National Celtics discourse

m0ckduck

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I just heard Timpf— who has generally been good on the C’s this postseason— casually assert that the Clippers, had Kawhi been healthy, would have been “a better version of this Celtics team.”
 

Fishercat

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I can't even follow the logic at this point. The Celtics are so good that they should win every game by 20 and never even let the game get close? But they're not actually that good, because they can't execute in crunch time? Or we don't actually know if they're good, because they haven't beaten anybody good?

I'm not upset about the media coverage of this team, it doesn't affect my enjoyment of the run they're on, but I do find it fascinating, because I really don't get it. This is a team that has been the wire-to-wire best team in the league this season. They have the best offense and the best defense in the league (I know Minnesota was number 1 by net rating, but the Celtics' versatility really should give them the edge). Their roster is made up of seemingly good dudes who don't get in trouble, who work hard and get better every single season.

And they do what all the smart basketball people say they want a team to do: they commit fully on the defensive end of the floor, up and down the roster; they share the ball on offense; they sacrifice their individual games for team success and they don't give a damn who gets the credit. They have a coach who's doing some really interesting, innovative stuff on offense and defense, like fleshing out the concepts of spacing and advantage creation with ideas from soccer, or letting his 6'3" point guard play free safety on defense.

Some of it I guess is familiarity breeding contempt, but some people talk about this team's past playoff failures like they're the Lob City Clippers - a flawed, joyless bunch that was brutal to watch and couldn't get over the hump because of real structural failures, a team that had to be blown up because it was never going to happen. The Celtics were just a relatively young team on the ascent who hadn't gotten there yet.

For all of their past success, this team's championship aspirations were always going to be tied to Jayson Tatum. Despite all the other really talented guys that have been on the roster over this 8 year stretch -- Kyrie, Hayward, Horford, Brown, Kemba, Porzingis, Holiday -- none of them have ever been good enough to be the best player on a championship team. It's only ever been about JT. He's been the only player on the roster capable of being the best guy on a title winner since KG and Pierce left town. And he's about to win his first title at age 26.

But the narratives persist. Just this morning, Ramona Shelburne wrote a column talking about how Tatum and Brown were redundant and an awkward fit together. I just don't see it; anyone watching the team knows that Tatum is the play initiator, and Brown the play finisher. Brown's job is to defend and score buckets; Tatum has the playmaking responsibility. And they each benefit from playing off each other.

I guess my disbelief in the coverage comes down to: if you say you enjoy basketball, I don't know why you wouldn't enjoy watching this team. And yet, the same people who have been complaining about "heliocentricity" for the past decade are the same ones wondering if Jayson Tatum is enough of an "alpha".
The funny thing on this kinda stuff is that i don't think Seth Partlow in anyway hates the Boston Celtics. It seems he picked them in 5, it seems really clear he watches basketball, in a detailed fashion, and actually does have good takeaways.

it just goes back to the super ugly combo of the simultaneous demand for

A) Quick concise takes
and
B) Building a personal narrative

I am going to guess this guy has spent a lot of time over the years lamenting Boston's lovely experience giving up leads and then barely winning or losing or noting is as a genuinely flaw in the Celtics' overall game. But we're also in this gross sports universe where after the game happens, all the nuance in the world doesn't freaking matter - it's the binary that does. And the binary is that the Celtics won the game. So he gets someone on Twitter poking the bear of "Hey, you said the Celtics aren't clutch, look at the clutch rating" and his natural instinct is to say "WELL THEY SHOULDN'T NEED TO BE CLUTCH IF THEY DIDN'T BLOW A 20 POINT LEAD IN FOURTEEN SECONDS"...and he made the call to say it instead of hold it in, and he's getting buried.

That's what makes a lot of this national Celtics discourse stuff both obscenely frustrating to fans and probably an impossible things for more responsible media folks (especially those with smaller audiences) to navigate. If Skip Bayless goes on ESPN and says "The Mavericks are gonna win because they have the best white player on the court and Dallas BBQ is the best in the world", and he's wrong, he just goes on ESPN the next day and is not materially affected in any manner. This guy has 40k followers on Twitter so if he takes a stance that "Boston needing to be good in crunch time because they played prevent D is an indictment on them" it's only gonna play well if they lose the game and the binary flips, and then he goes over the top in defending it.

And if you want to make it more complicated...the C's fans reading this are probably also New England Patriots fans and have spent two decades watching a team led by a coach well known for his "bend but don't break" defenses and losing years off their lives because their sports teams love to make it dramatic. So the national narrative ALSO has to understand the New England sports fans psyche and yeah there that goes.

FWIW, I'm not defending the tweet at all, the best response to "BBall Tatum Banner #18" bringing a separate analysts' stats to him was to ignore the guy provoking a Twitter fight and he fell for it. It looks really stupid to say it in a game where the Celtics held on for the win in the NBA Finals against a very good team. It's just another thing that's hard about being a data guy or a nuanced analyst in terms of finding your time to advance your points/belief when you get looped in with some of the true idiots in the sphere. And really, no one wants to hear that the kitchen might've been a mess after you eat a delicious steak dinner. You just want to enjoy the steak. Maybe that'll be a lesson for him.
 

joe dokes

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I dont know what's going to happen on Friday, but the Celtics aren't just going to try to win, they're going to try to win by 75 points so the Stay Readys get some points and KP can get into the box score as not-a-DNP.
 

jsinger121

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Jul 25, 2005
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And first team to ever sweep last two series, longest win streak to ever end a season, 2nd team ever to go 8-0 road, and a 20 point lead in half their games.
What sucks is that they could have had 4 more wins against teams they should have beaten in Charlotte, Cleveland, Atlanta on that mini 2 game series in Atlanta. Flip those to 4 wins and the narrative might change to an all time top 5-10 team.
 

tims4wins

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Jul 15, 2005
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What sucks is that they could have had 4 more wins against teams they should have beaten in Charlotte, Cleveland, Atlanta on that mini 2 game series in Atlanta. Flip those to 4 wins and the narrative might change to an all time top 5-10 team.
I don't think if they won 68 regular season games instead of 64 by beating some lousy or mid teams would have changed anything from a narrative perspective.

I think the narrative was built on the 2 Denver losses, and the LAL loss when Lebron and AD both sat.
 

joe dokes

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I am going to guess this guy has spent a lot of time over the years lamenting Boston's lovely experience giving up leads and then barely winning or losing or noting is as a genuinely flaw in the Celtics' overall game. But we're also in this gross sports universe where after the game happens, all the nuance in the world doesn't freaking matter - it's the binary that does. And the binary is that the Celtics won the game. So he gets someone on Twitter poking the bear of "Hey, you said the Celtics aren't clutch, look at the clutch rating" and his natural instinct is to say "WELL THEY SHOULDN'T NEED TO BE CLUTCH IF THEY DIDN'T BLOW A 20 POINT LEAD IN FOURTEEN SECONDS"...and he made the call to say it instead of hold it in, and he's getting buried.
I understand the fans' emotional reaction to the roller coaster, mid-ride. But once the game is over, it seems like people have forgotten that Dallas blew a 13-pt lead in even less time. And they actually blew the lead. As though the first 35-40 minutes of the game dont matter.
 

benhogan

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But the narratives persist. Just this morning, Ramona Shelburne wrote a column talking about how Tatum and Brown were redundant and an awkward fit together. I just don't see it; anyone watching the team knows that Tatum is the play initiator, and Brown the play finisher. Brown's job is to defend and score buckets; Tatum has the playmaking responsibility. And they each benefit from playing off each other.

I guess my disbelief in the coverage comes down to: if you say you enjoy basketball, I don't know why you wouldn't enjoy watching this team. And yet, the same people who have been complaining about "heliocentricity" for the past decade are the same ones wondering if Jayson Tatum is enough of an "alpha".
Ramona is a Laker/Jeannie Buss mouthpiece, wouldn't expect her to be throwing confetti about Boston having 26/27yr old Superstars signed up for the next 5 seasons.

We've been talking about 2-way versatile WINGZ! being the most coveted commodity in the NBA for years (@nighthob has been very vocal about this).

Early in the season, I felt KP was the 2nd most important Celtic. That was wrong. It's always been about the Celtics' wings, even White and Jrue play more like wings than PGs. Brown and Tatum are untouchable. Zero trade market. We are good with the JAYs.

Boston has been fine with playing a 38-year-old Horford ($10MM/yr) + 3 minimum centers (Luke, X, Queta) all season and in the playoffs. I'm not even going to get into the Gobert Conundrum (the Rudy fans have gone into hibernation)

Long live the Fungible 5
 
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Jimbodandy

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I reckon the problem is that he can continue to get bigger and bigger up to a point and it benefits his offensive game, because he's so big and strong now that he can overpower a lot of players whom he would have had to work harder to beat when he came into the league. So, it's probably easy to rationalize not making any real change to his habits until it gets glaringly obvious that one is needed. (This is pure armchair psychology on my part, though— for all I know, he'll come back radically slimmed down at training camp next year).
Yeah that's a good point. Given his single-minded focus on offense, what he's doing is working. It'd be like telling Eddie Van Halen how to play the guitar.

But to do well on both ends, he could lean out and add muscle. Takes time, but there's really nothing stopping him from doing what Tatum or Brown did to their bodies. He could keep weight but make it better weight.

tldr; it's mostly a legibility thing imo
This. Exactly this. Well said.
 

Manzivino

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I just heard Timpf— who has generally been good on the C’s this postseason— casually assert that the Clippers, had Kawhi been healthy, would have been “a better version of this Celtics team.”
Timpf is really good at video breakdowns and analyzing/explaining actions and matchups, but his narrative/hot takes are just as bad as the rest of the click machine. He did a mailbag today where he ranked the last 6 champions and had the bubble Lakers #1 because “Lebron was the best player in the league that year and AD was top 5”. This after he went on a 5 minute rant about how Luka’s defense was unacceptable, abysmal, the worst from a superstar he’s ever seen in a Finals … and he’s still one of the top 3 guys in the league and a clear tier above Tatum.

And I like Timpf, he’s one of the better content guys out there! It’s just mostly a wasteland of idiots.
 

m0ckduck

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Jul 20, 2005
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According to Lowe, the top 3 headlines of this game were
1. Doncic fouling out
2. The Celtics allowing the lead to fall to 2 in the 4th
3. Possessions in the 4th where Brown and Tatum ISO’d on PJ Washington.

yes, the top 3 headlines of the game had nothing to do with the Celtics winning or anything even positive about the Celtics
It's being treated as an article of faith in Lowe's podcast and a few other outlets (First Take, for example) that the 5th foul against Luka was the most questionable. I don't get this: the 5th foul (the hook on Brown) was an incredibly obvious foul. The 6th is more questionable, even though it's not all that questionable. It feels like, just because the 6th foul was confirmed by review, the narrative has to move to questioning some earlier foul.
 

snowmanny

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I just heard Timpf— who has generally been good on the C’s this postseason— casually assert that the Clippers, had Kawhi been healthy, would have been “a better version of this Celtics team.”
I think there has been a general Western Conference bias all year. Were the Suns and Lakers all that impressive after all? In a league where experience rules the playoffs how scary was OKC really? But the all-NBA was loaded up with WCF players and the Celtics were regarded as Boise State or something.

There is no objective measure that doesn’t have the Celtics as the best team. And Tatum is a top 2 player in the Eastern Conference. That’s enough for me.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Timpf is good about breaking down some things, but he is too stubborn for me to take seriously.
I disagree with the bolded and am not one of the Timpf-haters crowd. From what I've seen, he does nothing different than what is being done elsewhere, often with less spin. Given that a bunch of folks started consuming his content of late I might have been inclined to give him another chance but nope.
I just don't understand why he is even relevant but that's a me thing.
 

bankshot1

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The narrative is what it is until the narrarator is proven to be an idiot and wrong.

And few national voices easily cop to mea culpas. So until further notice the Celts had an easy path, dodged key players and almost pissed away games they should have breezed in.

All they can do is close out the Mavs in a compelling take no prisoners methodical G4 display of 2 way hoops.

And then do it again next year

Fuck the hot take BS pundits
 

RorschachsMask

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I disagree with the bolded and am not one of the Timpf-haters crowd. From what I've seen, he does nothing different than what is being done elsewhere, often with less spin. Given that a bunch of folks started consuming his content of late I might have been inclined to give him another chance but nope.
I just don't understand why he is even relevant but that's a me thing.
He talks out of both sides of his mouth, IMO. He will praise the hell out of something, but then use it against a player. He’s the one who said Brad getting KP and Holiday shows what he really thinks of Tatum and Jaylen. He also doesn’t take defense nearly serious enough, though now he seems to be waffling on that.

There’s a clear anti Celtics thing, too.
 

joe dokes

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I just heard Timpf— who has generally been good on the C’s this postseason— casually assert that the Clippers, had Kawhi been healthy, would have been “a better version of this Celtics team.”
Thats the fucking point (that he misses by a fucktillion miles.) Hes 33 years old. The whole team is built on old people. Old people cannot be counted on for health. (Im pretty sure i said something like, "lets see if they all can still walk in May" when they got hot midseason.
 

benhogan

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Timpf is good about breaking down some things, but he is too stubborn for me to take seriously.
Yep. He has a strong Laker/Bron/WC bias (he at least admits it).

He criticized Mazzulla-ball and Tatum's offense all season but has changed his tune. He's a CJM fan now and has a greater understanding of Tatum's role on offense + defensive versatility

While its brutal to hear, his season-long criticism of Tatum's shot selection has been fair.
 

RorschachsMask

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Yep. He has a strong Laker/Bron/WC bias (he at least admits it).

He criticized Mazzulla-ball and Tatum's offense all season but has changed his tune. He's a CJM fan now and has a greater understanding of Tatum's role on offense + defensive versatility

While its brutal to hear, his season-long criticism of Tatum's shot selection has been fair.
Tatum going cold from three in the playoffs is a shame, he was cooking the last 3 months of the regular season. I’m fine with criticism like that though, I just want consistency with it, and that’s where Timpf loses me.
 

RorschachsMask

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I keep coming back to this. He's such a mature, humble, clearheaded superstar. I think eventually he will get his full flowers nationally.

We're really lucky to have both of the Jays. But also Al, Jrue, DWhite, KP and on down the roster. It's a really easy team to root for.
Al and Tatum are incredibly close, and as everyone knows, Al has been his mentor for most of his career.

I honestly can’t think of a better guy for the role. If Al decides to announce his retirement tomorrow, I may cry lol.
 

Mystic Merlin

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Jaylen and Tatum are a fucking dream to root for; they always do it the right way: they work hard, they support their teammates, and they want to win. Miss me with Luka, I don’t give a shit about his metrics or how spectacular his offensive game is. Maybe he will grow up, but he’s one of my least favorite players to watch in light of his constant bitching and moaning at officials, his clear inattention to conditioning and his lack of commitment to defense.
 

joe dokes

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I know hes dead, but Jerry West's title was a fraud. Willis Reed missed the series. Knicks won the 2 with Reed.
(If there was an internet 50 years ago.)
 

osori

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Al and Tatum are incredibly close, and as everyone knows, Al has been his mentor for most of his career.

I honestly can’t think of a better guy for the role. If Al decides to announce his retirement tomorrow, I may cry lol.
Just imagining this makes me sad. Al looks like he can play at a high level for at least two more years. Hope he decides to stay.
 

BigSoxFan

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Jaylen and Tatum are a fucking dream to root for; they always do it the right way: they work hard, they support their teammates, and they want to win. Miss me with Luka, I don’t give a shit about his metrics or how spectacular his offensive game is. Maybe he will grow up, but he’s one of my least favorite players to watch in light of his constant bitching and moaning at officials, his clear inattention to conditioning and his lack of commitment to defense.
Not only that but we drafted both of them so it’s like the sports equivalent of watching your kid go from a baby to getting up on stage to get their HS diploma. Watching your own draft picks go through their own trials and tribulations to hopefully reach the summit is the best part of sports.
 

RorschachsMask

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Just imagining this makes me sad. Al looks like he can play at a high level for at least two more years. Hope he decides to stay.
I’ve always maintained that he will keep playing, but there’s something to be said about going out like this.

I think he wants to repeat though, and go out like he did with college.
 

tims4wins

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I’ve always maintained that he will keep playing, but there’s something to be said about going out like this.

I think he wants to repeat though, and go out like he did with college.
The problem with going out a champion is that you give up the chance to go back to back... or threepeat.
 

bigq

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I keep coming back to this. He's such a mature, humble, clearheaded superstar. I think eventually he will get his full flowers nationally.

We're really lucky to have both of the Jays. But also Al, Jrue, DWhite, KP and on down the roster. It's a really easy team to root for.
Agree with this. This is my favorite Celtics team since I started following the team in the early 80s. I am both thrilled that they are about to win it all and also sad that the season is almost over. It appears that they are going to run with pretty much the same team next season which gives me some comfort.

Anyway IDGAF about the national discourse about this team. Win it for Cousy, Pierce and Powe but mostly win it for PBS, CJM, the players and the support staff. They have certainly earned it.
 

nighthob

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And then they do execute in crunch time, but now they shouldn't have been in crunchtime in the first place? (Which is what Partnow's asinine tweet is saying).

I think the worst part to me is that they had the best offense in the history of basketball, but people still keep nitpicking it. Like....an average Celtics possession this year was worth an open 3 for an elite shooter, but people are still mad that it doesn't look like what they want it to.

I think @Jimbodandy said it best elsewhere: discourse around offensive players has completely deteriorated. No one knows how to analyze anything except "guy with 62% TS draws 2 to the ball and passes for an open 3 or lob." Anything outside that or mildly innovative is criticized for not matching that pattern, even if it's THE BEST OFFENSE IN THE HISTORY OF BASKETBALL.
For me the eye opener about how bad sports journalism was was the O'Brien era Celtics. Obie devised all sorts of clever ways to deal with the fact that he had one really talented offensive player (multiple pick & roll plays on every offensive possession to get the defense into rotation, incorporating weakside shooters into the p&r, etc.) , and I watched a local NBA beat writer describe the offense as "O'Brien has reached a devil's bargain with his players, they get to shoot all the threes they want so long as they play defense". And I'm like "Does he really not understand what they're doing out there?" Things are even worse now.
 

NomarsFool

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We've been talking about 2-way versatile WINGZ! being the most coveted commodity in the NBA for years (@nighthob has been very vocal about this).
What are you talking about? Isn't it clear that the Jayz can't play together? We need to trade one of them for a Dennis Johnson type pure point guard.
 

nighthob

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We've been talking about 2-way versatile WINGZ! being the most coveted commodity in the NBA for years (@nighthob has been very vocal about this).
I do beat the drum about this, but it boggles my mind that professional hoops writers don't watch the way that NBA teams beat the hustings for those guys and not realize the priority that teams put on them. Everyone wants them. Badly enough that Terrence Shannon Jr will probably be a 1st round pick even with his legal troubles (I'm calling his selection by the Heat now, followed by national amnesia about his troubles).
 

benhogan

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What are you talking about? Isn't it clear that the Jayz can't play together? We need to trade one of them for a Dennis Johnson type pure point guard.
Most of the media nitwits (ie Herd) have quickly been backtracking on their Celtic slander. Ramona leaning into the JAYs can't play together feels like an article written two years ago that she found on her draft email
 

NomarsFool

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The next narrative is going to be around whether it is possible for a team to have two Max level guys in Tatum and Brown and have enough money left to fill out the roster with role players, and if not, whether they should trade Tatum or Brown for the next Sam Hauser and Xavier Tillman.

Interestingly, my own personal Celtics journey began around the time the Celtics traded Danny Ainge and and Brad Lohaus for Ed Pinckney and Joe Kleine. Of course, Ainge was no Tatum or Brown - but it was sort of the quarter and nickel for two dimes type of trade.
 

RorschachsMask

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The next narrative is going to be around whether it is possible for a team to have two Max level guys in Tatum and Brown and have enough money left to fill out the roster with role players, and if not, whether they should trade Tatum or Brown for the next Sam Hauser and Xavier Tillman.

Interestingly, my own personal Celtics journey began around the time the Celtics traded Danny Ainge and and Brad Lohaus for Ed Pinckney and Joe Kleine. Of course, Ainge was no Tatum or Brown - but it was sort of the quarter and nickel for two dimes type of trade.
Eh, I don’t think there’s going to much negative Celtics discourse if I’m being honest. They’re about to win, and it’s going to be a ton of ass kissing and analysts pretending they never picked against them. These dudes are fickle as fuck when it comes to this.

I don’t think the money thing will matter.
 
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DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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That also describes most every SoSH poster. I'd rather read crappy SoSH takes than Partnow telling us the Mavericks are coming.