Boston Celtics: J.A. Adande
The only case for extending their season into the second round of the playoffs is to see them go against the Cavaliers, based on all the vitriol that emanated from their last meeting. Otherwise, they've passed their expiration date.
The Celtics took the right approach. In 2007, they threw a group of accomplished but unsatisfied veterans together and hoped they could win a championship. Last summer, they tried to extend the window by bringing in another veteran with championship experience, Rasheed Wallace. They went 1-1.
The surprise is how meekly they've gone down. They lost 16 home games this season, four more than the previous two seasons combined. They've lost nine games by double digits, matching their total from 2007-2009.
As disappointing as this season has been, it hasn't been so bad they're going to take down the 2008 banner. The strategy was worth it. I wish more teams would go all-in for a shot at a championship.
But they need to get this over with as quickly as possible because there won't be any gallant last stand. They don't have the same ferocious defense or unmistakable camaraderie. Now there are reports that coach Doc Rivers is ready to leave. Rivers called it "old news." He called it "a nonissue, for me, right now." He didn't call it "untrue."
He should move on. Everyone who can should. Call in the crew that handled the old Boston Garden demolition and let them take this roster apart. The painful part is that Kevin Garnett and Rasheed Wallace still have two years remaining on their contracts, worth almost half the salary cap between them. This won't be enjoyable to watch. Hopefully, there's as little programming as possible.
Click HERE to read the full story.
Play Podcast Brendan Hall and Scott Barboza wrap up the 2013 football season and look ahead to the future with John Sarianides.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL reporter Sal Paolantonio discusses Cowboys-Redskins, Saints-Panthers, Greg Hardy's emergence, Patriots-Ravens and more.
Play Podcast NFL Films' Greg Cosell talks about the Ravens' improvement, the impact of Rob Gronkowski's injury, the Broncos' pass defense, whether Kirk Cousins is a better QB than Robert Griffin III and more.
Play Podcast Mark Schlereth talks about which outcomes could surprise him this weekend between the Patriots and Ravens. Why the Chiefs defense isn't as great as we thought it was, if Mike Shanahan could be throwing his final games in Washington and much more.
Play Podcast Ravens QB Joe Flacco talks about his health, Baltimore's win over the Lions, his team's four-game winning streak, preparing to face the Patriots, the keys to success in December and more.
Play Podcast Super Bowl XXXV champion Brian Billick dishes on Tom Coughlin's future with the Giants, the state of the NFC North, Patriots-Ravens and more.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL analyst Jeff Saturday dishes on what Peyton Manning is like, Patriots-Ravens, the Cowboys' game management during the Packers' comeback and more.
Play Podcast ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski weighs in on Packers-Cowboys, the scrutiny of Tony Romo, Marc Trestman's decision to start Jay Cutler, Patriots-Dolphins, the Chiefs' offense and more.