By now you’ve heard the Celtics somehow managed a comeback after being down double digits nearly the entire game in Phoenix Thursday night. If you’re one of those sane people that doesn’t take much stock into an early season, West coast game against the Suns, then it will be hard to understand why this win was so important to defining this Celtics team. It wasn’t the fact that they mounted a comeback against a bad team they should have been beating in the first place. It’s the manner in which they did it that will be the foundation of how this group will succeed.
I’m not going to waste anytime here, the man deserves to be praised. Kyrie Irving proved why he’s so special and is an essential part to winning a championship. The man is a straight DOG when the game is going down the stretch.
— NBA (@NBA) November 9, 2018
18 of Kyrie’s 39 came in the fourth quarter and overtime, as well as a key steal. We all know that Kyrie can put up buckets though, what’s the catch? The thing about what Kyrie was doing had nothing to do with the points. It was the playmaking that stuck out to me. He was using his dribble moves and drives to perfection. Kyrie knew exactly when the cut, to pull up and to dish it to the open man in seemingly every possession down the stretch. Last night Kyrie showed the exact reason he’s worth his keep. He can be the engine that makes the whole thing move in a more efficient way than even shown last season.
There’s so much talent on this team that it’s very similar to the start of the Warriors dynasty. I’m not even talking from an ego perspective either. They’re all adults, they know if they want to be champions they’ll have to give up a few minutes here or there and maybe a shot or two a night to play along side the talent necessary to win. Ego doesn’t matter if it’s all directed towards the same goal. What does matter is finding a way to maximize the talent of eight or nine really talented players. On a bad team, the coach needs to maximize one or two players abilities as far as they will take them and then fill in the gaps as well as they can. When you have talent everywhere like the Warriors and Celtics there is no filling in. Every person is expected to preform as a starting caliber player for whatever minutes they’re on the court. For a coach, it’s very difficult to put that many people in a position to succeed at all times.
What the final quarter and overtime of Thursday night showed was that Brad Stevens will be more equip to allow everyone to succeed with Kyrie as the court general. It allows for order on the court so everyone is capable of doing what they do best.
The first three quarters Thursday night proved that if everyone is trying to do their own thing it is impossible to succeed.
Celtics’ starters not-named Kyrie in the first half:
50 combined minutes pic.twitter.com/jVIDtppggg
— Chris Forsberg (@ChrisForsberg_) November 9, 2018
That’s a whole lot of suck anyway you cut it. That’s because they weren’t playing through anyone. The offense was the Wild, Wild West and the Suns had fast break after fast break that the Celtics were in poor position to defend. It was an atrocity to the sport. It was run up chuck a shot, run up go iso with whoever has the ball. There was zero rhythm. When Kyrie is running the show, it’s controlled, it’s organized and more able to dissect a defense.
The thing to remember is Kyrie doesn’t have to be the top scorer every night for any of this to work. He just needs to touch the ball the most. In less than a few years time Tatum will likely be the most talented basketball player on this Celtics team. His ceiling well exceeds anyone on the current roster. That doesn’t mean Tatum should be running the offense. He shouldn’t be taking the ball up and immediately jumping into an iso. Kyrie needs to drive, step back, go around picks and open up the court so Tatum can use his talents in the most efficient way.
There’s a lot of moving parts when it comes to being an uber-successful team. It’s no easy task. That’s why still to this day you will be mesmerized by Warriors’ possessions where they pass the ball nine times and finish at the rim. It’s efficient basketball and beautiful to watch when done correctly.
And that’s exactly what the Celtics did down the stretch against the Suns. It was majestic and hopefully the ah-ha moment they need to switch into the next gear. Hayward has his legs under him, Tatum has been humbled into what should be a more comfortable rhythm, Horford is always doing his thing in one way or another, the Rozier bullshit is hopefully done and Kyrie played his most efficient basketball yet this season. Everything is looking up.
My final note is Marcus “Mother Fucking Mook” Morris.
— NBA (@NBA) November 9, 2018
I called Kyrie a dog earlier which would make Morris a goddamn Dierwolf. How good has this guy been night in and night out for this team? It’s been remarkable and such a boost to a bench with high potential that has had it’s fair share of struggles so far this year. He’s a fucking savage and I need him in a Celtics uniform for as long as humanly possible.
Follow @BrandedNickDubs on Twitter