Boston Celtics: What We’ve Learned Over the Weekend

Seven games in ten days is too many. What scheduling guru decided that seven games in ten days is reasonable? Maybe in billiards. Perhaps seven chess matches in ten days. Maybe seven games of boggle in ten days. Or seven games of mini-golf in ten days. Seven NBA games in ten days is asking too much of any team, regardless of age, depth, or any other factor. If I was making the schedule, I would outlaw the three games in four nights situation as well as seven in ten. Not only does the level of play suffer, the mental toll is too much. For the Celtics to get through this stretch with a 4-3 record is commendable, especially when you consider they lost Rondo for the 2nd half of the Utah game and the Brooklyn game the next night. Now, the Celtics sit at 6-5, one game over .500 after a 2-3 start. The depth that Danny Ainge assembled this summer is starting to paying off, even without the services of Avery Bradley (recovering shoulders) or Darko Milicic (injured wrist, where is his head?). In comparison to the depth the Celtics are relying on, the Bulls and Raptors were forced to play backup point-guards who are indecent defensively (Nate Robinson and Jose Calderon) because of injuries.

Toronto, Saturday 11/17
Boston 107, Toronto 89

The contributions of Jason Terry (20 pts on 7-10 from the field and 4-7 from long-range) and Jared Sullinger (12 pts, 11 reb) helped ease the burden on Garnett and Pierce in Saturday afternoon’s blowout of the Raptors. The Celtics were relieved to see Rondo return to the lineup with his seventh career twenty-assist gem (we appreciate you, Kyle Lowry, for watching this one).

@Detroit, Sunday 11/18
Detroit 103, Boston 83

Four games in five nights. Seven games in ten nights. This is what coaches call a “schedule loss.” Rivers knew coming in that this was going to be doubtful, and the three-point shooting (4 of 17) showed a team with tired legs. Doc got Rondo his ten assists by using a tiny lineup for the last few minutes. The streak is now 34 games, three shy of Stockton’s 37, which is second on the all-time list. Magic’s 46 straight is still a dozen away. If Rondo manages to stay in the lineup for the next twelve on the schedule, he would be set up to tie Magic in a nationally televised Saturday night match-up with San Antonio, on December 15. The record-breaking game would be against the defensive-minded Bulls two nights later.

Up next: two days of light practice and recovery and lots of film sessions for a team that awaits two of the West’s best this week at home. San Antonio is in town on Wednesday, and the revamped and less-imposing Thunder arrive Friday. Harden to Houston may keep them from even returning to the West Finals this year, as their defense and passing are weakened.

Intelligent NBA writing below:

from David Aldridge’s weekly report, with tips on how the Celtics can beat the Heat

From Grantland: Marvelous Marv Albert’s return to Brooklyn, by Bryan Curtis

from Grantland: Jonathan Abrams’ extensive oral history of the 1980’s Houston Rockets

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