Last week the Celtics had put a nice little run of wins together — they were back, baby! Fear them come the playoffs.
Today, they are bums. They can’t beat the Thunder at home.
That’s the fan roller coaster ride for contending teams with questions — you can also take this ride in Los Angeles and Orlando as well right now.
Well stop the ride, Doc Rivers wants to get off. From the Boston Herald:
“You don’t have to be (optimistic) because I am,” he said. “I look at our team, and we played one bad night. We were playing great up until two games ago. Were you optimists three games ago?
“Either you’re on the bandwagon or you’re off,” Rivers continued. “I tell guys that all the time. That’s the way I think, and that’s how our team should think. I’m not going to spend time trying to convince you to dislike us or like us. Our team just has to keep working.
“Should I worry about a team where you guys don’t think we can win anymore?”
Rivers is right about this — it’s the body of work over the course of a season that tells you about a team, not just one game. Fans do tend to overreact to one regular season loss.
But the body of work for the Celtics is troubling. Have they really looked good all season? The inability of Kevin Garnett to show out on the pick then recover and protect the rim anymore is brutal when a guy like Durant comes to town, and the Hawks have guys like that. The fact that Rajon Rondo has to take over games late — and if you can force him into jumpers you are in good shape — is troubling. The list keeps on going, but do I really need to go into it all?
Fans shouldn’t stop rooting for their team to win. But they are allowed to be realistic, Doc.
Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.
But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.
He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.
LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.
Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?
In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.
But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.
Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.
“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”
It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)
With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.
President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.
“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”
There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.
It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.
The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.
The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.
Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.
A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.