Basketball logic dictates that the Celtics’ season should be dead by now, yet it still has a pulse. In fact, this battered, bruised, and gutted team is not only surviving but winning.
Around the league, observers say there’s actually little surprise that this depleted Hub crew is still a tough out, is still in the playoff race, cobbling together victories even without its floor general, its best rebounder, and its speedy reserve spark plug.
“If there’s one team, coach and players, that could possibly hold the ship together a little bit,” an Eastern Conference scout said, “it’s the Celtics.”
Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau, a former Celtics assistant, isn’t shocked by the Celtics’ resolve.
“They’ve been down players before,” he said, “and they’ve always managed to get around it.”
Yes, but the injuries they’ve faced this season have been brutal, with Rajon Rondo (knee), Jared Sullinger (back), and Leandro Barbosa (knee) all out for the season.
It almost seems fitting that the man in charge of this wounded bunch is affectionately known as “Doc.” (Or course, coach Doc Rivers always points out that “Doc” is just a nickname.)
For anyone aiming to forecast the second half of this Celtics campaign, they must dissect the first, which is divided into two sections: pre- and post-Rondo.
The latter is what the Celtics will face in their final 30 regular-season games, but so far, the results without him are promising: eight wins, one loss.
Is that a true barometer for the second half? Not necessarily, not with nine of Boston’s first 11 games after the All-Star break on the road, and not with the Celtics having only 10 healthy players.
“It’s going to be necessary [to add players] just for us to even have practice,” forward Paul Pierce said. “We have to have a guard, maybe another big man.”
Celtics coach Doc Rivers: ‘We’re not going to just roll over’
Boston Globe | Feb 15