Fading(?) Celtics Refuse To Go Away

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Recognizing the end of an era is one thing. Opinions will vary, some eyes will see the end when others won’t or simply don’t see it.

Acknowledging the end, however, is a completely different animal. Few people in the midst of that team dynamic are willing to acknowledge what seems obvious to outside observers.

And that’s what makes this season so intriguing for the Boston Celtics, who by all accounts are living out the final days of a proud, championship-contending era with the remaining members of their vaunted Big 3. And yet, after a three-day stretch that saw them take down two of the teams hanging around the top of the Eastern Conference (the Hawks Saturday night in Atlanta and the Knicks Monday night in New York), the fading(?) Celtics refuse to go away quietly.

Even without Rajon Rondo, whose triple-double in the win over the Hawks was stained by the one-game suspension he had to serve against the Knicks for bumping official Rodney Mott, the Celtics had enough left in the tank to knock off the Knicks. And they did it in trademark fashion, with Kevin Garnett agitating (mainly Carmelo Anthony) and Paul Pierce closing.

Not everyone is convinced that winning, even riding the wave of a three-game win streak, cures all things where the Celtics are concerned. David Aldridge, my trusted colleague from TNT and The Beat on NBA TV, said he needs more than temporary uptick in the Celtics’ performance before buying into their long-term resurrection.

And he’s right. There has to be more than just an occasional good weekend thrown into the mix before we can believe that the Celtics are capable of making one last run at the Eastern Conference finals with this nucleus. Celtics coach Doc Rivers always keeps it real and he’d be the first to talk folks off the bandwagon with his team at 17-17 just days into the third month of the season.

In an Eastern Conference that is in a complete state of flux outside of the top four of Miami, New York, Atlanta and Chicago, Boston has a chance to make up some serious ground in the coming weeks if they can maintain their current level of play … or something close to it.

The Indiana Pacers are just now playing up to their expectations and both the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks are in the midst of transition due to coaching changes. That leaves the door ajar for the Celtics to get into the mix for one of those top four spots, or at least into range to make a run at one of those spots during the post-All-Star Game push.

KG’s tough guy routine isn’t exactly necessary, but the Celtics do need to maintain that boulder-sized chip that’s always on their shoulders to keep this run going. Rivers has been heard barking out instructions to his team during games that are hard for a layman to interpret. For folks who understand the dynamics of this team and the unique relationship that exists between Rivers, his staff and his players, it makes perfect sense when Doc yells “Up Your Motor!”

Rivers believes in his team playing with a certain edge, even if that means straddling that proverbial line if need be (as Garnett did against the Knicks).

“The game just got heated. It’s just basketball,” Rivers told reporters afterwards. “There’s nothing wrong with getting heated. It happens. It’s a fun game, it’s competitive, it’s rough at times. That’s good, I think all that’s good. It should never carry over past that. I’ve had my moments as a player as well. It does, but you don’t want it to. And whenever it does, you feel terrible later. This is the way the game should be played, to me; it should be a competitive hard game. I thought overall the officials let us play, both teams. That’s good with us.”

We have no issue with it here, so long as they don’t cross the line.

And it’s clear, the Celtics have to keep that motor up from now on if they want to rejoin the realm of the relevant in the Eastern Conference and the league.


  1. Come on people get over it-it sound’s f!?k!! hilarious like a joke to get in melos head & it did only because Celts won & he lost.If someone said that to me i would bust out laughing! Go get it KG, The Truth, Rondo & rest of Celts-BANNER18

  2. gerald martin says:

    maybe next time melo should sit out. that would give the knicks a better chance at winning

  3. ramir says:

    Melo stood up like a man. Just like the song, “sometimes you have to fight to be a man”. But Melo just wanna talk to KG after the game to know what KG is really up to. It’s a manly gesture and not talk trash at somebody on the net or on the court!!!any other small forward says they have a hard time against Melo….Go Melo!!!!!

  4. Josh says:

    Excuse me Sekou Smith, but KG is not trying to show off or be a tough guy, which is how you labeled it by saying “his tough guy routine”. He plays with heart and emotion, and has all throughout his career. By the way, contrary to your belief that his little “tough guy routine” isn’t necessary, it actually is. It is what makes KG the great player that he is, and it also gives the C’s help in tough spots throughout games. It is completely necessary because his emotion drives the play of the Celtics, especially on defense. Clearly you are not familiar with KG because he is not trying to be a tough guy, he is a player that plays with emotion and heart every game he is in, whether losing or winning.

  5. Noel117-CelticsAllDay- says:

    P.S. joey is a moron. MIAMI NEW YORK AND LAKERS are the most physical/dirty teams.. All handled by Pat Riley hahaha!

  6. luis carlos solis says:

    I realy look a change in the game of celtics, after the last games i was realy scare of that, i dont now what doc rivers and dani ainge are doing, but they ned a change of players or some thing, if this is the plan? to go where? las year one game to the finals!!!!!!! and now what??????? the future of the team? only if they star to play lake last year for long time but???? theres something strange im fron MEXICO and I LOVE THIS GAME GREETINGS FROM THE COUNTRY OF TORTILLA AND CHILE AJJJUUUA.

  7. Robert says:

    Let us remember that Boston actually won more games against Miami, in the playoffs, than OKC did 🙂

  8. John says:

    But what most of you aren’t understanding is where these guys have come from, talking trash on the court and throwing a couple of competitive elbows is one thing. But garnett has done this to many other players and melo’ should know that which he probably does, so unless there was something said in which was very disrespectful to melo i dont blame him for going at garnett. even if it isnt on the court it doesn’t matter how intense the game is, there are certain things not to be said and someone said it. In Ny saying something daunting that’s about the family or a friend is not acceptable you wanna do that you go outside and handle it

  9. Sponz says:

    Good no calls from the officials. You have two options in that situation; Take them both out or let them both play. Neither party is more or less guilty than the other. KG did his usual and Melo fell for it, plain and simple.

    As a knicks fan I was a bit disappointed with Melo’s immaturity and I hope Woodson rightly blasts him. On the other hand however I was very impressed with JR Smith who I thought showed a lot of heart in closing and was getting it done at both ends. I would have liked to have seen the ball in his hands at the end when it came clear Melo was not going to come through.

    But it’s no biggie, we’re still top of the Atlantic and the Cs are still looking up. Until next time, Boston.

  10. bolt says:

    The celtics are still a serious contender ray allens absence is nothing since they picked up jason terry and the bench is really looking like a legitimate team… come on people we are talking about a team that beat the miami heat 5-2 in a 7 game series in the eastern conference finals last year… and yes they did beat the heat 5 games to 2 check footage of games 2 and 6 its ridiculous but stern wanted a 7 game series and thats how it happened

  11. Lakers-R-Us says:

    Garnett would have cleaned up the floor with Carmelo Anthony.

  12. Arjun says:

    OMG! kg talks trash and gets in peoples heads WHATS THE ISSUE!?!?!?!?!?!?! melo couldnt find himself in ny for 2 seasons and kg found himself right away in boston the celtics are a physical dirty team so be it. dont go whining just cuz they play dirty THE CELTICS ARE STILL A POWERHOUSE

  13. chandler says:

    I know this is kinda off topic but i feel the low market teams should actually do something about how all big market teams and players get no calls against then and get all in there favor. Every time im watching a game between the 2 types of teems i am shocked at how poorly the officials call the game in the favor of the big market team. SOMEBODY DO SOMETHING!

    GO JAZZ!

  14. Jimmy84 says:

    Joey your an idiot if you think the nuggets and celtics played off in the playoffs Celtics are in the east nuggets in the west so how could KG trash talk him the whole game during a play off series? I dont recall Celtics vs Nuggets in any NBA finals in recent years what year did this happen please tell?

    Get a clue moron before sprouting your BS on here!

  15. No-eye-deer says:

    I am from Australia.

    I Love NBA basketball. I hate our NBL basketball. It is just horrible to watch.

    But…..you have no idea what you are saying when you are talking about “footy” Slider821. You are thinking of soccer.

    Our footy players hit just as hard as your NFL players. They don’t wear any padding or helmets, and they play both offence and defence. Furthermore, they don’t have breaks after every few seconds of play, they just run darn hard for the entire game, covering more than 10km easily (most players). It is a game of constant movement- sprinting and jogging. So maybe you should know what you are talking about before you disrespect it next time.

  16. KMoney says:

    Melo is the best in the game so don’t hate on him because his team is winning and their over 500…yall need to get ya life…melo did the right by not backing down…so get over yourselfs….knicks to the end

  17. CHUCK NORRIS says:

    CELTICS ALL THE WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Joey says:

    Melo is a clown. He should be suspended and fined for acting like one. Celtics sent a strong message to the Knicks that they will beat without their best player and we will humiliate them with him. And anyone who writes off the Celtics are complete fools. The Knicks are already collapsing.

  19. Real_Talk says:

    Dc Rivers is a Master…
    he just use KG to destabilize Carmelo and like a kid he fell in the trap

  20. Richarlson says:

    Being a Celtics fan i’m proud to share in the monstrosity.

  21. Richarlson says:

    KG is a monster!! Go Celtics Basketball.

  22. DMAC says:

    At the end of the day Celtics wopd them up without Rondo in New York, KG knows how to play the mental game, prob one of the best since reggie miller retired

  23. rigo says:

    Am i the only one who see’s this? Am a knick’s fan and i love the way the knick’s started the season. Looking at melo turn into a more complete player rubbing the effect on his teammates, and not just being a scorer…But Melo is till missing something and that’s emotional control, you have to control the game, not the game control you, because is hard as hell to win like that! I’ve notice every time he has lost his cool…the knick’s lose the game because his the main puzzle. J.R nor any other knick can carry most of the weight as of yet. So if melo doesn’t get it like lebron did when people were on his back like monkey’s and he was playing the people’s game instead of his game to prove something i don’t see the knick’s getting far. Melo you still have some growing up to do buddy i hope u can realize it before time.

  24. flamar says:

    how do the knicks win against hard teams but not, the celtics(eight seed)? also boston did not have rondo

  25. Brutus says:

    I recall KG calling a former NBA player (Charlie Villanueva) a “Cancer patient” while he actually has Alopecia. Anybody who likes to root for that kind of trash talking is a total douche bag. KG is an angry, dirty player who needs to be sat down.

    • DJ Da One says:

      KG just likes to trash talk on the court because it makes the game more fun for him and it gets him going. The guy is not like that off the court which is why every teammates that’s played with him or anyone who’s known him off the court has had nothing but love for him.

    • Dan says:

      Angry dirty player? He’s not dirty at all, he just plays with the kind of intensity basketball players SHOULD play with. If you can’t handle that, go play golf.

      He’s been playing in this league for almost two decades for a reason.

    • celticssssss says:

      brutus garnett never called villuneva a cancer patient he told him he was a cancer to his team so do ur reasearch before u make a statment like that champ cause truth be told theres not a team in the nba that wouldnt take KG on there team today so please stop hating on kg he is a hall of famer and melo is just a flash in the pan BANNER 18 COMING SOON

      • Kamote says:

        now the pistons are having a hard time rebuilding because of villanueva’s burdensome contract, and he isn’t working hard to deserve even half of it… so i guess there’s truth to what KG said…

  26. Eric M. says:

    No don’t even start. Less than a week ago EVERY writer here completely wrote the Celtics off as any kind of threat. It’s ridiculous. How could you even begin to write the Celtics off after what they did last season?!

    This team is a sleeping giant.

    • Josh says:

      I completely agree with you. Last year the Celtics were wrote off as well because of their sub par play before the allstar break. Look what they did to Miami last year.. It doesn’t matter how the Celtics play in the regular season, once the playoffs come around they are a very different team. Any team they go up against in the playoffs they give a run for their money.

  27. Pride says:


    he is better than Melo.

    hahaaa… 3 more games to play this season AND well see in this years playoffs…if Boston makes it!

  28. joey says:


  29. joey says:

    why should melo get in trouble kg is the dirtiest player in the league and he has given melo trouble since he was a rookie if anyone gets in trouble its obviously kg who should be

  30. Gameon says:

    Haha KG got into Melo’s head and that is why he got so upset, and does Carmelo know that he will get handled by KG. KG always plays with intensity and talks mad trash you don’t want any of that keep ya mouth shut and focus on your game. I love how other players talk about how mean he is man get that sissy mess outta here he is just better than you and can still make you squirm. KG IS A BOSS!!!

  31. beast of north east says:

    Fine melo and suspend his @as…..

  32. Caleb says:

    Way to be a sore loser MELO!!! I love it! And also, great team basketball at the end of the game, and very nice shot selection as well…

    -you can’t win it all on talent alone, it also depends on what is or isn’t behind the eyeballs…
    Go Celtics!!!

  33. Dommy says:

    Some of you guys are taking the waiting for the bus thing way to seriously, this isnt the ghetto where carmelo was waiting to stab KG lol. Like Melo said he felt KG said some things that were taken too far, I understand the physical stuff they BOTH got into it. But as for the bus waiting he just wanted to talk. I’d rather be a man and sort stuff out when its fresh than let it ponder in my mind. In my mind Melo did the right thing in wanting to sort it out and try make peace with what was said. I’d do the exact same thing.

  34. David says:

    Whatever happens this season, Ainge and Rivers are doing a good job at developing the foundation for the future of the team, there’s a continuity and patience in their work that the Celtics’ fans can recognize and be confident in. Garnett, Allen and Pierce were together for 5 years; now we see the emergence of Rondo and Bradley, whom I think will form one of the most unique and versatile backcourts in the league. With the right talent around them, they can lead the team to a championship this decade. All they really need is inside presence, because Garnett will not last forever. It’s a shame Anthony Davis didn’t become a Celtic…

  35. Scarp says:

    What is wrong with Camelo Anthony for his histrionics last night and what is wrong with Danny Ferry for his the night before ?


    A life long Celtics fan who remembers all 17 championships and more to come if David Stern allows fouls to be called

    on Lebron James as he plows into five opposing players for a layup.

  36. Gabci says:

    and don’t forget Jeff Green. I admire him. Get back Wilcox, avoid the injuries and welcome the banner 🙂
    go C’s!!

  37. Henrik Jensen says:

    Were going back towards the top, Lakers is moving out of Playoff, Everything in the NBA is just so awesome these days. Wizards beat Thunder, Warriors is 5th in West without Bogut, Portland has finally moved on without Oden and Roy, Charlotte Bobcats has 9 Wins, and they are not even last in the league, this is a fun year, i can’t wait for the last of it…

  38. Duhwade fanatic says:

    You know whats dirty, the GROIn kick flung by Wade.. Interesting he acts innocently after it.. Thats what you call Mr. NICE(AS)ty

  39. JJ says:

    The return of Avery Bradley and recent strong play of Sullinger have been big factors in their recent run. He isn’t the savior, but Bradley makes the Celtics a different team.

  40. t tommy says:

    Melo tried a thug move on Garnnet, What a loser.

  41. A bit biased Sekou says:

    The bias in this article is insinuating the Celtics are the ones close to “crossing the line”. It was Melo who escalated the action and honestly should have been ejected. He was having a terrible shooting night. Clearly got frustrated in having to guard the bigger and stronger KG, and started being overly physical and then talked trash the rest of the game.

    The refs bias was clear. If Rondo or even Garnett continued to get in players faces the way Melo did they both would have been tossed. If that was Rasheed Wallace he would have been gone in the 3rd quarter. But Melo was allowed to continue to jaw the rest of the game after his T even slapped at the ball in KG’s hand well after a whistle, right in front of the ref (usually an instant T) .

    With Avery Bradley back the Celtics are playing gritty defense again. It’s clean. It’s legal. And it’s frustrating as hell to soft teams like the Knicks. KG fighting for position isn’t dirty. Melo turning it into a fight is the line that was crossed. It wasn’t a Celtic waiting outside the Knicks locker room and then the team bus. It was Melo. So how about putting it on him for “crossing the line”. In that instance, Melo clearly did.

    • steagle says:

      Well said! Carmelo, currently the league’s other darling after LeBron, is getting away with very unsportsmanlike conduct simply because he is in the MVP discussion and is a huge financial draw in a huge NBA market. Penalizing him means losing ticket sales, the primary means of income for the league. The NBA front office needs to do the right thing and make an example of Carmelo that your stardom will not protect you from stiff penalties and that kind of behavior will never be tolerated in the NBA.

  42. nitroade28 says:

    God. Melo needs to chill…he is dominating the NBA right now. Its gonna screw up him, and his team.


  43. LebronLover says:

    The celtics is a playoffs team. Everybody remembers how dosh were they before the all stars. After that with a very worse team than the current team, they almost defeats lebron in game 7!

  44. me says:

    Celtics are a old team but thet are a great team, every team has ups and downs and they are coping well with the lost of Ray Allen with Jason Terry…I LOVE THE CELTICS!!!!!

  45. xpact says:

    the celts will never go away as long as they play ball they are a legitamte contender.. en bad news to any team come playoff time..

  46. Dela cruz#36 says:

    Melo, melo, Melo.. Cant do that bro! Basketball is a physical game, intense, and emotional.. Keep it on the court..Boston win this one..

    Melo, keep it cool! It will affect your game.. Your teammates need you…

    • celtic533 says:

      Why are all you guys forgetting that Melo wasnt going over there to mug KG.He just wanted to talk to him.Beside if he tried jumping Garnett the Celtics would have have just run him over with their bus LOL!

  47. andrew says:

    Imagine the uproar there would be around the league if it was a Celtics player waiting for melo after a game. But because it was melo he’ll get one game or even a fine.

  48. celticspride says:

    This is probably the best game ive seen this celtics play this year. Made a statement to the rest of the league and did it without Rondo. Im the biggest Rondo fan around and I will justify every move he makes but making contact with an offical for a 2nd time was not smart, but after every suspension he comes back playing harder than anyone else in the league so im expecting another triple double on wednesday against the suns.

  49. B says:

    Australia? Footy? Really dude? If you’re all about Aussie and footy, why are you watching American ball and comparing the two different sports? Go watch your Aussie NBL basketball! I was watching the NBL All-Star game and damn, was it boring as hell!

    • Pete says:


      I’m from Sydney and Australian basketball has been absolute garbage for who knows how long – I’ve not watched an Australian game for a good 6 or 7 yerars now because it’s total garbage.

    • Champ says:

      Mustnt be too bad if Johnny Flynn is playing in it! And especially when each team has a small salary cap its hard to get lots of established players over here… But at the end of the day its our league and i support it, i work for my team and get to watch every home game. And just remember that was the first all star game that had been played for a while so they can only be improved…

  50. Nayyab says:


  51. Chris Proudfoot says:

    Melo won’t get called on anything, because he is Melo, He can do what he wants because the NBA rides him, just like they Ride Lebron, Rondo and the Celtics on the other hand Will get called on everything, Rondo Slightly Brushes against a ref after numerous bad calls, He get suspended randomly. Melo Brushes a Ref after a foul, or Waits for a player after a game, and Will not suffer anything, Thank you NBA for CLEARLY rigging this league, Just like Last year at the ECF. This game has become a Joke, Carmelo should atleast face some penalty.

  52. Dom says:

    Rondo’s suspensions for these bumps are ridiculous

    • G says:

      No it is not rediculous. It has to do with respect against officials. We have a big discussion here in Holland where an official (amateur soccer) has died recently because some (minor aged) idiots kicked and beat him to death. The pro’s should give the proper example in these situations!!!

  53. Chester says:

    Melo should get a heavy suspension for his actions, but being in america he will get ofd lightly. If that haopened in australia in a footy game with rhe bus confrontation a player would miss the rest of the season at least. Or the malice in the palace, probably a life ban

    • Schemer21 says:

      Miss the rest of the season?? For what, trash talking?? Come on man. Why single out Melo anyway, they both got technicals for their actions. Garnett is well known for taking dirty, cheap shots at guys (I’m a Knicks fan but Garnett has been one of my favourite players for a long time, i still wear No. 21). Melo was just showing Garnett that he wasn’t going to back down.
      If you actually look closley at the vid, from 1.11 – 1.15, Garnett throws 3 elbows, 2 at Melo and 1 at Stoudamire. Ok they’re fairly tame elbows, but they’re a typical example of the kinda stuff Garnett pulls all the time. Melo just didn’t back down. The article even says that it was Garnett who straddled the proverbial line with his tough guy routine.

      • Peter says:

        The in-game issues are one thing, but going into the Celtics lockerroom after the game looking for a fight, and waiting for for KG outside the team bus is another entirely. That’s stalking and threatening and not only is it against league rules, it’s criminal.

      • artifex says:

        Question is what reallz was Melos intentions.
        I’m not sure he was really up for a fight. I mean he’d know the consequences and to me he doesn’t seem that stupid. But going after KG to stand by his word and give him some reply – it’s not nice, also striding to the others lockerroom but felt the officials should have called it on Garnett and surely frustrated cause the Celtics got away with the win, so he wanted to get the air out.
        I’m Celtics fan and thus biased but otherwise I think I could hate KG for his chippiness. Sure it’s not beyond the rules but as an opponent it would go under my skin too.
        Still, I can see them going along well again at the All star game….

    • Gman says:

      Chester, you must be the new breed of sissy players.

    • slider821 says:

      Chester, the thing is this game is an american sport, a contact sport. A real sport. A sport where when a player is touched by another player, he doesn’t drop to the ground and cry. A sport where he doesn’t get suspended for a confrontation. And so help me god, a sport not called ‘footy’.

      • J-22 says:

        Slider821, your ignorance amazes me! The two major sports in Australia are AFL and NRL. Both full contact, both without any protective equipment (except for mouthguards). What Chester was explaining is that what is done on the field is left out on the field and a player has no right to seek any sort of confrontation after the match. Do a bit of research before you become a keyboard warrior slandering a person on the other side of the world, at least that way you won’t look like an idiot.

      • Ben says:

        Wow. One of the stupidest comments I have ever read.

        You want contact sport? Come to Australia, and we’ll show you real contact sport.

      • Anonymous says:

        “…when a player is touched by anotther player, he doesn’t drop to the ground…”
        ever heard of flopping?

      • BIGMatta23 says:

        Aussies UNITE!! haha Love me some footy…with no helmets and pads. A real MANS game.

      • weiry13 says:

        slider821, I suggest you google NRL State of Origing highlights and then come back here and tell us which is a ‘real sport’ and a ‘contact sport’.

      • Lauchdogg says:

        AUSSIES UNITE! Slider821 not sure if youve seen a game of Aussie Rules Footy, But its a mans sport, its not soccer its football. Theres more contact than basketball and no padding gloves helmets or anything else to protect them like they wear in your so called football, Come on man, learn the game before you judge the game.

  54. Rog says:

    It sure looked like Mello brushed up against the official last night right after he got his 2nd foul.