To put it bluntly the Knicks stink like money-stealing skunks. But the Celtics wreak like untreated athlete’s foot on a pig and everybody is giving them more passes than Peyton Manning in a triple OT game.
While the basketball world practices its greatest sheep impression by bum-rushing the Knicks and Coach Mike Woodson and calling them every NY slang-bang in the book, the glorious Celtics franchise gets to rebuild, suck and nobody is calling for their rookie head coach’s dome or asking that ownership relinquish the team.They are still getting love like Miley Cyrus in the club high off purp with some shades on, tatted up, mini-skirt with her J's on.
The past four years the Celtics have been contemplating what to do with superstar PG Rajon Rondo after the Big Three era ended. His injury made moving him difficult and at this point talk of expulsion from the Green Machine has simmered to a low grumble.
Sam Smith of Bulls.com reports that the Celtics actually could be looking to retain and even extend Rondo and could instead look to move forward Jeff Green.
It’s also obvious that Celtics fans have way more respect for their superstars than Knicks fans, who are flooding talk radio with trade scenarios concerning future HOFer Carmelo Anthony. Boston Nation’s patience with rookie coach Brad Stevens and a Celtics roster that has less talent than Milli Vanilli in a live show is commendable.
But it’s not right to rip the third-place Knicks to shreds and feel it’s all good that fourth-place Boston is 14-29 and last-place Philly is 13-28. Maybe Boston fans are still drunk off that '08 chip. Maybe they are sensitive to the situation because Celtics fans lived through this rebuilding process earlier in the decade when the vibrant, youthful Rick Pitino took over a transitioning Celtics squad and by the time he left, Boston was in the midst of an unprecedented eighth-straight losing season. Overall, his 102-146 record with Boston will forever be recognized as the low point of Pitino's illiustrious career.
In a Nov. 6 article Shadow League article entitled,"Celtics Are Rebuilding Rome," I painted a picture of the similarities between Stevens and Pitino:
Brad Stevens is Rick Pitino all over again. Stevens found mega success at the college level. He made Butler, the smallest school to play for an NCAA championship since Jacksonville in 1970, into a powerhouse. Under Stevens the Bulldogs made back-to-back NCAA Championship appearances losing to Duke in 2010 and Connecticut in 2011.
Stevens' college resume and his youth (37 years old) made him the rising star Celtics President Danny Ainge wanted to navigate Boston through the inevitable letdown following the high that The Big 3 1/2 (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo) had the city on. Those guys brought the Celtics back to NBA prominence.
The cupboard is now bare for the young Don, just as it was for Pitino when he took over to rebuild in an NBA holy land that eats losing coaches alive -- especially those with minimal or no prior NBA experience.
The fact that everyone knew the Celtics wouldn’t be good, still doesn’t explain why a franchise with 17 NBA titles is held to a lower standard than a franchise with one title since 1973. Boston is on serious tank mode and Danny Ainge undoubtedly has his eyes set on the Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and Jabari Parker sweepstakes.
The team has lost 10-straight road games and 15 of 17 games overall, including the last three with Rondo back and finally recovered from the ACL tear he suffered about a year ago. Speaking of Rondo - the moody and monstrously pass-efficient point guard’s return hasn’t been an auspicious one.
He scored 8 points in 19 minutes, shot 4-of-9 from the field and dished four assists in his first game back (a 107-104 loss to the LA Lakers on Friday). Late in that game, Rondo missed a 3-pointer that could have sent the game into overtime. He followed that up with a modest 6 points on 3-of-10 shooting with four assists in 21 minutes of work in a 93-91 loss to equally pitiful Orlando. On Tuesday, in a 93-86 stinker against Miami, Rondo had 1 point, missed all eight shots from the field and a pair of crucial free throws with 44 seconds left.
Imagine if Melo had a three-game stat line like the one Rondo has posted? The trade Melo tweets would turn into Midtown Manhattan, corporate-sponsored billboards. No one ever said it was alright for Melo to be rusty upon returning from injury stints throughout his Knicks career. There were no media heads begging for his mercy when he had the janky ankle around this time in 2013. Or the torn labrum that couldn’t stop him from winning the scoring crown or gutting through 12 playoff games. And if his game was off, it certainly would have been understandable. Just not acceptable to insane Knicks fans who are emotionally and mentally scarred and skewed from years of mismanagement and piss-poor performances.
No slack for Melo man. No mercy for the Knicks, who hit a new low with fans when chants of “BROOK-LYN” reverberated through MSG on MLK Day during a 103-80 loss to the Nets.
But early Wednesday morning, there was NBA TV analyst Steve Smith copping pleas for Rondo’s ugly performances of late.
"Rondo’s minutes have increased and his shooting percentage has decreased in each game since returning. (That’s typical of injured players)” said Smith, who has had his share of knee surgeries. “In the first game you come out and you play at a decent level. Then the dead legs start to set in because you haven’t played in a while.”
They say Boston fans can be as ruthless as NY fans. We, I certainly don’t see it in this case. I guess Beantown has learned from it’s past history and pretty much conceded to the fact that they won’t be good for a while. On the flip side it could be the optimism of Rondo’s return and the memory of how they almost destroyed Rick Pitino with unrealistic expectations along with the possibility of snagging a Lebron-type impact player in the upcoming draft (at least thats what all the preseason hypsters were hollering) that makes everybody feel almost apathetic towards Danny Ainge and this Celtics debacle; stepping over them with pity during nightly talk-radio and social media raids and kicking the Knicks as they walk by like a worthless, empty can outside a NY City bodega.