In the beginning, the Celtics‘ collective oldness looked like it wouldn’t be an issue. There would be fewer games, thanks to the lockout. And fewer games seemed to mean that those old bones in the bodies of Messrs. Pierce, Garnett and Allen wouldn’t have to play as much, thus keeping their health and stamina in a good place come playoff time.
Then the schedule was released. Even with the shorten season the schedule was harsh. With all the back-to-backs and 4 games in 5 nights, it seemed as if was going to be a long year…….Which it ended up being before the all-star break. Everyone, from Allen to Pierce to Garnett to even the younger, far more spry Rajon Rondo, missed at least some time.
Yet the C’s, thanks to their team-wide mental toughness, the coaching of Doc Rivers and some very unforeseen play by the likes of Avery Bradley and Greg Stiemsma, not only bounced back, but they worked their way back into the discussion of the best teams in the league. And know as they sit tied with Atlanta 1-1 they are in an unfilaier spot, An avantage because of their age. In reality i these Celtics, thanks to their nucleus, are more equipped to win a tense, pressure-filled playoff series than their counterparts from Atlanta.
The core of these Celts, from the point guard to the coach, have won a title and came within less than a quarters worth of play of winning a second one. The Celtics, as currently constructed, have won nine playoff series in the past five years, and have seemed to figure out how to get around whatever resistance was being put up by the Hawks in both Games 1 and 2 and could probably be up 2-0 headed home if not for a lackluster shooting performance by Paul Pierce in the series’ first game. Now, with the next two games of the series set to be played in Boston this weekend and the Celtics getting both Rajon Rondo and potentially Ray Allen back, the pendulum swings even further toward Boston.
Finally, after a work stoppage, a condensed schedule and 68 games, the Celtics’ age and experience is paying off. How long they can last being led by their graybeards remains to be decided. But for this opening round, they’re hanging in there just fine.