his new teammate, Markelle Futz.

George Butler: Part I.

By Tom Mahoney

The Celtics foray into the trading deadline was one of the most exciting few days since the Super Bowl, sport wise. "All the things we pulled away from or might have been tempted to do, we didn’t do," Ainge said. "So patience, maybe, but we like what we have. We like our position and we like our future a lot." There was all kinds of wackiness going on in regards to getting George Butler. 

The Celtics foray into the trading deadline was one of the most exciting few days since the Super Bowl, sport wise. "All the things we pulled away from or might have been tempted to do, we didn’t do," Ainge said. "So patience, maybe, but we like what we have. We like our position and we like our future a lot." There was all kinds of wackiness going on in regards to getting George Butler. 

Now I think George is the more clutch player, and more of a Playoff Winner. He has shown that he can be the man on a Playoff winning team. But Butler had certainly surpassed him stat wise this year. So trading for George Butler looked like it could change everything.

I didn't care which one. I think both would guarantee a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. "I’m not disappointed," Ainge said. "Not at all. I can’t wait to get back out on the road and start scouting and getting ready for the draft and continue to watch the NBA and get ready for the playoffs. I’m very optimistic and very excited about the rest of the year." And they became so closely linked that it was like they became one person, George Butler. 

But here's the rub, the Eastern Conference finals. "Yes they have [begun]," Ainge said about the attempted theft of the Brooklyn picks. "Nothing is close or imminent, but there are people calling. It’s a valuable pick so we’re going to explore that." They can't afford to give up the three veterans for George Butler, and they can't afford to give up the dynastic value of the Brooklyn picks. 

This team could beat LaBron and go to the Finals, if you added George to this team. I do believe that. I think also that many have forgotten about Avery Bradley. He might be the Celtics most clutch shooter. He might be the Celtics best rebounder (which is crucial to their spread system). He might be their best man defender. He instantly improves the team when he returns.

Plus. They have Smart. Who is the grit, toughness, and meanness on the team, and you have to have some meanness to win in basketball. In basketball nothing is given to you. You have to take it. He is also very young. He is just starting to show the shooting and passing that will make him an NBA winner in a few years. 

Crowder is developing into the ultra versatile asset that Stevens needs to run his system. He is a built up wing, who can cover power forwards when they go small. And cover some centers when they go really small. He is also one of those glue guys that the team really relies on.

Brown is the future. He is the young physical freak that the Celtics are going to develop into a Superstar. By the time he is 25, and LaBron in gone, he will be one of the Stars leading the Celtics to Championships. If the Celtics had added George to those four guys they could have given LaBron a run for his money.

There in lies the rub. Indiana wanted it all, and the 2017 Brooklyn pick (which is utterly, absolutely, and unequivocally untradeable). They wanted three of those four guys, which crashes the team instantly. Say Danny gave them Bradley, who as I said might be their best clutch shooter, rebounder, and man defender (though Smart might have a say in that). Because he has been injured during this stretch that got them into sole possession of 2nd place behind LaBron (including last nights painful loss to the Raptor). 

Then what? You can't give up Smart. He is the grit of the team. You can't give up Brown. He is part of the dynastic future of this team. You can't give up Crowder. He is the glue of the team. Without three of those four guys they simply aren't the Celtics. 

The Pacers pernicious offer would have been a theft of the future of the Celtics that they spent so much time rebuilding from scratch. "Ultimately, we had a lot of conversations, but nothing that was good enough to [come close to a] deal," Ainge said. "We won’t put a ceiling on this team, but we haven’t seen the best of this team. Our whole team hasn’t been intact for many games." They lost their three Superstars, and rebuilt the franchise with latter picks and scrap-heap players.

They built a team that is scaring the top teams in the East. "We put a lot of time and thought into this," Ainge said. "We like what we have, we like our position and we like our future a lot. We’re trying to upgrade our team, but it is a delicate balance of short-term goals and long-term goals." They are on an unprecedented precipitous for a Playoff team (that appears to be a chip or two away from winning it all), with three straight top four Lottery picks (that puts them on the verge of a Patriots like 17-year Dynasty). 

They have the three Brooklyn picks that have the dynastic potential to turn into three Superstars of the future that require ball-aching patience. "A lot of teams do a lot, and cost their franchises a lot of money, by trying to get picks like that," Ainge said. "We have very good fortune right now. The ball has bounced our way, and we need to make the most of that." You do not give up one of those picks unless it is for a guaranteed Superstar, and they sure as hell can't give up two for anything less than LaBron. 

Larry wanted two. He wanted Brown and the 2017 pick. "I’m certainly aware of all of our competition around the East," Ainge said. "It’s not from a lack of desire to want to do a trade, but as an organization we have priorities and a plan. We’re not looking for Band-Aids and we’re not looking to give up future assets. We’re trying to build something more sustainable than a rent-a-player." He wanted to steal the Celtics incredible position of contending now, and being a Dynasty in waiting, for George Butler. No. Hell no! 

Be A Citizen! Not a Subject! 

Fascist is as Fascist does. Beware American. President Jerkballs is pulling the cowardly republican Senate closer and closer to the cliff.

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