By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Now those were the Celtics we thought we were getting way back in November, but let’s not make too much of one game. Still, in the interim, let’s ask a simple question.
Does a win like last night’s pasting of the two-time defending world champions inspire you? Or does it make you even angrier?
Personally, I think it’s all of the above.
In case you missed it, the Celtics last night annihilated the Golden State Warriors by a 128-95 score at Oracle Arena. From the very start – the Celtics opened with an 11-0 run – the Celtics completely dominated and never trailed. In the process they dealt the Warriors the kind of beating that led Boston Globe beat writer Adam Himmelsbach to offer these details:
It was the Warriors’ most lopsided loss of this season, their worst home loss since Nov. 28, 2009, and their first wire-to-wire loss since March 27, 2006.
Now, the bad news? Golden State has five home losses this season by 20 or more points. Klay Thompson didn’t play. The Warriors long ago lost the need to prove anything to anybody during the regular season.
So we’ll say it again: don’t make too much of this. If the Celtics go out and revert tonight against the Sacramento Kings, last night’s win becomes nothing more than another outlier. We need to see something reasonably consistent from this team – over an extended period of time – before we can even begin to believe that have cured of the selfishness and pettiness that has plagued them all season.
That said, the basketball last night was, at times, scintillating. The Celtics last night rotated on defense, shared the ball with no biases. Seven players took between seven and 16 shots, which had the Warriors looking like they were searching for their keys in the dark.
For example, watch this…
… and this...
Now look, two plays – or one game – do not fix everything. But in the first highlight above, the Celtics share the ball, cut to the basket, don’t do anything stupid. There is no hero ball whatsoever. On the second, Kyrie Irving feeds Marcus Smart because that’s where the mismatch is, then Smart backs down Steph Curry and feeds Gordon Hayward, who cuts behind a sleeping Kevin Durant.
In these sequences, the Celtics look like the Warriors and the Warriors look like the Celtics.
Will it keep up? Only heaven knows. We’ll find out on a night when the shots don’t get in and the Celtics get frustrated because that’s when the finger-pointing usually starts on any team, let alone this one. But for a night, at least, the Celtics looked like a real basketball team for one very simple reason.
They trusted each other.