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Tuesday November 21, 2017
Posted: Mar 03, 2015

Hey, these Celtics are fun to watch — and so is Kentucky

Sidelines: Central Maine Sports Blog
Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas lets go an off-balance shot during the second half of the Golden State Warriors' 106-101 win over in Boston on Sunday.
Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas lets go an off-balance shot during the second half of the Golden State Warriors’ 106-101 win over in Boston on Sunday.

The best thing about basketball season being over is I get to catch up on the things that I’ve missed for the last two weeks.

Like basketball.

Specifically, the Boston Celtics and the Kentucky Wildcats.

I watched the Celtics lose to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday and they were virtually unrecognizable from the Celtics that I last watched in early February. And I’m not just pointing out the obvious changes in personnel. This team was, well, just fun to watch.

As bad as the Celtics have been since the end of the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett Era (I still refuse to acknowledge that other guy, the one whose Mom always went to the games wearing his jersey), it’s been even more difficult to watch because they’ve been boring. Rajon Rondo’s absence didn’t help. Say whatever you want about Rondo, but he was by far the most entertaining Celtic after Pierce and Garnett departed.

Not surprisingly, it’s been another point guard that has made the Celtics compelling television again. Isaiah Thomas has injected some much-needed energy into the team and even a little bit of swagger into the team.

Thomas looks like a combination of Tiny Archibald, Nate Robinson and, yeah, even his namesake, the reviled Detroit Pistons Hall-of-Famer, if only for his knack for getting to the free throw line. He’s a bit of a liability defensively, but until this team gets a rim protector and some rebounding help, it’s not going to shut anybody down anyway. At least now we can tune in to every game and hope a shootout will break out.

And yes, we should root for the Celtics to win those shootouts. Tanking at this point is guaranteed to do more harm than holding out faint hope for Jahlil Okafor. At least some of the building blocks are in place for when the Celtics are competitive again. Getting the nucleus some playoff experience, however brief it may be, will bear fruit.

As for the Wildcats, I’m finding myself coming around on their coach, John Calipari, so nothing is standing in my way to go all-in on witnessing history, a perfect season.

Yeah, Calipari’s kind of a slimy guy, more concerned with churning out pros than getting his players a degree. But allow me to ask this: Who’s pure in college basketball these days? Certainly not Duke, or North Carolina, or many other programs that we once thought were squeaky clean. What Calipari is doing is offering these kids a chance to take advantage of the system that exists to enrich everyone and do it by playing the game the right way.

Let’s just accept the fact that it is the NBA’s true minor league, not the D-League, and just enjoy what Kentucky offers, which is unselfish, hard-nosed, defensive-oriented basketball. For a team to run the table in such a fashion in the one-and-done age would be an amazing accomplishment. I plan on spending the next month enjoying it. If it will make you miserable, I would suggest sitting this March Madness out.

 

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