For those of who waiting for the Boston Celtics to become the team that consistently brings the energy, intensity and overall positive play every minute of every quarter of every game, I hate to be the bearer of bad news.
You'll be waiting a while.
The Celtics' season up to this point can be summarized over their last three games. On Sunday, Rajon Rondo went nuts with a triple-double, Boston racked up 33 fast break points and they outworked and outhustled a Chicago team that has patented the art of outworking and outhustling. The C's followed that up with a clunker that the Charlotte Bobcats would have been proud of, allowing 98 points to the Pistons which included an all-too-familiar disappearing act in the fourth quarter. Thursday saw the Celtics pull the whole Dr. Jekyll/Mr.Hyde trick. Sunday's Celtics came to play most of the first and third quarters while Wednesday's crew decided to step in during the second and fourth quarters.
It's a roller coaster ride to end all roller coaster rides, with the only things missing being a sign that reads, "You must be this tall to ride" and a barf bag. Okay, so maybe the sign isn't necessary, but I know the vast majority of fans have been through some nights where a barf bag could have been handy. Boston's consistency when it comes to being inconsistent is beyond frustrating. It's "shoe through the television because I have no idea which team will show up today" frustrating. It's "this team can be both a contender and a doormat" frustrating.
I'm on the same ride with you, but I'm becoming more and more resigned to the fact that this is what the Boston Celtics are as they currently stand. No longer am I expecting them to "figure everything out" and become the model of consistency. Let's face it, we've been expecting that for three years now. We expected that in 2010 as they soiled themselves in the second half of the season only to turn it on once the playoffs hit. We expected it last season, both before and after the Perk trade. We waited for them to gel with Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic, for one of the O'Neals to show up and for this team to seriously contend for a championship like they had the previous season. Before we knew it, they were gone in the second round and were nothing more than a speed bump for Miami.
It's the same stuff and a different year this time around. We waited on Paul Pierce to get his legs back after a preseason injury. We waited on Mickael Pietrus joining the lineup. We waited (not so much) on Keyon Dooling and Chris Wilcox to recover from their injuries. We've been waiting for years — and continue to wait — for Rajon Rondo to be the bouncing ball of energy every night. Now we're waiting on Brandon Bass to come back and when he does, we'll be waiting for everyone to gel and become this consistent, cohesive unit.
The truth is, I don't think this team will ever be that. The Celtics are who they are. They're a team that can be great for stretches before turning around at the snap of your fingers and being as bad as you can imagine. We've already seen it this year. When they're great, they can — and will — beat any team in the league. When they're bad, they can — and will — lose to any team in the league. It's the story of older, veteran teams. Some nights, the legs and the energy are there. Other nights, most of the team looks like it belongs in the retirement home.
It could be worse. The C's could be consistently bad. But they're not. They've shown that their tanks aren't empty yet. They've shown that, regardless of their energy level, they have a ton of fight in them. They've shown that they will be in any given game, no matter who their opponent is. They've shown that if they hit the postseason on one of their good stretches, they can make that final playoff run that every fan is hoping they'll get to see from them.
But at this point, who really knows? Certainly not me. I'm just trying to enjoy the bumpy ride.