Already J.O. is under the pump for merely suggesting Hedo Turkoglu would need to play out-of-his-skin come the postseason. In fairness to my ill-advised plunge into the unknown, the Raps at that time were a game-and-a-half ahead of the Chicago Bulls, before proceeding to lose 4 out of their last 6 games. The Bulls ended the Raptors bid for the 8th and final playoff spot in the east on the final day of the regular season. For all intensive purposes, Toronto’s chances probably ended the moment Chris Bosh had his face inadvertently busted up by Antawn Jamison’s elbow back on April 6th against the Cavs.
Mr. Turkoglu will therefore get to stay home and ponder what a miserable first season it was up north, just as Rob predicted he would before the season started. So with Hedo keeping the crib warm with his Turkish Delight of a Mrs, who will take his place on the list? Instead of one player, I decided laying waste to a whole team.
THE ENTIRE BOSTON CELTICS SQUAD
For a brief time, long-suffering Celtic fans were spoiled. The Big Three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen (all ‘healthy’ and at the top of their games) were delicious to watch, Rajon Rondo’s Avery Johnson impersonations a revelation, and Kendrick Perkins’ steady improvement all suggested this Celtics outfit was good enough to snag another ring on top of its 17th crown in 2008. So devastating were the Celts that you could be excused for tuning into a Boston game and expecting them to come away with the W. It was a given.
Now, to point out the obvious, it’s make or break time in Beantown. The championship swagger, the defensive mojo, and the intimidation factor have all but evaporated. KG has stopped growling and Paul Pierce hasn’t called on the aid of a wheelchair in ages. Ray Allen is still cash, but on every third night. Let’s face it, Rasheed Wallace was never going to put up all-star numbers, those days are clearly behind him. But the Celtics would have preferred seeing ‘Sheed’ as opposed to Matt Bullard. Rest assured there will be no GuaranSheeds this year.
50-32 ain’t such a bad record, but when you consider the star power on this team, the hype surrounding the offseason signing of Wallace, Marquis Daniels’ multi-purpose abilities and Rondo’s all-star explosion, it’s a damn shame. Not even upgrading its firepower midyear in adding pocket-dynamo Nate Robinson or the veteran shooting touch of Michael Finley has done the trick. They’ve gone 17-15 since the All-Star break including dropping eight games at home, four of which were against non-playoff teams (New Jersey, Houston, Washington, and Memphis). Boston also ranked 29th in the league for rebounding (38.6rpg). Just startling. Yes, the Lakers have been sloppy in the New Year, but no one has been more disappointing than these Celtics.
Boston has managed to pinch a title with this group, but you get the feeling we’re seeing the Houston Rockets of the late 90’s when Hakeem, Clyde and Charles were all on the downside of their careers. Although, thank goodness Rondo is no Matt Maloney. In conclusion- no ‘green’ in June, unless your Josh Howard. Meshing aging superstars with one or two young guns just doesn’t GuaranSheed you safe passage to June anymore.
Even head coach Doc Rivers might be on his last legs; you get the feeling he’s seen the writing on the wall. “Your past success has no guarantee on what you’re going to do in the future. This is a new group together and we have to figure out”. Although injuries and form funks have played pivotal roles, Rivers refuses to concede to those notions. “We’re not injured anymore, and that’s the point I’m making with our group. Enough with the injuries”.
What’s worse, Doc said that back in March.