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The Celtics Needed Q-Rich and El Heat To Wake Them Up

April 21, 2010

A new energy for a new Celtic team: just in time.

A new energy for a new Celtic team: just in time.

In the midst of the 19-0 run by the Celtics in the 2nd quarter, I started to think about WHY this transformation took place. Despite the fact that the Celtics were poised for a solid playoff run instead of a solid regular season run, fans didn’t exactly see a flip of the switch (execution, energy, poise) during game 1. But tonight, especially in the 2nd quarter, we’ve seen that switch flipped.

It’s the energy level tonight that has been missing since January. They are just playing harder and out-hustling El Heat. The Celtics ability to literally turn it ON was not just the fact that we are in the post-season. The ability to turn it on came from a figurative slap in the face from Quentin Richardson and the rest of the El Heat clan (yes, Spanish speaking friends, I just said “the” and followed it with “El”, which of course also means the). The altercation between KG and Q-Rich was what this team needed to fight back, to play with energy, and most of all, to play with a chip on its shoulder.

One thing I love about Daryl Morey (GM of the Rockets) is that he finds diamonds in the rough. He finds guys that are out to prove something. In other words, he can find guys that play with a chip on their shoulder. Mark Warkentien of the Denver Nuggets shares a same ability: find guys that play with a chip on their shoulder because they really share a strong common bond of proving that you can win despite the fact that everyone else has already written you off long ago. The Celtics, right now in this first half, are playing together with a chip on their shoulder. Everyone has written them off, but they are fighting to prove to themselves what they have been trying to convince themselves all season: they are a genuine title contender.

The Celtics are playing with phenomenal energy. This energy has translated itself to picking up quickly on defensive rotations and to running the floor to get transition baskets. The Celts are crashing the boards well and moving the ball well. The Celtics are finding a different way to win: just play hard and want it more.

The Celtics are not a finesse team: they won’t execute well on every possession (evident by all of the turnovers). But if the Celtics can continue to play upbeat, scrappy, gritty basketball then they will hopefully bring their opponents down to their level. If the Celtics can force other teams to play in this kind of tempo, then they will beat better teams: such as the Cavs, Magic, or Hawks. All three of those teams are better than the Celtics, but if the good guys can force others to play at their level… then we’ve got a chance at this.

Let’s be honest: the Celtics have been hibernating for the last 5 months. With an occasional quick snap awake, this team has been mostly asleep all season. Consider yourself exonerated from all fraudulent charges, Q-Rich. I’m now believing that because of everything that has happened, this is working out quite well for the Celts and us fans. Perhaps this El Heat match-up was the best for for the Celts.

Quentin Richardson and his goony co-captain Jermaine O’Neal gave the Celtics the greatest gift all season: a reason to play harder, a reason to play with more energy, and a reason to win. What’s that reason? To prove that they really can contend.

[ for a closer look at some encouraging numbers, check out CelticsHub early morning piece ]

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 21, 2010 1:13 pm

    Well said. I agree completely. The C’s need to throw the knock out punch in Miami this weekend. They need the rest and NEED to avoid the looming story of “are the c’s better without KG…?”

    That’s ridiculous but with a game three loss, the media will jump on it. The Celtics are still fragile and need to continue to build momentum and confidence if they want to dethrone the king in round 2.

    I loved what I saw last night and am craving more.

    • April 21, 2010 1:47 pm

      Man it was a great game.
      I can’t imagine that people will jump to the are we better without KG, because we aren’t. We are better, however, with Glen Davis getting more minutes than Sheed. That’s for sure. We’re also better when Ray is on fire, Rondo is getting to the hoop, and we are playing defense. KG doesn’t interfere with much of any of those…


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